Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Supernatural Touch from God


            I have a confession to make.  I had been struggling emotionally in the last few weeks.  I could give myself a dozen scriptures for every negative attitude I was having.  I was trying to preach myself back to a place of hope and faith, but I just couldn’t seem to get my head up.  I confessed my downward spiral to a few people.  We always need people in our lives that can speak into them like few can, but I was still struggling.  I knew I needed to renew my mind.  My family and I have been through a lot in the last few months.  Certain situations haven’t turned out yet the way we’ve expected them to, but some things have worked out.  Yada yada yada, God is faithful, but sometimes when expectations are not met the way we think they should be we all have a tendency to have a moment.  I hadn’t been in such a low place for a lot of years.  I know I’m being crazy transparent here.  But we’ve all gone through these moments in our lives.  Maybe by me being so real, it’ll help someone who is struggling realize that they aren’t alone and that God is faithful no matter what situations may appear.  I know God’s on the other side of this.  I know God is able.
            A pastor friend of mine invited me to a special church service on Friday, and while in Praise & Worship I had a supernatural encounter.  I don’t need to get into details with what happened, but what God spoke deep on the inside of me was exactly what I needed to break me out of this rut I’d been in.  It was a moment with God.  God knew what was going on, and I am so glad to say that I’m doing much better now. 
            So many people live under the delusion that God doesn’t speak to people, or know/care what is going on in people’s lives.  So many people live under the delusion that God isn’t a personal God.  But, I can assure you HE is.  He cares about your every thought.  He cares about what you are walking through.  He loves you so much he even knows how many hairs are on your head (Luke 12:7).  He’s been there as you’ve cried.  He will NEVER leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

           

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

           
God’s voice may not be an audible thing all the time, but he SPEAKS to HIS people. Sometimes it could be in a song, in nature, and most importantly in HIS word.  He knows how to speak to you in such a way that you need at every moment.  He knows how to break us out of our wrong thinking.  He knows!  I’m thanking God that He spoke to me in a moment I needed to hear.  One touch from God, is worth more than anything.  He speaks to you too.  All you have to do is ask, be open to hear, search Him out. . . He wants to speak to you!
God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

***I will be taking the week off.   My kids are starting virtual school this week, and we may be going somewhere for Labor day, so I’m going to take some time off. . . and also give me some extra time with the Lord this week.  So I love y’all, I’ll be back with a gusto next week!   


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Elevator, a High Powered Magnet, and College Laughs


            When I was in college I lived on the 23rd floor of a high tower on the OSU campus.  I’d give the name here but perhaps it isn’t wise when I tell the story I’m about to in this blog.  Living on the 23rd floor meant that I spent a lot of time with my floor mates on the elevator.  There were two floors one needed to have a special key in order to travel to.  I’m not overly sure how it was discovered but one friend found while carrying a strong magnet we could override the system.  If he swiped the magnet over the control panel it would light up the forbidden floors.  We could travel to the prohibited two floors.  We were college students, and so we did.  Our moments of mischief in this case didn’t amount to much.  The one floor took us to the back of the kitchen and that elevator entrance was never used so we arrived staring at stacks of boxes and storage.  The other forbidden floor was the top of the floor that led us into some kind of industrial boiler systems.  We were just laughing to get to go where few students had “ever gone before”.

            Matthew 16:19 (NIV)

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
            As believers we have ‘Special keys” to the kingdom.  Jesus gave us those keys.  They aren’t some high powered magnet keys that we’re just barely scraping through in order to get to where we aren’t supposed to be, but Jesus gave them to us for a purpose. We have legal rights and authority when we hook up with God’s will!  We are to loose our authority.  We are to use what Jesus gave us to speak into the atmosphere.  We are to remember who Jesus made us on the earth. 
            It can be easy to get beaten down by life and the circumstances that seem to rage against what you know to be God’s will.  I confess I’ve fallen into ‘pity party’ mode on too many occasions.  But I want to remind all of you today, that as believers, you HAVE been GIVEN the keys to the kingdom.  You didn’t steal them, or get them illegally.  You are operating in Heaven’s authority.  So speak to your circumstances.  Don’t let your circumstances speak to you!  Rise up and be the you God called you to be!!!!

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!

Monday, August 18, 2014

But What About Me?


            Last week I had a thought provoking conversation with my oldest daughter.  Let’s face it if you have two children you’ll learn early on how different the two of them are in their personalities.  I have one that will let the world dramatically know what is on her mind and another who will only declare her feelings when she must.  My oldest was annoyed because I was letting her sister do something I guess she would have wanted to do at her age and she asked me why I let her do something when she didn’t feel I would have let her do the same.
            “But did you ever ask me to do that?” I questioned.  What would I have said to my oldest 5 years ago if she would have wanted to do the same?
            “But you wouldn’t have let me.”  She stood her ground.  Honestly I don’t think there was anything I could say in this discussion that would have made her not be upset.  She was determined to think I was showing her sister favoritism.  Honestly if I was, that wasn’t my intention.
            “Babe if there is something you want, you have to ask.  I can’t read your mind.  I’m sorry if you feel that way” I think she grumpily conceded.  But the conversation reminded me of the oldest son in the story of the prodigal son.  It was the oldest that was annoyed that the youngest who had been horrible to their father was suddenly getting all the favor.  The oldest burned with irritation at the situation and finally the father says to him “‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.(Luke 15:31b)
            People have this misguided view that God shows favoritism, but he doesn’t (Romans 2:11) God brings us all through times and seasons.  Sometimes it may appear one has more favor, but we have to realize God made us co-heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans8:17).  What is His is ours.  We have to know that.  We have to stop keeping our eyes on ourselves and be grateful when our brothers and sisters in the Lord triumph.  Your time is coming, and so is mine.  Trust God. Ask Him for what is on your heart.  Talk to Him!  God is a much better parent than I am, and even if maybe my oldest daughter did have a point, I know that God doesn’t do favorites. Trust Him with your life.  He’ll surprise you with what He can do through you.

            God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just Call Me 'Fiber Mom'


On Sunday we stayed after church.  Dan was helping in a department, and we’re still currently living about an hour away.  But we are starting to talk to a real estate agent so we’ll be moving over there soon…I hope.  It only made logical sense that we packed a lunch and all stayed.  However, I did have a parenting fail.  I should have brought a tablet, electronic, or a game that we could have done while we were waiting.  Of course we could have gone into our church’s playground but honestly I’m just now thinking of that.  My youngest especially needed some entertaining and it wasn’t long until they were pilfering like pirates through my purse and perusing my jewelry. 
I have a bracelet that says “Fierce” on it.  I bought it right before preaching a conference once; I always love wearing it to remind me to be boldly confident.  I noticed my youngest daughter starring at it, and truthfully I didn’t pay much attention to her.  Suddenly her voice pierced through the bored silence. 
“Mommy, why are you wearing a bracelet that says Fiber on it?”
“What?”
“Look mommy it’s just missing the ‘B’.”  I started to laugh realizing that she was only seeing half the bracelet. 
**Insert Super Hero Theme Music Here** “Just call me ‘Fiber Mom’.
While the above is a funny story and I’ll joke about being ‘Fiber Mom’ for a while, it really is a testament how so often all of us rush to make assertions and they only stop to view half the picture. 
I get shocked, saddened, and embarrassed when a well-known individual passes away and one can see the judgmental people automatically assuming that this person either went to Heaven or Hell. They don’t hide their feelings they post them for the world to view on Facebook and Twitter.  While we are viewing their lives outwardly, only God knows their heart. (Acts 1:24) We don’t know what went through their minds at their last dying breath.  We don’t know where they were with God, only God does.  Sure it can be easy to make quick assumptions.  We can hold what they did to what the word of God says, but God knows the rest of the story.
I want to remind everyone today to simply ‘Slow Down’.  Our culture is always quick to live their lives on fast forward.  When we do this we only get fragments of the story, and quickly make judgments that aren’t ours to make.  Slow down and get the rest of the picture.  Absolutely run it by the word of God, but ultimately we all have to realize that God sees a bigger picture.  Sometimes simply put, there is just more than what we see.
God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Be Blessed To Be a Blessing


          Last night Dan and I were so excited to get to spend time with some very dear friends of ours.  It’s been the first time we’ve gotten to see them since we’ve moved.  No names are needed.  They know who they are.  This couple was originally from Ohio, we met them in FL, and they moved several years ago back to Ohio. It’s a friendship that in my mind has gone from just friends to more like family.  It was so nice to get to see them.  They were such a blessing to us.  We agreed to go to a movie with them.  They not only bought out ticket, but they kept insisting on blessing us with popcorn, soda, etc. It certainly wasn’t expected, but it was an act of generosity that left Dan and I feeling so blessed. We’ve had such a big transition the last few months in our lives.  We were just glad to get to spend time with them. 
I began to think this morning how little acts of kindness that may seem so small to some, can really be such blessings to others.  I started to think about the “pay it forward" concept.  Just recently I saw online where someone had noticed a car in a parking lot that needed tires, so this anonymous person paid for the tires, and left a receipt on the car.  Beside the receipt was a note telling them where to go to pick up the tires and said donor had also paid the shop to put them on the car.   I can list story after story that I’ve both blessed people and received blessings from others.  Sometimes the smallest things can leave life changing lasting impressions on people.
The Bible tells us that we need to live our lives generously.

2 Corinthians 9: 11(ESV) 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

           
This doesn’t mean that we never have anything that God has blessed us with ourselves.   This just means that we look for times to be a blessing to those around us.  It means that we look beyond ourselves to see how we can bless others.  When we do this it’s amazing how we begin to realize that life isn’t all about ourselves.  I first remember hearing the term ‘Blessed to be a Blessing’ from visiting Legacy Life Church in Orlando, FL.  But it’s a fitting statement here.  May we all learn to live our lives in such a way that we are realize that we are ‘blessed to be a blessing’ to others.  May we all be reminded that life isn’t all about us.  May we remember we are blessed to be a blessing.  I want to challenge all of you, myself included, to think of something you can do to bless someone around you.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing with money involved.  It can be as simple as washing someone’s car, helping an overwhelmed mother to take her groceries to her car, or being a listening ear to a friend.  I challenge all of you to remember that you have been so blessed to be a blessing to others.  Remember that you may be the only ‘Jesus’ that many will meet.  As St. Francis of Assisi said, “"Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary."
God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No Regrets, Moving Forward


            A few days ago a dear friend of mine sent me an email because she knew someone who thought they saw me in Florida last weekend and she wanted to know if we were returning to FL.  Obviously it was a misunderstanding.  Jokingly but true, I do have a doppelganger who my sister has once met and I’ve ran into several who have known her over the years.  Her name is Annie and I’ve been joking that’s who was in FL last weekend.
            Funny mishap as it may be, the whole thing got me thinking if I would ever return to Florida.  Even though it feels we have had a bit of a slow and bumpy start in Ohio, things are moving forward.  We know this is where God wants us to be at this time in our lives.  We’re members now at our church.  I’m enjoying living in a land with little to no humidity.  My skin and hair are thanking me for it.  We look forward to eventually move closer to the church, but we have no regrets.  The only way I’d move back to FL is if God told us too, and honestly I don’t see that happening.  I have no regrets for living in FL for 13.5 years.  It was where God wanted us for that season.
            Too many people live their lives in the land of regrets.  It is like they are walking backwards, and wondering why they can never seem to get past the choices they’ve made in life.  They are trying to move forward but keep looking back.  When Lot and his wife were fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:26) they were told not to look back.  Lot’s wife did and she was turned into a pillar of salt.   For years I questioned God on this.  Symbolically salt in the Bible tends to be a good thing.  However some years ago God finally revealed to me what this symbolized.  In order for Lot’s wife to get turned into a pillar of salt the “water” had to leave her.  Water in the Bible is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Continuing to look back will only sap you of the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  To move forward you need to be saturated in the presence of God.  Too much ‘salt’ makes any dish disgusting.
            My husband and I made a choice a long time ago that we were going to live our lives in such a way that we had no regrets.  For the most part I can say I’ve done this.  Opposed to many people I’ve met; my regrets are few and far between.  They are in my past and I’ve chosen to live my life forward.  You can’t be like Lot’s wife, and think you’re going to move forward.  Though time may continue keeping your mind on what “should have been, could have been, or what you think ought to have been” will keep you in bondage to your past.  Make the decision to turn around today.  Make the decision to press on to your future, and leave your past behind.  It’s okay to have fond memories, but in order to enjoy your life your eyes must be facing forward.  Let your eyes be fixed on Jesus today.  Let your eyes continue to be forward as you run your race.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

But it doesn't Look Ideal!



            I have a very active imagination.  I create worlds and scenarios in my mind.  It would be easy to label me as a hopeful creative dreamer.  It helps me as a writer.  While dreaming and faith is different, I am always putting footprints towards those dreams.  I’m often taking steps toward seeing those things fulfilled.  However sometimes the imagination in my mind doesn’t always equal what happens in real life.  We all go through things that don’t exactly match up with the way you thought they should.  It’s in these moments disappointments can set in.  While God always keeps his promises, sometimes those promises take longer to fulfill or just don’t exactly manifest the way you think they should. 
            It is in these moments where it can be easy to get so discouraged that you simply don’t want to keep fighting in faith.  Sometimes those images in your mind can turn to be so different than what you see happen.  Frustration at God can begin to sit on the inside of you. But that’s the definition of faith isn’t ‘it’s the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.’
            My Pastor yesterday spoke an awesome message about living and experiencing life versus just surviving.  I have to confess that his message really hit me.  At times, I am guilty of just going through the motions trying to survive.  I’ll admit to sometimes being so caught up in doggie paddling to breathe that I’m not enjoying the swimming or the process.
            I think that it all boils down to trusting God.  We all have to constantly learn to rest in what God has said.  Rest in the fact God has awesome plans for our lives.  We have to trust that while it may not always look in our minds like we think it should…it will be well, because God said it will be well. 

 

Psalm 43:5 (ESV)

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

            It’s time for all of us to begin to put our trust in God again.  Our lives are meant to be enjoyed and not just merely lived.  We have to take the steps He puts in front of us, and enjoy the ride.  It’s time we put our own thoughts of what we thought everything should look like aside, and trust that God can make something beautiful of the ashes (Isaiah 61:3)  Trusting God with our lives is easy.  He has our best interest at heart.  He has awesome plans for all of our lives.  We have to trust Him with every step and every breath.
            Remember God has awesome plans for your life.  Get excited!