Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When It Doesn't Go the Way You Planned. . .

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in hard situations before when we wondered what God was thinking. We had the entire scene worked out in out heads prior to the event and when it doesn’t happen quite like you think you should how do you react? I remember I had a turndown probably four months ago that really upset me. I’ve been turned down so many times before rarely do they get to me, but this one in particular did. I sat out on the back porch bawling. When the tears subsided, and the questions faded away I kept hearing God tell me, “Anna you don’t see the entire picture.” As a result of that turn down, God steered me to write a couple of books that I would have never usually thought of writing. As a result I was moved into a place of destiny.

Many of you have heard be quote Corrie Ten Boom on numerous occasions, but I’ve always loved her ministry on this earth. She talks about your life being a tapestry and from the underside we cannot see how things will ever come together, but God looks at the tapestry from the top, and He sees the threads of your life forming an intricate design.

In times of frustration, when we can’t see the design you thought should be there remember the Bible has given us truth on the matter!

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
[ More Than Conquerors ] 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 am convinced that one of the keys to living a life committed to God boils down to one thing. Trusting in Him. Trusting Him despite of what you see. Trusting Him despite of what you feel, and trusting His word despite of what you think you know. God is a good God, and your times and season are in His hands. Do not be afraid. God has it all worked out. Trust in Him. He has good things for your life. Why trust in circumstances that come and go like the waves? Trust in the rock of Christ Jesus, that is the consistency you’re looking for. Jesus is the rock on which you can stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Watching Your Kids Shine!

Almost ten years ago when Dan and I found out that we were expecting our first child, I wish I could tell you thoughts of motherly pride welled in my soul and I sang to a musical sound track in my mind, but that wasn’t the case. We’d been unemployed living with my parents until we knew for sure where God wanted us to move. We’d been married just six months and weren’t even sure if we had insurance. Singing a motherly musical was far from our minds. We were scared. When we were sure we were to move to FL I always joke about me puking in the car all the way here. I also remember joking that we’d have to find a giant piece of Tupperware for this kid to sleep in because we had very little in the way of finances. We saw God provide for the situation time and time again. Today I tell my oldest daughter often, that while she didn’t arrive in a time that we thought we needed her, God knew we did. She was on time in His timing, and I often say that she made me grow up. God knew what He was doing.

Today, my oldest had the opportunity to sing a song that she wrote along with a friend from church who wrote the music to her lyrics. Here is my daughter at 9 years old singing praises to the Lord to approx 500 people. I wanted to shout, “That’s my girl! God has always had this kid. Shine for Jesus baby shine!”

As I began to think about this I thought about how God looks at us. Often we go through life and we see situations that may not be ideal, but God sees the entire picture. He’s able to stand up and say, “That’s my son/daughter! Their shining for my glory! Shine baby Shine!”

God loves us. He takes great joy in us!

Zephaniah 3:17 (King James Version)
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

He rejoices in us singing, and in some translations I’ve heard it preached God even dances over us! God gushes at excitement when we do the things we’re called to do. I can just picture Him in heaven, the angels and the saints who have gone before are around him, and He is saying, “Do you hear this one or that one! That’s my girl! That’s my son who I am well pleased!”

Today to me was another reminder that God looks at our lives and He sees the bigger picture. He knew when we found out our oldest was on her way that circumstances weren’t ideal, but He saw the bigger picture. I’m so glad He knew what He was doing even when we wondered. He is so good.

Here’s the youtube link for those of you who haven’t seen the video.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do You Feel Like You're Standing on One Leg Ready To Fall?

As I mentioned in the last blog, my family and I spent a few days in the Tallahassee area last week. We got to visit Wakulla State Park which is a beautiful preserve. It once was the film location for two Tarzan movies and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” We saw manatees, alligators (which I’ve learned to be okay with as long as I’m in a boat and their not), various birds, and fish on our boat tour. As we listened to our tour guide we came across this tree. I got a good picture of it, and that’s the one that is above. I thought it was an interesting shot. This tree looks like it’s going to fall down in the water at any moment. If you could imagine it as a person, it’s almost as if it’s standing on one leg.

As I began to reflect upon that tree I saw how so often we’ve all gone through out lives like that tree. We’ve been weathered, felt as if we’ve been beaten down, and feel as if we’re barely standing. Life can be like that sometimes.

We have to allow ourselves to have times when God pours His life into us. We have to allow ourselves to have moments of rest. We have to recognize that we’re feeling like this tree in the water barely hanging on, and cry out to God to restore us.

Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."

Acts 3:19 (NIV)
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

It is not God’s will that you feel like this tree barely hanging on. His will is that you would be springing up with life. His will is that you would be prospering.

So if you feel like this tree today, cry out to God and do what He’s telling you to do. That might mean taking some moments of rest. That might mean a fast to break off whatever is weighing you down. That might mean breaking out of your normal routine because you refuse to keep feeling this way.

Trust the Lord. He loves you! Allow Him to guide you to refreshing today.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Florescent Green is Everywhere!

Florescent Green is Everywhere!

This weekend I was blessed to have some much needed and rare extended family time. My mom who lives in Ohio flew down and took my family to visit Tallahassee. My aunt who lives in Saudi Arabia flew to Tally to visit my cousin who lives there and recently had a new blessed addition to her family. It was a very nice weekend visit. My aunt had rented a beautiful house that is nestled out in the woods of North Florida. It was one of those octagon homes where it was obvious the house was designed to show off its surroundings. It was decorated very tastefully by its owner, except for one of the bathrooms. I am not sure what the owner was thinking. They chose to paint this one bathroom florescent green. But it was not just florescent green walls but the ceiling was even this same color. The color was so overwhelming that if you stayed in the bathroom too long the white tub began appearing to be green. The color was so overpowering I began seeing this green color everywhere. I have included a picture for you. Sadly, my camera did not do the shade justice it was much brighter than it appears in the picture.

Many times, we have this idea as Christians that who we are around or what we see or hear all the time will not affect us as believers. But as I viewed this florescent green bathroom I began to realize how untrue this thought is.

1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

We have to realize that whatever is around us will affect us. It is just like me in that green bathroom. If I stared at those walls long enough things outside of the bathroom began to look green.

What will we allow around us? The people we allow around us will affect us for either good or bad.

I am reminded of that song I sang in Sunday school as a kid, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little eyes what you see for the father up above is looking down in LOVE or be careful little eyes what you see. Oh be careful little ears what you hear, Oh be careful little ears what you hear. For the Father up above is looking down in LOVE oh be careful little ears what you hear.

So am I saying that Christians need to seclude themselves from everyone? Quite the contrary. Christians need to realize that they live in the world to change the world for Jesus, but we also need to guard what we allow to affect us. I have seen repeatedly ones that maybe start hanging around people who are always negative and the next thing they know they are thinking negative thoughts. Be on your guard for this. The closest people sounding you in your life need to be ones that are on fire for God and endeavoring to live for him. If their not, maybe you need to find some new people in your inner circle and pray for the negative ones.

Think about what has become the florescent green places in your life. What is affecting the way you are looking at things? Make sure it is a Godly influence. Make sure it is the Word of God. What is around you is affecting you!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pushing Through The Crowd

Mark 5:25-34 (The Message)
25-29A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, "If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well." The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.
30At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?"
31His disciples said, "What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you're asking, 'Who touched me?' Dozens have touched you!"
32-33But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story.
34Jesus said to her, "Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague."

Yesterday I was reading Jim Hockaday’s book Qualified for a Miracle and as he brought up this story in the Bible I began to think about it and ponder it. This woman was a social outcast. In the Jewish law if she’d been bleeding for all those years she wasn’t to even be in the setting of a large group of people.

I remember that when Pastor Arthur used to teach on this story he used to always joke that when Jesus looked around and asked, “Who touched me?” he was sure that the crowd parted leaving the woman in the center by herself.

Whatever happened this woman had to have little regard for what people thought of her at this point. I’m sure she was tired of struggling, tired of straining, tired of being ostracized and was ready to go after her miracle. She had to put aside social convention and do what she knew she must. She was done caring what people were going to think.

Well meaning doubters will always try to stop you from going to destiny. It doesn’t mean that usually they aren’t looking after what they think is your best interest, but sometimes their “wisdom” turns to discouragement.

I’ve personally been told by various “well meaning people,” to give up dozens of times. I’ve been turned down by just about everyone. My turndown stories from people in the industry are ones that have made me cry, but yet I’ve kept going. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what other people say. When you’ve been told no time and time again something deep down on the inside of you will either choose to quit, or a determined resolve bubbles. It’s like when you’re mixing cement. Adding all the rocks to the water just makes you rock solid and more determined. You have to push back what everyone else has told you. Let social convention go, and be determined to move forward in what God has said.

Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3Not only so, but we[a] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

God did not bring the sickness on that woman. However that kind of determination and not caring about what other people think I’m sure helped her later in life. After 12 years of sickness, when she walked away from this divine encounter do you think she stayed quiet about it? I’m sure she didn’t. I’m sure she told anyone and everyone she saw! She was probably well known in the area as that sick lady no one could go near. She now had gotten a miracle and was sharing her story with the rest of the community.

Be determined to push past what people have said. Be determined to hear God’s voice on a matter before everyone else’s. Be determined that even if you have to push through a crowd of people you’re going forward and you’re getting that miracle.

Remember, that there will be a day where you have to stand before God and give an account for your life. Somehow I don’t think excuses like, “I’m sorry I didn’t do what you told me to, so and so told me not too.” It will be just you and God in that meeting. You can’t blame your past regrets on other people. Push forward today. Push through the crowd and be determined. Run the race He’s placed before you, and grab hold of your miracle! It’s in Jesus. To quote Kim Clement, “You’re somewhere in the future and you look much better than you look right now!”

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No! You can't just shut the door!

This afternoon when I was putting my youngest daughter down for her nap, I had another God parenting moment. Her clothes are something we battle about quite a bit. I go in there and organize them. Then she looks for something to wear and those clothes end up in piles all over her room. It’s a constant teaching cycle that I am always finding myself working with her in. This afternoon I went to go pray with her to take a nap and those clothes were in a pile beside the bed. She’d taken one of her baskets and scattered the clothes. Frustration began to set in.

“Young lady,” I found myself saying, “Your grandmother is flying down this week. We cannot have clothes everywhere. You are going to have to do something about these clothes.”

“But mommy,” she looked up to me and batted her eyelashes, “It’s okay we can just keep the door shut.”

Her reaction surprised me. But as I dealt with her I began to realize that’s how we often respond to messes or sin in our lives. We think we can just shut the door and no one will know about it. We think if we just make it all look pretty it will be as if the sin isn’t even there. In truth, that’s a lie. My daughter’s messy room would be there whether the door to her room was shut or not.

Jesus talked about this same concept.

Matthew 23:24-26 (Amp)24You blind guides, filtering out a gnat and gulping down a [a]camel!(A) 25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within they are full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may be clean also.

You have to be real with yourself when it comes to sin in your life. You can’t just wallpaper over a hole in the wall and think it’ll be okay. One of these days someone will find the hole. You might think its fine, but God sees everything.

1 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

God sees your heart, and while you might think just shutting the door in an area will make everything okay, God knows that room still isn’t clean. Be real with God today. Get real with yourself. See if there are any areas in your life you’ve shut the door instead of dealing with the situations. Choose to clean up the room. Those kinds of things have a way of getting worse and worse until you deal with them. You might as well go in there now, and clean up the mess. You’ll be glad you did. Then you won’t have to hide anymore. You can have all your doors open and realize that it’s okay. God loves you. He even sees those doors shut in your life, and He loves you. Be real with Him today.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

But I Can't See!

I have two kids ages 9 and 4. My oldest goes to school and my youngest is still being home schooled for pre-K. We walk most days to pick up my oldest from school, and most days that moment when my youngest is searching the crowd for my oldest to come through the gate is one of the most exciting moments of her day. She waits anticipating the moment that she sees her older sister. She can’t wait to tell her about her day.

On Tuesday I saw my oldest from a distance make her way from the gate. However my youngest did not.

“There she is!” I thought out loud.

“But mommy I can’t see her!” My youngest questioned.

“She’s on her way.” I said

“But I don’t see her!” My youngest started to whine.

“Trust me, I can see her.”

“But mommy I can’t see her!” My youngest was starting to get sad. Patience rarely comes easily for a 4 year old.

“You’re going to have to trust me.” I finally replied.

Finally my oldest came toward us, and as hugs were exchanged I realized that I’d just experienced another God parenting moment. It’s amazing how our children can teach us about our relationship with God the Father.

So often we do the same thing to God that my youngest did to me. God can see the change coming in your life. He can see that the breakthrough it’s on its way. Maybe you’re believing Him for your healing to manifest, or a better job, or a family member, whatever it is He can see it. So he tells you He can see it! Whether it’s through a prophetic word, an inclining, or the Word you know you heard Him on the matter.

“But daddy,” you whine “I can’t see it!”

“It’s okay,” He soothes, “It’s there. It’s coming. Your going to have to trust me.”

“But daddy, I can’t see it!”

“It’s coming I can see it. Trust me.”

I have always joked that there is a reason patience is a fruit of the spirit, because it takes a supernatural work for it to occur in most situations. I am not naturally a patient person, but God puts a lot of stock in patience.

Hebrews 10:36 (Amplified)
For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

James 1:4 (Amplified)
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

Patience allows us to fully develop and lack nothing. Being patient and at peace in a situation is that we trust what God is saying even if we don’t see the circumstances change.

God sees your tomorrows. He sees your next years, and he sees the last days you’ll breathe upon the earth. He can see your life. When He tells you that change is coming, believe Him! When he tells you that thing that you’ve been crying out to Him is coming, believe Him! When my daughter kept questioning me about seeing her older sister I found myself getting a little aggravated. I was thinking “Child, I told you I saw her! Why won’t you believe me?” But yet I realize that so many times I’ve done the same thing to God.

Choose to trust what He tells you. Choose to trust Him beyond the circumstances that you may see in front of you. Choose to know that God is a good God that loves you and wants the best for you. He sees past the crowds and chaos of your life. When He tells you your breakthrough is coming, choose to believe Him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Are you suffering from Prophetic Amnesia?

Last week I found myself slipping back into some old mindsets in my thinking. As I thought about how I taught last week about people in the body suffering from prophetic dyslexia I realized that also many including myself at times have fallen in to the trap of prophetic amnesia. It becomes so severe at times it’s almost as if we’ve developed prophetic Alzheimer’s disease in the spirit realm or in our thought life.

What do I mean by that? Well many of us have received prophetic word after prophetic word regarding certain matters in our lives. Maybe you don’t hear a prophetic word through someone else about something, but maybe God has spoken to you on the matter, or maybe you can open up the Bible and read scripture after scripture about a particular instance you’re facing. Hearing from God is exciting! But then how do you react when you don’t see the circumstances change overnight? What if the circumstance is still there for days, weeks, or even years? How then do you react? Do you stay just as convinced as you were the day you heard from God as to what the outcome will be, or have you begun to doubt? Have you forgotten what God said about the matter?

The faith of Noah has always amazed me. I’m sure Noah’s family, friends, and everyone in between thought he was crazy. However Noah heard from God and was convinced on the matter. According to the Bible it took Noah and his sons around 100 years to build the ark. Noah went 100 years on one encounter with God. In 100 years he kept doing what God told him to do even if it seemed weird.

Doubt and unbelief have no place in the mind of a mature believer. If you plan on doing anything for the kingdom you have to drive it out of your thought life. You have to grab tightly to whatever God has spoken to you and refuse to let go. My spiritual mentor Pastor Arthur Lee used to always joke that God isn’t schizophrenic. He doesn’t say one thing one day and change his mind the next. He doesn’t just put something into motion and change it the next. God does things with purpose and on purpose.

Isaiah 55:8-10 (NIV)
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Drive doubt and unbelief out! You have to trust God above what you see. Remind yourself what God has spoken to you in the past. Remind yourself of all the things He’s done in your life. I think that most charismatic Christians treat the prophetic as if it’s no big deal. If they get a word they might throw the tape in with all the others just so they can stay on the shelf and you never think of it again. God doesn’t talk just to hear himself talk! You have to get those words out and begin to trust Him again. Seek God on the matter. Do NOT forget what he has spoken! Make His words important to you in your life. Remember His words!

I’ll admit that sadly I had a few days last week where I suffered from prophetic amnesia. The waiting can be hard. But I’m vowing to remind myself of what God has spoken. I want to treasure His word above my feelings. The process is worth it! God loves you and He has good plans for your life. Submit to them, and I promise you it’s worth it!