Friday, August 29, 2014

Greater Is He In You

"....because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4b
Do you believe that?
Do you live as though you believe that?
In recent weeks, I've talked to a few people I know about Facebook and social media, in general.  Seems this topic has the potential to heat up a conversation.
Some people say they would never be on FB and they say that like it's a badge of their character.
Others can't seem to take even a 5-minute break from it.
One person I know said they were signing off for good because FB was asking for information they didn't want to give, or prying into their personal stuff, or something like that.
First off, it is absolutely a personal decision whether you choose to be a part of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Frankly, I don't even know what some of those are!
But whether you choose to or not doesn't reflect on your personal character.
How you use it, however, can!
I first signed on to FB because a former high school classmate of mine encouraged me to, saying I would be able to be in touch with other former classmates who had since moved away.  I had been holding out, but decided I would really like to catch up with these people, so I finally relented and signed on.

I don't Twitter, Tweet, Instagram, or HashTag.  I don't know how, but wouldn't be opposed to it!!

Anyway, I look at social media the same way I view a lot of things in this world.  They are there for our use and what greater way to use them than to promote the Gospel!!

If we as Christians become so worried and concerned that we will be affected by these types of things and all decide to pull out, we are, in effect, leaving these tools to be used in the hand of the enemy to promote his agenda.  When we leave an atmosphere, we take the salt and light with us! 

Let's not do that! 
Let's use this most powerful tool to promote God's ideas, God's ways and God's answers to this needy world we live in.

I decided awhile back, after some well-meaning Christian tried to make me feel "stained" by using FB, that I was going to continue to "take back" territory that the enemy wanted to rule! 
I am NOT going to tuck tail and run!
I am NOT going to leave the realm of FB. 
I use it to advertise this very blog, and what better way to get the Word out?

So many times, we Christians withdraw our presence from a certain activity or group because we don't want to be "touched" by the ungodliness.  Well, let me ask you - how can we make a difference if we refuse to be around it?  How can we change the atmosphere if we don't allow ourselves to see it as God's sees it and view it as a mission field?

"Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you,
as I said unto Moses."
Joshua 1:3

Are we afraid of their sin?
Are we afraid we're going to get "cooties?"
Are we afraid to be challenged by someone else's viewpoint?
Do we think their viewpoint is going to "poke holes" in ours?
Or are we afraid we aren't strong enough as a Christian to withstand the temptation of sin?
Is our foundation in Christ so shaky that we fear we'll fall?

I'll tell you one of my fears used to be that I didn't know enough about the convictions I held to effectively dialogue about it.  I had to begin seeking out my own answers to my convictions and to understand and know why I held those convictions.  It challenged me to think and I'll be honest, sometimes, I don't want to think.  I don't want to dig deep.  It takes energy, time and a lot of soul-searching.

But think of it this way -

If we all decided we were not going to go to the movies anymore because we didn't want to support all the sex, violence and corruptness of the movie industry. what would happen?
That's all movies would consist of - sex, violence and corruption - because there would be no Christians to make moral, family type entertainment.
We can choose not to go to those movies that support sex, violence and corruptness, but let's use this industry to promote godliness.

My feeling is this - nothing tangible is corrupt in and of itself, it's how we, as humans, use them.

Use technology to spread the Gospel and hope to a hopeless world.
Use social media for the Lord!
Use the arts and music for the Lord!
Take advantage of technology and get the message out!

Technology, in and of itself, is not evil - the people who use it can be.
Guns, in and of themselves, do not kill people - the people who use them sometimes do.
TV, in and of itself, is not evil - what we choose to watch can be.

There is a lot of abuse and misuse of modern technology, but just because some people choose to abuse it, does not mean that we can not choose to use it responsibly.

In writing this blog, I would be remiss if I didn't address the potential harm in some of what I'm promoting.  I'm not saying an alcoholic should just trust God and find his/her mission field at the local bar.  I'm not saying that if you have a particular disposition to a certain sin, that you should go ahead and immerse yourself in it anyway, hoping to reach others caught in the same sin. 

I am saying that you need to know your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly and responsibly.  I am saying that you can trust that "greater is He that is within you..." and not be intimidated by the world and it's corrupt, ungoldy morals and standards.

Don't pull out!
Dig in deeper.
Use all to God's glory!
Use all to know Him and make Him known!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Tree Grows Outside My Window

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12
My computer is on my desk in a corner of my den. And to the left of my desk is a window, so as I sit here writing, I can look out into my front yard and across the street.  There are no houses directly across the street, just a really nice small lot with lots of trees and shrubs.  Directly beyond that is the railroad tracks and beyond that is a very busy Route 2A.  My view faces the west and the afternoon sun shines brightly into my den and heats it up, both summer and winter.  There is only shrubbery in my front yard, so there is nothing to block the sun.  Somehow, I don't mind it too much during the winter, but in the summer, it gets a might warm!!! 
When we bought this house, the front yard (which is a hill going directly to the road) was developed as a garden, with flowers, and lots of shrubbery.  It, however, had not been taken care of in some time, so it was quite overgrown.  We moved into this house in the summer time, so it wasn't until the following year that we had the time and resources to do something about this garden.  We hired landscapers to clean it up, lay down black landscaping tarp and woodchips over the entire area.  Turns out the tarp was faulty and within 2 years, it was all overgrown again!!
Unbeknownst to me, a seed had fallen, germinated and took root.  And now a tree grows outside my window!  When I first noticed this tree, I became very excited!  You see, as this tree continues to grow, it will eventually provide shade for my den!!

As I reflected on this tree and what it would mean for my future here, it reminded me of the above Scripture about hope.  Hope that as this tree grows, it will provide much needed shade for me.
When we have no hope or our hope is deferred (prolonged, removed; delayed), our heart is sick.  We feel that we have nothing to look forward to, nothing to live for.  But when the longing is fulfilled; our hope is  rewarded, Scripture says "it is a tree of life."  The roots go down deep in our hearts and it produces life.
I look forward to that tree growing, planting it's roots deep in the soil and providing shade for years to come!  It's produced hope in my heart.
Sometimes reality can make a mockery of our hope. 
Don't let hope ebb away. 
Feed it with the protein of God's Word.
When you lose hope, that's when the real trouble starts.
Hold fast to what you're hoping for.
Hold fast with open hands - open to God, trusting in Him.

Let faith deposit into your hope account today!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Seek the Truth!

Ever wonder why we are always so quick to believe the worse in any given situation? 
Why do we always jump to the wrong conclusions and then have to back-track later? 
Why are we quick to judge others based on information we haven't yet proven as fact?
Isn't it interesting that our judicial system is based on the premise that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty?
Is it precisely because our human nature is to presume someone guilty until proven innocent?
I have watched, as many of you have, I'm sure, with alarming concern these past couple of weeks the situation involving the death of Michael Brown in Missouri.
It seems everyone has an opinion.
It seems everyone is quick to make it the "poster" for their particular agenda.
Why do we assume that the police officer is the one in the wrong, regardless of whether he is white or black?
Or why do we assume the black kid is a loser?
Why do we make assumptions at all before we know anything concrete?
Why do we jump in so quickly to take "sides" anyway?
The only "side" we should be on is the side of the truth.
In the book of Joshua, chapter 5, verse 13, we read, "Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.  Joshua went up to him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our enemies?' 'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.'  Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'  The commander of the Lord's army replied, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so."
This Scripture reference tells me that God never takes sides.  The only side He is on is His own, and that is the side of His truth in any situation.  Any time we are in conflict with someone, we need to seek the Lord and understand that He loves all parties involved and wants what's best for everyone in the particular situation.  And what's best for everyone is His way; His justice.  In any given conflict, we are all guilty of something, even if it is just wanting our own way to prevail.  The reason the commander of the Lord's army told Joshua to take off his sandals and proclaimed the ground holy, is because any time and any place we humble ourselves and surrender to God's ways, that place becomes holy, because we are revering God and His ways.
None of us know all the facts in the Missouri case yet and we probably never will.
And, you know what? We don't need to.  Contrary to what the media tells us, we don't have a right to know it all.  It is not up to us, as individuals, (unless we are called to serve on a jury) to pronounce guilt or innocence in this case or any other, for that matter.  This is why we elect officials, appoint judges and try these type of situations in court.
Is our system fallible?  Absolutely!
Do police officers always do the right thing?  No!
Do we, as individuals, always follow the laws of the land?  No!
Fact is, we are all fallible. 
We all make mistakes. 
We all over-react at times.
We are all too human!
I don't have any answers to this situation.  I, like many others, have watched it unfold on TV.  I have been appalled at the way one human being can treat another.  I have been appalled at the lack of common courtesy, lack of concern for facts.  I have been appalled by the way people have just made the situation fit whatever they wanted it to fit to promote their individual cause.
But it has made me think quite a bit, and because I'm a spiritual being, I always seem to look at things from a spiritual viewpoint, too.
Have you ever wondered why we, as Christians, are so quick to believe the lies of the enemy instead of the truth of God's Word?
God's Word says we are loved, yet we live continually seeking the love we already possess.
God's Word says we are accepted, yet we live in a constant state of rejection.
God's Word declares He is good, yet we blame Him for every bad thing that happens.
God's Word says that we are free from condemnation, yet we live believing we are condemned.
God's Word says we are His temple, yet we live abusing it every day.
God's Word declares we are His workmanship, yet we live hating our bodies.
God's Word says we can do all things through Jesus Christ, yet we live in a constant state of fear.
God's Word says we've been redeemed and forgiven, yet we live with a guilty conscience every day.
God's Word says we are a child of God, yet we live in the scum with the devil.
Have you ever thought about why we sometimes can't or won't trust God until we have more facts and information regarding a situation?
Have you ever realized that God is not obligated to make us "privy" to all He knows?
Scriptures says,
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8, 9
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God" but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
Deuteronomy 29:29
God reveals to us those things that we need to know to live our lives to please Him. The secret things we leave to Him, trusting that He knows what's best because He alone knows all.
When it seems that someone in this world "gets away" with a crime - murder, rape, abuse, etc - and we don't see justice done here on earth, you can be assured that they "get away" with nothing in the greater realm of God's justice.
God sees all.
God knows all.
And God judges all.
Seek to be a seeker of the truth - God's truth.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just for Fun!

All summer long, I have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate some fun pictures I've taken of my twin granddaughters into a blog.  Last night I decided to stop trying and just post the pictures - just for fun!!

We all need some fun in our lives. 
With all that is going on in the world around us, we need to find time,
we need to take time, to laugh! 
To see what is good and right in our world - because so many things still are - good and right!

As most of you know, I live upstairs from my oldest daughter, Jessica and her family, which consists of husband, Brett and seven (yes, seven!) children - Charlotte, Maggie, Phillip, James, William and twins, Annie and Harriet, Icelandic Sheepdog, Moley and black cat, Casper.  When I leave my apartment to go anywhere, I walk down the outside stairs and then down a long walkway to my garage.  This walkway goes by their living room, kitchen, dining area and mudroom, so there are ample opportunities for anyone inside the house to see me come and go. 

Most days I am met with at least a "Hi, Gammy!", but more often than not, I am also met with

"Where are you going?" 
"Where have you been?" 
"What's that?" 
"What are you doing today?" 
"Who's that for?" 
Seriously, some days it's worse than being a teen-ager drilled by your parents!!

Since the beginning of summer, at least once a week, sometimes, more, when I leave the house, Annie and Harriet have come outside to question me, give me hugs and kisses and "love yous." 

I don't remember when it started, but they also began to do these "poses" for me.  They are a couple of crazy kids and some of the poses were pretty crazy.  Unfortunately, I didn't think about taking  pictures until about a month into it, so I missed some of them. 

But once I started taking pictures, they would run out and shout "Pose" while I was getting in my car, so I would whip out my phone and take a picture!

I love these pictures.  I love these kids!  They represent some of the "whimsy" in my life that always puts a smile on my face.  They are "God with skin on" in the daily grind of my life.  They always help to "center" me and help me remember what's really important.

So, because I couldn't think of a more creative way to "work" these into a blog, here they are -
just for fun!!

"Hurry up, she's heavy!"
I grew up a very serious child and became a very serious-minded adult, until my husband, Phil, entered my world.  For those who knew him, you remember a very fun-loving guy.  He really helped me to "loosen up."  He always saw the light-hearted side of things.  He would have loved the antics of these grandkids.  They carry on his legacy in my life and remind me not to take myself or life too seriously.

There are times to be serious, of course, but there also times for fun. 
I believe those are both sides of God's character, because we are created "in His image." 
Just as it does a parent's heart good to see a child have fun, it delights God's heart, too!
Do something today - just for fun!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Be Strong and of Good Courage

I grew up with three brothers (one older, two younger), so I pretty much played by myself most of my childhood years.  I had my own room, my own closet and my own toys.  My brothers certainly didn't want to play with me or my toys - no dolls for them!!

As a teen-ager, I spent a lot of time in my room by myself.  At a very early age, I adjusted quite well to doing things by myself and pretty much always leaving the house alone.

As I got older, married, raised a family, I wondered often why I never minded being alone or going places alone, shopping alone, etc and never minded just my own company.  I always figured it was because of the way I grew up; the dynamics I grew used to.

In my 40s, I discovered I am actually an introvert! 
The light came on! 
That explains so much!

I've said all this to say - I really don't mind being alone.  There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.  I am usually alone, but not always lonely.

Since my husband died, I have done things alone that I never imagined I would - been to Florida a couple of times by myself for a month at a time, even driving it alone.  Every year I go to Maine for a few days alone.  I've gone to the movies alone, flown to Idaho, Florida, Virginia, Washington and Ohio alone, gone to concerts alone, shopping alone, go to the beach alone all the time, etc.  Most of those things I don't think twice about.  I realized very soon after Phil died that if I wasn't willing to do a lot of these things alone, I would be spending quite a lot of time at home.  So, I stepped up and stepped out.

But you want to know what still makes me nervous every single time?

Entering a room full of people by myself!

Whenever I have to do that, I feel like a gawky, unpopular teen-ager entering a room full of people, not knowing if you have a friend in the room or not.

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have asked myself several times -
why? why? why? did you just do what you did?

You know what I did? 
I made reservations for the Allume Conference to be held in Greenville, South Carolina. 
I am flying by myself to a conference that will be attended by about 450 people and I don't know a single one!! 
A 3-day conference with a Welcoming Night party and a Closing Night party! 
Multiple conference sessions and 3 meals a day! 
Did I mention I don't know a single soul??
Can you see that I will be out of my comfort zone here?

I have been writing this blog for almost a year now.  A couple of weeks ago, I finished my second book that I hope will be out by Christmas.  I am feeling a little more comfortable these days calling myself a writer.  Ten years ago, I would have never in a million years imagined where I would be today.  I had no plans, actually, never had any desire or dreams about being a writer.  I "fell" into this calling after my husband died.  It was no surprise to God, but quite a surprise to me.

Anyway, I've struggled with this calling for awhile and have been praying much about it these past few months.  About a month ago, I googled "Ladies Conference in New England."  I was looking for a retreat to go to; not very seriously, but definitely interested in seeing what was out there.  Through a series of what I call "God-incidences," I found the Allume Conference that sounded interesting and featured Ann Voskamp (one of my favorite authors) as one of the keynote speakers.  As I clicked further to find what Allume was all about, imagine my surprise to find it was actually a conference for bloggers! 

To make a long story short, after praying about it and thinking about it for almost a week, I truly sensed I was supposed to go.  Everything lined up in a way that only God can line things up. I began to see that He had provided in miraculous ways before I even knew about the conference!  I am now registered for the conference, reserved at the hotel and scheduled to fly!!

2-3 days after this is all done, I break out in a cold sweat as it finally dawns on me that I will be walking into several rooms over the course of the conference where I know absolutely no one!!

And then, even as I'm sweating about that, I find out Ann Voskamp will not even be at the conference after all!! 

God has set me up!!
God has set me up - - - to deliver me!
At least, that's what I'm telling myself!
I am sensing that God plans to show up in a big way.
Because I know my God, I know that when I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and follow Him, He plans on showing up.  He plans on meeting me right where my courage ends.
As my knees are shaking together, my spirit is getting excited to see what all
God has planned for me.
I am counting on:
prayers being answered
questions being answered
new friendships
new direction
hope anchored
unexpected God surprises
and more!
I feel somewhat like Abraham, setting out to a land that I know nothing about. 
I don't even know where it is! 
I don't know what to do when I get there! 
All I know is to take the next step and trust God!
Trust God?  That's something I've had experience with.
I think I can do that!
What about you? 
Is God asking you to take the next step? 
Is He calling you to a country that you didn't even know existed before He mentioned it?
Are you fighting a battle you've never fought before?
Do you not know what to do with the blessing?
"Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, ..."
Joshua 1:3
"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
"Be strong and of a good courage:"
"Only be thou strong and very courageous,"
"Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:5c, 6a, 7a, 9

Monday, August 18, 2014

To Know Him

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Philippians 3:10 (emphasis mine)

What does it mean to know Him?

That word  - know - in the Greek means to be aware; feel; perceive; consider; be sure of; understand; to have knowledge of.

The dictionary definition of the word know is to perceive directly with the senses or mind; be aware of as true; to have firmly secured in the mind or memory; possessing special or confidential information.

And the word knowledge means familiarity; awareness or understanding gained through experience or study.

"And hereby we do know that we know him; if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:  hereby know we that we are in him."
I John 2:3-5 (emphasis mine)

I was recently in a gathering of Christians and a former pastor friend of mine shared an experience he had recently had. He was in a in a church and there were banners on the walls of the sanctuary in front of him. On the left, the banner said “To Know Him” and on the right the banner said “To Make Him Known.” As he reflected on the banner on the left, he said, “Lord, I forgot that.”

Lord, I forgot that the greatest purpose of my life is to know you!

Not to serve you.

Not to serve others.

Not to learn the Greek and Hebrew.

Not to know how to exegis Scripture.

Not to preach the great sermon.

Not to do “church.”

But just - to know you!

It is so easy to forget that.
It is so easy for us to get so caught up in serving God, that we forget to just be with God. 
We forget to spend time with him to get to know Him, to know His heart, to know and understand His love.
We can also get so caught up in doctrinal studies, in disputing our particular opinions, in making our point, in trying to sway someone to our "side" that we forget to love, which is the very test of our knowing.
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
I John 4:7, 8 (emphasis mine)
We could spend from now through eternity doing nothing but seeking to know Him and it would be a full time job!  It would be a study that would never end.
It is - and should be - the focus of our walk - to know Him - and as we grow in our knowledge of Him, the natural by-product of that will be to make Him known.
Just hearing this friend of mine share his experience became a challenge to me - to renew my quest, a never-ending quest - to know Him.  To know Him as my God and my Savior; to know Him as my Father, my Friend, my Comforter, my Guide and my King.
He's all that and so much more!
Seek to know Him!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Oasis

We spent the day at the lake a few days ago. It was a yearly family picnic; all the other families were gone by 3pm, but we lingered. The kids enjoyed the water, some played games, some of us just relaxed and read by the water.


It was one of those days that I call “comfort for the soul.”

There is something about being by the water that comforts me. It’s a time of reflection, restoration, rejuvenation, and relaxation. I’m not sure if this feeling goes back to my childhood (I grew up by the lake) or if it’s something that’s found me in later years, but I just love being by the water.

The smell of the lake, the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore, the permission to just sit and watch the water, read or people-watch. Or the roar of the ocean, the waves crashing to the shore,
and the awareness of the majesty of God.
It’s an oasis in the middle of a busy life.
"It's hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much.  Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy."
Amy Dykens
"Ever since I was a child I've felt connected to water: lakes, rivers, streams - - I love to jump in and swim around.  But it's the ocean where I go for rejuvenation, revelation, and solace."
Susan Rockefeller
"The sea hath no king but God alone."
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I love moments like these, that cause me to stop and ponder life, enjoy family and wonder why I don’t do this more often.
But I do go to the water as often as I can. 
Our local beach on Lake Champlain and the beaches of Wells, Maine. 
My soul seeks these places during the summer months. 
I find communication with the Lord very easy on these beaches. 
It was where I found much needed solace a few months after my husband died. 
The ocean especially, makes me think of the omnipotence and majesty of our mighty God. 
It makes me feel small in a very good way and increases my faith in the God of the universe. 
The God who causes the ebb and flow of the daily tide. 
He is so majestic and yet the Bible says the hairs of my head are numbered;
so He is also so personal. 
I find it so easy to believe that everything is right with the world or at least that everything can be right with the world when I'm by the water, even when it's not.
Because I'm awed once again by the One who holds everything in His hands.

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day;"
Genesis 3:8
(I’ll give my disclaimer right now;
I know I am taking this Scripture totally out of context.)

Whenever I read this verse, however, it does something to my soul. I think of the Lord God walking in the garden of my heart and that always makes me think of being in a place of stillness and reflection where I can hear God.
And then that makes me think again of being by the water, a place of stillness for me, a place of communication -
“the cool of the day.”

We all need to take that time out of our busy, crazy lives. Whether you go to the lake, the ocean, the river, a stream, or even the mountains or a desert, wherever you can find the oasis - do it!

Take the time to reflect, to relax, to contemplate and to communicate with the Lord.

Let Him walk in the garden of your heart in the cool of the day.

“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”
Psalm 1:1-3 (emphasis mine)

Monday, August 11, 2014

In This Place


We sang this song in church a couple of weeks ago, as we have many times in the past, but it spoke to me in such a different way this time.
"You are awesome in this place, Mighty God.
You are awesome in this place, Abba Father."
The song speaks about coming into His presence and seeing the fullness of His grace and experiencing Him as awesome in this place..
The phrase "in this place" really started my mind and spirit thinking.
In this place is anywhere we happen to be at the moment.
This place is the doctor's office the bedside of a dying loved one
...the midst of an argument with your spouse your bathroom for the 1,000 time
...disciplining your children
...on a Caribbean cruise
...the dumps in the Philippines
... the U.S. Senate chamber
...the ghettos of New York City
...the mansions of the Hamptons.
God is awesome in this place. wherever we happen to be. 
We carry His presence wherever we go and
God wants to be, can be and will be awesome in this place.
He will show Himself strong and mighty on our behalf
when we acknowledge Him in our own hearts in the midst of whatever place we find ourselves.
We may not see physical miracles, in fact, we probably won't, but then again, we could!
But we can experience the miracle in our hearts as we acknowledge His presence and bring Him into our situations in this place.
We can experience the fullness of His grace in our hearts in this place.
I don't know about you, but there are times and situations I've been in that I have forgotten to look for Him in the midst of it all; I've forgotten to look for Him in this place.
I've forgotten to acknowledge Him as Lord right where I am.
We bring with us and create around us an atmosphere everywhere we go. 
It can be an atmosphere of grace and peace or it can be an atmosphere of contention and complaint.
When we acknowledge God's presence in our hearts and in this place, we are bowing to an atmosphere of God's grace and intervention.
God's presence is what makes the mundane bearable.
God's presence is what makes the tragic overcomable.
God's presence acknowledged in the midst of an argument is what makes
a heart bow humbly to His will.
God's presence acknowledged is what causes the heart to lift in unexplainable joy.
God's presence in this place is what changes this place.
He becomes awesome in this place.

Friday, August 8, 2014


I am a planner.
I am an organizer.
I am a perpetual list-maker.
I live by my calendar.
I like to be in control.
Can anyone identify?
And yet, there is another side of me that often struggles with that control freak!
Because -

I love whimsy!
I love when I see something totally out of context!
I love when I'm out for a walk and I see something totally out of place
in the surrounding environment!
I love the unpredictable!
(When it doesn't mess with my plans, that is!)

(Hint: the rabbit is real!)
Whimsy is defined as "an odd or capricious idea; something quaint, fanciful or odd."
Whimsical is defined as "playful, fanciful, or capricious; characterized by erratic behavior or unpredictability."

I love the whimsical!

A touch of whimsy in my day always makes me smile!!

God is unpredictable!

Have you ever thought about that?

He’s unchanging, but He’s unpredictable!

He very rarely does the same thing the same way twice!!

I love when God does something when you least expect it!

He answers a prayer totally not in the way you asked or ever thought about, but it’s good, oh, so good and you see His love expressed for you and only you!

When I encounter a touch of the whimsical in my day, I’m always caught up in what a personal God I serve that He would place that exactly there where He knew I would find it.

Something that perhaps wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else, but touches me right where I live!

I suspect it brings great delight to God's heart to see us delight in Him.  Just as a parent enjoys giving good gifts to a child, so, too, God enjoys giving us good gifts, unpredicable gifts, whimsical gifts!
Love works that way.  Love delights when the beloved is delighted.
Delight in Him today!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, ...."
Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You're Worth It!

"His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."
Am I really that important to God?
What would be different in my life if I lived like I knew I was this loved?
So many of us, more than not, I would suppose, struggle with our worth, basing it on what we do, what we look like, how rich we are, who we know, where we live, etc; all things temporal and standards of this world that are ever changing.

You've heard that expression - if you were the only one in the world, Jesus still would have died for you - because you're worth it!!

But, in and of yourself, you are not worth it.  Scripture says

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

".....There is none righteous, no, not one:"
Romans 3:10

Those are stark truths and apart from Christ, we walk under the condenmation of their reality.  BUT once we come to the Lord and accept His forgiveness, we are now under His covering of righteousness and that is no longer the truth we walk in. 
However, for many, it becomes a struggle to comprehend and believe this truth and we still feel that we are not worthy.  We constantly pursue to "measure up."

By the worlds standards also, we are deemed not worthy.
  We constantly fall short of what the world says is "worthy."
Funny thing is, we spend more time trying to attain the world's definition of "worthy", rather than the truth of God's Word.  That is one goal we will never reach.
  We have to jump off the merry-go-round of the world's standards and accept the truth of the Word.
We have to refuse to play the game.
We need to choose to be vulnerable enough to be bold enough to be just who we are!

You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

Do me a favor, do this little exercise with me.  If you can't do it right now as you're reading this, please do it as soon as you can.

Take a kleenex fresh from the box.  It is white and clean.  Now, I want you to dirty it up.  Blow your nose with it, step on it, dust some furniture with it, do whatever you need to do to use it and get it all dirty and sullied.

Now, look at it.  It is all used up, dirty and nothing that anyone wants to use anymore, right? 

That is you; that is me - in our sinful state before we met Jesus.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Isaiah 64:6

Now, find a book or a magazine and take that kleenex and put it in the pages of the book so when it is closed, you cannot see the kleenex.

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:3
"He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty........He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Psalm 91: 1, 4
"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings,"
Psalm 17:8

When you look now, you see the book or magazine, right.  You cannot see the kleenex.  There is no evidence that it is even there, right?

When God looks at you, he sees Jesus.
The evidence of your old sinful nature is no longer seen. 
The price Jesus paid as He hung on the cross bought that dirty old soul and the blood He shed cleansed it and when God looks at you now, He sees the blood-bought saint and He counts you righteous.
"...where your love ran red and my sin washed white, ..."
You are worthy because He said you were worthy and He continues to say you are worthy - because and only because of the shed blood of His Son.
It is futile to try to measure up to the standards of the world
just as it is futile to believe the lies those standards try to sell us.
They come straight from the pit of hell to torment us and to woo us away from the one who loves us so much He counted us worthy and sent His Son to die that horrible death on the cross so we could be called the righteouness of God in Christ Jesus.
All we have to do is believe in the work of the cross and it is counted unto us as righteousness.
Jesus has declared me WORTHY!
It is a done deal!
It is by faith!
We don't have to struggle to be accepted!
We don't have to struggle to be declared worthy!
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;"
Isaiah 32:17, 18
And as we accept this work as done, extend the same grace you received to your sisters in the Lord. 
Break out of the world of false standards and then
refuse to hold your sisters to that false standard, too. 
As we are accepted, we need to accept. 
Don't hold another to a standard that you yourself don't want to hold to or try to measure up against. 
As you are set free, set another free. 
Love freely and wholly another just as they are.

A few weeks ago, I was at an appointment where there was music playing throughout the salon.  I have no idea the name of the song nor the artist; never heard the song before, probably will never hear it again.  Don't even think it was a Christian song, but there was one line that I heard so clearly, I knew God had brought it to my attention.  The line was -

"I love all your perfect imperfections."

That's exactly what God does and that's what He wants us to do.  He wants us to celebrate our differences; the things that make each of us uniquely us.  We are all imperfect, but we are perfectly imperfect because we are His creations!
It all starts and ends with love - God's love first poured out so freely and unconditionally to you and then your love poured out freely and unconditionally to another.
We owe all to Him.

Monday, August 4, 2014

He Said

Do you need some promises today?
I know I do.
These promises and more can be found in the Word of God. 
Here is your encouragement for today.

He said - I will comfort you.

“As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."
Isaiah 66:13
He said - I will strengthen you.

“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NIV


He said - I will give you peace.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid........ And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
 John 14:27, Philippians 4:7

He said - I will carry you.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4 NIV


He said - I will listen to you.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him."
 I John 5:14, 15


 He said - I will protect you.

“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.  Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.  Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work, and I have created the waster to destory.  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shat condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
 Isaiah 54:14-17


He said - I will give you rest.

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28


He said - I will be with you.

“........and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.”
 Matthew 28:20b
He said - I will never leave you.
"....for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b
And because He said it, we can believe it -
"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."
2 Corinthians 1:20
He will do all this and more for you because He loves you so much.

“…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love:
therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”
Jeremiah 31:3