Power of Purpose

Power of Potential

Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

Purpose is a powerful force in the life of human beings. I have been a mom for 25 years now to five fabulous, beautiful and wonderful children. Three are now adults moving on to live their own life. Our two remaining daughters are teenagers and so I am nearing the end of hands-on parenting. The girls need supervision but are daily achieving independence. Those days I thought would never end are both welcomed and loathed. I am thankful for the children the Lord has entrusted me with and the purpose called motherhood. I find that I was at a loss for a bit at the realization that the season of my life was changing. For many, many years, I have identified myself as a mother and as often is the case lost sight of the “Lori” in me. I am a wife. I am a mother. The Lord created me with these identities but His Purpose and Plan did not end when our last child moves out. Although for a season, I felt like it was fleeting.

From the earliest age, children begin to choose who they would like to be when they grow up. Pretending to be that person in play and setting their goals moving into adolescents. The people around us foster purpose. Surrounded by optimist, the sky is the limit. There is no such things as boundaries just obstacles easily overcome. The sun will always come out tomorrow no matter how dark today may be. For those who live in the mist of pessimism, dreams are crushed by reality without hope. Disappointment is inevitable so why try anyway. Don’t put yourself out there or you will be crushed. Live for today because tomorrow may never come. Purpose is the reason that we exist. It is what shapes determination and the driving force of motivation. Society will gladly set limits and boundaries on people called normal life. The corporate ladder promotes the dog-eat-dog mentality and all men for themselves. Purpose. What is your purpose? Do you know? I thought I did.

Psalm 33:10-12 (NIV)

The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

When our son was officially in remission for one year, after fighting for four years to keep him alive. I was lost. Oh, of course, I still love the Lord without question. However, there was a void in my heart with the realization that over that time my children had grown up. My baby was now almost a teenager. Her sister a young lady. Our oldest three now grown and gone. What was I to do now? No grandbabies in the near future, what now Lord. After constantly caring for our son, that too was gone most thankfully as he returned to full-time studies and living the life of a college student. Nobody needed me anymore. What now Lord? Surely there is more to life than this?

Oh, I know that I am not the only one who as the seasons change must find their purpose once again. People usually are the ones who tell us who we are and what we can and cannot do. But in times of brokenness and loss, we seek the One who really does define us and call out our purpose. Our purpose is planted deep in our heart long before we made our presence known on the earth. The Lord placed it in our heart. It is called eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11) The Lord set the world in motion with the express design to fulfill every bit of purpose that He placed in us so we would spend forever with Him. Everything has a time just as properly placed as the seasons of each year. Each one is interwoven with His Plan and Potential for our life. He has given us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11-12) It is ours. All we must do is seek it wholeheartedly. The purpose in our heart is deep waters who better to draw it out than the one who placed it there.

Job 36:5-7 (NIV)
God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever.

God is firm in His Purpose. He made you on purpose. He did not change His Mind when you sinned or fell short of His Glory. God made the way for us by giving His Son Jesus to die for our sin and pay the price for our freedom. Now, we have no excuse not to live on purpose. When God created us it was with a plan. (Psalm 139:13-18) I think we forget that God knew us when He created us therefore nothing we do including failures, mess ups and mistakes catch Him off guard or fall beyond His Endless Grace. All of our days are preordained meaning that there is purpose and meaning in each one. God didn’t change His Mind about you (or me) just because during certain seasons we may have changed our mind or become distracted.

God does not take His Eyes off the righteous. The Lord has searched us and He knows us. He is constantly with us even when we ran from Him trying to hide in the darkness. He was right there the whole time. He will never leave us or forsake us. God does not give up on us. His Son continuously resides in us as the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 139:1-12) Your purpose is well-protected and provided for. It all depends on you now. Purpose in God is achieved when we acknowledge these unwavering traits of God who does not lie or change His Mind. He made up His Mind to love you and me so He does even when we are unlovable. He does not punish us upon our return but lavishes amazing grace on us to fill the void of sin. The Lord helps us in our weakness breaking every self-imposed chain keeping our purpose locked away.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

How do I know what my purpose really is? Dead dreams are discarded daily due to our situations and circumstances. The Lord speaks to us and we discredit Him based on what we see and are currently experiencing. Ignorance in faith and hope leave us as bystanders who exit the race because we have no clue where we are going and what we are after. Jesus patiently and lovingly meets us in this place with the answer. People seldom cry out to the Lord until broken and helpless otherwise we would just keep doing it ourselves. When we need faith and feel hopeless, we invite the Lord to join us. What would happen if we lived on purpose? What is the potential of a life intent on unlocking the potential hidden in us before time? I intend to find out. To do so requires surrendering our whole life to the Lord. Every thought, motive, intent, and goal for His Careful Inspection and Instruction. Listening for His Voice while feeding our Spirit His Word so that when He speaks we will know our Father’s Voice. Praying. Repenting. Praying some more. What do you want in life? Seasons come and go. God’s Word never returns void. We are free to choose to live for today or for forever. This world will pass away. His Kingdom is forever.

Romans 8:26-30 (NIV)

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 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 those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. He tries to. He really does. Human begins can be stubborn and hard hearted people even Christian believers. We lack the love and trust in our relationship to Jesus approaching Him with the same wariness used in our natural relationships. The Spirit is constantly using whatever we give to mold and shape it for God’s Purpose and use in our life which may be contrary to our expectations and emotions. The Holy Spirit is working to line our life up with God’s Purpose.

The third time our son was diagnosed with cancer, it was the worse. We had just left the clinic the day before rejoicing as every other test including scans were good. Waiting only on the PET scan, the doctor declared a victory promising to follow up the next day to confirm this report. When the call came it was not as expected, the cancer had spread throughout his lymphatic system illuminated his entire torso. It was the worst report yet. I went straight to my knees asking God for encouragement and strength along with confirmation. The Lord gave me Romans 8:28. “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.” I couldn’t believe it. I was a little miffed but began to mull over this verse until I finally understood.

Predestined. God knew that the enemy would attack our son with cancer long before he was born. He provided everything we needed to beat the dreadful disease and now he is in full remission just as the Lord promised us from the start. Four years is a long time to wait for your answer. Five bouts with cancer will drain every bit of your personal strength until all you can do is lean on Jesus. Bingo! We find our purpose when we exhaust all human efforts and learn to live by faith and confident hope in the One who promises nothing will ever separate us from His Love.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our circumstances do not define our purpose in life. One’s mistakes do not limit the potential hidden in us from the beginning or Jesus’ death was not enough and His Blood insufficient. No, our potential is established by God before we breathe our first breath and remains until we breathe our last. It is wrapped in every moment according to His Time. Everything we go through in life has a purpose to expose and release the potential that will release our purpose. When Peter acknowledge that He believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God – he was immediately handed the Keys to the Kingdom. When we decide that God does love us, His Son died for us, and we step out of the chains of fear and doubt to accept that Love – we have found our purpose. (Period) The only thing we must do to achieve it is love the Lord with all our heart, mind and body. Some days this is an overwhelming battle especially when it is not clear the outcome. Jesus never said it would be easy. He promised it would be worth it! You are more than a conqueror in all things not just those things you know you can do and are good at it. We become limited in life when we see ourselves as the world does and believe more in who they say we are and what they say we can do than living in the Presence of God, communing with Jesus, guided by His Spirit determined to know His Great Love.

I found what I was looking for. He has set me free again. No more worries and doubts that my potential and purposed ended when the last little bird flies from the nest. No there is so much more. It is hidden in the deep waters of my heart. Lord, I am ready now. I release my expectations for my life to fulfill Your Purpose in me. Forgive me for allowing the world to define me and tell me who I am. You are the Messiah! The Son of the Living God! I want to know the power of my potential and fulfill my purpose found only by knowing You, Jesus!

Matthew 16:18-19 (NIV)

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Little Foxes

Little Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIV)

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes that ruin they vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. King Solomon apparently had a pesky problem. In the midst of his love song, he injects this warning. We have had an ongoing war with moles in our yard for quite some time. As they tunnel around our yard, creating havoc in their journey for food. As the mole makes its way around, it wreaks havoc on the ground without a care or concern. Sometimes you can see the damage, other times the turf just gives way when you step on it. It is an ongoing battle like the gopher war in the movie, “Caddyshack”. The damage done by foxes to a vineyard are a little different than that of a mole or gopher. They jump the hedge or dig under the fence. Once inside whether hungry enough to eat the grapes, or digging for the small rodents that live in the vines eating the blooms and fruit – they destroy the roots of the plant eventually killing it so it will never produce again.

Catch those foxes, those little foxes. We are met with unseen challenges each day in our walk with Christ. Waking up to a glorious morning, may not be so glorious when night falls and our head hits the pillow. While Jesus wakes us up showering His People in new mercy, the enemy begins a new assault and agenda on our life. Those who love the Lord enough to begin each day with Him, talk to Him, spend time with Him and love on Jesus will be the first on his list to attack. If you have a prospering relationship with the Lord and spend time communicating with Him in prayer, it is a bit more difficult to find an opening so the enemy comes in the form of “little foxes” rather than sending in “Goliath”. We are giant slayers. Nothing drives us to the feet of Jesus quicker than the “majors” in life so the enemy uses the “minors” to destroy our connection to Christ with simple and subtle distractions that eat away at our bond with Jesus Christ. Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and whose confidence is in Him. As we become rooted and grounded in His Love, we experience the fullness that is offered in a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ. It fills our life with contentment and satisfaction. (Colossians 2:6-10) The enemy hates these qualities as they are the product of faith in the Lord. As we wrap the basis of our life around salvation repenting of sin, turning from it to pursue God with our life through His Son, we our roots will grow deeper and deeper in His Love by faith and we become unmovable and unshakable by the things experienced in this life as we are Kingdom connected. So the enemy sends in the distractions that become destroyers in our life. We begin to experience cares and worries more than faith and confident hope. We become bitter and unforgiving despite the love, mercy and grace that we have been so freely given. All of a sudden, we begin to wither in a dry and thirsty land as our roots shrink and shrivel. Dang those little foxes that try to spoil our vines tearing at our roots.

Matthew 13:20-23 (NIV)

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The Parable of the Sower must be important as Matthew, Mark and Luke felt the need to include it in all three gospels. The seed that grows in us is the Word of God cultivated by faith. It is the hope that we hold on to. The Lord promises seed to the sower so those who set out to harvest in the Kingdom of God will steadily be provided all the promises, potential and power needed to produce. What we do with our seed is vastly important? The seed that falls on rocky ground represents those who receive God’s Word and desire the Lord but all the cares and worries of life to keep it from growing. Doubts and fears overtake it and it dies as the ground becomes a grave. Without a root, it is zeal that lasts for a moment rather than true joy that lasts a lifetime. The seed that falls in the thorns represents bitterness and unforgiveness that burden our heart and pierce through the seeds planted by faith. It is not fruitful as it is choked in the ground. Bitterness takes its thorny flesh wrapping it around our spiritual growth like a python squeezing it to death. Unforgiveness slams the door of God’s Presence to us making prayers bounce off the ceiling as they are pointless. We reject God’s Grace by refusing to forgive others as He has forgiven us. A seed is terminated by such things.

The seed falling on good soil will thrive and flourish producing more than enough for the present day, enough to sow in the future and more than enough to freely share with others. The heart that is wrapped in God’s Love allowing it to live truly repentant, fully surrendered and completely obedient will remain productive yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. You will never out give God.

Luke 10:39-42 (NIV)

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

How do we deal with the little foxes? What can we do to rid our life of them? There will always be distractions in life. The more persistent our pursuit of Christ-like productivity the more aggressive the attack. The enemy knows the potential of our purpose when it is fulfilled. He will do whatever it takes to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. If he cannot send his giants to do swift works, he releases the little foxes. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. They were both his friends. Martha became distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Stop right there. It is called life. We all can be guilty of being too busy. I understand all too well the demands of marriage, family and career along with everything else that comes labeled as unexpected in life. It is not a problem until it begins to prevail over the presence and power of Jesus Christ in our life.

When Martha came to Jesus, she came to Jesus telling Him what He needed to do to fix her problem, ease her burden, and make her happy. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10) The love of anything more than Jesus is a deadly distraction that will kill our roots. To put anything as more powerful than the Lord is lethal to our faith. We do this when we come to the Lord telling Him how to do His Job. We are all guilty of such. Becoming overwhelmed in life and allowing busyness to gnaw at the roots of our faith and confidence in hop, we begin to die on the inside. Coming into His Presence, He gives us fullness of joy, peace that passes understanding mixed with unfailing love and confident hope. We find everything we need in coming to Christ, shout in the midst of our own way and demand Him to do as we bid in our circumstances. Deep roots requires transferring our full expectation from mankind, things and ourselves submitting them to the Hands of Jesus and sitting at His Feet in total trust. Surrendering our will and out ways to Jesus and saying, “Lord let Your Will be done as it is in Heaven.” It’s time to deal with these little foxes tearing up our vineyards and ruining the harvest.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

When Samson took vengeance on the Philistines, he did so by taking finding 300 foxes and tying them together by their tails. He put a torch in each tail and set them loose in the fields of his enemies. They destroyed the entire harvest of the Philistines just running away in fear. (Judges 13:3-6) Did you know that foxes are easily scared off? Unless it is rabid, a fox can be frightened off as they are timid creatures who do not take on a foe or any prey large enough to do harm. Walking with my daughter through the neighborhood, we encountered a fox that ran out of a wooded area next to the sidewalk. When it saw us, it froze in panic and ran away. Greater is He that is in you and me than he who is in the world. We must grab hold of that not only to kill the giants that come at us but especially those little foxes tearing at our roots, nibbling on our branches and uprooting our faith and confidence in Christ. They are not vengeful crusaders but rather tiny forces to be reckoned with. We must inspect our heart day by day to find them and remove them. We must decide to spend the first fruits of our time in the Presence of Jesus surrendering our life and accepting His Will for each new day. How do we do it?

It really is simple. We fortify our hearts with the Good News of God’s Love. We read and study His Word until we receive it and believe it in all things. We ask Christ to dwell in our heart and be its gatekeeper. He is really good at that! By doing everything we can possibly do to experience, encounter and embrace God’s Love through His Son Jesus, we grow deep abiding roots of faith and confident hope that chases away the foxes and stealthy deals with giants, too. I want to experience the full measure of all fullness that God has given me in His Son, Jesus. I must deal with daily distractions to keep my heart pure and ready for His Seed, so His Word will take root in me as I realize my full potential and every promise I have in Him! I must catch the foxes all those little foxes!

I Timothy 6:8-12 (NIV)

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Patience Required

Patience Required

Romans 8:23-25(NIV)

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Patience. My godly grandmother was one of the most perfectly patient people I have ever known. She told me repeatedly growing up that I must be patient as I was totally impatient as a child, teenager and even young adult. I had not time for patience. My obstinate and intolerant personality demanded immediate resolution, quick results and complete satisfaction when I decided the timing was right. Even after coming to know the Lord, I still struggled with being patient for most of my adult life. This is exactly why the Lord does not show me His Plans from start to finish because I would some way ruin in by forcing the timing or trying to skip some steps. Faith is the substance of what we hope for. If we have hope, it is assurance of that which is unseen so we must wait for it. Waiting requires patience. Lord, help me as patience are required to have what I hope for.

I had the pleasure of shopping with a terrific group of young people and throngs of strangers venturing out the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy the great sales. Setting out on this adventure at 7:00 AM with my list in hand, the kids were super excited. Not so much about shopping but spending the day together. We ended our day of shopping at beloved Target. Grabbing some last minute remaining sale items, we had coffee and wandered the store together. Heading to the checkout lane, all the young people began surveying the checkout lines for the shortest route out the door. The “moms” settled on the first aisle and continued chatting together. Our entourage returned with arms help up, “What are you doing?” In their opinion, this line was the longest. Obviously disappointed with our choice, my friend quickly defended our decision by telling them that it didn’t matter that we were enjoying visiting anyway. See to those young people – waiting is a tragic event. There are some adults that feel like they do because they have not learned that patience is required in life.

Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

My mom-in-love joined us for part of our excursion. The famous fragrance store filled with lovely bottles of soap, lotions and sprays was overflowing with people. It was a madhouse. I knew what I was after and got in and out relatively quickly. She continued to wander the store for a bit so I waited outside perusing my phone while I waited. She came out with no purchase and tear-filled eyes. Someone had cut in front of her in line and when she finally made it to the cashier, there was some confusion with her purchase. She became so flustered that she left in complete frustration. Age is not a factor when it comes to patience. It is wisdom that yields patience according to the Word of God. We had some lunch discussed her strategy and she went back in successfully achieving her goal. We discussed her choices. She could brave the masses and wait to check out or she could return another day, pay a little more and not have the aggravation. We all have these choices in life every single day. Will we patiently wait on the Lord? Or decide that waiting and persevering are not an option doing it our own way.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 (NIV)

The end of a matter is better than its beginning and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Jesus tells us that it will be the ones who endure to the end that will be saved. Life is a process. I cannot stress this enough. Just when I think I have it all figured out, a curve ball causes me to re-evaluate. Expectation is best placed solely in the Lord, but it is human nature to allow other people to take it, things to overshadow it, and to take back control of our life from time to time if not most of the time. Blessed are those who believe without seeing. Jesus said it himself. It is hard to believe in what we hope for sometimes, but there is blessings in the waiting as well. This is the birthplace of patience. The end of a matter is better than the beginning.

Patience is better than pride. Patience is what keeps us waiting when we want to give up, compromise or accept sloppy substitutions to relieve our fear, doubt and anxiety about the Lord’s Faithfulness and Unfailing Love. Maybe you are thinking that is not it at all, no friend that is exactly what it is. We are provoked by the enemy through people, situations, circumstances and the like to give up on God’s Word and all He has promised to eliminate the discomfort of perseverance. Pride tells us we don’t have to take it anymore. We deserve better. We are entitled to more. If we want it, we will have to do it ourselves. Violated trust is that which has been given to someone or something other than Jesus Christ our Lord. He is trustworthy. He is All-Knowing and All-Powerful. He lives in us but gives us the freedom to choose what path we will take in life.

James 5:7-11 (NIV)

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

I am absolutely sure that any farmer will tell you that the first few seasons are the longest. Waiting is what stretches our perseverance until it becomes patience. How we wait is of equal importance? A farmer must still tend the field long before the seedlings become plants that mature and yield a harvest. He cannot just plant it and forget it until it yields a harvest or that day may never come. We are to be patient in our waiting and diligent in our watch. Prayer is absolutely a necessity in our waiting for the Lord to develop patience in our life. We must pray not for what we desire but more importantly for the patience to see it through. I know, I know don’t pray for patience. If you want to endure to the end, if you want Jesus, and if you desire a relationship with Him that produces harvests of hope – you don’t have to pray for patience – refinement will happen just the same.

Patience is persuasive. (Proverbs 25:15) It is a sign of wisdom and maturity that influences others. A gentle response can break the hard hearted. A warrior can take out some other soldiers, but patience can take the city. (Proverbs 16:32) When we try to fight our own battles, we may win a conflict but we lose the war. The Lord will fight for those who remain patient and choose to wait on Him. Patience ends conflict. (Proverbs 15:18) This will lead to peace. Besides, no one wants to fight with themselves. Patience is a god-like example because it is His Patience and Kind Forbearance that leads to repentance as we identify and accept His Grace for what it really is. (2 Peter 3:14-15) Faith requires us to be still and wait on the Lord. (Psalm 37:7) This is all an act of patience.

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

In the grocery store, the day before Thanksgiving, my daughter and I had a few last minute items to grab. Basically running through the aisles not to get caught in the confusion of last minute shoppers, we encountered a young mother obviously struggling with more than a few small children. She was very frustrated yelling at them all the way as they cried and complained. At one point, she grabbed her toddler by the arm in a harsh jerk and my daughter was infuriated. She grabbed her phone intent on calling “911”. I was aware of the situation. The mother had not violated any law. She just was at the end of her patience. She was also very young. I convinced my sweet girl that there was no need to call the law on her that she was just overwhelmed. Getting into the car, I felt like I needed to explain the situation from my perspective. I told her of a young mama who did not know Jesus and did not have much experience yet was given three children in four years. I explained that after those children were older that mama came back to Jesus and grew in the Lord also in experience as she raised the first three and added two more. Sometimes it is easy to pass judgment on others unless we understand that everyone is fighting a battle. She guessed that the mama was me. I am a more mature mama who has learned to be patient with my children because of grace and experience. She judged that mother in the store by her experience of motherhood through me. We do the same. Sometimes we forget that we are all sinners saved by grace. The same grace extended to all with the realization that a single sin would have nailed Jesus to the Cross demanding His Life as repayment. A single sin. We are all quite capable and guilty of that so we have no reason to acknowledge and approach others in the exact same grace that we have been given.

Patience requires forbearance. Forgiveness. Extending more grace to others than we think they deserve because that is exactly what we have been given. We are recipients of God’s Love. (Romans 8:38-39) Nothing can separate us from His Love or anyone else for that matter. Patience requires knowing God’s Love. It requires knowing His Son. It is to live by His Spirit. It is to reflect the grace we have been given to everyone else. We must know His Word. Patience is required if hope is what we are after or there is no need for faith. This time of year challenges us to be patience and forbearing. The holidays bring out the best and worst in other people. However, we can make the choice to live by faith in confident hope this holiday season and be patient, kind and forbearing following the Example of Jesus Christ.

I Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV)

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s Purpose in developing our patience is that we will lack no good thing. To be patient and forbearing is to fully accept the capacity of His Love and all it to produce a harvest in our life. Patience is a sign of maturity and one’s willingness to wait confidence in the outcome. If Jesus is the reason that we celebrate this Season, why not make Him our example as we journey through it? Make His Love our goal and aspiration. To be patient, loving and kind so that the Light of His Love is fully expressed through us. This will require patience. It will require forbearance. If we choose to live by faith and confident hope, patience is required.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

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Finding Contentment

Finding Contentment

Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.


After a huge meal and cleaning a massive mess, the girls gathered around the table to go through all the Black Friday sales soon to begin. Clothing, electronics, accessories, and the like as stores offering amazing deals to lure in the holiday shoppers. As I surveyed the offerings, I wasn’t as entertained as in the past. Nothing really called my name or motivated me to plan an attack. The next thing I knew I was yawning incessantly so I moved to the bedroom and took a nap. As is the custom in our house, that the moment mom closes her eyes something becomes urgent my youngest wanted to spend the afternoon with a friend and it couldn’t wait thirty minutes or so for mom and dad to wake up. With that, her dad ended his nap and got up to watch football. With that the dog became overwrought with the knock on the door or the arrival of said friend to pick up the alarm clock. Getting up, I wandered to the couch and curled up with another soft blanket for the rest of the day. My other daughter came looking for me with my phone as everyone was gearing up for our shopping trip the next day. I took the phone, snuggling with the puppy under the warm fuzzy throw without any interest at the moment. As I lay on the couch with football in the background surrounded by many of my loved ones, I realized I was content. In that moment, in that place, I was absolutely content. It is an amazing feeling. I give full credit to the Lord. It has been a long and difficult process but it is quietly and carefully unfolding in my life.


What does the word contentment mean? Contentment is to be satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. Thankfulness breeds contentment in our life as we become aware of what we really have. I know that over the last year, I have felt compelled to clean out and minimize. As I have done so, I have sold the unwanted and outgrown items in our home producing income just from the surplus laying around our home. My drive for success has changed course as well. No longer am I interested in “taking over the world” whatever my world looks like but rather living in the moment, discovering its potential, fulfilling God’s Plan and Purpose found in those moments. The contents of our heart has the ability to produce contentment in our life. Capital One credit card asks “what’s in your wallet” as the merchants try to take it. But the Lord asks today as everyone gears up for present buying and gift giving to stop and ask yourself, “Am I content?”


I Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.


Godliness with contentment is great gain. Contentment without God is impossible. Faith in the Lord is the substance by which the heart is satisfied. God is the God of satisfaction. (Psalm 104:27-28) Jesus is the One who made it possible for us to be fully satisfied again, because only He can satisfy our heart. (John 10:10) The enemy longs to steal from, kill and destroy God’s People. You can read in the news on any given day celebrities and famous people who the world thinks have it all, who end their lives because they are not satisfied and have no hope. Looking at your bank account today, one may think no worries here that will never happen to me. Do not be fooled. Many times, we try to fill our life with the good things that are not being produced by disobedience and ignorance. These costly counterfeits and savvy substitutions will never give us what we are after. We must learn to toil for our heart and not out mouth. (Ecclesiastes 6:7) I love that reminder. When we learn to connect to the Source of Life and remain connected, we are satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we are in life. (Hosea 13:6) When we become dissatisfied and discontent, it is a sign that there is a disconnection between us and the Giver of Life.


Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


I have lived a wide spectrum in life. I know what it is like to live in a single wide trailer in a mobile home park and I have also experienced a very nice middle class home in a brand new neighborhood. I know what it is like to have electricity, running water and a full pantry but as a child I can remember spending a cold night in that same trailer with no heat, power or water as it had been shut off and we had nothing to eat. I have learned the secret of contentment not in the hands of my labor but in the Presence of God who promises never to leave me or forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) The Lord has been with me every step of the way preparing peace for me to rest in and contentment for me to find so that when I was ready to own it, it would give me the joy and peace I had been searching for all along. It is when we hunger and thirst for more than those things we are after that we discover true strength. When I am weak is when I am made strong and the Lord can fill all those voids in my heart. Content as a noun means something that is contained. It is the power to contain to capacity. I am a vessel. Freedom allows me to carry what I choose. The treasure of my heart defines who I am. (Matthew 6:21) If I can learn to fill it up with Jesus, I will live in contentment forever.


James 1:4-5 (NIV)

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the Children of God. (Matthew 5:9) Contentment will always require perseverance because it is contrary to our human nature. Society is driven by supply and demand as a means to produce and maintain a flow of currency. The media convinces us that we “need” our “wants”. This confusion leaves people floundering to keep up. Steals peace. Robs joy. It deceives people into believing that God doesn’t love them or care based on what others have or can do. The false prophets stand up on Sunday preaching give so you will get and people buy into the lie that if you don’t give God your money you will live in lack. No friends, it is your heart that the Lord is after not your wallet. He wants your Love not commission for blessing your life. If you lack wisdom today, ask the Lord. This includes if you are deficient in contentment or cannot find satisfaction for He gives us both in mass quantities if we provide the vessel – He fills our life with good things. But do not think that it comes in the form that the world labels success, it is produced by His Spirit and called love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the things that produce real contentment and true satisfaction in life.


Romans 8:6 (NIV)

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.


I do not believe that God gave our son cancer. I do not believe that He would ever allow a child to suffer as such. I know that He promises that all things work together for our good and this is not excluded. In the journey to healing, the Lord broke my heart several times. The first with his diagnosis, but the rest of the time it was with the subtle realization of who I had become even though I thought I was following Christ. Constantly seeking His Presence, in continuous conversations with the Lord, leaning and totally trusting His Word as a means for survival allows our heart to be exposed especially when it is broken. I did not like what I found in the dark and hidden recesses. There was a gray line that somehow I stepped over. Cancer did not change me, but the Love and Power of God did.


Our mind is governed by our flesh. A radical takeover must be accomplished to surrender our heart and mind to the Holy Spirit if we desire to find true contentment. The Spirit promises to produce in us life and peace. It is different than what the world has to offer. It is not a monetary or position change in the world as much as a thriving, repositioning of our mind that agrees with our heart and soul that God is more than enough for us. Jesus left us peace to take hold of and live in every day. It is compromised by fear of lack and failure. These do not exist in the Presence of God for His Children but become the attack of the enemy to take our inheritance and rob our hearts of satisfaction. I have Jesus. I have all that I need to prosper in life. I am more than a conqueror. I must stay fixed by faith and have confidence in hope that never leads to disappointment. I must be convinced that nothing can or will ever separate me from God’s Love. I must make up my mind. When I do, the Peace of God will crush every plot and reveal every scheme of the enemy to keep my heart in bondage, soul chained up and mind in captivity. (Romans 16:20) If you have Jesus Christ living in your heart today, like me, you have EVERYTHING you need to be content and fully satisfied. There is nothing a store can offer you that can change your mind or upset your heart because you have it all. This is true contentment and I just learning what it is. I have tried to make it, find it and buy it in the past only to realize today – He lives inside of me.


Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

I Am Thankful

I Am Thankful

Colossians 4:2 (NIV) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

 Happy Thanksgiving! Before I hit the kitchen to prepare a holiday feast for our gathering today, I wanted to spend some time with Jesus this morning. Just to say, I am thankful. Humbly and wholly thankful and appreciative for my salvation, freedom and the life that He has given me. It is a good life. Though not without the usual peaks and valleys that everyone experiences traveling from here to forever, it is evident to me that God is good, Jesus is for me, and His Spirit lives in me which is all that I need to make it through the dramatic twists and turns, the shaking and the fallout that has brought me to this place. I have come to understand that we all have something to be thankful for. In fact, I might ever venture to say that with a new perspective on life, people probably have a lot more to be thankful for than they realize. It is hidden in the busyness, scheduling, routines, agendas, discontentment, dissatisfaction, grumbling, complaining and bitterness that is present before we give our life to Jesus. I have found that even living our new life in Christ, there are times when we forget all that the Lord has done and is doing in us so we fall back into these bad habits that cause us to miss all the Goodness and Grace afforded to us through Christ Jesus.

Before the oven heats up, the doorbell starts ringing, the crowds amass, I wonder if we could sit for just a moment in the Presence of God shaking off all the responsibilities, worries, cares and even the excitement of gathering with friends and family to pray and be thankful. I have much to be thankful for. Too many times a person is judged by their exterior rather than what is hidden inside. We immediately become envious and jealous of other people and the life they have based on appearances but have no idea what their life is like in the quiet moments when no one is watching and no one really cares. Too many people are living a pointless, performance life rather than tapping into the wonderful purpose hidden inside them. The very thing that God created in you is good enough to do all that He decided you would do which is more than you can even think to ask for. You are His Masterpiece. With such huge potential, it is by putting our faith, hope and trust in Jesus that we become all those things that He promised. We will be satisfied by just tapping into it and completed by living it. I am thankful for all the things that contribute to this process. It has been a good year. It is a building year for our family as the Lord renews and restores us after several seasons of drought that left us dry and thirsty. I am thankful.

Psalm 118:19-24 (NIV)

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

I asked Jesus to be my Savior at eleven years of age. It would take all of my teenage years and twenties to make Him my Lord. For many of my adult years, I believed that Jesus was my Savior and Lord doing everything to make Him a reality in my life. But it was when I could not do anything or help myself that I finally understood the God I serve and His Son who saved me. It was never about what I could do for Him, how I could change for Him, or even who I told about Him. It was all about love and trust. The Lord has desired my full confidence from the beginning. I gave Him what I could live without but did not know He is the One I cannot live without. It took a long time for me to get it. It took me to the edge of death with our son to finally realize that there is nothing I can do to save myself or anyone else for that matter. It is ALL a gift from the Lord. Today, I am thankful for Jesus. I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful for all He has done for me. I am thankful for the Cross and that His Blood opened the door to His Presence for me. He will never leave me or forsake me even when I am rebellious and hardheaded – Jesus waits for me to respond with the tiniest bit of faith. He pours Heaven on me in that moment. I am thankful.

I Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm136:1-3 (NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

I am thankful that I have victory through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that He is All-Powerful. There is no greater power than my God. This would be awesome enough but then I have found that His Love for me endures forever. I have faced many problems in life but none so great as the illness of our son. It shattered me. It changed my whole life forever…albeit for the better in the end. In the journey, a point was reached when the only chance our boy had was for a miracle. God delivered. He is the ultimate power and authority over the lives of those who call Him Lord. He will never let the righteous stumble. He will hold them by their right hand. Salvation makes us righteous so I am covered by the Blood of Jesus. I am thankful for the power and authority that lives in me. I am thankful for the Keys to the Kingdom that I hold proudly in my hand. Jesu gave me all of His Power and I intend to use them. I am thankful that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords today. There is no other God like my God.

Psalm 119:103-105 (NIV)

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

I am thankful for God’s Word – both written and spoken in my life. I used to wonder how anyone could spend hours studying the Bible when ten minutes in I was sound asleep. I tried for years to establish come kind of quiet time. Now…I cannot live without out it. It is one of the ways that the Lord talks to me, instructs me, guides me, comforts me, restores me, and renews me day by day. If you are not thankful for God’s Word, you have not read it enough to experience it. I encourage you to taste and see that the Lord is good by making time to read His Word each day and seek the Lord in prayer. It will make a difference in your life, it has in mine. I am thankful for God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 4:13-16 (NIV)

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Please stay with me. I am almost done. I thank God for renewal that is possible day by day as His New Mercy arrives for our use. Note that I used the world “possible” it is up to us whether or not it is probable. I am very good at bringing my needs and petitions to the Lord. Leaving them is another story indeed. I come to the Lord complaining and grumbling, but when He says, “Here I will take that!” I immediately grab it back clutching whatever it is to maintain control. I am learning to lean and now I have discovered how the Lord renews us day by day. I want to be fully renewed and completely restored. I am thankful for His Process of Renewal. It is called refinement which lends to my discomfort but leads to full contentment.

I Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV)

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

I am thankful for purpose today. I am thankful that God’s Plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) is not dictated by my circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18) but somehow in them fulfilled. I can be thankful in all circumstances knowing that He is working it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) As I sit here this morning walking through this year in my mind, one might think that the one-year remission mark of our son would be enough to rejoice. But somehow in the midst of overwhelming victory, I almost gave up on my purpose. I couldn’t see it anymore. Lost in a vortex of five years of disconnection with the world around me, running a race of faith that no one else could see left me tired and disengaged. God is good in everything He does and everything He has created. (I Timothy 4:4-6) I will agree. He has given us a purpose. We are fully equipped to achieve the potential packed in us for God’s Own Pleasure. God uses brokenness to release it in our life. I am thankful for brokenness today. The fact that He loves me enough to back me in a corner, to the edge of a cliff, hide me in a cave or any other proverbial showdown you can think of to get my attention, set me back on track, to release the abundance hidden in my heart for my inspection. I am thankful for that today.

This thing called brokenness has opened my eyes to see my purpose again. My position as a wife and mother. My calling in life. My perspective on change. My future and hope. I have been given forever. (Colossians 1:9-14) I have the opportunity to introduce others to it. I have the profound privilege of serving the One True God who is good. His Unfailing Love pursues me. His Hand of Blessing is on my head. Jesus handed me the Keys to the Kingdom and expects me to use them. I have a purpose not defined by my past or influenced by my circumstances. His Word is all the confirmation I need. His Spirit leads me in battle and guides me from victory to victory. I have a better life just because He lives. Oh, I am thankful today. Yes Lord, I am thankful. How about you? It took a lot for Jesus to get through my thick skin and hard head for me to realize just how blessed I really am. Finally, I can say, I am thankful.

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My Holiday To Do List

My Holiday To Do List

Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the most worrisome and burdensome time of the year for some people. My “Martha mentality” is kicking into overdrive. The list has been rewritten multiple times over the last couple of weeks. Already about halfway done with my Christmas shopping and the Thanksgiving turkey is not in the oven yet, one might think that I am ahead of the game. Would someone please tell my mind that as she keeps putting the hamster on the wheel and telling it to run? Ever feel like that as your mind begins to process the holidays, like a little rodent on a wheel to nowhere especially at night, it just runs and runs. Interfering with sleep, causing anxiety as the expectations of family seem to fall on our shoulders. Perfect means, plethora of presents, making Kodak moments, holiday soirees, and if that wasn’t enough we have a couple Christmas babies in our family – Hooray!

Before we officially kickoff the holiday season by overindulging in food, sleeping it off to repeat again until gone, can we get a game plan? I am making one final list to work from and hopefully this time I will get it right. I saw a revised “Holiday List” on Facebook yesterday that reminded me of my good intentions before Thanksgiving was suddenly upon us. It read as follows:

Holiday To Do List.

  1. Buy Be Presents.
  2. Wrap Gifts Someone in a Hug.
  3. Send Gifts Peace.
  4. Shop for Donate Food.
  5. Make Cookies Love.
  6. See Be the Lights.

You get the point. I did. I want to be present this year and experience the thankfulness of His Faithfulness during Thanksgiving right up to celebrating His Great Love given on Christmas Day. For the last several years, it has been a struggle with many years ending cancer treatment just in time to make home for these holidays, I am so very thankful for a year of remission and our family coming together to focus on Jesus and all He has done. But if I am not careful, I will easily become overwrought and owned by the list of demands placed on myself by society’s hand.

I Thessalonians 5:16 (NIV) Rejoice always!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! It seems like such an easy concept to learn until one attempts to exercise it daily. In every moment and every season, salvation is enough to live a life of celebration. It is not based on what we have or do not have but who we are in Jesus Christ. I am a task minded person who struggles with my to do list daily. For the type A personality, success and failure is dictated by the items not crossed off or accomplished in our designated time frame. The Lord is reminding us today that if we do purchase a single present, attend one party, or even put up a tree – we have every reason to live a life of rejoicing. Stress and anxiety are not spirits given by God. They are not emotions produced by the Holy Spirit. When present, they must be severely and harshly dealt with and never entertained to maintain the true joy we have in Jesus.

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. When two or more are gathered in His Name, He is there. Whether you are entertaining a houseful, or having a quaint family gathering we must strive in all things to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Agreed? Okay. Now let’s take it to the streets, after the turkey is demolished, kitchen is cleaned, sale papers thoroughly perused and game plan made, many will hit the streets for Black Friday. Now let’s repeat…we must strive in all things to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient…even at Target, Walmart and BestBuy. A couple years ago, on Thanksgiving night, a local store was opening at 8:00 PM with an incredible boot sale. I have three daughters this really was a no brainer. We bundled up and drove over to the store with grandma to be met with about 100 people already in line. Together we stood for about an hour visiting with the people in line until about 10 minutes before they opened. Now about that time a group of ladies of all ages, started hanging around up to no good. It was clear that they intended to rush the line. The store was giving away gift cards to the first 200 people. My mother-in-law was mad. She was ready to take these ladies on head on. It took some serious convincing to back her down – she is a feisty one. Was it right that they skipped in line, of course not? I understand that they did not wait their turn. But my God who supplies all my needs, as well as, doing more than I can think to ask has me covered. Once in the store, we simply stood and watched the madness like a shark frenzy I have never seen anything like it over $20 shoes. It was crazy. When the excitement died down, I had a couple of things that were on sale and headed to checkout. My gift card turned out to be worth $100 which paid for my purchase. Lesson learned. There is blessing in maintained godly character in an ungodly character. I don’t have to fight for what is rightly mind, He gives me the best stuff.

Forgiveness. I am going to leave this one here without much to say. You know. The person you need to forgive. Not because they deserve it, but such an act sets us free to live without the weight and burden of bitterness. Often we are forced to face these problematic relationships otherwise ignored. What better way to honor Jesus who full of grace forgave us to forgive another.

I Peter 5:7 (NIV) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We can worry about some really useless things considering that my God will supply all my needs, not according to the rotting and decay “stuff” in this world, but His Riches in Glory. If my heart and mind want only the things that this life has to offer, we will remain burdened and heavy laden. When we allow worries, cares and anxiety to remain in us, it will begin to thrive in the form of doubt, discontentment and bitterness. Our perspective on life is dictated by that which we put our trust in. If I look to my job as my provider, I miss out on what the One True Provider has for me because I put my faith in lesser things. Although I have been away during the rush and push before Christmas, thanks to online shopping presents have made it under the tree. However, what I have learned in this journey of life embarked upon is that it really didn’t matter to me as much as all my babies big and small being together. I took that for granted way too long. We become anxious and overwrought over the wrong things. With Jesus all things are possible, nothing is impossible. He has given us His Promise and written in His Word, so we do not have to be afraid but step boldly into His Presence. It says in Matthew that it is those worries and cares that choke it out before it can take root. I will be anxious or nothing and in every situation pray and petition the Lord THANKFULLY. Contentment will produce thankfulness in our life.


I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Be thankful. If you begin each day thanking God for your life now, it will dictate the rest of your day. Thankfulness in prayer reminds our heart, mind and soul of all the good things God has done in our life. It reminds us of the very thing Jesus is doing in us and through us. Suddenly, the list of wants and needs begin to dwindle in the midst of satisfaction. If we live a life of thankfulness, we soon find that our perspective in life changes as we become wealthy and rich in our spirit.

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. My favorite Christmas movie is Elf. I cannot wait to watch it over and over again. At one point, Buddy calls himself a “cotton headed ninny muggins” which must be a form of elfin character slur who knows. I call myself that sometimes when in the midst of the holiday push I find that like Martha I have gotten lost in the doing and am not present like Mary as I should be. This is a problem that is resolved first in our mind. We must fix our thoughts on what really matters and decide in our heart to stick with the plan. The Lord promises perfect peace to those whose minds are steadfast and trust Him. Worry, care and stress do imply that we trust the Lord but confirm otherwise. We must cast down them down and allow God’s Perfect Peace even when the rest of the world thinks otherwise.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. One final thing on my new to do list, I must practice what I preach. I must put into practice all that I have learned from my prime example – Jesus Christ. It is ironic that during a season meant to honor the Lord, the worst comes out in us many times. The enemy will do anything to ruin the celebration of the Birth of Christ because it was the day that his death sentence became a reality signed the day Jesus died. He has no future. He has not heart. The only way that we overcome His Attacks and Advances against our life is to run the race of faith and follow Jesus. If I will just practice all that I have learned and received from the Lord, I will have joy and peace in my life. Love came down and rescued me. Love came down and set me free. I have all I need to prosper in peace every day of my life even the busiest of them. We have all that we need to be thankful for if we have Jesus as our Savior and Lord. If that sounds shallow to you, you must go deeper in Him to understand that potential of His Love. Begin each day thanking the Lord. After you have exhausted all thankfulness, hand Him what’s left called burden and care and leave it in His Capable Hands. Decide that this season you will practice love and not tradition. Look and listen to the people around you they will tell you they want things but what they want most is love. We know the Source of Love, Joy AND Peace so let’s share Him. Random acts of kindness are excellent ways to give back. Overly thank your cashier, she has probably already been cussed out several times. Hold the door open for others and smile as they walk by. Don’t avoid that person who is overbearing by pretending not to see them at the mall – you are never too busy to be kind and compassionate – it’s the Lord’s Work for you to do. Give yourself; presents lose their value but you are priceless. Be present. This for me is the most important one. Martha feels comfortable in the kitchen. I need to sit with Mary and learn to be at the Master’s Feet, playing games with the kids, watching football with the husband and sharing life with those I love. This is my holiday to do list.

John 14:26-27 (NIV)

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Losing Our Identity

Losing Our Identity

Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The movie “50 First Dates” is the story of Lucy Whitmore a young woman with short-term memory loss. It is so severe that each morning she wakes up without any recollection of the day before. When Henry meets Lucy in a local cafe, he falls for her instantly. But the next when he returns, she has memory of meeting him the day before. As the story progresses, he learns that after a car accident she now cannot remember anything dating back to that day. Henry embarks on the journey of love each day starting like it is the first. The movie is based on a true story. The young lady, Jenny Gisby, suffers from a neurological condition that has the same effect. Her boyfriend has creatively wooed her for years. In the end, Henry marries Lucy and each morning before she gets out of bed she watches a video that reminds her of who she is, who he is and their life together. Though in her mind she has lost her identity, he reminds her of who she is. Do you know who you are today? Do you know that Jesus has every intention of wooing you and expressing His Love all over again? He wants to extend His Kingdom and all of its power into your life. The Lord is intent on an encounter today that will somehow spark your interest and keep your attention in the midst of instant chaos and overwhelming business with all the circumstances and craziness of life.

Aristotle wrote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” There is a common misconception that if you do something for 21 days that it will become a habit. I dieted and exercised faithfully for more than a year. I haven’t been back to the gym in months. Did the habit change? No, my motivation did. There are many goals and aspirations that we have for life but somehow fall short. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. It is a dominant disposition or tendency prevailing characteristic or quality. Our habits mold and shape us over time. They become who we are and how we do things. It is easy to make life a habit build an agenda make a schedule and fall into a rut of doing rather being. When our goals in life overshadow living life, there is a disconnect. For those who are task minded, we sometimes lose sight of people in order to get the job done and mark a neat line across the list. For the free spirit, those folks will lose track of time and respect for others simply floating from this to that. We are what we repeatedly do. Who do you want to be today? I want to be a Child of the One True and Living God. I want my relationship with Jesus Christ to be stronger than the day before. What am I doing today to make that a habit in my life? Is it enough to know who I am in Christ? Or have I lost my identity chasing the world and saturated in this life?

Colossians 2:1-5 (NIV)

I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

The church of Laodicea was on it. They were serving the Lord and had a great reputation that made it to Paul before he could even visit them. He sent a letter to them applauding their discipline and firm faith in Christ. My goal, Paul said, is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding. Perhaps, in the midst of all of his praise for their due diligence in knowing Jesus is the hidden message that their hearts needed some massaging. They had all the components to be a great body of believers, but they just needed more love, more passion and more devotion to Jesus.

There are many churches filled with many believers who have no idea who they are in Jesus Christ. If we really took the time to understand all the privileges of loving Him completely, we would make it our life goal and full aspiration. More comfortable with doing and a list of rules maybe called doctrine, everyone comes to Christ with good intentions. It is what we do with those intentions when reality sets in that we walk by faith and not by sight that matter most. Do you still love the Lord when life doesn’t meet YOUR expectation? When bad things happened to good people do you still trust the Lord? Jesus expressed His Divine Approval of those who have not seen yet still believe. Jesus doesn’t want be our habit today. He wants to fill our heart with His Love so that we know who we are in Him.

Colossians 2:9-15(NIV)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self-ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Do Christians live in the fullness of Jesus Christ? No. The vast majority of believers have not tapped in to the triumph available to them by faith through the Cross. Many Christians, don’t want to talk about the Blood shed for them much less visit the Cross where it flowed bright red. Yet minds are full of mess and corruption called entertainment. Church has become a social connection. We fear the Muslim religion because as a unit we do not believe in the God who we serve as much as they do their god. If Christians believed and related to Jesus as these other radical religions commit to their gods, what a powerful influence the church would be. But we have lost our identity. We are watered down and lukewarm to appeal to the masses. Gray is the new favorite neutral. This is not a condemning word but hopeful encouragement that someone even if just one will take hold of the Promise given to us by Jesus. He overcame the world and everything in it for me and you. He was ridiculed, condemned, tortured and died a horrible death not for a religion or false god, but me and you. He came out of the grave and before ascending to Heaven said, “Here you go! Sic em!” handing us the Keys to His Kingdom with the simple instructions believe and receive, ask in my Name and it will be done. What happened? We have forgotten who we are.

Revelation 3:14-20 (NIV)

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

As I was reading the passage in Colossians today, it occurred to me that the name of this church was familiar. Yep, I knew it. There in Revelation, we find the Lord addressing them this time in person. I know your deeds. The Lord saw what they were doing. It was passionless therefore pointless. You are neither hot nor cold but lukewarm. Oh here it comes, the part I hate when self-discovered. I am about to spit, vomit or puke you out of my mouth. Yikes! How can it be that despite all their diligence, good habits, faithful service, and prospering church that Jesus somehow remained outside knocking on the door? What were they after? Good habits mean nothing without love for Jesus first. He is everything we need, all of what we want, who can complete our life leaving us lacking no good thing. Somehow have we forgotten who we are? How do I remember? How do I find Him again opening the door to my whole life and inviting Him in? In the movie 50 First Dates, the young man wanted his forgetful girlfriend to remember his love and their commitment to one another so he reminded her each morning. She watched the video and knew that he loved her, they were committed to one another, and that they were in a marriage relationship sharing life together. What will it take for us to remember who we are and build our entire existence upon Him? If you want to know, Jesus will remind you. He will share life with you. He will speak His Love to you. He will come in and fellowship sharing life with you if you will open the door of your heart before “doing” anything else.

Revelation 2:1-5 (NIV)

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

One other church had a similar conversation with the Lord in Revelation. Speaking to the church of Ephesus, the Lord again acknowledges their hard work and good deeds enduring hardship for His Name Sake but then he tells them the problem. “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!” What if all we are doing for Jesus is not enough? What if we have fallen out of love not even realizing it? Statistics show that it is commonplace in natural marriages. Love and commitment are replaced by what you can do for me. But Jesus whispers today, “Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten how much I love you? Have you forgotten to love me?” Ouch. My heart aches at the thought that Jesus might now be satisfied by my love and devotion to Him. I want the Lord TO KNOW that I love Him.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Each day before she could continue in to live in her family, Lucy had to be reminded of her love for them. We cannot move to the second commandment successfully until we master the first. We must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Jesus didn’t do away with the commandments but established us so we could strive to do them each day without the penalty of death hanging over our head. We now can serve the Lord out of love rather than because of the Law. We must remember who we are and what we have been asked to do. Not what the church and other people expect from us, but what God’s Word tells us to do. Love the Lord. Then, love others. I am loved. I love Jesus. I need to make sure today that He is reminded of my love just as the Lord constantly reminds me of His Love.

Jude 17-21 (NIV)

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Service Is NOT Cancelled

Service is NOT Cancelled

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Many pastors announced from the pulpit yesterday that Wednesday night service would be cancelled due to the holiday – Thanksgiving and for everyone to enjoy time with their family. My heart sank just a bit. I enjoy being with my church family, sharing life with them, entering the Presence of God together, but it is also a relief that I can set aside that night to begin to prepare the meal for Thursday and get ready to gather as a family eating and watching football. Playing some games, and a Christmas Wreath that I am pretty pumped about creating. For me this is going to be a great time of food and fellowship. I am truly thankful. But service in my home and my life is not cancelled.

I have every reason to continue to shout for joy to the Lord. I can worship Him with gladness. I know that the Lord is God and that He is always good. He made me. I belong to Him. I am His People and He provides for me as His Sheep. I will enter His Gates with Thanksgiving. I will come to His Courts with praise. I will give Him thanks and praise His Name. For the Lord is good and His Love endures forever even when mine gets a little frazzled and frayed around the edges. He is faithful. I am making this choice on Monday knowing full well that the enemy will challenge me before Friday. Thanksgiving is a mindset not a moment. Those who choose to be thankful and announce their joy to the world will have a good time because they have invited Jesus into their heart and home not just the building that they call church. What will you decide today? Is service cancelled for you? Or will it continue to resonant through your home and family this week?

I Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I looked up the word “thanksgiving” in the dictionary. More precisely, Dictionary.com which I use frequently when I want to see what man thinks a word means compared to the literal Biblical translation. Blew my mind! When I find positive references to God, I am amazed. According to this reference, the word “thanksgiving” means grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors specifically to God. Stop it…specifically to God. Undeniably God. He is the One to acknowledge for the good things in our life. Everything good we know comes from Him and is freely given to us even when we are not in a right relationship with the Lord, He still strives to make mercy hit the mark and change our hard heart to receive all that He has for us.

Last night during our youth service, the kids were challenged to change the atmosphere of their life. Lots of complaining and griping, the youth pastor did not tiptoe around the truth but leveled the mandate that if your life is not lining up with the Word, Way and Will of God that you are empowered and equipped to change that even if your parents are not on board. I have never seen so many shocked teenagers in my life. It took some time but they finally understood this message and were set free in the knowledge that in Christ we are not limited by our environment but that in all things we are more than conquerors because Jesus lives in us.

I understand the struggle of those kids in the holidays. No parent is perfect. Each situation is different. All people are individuals with varying personalities and when placed in one house even under the best of circumstances – food, football, fellowship and more food – it is not always enjoyable. I am going to challenge all the moms, dads, siblings to change the atmosphere as we did last night. For many years now, I have spent the holidays between my family and the hospital staff who cared for our son during his fight. When I saw them a couple months ago, we were all sad that we couldn’t plan and strategize our black Friday deals together but glad he had won the fight. I have had the privilege of celebrating the holidays in the Hope Lodge, the American Cancer Society’s refuge for people undergoing treatment away from home. Yes, it was a privilege. Why? It changed my perspective completely. For my whole adult life, I dreaded the holidays. I went through the motions of just trying to get it over with. Lists, menus, and schedules for our children just wanting it over with. Why? When I was a kid, I split the holidays between my mom and dad’s homes with different people and attitudes. I would eat multiple meals. It left a mark. I am not sure why as my parents did their best under the circumstances but I always felt so torn. So when I began having children, I decided that we would not visit on Christmas. They could enjoy their gifts and stay in pajamas all day if they wanted to. It was still not enough to rid me of this curse.

The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that the Lord works all things for our good who love Him. This would be no exception. I began baking for the caregivers in the Lodge as our patients rested and healed. We did puzzles together and talked. No one was running around like a chicken with their head cutoff just enjoying one another. I was in no position to do everything I normally did though I tried and somehow Thanksgiving and Christmas got by. I looked at last year’s picture taken during the holidays of my five now six kids goofing around together. I have all that I need to be glad. God is good! Service is not cancelled for us. Jesus lives in us. He has made His Presence known to our family and I intend to celebrate right on through. Is it because of what the Lord has done for us? Yes. But not as one might think…it was not in the outcome but the journey that He filled us with His Joy, Peace and Love so now it is leaking out of us.

Psalm 42:4-5 (NIV)

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

The calendar is telling the story of the days that are coming. Depression and anxiety are rampant during the holiday season. The green light doesn’t mean “go” but RUSH as fast as you can and do as many things as possible even if it kills you. Forget the budget because there will never be enough. You will be forced to spend your time with people you don’t necessary like but love will require it. I am crawling up on a table in the midst of this chaos and yelling, “STOP!” Just because church is closed and the lights turned off doesn’t mean that our light cannot and should not stay on. We have it all wrong. The church is just a building like a gas burning lamp. Each match brings a flame that turns the fuel into fire. You took your part with you now it’s time to fan that flame into a fire that will carry you through until we meet together again.

Corporate worship will only be as good as an individual’s relationship and revelation of Jesus Christ. You are the one who invites Him and He comes. You are the One who requests entrance to His Presence and the door opens. It is no secret recipe but an answer to the call, “Whosoever will let them come.” Jesus is knocking. He wants to come and share a meal with us. He is the reason that we have anything at all to be thankful for. To find joy and peace during this madness that man has made of the holidays is to remember that Jesus is the reason for this season. He is responsible for every good thing in my life. He is the One who woke me up this morning, turned my mourning into dancing, and exchanged my sorrow for joy. He is the One who decided that I was worth dying for, following, never forsaking and He gave me a future beyond this life that is far greater than any day I endure here even the good ones.

1 Peter 2:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Psalm 107:1 (NIV) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Why does a baby cry when it’s hungry? It cannot feed itself. It does not know and understand that its need will soon be met and they will be satisfied so they scream at the top of their lungs wanting an immediate response to their discomfort. Know that the Lord is good. As we shout our joy to the Lord in praise and bring thanksgiving into His Courts it is unfounded and meaningless if we do not know, understand and accept that He is good. His Love for us endures forever. He does not act maliciously or forget us callously but works diligently to respond to us. But if we never get past the “baby phase” in our spiritual life, we will never understand the Source of Joy within us. The wellspring that overflows from in knowing that God is good. Martha was task minded and would have to learn to sit and bask at the Savior’s feet. Now I am not so sure Mary didn’t have to learn how to serve a little more but truly it is easier to learn to work for the Lord than forgetting everything that needs to be done and sit in His Presence. Work is something we are taught from a young age. We must earn it. Right? But to come to the realization that there is nothing Jesus needs us to do but what He wants us to do is spend time with Him.

Genesis 9:12-17 (NIV)

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

It was two weeks from the time our son was diagnosed with cancer the first time and when his initial treatment began, I cannot even recall those days they are erased from my memory. Taking leave from my job, I kissed my husband and children goodbye to make the two hour journey to be with him for the duration. As praise and worship music reminded me of God’s Faithfulness, Goodness and Love – I began to sing through me tears. I was on the road about 30 minutes when the craziest thing happened. Rainbows. Not one, but I lost count during the drive. They were everywhere. I haven’t thought about that until now. I wish I had counted now wondering if one represented the twists and turn in the road of the journey. Who knows? But one thing was clear the Lord was intent on letting me know that He was with us and His Covenant intact.

Too many times we look at our life and circumstances to determine the Goodness of God when faith is based on confidence in hope we cannot see. If we can see it or master it or create it, we don’t need faith to conquer it. All the doing in our life is not nearly as important as our undoing in the Hands of the Father as He makes our life what He created it to be which will always be far better than we could think to ask for. This is the basis of our faith. He is good. His Love endures forever. He is faithful to His Covenant because He is the Lord and it pleases Him. We have every reason to rejoice in the fact that these attributes are working for us even when the world is against us.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NIV)

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

The Lord brought me back to these verses again today. I am the Church that Jesus is coming back for – me, myself and I. If no one else decides to love Him, follow Him, or serve Him but me, He would still come get me. He loves me that much. He loves you exactly the same way. It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, do or don’t do, feel or not. What matters is who loves you? We are given the privilege of His Presence. Every day all day. Everywhere and anyplace we can step in. You have probably been asked to bring your best dish or favorite recipe to contribute to dinner on Thursday. But what are you bringing to His Presence today? Thanksgiving. Praise. Joy. Love. What? When we learn to live in the Presence of God outside of church – we become His Church. We bring to the table more than our human potential could muster and release God’s Power – His Love – wherever we go. Our salvation and secure future is enough to do this every day. The fact the God – the One True God, His Son – Jesus and the Holy Spirit choose to reside in us, work through us, and to love us is more than I can stand at any given moment. My life is totally worth living just because He lives. I am worth dying for – Jesus proved it. Now it is up to me to keep the show on the road. Service is not cancelled for this girl. I will praise Jesus every day and enter His Courts with thanksgiving right through the world’s holiday madness. I will share the joy that I have found in His Love. I will extend grace in the midst of chaos. I will give love even if the other person is unlovable. It is the least I can do to respond to His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness.

Psalm 146:1-2 (NIV)

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

To Acknowledge

To Acknowledge

Proverbs 3:3-6 (NIV)

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Do people know that you are a Christian? Do they know that you believe in Jesus? Can they see a change in you from other people? Are you making a difference in your surrounding environment? Are you impacting those who know you by loving them unconditionally and representing the Gracious, Loving and Merciful Lord who we serve? I want to make a difference. In fact, I have a vendetta if you will that I believe my God fully backs. The enemy came into my camp, my house, my womb and attempted to kill my child. I made a promise in the midst of his journey that once the work of the Lord was complete that I was going after his. I would take as many lost and dying souls away from him as humanly possible. Well, that time has come. I want to acknowledge the Lord in every possible way. I must submit my life to Christ to do so.

How does one accomplish such a feat to live in a place that hates God and detests the Name of Jesus so much it shuts Him out of schools, banishes Him from government and only sees Him fit for prisons? It is not a popular message. People want to call Christians the problem rather than getting to know the Solution who they offer. I have had more than one person in my life tell me that I was one of the few believers they can tolerate. I am not offended. I used to be obnoxious and offensive. I came at people with the Gospel of Christ. It was not a message of love but condemnation. I told them everything that was wrong, what needed to change, with a huge dose of advice on how to do it. It was biblically based but not wrapped in His Love that I find so sweet and true. Not to mention the mixed message often sent by born again believers, a message of grace that is not offered to anyone but them or at least one might think by religious and haughty dispositions. There is no room for offense or defense in the church that Jesus is coming after just a broken group of people being mended individually and knit together corporately in the Love of God together. We must learn to acknowledge the Lord accurately for our message to get through. But as one can clearly read in Proverbs 3:5, it requires trust and acknowledging the Lord means to submit.

Deuteronomy 4:39-40 (NIV)

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.

To acknowledge means to recognize or admit the existence, truth and reality of something (or in this case someone). Why God? There is no other one true living God. He was here before anything existed. He created everything in existence. He is the Great I Am. Why Jesus? No man comes to the Father (God) except by me. (John 14:6-7) A relationship with God is impossible because of our sin. Jesus paid the price for our sin. To have access to God again, we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and make Him our Lord. Hence, to acknowledge God and His Son Jesus requires submission of our life to following Him. This means we want what He wants and are willing to go where He goes. Not because we have to, but because our love for Him requires it of us. In Isaiah 45:23, the Lord tell us that every knees shall bow and tongue confess before Him one day. When Jesus finished His Work on the Cross, His Father gave this honor to Him and it tells us in Philippians 2:9-11 that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord. In the end, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It doesn’t matter what you do or do not do with your life here on earth. The same grace that gives me the freedom to surrender my life to Jesus allows you to hang on to it and live for the day.

John 3:16-21 (NIV)

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

 I Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NIV)

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

 To acknowledge means to show and express recognition. To accept Jesus Christ as Savior but live for the world entertaining darkness and continuing in sin does not work. It is not why Jesus came into this world. Yes, through Him we are saved but true repentance demands a change or there is no repentance. Like sorry not sorry, what kind of apology is that? To stand at the foot of the Cross and see an innocent man who is the Son of the Living God bleeding, suffering and dying for our sin and say, “Thanks! I accept and then to turn back to what nailed Him there in the first place is ridiculous. Many times, we live that life of entitlement. Tolerance sets in when we continually make compromises and allow substitution to the place of holiness, righteousness and faith until we have nothing of substance any longer. Just another causal relationship without true love or commitment.

Jesus did not come to condemn people but to set them free from sin, death and the grave. He came to restore a right relationship between His Father and His People. Mission accomplished. Now the rest is up to me and you, what will we do with the gift we have been so painstakingly given. It all comes down to this. Who do you love? Do you love the Light of the world or do you prefer the darkness filled with sin. If you willingly do evil or sin, God sees it as hate for His Son. Those who choose to repent and live in the Light will be saved and prove that they are acknowledging God. God did not call us to continued impurity. He promises to make us whole, complete and blameless simply because we love His Son, called to Him as Savior and make Him our Lord. All the time and in every way.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 To acknowledge means to recognize His Authority and Power. We are more than conquerors for one reason only. Jesus. The One who loves us. You may win a few battles but you will not win the war waged against your faith any other way but the Power of Christ living in you. We must be convinced of God’s Love to overcome obstacles and opposition in life. The more convinced one becomes the bolder they will be and then should expect warfare as the enemy tries to rile up our humanity to stop this nonsense. Oh but greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world. (I John 4:2-6) Most people will agree that it is often hard to distinguish the voices in our heard when indecision or uncertainty strikes they all sound so familiar and kind of like me. We must learn as believers to discern the spirits at work in our life. Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus as Lord giving Him full authority and power is from God. The ones that tell people anything contradictory to God’s Word should be immediately dealt with. The Name of Jesus will do the trick. Nobody loves you. You are worthless. You are alone. You are ugly. You don’t deserve to live. No one would miss you. Lies all lies and completely contradictory to the Word of God. You are going under. You are going to lose it all. We must take authority and power over every thought we have and submit it to the Lord. We are more than conquerors for no other reason than He loves us enough to bestow His Power and Authority to us.

John 14:12-14 (NIV)

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

 When a believer, anyone who truly believes, has the potential to do greater things than even Jesus did here on the earth. Have you every witness a miracle? Have you prayed and seen the sick recover? Have you prayed and someone got saved? Have you asked and received? It is not a God problem or Jesus hold up if not…you must simply acknowledge Him and He will answer. His Word says it and I believe it. I have seen it.

I Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NIV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.

To acknowledge means to show and express gratitude. Oh Jesus! How many times do we complain and grumble about our circumstances, situations, problems, bills or lack of contentment not realizing that we have discredited God the Father and Jesus the Son. We quench the Holy Spirit in us with negativity and doubt. The fiery passion that He is created and fruit intent on bearing dies in the midst of harsh and brutal condemnation that Jesus has fallen down on the job or God does not keep His Word. You may not have intended it that way, but that is what happens when we do not live rejoicing and worshipping the One True God trusting that He is working it all out for our good, supplying all that we need, and doing more than we could think or ask. Take it to prayer before you post it. Talk to the Lord before you text it. Put your hand over your mouth chewing before spewing to see if they are salty or sweet. We are to give thanks to God in all circumstances. It is His Will. If you want to acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, it is a mandate. Contentment with godliness is great gain. (I Timothy 6:6) Contentment silences ingratitude. “Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20)

Mark 16:15-20 (NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

To acknowledge Jesus means that we must make His Name known. How will we ever do that if we don’t believe in the power and presence of God and His Son Jesus in our life? We have to believe to receive new life. We cannot do it for ourselves. We need Jesus. He wants to make us a city on a hill, the light of the world. Are we hiding under a basket? Are we stuck in the valley of indecision? Are we going to go all the way or part of the way? Only those who endure to the end will be saved.

Mark 13:32-37 (NIV)

 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

 Finally, acknowledge means to take notice. Jesus spoke to His Disciples about the days we are living in Matthew 24:3-35. Compare this to the news today, and it is clear the time of His Coming is closing in around us. We must be alert and take notice. In the House of God, our homes and the world around us. There are many distractions and confusing reports. Stay focused and alert. On task and on mission, I want to be ready when He comes. I want to acknowledge the Lord so He will know and acknowledge me. I want Him to mark a straight path for more life. But just telling people I am a Christian or that I believe will never be enough. I cannot show the Love of Jesus to the world until I have fully accepted it to myself. It takes trust, dependency, intimacy and submission to live successfully in any relationship of a personal nature. We must trust the Lord and submit our life to Him if we are to be with Him forever. Lord, show me the ways that my life is contrary to you. Lord pull me closer as I give my life to you again today. Let Your Will be done!

I Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Psalm 62:1-2 (NIV)

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Even though Jesus warned us that there would be days of trials and tribulation, believers are still overwhelmed in the violent storms and unexpected earthquakes rather real or perceived that occur in this journey called life. We don’t think it will happen to us because we belong to Jesus which is totally contradictory to His Word but contrived by many pulpits as a means of “salvation” with sets attendance records and increases offerings. People will flock to hear what they want to hear and give as a means to an end but that is not what this thing called discipleship is all about. There will be times of violent shaking to produce the radical change called for in repentance. Oh, I can tell already I have lost some people. They are tossing in the “GRACE” flag and calling for a “foul”. Repentance demands a change or it is nothing more than a reaction. It may change some things in our life but it doesn’t not change who we are. To fully repent of our sins and choose Jesus is a call to righteousness. The Lord establishes us in Righteousness and we have a moral obligation to pursue it as Children of the Living God. Grace does not excuse our sin. It paid the price for our sin. A single sin no matter how small or insignificant it seems to us even those that fall in the gray area created by humanity required the life of an Innocent Man – Jesus paid that price for each and every sin of all mankind.

Why does God allow people to be shaken when He so clearly states in His Word that those who come to the Lord for salvation and find rest for their soul in God will “never” be shaken? Seems contradictory, doesn’t it? It would be if we truly lived righteous lives before the Lord every day all day without deviations, detours and distress. The truth of the matter is that people don’t seek God each day in every moment, we seek Him mostly when we need Him. Peaks and valleys are formed by wavering faith as the Lord is building a foundation of faith that will keep us on the journey, that Highway of Holiness, leading us to hope. Our hope is in Jesus – not what He can do to make our life better – but what He has done to give us forever.


Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV)

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

“In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations and what is desired by all nations will come and I will fill this House with glory.” Read the news. The end times are happening all around us. People can choose to ignore the signs and read every OTHER book on the shelf for self-help and plant preservation. Exactly what is written in God’s Word is coming to pass. Jesus is coming back. I know it sounds crazy. I cannot wrap my head around or fathom what it might be like. I just want to be ready. I want my family to be saved. I don’t want to leave anyone behind. I want all mankind to know the Truth and that Truth to set them free. I am one person. Sometimes this life of following Christ seems so small and isolating. Even in a crowd of Christians in a church of hundreds, there seem to be so few believers. You know what I mean. Those who fast and pray seeking God’s Face on more than Sunday and occasional Wednesday night. Those who truly believe that Jesus Christ is coming back and desire to be ready more than anything else. The Lord has promised to fill these pockets and places of people who desire Him above all else with His Glory. I want that to be me. I will not be exempt from the shaking but kept in its midst if my goal in life is Jesus…just give me Jesus.

Nehemiah 5:13 (NIV)

I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

Backstory: The Jews were in the midst of famine. Some of the Jews bought out of slavery who were reunited with their people were being taken advantage of by fellow Jews. (Nehemiah 5:1-12) Basically sold from one form of slavery into another, God was not happy about this and Nehemiah would have the privilege of sharing His Displeasure with the community. The Lord told them to stop charging their own people interest and give back one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil that they had taken. Of course, everyone agreed standing before the Man of God. Nehemiah went on to say as he shook out the folds of his robe that in the same way “May God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep his promise SO may such a person be shaken out and emptied. How many times do we make rash promises to the Lord? Or maybe are inclined by His Spirit to do something and put it off until it is too late? Sometimes we just flatly refuse to obey the Will of God and ignore the Word of God thinking somehow we can apply the “Grace Card” and He will forgive us from blatant disobedience and willful sin. This is about the time a whole lot of shaking starts going on

Matthew 24:4-14 (NIV)

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The world around us is literally shaking and quaking at the close proximity of our Lord Jesus and His Return. It is lining up with His Word as prophecy is daily fulfilled unfolding right before us yet we cannot see it. Jesus warned us that it would get worse before it got better. We want a better life now. Sadly, I have lived long enough to see people acclimate to the fall of the world rather than make a difference in its demise. As believers, we are not called to save the world, earth or planet. We are called to bring the Good News of Jesus to every man, woman and child before He comes so they can make a choice. This is not a popular calling because it doesn’t produce immediate gratification but a lifelong commitment to live on a mission. Romans 8:28 promises that God works all those things together for those who love Him and accept His Calling. Therefore, all these “things” going on around us and “shaking” in the world must produce something good in our life. Love is cold. Sin is rampant. False prophets twist and turn the Word of God spinning it into stacks of coins rather than saving souls. Jesus makes a promise in the midst of His Alarming Message. “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” It is all about faith. It is all about Jesus. We are not shaken to fall but to make sure we can stand.

Matthew 21:18-21 (NIV)

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

Matthew 24:32-35 (NIV)

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

We have been given the Holy Spirit to cultivate our new life in Christ. (Mark 1:8) He works in us. The Holy Spirit is the literal affirmation of God’s Love for us and in us. (Romans 5:5) Once we are saved, sanctified and filled with His Spirit as Children of God, our judgments in life are dictated not by our surroundings or circumstances but by the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord sets us free from sin so we are not bound by our flesh to satisfy its longings and desires but become complete in Christ. I and II Corinthians are filled with good stuff about the Holy Spirit and all of His Wonderful Benefits and Blessings in our life. His Very Existence in us means it will all come to pass according to the Word of the Lord and His Timing.

The Holy Spirit is the One who produces the fruit of our life that the Lord finds acceptable and pleasing. He cultivates love, joy, peace, forbearance (fancy word for patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and, the most painstaking, self-control. When our life is shaken what falls off our tree? See we don’t know what is in us until we are emptied out. The only thing that will keep us standing in the end is faith. Pure and simple. All the other “things” we do for God mean nothing if not born of love and faithfulness to Jesus. We get distracted. We become diluted and polluted. Now here is the really neat part of all this shaking and disturbance in our life. It is called GRACE. Before Jesus died a lack of productivity and fruitfulness meant death hence the illustration of the fig tree. But after Jesus died, paying the price for every sin past, present and future, He gave us His Spirit to produce fruit born of faith. As strive to surrender our life as a field to the Lord, His Spirit grows, develops and matures us so we produce fruit. As the Lord prepares us for final inspection on the Day of Judgment rather than killing us on the spot, He shakes us so we can see what comes out. Grace shakes the tree; judgment kills it. There is no condemnation in Christ but constant love and opportunities to get it right before He comes. Oh, how I love Jesus who shakes me when I need it rather than condemning me on the spot.

Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.

God cannot and will not relent on the Day of Judgment. He sent His Son as a gift to be received and accepted as a means to once again attain right standing with Him. The rest is up to us. Will we use what the Lord has given us to make a better life now or endure to the end and be found faithful and fruitful when He comes? The Lord is coming back. I am not a lunatic shouting through a megaphone on the street corner screaming, “Turn or burn!” What I am telling you is about a Love that I have found that is better, sweeter and stronger than any I have ever know? It is about Jesus who at my worst, and even at my best, still gently and loving (okay maybe sometimes violently) shakes my life so that He can apply more grace where it is needed. He loves me. He desires me. I desire Him. It makes a difference in our life when we use times of testing, trials and shaking to inspect our fruit and cultivate our field of faith once more. To God be the Glory for His Unfailing Love and His Overflowing, Overwhelming, Undeserved yet Never Ending Grace.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word; just to rest upon His Promise; just to know; thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er, Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more. (Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus – Louisa M. R. Stead)