Monday, December 12, 2011

A Branch Came Out and Smacked Me!

I like to say that I’m a reformed klutz. I haven’t broken a bone in years, and while I wore that label in my youth I would say few who know me since then realize my past. But maybe it’s time I join a support group. We’ll call it Klutz Anonymous, because I had a relapse last week. “Hi, my name is Anna Aquino and I can be a klutz. It’s now been 5 days since my last instance…”

Last week I was riding my bike. I was in my own little world. I was enjoying the sun and the crisp fall weather that is finally making its appearance in Central Florida. My mind was far from what I was doing, when all of a sudden I looked in front of me. I saw it coming. It was a branch from a tree that hung out over the sidewalk. I went to duck but there wasn’t enough time. *Smack* my glasses fell off my face. I heard them with a ping hit the sidewalk. It was as if I was caught in slow motion. I went to stop my bike but then the sound that echoed in the morning breeze reverberated in the stillness of the moment. *Crunch* It happened all so quickly but I knew as soon as I had heard that crunch that I hadn’t just run over an acorn. As I stopped my bike and made my way back to the scene of the branch smacking, I knew what I would find. Lying in a pile of smooched wire and broken plastic was my glasses. It looked as if they’d been tattooed in the sidewalk with a jackhammer. I tried to bend them back into place the best that I could, but there was a crack through the lens. I made my way home looking like a dork with my glasses the way they were.

Proverbs24:16a (MSG) God-loyal people don't stay down long;
Soon they're up on their feet.

I have always joked that the true measure of a woman is not when she falls because inevitably she will, but its how she gets back up again. It is the same with us as believers. Joking aside I know my moment of klutziness isn’t a sin, but think of it as a picture to teach a bigger lesson. We all have our moments. We all fall short, but get back up again and keep going. Sure I know I looked like something out of a slap stick movie, but I can’t let one moment in time define my entire life or day. I have to keep moving forward. I have to learn leave my moment in the past, and press on to my future.

The good news about all of this is, I found years ago the greatest outlet for prescription glasses. Its Where after I came home I took my lens prescription and ordered myself three more pairs of glasses for $25 with shipping.

Yes, I fell off the klutz wagon again. But at least I got up and kept going.

No matter what you’re struggling with today. You don’t have to stay there. You too can get up and keep going. God wants you to succeed. Remember He has awesome plans for your life so get excited!

*Note: My family and I are going to be focusing the next few weeks on family time, and getting some time with the Lord for prayer and focus for 2012. It’s a big year coming up for me with the book coming out, and we’re prayerfully believing for many doors to open. Like anytime we do this, I will be having a break in the blogs. I may write one just before 2012 to tell y’all what I am feeling for the New Year, but you probably aren’t going to be hearing from me for a couple weeks. Realize I love y’all. I will be coming back to my typical bog schedule. Have a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours. Be encouraged that He is faithful to you. Whatever happened in 2011 whether good or bad, realize that you gotta keep moving forward, and keep trusting in Him. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do You Suffer From Prophetic Constipation?

If you follow my blogs you know I have done a “Prophetic Conditions” series off and on as I have gotten them. We have covered conditions: Prophetic Anorexia, Prophetic Dyslexia, and Prophetic Amnesia. Yesterday I was pondering on all of this again and got another one. It is prophetic constipation.

We are so blessed to live in such an age where we have the ability to hear from God on a regular basis. There are prophetic words flying in churches, prophets are delivering them, and you can hear them in your own prayer time. All a prophetic word is is hearing the voice of God whether it is for your life or someone else’s. (John 10:27)

The standard is that people try to record them if received in a service on a tape, CD, or even an mp3 sometimes. However, what I have found all too often is many Christians who are used to this have a collection of prophetic words that their doing nothing with. Do not get me wrong God’s word is not limited, but you have to do something with the words you have received. To start with, I have made it a habit to type out any prophetic word I have been given and I keep them all in a file that is both electronic and in a physical binder. Dan and I reread those words. We pray for the fulfillment of them. We have made choices based in a lot of prayer and council because of those words.

However many times people in the body are not doing anything with the words of God. They keep stacking them in a corner, just to let them grow dusty. In the spirit realm they are like that show Hoarders. They chase after the spiritual “high” of the prophetic experience and they are not honoring it. They keep taking them in, and their not releasing anything out about them. Deep down their growing more and more uncomfortable and frustrated yet they do not understand why. That is prophetic constipation.

James 2:26 (NKJV)For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James 2:18 (NKJV)18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

When you have been given so much and blessed with the ability to get glimpses of God’s will for your future, you have an obligation to do something with it. You have an obligation to honor what you have been given. If you eat a huge meal and your body never let go of it, you would be very sick. Stop being prophetically constipated! Just repent and do what God has told you to do. Let the God that created nature 'take it's course' if you will! Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, December 5, 2011

You Can't Loose Baby Jesus!

Last week my daughters were playing with the Nativity Set when I heard a shriek from my youngest, “Mom! I lost baby Jesus!”

Knowing my girls and understanding they have a flair for the dramatics without looking up from the book I was reading, I responded, “You can’t loose baby Jesus. He’s there whether you see him or not!” So the search continued. The cries and screams of frustration came from my youngest like an emergency siren. She began looking on the branches of the tree, around the bottom on the skirt, and anywhere she could think of looking for the tiny figurine. She was practically in tears. Perhaps had I been more observant I would have heard my oldest daughter smirking at this point. But since the oldest was appearing to look too I didn’t notice her suppressing giggles. It took about ten minutes before the oldest broke her silence and when she did, she told me through her laughter that she’d been the one that had hid the baby Jesus. The youngest didn’t appreciate the joke, but quickly all got settled.

I found myself later reflecting on my statement, “You can’t loose baby Jesus. He’s there whether you see Him or not!” Isn’t that so true in life? You go through life and you’ll have moments where you wonder where is Jesus in all of this mess. “Did I loose you? Why do I feel all alone? Over here God do you remember me?” Those phrases can feel as if their swimming in your mind. The word is clear that God doesn’t forget about us.

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

Joshua 1:5 (NIV)No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

You see so you can’t loose Jesus! He’s there whether you see Him or not. Sometimes you have to search and go seeking after Him, but those that seek Him shall find Him! Seek after Him today, He loves you. He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Exciting News...and a whole lotta nerves!

Drum Roll Please……tada! I’m very excited to get to unveil the official book cover for by book coming out in March called, “Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the spirit of Balaam.”

Many of you know my story. God called me into ministry at 12 and laid it on my heart to write my first book at 16. The funny part about all of this is I not only argued with the whole idea of me ever writing a book, but I absolutely bucked the idea of me ever writing a non fiction Biblical teaching book. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but I had set out to write my dad’s story on Vietnam. I thought it was going to be easy and the publishing field would just open up to me like Moses facing the Red Sea, but it wasn’t. It was a lot of years of writing many books that range in genre and topic. Doing something like I’m doing today was far from my idea. God just directed me here. While I’ve had a few things published in compilations this is my first full length book that’s been published. I’m walking in steps that I’ve prayed about for years. This is exciting!

However there is another side of this that I have never experienced before now. I’m being brutally honest, but I’ll admit I’m a nervous about all of this. I 100% believe in the message of this book. I believe that the church as a whole needs to hear it and that it stands as a warning for them to wake up! I 100% believe that the choices we’ve made are God ordained and I have to trust Him. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say perhaps I’ve thought about this a tad too much and the fears of “what if?” have loomed in my mind like a marching band doing a cadence. I’m just a girl from Ohio, who up to this point few people have ever heard about. I need your prayers to pray with me that God will open doors no man can open.

So what do I do? Do I focus on the fact I’m a tad intimidated and the thought of feeling like a very little fish in a really big ocean has occurred to me on more than one occasion. Or…do I focus on what God has spoken? What I do is I choose to trust God!

Months ago when I first saw an original book cover concept, I printed it off along with a list of scriptures on trust. So, every time those nerves started, or the enemy started to whisper lies, or someone may have said something to me that got me frustrated, I could go back to my list and start to meditate on what God says about trust.

I love Psalm 56:3 (ESV) “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” This is King David talking before he was king. He went through a crazy amount of circumstances to walk in the places God had for him, including having his former leader try to kill him any chance he could get. I think that often in the body we all fight nerves and fear in our own ways but no one seems to want to admit that. It seems we all want to pretend like we’re perfect instead of being honest and real. That’s way I love this scripture. David who is one of the great men of God in the Bible is saying look, “when I have a moment….I choose to trust God!”

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

God hasn’t given you the spirit of fear and He hasn’t given it to me! It’s all about where you choose to focus. Are you going to choose to focus on the Big Awesome Super Fabulous Power of God, or focus on how little you feel among the giants? God brought the children of Israel to the Promised Land and they choose not to walk in it because they felt too small. The problem was their focus. You have to remember no matter what God called you to do, it isn’t all about you. It’s all about God! It’s about His ability and not yours. It’s about His purpose, His plan, and His design. Stop focusing on yourself, and focus on Him! Trust and focus are like the roots to excitement. As you know I always close out my blogs telling y’all to get excited for His plans for your life. But your excitement needs to be founded on your trust in God. Excitement with no roots will just fizzle away. Therefore I am excited to get to show you this book cover, because I trust in God. My focus is on Him. May your focus and trust be in Him today too! He does have awesome plans for your life. So, Get EXCITED!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Is It Really Worth It?

This weekend my family and I ventured over to Gatorland. I think it’s becoming an after Thanksgiving tradition. I have a major dislike for gators. Call it a Northern girl fear I don’t know, but let’s just say I’m not anxious to jump in any kind of gator infested water. I have grown however to be okay with them as long as their in their space and I have mine.

I have never noticed before, but this time when we went, someone had taken the time to decorate every pole inside the where the gators were for the season. Each and every one of them had greenery wound around and big red bows gracing the top. There were even wreaths in the center. Here’s the picture I got. I’ll admit I’m a Northern girl and no where in my mind of decorating for the holidays are there gators, Santa Clauses’ on speedboats in swimming trunks, or lights in palm trees. While in the picture I took someone could have used a boat to do this, there were gator tanks all over that a boat wouldn’t have gotten you there. The water is too shallow. Someone had to run out in the middle of all those gators to decorate. Now, I’m all for decorating but that just seems a bit ridiculous. Really, they couldn’t pay me enough to run out into a pit of gators to decorate for Christmas. I kept asking is it really that important for them to decorate? Is it really worth it?

Often in our walk with God we can find ourselves asking the same questions. “God is all this I’m doing now really worth it?” “What are you thinking?” “Don’t you see this can’t be healthy?” and, “The enemy has really big teeth! Are you seeing this?” The problem that most people make is that just because they are frustrated for a few moments and are questioning they tend to give up instead of seeing the whole picture. You can’t let one moment of your life dictate your eternity. Many people assume the lack of comfort about a situation dictates the lack of the will of the Lord and that’s simply not true. You have to be steadfast and stick with what God spoke to you, even if it makes about as much sense to you as decorating a tank of live alligators.

James 4:14 (NKJV)
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to go wrestle a bunch of alligators. But what I am saying is that trust that no matter where you are, and where God has you. If you are in His will He will take care of you. Even if you have a moment of not being in His will, His grace is there. In my illustration the gators are just symbolic. However, just like Daniel He’ll shut the mouth of the gators so you can do what you have to do.

Though your circumstance may seem difficult now, God has never left you. He won’t leave you. He loves you. He wants you to fulfill what He put you on this earth to fulfill. Call Him your biggest cheerleader if you will. He’s cheering for you!

So is it really worth it? Is all the tears, the moments of frustration, and effort worth you fulfilling what God sent you on this earth to fulfill. Absolutely! You have to remember that it’s not all about you. Your life has a ripple effect. You effect the world around you. One day you will be able to look back on your life and see the purpose of each season. He is faithful to you!

Isaiah 26:4 (esv)
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

You have to remember that God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Might Have Been

As a country tomorrow, we will set back and enjoy our: turkey, stuffing and apple pie. We will stand in lines in the early hours on Friday to kick off the official start to the holiday season and get a good buy on a new gadget we cannot live without.

I love the holidays. I love any excuse getting to visit my family and my Northern roots. I love the smell of snow in the air, and Christmas lights. I love spicy scented candles that linger in a firelight room. I love the smell of pine in wooden churches. I love celebrating Jesus’ birthday. I love the time of reflection and renewal.

It is easy at the holidays to start to take stock of your life and reflect upon choices one has made. I can understand why people get the most depressed over the holidays. It is hard when you do not live around family, and your holiday meals are laden with memories of days gone by. The choices you have made or have not made are in direct reflection of where you are today. I made a commitment years ago that I did not want to live my life with regrets, or what if’s. For the most part, I have done that. However, there are a few lingering bad choices that I wish I could go back and change. I have not and am not perfect and if I ever give you that impression, it is false.

In the brief year I listened to country music in high school, I remember this song by Little Texas that I always thought worded this kind of thinking very well. “Try not to think about what might have been. Cause that was then and we have taken different roads. You cannot go back again. There is no use giving in. No, you’ll never know what might have been.”

It can be easy to get yourself caught in the traps of what if, especially around the holidays. It can get easy to be stuck in the traps of wanting to turn back time. However, simply put you cannot. You are just torturing yourself to try. It is creating more mental anguish on yourself. This kind of thinking I believe is a trap for many.

Philippians 3:14 (KJV)
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In order to press, you have to press forward. In order for you to go forward you, have to face forward. You have to turn around and put your eyes on the destiny God has for you. You have to let go of all your questions about choices you have made in the past. You have to let go of the “what might have been’s”

May this holiday season be a new season for your life. May you truly let go of the past and embrace your future. I pray that you’ll have an encounter with God in this last month plus of 2011. I pray that you’ll have a renewed vigor and fire about you to run your race towards your destiny. I pray that you’ll draw closer to God, and they’ll be fresh revelation of His love for you. God has awesome plans for your life. He loves you. So, get excited!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are You Suffering From Prophetic Anorexia?

Many months ago I wrote two different blogs: one on prophetic amnesia, and the other on prophetic dyslexia. I’ve been joking that I should start a series because I believe the Holy Spirit gave me another one. It’s prophetic anorexia.

In the physical anorexia is sadly on the rise especially among young girls. In writing this blog I’m not trying to demean those that suffer from anorexia. If you do then get help! It’s a horrible epidemic.

There is a spiritual prophetic anorexia going on in the body of Christ that needs to get addressed. This is when God tries to tell His people something and they don’t want to hear it, so they don’t receive it. In a sense they vomit it out of their mouth. They reject what God is saying. However, I believe the spiritual body needs the words of God. They need the written Word of the Bible, and the prophetic word.

John 6:63 (NIV)
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life

So what happens? The body then starts to break down because it’s not getting what it needs. Usually this is when the person starts questioning where God is in the situation. When truthfully God has spoken to the person time and time again. It’s just words they don’t want to hear. Many of us in the spiritual live life running around with our fingers in our ears or down our throats rejecting the very words God is speaking.

The Bible is very clear the God speaks to His people. There were prophetic words after prophetic words foretelling exactly the way Jesus would come on the earth. The book of Revelations is prophetic. God is a loving daddy and loves to speak to His people.

John 10:27(NIV)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

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.

Perhaps if you are in a time where it feels you have no hope, and you are withering spiritually the issue is you need to hear from God. He wants to give you direction. He wants you to be clear to move into the destiny He has for you. When God speaks to you, however He does that (through the Bible, hearing His voice, etc) don’t reject what He’s telling you. But embrace it! I learned a long time ago that wrestling with God just wastes a lot of time and energy. The quicker you accept what He is saying the quicker you can move forward. Accept the fact He really does know more than you. He didn’t make you like everyone else. He made you like you! Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Need A Car Part? Why Not Try A Horse?

Told and retold in my families history is an encounter between my grandparents when they were newly a family. My grandparents married very young and had my dad early. My grandfather has an amazing ability to acquire random things. I have decided that it really is an anointing because I’ve watched him over the years have the ability to resell the items for more than he got them for in the first place. As the story goes my grandmother sent him out to get a part for the car. She was a new mother, and money was more than tight. Grandpa came back with a horse. Honestly I don’t know how exactly that exchange went down, but knowing my grandmother I’m sure she wasn’t too pleased with the outcome. The story is still told today in the midst of laughter and family time.

Many people feel that often God does the same to them. They pray and pray for one thing, and then get angry or upset that it seems something else may manifest. While a horse was not what my grandparents wanted it was still a mode of transportation and would get them where they needed to go.

So many times people miss opportunities in life because it’s dressed up in packages they never expected. The disciples kept trying to rebuke Jesus because He kept telling them what was going to happen and they didn’t want to hear it. But God’s will manifested. It was what we needed, not what we wanted. The need was fulfilled.

People often get so stuck on what they think they need that they don’t move forward with God. Think about the Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 13) They were so stuck on the fact they thought they’d waltz into the promised land and it would just be handed to them that when they saw the giants in the land they choose not to go forth in what God had said.

When God called me to write my first book, and eventually I did, I never dreamed in a million years there would be more then that first one. When I kept writing and writing, I never would have dreamed that I’d publish Biblical teaching non fiction. If I would have held so tightly to how I thought God would start bringing me out as a writer, I would have missed everything I’m walking in today. God knows your destiny, and He knows how best to get you there.

Matthew 6:8 (NIV)
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

God sees your end from your beginning. You’re job is to pray, seek, and trust in Him that He is able to bring about what you need. You have to be willing to be lead by Him and be guided by Him. Even in the times you are looking for a car part and feel like you end up with a horse, LOL! Trust Him. He knows better than you do. He’s got awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eleven Years and Onward

I retell this story every year. If you have heard it a dozen times sorry, but as I get new followers all the time, I feel it bears repeating.

Eleven years ago this morning, Dan and I got in the car and moved from Ohio to Florida. However, our story did not begin there. In fact, God had led us up to that decision. Dan and I met through very unusual circumstances. We were living three hours away from each other. Despite all the drama that surrounded what happened, we both knew early that God was orchestrating our relationship. A year later we were married, and living in Pittsburgh, PA. Dan was finishing his degree at The Art Institute. We both knew that God was going to move us somewhere other than Pittsburgh. We began praying and seeking the Lord. I will never forget the day I was driving from work and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that we were going to move to Orlando, and Dan was going to work for this one specific company. When I got home and shared that with Dan he was excited but that one company was not really hiring. Therefore, we kept looking. Eventually we moved back to Ohio with my mom and dad while we were figuring out where to move. One month turned to four. We had looked at jobs and cities all over the US. Jobs that seemed to look like they were going to pan out and then for various reasons it did not. Jobs located: in New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, OH, Boca Raton, Dan had an open door in Los Angeles due to a long story, and we even briefly entertained somewhere in Minnesota. I could not shake this moment with God, when God told us Orlando. That particular company still was not hiring but there was a guy in Orlando that was just opening his own company, and working out of his garage. He wanted to hire Dan. We knew it would not be long term that Dan would work for him. This was about the time we found out that our oldest daughter was on her way.

Maybe it was a moment of divine faith that made us pack up our car that morning 11 years ago, or maybe it felt more like a moment of desperation. We put everything we could fit in our car and we drove or Florida. I puked in the car all the way down. We left Ohio on a Monday, and arrived in a motel on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up and decided to call around to a couple churches we wanted to check out. I had always felt that wherever we were moving to was critical for us to be in the right church. That it was not just about a job, or a location, but about being in the right church connected with the right people. We were planning to go somewhere to church that evening. We had planned to check out several. The first one to call us back was Freedom Life Church (then Freedom Tabernacle) in Kissimmee.

We walked into Freedom that night, and forever our lives changed. Pastor Arthur Lee began prophesying over us, “That we weren’t going to go forth like tumbleweeds, and God brought us down to FL. When all those had said if you go there you’ll never make it God was saying He brought us here.” That is a quote of a very long word; essentially God through Pastor Arthur read our mail that night. Pastor Arthur went on to be a dear mentor and friend to us. Today I believe he is with the angels in heaven cheering us on. (Hebrews 12:1) While I maintain that we will not be in FL forever, it is where God wanted us for right now.

Eventually Dan did work at the company that God told me he would work. It took several months and some different shifting, but it all worked out.

I always tell this story for many reasons, but mainly that it is easy to loose sight of the fact that God directs you in the ways you should go. It can be very easy to get frustrated and feel He is not there. However, all along God knew where He was leading us, and we had to step out and obey. But He was always there to guide us and show us His will.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

That scripture is one of my favorites. God loves to direct His people into His will! We have to listen and obey. We have to trust Him despite of what we feel. I can list countless times that we wanted to leave Florida, but we had to commit to be here until God directs us otherwise. For this season of our lives, it has been destiny that we are here in Florida, even if it has not always made sense to us.

I am not special. God wants to direct you in the seasons of your life. He has a divine purpose and plan for your life. Trust in Him! He will lead you. Allow yourself to be led. He has awesome plans for your life. Get Excited!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Supernatural Destiny

I got the opportunity this week to read Don Nori Sr.’s new book “Supernatural Destiny“. Without hesitation I am adding this book to my top five list of books everyone should read (and no I‘m not just saying that, I truly mean it). In it, he talks about how God supernaturally called him to found Destiny Image Publishing and how he has labored along with his family to see what God has spoken come to fruition. I am actually going to wait a few days and go back and read it again.

As I read about all the struggles, triumphs, tears, and victories, I found myself in tears. There were so many things that he wrote that Dan and I have found ourselves in similar places. As I read his story, it made me realize yet again, that Dan and I are not the only ones who have ever found ourselves in the plan of God, and struggled to see His purpose in all of it. I truly respect the fact his words were honest and from the heart. He was not trying to paint a glossy picture that he always knew everything. He was real with his readers. It reminded me that while the process can sometimes be daunting, God’s plan will come to pass, and that plan is always worth it.

I found this book such and encouraging read. God is not a respecter of persons. He does not play favorites (Acts 10:34). Don and Cathy Nori have seen the manifestation of what God spoke because they stuck with His plan. He will do the same with the plan on Dan and my life, and He will do the same with you…you just have to stick with it and hold on tight!

Reading this book also reminded me of how blessed I feel to be among the Destiny Image authors. I was 4 years old when God supernaturally spoke to Don Nori Sr about opening a publishing house. God knew then that one day I would be able to have the honor and the privilege to be published by them. Sure, I am one of many… but this was part of God’s plan for my life. So often, we tend to forget that God is orchestrating His perfect will for your life long before you were even able to think about it. (Jer 29:11)

There have been so many times I wanted to quit. Years of turndowns, and a few editors that had not had their morning coffee before responding to me, took their toll on me. Fifteen books, four screenplays, and a couple children’s books series’ later, I can see that God knew all along that my first full-published book would be with Destiny Image. Many of you have heard me tell the tale about how I once bawled over a turndown, and God spoke to me saying, “Anna, you have to see the bigger picture.” Reading this book reminded me of the bigger picture. Life was not meant to be lived in glossy snapshots that are only good for your facebook profile. The bigger picture becomes more like a symphony that cannot be heard in one note alone, but appreciated in its entirety.

I want to close this blog today by saying a simple thank you. Thank you to Don and Cathy Nori for endeavoring to run the race God set before them. Their choosing to do that not only allows others to run their race as the authors, but also has helped millions run their race as the readers. Their sacrifice means millions of lives have been touched for the Glory of God. You must remember that all our lives have effect on others. When you choose to fulfill or not to fulfill, what God has for your life it is like a ripple and the ripples roll outward to the world around you. As I sign off, I will say again, what I always want you to remember. God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Monday, November 7, 2011

You will Not return to Him void!

Last week in my study time I had a “heavy reavy” I wanted to share. If your not familiar with the term “Heavy Reavy” it’s a divine moment when something clicks about the Word.

I was readying this scripture in Isaiah 55:10-11 (esv)

10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

I have personally heard this scripture preached on quite a bit. The most typical thing people use it to preach about is when God speaks eventually those words will bear fruit. It absolutely means that. But in my head last week, it was if the Holy Spirit took this scripture a bit further.

In John 1:1-2 we learn that Jesus is the Word.
John 1:1-2 (NIV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning

The Bible is very clear that we are to be like Jesus on the earth. In Genesis 1, Hebrews 11, and Mark 11:23, etc there are all sorts of scriptures that point to the system in the kingdom of spoken words. We are as God’s people, fruit of His spoken words. While Jesus is the WORD, we are “words” being sent forth by Him.

Thinking about all of this then going back to the scripture in Isaiah, God is saying here that we as His words will not return to Him void. We will go forth and accomplish what He sent us to accomplish. When I saw this it was a heavy reavy moment for me. I know God wants us to fulfill our destiny, but seeing this like this was like “Woah!” (It was a Joey moment from the sitcom Blossom if you remember that back in the 90’s) I won’t return to Him void! I will go forth and fulfill what He told me I would.” Don’t get me wrong, I believed I would before this, but seeing it worded like that made me want to do a little giddy jig.

It can get so easy to get wrapped up in a defeated mentality. When you make some extreme choices based on what you know God has spoken and then don’t see fruit of those choices right away it can be a test for you. You can start to wonder if you will ever be able to look back on your life and know you accomplished what He sent for you to accomplish. But His word is clear. When you choose to be sent forth, you will not return to Him void. You will go forth and accomplish what He’s purposed for you to accomplish. God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spiritual Motion Sickness?

It is well known in my family that I have a history of issues with motion sickness. I don’t remember when we officially discovered this: Maybe it was the time that I spent the day at the pool in the sun and then was put in the back seat of my grandparents fairly new car to travel through the hills of Southern Ohio and I puked everywhere that told us this, Or maybe it was the time my uncle decided to travel through the mountains of Gatlinburg with the side door open in the van. Perhaps it was the issues I had with vertigo as a child but whatever it was it was learned early on that I would be fine as long as I got to sit in the front seat. I am better as an adult however; I still cannot read in a long car journey.

Many people suffer from spiritual motion sickness. They have become nauseous spiritually and they do not understand why. Just like how one gets motion sickness in the physical it applies spiritually.

James 1:6-8 (NIV)
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

One gets spiritual motion sick when they keep going back and forth, on what God has spoken. One minute their one top of the world because they know God said something to them and the next their down in the dumps because nothing has changed yet. This rocking back and forth is very spiritually draining and in a sense make one spiritual motion sick. While many probably are not ready to puke in the physical it’s, this feeling is not pretty spiritually. One fruit of this condition is frustration. If you find yourself frustrated all the time, are you really consistently sure that what God is spoken is going to happen? If you were really sure, delay might annoy you but would not frustrate you. People, myself included, can flesh out when things do not go their way.

In Matthew 7 it talks about how the wise man builds their house on a rock. In Matthew 21:42 it says essentially that Jesus is the cornerstone. So what does that mean? It means you do not have to be rocking back and forth. You can choose to be on the rock of Christ Jesus.

Faith is not a rocking boat that it’s occupants are ready to puke everywhere. Faith is stable. It is consistent. Faith is not moved by circumstance and with a loud voice I believe God is speaking to His people saying “Peace. Be still!”

Recently as I had shared in a prior blog, I got a turndown for something I really wanted. I found myself in an old familiar pattern of starting to rock again. Essentially I started to get spiritually nauseous and I sought the Lord as to what I could do to stabilize the boat. God very clearly spoke to me about some personal things, but one thing He was constant on was the area of trust. If one really trusts God that their circumstance will change then they would be firmly on the rock of Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:4 (ESV)
“Trust in the Lord forever, For the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock!”

Trust is like the sticky glue that keeps you cemented on God!

Psalms 37:5 (ESV)
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and He will act.”

You do not have to get spiritually motion sick. Let’s face it nausea in any form stinks! It’s a choice. You can choose to be stable. You can choose to keep trusting the Lord. Many times people forget that God wants you to step into your destiny more than you do. He created you for it. You being in that place will make Him so excited! He loves it when His creation fulfills it’s purpose. However you have to trust Him that you’ll get there. You have to keep your boat from rocking and stay stable. Double mindedness will not get you to your destiny. You can’t control it; all you can do is what He’s told you to do. But trusting God will get you there! God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Want Your Obedience Not Your Flowers!

Last week my girls had a day off of school. It was a beautiful fall morning. The breeze was flowing and the sun was shining. The girls and I rode our bikes to the park. We had a good morning. When we were on the way back my youngest decided she didn’t really want to leave and I was trying to encourage her to stay focused. Instead of trying to leave she started finding weeds that resemble flowers and picking them to give to me. It was sweet, and at first I kept saying “Thank you, now let’s go.” She’d move a couple of inches and then find me more flowers. I started to get frustrated. She started to get caught up in finding me more flowers. “We’re leaving!” I tried a different approach. Finally after getting quite frustrated with her I found myself saying, “I want your obedience not your flowers!” I was trying so hard not to squish what she was doing yet when it came down to it she wasn’t obeying what I was saying. In a sense her heart motive was sweet because she was trying to bless me, but she was still being disobedient. She started to follow me after that and I did end up with an assortment of weed flowers.

After this incident I started to think about this as it compares to our relationship with God. King Saul in 1 Sam 10-13 has a similar moment with God. God tells him to go into battle and wipe out an entire place. He says not to even leave the animals. Well, Saul obeys God….for the most part but he keeps the animals to sacrifice it to God. He doesn’t really listen to God. He sorta listens and then does his own thing. This get’s God really upset and thus is when King Saul looses the favor of God on his life.

Now yes, we live now under the New Covenant. Meaning, Because of Jesus when we mess up in life, we can plead the blood of Jesus and it’s not like one little mistake is going to make us loose His favor. However, thinking about this story how many times have we found ourselves doing similar things in our own lives?

When God tells us to do something, that’s what He wants us to do. He doesn’t want us adding to it. He doesn’t want us to do what we think is best, but to do what He said. Things don’t always make sense to our own minds, but we just have to do it. He sees our tomorrows and for whatever the reason He knows. We have to trust Him. It can be very frustrating leading a child to do something and they keep getting distracted. Do we really want God frustrated with us?

Life is so short. God knows how to lead us to where is best for us to go. But we have to trust Him. We have to do what He says. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. So

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pig Poop And A Grass Hut

I am blessed to have such a super awesome daddy on this earth. As many of you know my dad served a tour in Vietnam in 1967 and 68. He wasn’t just a drafted army man, but was a grunt soldier for most of that time where he lived in horrible conditions. My dad just also happens to be quite the prankster and the story about the pig poop and grass hut in my family happens to be one of my favorite.

Daddy’s company was coming into a village and he and his friend Rob went to go checkout a hut that was a bit away from the village and up on a small hill. Now typically when you checked out a hut you were supposed to have three men, but this day it was only dad and Rob. It really was a difficult scenario. Many times the huts were entrances to the system of underground tunnels and you never knew what was in that hut, or who could be waiting. Dad snuck up one side of the hill, while Rob took the other side. It was in these moments of silent fear Dad noticed that one side of the hill had pig poop baking in the sun on it about an inch layer laying on the side of the hill. While Rob hadn’t walked on the poop Dad realized if Rob were to take cover he’d have no choice but to have to deal with the pig poop. It was also about this time Dad realized the hut was empty so he threw a rock in the hut. Well, like any trained soldier Rob heard the rock hit the wood in the grass hut and dove down the hill head first in the pig poop. Rob slid down the hill face first with pig poop oozing all around him. This is the time in the story where my father starts laughing describing how the pig poop had only appeared to be baked in the sun because when Rob came up there was poop dripping off his face. Daddy always swears that he would have gotten away with the prank without Rob being the wiser had he been able to contain his laughter at the image. This is when Daddy always smiles and says, “He called your father a bunch of not nice names.”

Our reactions in life often are similar to Rob in the story above. We hear or sense something and automatically our minds can easily go into the worst possible scenario mode. We panic at the small rocks thinking their massive bombs. I am just as guilty, but I’m endeavoring to get better and better at this.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If you always are jumping to the worst case scenario then where is your trust?

Psalm 37:5Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

You have to realize that even if you hear a few rocks falling that isn’t the final say so; you have to choose to trust the Lord despite of what you know or understand. You have to trust Him in the times of battle, and you have to trust Him despite of the storm. I want to leave you with this song that one of my favorite artists (Robby Cummings) is releasing called the Storm. Be sure to click on the link and listen to the song. It’s very powerful in learning to trust the Lord no matter what you’re going through. Remember God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Praising God for this turndown

Last week I got a turndown for an event that I had been waiting to hear about for sometime. Truthfully I’ve been turndowned so much in this industry they don’t usually get to me. But this one did. Without going into details I believe eventually I’ll get to do this event, but for the project this time I can see why it ended in a turndown. I don’t believe it was me, but the project for this event, etc. In a classic me response I came back with boldness. I told them that I would like to be considered for future projects. Then went to my couch in my office and bawled. With the miracle of texts and phone calls my pastors, sister, and friends rallied around me encouraging me. I got back up and started to rejoice for that turndown. After I was done feeling sorry for myself I realized that there are some issues in my life that I need to work on. I had a God encounter as a result. I know it might sound strange, but I’m actually grateful for the turndown now. Don’t get me wrong, I was disappointed and still wish it would have turned another way. But I believe one day I’ll get to do this event for a different project, and as a result it may sound weird but I’ve been growing in some areas I have needed too. I am thankful!

I always think about the story with Corrie Ten Boom. In the book “The Hiding Place” she talks about her and her sisters time in a Nazi concentration camp. They’d been imprisoned for helping Jews in Holland. Her sister and her began discussing this scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

They had been moved to a flea ridden barracks and Corrie kept insisting they couldn’t thank God for it and refused to thank God for the fleas. Years later Corrie found out the reason they were able to be left alone in those barracks were because the Nazi’s knew they were flea infested. Those precious women held Bible teachings in a Nazi concentration camp because of the fleas.

Learning to be thankful in the good times is easy, but being thankful when things don't go your way isn’t so much. But I’m thankful for my turndown, because it’s encouraged me to learn to trust the Lord even more. It’s encouraged me to begin to feed on scriptures about trust.

Psalms 37:5 (ESV)“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.”

Be thankful for the fleas in your life. Trust the Lord. He is a good and awesome God. He has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It has been one of those mornings.....

I should have known it was going to be one of those mornings when I woke up and came out into the kitchen to hear my youngest go “Shhh Mom’s up!” I accept that I do not always wake up in the best of moods but I do think I have gotten better and are not as bad as some. Then I see my youngest coloring a beautiful masterpiece and motivating her to start getting ready for school is equal to convincing people to stay on the Titanic as it sank.

Trying to motivate her I yelled, “Why don’t you get dressed while I make your oatmeal.”

She ran to her room and I hear the sound that makes mother’s cringe in the morning, “Mom, I don’t have any uniform shirts here!” So I walked to the clean clothes that need to be folded. I try to sift through them not finding anything and trying to watch the oatmeal as it cooked. Quickly I picked up the basket, and knocked over the ironing board and the iron hits the garage floor with a thwack. I do not think it broke.

Dumping all the laundry on the living room floor I know cannot find a uniform shirt for her either, “You should have two clean,” I yell from my frazzled place.

I can hear the sounds of scurry and confusion. So I go to her room to help. It looks as if a tornado was stuck in overdrive. She is panicked I am trying not to yell and she knew it. I looked at the stack of shirts and find one of the missing two, take a few big breaths and go back to the oatmeal. Then it is time for her hair to be done and I start wrestling it into two French braids. The laundry still sets in my living room waiting for me to fold, but I did get them in school on time.

If you have ever had young children in your house, you have had some variance of the above drama. Overall, as much I wanted to start yelling like a banshee this morning, I think I maintained my composure fairly well which is a step up from my past.

Galatians 5:22-23 (amp)
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge].

We all need to be reminded of the above scripture every now and then. It is so much easier when drama starts and something does not go your way to start yelling and screaming. It can be so much easier to fly off the deep end, but in the end what is the fruit from that. If I had flipped this morning, then my kids would have probably started crying at their mom acting nuts. Dan and I would have probably ended up in a fit and my getting so stressed out. I would be yet again teaching my children that kind of reaction to stress was okay and I would have wanted to come home to write this blog in tears.

I am not perfect at stressful situations and I have had plenty of situations that have not been pretty, but I am trying to improve.

When you are in these kinds of situations, you can choose to walk in love. You can choose to walk in peace. You can choose to remember that you want to be an example to those around you of the way you should act and not the way you want to act. So while I simmer down from the drama this morning in my home, and go and fold the laundry looking for the missing uniform shirt….Remember God has awesome plans for your life. You can choose not to be caught up in the drama, and you can choose to get excited. God is excited about your future, so get excited too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Confessions from my College Years

When I went to Ohio State University I lived on the 23rd floor of Morrill Tower for a year. If you can see the picture it’s the closest tower in the background. One of my favorite memories from college was a couple friends and I once snuck into the Horseshoe Stadium. It had been the first snow of the year, and a magical crisp feeling lay like fog above our heads. The sky though dark radiated like a majestic wonder around us. The gate hadn’t even been locked and we found ourselves out on the football field. As I walked out into the famous field I felt so small. The snow began to fall and it was a moment that if I could capture it in an image, I would. It’s this memory that often when I think of fall and football I find myself nostalgically remembering as if it’s a snuggly blanket on that chilly night.

When Dan and I moved to FL, I had this idea in my head that it would only be for five years. We are nearing our eleven year mark. While I still maintain we’ll be here for a season, we refuse to leave until we know God is calling us to do so, and even when that time comes I’m not sure where He’ll send us. I confess that I miss the changing of the season. I miss being locationally close to my family, I miss cold football games with the smell of changing leaves in the air and hot chocolate so hot that it burns your tongue. However I don’t miss all the cold and mushy snow.

This morning I put this on my facebook status, “You cannot judge God's will by your level of comfort. While His will is always worth it, it's rarely comfortable. Too many people are saying they want His will but are really trying to justify their own choices.” I’ve watched too many people leave God’s plan for their lives and try to justify it by their own feelings. Sometimes we can be in uncomfortable places, but it’s in the moments that lack the comfort is when we grow the most. Look at the diamond, or even a cake. Without the pressure a diamond will always stay a chunky piece of carbon or coal. Without the heat the cake would only be batter. God sees our end from our beginnings and knows what is best for your life, even if it’s uncomfortable. He’s more concerned for your destiny than your level of comfort.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

God’s plans are good for you, even if for a season their uncomfortable and you wonder. Later He has a way to make everything make sense, and you’ll look back and thank the Lord that you went through the season you did. Moses was in exile for 40 years before he went back to Egypt, Joseph was sold into slavery and went through a lot so that he could help save the Israelites from starvation during a famine, and Jesus was brutally murdered on the cross so that well all might get the chance to go to heaven. Every moment in our lives may not be as idealistic and nostalgic as me watching it snow from the OSU football field, but His plans are always worth it! Remember He does have awesome plans for your life, so whether you see fruit from that yet or not, Get excited! Choose to live in His perfect will! Just as Psalm 30:5 says, “Joy comes in the morning!”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Really God?

On Monday I finished the rough draft of my latest book I’ve been working on. That brings me up to 15 books, 4 screenplays, 2 children’s’ book series’, a college curriculum, a woman’s devotional among some other things here and there.

I started to laugh thinking about the first time I felt God called me to write a book. I remember struggling with such fear and feelings of inadequacy. I kept thinking God surely you must have gotten the wrong person. Did you switch my file with someone else’s; do you forget I can’t do that?! Really God, are you sure? As much as I struggled to believe what I felt God was saying I knew I couldn’t deny it. The more and more I tried the more I knew it was God. Today over 17 years later (wow that makes me feel old) I know God saw destiny in me even if I couldn’t.

So often people have their own destinies bubbling up ready to burst on the inside of them, and they simply are too afraid to try and keep shoving it down. Here’s a classic scripture about talents. I’ve heard it apply to money but it also can apply to talents and giftings. This scripture comes after two other servants took their talents and multiplied them. I encourage you to read the entire passage of scripture starting with verse 14

Matthew 25:25-29 ESV

25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

I am not special. I am not the most talented writer in the world, and I’m certainly not the most structured. My spelling is horrible and my grammar questionable. Fear has tried to hit me and I’ve had many try to talk me out of what I knew was destiny. But God knew that I had to start writing and after wrestling with it I did, and did, and did. I simply made the choice that I refused to look back on my life with regrets and I wanted to do what I felt God wanted me to do even if it appeared completely odd to me.

God has supernaturally enabled you to do something for His kingdom. Are you fighting it or are you choosing to trust Him to do it? You can’t set around and wait until you feel you can do it on your own. Because you won’t get there if you keep doing that. If you could do it on your own for what would you need God. No. You believe God is able through you. You believe it’s His ability that will get you to the place He’s called for you. But you can’t get there if you never step out in faith. God has awesome plans for your life. So step out, and get excited! 


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ducks Are Blocking The Road!

A few weeks ago I was driving back from the grocery store with I came across and intersection. There were probably twenty five ducks and they weren’t being very quick about crossing the road. I thought at first if I drove very slowly then they would move so that I could get home, but that wouldn’t work. The ducks took their own precious time crossing over to get to the pond on the other side of the street. Then I half considered getting out of the car to hurry them along. However, there were already a couple of people gathering to take pictures of their voyage and I really didn’t want to look like a crazy woman trying to hurry them up. So I sat in the car and waited….and waited….and waited. While I didn’t look at my watch, it felt like at least 15 minutes until there was a hole in the pack of ducks were I could get my car. Half of them were on one side of the street and the other half on the other. This is not my picture. I thought about grabbing one but I didn’t.

It can feel like times in your walk with God your setting out in the road waiting to go forward and can’t because of one thing or another blocking your path. If you’ve been around me any length of time, you’ve probably heard me joke, “patience is a fruit of the spirit because it doesn’t happen in the natural. It’s a supernatural act.”

I can be a pretty impatient individual. I want to get things done and I want them to happen ten minutes ago. I have often joked that it’s why God put me in the publishing industry and gave me children. It was to teach me patience. I can remember arguing with a might man of God in my tween years by the name of Dr. Arthur Ebert. Doc has long since passed from this earth and lives with Jesus, but I remember him and me discussing praying for patience. At the time, I refused to do it. My justification was that if I prayed for it I’d end up in situations to try it and thus wouldn’t pray for it. His argument was that I would have to go through situations in life that I needed patience so I might as well ask for it and go through them equipped.

So as the ducks took what seemed like forever, and my frozen vegetables started to melt I reminded myself of what the Bible says.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

God has awesome plans for your life. I know that sometimes it feels that you may never see them, but you will. Rest in the peace He’s given you. He’s on the throne, and in His timing, things break forth. Get excited. It is well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

180 The Movie

Greetings awesome peeps! Today I am going to make this rather short. I am in the middle of working on my next book tentatively entitled “Turpentine and India Ink.”

Recently someone emailed me this video. Truthfully when they did I thought, “Geesh…I don’t have time to sit and watch a half hour movie. However, I felt since it was coming from a particular person that rarely recommends I watch things like this I decided to take a moment and watch it thinking I can always turn it off if it turns boring.

This film put together by the ministry of “The Way of the Master” is an amazing documentary. It needs to be watched and I would say that half hour was a good investment of time. I even made Dan and my oldest daughter watch it later.

In the time you will save by reading my lengthy blog today, take the time to watch this film and pass it along. There is a mandate that we share the truth behind this film. You can find it by clicking on this link below.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I am riding a bike again!

When I was in college at The Ohio State University, I tried for about 2 weeks to ride my bike on campus. It was really a good idea with all the walking I had to do, but the pedestrian and car traffic at OSU is a bit scary. I have joked that it prepared me to walk in New York City. It resembles that. What made me stop riding my bicycle at OSU, is I was riding in a parking lot and was hit by a car. It was not just a little “got hit”, I rolled up on the hood of the vehicle after impact. Fortunately no one was hurt. Really, that was a miracle, because I had rolled up on the hood of the car and hit the windshield. I got back up much to the amazement of the car driver and went on my way to class.

However, ever since that day I will admit I have carried a bit of a phobia when it comes to riding a bike. It’s not that I cringed at the sight of a bicycle or that I would never ride one, but I was just a little scared when I got back up to ride especially if I was in areas where there was a lot of traffic.

This summer my mom picked up a bike for me at a garage sale. At first, I was not sure how much I would ride it, but Dan and our girls love to ride together and it would be a fun thing for us to do as a family. Despite my fear, I made myself begin to ride all over our neighborhood, and now I am surprising myself riding miles in the morning and really enjoying the fall weather. This afternoon my family and I all rode down to the park and came back just to ride through the sprinklers of a neighbor. This is a memory that I would not trade for anything and I am glad to be riding again.

So many of us walk through things in life, and we get hurt or have a bad experience and simply walk away from that and never try it again. Maybe we had a relationship that hurt us so internally we vow all relationships are bad. Alternatively, maybe we got burnt by making popcorn on the stove so we swear we will never make it that way again. Or maybe someone ticked us off in the church and we refuse to go back because of it. It’s okay for these experiences to make you more cautious, but we can’t let it stop us. We have to go forward, learn from our past and keep living life. As Dr. Nasir Saddiki just said when we heard him preach, “There is a reason why the rear view mirror in our car is smaller than our windshield. You have to keep looking forward.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I have really been enjoying my time on my bicycle. Maybe my experience sounds strange for you, but I realize all these years since college that perhaps I’d been avoiding riding again. Sadly, I’ll admit I was missing out. You don’t want to miss out on the things of life. God wants to give you life and life abundantly.

He has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dr. Nasir Saddiki Confrence

This weekend (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday) I had the awesome privilege to set in a conference at our church and listen to Dr. Saddiki teach. This conference was life changing. I feel like I have been a sponge trying to soak all this revelation in. If you know me, I have no problem shamelessly promoting people that I think are awesome. If you’ve never heard of this mighty man of God go check out his website at I confess until about a month ago when I just happen to catch him on the TV show Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural I had never heard of him. But God is doing awesome things through his life and ministry and I recommend the Jesus in him.

One of the many things that really stuck out in these days of teaching that I want to mention is the revelation he brought forth on:
Mark 11:23 (NIV) “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

I have always quoted this scripture. It’s one of my life mantra‘s. I have for years gone around and said things like “I’m believ-ing for this or believ-ing for that.” What Dr. Saddiki taught blew my mindset of this scripture out of the water…..The word believe in that text when translated from the actual Hebrew is NOT to believe for something. Or believing like a future or present tense. That Hebrew word is actually believed…its past tense. To take it a step further Dr. Saddiki jokes it’s believed-duh.

In context this Mark 11:23 scripture is Jesus trying to speak to the disciples in regards of faith because their getting all excited that Jesus cursed the fig tree and it dried up but they didn’t get all excited until after they saw it withered. They should have gotten all excited when Jesus spoke, and circumstance or not it already happened. Because if they believed-duh they would have realized it already took place. Faith is the substance hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Translation, when you pray you believed-duh it already takes place, so anything after that, you are to give thanksgiving to God because He has already answered your prayers!

This revelation shifted some mindsets in my mind. It was one of many I will take away with me this weekend, and is life changing. I wanted to bring this out in this blog because so many of my readers weren‘t in this conference, and I think you need to hear this! It is a powerful revelation that all believers need to hear. We need to be on the victory side, because it has already happened-duh!

So now as I go reading over my notes for the last three days. I am so excited for what God is orchestrating in the body of Christ. He has awesome plans for your life. So get excited-duh!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Posing for the camera

Posing for the camera?

I’ve mentioned before about my love of the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. I was thinking about the other day how we used to go up there at least once a summer. When my friends and I were older we would frequent the Magnum ride. At the time it held many a world record for longest and highest coaster around. If you’re a coaster lover it is a coaster of coasters. I’m sure it’s records aren’t still holding but it is an awesome ride. I remember how it was probably one of the first ones that had the cameras in the ride that would take your picture during it. I know now that concept is pretty standard, but then it wasn’t. My friends and I would figure out where the cameras were so while we were on the ride we’d pose for the camera. We’d rush down to the bottom to see our pictures on the screen. I remember seeing some funny pictures of all of us. We never bought them but had fun posing for the camera. The thing is, we were so busy posing that, for me the riding of the coaster wasn’t as fun. It became all about the posing.

It’s funny that life can be like this sometimes. You can get so caught up in posing for the “camera” that you stop enjoying your life as much as you could. Are you caught up enjoying the gift of life God gave you or are just making pictures to proudly display on your facebook wall so others can think your enjoying life. I’m talking about just putting on a display and being fake. It’s not that you can’t put memories on your facebook wall. But are you so busy being fake that you’re not really enjoying your life?

God wants us to be real with others and real with Him.

Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV)
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Matthew 6:1 (Msg)
[ The World Is Not a Stage ] "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding.

What I am trying to say is simply this. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy your life. You don’t have to get caught up in the image. Get caught up in Him. Get caught up in doing what He has told you to do. Posing for the cameras may be fun at first but at the end of your life are you going to think , ‘Gee I wish I had a picture of such and such’ or are you going to wish you enjoyed your life more? Get real! He has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Are You Prepared?

When I was a kid growing up in Central Ohio, I can remember this ride. I don’t know if it was at Cedar Point (which I have to say is one of the best amusement parks ever) or if it was at a carnival. I’m thinking it was at Cedar Point. Anyway this particular ride was in a circle. You got on the ride and everyone put their backs to the circle facing inwards. As the ride would start it would spin really fast. I remember thinking I would hurl at one point. It would raise you up while it spun. Eventually as you keep spinning the floor drops out. Because you’re spinning so fast your body is stuck to the back of the circle and you don’t move. You become a living science experiment on inertia and gravity.

I was thinking about this ride the other day thinking about how if it wasn’t spinning very fast before the floor fell out what would happen? You’d fall to the ground. It reminds me of a tribal African professor that I had in college telling the story of when he first went on an amusement ride. In his thick accent he used to say, “There is no amusement in that amusement ride.” No, falling to the ground doesn’t sound amusing to me. The truth is that ride needs to start spinning really fast before the floor drops out.

How do we relate this to the things of God? There is preparation that needs to happen before you step into the promises of God. There are things that God has to teach you and situations you have to walk through before you can stay in the place He wants you to be in life. Preparation is a good thing. It’s a God thing. It can be so easy to get frustrated in this season. It can be so easy to think, “God I’ve been around this too many times to count by now. Aren’t we there yet?” I’ve cried out to God in similar fashion many times.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

You have to let God prepare you and make you ready for what He is about to do. You have to go through the process. No, the process isn’t always easy. But it’s worth it. Keep trusting in Him. He has awesome plans for your life. So get excited.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I don't want to be bitter and jaded, but....

On Friday, I had some events happen that I thought I'd share. I finished my 14th book! It was a bit of a stretch for me, and it's still in rough draft form, but I finished the draft. I still need to go back and proofread. I'd like to add about another 4,ooo words but I got the draft done. I have about another 6 books roaming in my head right now. I can be a real workaholic if I let myself. Then, about an hour later, I went to check my mailbox. The timing couldn't have been worse. Sitting in my box was a turndown from a publishing house on my 13th book. I had been waiting to hear from them on this since June. (many of you are thinking I thought she had a publisher? I do, for my non-fiction. However I'm believing God for a fiction publisher. Books are published on an individual contract basis...) The turndown was not because these people didn't lik me. It wasn't because they disliked the manuscript. However, it was because the book didn't fit into the specific 'formula' that this house wants in a manuscript. It was frustrating.

I have noticed that if you get a bunch of writers in a room, unless they are very successful ones usually you'll hear a lot of bitter and jaded people talking. I can still remember when I spoke with one woman about my first book. She smiled pretentiously and told me that I was naive to think it would ever get published. That her first manuscript still sets in a drawer. I don't receive those words. I have always joked that publishing an writing is not for the faint of heart.

It can become a big temptation when you've been turned down as much as I have to turn bitter and jaded. It can be a constant battle. Maybe you're not trying to win the next Pulitzer Prize but have found yourself in the same boat. You've found yourself being faced over and over again with turndowns and rejection.

How then do you choose to keep going forward? You CHOOSE TO! You have to know that you know God called you to do a thing, and eventually in His timing, it will be established.

In a message last week, Pastor Greg Squires of Freedom Life Church reminded us all that we have to stop being anxious and cast our cares on God. While I knew this, I needed a reminder.

1Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares fo you.

Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, but prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

One thing he preached that really stuck with me was when he said, "Frustration occures when you need a new revelation of how much God loves you. Because He wants you to get your breakthrough more than you do. He created you for it." I had heard this before but I did need the reminder.

So I'll admit I took about 5 minutes and felt a little bummed about this turndown, but in all the years I've been doing this I have to say I've noticed I've gotten better. I am not bitter. I wasn't depressed for days, I didn't have a crying pity party, and I was constant in knowing just because this was a door that didn't open doesn't mean it won't. It's just not this one with this book right now.

It may be easy to allow yourself to get bitter and jaded, but it's your choice. You can't blame rejection on your bitterness. You have to pick yourself up from the dust. Shake off and keep moving forward. Life is too short to get stuck on these little things. You're open door just as mine can be just around the corner, so don't allow your foot to get stuck in the door that shut. Find another door, and keep trusting God! God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cables, Wires, and Mice Oh My!

Last weekend I found myselfat my girls' school doing volunteer hours. Their school requires that every family put in a set amount of hours every year so that their children will get a spot for the next academic year. In the years we've had kids at the school, I have done various things for my parenting hours like: weeding outside, gone to PTO meetings, colored at home, and guest taught, etc.

Saturday after spending two hours wedding in the front I was led to the Media Room. I was only explained my next job would be one of organization. Really if it got me out from the outside and into the air conditioning, I didn't care what I would be doing. Boxes waited for me. Hidden and shoved in what seemed to be every nook and cranny of the room were boxes and boxes of cords, wires, cables, computer mice, and telephone jacks that had been thrown together for years. They were a tangled mangled crazy mess. Every time I thought, There could be no other boxes full of them, I found more. The new maitenance man obviously decided the formers system of storing them was not working and he needed some unsuspecting parents to come in and make it organized. While organization has never been one of my strengths (I am more of a creative piles kina gal), I kept thinking I could do this. Thirty minutes into sorting through piles, I vowed never to complain a bout my drawer full of battery chargers and wires again because mine paled in comparison to the mounds before me. A few other parents eventually joined me, and by the time I left we had goteen it somewhat separated nto smaller piles and the cords bound by zip ties.

Often times in our Christian walk when we stumble upon a "mess" in our lives it can be easy to get overwhelmed and think 'nothing good can come of this' or 'this project is just too big for me to handle'. We can start focusing on our own inablity, instead of focusing on His ability through us. We focus on the problem instead of focusing on our solution.

Romans 8:28 (NIV) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

God has a way to turn anything and everything into something that can be used for His glory for those that love Him. I have seen it happen time and time again. Things that in the natural just look like piles and piles of mess eventually get worked out. I have seen many a ministry or mighty miracle come from what looked like a big mess.

So do not focus on the mess. Focus on Him. Focus on Him usuing you for the Glory of God. Focus on His goodness. Because no matter whose fault the mess is, or what it is all about it will work out eventually.

Many have heard me say that I believe a mature walk with God boils down to the simplest terms of 'Just trusting Him.' No matter what the mess may look like, the circumstance may appear, or the ugliness of the people around you, you have to just trust Him. Keep trusting Him despite of what it may look like! Keep trusting Him despite of how you feel. Keep trusting Him despite what others may tell you. Keep Trusting Him!

God has awesome plans for your life. So get excited!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What God? I can't hear you!

When I was in college I worked in the set construction department at The Ohio State University. There was a particular student that had liked me. I knew he did. He ws a nice guy, but I was just coming out of a very complicated relationship, and for a lot of reasons I knew this man wouldn't be a good idea for me to date.

Inevitably the day happened when he and I were talking while we were cleaning our paint brushes from fauz wood graining the base boards for an upcoming set. He smiled and looked back at me. He paused in reflection and in the moment as he asked me out, someone on the other side of the shop started to use the table saw. I'll admit I lied. "What? I can't hear you!" I responded. Soon the table saw stopped. I knew what he'd asked me, and I felt bad for lying. I was trying to come up with a reasonable excuse in my head for when he repeated the invite, but he never asked again. Consequently I met Dan a few weeks later but that's another story.

I was thinking about this story last night relating it to how we treat God sometimes. WE can be so hypocritical as people. We cry out to God that we want His direction, His plan, and His perfect will. But too often when He's trying to talk to us we pretend like we can't hear Him. We avoid what he's saying. We turn up our TV's, internet, and internal monologue in our heads. Really what we're doing is deceiving ourselves. We can become like little kids with our fingers in our ears screaming, "la la la! I can't hear you God!" Yet in the same breath we grow frustrated at God becaue we don't seem to be hearing the words we want to hear.

John 10:27 (KJV)
"My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me."

The Bible is pretty clear that you, as a child of God...if you're HIS sheep, you can hear His voice. You have the ability to hear it. Please don't misunderstand me here. God rarely is speaking to you in an audible voice, but it's a nudging, a gentle leading or prodding to go somewhere or do something.

You have to put all distractions aside and start getting real with yourself. Are you really not hearing from God on a certain matter or are you just lying to yourself? I assure you God may not be giving you the answer that you want, but it's the answer you need. You may not think you need it now, but God knows your days and He knows what is best for you.

So stop lying to yourself and be real with God. Take the time to pt away all distractions and really hear His leading on the matter. Even if it's to be honest and say, "God I don't like that answer. Can you help me to have peace or a right heart about that?"

God has equipped you to run the race before you. You CAN do what He is telling you to do. You just have to accept it. From personal experience I've learned that it takes a lot of energy and effort to wrestle against God's leading. You end up frustrated and annoyed. Just accept what He's telling you and run with it. He really does know better.

God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup Christianty

It is quite concerning if you start watching some of the recent documentaries that has been done about our food supply. Fillers and high gructose corn syrup is being put into our foods at an alarming rate. High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that has been known to make you gain more weight, and raise triglyceride levels that can lead to a higher risk of a heart attack. Really, it is just a sweetener and has no nutritional value what so ever. It fills you up so you do not desire the nutrients. On the surface, it might make something taste good but on the inside, the value is questionable.

Many in the kingdom can begin to be like 'High Fructose Corn Syrup Christians' if their not careful. Sure, they might look good. They might play the role of a Christian on Sundays, but deep down there is no real depth to them. There is no real value to the kingdom because it's all surface. It's like the fillers in processed meat. It just fills you up, and isn't the real thing. Jesus warned us of this in the Bible.

Matthew 23:27 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

I think it is often that people start out wanting to serve God. However what happens is sadly people begin to loose their first love and start playing a part versus actually loving God. The ritual of life can choke out passion and desire, and soon if one is not careful, everything becomes a performance. It is like slowly there is no depth to the soil. It all can become surface like high fructose corn syrup.

Matthew 6:1-3 (MSG) "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure-'playactors' I call them- treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. Tey get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it-quitely unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out."

So where does that leave us all? It's quite simple. Return to your first love. Return to the place where it was simple and i was all aabout what He wanted.

Revelation 2:4 (NIV) "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had first."

If you find your playing the part more than living the life, then return to God. It doesn't have to be some miracle, dign or wonder for you to repent in your heart for surface Christianity. Earnestly seek to be real before God and people. The world is tired of high fructose corn syrup Christianity. Their tired of seeing a bunch of surface fakers and need to see a real and loving God. They need to see that Christians aren't perfect. They make mistakes and they go through life. But the differenece is they have a peace and a knowing that Gid is for them and not against them. They need to see that there is a God that is directing their paths. They need to see the hope of eternity, and the peace for the present. This generation has had enough with fake Christianity. They need the real thing. They need Jesus Christ.

Shake off fake filler Christianity, and seek God. For He loves you. He has so much He wants to share with you. Don't be a 'high fructose corn syrup Chrisitian.' Return to your first love, and let Him be the Lord of your life. God has awesome plans for you, so get excited!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Outside My Own Facebook Page

Several months ago I was having a moment. I was sad because some changes were happening in out lives: we had some friends move, I was getting frustrated and annoyed at some different events, and I'll confess my attitude wasn't the greatest. I was so busy focusing on my own drama that I couldn't see past the wall of self-pity that I was building around me. I know I'm not the only person that has had these moments. I am just being honest.

So I had a random epiphany moment where I realized I should start leaving comments on other people's facebook pages. I know my solution sounds simple but as I began to do that, I got so excited. I looked at my page and my list of friends and thought who else can I compliment? Doing that helped me knock down my wall of self-pity and made me start to look at those around me. Most of those individuals I did that to responded in such a way where I made their day. They had really needed to hear a kind word in that moment, and my little one line encouragment fueled their fire.

Life can get to you like this. You can think all about your own problems until you pretty much wall yourself inside your own world. You set around and think all about you. That 'woe is me and everyone has left me' moment, isn't healthy. How do you think you're ever going to make an impact in the kingdom of God if you can't see past yourself? Life isn't all about you. It's about something bigger than you. It's about doing your role in the kingdom so that His plan can be established on the earth. God's heart is for people to know Him.

Jesus had every right to have a few of these moments if you think about it. He knew how his life was going to end. But He didn't. In His last breaths he was not thinking about how He was unfairly accused. His last breaths were of the knowledge of what He was doing for mankind. He was thinking about others. I am not saying we all have to do everything for others, or that we can't have any fun. But what I am saying is somehow I think in our own selfishness of our culture we've forgotten the simple rule of "Doing unto others as we would have others do to us."

Life is short. Take some time to stop wallowing in your own self pity and see who your could bless around you. It coud be as simple as buying the homeless guy on the corner a cup of coffee, or leaving random compliments on facebook, or even a smile to the guy who annoys your at work. God loves His creation. Do you?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going Amish

During our trip to my Ohio homeland, the girls, my mom, dad, grandfather and myself went to visit a small Amish store about a half and hour from my parents house. This is always a really nice change of pace for me. In this small store you can buy homemade pies, baked goods, Amish cheese, candies, and some knitted items I believe. It’s really a small building on the edge of a working Amish farm. My favorite story of visiting once happened several years ago. My husband and I asked the woman if they had a loaf of bread we could buy, and she opened up the wood burning stove and took out a freshly baked loaf with her bare hands. I had to giggle when she put it on the counter in front of us.

I had a picture I took outside their barn but it would upload right on the blogger post so I grabbed another similar online. I really wanted to grab a shot of a little boy who was my youngest daughters age because the he was adorable and really caught her eye, however due to my knowledge of their beliefs against pictures of themselves I didn’t want to disrespect that.

While I personally believe the Amish faith is really religious, I do think there are a lot of things they do right if you study their core beliefs. The whole concept is a desire to get back to the more simple things in life. The concept is not living in the world. Their desire is that God comes first and then family and everything else is just a distraction. In that sense I can really respect them.

I am not suggesting we all return to the farm and wear Amish gear. I have long sense come to the conclusion that I would have been a horrible Amish woman and farmer’s wife. However what I am suggesting is that we all take some moments in the chaos of life and return to the core of living our lives for God. We return to the simplicity of who God is, and what Jesus did for us on the cross. I am suggesting for a few moments we shut off the TV, close down the internet, and ignore the texting. I am suggesting we take a deep breath and return to our first love. We return to the focus of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps John 3:16 is the most well known scripture, but it always needs repeating.

John 3:16 (NIV)
16 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.

Life doesn’t always have to be so complicated. We make it so. Return to the simplicity of who we are in Him. Take some moments today; schedule it in if you have to, to talk to God. Leave the stress at the door, and take comfort in Him. I for one am typing this blog enjoying my favorite Canadian green tea just thinking about the goodness of God. We always need a moment in life to return mentally and spiritually to the simplicity of who God is, and He is greatly to be praised. God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Grass Angels

When we were in the North my kids got excited when the grass tickled there feet around their sandals, and I’ll confess so did I. Having grown up in the North grass to me is soft, lush and green. It’s not filled with fire ants, and it’s something that if I wanted to run out barefoot I could. My girls got so excited they began rolling in the grass making grass angels and giggling. They were joking that instead of snow angels they were making grass angels. It was a wonderful few moments of childhood where I’ll confess while I didn’t join them rolling in the grass I did take off my shoes just to feel what grass, in my mind, is supposed to feel like. The sweet refrain of innocence and childhood left it’s melodious fragrance in the air and we all enjoyed it.

It’s not been comfortable for us to live so far away of what we grew up with and what we feel is comfortable. What’s comfortable to me in the last (almost 11 now) years has been replace with the difficult uncomfortable trials. I don’t want to say that it’s always been hard, or woe is me. However it’s not been easy. Sadly many people misunderstand the will of God. They think just because a door opens up and something will be comfortable for them, then it must be God. I have news for you, comfort cannot be a determining factor on what the will of God is or is not. You have to use discernment. You have to see God’s will on the matter, and go with what He’s saying despite your level of comfort. Many times, things God calls us to do aren’t always easy.

If you want to go forward and be all and do all God called you to be and do, there will be times it won’t be easy. This is where many people simply give up. There will be times where you feel your under pressure, the heat has been turned up, and you feel pulled in every direction. However without the pressure diamonds are not formed, without the heat gold cannot be purified, and without the pulling taffy would just be a pile of goo. You have to go through the process to get to where God wants you to go. Following the will of God isn’t always hard, but it isn’t always easy either.

1 Peter 4:12 (MSG)
Glory Just Around the Corner
12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

Be encouraged if things are difficult God is refining you and you are going to see the breakthrough that He wants for you. It may be slow in coming forth, but God is faithful. He’s maturing you and bringing you through the process. Even if it’s a little difficult, and you know this is what God called you to do, stick with it! Keep on standing even if the grass your standing in is uncomfortable! Keep standing! You will see breakthrough! God has awesome plans for your life, so get excited!