Wednesday, October 30, 2013

H.A.L.T: Throw Me an Apple, and Let Me Take a Nap!


 

I’m going to be pretty real here for a few moments.  I had a rough night/morning.  I didn’t sleep well at all.  Dan and I have a list of changes and transitions going on in our household, which I will discuss more once we have more clarity (Prayers appreciated), and I confess I let my mind go in places of worry that it didn’t need to go to last night.  Yes, I know what the word of God says.  I believe it.  I know God is with us, we will have good success, and all will be well….sigh, sometimes God gets you in situations to stretch you and work your faith and I know it’ll all work out, but I’m kind of kicking and screaming at the moment. (Joshua 1:1-10, Jer 29:11)  It is true that the battlefield is in the mind, and I know that victory is ours says the Lord. 

As a result of a super lack of sleep, I was a bit edgy this morning.  I grumped at Dan and the girls.  I made the mistake of going to the Wal-Mart closest to my house to get groceries.  English is not the primary language at that Wal-Mart.  The lady working at the deli needed a translator to fill my order.  I stood there for at least 20 minutes while she did, and I wanted to start crying.  Since my acrobatic encounter this weekend (see Monday’s Blog), my ankle is still a tad on the sensitive side and while I stood there trying to explain to the lady what I wanted I could feel my ankle starting to swell.  For some reason, maybe it’s just me, but I tend to be a target in Wal Mart for people to cut me off in grocery traffic, and for kids to be screaming near me.  Seriously?  By the time I made it to the check out and sorted my coupons I thought I might be physically ill.  I admit I wasn’t overflowing with the ‘fruit of the spirit’ at that moment.  I didn’t snap at the cashier for not being able to run a coupon through, but I wanted too.  Fortunately my kids weren’t with me at the moment because my tolerance for whining was seriously low.

Laugh at me all you want, but we’ve all been in these moments.  The coffee-would-be-nice-leave-me-alone-and-no-one-gets-hurt moments that all you can do when you’re in public is hope that no one recognizes you.  I had to repent to God a few times just for thinking the way I was. 

I had pastors years ago that used to say that if you find yourself in the H.A.L.T (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired) then perhaps you should get some time with God and figure out what’s wrong.  Perhaps those moments are not the time you want to make a life changing decision.  Perhaps all you need is a nap, thus one should listen to their body and let themselves take one.

I’d like to tell you that life is just sunshine and lollypops but it isn’t.  We all get in these moods, and we all need to learn when to just stop what we’re doing and take a nap, or have an apple, or a coffee.  We all need to learn that we have to trust God in our lives and whatever the situation we’re in now, isn’t permanent even if it feels like it is.  This too shall pass.  Our current irritations will only last for a moment.  Don’t fix your eyes on them, but on what is eternal.  Fix your eyes on Jesus and run after them. 

So yes, I had a few moments this morning.  I’ve repented and will be taking a nap later this afternoon.  Let my moment remind us all that worry isn’t worth the time and effort.  Focus on God’s goodness, and move forward.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

 

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Skipped Along the Path, and Kissed the Pavement!


This Saturday Dan, my youngest daughter, and I took our dog Mojo to the St. Cloud Lakefront.  It’s a nice park, beach, and has a long walkway out to a covering and benches.  I confess my attitude was a little snarky, and I was trying to put on a happy smile.  We walked down the pathway to the covered area, and on our way back my youngest daughter starting to skip.

“Come on Mom.  You skip too!”  I realized I looked ridiculous skipping with her back to the park, but I have to admit it was helping my attitude just a tad.  She started giggling because in her mind she made her old mom skip.  We both started to laugh; perhaps for a brief instant we had a picture perfect mother daughter moment.  Until, and I don’t know why now, I purposely got off the path.  As a result I twisted my ankle badly, came down hard on my opposite knee, and collapsed hard on the pavement.  I could feel the pavement inside of the palms of my hands where I tried to block my fall.  I’ve had a lot of injuries in my life.   I knew right away I was hurt, but I was pretty sure nothing was broken.  I hate making a scene but I wanted to scream.  Dan came running over with the dog.  I sat there trying to bite my tongue, not wanting to cry, and certainly not wanting my youngest to think it was her fault her mom was such a klutz.  They let me sit there for a few moments as I felt sorry for myself.  My ankle was swollen, and my knee was already starting to swell.

“Ok Mom, are you ready to get up now?”  My youngest piqued up after a few moments.  Honestly I couldn’t believe she said that to me.  We always joke in the family that child will either make a good manager or drill sergeant.  Couldn’t she see I was in pain?  But slowly I started to pray, and painstakingly started to move forward.  In the end though I felt like a dork, I did end up with a sore ankle and a bruise the size of a golf ball on my knee cap that I’m still trying to take it easy on. 

You know we’ve all ‘fallen’ at some point in our lifetime.  We’ve all messed up, sat on the side of the road, and just wanted to stay there and cry.

Proverbs 24:16a (ESV) for the righteous falls seven times and rises again


            Just as I wanted to on Saturday, my daughter wasn’t going to let me stay down.  She was like a soldier in combat.  She wasn’t going to let me stay behind.  We’ve all needed people in our life like that; People who will let us cry but ultimately they won’t let us stay defeated, People who are used by God to encourage us and to get up and keep running our race. 


            I preach a lot on unity in the Body of Christ, and it’s so true.  As I thought about this story I kept thinking how many people are on the side of the road of life hurting, and just need someone to say, “Hey are you ready to get up now?  Let me help you!”  Sometimes all it takes is a hug, a prayer, or an encouraging word to help someone get right back on track. 


So as I take it easy on my ankle and knee for the next few days, may this remind you an important lesson.  May you look for opportunities to help those around you.  May you remember that life isn’t all about you, and though you may have pressing problems there is a world out there hungry to see a real Jesus through you. 


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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Still Looking For That Map!


 

I remember talking to my mother in my teen years about how I wished God would just give us some kind of map or statement, ‘Like so and so is who you’re supposed to marry, and this is what career path you’re supposed to choose, etc. etc.”  Here I am probably 20 years later and I have still yet to see that map. 

Don’t get me wrong, God always tells us what His plan for us is as we need to know.  Y’all should know me by now that Isaiah 30:21 is one of my favorite scriptures on the planet.

21 “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left

God will absolutely direct His people!  But often He doesn’t always fill in the gaps, doesn’t tell you the next step until you need it, and as Bill Hamon says, ‘is often stingy on the details’.  LOL!

As easy as it is to sometimes get frustrated in the place of seeking God for direction, I think we often fail to see the protection and direction in this.  I can think of many major life decisions that I’ve made, had I known the whole picture I wouldn’t have learned what I needed to learn to get me to the place God had for me in that moment.  Instead I’d have taken on the attitude that where I was in moment wasn’t my final destination, and would have submitted and committed myself to the process.  I would have failed the process thus I wouldn’t have been prepared for where God was taking me.

I think that often God doesn’t share with us everything because He also wants us to trust Him.  The choices you make in life are in fact your choices.  You can choose whether to be in the will of God or not.  It can be a challenge to make a choice on faith, walk on the water because you know that’s God’s will.  God wants you to trust Him beyond what you can see.  This is not some mind trip concept on His part.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is the currency of heaven.  He sees the full picture, and in order for you to get to the next step you have to act on what He’s saying. 

Seriously, if we had a map and knew everything where would the free will or fun in that be found?  Life is meant to be an adventure and lived.  God doesn’t want us to be robots.  Sure he has plans, sure we have to act upon them to get where He wants us to go, but he also wants us to live.  I think that we forget sometimes how much of a gift life is.  It is an honor and a privilege to wake up in the morning with breath in our lungs.  If we are here on this planet we have purpose! 

Do not loose heart in the journey.  God is for you.  He is not against you.  God sees the end from the beginning and He is excited about the potential He as placed on the inside of you.  God knows how hard you’ve struggled and he’s never left you.  Trust Him to lead you to the place He has prepared for you.

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mom, Someone Stole My Flip Flops!




On Saturday my daughter’s and I went shopping.  My oldest had wanted some boots and she was ready to find a pair.  We went to Ross.  I love Ross Stores.  My oldest daughter was quick to find a pair she liked.  It was at that moment I realized our mistake.  She was going boot shopping and was wearing flip flops…i.e. no socks.  So I took off my shoes, and gave her my socks. Quickly my oldest finds two pairs she likes.  We agree to put them both in the cart for the time being and decide later on which ones she’d get.

While all this is going on, I realize we should have gotten a cart.  So I put my shoes on sockless and leave my youngest daughter with my oldest daughter and walk across the store to get a cart. 

When I came back to the shoe aisle my oldest daughter is standing in the middle of the aisle looking as if she’s ready to cry. 

“Mom!  Someone stole my flip flops?”

“What?” 

“Their gone, mom!  I put them here to go try on the boots and now they’re gone!”  She was standing in my socks now frantically looking through the aisles for her shoes.  They did appear gone.  Really I didn’t search diligently for them. 

My oldest was mortified as we started to look around.  She wanted to walk through the Jr section, so she put on one of the boots that she’d already decided to get anyway. 

“Shouldn’t we say something?”  I asked her.  I figured the flip flops were long gone at this point.  My girls and I were in the aisle way now laughing hysterically at the awkwardness of this scene.

So I walked up to an employee who in turn got the Loss Prevention guy.  We explained the situation to him.  He went on to give us all a lecture about watching where you put your shoes when trying them on, and how we live in a high tourist area, yada yada yada.  I heard him.  He was right. 

As he checked through the aisles we went back to the Jr section and within five minutes he came right back to us.

“Can you describe to me again what the flip flops look like?” 

We did.

“Are these it?”  Behind his back the man held her shoes.  Evidently she’d left them on a shelf.  No one stole them.  She just forgot where she put them which left us the laughing stock of several of the Ross employees that day.  Seriously I had to wave to one as they started to laugh at us. 

It is so easy in life to jump to conclusions.  I am laughing at my daughter as I write this.  She didn’t do what any of the rest of us hasn’t done. 

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but we have to learn in life not to jump to conclusions, and to try to think the best out of situations.  Perhaps someone had stolen my daughters’ shoes, but they didn’t.  She misplaced them. 

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things

 

We all have found ourselves in similar shoes (Pun intended), but may we ever aspire to think about the positive first.  Instead of letting our minds jump to the ‘worst case scenarios’ let them jump to the ‘best case’.   May we focus on the positive and not the negative.  

So my family will now laugh at one of the stories that will go down in family lore.  But may this story remind us all, that most the time things aren’t always as bad as they seem.

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

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Preparing to CrossOver!


 

            When I was right out of high school, I got involved with an Outdoor Ministry and I was supposed to be a camp counselor for a week.  Long story short though I knew God wanted me to do this week ministry trip; they didn’t call me to go.  Soon I was within days away from when I was supposed to be somewhere and I still hadn’t gotten a phone call. 

            In pondering this I felt the Lord nudge me saying, “Why haven’t you packed to leave yet?” 

            I wanted to respond, “Duh God.”  But I didn’t.  Instead, “God they haven’t called me yet.  I don’t know this is official.”

            “Did I tell you that you were going to go?”  He asked me.

            “Yes.”  I knew that he had, but I couldn’t go to do something where the door wasn’t yet there.

            “Then go pack.”  That afternoon with only a few short days away from this ministry trip, and no clear idea in the physical if I was really going or not, I got out the suitcase and packed for the week event.  The next day the phone call came and I went on that trip.

            Sure I love telling this story.  God has brought it back to my remembrance on numerous occasions in my life.  There have been times where I’ve had to get ready to do something without any earthly evidence things were changing.  With this story in my mind, yesterday I went to a School of Ministry our church has been having on Tuesday nights.  Pastor Greg began to preach out of several scriptures but one in Joshua really struck a cord with me. 

      Joshua 1:11

“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”

            These people had been wondering in the wilderness for 40 years.  God was telling them to get ready because they were crossing over.  They had no idea what was going to happen, or how it was going to happen, but they knew it was happening so they got ready. 

            I’ve been thinking about lately too how many people continue to say and to believe that God is up  to something in their lives, but the longer I’ve been in ministry the more I realize that rarely do they prepare, pack, or get ready for it.  How many people if God were to completely shift their lives now would look up at God with their index finger pointed and say, “Can you wait just a moment?  I’m not ready to cross over?”  Maybe they’d be running with their tent, 3 –year-old, their great-grandmother’s things, and a clothesline in tow.  Maybe their stuff would be too much to carry and they’d end up having to leave most of it behind.  Utter chaos would have just broke out in their mind.  Versus the one that prepared, had everything in boxes, perhaps built themselves a wheelbarrow so the kids could ride in it, and a backpack so they could pack their valuables. 

God is a God of order and not confusion.  Perhaps if He’s telling to prepare then that’s exactly what you need to do.  Perhaps it’s time to break out the packing boxes and get ready for the Crossing over.  I realize this means different things to different people.  However if you know God is got you in a turnaround season, maybe just maybe you should put yourself in a place to be ready for it.

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

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yes, I'm a Chick Preacher and God Approves of This Message


 

            I’m going to get up on a bit of a soapbox this morning.  While this isn’t a topic I address much I just felt the need to here for this blog.  The issue I want to discuss is women in ministry.  I can’t tell you everyone’s journey, but I can tell you mine. 

            God called me into ministry through a divine encounter when I was in the 6th grade.  Many have heard me retell this story over and over again.  The idea of ever facing issues about it due to gender never occurred to me.  However, it didn’t take too long for the opposition begin to pour in.  I have been told by a particular denominational group that I couldn’t have a call of God on my life because I was a woman.  I have been told the same by another church who is so religious about the subject that won’t even let women teach boys past the 2nd grade.  I have sat and looked at the scriptures regarding the subject countless times, prayed, and discussed this topic with many. 

            When I entered the ministry I suppose that I had a na├»ve thinking that I wouldn’t have to deal with this discussion any more, but in truth I do on a semi-daily basis.  We get emails to the ministry regularly looking for a Mr. Anna.  I have found in many circles the idea of a woman preaching tends to be okay anymore as long as both spouses are in ministry too.  People assume my husband is the one who preaches all the time, and I’m just the sidekick.  Most people just don’t get it when I try to explain to them that my husband is in ministry, but he is anointed for business and if you call us to preach I am what you get.  I have found still even in various charismatic circles that preachers tend to be an ‘old boys club’. That’s cool with me, I’ve always been in circles where I’m one woman in a group of men, God prepared me for this.  There is a book chain that will not carry my last book because of a couple reasons, but mainly I’m a chick preacher.

            Many people assume this makes me some kind of woman’s-lib-sign carrying-bra burning-protester.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  I 100% believe in having a Biblical covering.  My husband and I are a team, and while I’m the more public of the two, I am well aware who the head of my household is.  I practice and believe in Ephesians 5:22.  I am under coving by a pastor too. 

            1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is the scripture that is so miss quoted, and used when arguing this topic.  I’ve had in shoved in my face often in a not so loving way.  In this scripture Paul is telling the women to be quite in church.  HOWEVER, what people don’t realize when they miss quote this scripture is Paul is not telling woman they can’t preach.  These women were going into the churches and heckling their husbands when they were trying to preaching.  Telling them to be quiet was about order in the church.  You can’t take a couple of scriptures and make a dogmatic rule about it.  You have to look at the whole.  The Bible is full of a lot of woman in ministry: Deborah, Aquila, Priscilla, Mary, Miriam, oh and Anna (grin).

            I find this argument and sexism in the church so beyond sad.  It’s just another way the enemy keeps the churches divided.  It’s another way that it’s keeping Godly anointed women from pulpits, and frustrating the call on many of their lives.  As much as I get frustrated at times I think of Godly woman like Joyce Meyer and Kathryn Kuhlman and thank the Lord there are many women in ministry that have paved the way in some respects for me as well.  I hope that I can do the same for the next generation.  May my daughters not have to endure some of the things I have in the name of the gospel.  May I break the ‘glass ceiling’ so to speak so that they can go further.  To quote myself here, “Never underestimate the power of God, especially when it’s being preached by a woman in snazzy heels.”

            No matter your age, gender, and race may you realize that God does have awesome plans for your life.  There might be an order of things, but no one in the body of Christ is any better than the other.  We all have a job to do, and we will be accountable for that job.

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

 

 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Mountains Are Moving!


 

I don’t know if you’ve figured it out yet or not, but God is in the mountain removal business.  For some that are not familiar with the terminology, I am not just talking about a physical mountain here; though removing of a physical mountain is possible.  But I’m speaking of an obstacle; something that you can’t see around that is blocking your vision of what is beyond it.

This morning in prayer this scripture kept rising up in my spirit.


The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

That’s a pretty awesome image if you think about it, but then as I meditated on it I began to think about the word of God.  God’s power is on the inside of me.  He told me that I could move mountains too, and so can you!


He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

When we are on the verge of something God is doing big in our lives how often it is that we go through some the hardest challenges we’ve ever faced.  I began to reflect on all of this, and thought, ‘Well How does one melt wax?”  They do it through heat.  It’s not that God brings about ungodly things in our lives.  He doesn’t bring on sickness, lack and poverty, but when the heat gets turned up in our lives we should rejoice.  We should know that the mountains are melting.  It should make us excited to know that something is happening!


[ Testing of Your Faith ] Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

All of this heat, just means God is up to something.  So trust in him! 

On a personal note this has been one of the hardest seasons I have faced to date.  There is a whole list of things going on, and I don’t need to go into details publicly until I have the testimony, but as I heard this idea roaming in my spirit today I started to get excited.  God is melting the mountains for me, and I believe He is melting the mountains for you too!  Trust Him!

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

 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hair Chalking Blunders


 

I have a new found love of hair chalk; The non-permanent wear it once funky hair colors that ideally wash right out in one washing.  On Saturday I was blessed to go to the Holy Land to speak at a youth event (JCHLE) and I decided to give myself purple tips with a chunk of hot pink right above it.  I loved it.  My youngest daughter who is very fair and very blonde begged me to put teal stripes in her hair.  I gladly obliged. We had a wonderful event.  My youngest begged me to let her keep her hair like that for church on Sunday and willingly we let her.

It was Sunday night we discovered the issue.  While the hair chalk washes right out of my hair, it left some lingering color on my daughter’s hair.  So I sweetly told her to try washing it again this morning.  She did.  I would say about 70% of its out, but I sent her to school this morning with some teal still lingering.  They have a crazy hair day coming up where she wants me to rainbow stripe it, we shall see what happens there.  It’ll eventually wear out, but in the meantime she’s got to be the coolest kid in the 2nd grade. 

Most people think about their sin and the blood of Jesus like this.  While the hair chalk in my daughter’s hair can still be seen; when you apply the blood of Jesus to your sins to God He can no longer see the sin.  It’s not like the hair chalk.  It didn’t just fade a little, but once repentance happens it’s as if it was never there.  In the natural there may still be some lingering effects, but God doesn’t see it the sin. 


Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

So if God doesn’t look at you and see your sin, past, failures, and mistakes then why should you?  Why should you look in the mirror and still see the lists of things that you have done wrong in your life?  Why should you look at others and still see their lingering sin.  Jesus quite clearly said to the woman that was caught in sin, “May those without sin case the first stone!” (John 8:7)

While none of this gives you the permission to go out and sin, I do hope it sets you free from condemnation.  Many people will never reach there destiny’s because when they look in the mirror they are still seeing a failure.  Let your past go, trust in your God, and shine white and snow!

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

 

 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Divine Shifting of God


 

There are many going through a season right now where God is relocating and shifting them into new places and seasons.  It can be an exciting time, but it can also be a little scary and frustrating.  I think that many Christians live their lives in fear.  They are afraid of missing God and His will for their lives.  That fear becomes bondage, and isn’t from God. 

A dear friend of mine reminded me this week of a quote from one of my hero’s in the faith, Hank Kunneman.  He says that “God’s ability to talk to you is greater than your inability to hear”.  Meaning God will talk to you, and He will lead you.  You have to trust in that. 

As I look back on my life and I think of some of the wild divine stories he has orchestrated in my life, it gives me great courage to know that somehow despite all my questions and lack of a clear picture at times, God still got me right where I needed to go.  When you stay sensitive to God and trust Him, you have to trust that He will lead you right smack dab in the middle of His plan. 

Recently I got to hear another hero in the faith of mine preach.  Bill Hamon joked as he boldly declared that “God is sometimes stingy in the details.  When he told Abraham to go he went!”  I laugh about that because it’s so true.  God doesn’t always tell you everything you want to know, but he does give it to you as you need.  My super fabulous pastor yesterday in a ministry training class made a really good point.  He said, “That sometimes God waits to give you details because he wants to see how committed you are to His will.”  I think that was a really good point.  I’ve also learned that these crazy divine orchestrated stories also help produce faith and patience.  Consider them training grounds because it’s ‘patience that perfects our faith’ (James 1:4).

Whatever is going on in your life today, know that God is not surprised by your circumstances.  He has your life in His hands.  Trust Him in that.  Sure, you have to your part, but He wants you right in the middle of His will more than you do.  He’s not toying with you or playing with you.  He is right there with you, encouraging you, guiding you, and holding your hand while you cry.  He loves you, and though this season may feel uncomfortable, know He will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Hebrews 13:5)  Trust in that.  He has good plans for your life (Jer 29:11) and he will lead you which way to go (Isa 30:21).

God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!