Monday, January 31, 2011

Stop Confessing You Don't Know!

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine and I was telling her of some of the issues that we are believing God to handle. I found myself continuing to say in the conversation that, “I didn’t know how we (meaning Dan and I) were going to do this.” After I got off the phone, I could feel something wasn’t right.

As I began to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Stop confessing you don’t know how this is all going to come together. I know how it is, and you’re not going to do this. I am. So you do know how it’s all going to come together. I’m going to do it.”

Since that encounter, I’ve been trying to guard my tongue more. I have to choose to stay in faith that God knows what He’s doing even if I’ve certainly stepped out of my comfort zone.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

You have to choose to speak life or God’s will about a situation even when it would be easy to focus on your fears. This doesn’t mean that you live in denial. This means you giving God rule and reign in the situation. This means that you are speaking the truth. His truth and His word is true!

If you find yourself in a circumstance search what the word of God says on the matter. Get yourself some scriptures to memorize about that situation. So when the fears, doubts and questions come to you, You can stand. Speak the word of God to the situation and eventually you’ll see the situation change.

Choose to speak the life of God into your life. You’ll be glad you did.

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
9 In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dog Hair, Dog Hair, Dog Hair OH MY!

My last blog I spoke of how excited we were to find our couch on Craigslist. While we’re still excited about that find when we got home we got a little surprise. There was dog hair in places of that couch; I’m not sure how it got there. Honestly I grew up around dogs and I’ve never seen a dog that can shed like some of the hair in that couch. I spent a lot of Sunday night scrubbing the couch down in the garage. Dan has continued to work on it and we’ll both get it eventually where we want it. Then we’ll move it to our living room.

We were so excited that we’d found the couch we didn’t notice all the dog hair until after we got it home. As I was scrubbing on it Sunday I began to think how often we relate to the things God is bringing us to like this couch.

We’re excited when a new door opens for us. We rejoice then when we get there we realize there may be some work involved to get it where you want it and we start to grumble.

The Israelites were like this. They were headed to the land of milk and honey. They didn’t expect to have to drive the giants out of the land. They didn’t think “gasp” they’d actually have to work for their milk and honey. Wouldn’t it just be there the minute they showed up at the Promised Land? No. They had to do their part. God did His.

I had the same misconception when I wrote my first book. I assumed that because I finally did the work I would arrive on the scene of the publishing industry and the Red Sea of agents and publishers would split, the red carpet would be rolled out and flashing lights would begin in the honor of my arrival. It didn’t happen that way. I had to persevere.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

James 1:2-4 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

You have to have perseverance if you’re going to accomplish anything for God. You have to be willing to put forth the effort. Many people constantly choose not to do what God is telling them to do and then they grumble and complain at God because their not where they think their supposed to be in life. That’s not God’s fault. They make those choices.

As a writer I get this conversation from others often. Someone will come up to me and say “God called me to write a book” . I get those emails on a regular basis. This is not a blow to anyone who has ever done this to me. I love trying to use Godly wisdom to motivate others. However my number one question is always, “Where is the book?” So often they hmm and haw, basically they’ve never but forth the effort. Don’t get me wrong there is a time and season for everything, and I personally had my first book on my heart for about 6-7 years before it was written. BUT people need to put forth the effort to do what God is telling them to do. You will not get to your destiny overnight, but these daily choices of moving in that direction all add up. You have to start being obedient and persevere to get where you need to go.

Yes, Dan and I are still excited about our new to us couch. Yes we have a bit more work to do with it than we planned but in the end we’ll persevere and get that couch where we want it so it’ll be perfect for our space. Keep moving forward. Be like Forrest Gump towards the destiny He has for you, and “Run Forrest Run!” Eventually you’ll get there. God loves you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dude, That's My Couch!

Dan and I had been in need of a new couch for quite awhile. Our sofa had long since been broken. Dan continued to try to fix it at various times and it was getting worse and worse. While it still looked nice it really needed replaced. It had become a joke in the house and a bit embarrassing when anyone came over.

About a year ago Dan went couch shopping. We found a sectional we fell in love with, but there was something about it. It just wasn’t the right time and neither of us felt a peace about doing it. I really didn’t want to pay retail for it. I wanted to find one on Craigslist, but the thing with that is Craigslist isn’t always the place to go if you’re particular about what you want.

So the days went on. I didn’t look for a couch consistently but every so often I’d look for one. About a week ago I really started to look. I wasn’t about to get what I didn’t want, but if someone was selling what I wanted then we’d talk.

Two days ago, I answered an add on the website. The price seemed a bit low, and there was no picture. So I figured it wouldn’t be something we’d want but I emailed him and thought why not. Yesterday when the picture was sent, Dan and I both said, “That’s our couch!” So immediately I emailed the guy back and said, “I want it. When can we get it?” Dan and I were already formulating in our heads about renting a U-Haul and picking it up today after church, and then the email came. The owner of the couch had agreed to sell it for $100 more than he was asking and she was getting first dibs. Dan and I were a little disappointed. I thanked him, and at first Dan and I were tempted to offer him more but didn’t feel at peace about doing that. So I emailed him asking him to let me know if the lady didn’t get the couch today.

This morning Dan and I went to church early and came home. We started looking at couches again on Craigslist. We were getting frustrated. The other couch seemed perfect, and was a quarter if that of the price what we would have bought it new.

Finally we both said, “Well, if that’s our couch, then that lady who said she was going to pay more for it isn’t going to show up at his house!” Thirty minutes after the lady was due to arrive I got an email. The seller exclaimed, “If you want it come now!” We did. In the end we paid the original agreed on price, and since he did miss out on an extra $100 I gave him a signed book of the last book I was in. The couch, while it does have a few minor issues, is the couch we wanted. Yes it is used, but I did only pay a quarter of what I would have paid retail. For right now, it meets our needs perfectly.

Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.


While a couch seems minor in the grand scheme of things, God knew what Dan and I wanted, and we got it for an awesome price. People often forget that God loves his people so much that the small things matter to Him too, because they matter to you. God loves you that much.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Trust in Him today. He loves you so much that even the small things in your life matter to Him!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lessons from 'The Cake Boss'

My family and I have been watching a lot of ‘The Cake Boss’ recently. It’s a TLC reality show about Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey. It appeals to both the creative and Italian side of our family. The first two seasons are on Netflix and it’s been a family show that we’ve been enjoying.

There was one episode that we just watched I had to write about. It’s on the first season like the 4th or 5th episode. A bride, who seemed less than thrilled about getting married and there was a lot of stuff that seemed going on with her, decided to show up the day before her wedding and criticize her cake. Buddy who is the main character/decorator of the show left her alone for a couple of moments with the cake to figure out what he could do to fix the cake for her. Despite the fact he’d designed exactly what she and her mom had agreed upon. So she decided that she was going to make a point and took all sorts of colored icing to this beautiful ivory wedding cake. She iced various colors all over it so he couldn’t fix it. She wanted him to make an entirely new cake for her in 24 hours and was making sure he didn’t have a choice.

After my jaw dropped to the floor I began thinking all sorts of things I would have done in his shoes. I’m thinking I wouldn’t make her the new one; I’d deliver the one she messed up on her wedding. I’m thinking forget that, she can go to Wal-Mart and get a sheet cake for her wedding what she did was wrong and disrespectful. Then I was like forget that I’d throw the thing on her. If she wants to act like a 3 year old then call her on it.

Despite of all the scenario’s I formulated in my head Buddy choose to do the mature thing. He made her a new cake in 24 hours, and personally delivered it to the wedding to prove that he could be mature. The bride wouldn’t go talk to him or thank him. He choose to do the right thing even though I’m sure it was difficult for him to do.

Many times in life scenario’s happen where people are just in the wrong. Their rude, and inconsiderate and most of the time it’s easy to have the reaction I did. I’m sure Buddy was going through all those thoughts in his head too. But he choose the high road and did what was right.

Matthew 5: 38-47“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Somehow all of us tend to forget the above scripture. It’s easy to forget how we need to treat each other. We have to choose to love people, even if we don’t want to. People won’t always be nice to you. Sometimes you have to realize that they may be going through things you don’t know about and you have to choose to be at peace with them even when you’d rather punch them.

As Kim Clement says, “Jesus choose to love the unlovable, touch the untouchable and reach the unreachable” . So if Jesus made that choice I think we can too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Fridge. . .the Final Episode

I started talking about my refrigerator some weeks ago because while we’d been out of town the electricity had been left off to it, and when we returned it resembled a science fair project. I compared it to hidden sin in our lives and how we needed to look at our own lives and clean out the junk. Then, last week I told you about the container that I found that still smelled like my rotten refrigerator and how it can be frustrating to think you let go of something when really you didn’t. I had to suck it up and throw out the container.

Today I bring you the final episode in my refrigerator tale. I buy milk once every two weeks. I didn’t realize when I bought my supply of milk that I had to wait to go grocery shopping for awhile because the refrigerator had lost a lot of his cool air and thus my milk would turn bad quicker. It came as a surprise to me when I reached into my refrigerator for the milk and what waited me was more foul smelling nastiness. Because the refrigerator had been turned off, I had to clean out the entire thing and bleach it, throw out two containers that still had a lingering odor and I lost a gallon of milk.

One can easily compare to my refrigerator tale of woe to the body of Christ. When one person decides that they don’t want to do what they know they must it’ll effect the whole body. Yes, God can raise up ones to fill the need in the meantime, but it’ll knock the whole body out of whack.

1Chorinthians 12:12-2612 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.


We need to realize that we are one body, and we need to start acting like it. We all have a part to play and we need each other to get where God has called us.

Too many times envy, jealousy, gossip, and strive get waved in the body of Christ, but that’s not unity. We cannot just think about our four and no more. We have to work together as a team in one accord.

As I relate this to my refrigerator saga, if I’m the electricity to the fridge and I’ve decided I don’t want to do my part anymore the whole refrigerator suffers.

Please don’t make the body of Christ stink like a rotting refrigerator because you’ve decided you don’t want to do your part in the body of Christ. We all need each other. There are ramifications to your decisions, and you may not see those right away, but their there. Keep moving forward. Keep choosing to do what God has called you to do, so that we as the body of Christ can fulfill it’s purpose on the earth.

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Continuing of the fridge saga

If you read my blog a week ago you heard the story of how my refrigerator was off for the three weeks that we were out of town and I returned to an unplanned science fair experiment in my kitchen. I compared that to how sometimes there are things lurking in us that we need to deal with and if you don’t deal with it, the stuff in our lives can get worse and worse.

Today, I have a continuing saga of the fridge episode. There had been a couple of containers that had left over’s in them while we were away and lets just say those left over’s were barley recognizable after three weeks of no refrigeration. As part of my cleaning out the fridge I threw out all the left over’s and cleaned out all the containers. I thought the containers would be fine to use again after they’d been washed and figured this attack of the smelly fridge was past me. So, after making dinner a week ago I reused one of those containers for left over’s. A few days ago I reheated some left over’s that had been in one of those containers. The taste of rotting food was lingering in the new food! I gasped as I took a big bite. It didn’t matter what the left over’s were, they now tasted like rot! It was disgusting. Needless to say I had to swallow my cheapness and toss the container. I didn’t finish my meal.

Sometimes life can be like that. We think an issue has been taken care of, but something happens and you find out it hasn’t been. So you have to go back and take care of it.

Matthew 9:17 (NIV) Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

You have to continue to work on yourself especially if you expect God to continue fill you up with new things in your life.

I remember when my oldest daughter was just a baby. Me saying I felt overwhelmed was an understatement. I was far away from home, we had very few friends in FL, and we had little resources. I didn’t know how to raise a baby. I can remember spending too long trying to get her to sleep and laying her gently in her crib. We only had a one bedroom apartment at the time and Dan was the only one working. I didn’t want her crying an waking him up because he had to go to work in the morning. With frustration I sighed when she starting to scream again and I found myself going back to the crib and picking her up. I can remember clearly feeling God speak to me saying something along the line that it’s frustrating for Him when He worked with us to get past a situation or an issue in our lives and He’s moving on to something else, when he looks and sees we haven’t really given that thing up. We’re back doing the same old thing.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be an old container/old wineskin and frustrate God. I want to continue to be changed moving forward.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Allow God to do in your life what He needs to do in order to get you on the other side. Change in your life what you need to change and don’t pick it up again. You don’t want to be known as an old wineskin, and you certainly don’t want to be known as a smelly piece of a rotting container. Allow God to continue to change you for His glory. Nothing is worth holding onto. You’ll be a better person for His glory if you just let go of the old.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What I learned going to my in-laws' church

When I was up in Canada I went to my in-laws’ church. It’s a denomination that is very different than what I’m used to. It’s not a church I would normally choose to attend. Every time that I enter into a church that’s like this I always try to keep myself open to hear from God.

This particular Sunday the message was on

Matthew 1:20 (NIV)But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

I began to think about this story as the message continued. Joseph had been making his own plans to put Mary away peacefully once he learned she was pregnant and obviously he knew he wasn’t that baby’s daddy. He started to make his own plans. If you read in the context, Joseph wasn’t going to raise this child. But God intervened and gave him a dream telling him basically that Mary was telling the truth and for him to continue to take Mary as a wife.

I started to think how funny that was, and how God does that sometimes. He’ll let us form our own thoughts, make up our plans and then tell us which way to go. It gave me a moment of pause and great encouragement because as I was thinking about this I realized that in some choices Dan and I are making if we weren’t on the right target, God would have revealed it to us. It gave me great encouragement to yet again realize that we must be hearing from God on some matters because we were still getting a green light.

God was “speaking” to me and I was in a church that most people in my circles wouldn’t think He “spoke” in.

What’s my point? God can speak to us no matter where we are. I don’t need to be in a church with 5 prophets every moment. The spirit of the Lord dwells on the inside of me, and we all can hear from God.

Too often we set behind our denominational (or non-denominational) walls and hide. We think we have all the answer and anyone who isn’t under our label does not. That is so sad!

Paul says it best in this scripture.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)10I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I'll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. 11-12I bring this up because some from Chloe's family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you're fighting among yourselves! I'll tell you exactly what I was told: You're all picking sides, going around saying, "I'm on Paul's side," or "I'm for Apollos," or "Peter is my man," or "I'm in the Messiah group." 13-16I ask you, "Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul's name?" I was not involved with any of your baptisms—except for Crispus and Gaius—and on getting this report, I'm sure glad I wasn't. At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas's family, but as far as I can recall, that's it.) 17God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.

So the next time you get invited to a church, as long as Christ is the foundation of that ministry and they haven’t gotten off, then maybe just maybe God can speak to you there too. Maybe just maybe the whole body of Christ needs to start recognizing that we are all the body, and stop trying to fight against each other. We all can learn from each other.

Friday, January 7, 2011

UPDATE: Exposing the spirit of Balaam

Exposing the spirit of Balaam is set to release in March of 2012, and not 2013!!!

Wow so I've been prophesying that 2011 we'd be able to accomplish more than we could in 7, I just feel like the acceleration has been turned up a notch!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Divine Happenings At The Border

Divine happenings at the border

Last week I was traveling back into the US from the Windsor Canada border. The ordeal is always one filled with tense moments. My kids who are 9 and 4 were in the back seat. They were getting restless and starting to argue. We had nothing to hide; my husband though he’s been a citizen of the US for the last several years, always gets nervous when we cross. I looked in the mirror. I looked pretty rough having opted to wait and take a shower when we got to my mom and dad’s. The line was taking a really long time. So I start praying for wisdom and discernment on the border guards. To me they have one of the hardest jobs out there. They have a split second to make a decision that could affect the country and the people in it. That’s when I noticed the border guards walking through the line of cars and randomly stopping to check cars and question people. In all my years of traveling back and forth across this border I had never seen them do this before, and while we had nothing to hide, now I’m officially nervous. They found “something” in the car diagonal from us because that guy was getting questioned and pulled to the searching area. My four-old began voicing her restlessness. The tension was mounting like building blocks in the car. I began thinking well, if they pull us in for questioning it’s not the end of the world. But wait what if they think they found something and it’s not what they think it is. We don’t have anything to hide. But what if we get detained, what’ll happen with the kids? We’ll get to my mom and dad’s eventually. . .

Finally we arrived to the border guard. He took our passports and scanned them. Since I was the one driving he asked what I did for a living. I’m pretty sure this information appears on their screen and he was just verifying I was the same person on my passport.

“I’m a writer and a stay-at-home mom.” I replied.

“Really what do you write?” He questioned. I started talking to him. Long story short it, the guy was a believer and is interested in my books now. After all that tension before we got to him, we laughed for a long time after we pulled on to the highway. It was too funny that the border guard just happened to be a believer who now is “going to be checking out my work online.”

So often our brains go into “worse case scenario” mode if we let them. As a writer sometimes I start imagining all sorts of wild possibilities that don’t happen. I hit the drama button and the next thing I know there is a soap opera of “what if’s.” In truth it worked out okay. All was well.

I have often said that you need to treat your mind like a horse with reigns. If you don’t keep holding tight to that and remind yourself what God says on matters then those thoughts will and can run wild.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Renewing your mind is a constant battle. You have to take every thought captive even when you’re in the midst of difficult situations. God is for you who can be against you. You have to choose to trust in God, and not wild imaginations.

The entire situation worked out very well. We got through and got to my mom and dad’s, and now have another funny border story to add to our list. Remember life is too short to freak out. Trust God. It will be well!



 

Monday, January 3, 2011

What is lingering in your fridge?

As most of you know I just spent the last three weeks in the North. We had an awesome trip and it was hard for me to come home. Right before Dan left our house, due to an electrical error our fridge lost power. While I didn’t have much of anything in the refrigerator, at various time throughout our trip I kept mentally going down the list of things I knew that awaited me when we returned home. It was a really good thing that our flight returned mid day because as soon as we got home, I got to work. What awaited us could only be defined as a science fair project. It was nasty! Mold in places that should never have mold, and the smell lingered for a couple of days even after I bleached and bought baking soda.

Many times we treat things that are going wrong in our life like my refrigerator. We know that there is a mess in certain areas. Sure, we may mentally give it some thought now and then. But we find ourselves procrastinating about it. Thinking we’ll just deal with it later. In reality it just gets worse and worse.

There is an old argument about how one pulls off a band-aid. Is it best to pull it off quickly and the pain is over quickly? Or is it best to gradually do it so the pain lingers? I’m of the school of pull it off quickly. Get it over with and deal with the situation.

Luke 8:17 (Amplified Bible)For there is nothing hidden that shall not be disclosed, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come out into the open.

Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Stop procrastinating. Make a New Year’s Resolution! Be more honest with yourself. Avoiding situations is really denial, which is lying to yourself.

We’ve all avoiding dealing with certain situations because we tell ourselves we don’t want to, but eventually it’s got to be dealt with. Whatever the stinky refrigerators are in your life, make the commitment to deal with them today. Sometimes you may not know how. Ask the Lord. He’ll show you what’s the bleach and baking soda to your mess, and with His help it’ll be okay!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Get excited this is an exciting time in the Kingdom!