Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014: The New, The Now, The Not In-Between


 

If you have read my blogs for a while now, you know that I take some time off when I travel in the summer and also around the holidays.  This year is no different.  My family and will be having some much needed time with family and friends in the North.  My prayer is that God rejuvenates and speaks to us in the ways of direction as only He can.  We pray that we are used by God to touch those we come in contact.  Usually I write the New Year blog right at the first of the year, but this year will be a little different.  I wanted to write it now, and I hope it is encouraging to many who read it. 

Last year I prophesied that 2013 would be a year what was unseen would become seen.  I certainly saw that happening in various arenas.  From the IRS scandal, to various other controversies what was already being done was brought to the surface.  We saw this happen in our own lives too in several avenues.  Personally we had plans to sell our home for years, but this year it manifested and did so very quickly.  I had wanted to get on TBN for years, and this year it happened.  The things that had been orchestrated under the surface in many arenas were brought to light.

Some months ago I began to pray about 2014 and this phrase, ‘The New, The Now, The Not In-Between” began to echo deep within me.   Transition and change is a part of everyone’s life whether they want to accept that or not.  God brings His children through different seasons.  For Dan and me, we’ve felt we’ve been in a very long transition.  It’s been as if we’ve closed one chapter of our life and while we’ve kind of started the next chapter, we’ve been ready to read on ahead and get to the good parts. (grin)

I believe it will be a year for many of God bringing them into The New, The Now, and not this in-between season place were frustration seems to be looming over your head.

Isaiah 54:12a (NKJ) I will make your pinnacles of rubies

I have spent a lot of time in Isaiah 54 and suddenly last week this scripture jumped out at me.  A pinnacle is a high height.  In some translations this word also is translated as a battlement.  Again something that is high and to be seen.  A ruby is something precious and valuable.  What I believe God is saying here is that he will make those high moments in your life valuable and precious.  This New and Now thing that God is bringing to your life will be very precious to you because He’s bringing us to a place that only He can bring you.  That doesn’t mean everything will be smooth and easy, but it means He’s doing the work in you he promised to you.  Let the New and Now thing be precious to you.  Don’t focus on the years you’ve felt stuck In-between but see what He is doing and thank Him for that.

As we all spend time this season reconnecting to relatives and friends.  Don’t forget to connect to God, so that He can make your pathway clear.  Start this New Year with fresh vision and a new spring in your step.  Allow God to bring you into the New, The Now, and the Not In-Between.  I assure you, He won’t disappoint you!

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mommy, how many lives do we get?


 

My kids love to steal my tablet to play games; making them well versed in Angry Birds, Santa Rider, and Grandma Run.  Now that we’re sharing one car they tend to play a few games while waiting for Dan to get off work, once their homework is done of course.  My youngest daughter is one of the most curious kids I have ever been around.  The phrase, “Mommy has no idea about that, why don’t we go home and Google it?” gets used a lot.  She’s got such a sweet easy going personality, but every once in a while she’ll say some of the most profound things and then just go back to being the same fun loving kid.  She switches in seconds and honestly one can never be sure what will come out of her mouth. 

Last week while she was playing a game, she suddenly stopped and in all seriousness asked me, “Mom how many lives do we get?”  It took me a few moments to understand what she was asking me.  I was busy trying to help my oldest with geometry (certainly not my best subject), and my mind was going several different directions. 

“What do you mean how many lives do we get?”  I tried to stop and look at her.  She repeated her question as she tapped on the tablet screen.  I knew then what she as asking me.  If you got so many chances in Angry Birds…she wanted to know if we were the same, if we had more the one life if we messed up.

“We have one life.  Of course there are miracles where some get raised from the dead, like Jesus, and I’ve heard of that happening to other people.  But really we have one life.”  When my daughter asks these kinds of questions I try very hard to take the opportunity to talk to her.  This case was no different.  I explained to her that we only had one chance at life and we needed to make the best of it.  She thought for a moment, and as if spending the moment of her ounce of seriousness, went back to giggling and telling jokes. 

I however couldn’t shake her question.  Too many people live their lives as if they are characters on some video game.  They think that they have all the lives in the world, and they have all the time in the world.  We all lose sight that life is a gift and while God sometimes grants us second chances we really have on chance on this earth. 

Dan said something to me last night very profound.  He said, “I think if we all really understood and had a glance at our eternity we’d realize how short our lives really are… how much more we wouldn’t allow the small frustrations in life really get to us.”

James 4:14 (ESV)


14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

            Life is short.  Enjoy your life.  Love those around you lots, and make a difference on the earth for the Kingdom of God.  We all only have one life to live.  Let’s make it count.  Guard yourself from letting the small irritations in life to frustrate you or derail your goals.  We’ll all have to face the Lord and give an account for our lives.  Let’s make our gift of life count.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update on Defending Freedom of Speech

 

This afternoon I went to the meeting with the principal and the teacher regarding the incident I spoke about this morning in this blog. 

While the teacher’s definition (as spoken in front of his boss and the principal) of what went on and was said in his classroom certainly deferred from what I was told by my daughter, it was good to hear both sides of the story.  Of course I do believe that the teacher backpedaled a bit, and I believe my child.  I am choosing to let this situation go.  At this point I will not be going to the media.  I felt that I needed to take a stand for Freedom of Speech.  In my own corner of the world, I believe I did.  However I won't hesitate to do cause a stink again if I feel this situation continues to happen.

Thank you to all who prayed with me during this drama.  Smiles!

Defending Freedom of Speech


 

We live in an America where it seems more and more our freedoms and the Constitution continues to be trampled upon.  It’s shocking to me that it’s gone beyond just religious prosecution, but it’s violating the ideals that America was founded. 

While I live in a small part of the US, I have seen things swing more and more towards a Socialistic or Communistic society.  We are sadly leaving our free democratic nation aside and moving to ideologies that is not how this nation is founded.  In short I believe our forefathers are “rolling in their graves.”  The United States was founded in order to give people a nation to have the freedoms to worship and be who they felt their Creator called them to be.  It wasn’t freedom from all religion, but freedom from a set religion being forced down ones throat from a government.

My children have gone to a public charter school for the last 8 years.  For the most part, I have loved that school.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a few differences over the years.  For many reasons we’ve known that their time in the school had already been drawing to a close though I’m not exactly sure when that’ll happen.  What is happening now is not how I want my family’s time at that school to be remembered.  However it appears that I will have to make a stand.

For the last several weeks my oldest daughter, (7th grade) has been telling me about conversations in her science class.  I knew they were discussing the theory of evolution.  Evidently this teacher has been talking about it over and over again as if it were a fact.  I have also learned that he’s been mocking people who believed in the entire Bible.  The first time I heard about this, I reminded my daughter that it is a theory and we discussed what the Bible said.  I encouraged her if she felt the need to tell the teacher what she believed.  I had hoped this would be the end of the conversation.  However it wasn’t.  There were several instances, and thus I knew it was time for me to step in.

With a quick google search, I was able to find out that in 2008 the Florida Board of Education deemed that Evolution needed to be taught as a theory.  So in a nicely worded email I reminded the teacher of this.  His response shocked me.  In reference to evolution, be assured that I will be putting an emphasis that it is a theory. We have previously gone over the difference between Law and Theory, which I'll remind them of when we get to evolution. Saying that, please know that I try very hard to have the students keep their personal beliefs to themselves, but sometimes they blurt things out without my permission. Know that they will receive consequences for blurting out their opinions, especially if it may be offensive to other students.”

What?  I was furious with this thought.  Why would anyone want to silence a child or anyone for that matter stating how they felt?  What happened to freedom of speech?  I may not agree with some of his theories or other opinions in the room, but I believe it’s an American right, it’s a human right to state how you believe.  Why is it that in the name of “not wanting to offend anyone” that we’ve allowed that to steal the freedom of speech from us? 

I reiterated to him that if my child or another in the room would be disrespectful or rude then I agreed with consequences but if someone is just stating their beliefs then why would that be punished?  To me this argument is past creationism vs. evolution.  It’s about freedom of speech.  It’s about those kids being able to speak up without thinking they’ll get punished.  I mean that for my daughter the Christian, the girl the Atheist, the boy the Muslim, and the other child the Jehovah’s Witness.  I believe we all have the right to state our beliefs.

Today I get to go into my children’s principal’s office and sit down with the principal and a teacher to defend the United States Constitution.  I’m not sure what one wears to go and do this.  I’m half tempted to walk in dressed like George Washington complete with a powdered wig and three cornered hat.  Somehow I think that would get my point across.

I am not a person to go hunting down issues.  However I believe that when an issue presents itself one has an obligation to stand up and defend the situation.  It is these little battles that steamroll into more and more violations of freedoms.  Many Christians believe that we need to just shut up, be a doormat, and keep our head in the sand.  However the more we do that the more we lose the battle in this nation.  I believe we’ve lost so many freedoms because we’ve all stayed quiet.  I refuse to let this issue just slide under the rug.  In fact unless this is handled well today, I don’t want to do this, I will start trying to pull in the media.  I believe we all need to do our part in our own worlds.  I believe Ronald Regan said it best.  Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

I believe we all have an obligation to take a stand for what is right in the world around us.  I believe if we all stand up in our own communities, then it will make a difference the nation as a whole.  I’m not suggesting a terrorist activity, that’s crazy.  But I am suggesting we open our mouths and speak out for what is right.  "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

I thank you all for your prayers today, to give me the wisdom of what to say and how to say it.

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blue! Orange! Blue! Orange!


 

I purchased Mojo, our cute longhaired mini doxie dog, two ball toys some time ago but just gave them to him this weekend.  If I do buy him a dog toy and scan down the aisle.  My criteria are: that it can’t have a squeaker to drive me bonkers in the middle of the night, and I look for how it will be torn apart.  It’s because of that I typically make toys for him anymore out of worn out jeans. 

Mojo was so beyond excited to get his new toys. He pranced and he played. The balls had come in a two pack and perhaps I should have only given him one at first.  Because his biggest problem was deciding which one he wanted.  He’d take the orange one, and then the blue.  I’d throw one of them and he’d try to fit both of them in his mouth.  I took one in each hand and would give him the one, only to see him change his mind.  He wanted the orange, no the blue, no the orange, no the blue.  This went on and on.  It was like he couldn’t thoroughly enjoy his gift because he wanted them both.

We do the same thing as humans.  We live under the ‘grass is always greener’ mentality.  We think everyone has it better than ourselves and then we wonder why we are so discontent and unhappy in our lives. We think that just because someone’s facebook profile looks cooler than ours, then what is wrong with what we have?  Behind every picture, I don’t care who you are, there is always going to be its own set of issues.  Behind ever fa├žade everyone is walking through or going through something.  Even geographically this time of the year, many think living in a warmer climate is somehow the ultimate.  I assure you that even as I currently live in FL I’d rather be north. I miss the seasons. We all tend to want what we either can’t have or don’t have.

You know you can talk yourself out of your blessing by comparing what you don’t have to what you do. 


Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.


Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Its okay to want more out of life than what and where you may be now.  That’s what propels you to move forward and not be stagnant.  However you have to be content with where you are.  There is peace, rest, satisfaction, and life fulfillment when you are in the land of being content.  When you are so caught up about how the grass looks everywhere else but in your own yard you are not going to be happy.  You simply can’t enjoy the things that are in front of you.  Enjoy your life.  It is a gift.  Be content in what you have, in the season you are in, and be at peace that God is in control.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quitting UNO



My family sat around and played UNO together a few nights ago.  Friends of us have taught us a new spin on the rules; if a plus something card is put on the pile then the next person can defer their picking up those cards if they have the same plus number card then the next person has to pick up the total amount.  So to explain that if I threw down a +4 card, and the next person threw down a +4 then the third person had to pick up 8 cards.  Whether these are actual rules or made up rules it certain amounts for some fun card games.  However the other night the +4’s kept being laid down until my youngest daughter found herself stiffed to pick up 16 cards.  Laughter, hoots, and cries could have probably been heard from several houses away. 

She cried, “That’s it I quit!”

She wanted to quit.  She decided it looked hopeless.  But, I wouldn’t let her quit.  “No, you’ll finish this game.”  So we finished the game, and she didn’t win that game.  I think I did.  But the next game we played she did win.

It can be so easy in the midst of the situation to get bogged down with what appears to be impossible and want to quit.  There is no condemnation here, I’ll admit to going through the same thoughts and emotions at times.  You have to purpose within your heart that no matter what storms may happen you won’t quit.  Take my daughter and UNO for example.  If she would have quit when she got dealt a difficult situation, she would have cheated me out of the one win, and she wouldn’t have won the next one herself.  Our quitting affects those around you and stops us from walking in victory. 

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)


And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

            I want to encourage all of you today.  Don’t quit.  Don’t grow weary. Look up, your help draws nigh.  I know it can be easy, but you don’t know what’s around the next corner.  Push through it and keep moving forward.  God is faithful to you.  He is faithful in your situation.  Put your trust in Him.  Do not allow such minor circumstances get your off of His plan for your life.  Life is an endurance run, it’s not a sprint.  Keep moving forward.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Funeral Procession For My Car



Many years ago when we got my car we walked out nothing short of a classic miracle story of a divine plan and some appearing to be crazy circumstances.  Dan and I had been in need of a vehicle.  We’d planted some seed toward it.  I happened to be visiting my parents in Ohio for a wedding, and got in touch with a friend of the family who is employed by a dealership and has always gotten us great deals on cars.  Long story short though I had plans to fly back to FL, after spending time on the phone with Dan and the family friend (sometimes at the same time) we ended up purchasing this vehicle at the same amount we’d sown seed for over the dealer price.  However they’d needed Dan's signature for the car loan, so my mother, oldest daughter, and myself were permitted to take it on a really “long test drive” to Florida.  So my mother could get Dan’s signature on the paperwork, and fly back to Ohio.  Dan bought the car sight unseen.  Through a series of events we had the car paid off two years later. 

We knew that that car had seen better days.  Now many years later I could list all the problems with it.  It’s been a stable vehicle, but as most vehicles go the time comes they simply aren’t worth repairing.  For a list of reasons my husband and I had plans to sell it sometime between two weeks to two months from now.  It’s is now our second vehicle, and for a short period of time we’d agreed it was best to go down to one. 

Somehow I think the car got wind of our plans because on Saturday as Dan and I and my youngest daughter drove back from the store, my trusty vehicle decided it was done.  Well, it wasn’t completely done. . .it sputtered, stalled and stopped.  Dan pulled over right away.  It wasn’t anything obvious.  Praying all the way to the house as the car stalled at every light, driving with our flashers on, and hearing cars behind us zoom around us it was as if we had a funeral procession for my car.  We’re pretty sure it’s the engine, and that’s more than we’re willing to put into it.

I’ll admit the frustration at it dying just before we decided it was time. I’ll admit a moment of discouragement.  But we had to make the choice for it not to get us down.  Something’s in life are just beyond our control, and you have to learn to just roll with it whether you think you’re ready to or not.

Recently someone asked me in an interview about how one learns to move with God in ministry and life, and essentially my response was, “You have to learn to just go with it.  My dad always says, “In life you have to learn to play the hand you’re dealt.”  In essence the Bible echoes a similar statement. 

Matthew 5:25-31


Do Not Worry


25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

            I confess I have spent too much of my life as a worrier.  I’m working on it.  But the Bible teaches us you can’t do it.  You have to play the hand your dealt.  Trust God, and know He’s got it all worked out.  I can’t control the fact my car wanted to die earlier than I wanted it to.  But I can control how I react to it.  I can keep my chin up, and just keep going forward.  It’s like a hurdler running a race.  I have to just jump over the hurdle whether I planned it to be there or not.  If I stop too long to over analyze it, I’ll just trip. 

            Whatever it is in your life that you’re annoyed, frustrated, and worrying about, stop worrying.  Keep moving forward.  There is a new season busting forth.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Enjoying the Holidays; Dealing with Difficult People


 
For my American readers this week marks Thanksgiving; for my Canadian ones sorry I know it was in October and for the other ones around the world humor me for a moment.  I’m an American girl (grin).  In the US, Thanksgiving kicks off a month of holiday fun and parties that leads into CHRISTmas (oh yes, I said it, grin) into the New Year.  This means a month of twinkling lights, Church specials, indulging a tad too much, and a load of gatherings that most likely will at least make you want to smack a few people once or twice (I always say family can bring out the best and worst in people).  I will only be writing one blog this week.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving.  However,  I must add a couple disclaimers here before I proceed in this blog: 1)  No we don’t celebrate Santa Clause in my house (ie the picture) it’s a personal choice and I really don’t need a dozen emails disagreeing with this picture that was very fitting to this topic, and 2) In talking about difficult family situations I am NOT talking about anyone specific in my family or my husbands, but making a lot of generalizations so no one is allowed to take a personal offense to anything I write….thank you.  J
Dan and I have lived across the country for over 13 years from ALL our family.  The holidays are one of the few times every year that we get to spend time with our extended families.  I think the lack of family on a regular basis has helped teach me how to deal better in difficult situations.  However it doesn’t stop the situations from occurring.  There are always the situations that arise that are difficult.  There always tends to someone on some side of the family that wants to make an off handed comment about someone’s weight, children, and career choices.  Random comments can be hurtful.  Holiday parties can turn into explosive events and it go from "decking the halls" to raging lunatics in about 2.2 seconds.   Such small comments, irritations, and aggravations can steal the joy of the moment.  I thought I’d give you some of our tips we’ve learned.
1)      We pray.  Before going into a situation that could turn difficult we pray.  We thank God that He has given us such amazing people that love us, and we ask for peace and joy in the time we have with them.  We ask God to guard us from offense.
2)      Don’t sweat the small off handed comments.  Seriously, for me to have family time is like a breath of fresh air.  Sometimes I feel like a sponge trying to soak it all in to sustain me for the desert lack of family time when we’re away.  So I try to guard my heart from those small comments.  Sometimes even in the midst of the comment, if I can separate what was said from the intention I can realize the person meant to express their love they just said it an abrasive way.  Try to separate the intention from the words. 
3)      Choose to show love.  If you know that a certain individual is already defensive and guarded around you, then show them love.  Sometimes I often joke that one can come up with an approved list of topics when the person is around and stay on script.  I’m not saying you can’t disagree with someone.  But, it’s the holidays.  If you must disagree do it sweetly and in love.
A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
4)       BITE Your Tongue.  You don’t need to always be right.  The Lord spoke to me years ago in the arena of marriage that a “Woman who always has to be right will be a divorced woman.”  Harsh, I know, but true.  You don’t always have to argue your point in public situations.  I’m not saying to compromise.  But learn how to look at potential explosive situations, and don’t let them become boiling over.  Sometimes it’s okay to let things go, even when you know your right.

Psalm 34:13 (NKJV)

13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit
            Even though holiday functions can be a test of practicing the fruit of the spirit, they are the most amazing majestic time of the year in my opinion.  Enjoy them, enjoy your family, and enjoy the people around you.  Family is such a gift, and life is too precious to take those for granted around you.  No matter how difficult and how abrasive someone might be around you, it’s not worth it to flesh out at a family function.  Now I’m not saying sometimes people are so bad that you don’t need to separate yourself, but I think you get my point. 
            Enjoy this time of the year.  Remember Jesus is the Reason for the season. 
            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sudden Divine Interventions



I’m going to write a little bit off the cuff today.  This is about some things I’ve been feeling in my family’s lives as well as the season we are in the body of Christ. 

Honestly Dan and I have faced some of the most intense seasons I’ve ever faced in ministry and life to date.  It wasn’t just about the move from our old home.  There are a lot of long awaited transitions happening that I’ll talk about in the coming days.  It’s been a season where God has spoken some very specific things to our heart and the pieces have yet come together.  I’ll admit my attitude hasn’t been the greatest about this pace that has felt like a skipping record stuck on repeat.  “Come on God,” I’ve wanted to yell, “I know you see me.  I know you have better plans, so let’s get this party started.  I want to run!”

I know I’m not alone in this.  There are many in the body of Christ in similar situations.  God has spoken some things, and it feels as if the pressure has been turned up to the maximum.  You’re trying to hold on and not be a rocking boat, but truly something has to give soon.

This morning in prayer I kept praying out the phrase “Divine Interventions of God.”  It’s a phrase I’ve prayed out numerous times in the last few months along with “Suddenlies” and “Turnaround.”  I believe that as a body we’re all in this season of time where as it looks now it seems nothing can change.  The very thing that God has spoken to you seems impossible, and the road before you seems so narrow and winding that you can barely see where you’re headed.


Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth;

Many of you have heard it preached before that Joseph went from the pit to the palace in one day.   He did.  God often allows us to go to what seems like impossible situations.  It’s not to mess with you, but it’s to help you build your faith.  It’s so that you know that you know the answers that He brought were Him. 


But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Trust in Him today despite of what you can see.  Trust that He is making a way in the wilderness and He has not abandoned you.  Wrap your faith around Sudden Divine Interventions.  Speak it over your circumstance.  I believe you’ll see that thing that seemed so momentous in your life begin to melt like wax.  Trust Him.  He loves you.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Pink House



Over eight years ago when my husband and I purchased a house closer to his work and our church, right away I dubbed it the ‘Pink House’.  I had never been a huge fan of pink but the lady who had the home before us certainly was.  It had brand new carpet that was a Pepto pink, countertops all pink, vertical blinds pink, the outside had pink accents, and even the tile had pink wisps next to the white.  As a joke once we bought it we began ‘Operation Depinking’.  Over the years we’d managed to either work with the pink, or change a lot of it.  We put a lot of work into that house.  It’s odd how homes can almost become like members of the family.  The pink grew on me.

For a whole list of reasons, that at the moment I’m not going to publicly go into, Dan and I had felt we needed to sell the pink house.  Simply put the time had come to move forward into a new season of our lives, and while we loved our home, in order to go to the next season the house needed to be sold.  Honestly we thought the process would be a long ordeal, or we probably wouldn’t have put it on the market when we did.  The house was only on the market for two days, and had two bids right away, but that is story we’ll save for another time. 

We moved from the pink house this weekend.  It was a myriad of bittersweet emotions.  We knew it was the right choice, and I have no regrets.  However it was emotional.  My youngest daughter was born since we bought the home, we thought of all the friends that had come and gone in that time.  My grandmother, who has since moved in with Jesus, helped us move into the house.  We thought of our spiritual poppa, who also has moved in with Jesus, and the times he was over to the house.  My list can go on and on.  Special memories can play like a film projector in your mind with some sappy orchestra music if you let it, and while we all know that selling the house can never take those memories it was very emotional.

When God is doing a new season in your life it can be so easy to hold onto the old.  Your emotions can run their course, and it’s as if with such a tight grip you may not want to let go.  Emotions aren’t a bad thing, and neither are memories.  However if you let them control your decisions then you’ll never be able to move in the timing of God.

Philippians 3:12 (NIV) “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected;   but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

So I want to encourage you all today, as my family and I mourn the ending of one season and rejoice in what is ahead, to let go of the things where God is leading you to let go.  Hold tightly where he is telling you to move forward, and be every obedient to move in the direction of His leading.  Whatever the ‘Pink House’ is in your life, it’s not worth getting outside of your destiny and the leading of God.  The memories will always be there, but now it’s time to move forward into something new.

Isaiah 43:18-19a (NIV) “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Finger Full of Mojo Poo


 

A few days ago our dog Mojo came in from the outside while we were finishing dinner. Right away something smelled off.  It smelled rank.  Right away the Northern Woods Girl came out of me and I wondered how did this dog get around a skunk?  I found myself beginning to wonder if we had enough tomato juice for a skunk smell to clean him up. 

We opted by started to give him a bath.  The smell was atrocious and my eyes almost began to water as I reached down to his collar to take it off.  As I did, my finger gooed in what I knew right away was poop.  I think Mojo had rolled in it, got it wedged in his collar, and now permeated the odor all through my house.  In the end he had to be scrubbed at least three times, all my surfaces cleaned, and I’m still not sure he was 100% clean.

People in general can be like this in life.  You know something doesn’t seem quite right with them.  You try to help them out by helping them out, lending an ear, speaking the Word of God over them to clean them up, and when you do you find out there was a whole lot more going on than what you realized.  Sometimes other peoples “poo” or mess can get all over you if you let it. 

Absolutely, God wants us to love our brother and sister in the Lord, but we also have to guard ourselves from drama that might pull us down.  You need to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 23:29), sometimes you might get dirty, but clean it off.  The Bible also preaches that bad company corrupts good character (1Corinthians 15:33).  You have to learn to find the balance.  Love them, do whatever you can for them, but learn how to draw the line.  Jesus didn’t go around in his time on the earth worried, depressed, and caught up in other people’s drama.  He had compassion on people.  They came to Him.  He performed signs, wonders, and miracles for them.  But I can promise you at the end of the day he went to his camp at peace.  He learned to have rest even in all the unrest around Him. 

Think about this as God puts people in your life.  Sometimes the enemy can and does use your good intentions to snare you, and pull you down.  Guard your heart, love people, and trust God.

Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, November 11, 2013

13 Years Later


Many of you have heard me tell the story time and time again how 13 years ago today, Dan and I left my parents driveway in Ohio to head to Florida.  Dan and I had been living in Pittsburgh, PA for him to finish out his 2nd AA degree.  We were seeking the Lord as to where He wanted us to move.  I knew it wasn’t just for a job, but for the right church.  It was for God to put Dan and I  to be under a ministry to help us grow up in the things of God and to prepare us for what He had for us in ministry. 

While driving home from work one day in the Pittsburgh hills I heard the Lord say to me, “You’re going to Orlando and Dan is going to work at ***** company.”  I remember going home to Dan and telling him this.  I remember his response, “That would be great but ***** company hasn’t hired me yet.”  So we went on our quest to continue to try to figure out what God was doing and what he wanted.  Several job possibilities came and went in that season. Dan graduated, our lease was up, and we didn’t know what else to do so we moved all our stuff in my parents’ garage in Ohio thinking it would only be for a few weeks, and moved in with them.  Four months later:  we almost moved to New Jersey, there were some possibly California, almost moved to Cincinnati, Dan had to turn a job down in Columbus, then there was the Wisconsin company who took one look at Dan’s resume and swore they couldn’t afford him, and he was second in line at a job in Boca Raton.  Out of sheer desperation we drove down to FL.  He got as many job interviews as he could including one at ***** company.  *****company loved him but couldn’t hire him yet.  On our way back through the state, we got a phone call on my cell phone.  A small startup company in Orlando wanted to interview him before we left that area.  Travel rumpled, unshaven, and a little weary Dan and I drove to this guy’s garage for an interview.  That man wanted to hire the Dan on the spot.  We drove back to Ohio and began to pray. 

This is about the time we found out our oldest daughter was going to make a surprise appearance in our lives.  Fairly newly married we were in no place in our minds to be starting a family.  It wasn’t until months later that I would find out that I could still get COBRA insurance from my former job for prenatal care.  We panicked, but new our options were slim.  We had to make a decision and we had to do it quickly.  The guys’ garage startup wasn’t *****company, but it was getting us to the right location.  We were going to leave Ohio to Orlando, Florida.

I’d like to tell you 13 years ago that Monday Veterans Day Morning that I was full of faith, and was sure this was the right choice for our lives, but I was scared and nervous.  I puked with morning sickness all the way to the Florida line I think. 

We left Ohio on a Monday, got to FL on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning we woke up and began calling local churches we wanted to check out in the area.  Knowing very little about Orlando, I had called my church in Ohio to see if they knew of any good ones here.  They went through a directory of affiliated churches and gave me a few names.  I had a couple I wanted to check out too.  Freedom Tabernacle (Today, it’s Freedom Life) Church was the first one to answer their phone.  We set our plans to attend a service that night.

On Wednesday night as we pulled into the parking lot I wish I could tell you that I prophetically knew we were walking into a divine appointment.  I didn’t.  We were just going forward with the doors that seemed to open. 

When Pastor Arthur took the platform and took one look at Dan and I he began to prophesy that “we were not tumbleweeds and God had moved us down to FL” The prophesy is quite lengthy, and I’m paraphrasing but needless to say he read our mail.  At that moment we knew we’d found the church God had called us to.  We knew we’d found the right covering. 

Dan worked out of that guys garage for a couple months, then after a transition or so he went to work at ***** company.  In a swoop of divine timing that only God can do nine months later, the insurance for that job would kick in on a Monday and we had our oldest daughter by C section on that same Thursday.  It all worked out.  Dan and I still shake our head how it all did.  It was something only God could have done. 

Every time I tell this story, I am so overwhelmed by God’s ability to place people and get them where they need to be for the seasons of their lives.  Of course you have free will and you have to let Him do this in your life, but I have certainly seen that happen.  I set here 13 years later in the midst of some other transitions, but I am almost in tears.  Because I feel in this season we’ve run the race God put before us.  I am not proud at us by saying that.  I know how many times I wanted to quit.  But I am honored at the grace of God that He saw the end from the beginning. 

We always in life seem to cry to God and want all the answers.  Dan and I didn’t have all the answers when we came here.  We just knew we needed to go.  It wasn’t an easy decision, it was brutal, but we did what we knew He led us to do.

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

21 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.”

I often have preached about Joseph.  Joseph knew Jesus was the son of God.  There were so many prophesies concerning Jesus, but it wasn’t like Joseph had access to all of those.   It wasn’t like he sat in the manger next to a newly birthed Jesus with a large scroll saying, “Next we need to move to Egypt then Jesus is supposed to be from Nazareth, etc.”  All of those prophesies came into being because God led them place to place.  They were fulfilled because Joseph and Mary were obedient to the promptings of God and he led them where they needed to be going. 

That same God that led Joseph and Mary, that same God that led Dan and I through that very difficult season, is the same God that can do the same for you.  He is no respector of persons (Romans 2:11) I hope our story encourages you today.  It was a good reminder to me of what God has brought us through.  Be encouraged.  God is intimately concerned about your life.  Be open and obedient and He will direct you to the places He has called you to go.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Engine Blew Up!



I’ve mentioned before about my first car.  It was a 1979 Cutlass Oldsmobile.  We once fit nine people in it.  I do believe the periscope attachment came with a separate kit that I never received (insert sarcasm here).  All in all it was the perfect car to learn how to drive in.  I think I had a dent in it (some minor and some not so much) for every week I drove those few years I had the car.  Rocko (Its name) was a car of first car stories, which live in infamy within my family lore.

This story is one that I will probably never live down, though I’ve tried.  I’m guessing I’d only been driving about a year.  My parents were super awesome to bless me with the car, and every time I turned around it seemed that someone was checking the oil.  I didn’t know how to check oil, so I just assumed that all would be fine.  Until that fateful day when I drove the tank back from town and I saw smoke coming out of the engine, it never occurred to me that I would need to learn to check the oil.  I hate to be a dumb blonde stereotype here, because I don’t consider myself that and I hate those jokes, but in this moment I kind of reinforced that stereotype.  Sure I made it home for the vehicle to roll into the driveway.  Sure I was okay, but my Rocko was not.  It had died and we would need more than a hearse to get it out of my parents’ driveway.  Eventually the engine was replaced and I got the car back, but there was months that I was carless.

When it was discovered that the reason the engine had blown up, was because it had no oil in it I was in trouble. I claimed ignorance to all things car, which in all fairness wasn’t a legitimate excuse.  While I thought someone should have taught me these things, truthfully if I was going to take on the responsibility of a vehicle I should have taken the initiative to learn the basics.  I still maintain that instead of high schools making students learn how to build a bird house there should be a mandatory life skills class where kids learn how to change the oil and a tire.   

People often try to take the same ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach to life and the Bible.  But here is what the Bible says.

Hosea 4:6  (KJV)


My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)


15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV)


11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

            All of this meaning, God doesn’t want you to be ignorant.  He wants you to study the Bible so that you can know what it says.  Ignorance is not an excuse that will stand before God on the day that you and I have to stand before Him and give an account for our lives.  He doesn’t want us destroyed but wants us to know or have knowledge of His words and His will. 

            How easy it is for people to twist the Word of God and present it just slightly off to ones who don’t know what the Bible really says.  God doesn’t want you to end up with your ‘engine blown up’ so to speak.  He wants us fully functioning where He has placed us.  He wants us filled with the knowledge of His will and His plan.  Think about that the next time you study the word of God.  Get knowledge where your lacking and don’t just assume that those around you will take care of things for you.

            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!