Posts

Showing posts from October, 2014

Yes You Can!

Peter Marshall said, "We are too Christian really to enjoy sinning, and too fond of sinning really to enjoy Christianity. Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that we do not want to do it."
Something moved inside of me when I read the words of Mr. Marshall. I find myself being pulled towards things that can harm me so often that I wonder if I have the strength to stay the course. Can I actually make it through the trials and the tests? The answer is YES! And that is YOUR answer too! Yes YOU can!
In Christ we live and move and have my being. With God all things are possible. In fact Philippians 2:13 says,"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." God is working IN us to bring out the desire to do what He wants us to do and the power to actually do it. Don't let the pull of what is harmful take you away from Him who is always helpful. There is abundant life in Christ waiting for you: You can do it...y…

Shape Up

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Phil 4:4

Great advice...instead of worrying, pray! There's a great deal of "life" happening all around us. So much that its very easy to worry about everything. How are we going to make ends meet? Will my child be ok at school? Is my marriage strong enough to endure temptation? What if I get sick? All of these questions can lead to long periods of worry. Worry often develops into anxiety which breeds stress and can even make you more sick. Paul taught us in Philippians to not be anxious about anything. Don' fret it and don't sweat it. Don't hurry through it and don't worry through it. How do we do that? We shape up! We let our praises shape those worries into prayers to God! Imagine being able to take every unmanageable situation and place it in a perfect size box that could be managed, close it and put it away. Even thr…

Live Generously

I was reading in Matthew 10 this morning about the calling of the first dozen guys that would be used to take the message of Christ to the world. Times seemed so much easier then. In fact Jesus told them to not worry about raising a missions budget or leasing the right equipment. He just said go, pack light and live generously. Their lives, submitted to Him, was all that was necessary to start this movement. This story even made me a bit nostalgic. I thought back to when I started to do things that would point to the love that Christ showed to me and talk to others about Him. So many times I thought that I needed the right sound equipment, a polished powerpoint presentation and some cool clothes. And all Jesus wanted to do was use me. I've been involved in some pretty spectacular events that were fashioned by the very hand of God and I know that without grace and mercy, no good thing could have come from my life. The Lord has been so generous to me that it makes me want to try an…

Pure Religion

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27 As we grow in our relationship with our Creator, we begin to see what is important to Him. As we walk in that way and follow the leading of His Spirit we begin to have more clarity and focus as to why we are all on the planet at this time. My desire for my life and the life of those that are my friends and family is to live pure and undefiled. Part of that journey is to help orphans and widows and care for those that are unable to care for themselves or have no one to assist them. That is OUR mission! Unfortunately too many of us get "stained" by life and the people in it. That stain leaves a mark that can only be repaired through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the greatest stain remover ever:)

Drifting Leads to Shifting

It's crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we've heard so that we don't drift off. Hebrews 2:1 MSG 
There are many things today that can try to derail us and take us off the course that the Lord has designed for our lives. Many people are blind-sided by financial woes. Others have relationship issues that send them off track. And some lose their grip by simply letting go. Whatever the situation, we must be careful to not get sidelined by difficult times and challenging people. Jesus told us that this world would have trouble in it. And it does not take long to find it around you. It’s crucial to keep a firm grip on the Good News that we are hearing from the Word of God and the people God has chosen to speak into our lives. Drifting leads to shifting. Don’t drift. Keep a firm grip on truth. Hold tight without wavering to all that God has promised you.  He can be trusted to keep His promise! Hebrews 10:23

You Will Know

In Genesis 22, God is building the character of Abraham. It's a test to see if he can follow instructions. He tells him to take Isaac, his son, to the region of Moriah and to sacrifice his son on one of the mountains. But he did not tell him which one. Moriah was filled with mountains! All he said was to Abraham was that "you will know it when you get there". Most often when we are being led and our lives are being shaped by our Creator, we have no complete picture of the where we are going. It seems to be on a need to know basis. Faith requires us to start walking and to begin doing while God promises that when we get to the right spot, we will realize it. Have you ever had someone give you directions to go somewhere they could not fully describe but they gave you all of the information they could and ended with that phrase, "you will know it when you get there"? You will see it. When you get to the place you are being led in God, you will know it when you se…

In Between

“This feels like a place between what is and might have been”
“This feels like a place between being ready and being in the way”
Two of my favorite lines from the song “Lincoln Avenue” by Train.
It’s hard to handle being stuck in the middle. When one door closes and you have not seen the new one open yet there is an uncomfortable feeling of awkwardness. When relationships end you can feel like that first lyric: you are between what is and what might have been. Would things have changed if I behaved differently? What if I would have…(insert anything here)?
I have realized for me that the longer I remain in a place that I am not supposed to be the harder things can get. If I move in the rhythm that the Lord is causing and by His Spirit, I seem to flow right through. But when I “get in my head” and attempt to analyze things I find myself in the middle of being ready and being in the way.
Maybe you are in that uncomfortable place “in between”. Trusting in God and waiting upon His directive…

Show It!

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." James 3:13

As we develop into fully devoted followers of Christ there should be some significant changes that take place. It will change the way we talk. We'll be more positive and affirming of others. It will change our emotional make-up. We will be more evenly balanced and less likely to "lose our mind". The most important change will be how God shows up in our actions and "deeds". This "good life" is made possible because we are humbled by the new awareness of how great our God is and ALL that is possible through Him and in Him.  Today, see if you can let your good life and good deeds show up in a way that will help bring positive life change to those around you! Show it!

Once Upon a Time...

"Once upon a time" is a staple of story beginnings. There are only a few movies that begin with this phrase in the title and for the most part they are filled with quality and length. Imagine today that we were able to write our own story. We would begin with this popular opening..."once upon a time" and then the story begins.  I can predict that our stories will be adventurous, dangerous and at times exhilarating. There will be incredible high times of joy and happiness and there will also be overwhelming times of pain and sorrow. Every good story has some wonderful characters and ours will be no different. Heroes and villains, stable and unstable, loyal and well, not so loyal. And when the story is finished, the way we would write it, we would most likely live forever and be incredibly joyful! The reality of our lives is this: God has a plan. He has the pen and we provide the canvas on which He can write. Through every situation He will write a way out of diffic…

Transformed

Look at these definitions: to change in composition or structure, to change the outward form or appearance of, to change in character or condition. This is how the dictionary defines the word TRANSFORM. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Each one of us is being changed every day. The things we see and hear are shaping our thoughts and our actions are following through on what we think about.  The challenge is to not allow things that are bad for you to shape you. We are not to copy the world’s behavior: we are to provide the world a great example of how to live. We do that by living as Christ did. Let God transform you into the person He designed you to be. His way is good and pleasing and perfect! It all starts with control. Why not let the Lord begin to direct your steps, your meetings and …

I Never Stop Praying for You

Since the day I heard about you, I have not stopped praying for you. I continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way. I pray that you would bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God and that you would be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might. I want you to have great endurance and patience while you give joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued you and me from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (paraphrase from Colossians 1)
There are just some days that get burned into our soul. This weekend was once a special celebration for our family. It is the weekend of my mother-in-laws birthday and the anni…

Do the Dew!

There is a mountain in scripture that is known for its heavy amount of dew. Its called Mount Hermon and it is quite a blessing in the arid country in which it exists. It is used in an illustration of the "anointing" of unity and blessing that is upon us as believers. Psalm 133 says that it is good and pleasing when people get along. It is like precious oil being spilled upon someones head and running down their entire being covering them or saturating them with oil. Oil in scripture refers to the anointing and blessing of God. Picture today that God wants to pour out His anointing upon you, heavy like the dew of Mount Hermon, and to completely cover you with blessing. You will slide through difficult situations and trials today because of that anointing. Imagine the Lord commanding all of heaven to take notice of you today and make certain that YOU succeed. Heavy anointing is yours today...just like the dew...only you don't do the dew, the dew does you!

One Thing

There are a great many ways that we can feel overwhelmed these days. Yet is all of these things that rise up against us, the Bible let us know that we can overcome anything with Jesus. When we need a safe place, a financial windfall, protection from a storm or encouragement for our depressed soul...Jesus is enough! I've been doing a little teaching from Nehemiah asking myself and our church a loaded question: Can WE Survive? In the story I am pointing out many things that came against Nehemiah as he pursued the project of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He faced verbal assaults, physical attacks and even some opposition within the ranks of his own folks. And not only did he survive, he completed the very thing that God had caused to rise up inside his soul. Nehemiah had one main thing that you can see clearly was his secret weapon as he faced all of the adversity. Prayer. He knew how and when to pray. At the first sign of struggle he prayed. When insults were hurled at him and…

Your Bestseller

The other day I was reading a book on my IPAD. It only takes a simple swipe of the finger to turn the page. It's so easy to go forward but it is also easy to go backwards. As I used a single finger to move through the pages of this book I thought about my life...my story. There are chapters of my life and I turn the pages every day to begin a new journey, a new dialogue and a new season. Sometimes in life, just like this book, I want to jump ahead to see what is coming! What I am learning is how to retain the lesson learned on each page and spend more time writing new pages rather than rereading old ones. Like Paul I have realized that I have not yet become all that I am designed to be. And neither have you! I encourage you today to turn the page and keep moving forward. It's easy to be fascinated with past victories and live in the glory of what has been so often that you miss what has come. God is doing new things all over the world and you have something new, something inc…

Encourage Yourself

1 Samuel 30:4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.  Have you ever had one of those seasons in life when nothing turns out the way you thought it would? You've prayed, you've confessed every good thing and maintained positive thoughts and still...nothing! What do you do when you feel surrounded by discouragement in every way? I go back to read this story of David in 1 Samuel. He came back from doing what God gifted him to do only to find his home burned down and his family kidnapped. Can you imagine that? Expecting a home cooked meal and some great companionship only to find ashes and devastation. And what did David do? He encouraged himself in the Lord. You cannot always depend on other people. The boss may not have a positive word for you. Your family may not know how to approach you in the state you are in. So you and I need to know how to pick ourselves up and get back on our feet! David gained some …

Give till You Smile!

2 Corinthians 9 encourages us to remember: "A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving". I am trying to be generous on every occasion. Some time ago at our church we made a decision in the fall that every time we came to the church for worship we would be prepared to give something. It occupied our mind and was a priority to us. It was the most fruitful season we ever had at our church! In order to be fruitful my priorities must be right. There have been many times in my life when I gave my time, talent and treasure to the Lord only after I had used them for something else. It was not my first thought. One day that all changed:) There is a biblical principle that encourages us to give to the Lord first. It should be easy as He has…

Write a Goodbye Letter

Several years ago as I was l learning how to cope with some very difficult things and I decided to do something to symbolically set me free from the pain of the past and prepare me for the blessings of the future...I wrote a goodbye letter. I wrote about this in a chapter of my book, Transitions:Grace to Navigate the Storms of Change Here's a piece of that story...

"I sat down and I wrote a goodbye letter.
I started to write down a list of all of the things that
I wanted to say goodbye to. I wrote them out on a
legal pad. I said goodbye to all of the things that had
trapped me. All of the stuff that I thought I had to
acquire. All of those attitudes that kept me in
financial bondage. I said goodbye to a life of credit card
debt and bills that could never be paid. I wrote down
relationship things, emotional things and spiritual
things. All this was in my goodbye letter and then I
stuffed it away in a drawer.
After the goodbyes had been said, it was time to
say hello to a new normal. That’…

Make a Decision!

"How long will you waver between two opinions?" It's a question the prophet Elijah asked to 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel right before He asked God to show up strong on his behalf. He had already made his decision and now he He wanted to know when they would make a decision to get off of the fence and be fully devoted, one way or another. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a room filled with indecisive people. Perhaps our culture has beaten down folks so long for making the wrong choices that we are just too afraid to commit to a yes or a no. We know that there are consequences for our choices and we really don't want to face them if we are wrong. In the Book of James we are reminded that double-mindedness is crippling. It says that a double-minded man(one who cannot make a committed decision) is unstable in ALL his ways. After that it goes on to say that a double-minded man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord! Really? That's pr…

Can We Survive?

Image
I've been asking this question about many things over the last couple of months. Our country is dealing with some serious conflicts, my friends are going through the ringer and our church continues to struggle financially each month. As I was driving to work yesterday I was talking to the Lord about all of it and telling Him just how overwhelmed I felt. I know that when things "feel" like this, it can mean that I am trying to carry a load that I should not carry.  Jesus told us that we could exchange the weight we struggle with for His peace. He encouraged us to take lay the things we are challenged by at His feet. Of course, we know this and we have told others to do this many times but when it comes to actually laying everything down, well...it's difficult. As I wrestled with my thoughts and conversation with the Lord I began to understand just how small my faith is. Do I actually believe that He can help our country? Is His power enough to turnaround the situatio…

Is it Possible?

That it takes two people to have an argument? When people and their unique personalities collide there is the possibility of conflict. When conversations cloaked in conflict occur, the situation often becomes combative. Romans 13:18 says, “if it is at all possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” When you engage in a combative dialogue, you place yourself on the battlefield and become part of the fight.  We are called to bring peace not conflict. To resolve, not revenge. Think about this…some of those battles that you are involved in right now actually have nothing to do with you! You just allowed yourself to be pulled into a vortex of rebellion. Wherever you are involved, you have been encouraged by the apostle Paul to live at peace with EVERYONE. It’s not conditional. Be careful WHAT you engage in. Be careful WHO you engage with. Today you may come upon people that try to bring you down. Remember to choose your battles wisely. Be a peace-maker not a peace…

Pray for Others

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1Tim 2:1 How do you start your day? I have often wondered if how I began each day had a direct impact on how the entire day went. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What about when you have breakfast for dinner?  I think one of the best things we can do as we start our day is to still our mind and our bodies and find our peace. To thank God for another day of life, and then to take the advice of Paul to Timothy and pray for others. I think about my kids, then my parents, my brother and my sister and the list goes on. I pray that Gods blessing will overwhelm them during the day and that glorious surprises would meet them. And the last person I ask God to work in is me. In my morning place of peace, I pray.  This week, try to start your day by interceding for others and thanking God for them. Bless your children and those you love. And toss…

God Has a Sense of Humor

Image
Well yesterday I was blogging and encouraging people that God can be there in the midst of the storm...to look for the silver lining in every cloud. About 2 hours after my post a severe storm hit our city and it was filled with booming thunder and flashes of lightning. I felt like a prophet:)  This picture today is what I found when I came home to my house. Right before I turned into the neighborhood I live in, winds rose to over 60 mph and I had to stop on the road because things were flying in front of me. It was like a scene from Twister. I went out to my backyard when I got to the house and found a trampoline that belonged to my neighbors 2 houses down! This storm surprised us and changed things for two families. But the good news...the silver lining is that no one was home and no one was hurt. The bad news is that I finally have a trampoline and I can't use it! Thank you Lord for showing me your unique and often strange sense of humor:) Thanks for keeping us safe. We can rep…

L.E.A.F. Pile

Several years ago when my book "Dreams2Destiny" came out, I went on a mini book tour. It was a very exciting time as I appeared on television programs like Daystar and the Harvest program with Lesea Broadcasting. As I was traveling from from city to city I had lots of time to think about what I was doing, the books I was writing and what God may be wanting me to do. It was an intimate time where He and I talked quite often and His revelation was being downloaded to me. It was in that season of time that this acronym was in my mind: L.E.A.F. It stands for Laziness, Exaggeration Apathy and Fear.  It seemed to me that every time you begin to let that DREAM God gave you come alive, these things start to fall over top of it. As I was traveling I realized that I was kind of a "LEAF" blower and part of my mission for that year was to help blow laziness, exaggeration, apathy and fear off of the dreams of God's people. So today, don't create a LEAF pile in your lif…

Have You Got Rhythm?

"He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ." God had a plan. Create mankind in His image and equip him with some unique talents so that he could accomplish some incredible things. Gifts like apostles(messengers of God) and prophets(discerners of the future) to pastor-teachers and evangelists...all for a great purpose. To work with God's people...the church...so that the church could move rhythmically and easily with each other. Did you get that? We were designed to all work together! The last time I looked at the church in general, there was nothing rhythmical about it. Some folks were doing the twist, others the robot, and a few engaged in …