Wanna Get Hammered?

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I shared this the other day with my co-workers as the Lord is really emphasizing this in my heart and throughout all of my devotions lately. Now, I am sharing it with all of you!

I have been thinking and praying a lot about how ever-changing our world is, yet how the fact that our flesh is fickle is something that has always been a constant. It’s a huge theme of what Paul, wrote about as the Lord inspired him to do, and it’s a common topic throughout the whole of scripture.

But so is redemption through Jesus Christ.

Our flesh is weak, but our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the ROCK. HE never changes. We are finicky and fickle little creatures, but our Lord and Savior is firm! Thank HIM that HE never changes!

God has really been working on me about how in order to die to self and live for Christ, it really is an intentional and day to day commitment and battle we must wage along with His divine grace and intervention. Crucifying the flesh is a daily and painful endeavor. Fact is, God’s not going to do it all for us – we have to take action – our part is important too. That’s why it’s painful.

Anyway, I decided to try to go back to how we used to do things when we were kids – you know? Keep it simple!

Here is what I am doing every morning and throughout the day and it’s beginning to help a little:

· “Jesus, help me remember that you are living inside of me and it’s YOUR life.”

· “Jesus, can you fight the devil if he comes near us today?”

· “Jesus, please tell me what to do and help me remember to ask you stuff throughout the day.”

· “Jesus, thank you for loving me and wanting to live in my heart.”

Oh friends, it is not easy to walk through this life with all of our responsibilities and tasks and remember it’s not our own. It’s hard to get the things done we need to and “take ownership” of it without taking ownership of our own lives and taking over at the wheel. Wouldn’t it be easier to just crawl up into a cave or go out into the mission field where there aren’t any distractions and live for Jesus there? Of course, there are lots of other hardships to endure there, but the distractions? What about them?

I don’t think that even in the mission field, immersed in God’s work amongst those who are lost is “safe” either. I think the flesh is strong and it will follow us wherever we go. There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

We can’t get out of this “nailing it to the cross” thing, guys. It’s part of the deal.

The battle of the flesh is going to remain – but so is Christ Jesus, living in us!!!! Let’s help each other remember who we are in Christ but emphasize how important it is to let HIM be in charge, let HIM shine through, let HIM make the decisions, and let HIM guide our every action, thought, deed.

Let’s help each other!!! Anyone got a hammer and a nail? (Tee Hee)

And if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, won’t you come to Him today? Don’t let this flesh battle thing scare you out of it. Fact is, you are battling it either way  you go. At least with Christ on our side, we know the battle is already won and we will reign with Him for all eternity.

Look to the cross – what He has done for us. And place yourself at the foot of it. Turn your face upward and focus upon HIM, and He will be with you forever. He will live in and through us and help us to fight these earthly battles. But most importantly, because He sacrificed everything for us, we have the peace and the joy of knowing that this is just a blip on the radar screen of eternity.

He endured far more than we ever will here on this planet; here in this life…so that we can have a real and blessed life with Him one day in which suffering will be non-existent, and we will sing His praises and revel in His presence.

Not even a sledgehammer is going to prevent that day from coming if we know, follow after, and love our Christ Jesus with all our heart, mind, and soul.

BAM!

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV

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A Temporary Techie

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Photo Credit 123RF.com

God performed yet another miracle today: Annie hooked up (moved) her computer by herself!!!!

I am amazed right now. To truly appreciate this, you really would have to know me…but if you’ve been following this blog, you probably can surmise enough by now to know that I STINK at technical stuff.

Yes, I’m the woman who runs and hides on Christmas morning. If it’s time to follow step-by-step instruction manuals, I’m outta there. It’s really for everyone’s good, not just my own. I can be utterly dangerous.

Mostly I am a danger to others due to the fact that if I even try to get it into my head that I can put something together, then my expectations change, and I end up STILL not being able to do it.

Houston: We have impending Annie meltdown coming. Better take cover.

By now (46 years old), I have realized this is a weakness, to say the least. It always has been a weakness, and chances are, it will always be so. I no longer have the hope that I will ever be technically savvy, and feel blessed to just sit where I am and rely upon others who are strong in this area to help me out a bit. Besides, I need to work on surrender, as we all know, and this helps me out with that little endeavor!

It’s okay. I have other gifts. And I’m not afraid to use ’em.

One of the blessings God has bestowed upon me is that I am pretty aware of my many, many weaknesses. In the face of that, He also gave me the ability to see the gifts and strengths of others pretty quickly after getting to know them. This serves many wonderful purposes in life, particularly allowing me to edify others in ways that are truly valued by them.

But it also helps Annie. Yay! Double Awesome-ness!

Yes, I surround myself with tech-savvy people – they seem to just come my way – and for that, I am ever-so-grateful. I need them B.A.D.L.Y.

But today, I had to move our entire desktop computer upstairs and no one was around to help me. Normally, I would wait until husband came home, but I prayed, and the Lord delivered. Because another strength of mine (or is it a weakness?) is I am a “let’s get this done kinda gal!” (i.e. Impatient)

The worst part of it all was untangling the STUPID CORDS!!! Then the next bad part was remembering where everything went.

Are you kidding right now? Am I even going to attempt this?

I tell you now – God intervened, friends.

When I got it all done – (with the cords now tied in nice and organized knots so they don’t get tangled, by the way), I ventured into the abyss ~ that moment of expectation was looming right in front of me. Yes, we had a very real likelihood that I might meltdown if things didn’t turn on and work properly when I flipped the switch.

I tried to tell myself I would be okay with it if things didn’t work out – I said a little prayer. But I knew better – I knew that I now had the hope and expectation that this time – yes, this time, it would actually work out.

Guess what? It DID work!

I did it, friends! I actually moved and re-hooked up the whole computer and all it’s gadgets (except for the speakers – too, too many cords, yo) and it WORKED.

I am typing on it right now – of course, you already know that – ha ha.

However, there was one minor little glitch. After all of the painstaking effort to move everything up, chart where stuff needed to be plugged back in, untangle and organize my cords, clean stuff and then muster up the courage to turn it on – after ALL  of that – I had that momentary “thank you, God” second of joy and bliss that He enabled me to do such a thing, and then my mouse wouldn’t work.

What?

It took me 15 minutes to figure out why. My wireless mouse was upside down. And the cursor was just in all the wrong places.

God performs all kinds of miracles every day, dear friends, not the least of which is to give someone like me a moment to be able to temporarily (this I KNOW) overcome a serious deficiency!  And, He threw the mouse thing in there for me just to remind me that not only does He also have a sense of humor, but that I should continue to remember that He is in charge, and only He will choose as to when I might be able to overcome a particular weakness or area in which I am not gifted.

I don’t spend a lot of effort trying to trick myself into thinking I’m gifted in areas I clearly am not. But today, God made me a temporary techie, and it was lots of fun, satisfying, and a wonderful reminder that God can do anything He wants!

First world problems are just that. But God likes to use things that may seem trival or petty to us (not just the big stuff), to remind us of His greatness.

His grace is enough.

Won’t you look for Him today in the mundane? Won’t you keep your eyes wide open and expectantly look for His grace to appear?

And on that note, I shall leave you with this: I just tried to adjust my computer chair and scratched up my big toe! Ha ha!

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

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With all Your Heart – Joy Series Part 2

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I can do all things through Christ[  who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I don’t know if the character, Forrest Gump was meant to be portrayed as a believer in Jesus Christ. But I do know that Forrest displays a child-like enthusiasm, zest, and joy for life that reminds me so much of what Christ encourages us to emulate in life.

I wish I could be like Forrest in most of what he does in the movie. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?!  Everything he did, he did with all his heart, all his focus, all his elbow grease that he could muster. And much of what he touched just seemed to turn to gold.

Forrest displays a joy and love for life – the ups, the downs, the in-betweens. He lives moment-by-moment, giving each second all that he has. This is what makes him such a magical and lovable character. That inner joy. That purity. That innocence of spirit. Being like a child, but working harder than most adults I know.

Let’s be like Forrest when we endeavor to try new things that may, at first, appear difficult for us. Let’s try and believe we can do it, and shrug it off when it doesn’t quite go our way.

If after giving it our very best, we can move on to the next piece of chocolate in the box.

Running towards Jesus.

Because He is the box. Unlike the chocolates contained within it, He is what holds it all together – He is unchanging. He is our stability.

Notice: Forrest holds tightly to the box throughout the movie. He may let the feather float and fly at the end, but that box was the common thread that held it all together – truly.

God has it all under control. It’s not up to random chance or luck; the things that we experience in life. We have only to hold onto Him all the way through.

At the end of this life, our earthly experiences may float away like a feather in the wind, but we shall still be held tightly in His arms if we have followed after Him and accepted Him as our Savior. And we shall reside with Him for all eternity.

If there is something today you feel is difficult for you to do, just try to give it your all like Forrest Gump. But remember to ask Jesus for the power to do so.

Then, we can ALL be true winners of the sweetness in Christ we were meant to savor all along the way!

Workin’ It

Determination

A new person in my life reminded me of something really important last week:  We must guard our thoughts……Actively.

Isn’t it funny how these little “revelations” hit us? It’s not like I hadn’t heard that before. It’s not like I haven’t read it over and over again in scripture.

So as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

It’s not like I haven’t studied all the Lord says about the importance of guarding our minds, walking in victory and not receiving condemnation from the enemy.

But guess what? I still needed to be reminded. I needed to hear it from someone else who follows after Christ as well.

I always say this: “We forget to remember.”

I believe part of this is due to the fact that we allow the enemy to close us up – to trap us inside our own minds – so we are just stuck with it (the negativity). Or so he wants us to think.

Another reason we forget to remember is we fail to remain active in guarding our minds. To remember that we need to continually seek God’s power and protection over our minds is so very crucial. To remember that one slip…one moment…one second with us not watching or asking for the Lord to cover us, and the enemy sneaks right in.

Damage gets done very quickly that way.

This new person who helped me is my boss, and I am so grateful to her. She spoke God’s words to me, reminded me of how important it is to walk in victory, not receive condemnation, and at the same time, she acknowledged that even so, “it’s still hard.”

It was scary to share this stuff with my new boss, for sure, but I don’t regret it. Truth is more important to me than “looking good” from the outside. If the inside is messed up? Well, what we show on the outside won’t last very long, performance-wise, now will it? I want truth – I want for those I work with to know they can count upon me that they will be getting the real stuff. I want it to be lasting! That can’t happen if we just suck it up and try to perform for the sake of appearances if something is eating away at us from the inside.

Eventually, inside comes out.

Yes, the things we go through that can attack our minds, our feelings (which like to take over our logical thought processes) and our full knowledge of the fact that we are children of the Almighty Godthe Great I AmThe Mighty Redeemer – those things are still hard to contend with.  Even when we know this truth. I am so thankful that my boss encouraged me that she understands that.

Wow…it sure does help to be reminded of it in ways that are uplifting and empowering, yet don’t let us off the hook! It’s awesome to be supported and listened to in ways that make us feel excited and hopeful in Christ anew! It’s amazing to encounter new people in our lives that find new ways to help us to know we are not alone, and that we will overcome with the power of Christ and fellow believers on our side!

I want to be that for others in my life, and I am so grateful to have people around me who can do the same for me.

Things in my life may still be a roller coaster at times – feelings are tricky that way and so are hormonal imbalances. But I am so grateful that God never changes!!!!

He can move mountains, remember?

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

So can we if we stop trying to work it all out by ourselves.

So can we if we have faith and wait upon the Lord.

So can we if we are honest and transparent and swallow enough pride to go to others to help us protect and guard our minds in the name of Jesus!

Today if you are workin’ it and feel alone in the mess of it all – if you feel you are about to crumble underneath the pressure – I encourage you to find a fellow believer to confide in and be transparent with who might be able to speak God’s unchanging word into your heart. Just like my new boss did for me, you may find yourself encouraged. They may just help you to remember what you have temporarily forgotten.

It’s hard to be transparent. It takes what feels like risk to do this. But if you ask me, it’s much more difficult to be an ant trying to push a huge boulder up an even bigger hill all alone. That simply sets us up for failure and makes the ground of our hearts ripe for the enemy to do his work. And make no mistake: that enemy WILL work it!

Put yourself on the hook with someone else who is a follower after Christ today. Tell them if you are having struggles with your inner thoughts. Then, take the power out of the hands of the devil and place it right back where it belongs!

In the hands of our Mighty and Wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Reigning in the Rain

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I love to jog in the rain.

Let me be specific: Not the POURING and PELTING rain, but the constant drizzle that I got to run in for an hour after work today.

It soothes me – such drizzly, soft, droplets of water.

It cools me as I sweat and pant and push onward.

It is truly a gift from God – to be able to jog – to be able to run in the soft rain.

Running in the rain as I did today reminds me of the fact that our God truly does reign through any and every circumstance.

As I trudged up the hills that only a year ago (pre-cartwheel injury and pre-menopausal weight gain) had been quite easy for me to master, I was reminded, (yet again) of the fact that it is not me who rules or reigns over anything in this life.

It is He.

He reigns in the sunshine…

He reigns in the brain fog of my current hormonal situation that seems to be taking over my life piece by piece day by day.

He reigns when I am a minimal body fat runner who can pretty much run as long as I want with as little difficulty I ever could have imagined…

And yes…He reigns even when I am a crazy-feeling woman who is carrying around a couple of bowling balls worth of weight and another year of age on her shaky frame and isn’t sure if she will ever “get back” to where she was before (in more ways than one).

Thank God that HE – Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord – doesn’t change. Thank HIM that He reigns in our times of triumph and our times of challenge and weakness or frailty.

Today I ran in the rain and throughout that hour I found myself wondering “why me?” And our reigning Lord gently and kindly whispered to me – EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. LOVING. TIME – “I gave you the ability to do this with my help today – be grateful – for I reign.”

I am going to continue to run – rain or shine – jiggle or no jiggle – brain fog or clear minded.

But most of all, I am going to revel in the company I share while on these jaunty journeys.

It’s all part of unleashing His power in my life – allowing Him true reign as I endeavor to NEVER try to “rein” that awesome stuff in.

Maybe that’s what that jiggle symbolizes? (Just kidding)

Enjoy your King today and every day. And may the “Son” shine upon you – especially if it’s raining.

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Revelation 19:6

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Which Will it Be?

Photo Credit Laurie Cosgrove via www.CreationSwap.com

Photo Credit Laurie Cosgrove via http://www.CreationSwap.com

Today, if we’re “offended”…

Or unjustly accused…

Which Will it Be?

Seeds or Weeds?

Today if we’re mistreated…

End up feeling used…

Which Will it Be?

Seeds or Weeds?

Today if we’re yelled at…

Told to go back home…

Which Will it Be?

Seeds or Weeds?

Today if we’re receivers…

Of wrath, then left alone…

Which Will it Be?

Seeds or Weeds?

Choose seeds with me today Friends.  🙂

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The Heart Reader

visualphotos.com

visualphotos.com

Did you know that God can read our hearts? It’s true.

Have you ever been in the midst of something in which words just fail when you come to meet with the Lord in prayer?

Sometimes this happens because we are so distracted, our thoughts just keep on straying, interrupting, intervening.

Other times, we may truly be so over wrought with emotions, grief, turmoil, or a host of other things, that words simply elude us.  At this point, we tend to get frustrated and just go back into our own little world.

I have even recently experienced times in which I am so utterly happy that I can’t seem to find the right words as I come to the Lord in prayer….just wanting to praise Him.

I don’t know if this will help you or not – I certainly hope that it will – but I want to share a secret with you: God can read our hearts.

If we have accepted Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives, He has given us the Holy Spirit to live within us and “help” us throughout our lives.  The Holy Spirit is an absolute part of God – part of the trinity – and is divine and powerful.

The Spirit of the Lord lives within us and can and will intercede for us in prayer. Honestly, I personally feel that the Spirit does a much better job of bringing our true desires, praises, and prayers to the Father for us than we could ever do.

If you are struggling to express what you wish to say or convey to the Lord today, take a moment and just come to Him – heart bare. I have literally found myself saying nothing more on several occassions over these last two months than “Lord, I have tried to tell you, but I know that you know my heart.” And then things just…..change.

They change for the better, friends. I can feel it right when it happens. And so will you.

It’s almost as though it’s a relief – a form of utter dependence and vulnerability and trust – when we just give it up to the Lord entirely…asking Him to read our hearts. The Spirit steps in, takes completely over, and things seem to be heard a lot better and much more clearly than when we seem to have all the right words ourselves.

Open your heart today and let Him do the heart surgery He so desires. I promise, it will be worth it!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8: 26-27

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tumblr.com

R U 4 Real?

Transparency

Authenticity

Humility

Admission of Weakness

Tears

Brokenness

Needy

Sincerity

Willingness

Openness

Risk-Taking

Vulnerability

Awkward

Stumbling

Mistake Maker

Fear Facer

Vulnerability

Warrior

Overcoming

Obedience

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 37-39

Conqueror!

Don’t take MY word for it………Take HIS!

Photo Credit Soupartdesigns.com

Photo Credit Soupartdesigns.com

The Best Medicine

Photo Credit: Paul Lee via Heartlight.com

            Photo Credit: Paul Lee via Heartlight.com

Jesus Christ – Savior, Redeemer, Faithful and Mighty, All-Powerful God!

One dose is all it takes…..lasts for all eternity.

 

 

Crazy Joy Invades Zombie Land!

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” Matthew 24:12

That’s IT!

Calling all Christians! And I mean, the ones who are still filled with the joy of Jesus today!

The ones who want to scream at the top of their lungs, “I love God!!!!!!”

The ones who want to say, “Halt! Are you filled with joy and happiness today?? Whats up, yo?”

Are you finding lately, that no matter where you go, what you do, (yes, friends…even amongst fellow believers in Christ Jesus) that it seems like everyone is in a daze…

I don’t even mean just a distracted-type of daze anymore either….Just….something……weird. (Quick reference – “soma”  in the classic novel, “Brave New World” – read it!!!)

The heartbeat…..it’s slowed down. Waaaayyyyyyy down.

People are walking around like zombies, yo.

At first, I was in awe….just figured it was the busy-crazy of life doing it to all of us.

Then, it stopped happening to me, as I was truly seeking Him and asking Him to wake my heart for others back up. He did. He softened my heart. It hurt for a while, but now it’s beating right again and the pain has subsided.

Guess what He did? Jesus then filled that new, healthy heart with Himself – and I just want to SCREAM, “Happiness and Joy!!!”

I know we are to meet people where they are at, friends. Not everyone is in the same place in life right now – I’ve been one of those folks who have had my dark, dark times in which I needed someone to “weep with me” rather than try to “rejoice with me.” I get that. We still need to do that too.

But I’m not talking about those folks today – they still need for us to do that, no question about it. I am talking about the masses today. I AM TALKING ABOUT THE ONES WHO ARE IN GRAVE DANGER!!!!!!

The ones whose hearts have slowed waaaayyyyyy down….there is just barely a little heartbeat in there. They aren’t even necessarily going through what they perceive to be a major trial or challenge or loss in their lives right now. They are just being put to sleep.

They are the walking zombies, and we need to help wake them up!!!!

Not wake them up to right and wrong! Not wake them up to living a different way! Not wake them up to the whole truth of everything that’s going on. Not yet.

We need to just start with reviving them! And make no mistake, it’s gonna be hard. The question is, “are you in?”

What does a doctor do when someone’s heart is failing, but they are still there…alive (but barely) on the table?

Do they whisper to the quiet, little heart to meet it where it’s at? Out of kindness and consideration, ya know? Yah, just out of that.

  • “I know you are sad right now and barely beating, so I’ll just calmly allow you to do that…you need your rest and space right now….it’s okay. I will let you go without trying. I don’t want to invonvenience you or anything…make you uncomfortable. I want to respect your wishes.”

NO WAY!

They pull out those paddle things and start pumping away hard and heavy, man! They don’t worry about bruising, or the uncomfortable aftermath that may ensue. They don’t worry about the fact that this seemingly calm, peaceful body on the table is now jerking all over the place…up off the table….that the monitor is going crazy. And they certainly don’t worry about causing invonvenience or discomfort – sheesh!

I’d rather see that heart have a chance, wouldn’t you?

Well, there ya go. That’s my point today.

I started to cave in, friends. I started to think there was nothing I could do about it, so why try. I started to think that we should leave the zombified alone and live and let….(live?)

I started to let it depress me too. I started to walk away feeling downtrodden – it started to make my own heart grow cold. NOT gonna happen!!!!!!!

But I am screaming at the top of my lungs, and it is coming from the depths of my heart today….”I WILL NOT CAVE IN BECAUSE JESUS WANTS TO COME OUT OF ME AND JUMP INTO YOU AND I REFUSE TO STAND IN THE WAY OF THAT!!!!”

This is a call to all those out there who have the joy of Jesus in them today!!!!!

Get out there and be a heart doctor. Let Him be the true and mighty Physician that He is, through you. Do not hold back. If someone is not just zombified, but they are truly sad and depressed, meet them where they are at. But for the masses – the majority –  “the love of MOST will grow cold,” they are just being put to sleep, brothers and sisters. We can’t take this lying down.

We need to be that irritating alarm clock, friends. We need to care enough to try our best to help to wake them up to joy again.

Keep trying. Over and over and over again. Contagion of good and excellent things, especially those that come from Jesus, takes a while to get a firm grip and start to work. We have to stick with it.

I don’t care if you have to go over the top, as you probably will. I am having to do that very thing. It takes going to the other extreme to even get someone in that state to start moving. Just like the heart paddles.

Be weird! Be crazy! Be wild! Be nuts! Radical for Jesus!!!!!!!! Necessary measures.

And do it with a smile and a laugh, even if the world looks at you like you are crazy.

‘Cause to wake up a bunch of zombies? That’s crazy in and of itself. But it’s where we are at. I refuse to accept it without a fight. I refuse to not go after my brothers and sisters. I hope you will join me.

Crazy love man. CRAZY, Radical love.

It’s time for the alarm clocks to wake up and get to work! Let’s DO this thing!

Photo Via Microsoft Office Images

Photo Via Microsoft Office Images

 

Going Back Home

Photo Credit Dreamstime

Photo Credit Dreamstime

Today, I felt like I was going back home, and it was so awesome.

Allow me to clarify that: I realize my true home is not of this world. And while I am in this world, my true home is with my own little family. That’s good and that’s how it should be. I am thankful and blessed beyond belief.

But most of us have a home away from home in our little temporary world here too, don’t we? For me, that used to be my mama’s house. She’s gone home to be with Jesus now though. I’ll see her soon.

You know, there was one other time I felt a sense of having a home away from home as well. And that was a special place full of special people right here in my own town. I knew this place for the first ten years that I came here to be married to my wonderful husband. This place and these people blessed my life so abundantly.

It’s been ten years since I last visited. Too long. So today I decided to take a little road trip.

Yes, today….the Lord guided me back to visit that home away from home, and I’m so glad He did. Today….I had a chance to visit some old friends that I had not seen in a long time. Today….I felt the comfort and warmth of good friends….good family….those that made up my home away from home so very many years ago.

Yet today felt just like yesterday.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

And as I was venturing towards this short, yet long-overdue visit, I laughed out loud in the car as I was talking with Jesus (yes, I do that all the time, so if you see a crazy looking woman driving down the road talking when no one else is in the car with her, that’s me).

I said, “Please, Lord, help me remember to watch my speed here – I am so excited to get there that I am afraid I will space out and end up with a speeding ticket.” Ha Ha! Thankfully, this did not happen.  🙂

Although things have changed – a lot – my old friends are still the same old buddies I had spent every day with years and years ago. It was so very refreshing to see their faces and learn a little about how their lives look now.

That home base is in a different place now, but there was no mistaking the fact that it was still that good old home away from home.

Know why? Because Jesus is there.

Jesus is still very present there…. in them – and that’s what makes that home away from home what it should be…what it’s always been. I’m so glad I got to enter in again today for a while.

Is there a place full of people that make up your home away from home that you need to re-visit today? If at all possible, ask the Lord to help you to make it happen.

‘Cause friends…it’s really true…..Home is where the heart is…

But home away from home is a good place to be too.

Photo Credit Dreamstime

Photo Credit Dreamstime

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a  good fire?” C.S. Lewis

If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any
consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection
and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the
same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Philippians 2:1-2

Eleven Nails

ImageLook at this photo that I happened to run across today…..It really has me thinking.

I have been doing a lot of praying and thinking lately about the twelve disciples of Christ. And there is a lot to be learned from Judas who betrayed Christ “with a kiss.”

When I gazed upon this image, I noticed there were eleven nails. I don’t know if the person who took it meant for it to be that way or not. But it immediately stood out to me.

Any one of us could choose to be a Judas, couldn’t we? And if not one of us reading this today, I would venture to guess we all know at least one person who is making that choice.

Yes, any one of us could make the choice not to accept Jesus Christ and His offer of forgiveness for our sins and leave it nailed into that cross that He died upon for our sakes.

To leave it with Jesus – with His blood that He shed for us – with all the love, pain, anguish, torment and utter suffering. To leave it nailed in.

To celebrate the fact that He died for us but then rose again – and we have the opportunity to live with Him forever – for all eternity – if only we leave that nail where it is supposed to be.

I am not a bible scholar, but the little I have studied in the Word about Judas indicates that he was unique in that he had, like the other disciples, a certain bond or closeness to Jesus, but then denied it.

He, in other words, didn’t sin more than the other chosen followers of Christ prior to denying Him, but did ultimately choose (while knowing the path to grace and salvation) not to accept grace. He willingly chose death instead. This breaks my heart and I cannot imagine how it broke our Savior and Lord’s heart.

Isn’t that the risk we all undertake when we play around with grace? We end up bearing bad fruit instead of accepting the beautiful and dearly paid for gift of salvation –  through the grace, mercy, and sacrifice that Jesus made – and not departing from it.

We are all going to have our struggles and our trials. We are all going to go through seasons of confidence in the Lord, as well as seasons in which we struggle, stretch, or even resist changes He is trying to bring about within us.

But we need never choose death and destruction over grace and eternal life.

Those eleven nails prove it. They prove that there’s a choice.

Don’t be the missing nail. It was meant to be right up there with all the others.

If you, or someone you know is thinking about trying to remove their nail from that blessed cross, pick up a hammer and remind them where it belongs, and where it should stay.

It should remain up there with the other 11 billion million trillion nails multiplied infinitely –  and beyond.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20
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Keep your eye on the Ball

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Sometimes things happen that seem right, perfect even…. and then, in a very short time, it becomes clear that it’s not.Then, we have to adjust accordingly, prayerfully, and try to be balanced as we adjust (i.e. don’t act totally impulsively, yet don’t wait to long to obey if you feel the Lord calling you to action).

This can be so very, very hard to do. And it can be painful too.

Yes, God is unchanging, but we are finite little creatures. We have our strengths, as well as our certain human limitations.

And yes, God can do anything through us that He chooses to do, as He is also unlimited. But sometimes, we can get so caught up in the attribute of perseverance (after all, that’s a good thing, right?) that we end up moving over into disobedience if we are being asked to do something that seems like “giving up.”

When this happens to us, and it becomes pretty clear after searching the Word and praying a lot, I feel it means that He is asking for us to submit even further -to let go of the “perseverance” mentaility – to surrender, folks.

Then He can work within what seems like a limitation, and cause us to go down a different path entirely. Funny thing is, this happens in His timing, not ours. And at first, it can seem illogical, or like an attack from the enemy. It can be utterly confusing at times.

Photo Credit 123RF.com

Photo Credit 123RF.com

This is where I am at today…..

Over the last 72 hours, I have been squished and prodded to the point that my heart literally feels like it’s been twisted through a meat grinder. Didn’t this same thing just happen a couple of months ago, God? Did I make a mistake? Was I disobedient?

The answer is no. God showed me that He is going to give me choices sometimes that aren’t limited to one good choice, and one “bad” choice. Sometimes, there will be several options that are all good – but one might be better than the other.

The hard comes into play in the fact that I feel Him wanting to bring me into the best choice –  the hard comes into play in that we often don’t know what that best choice is until we get our feet wet and then realize “nope, this isn’t it.”

I don’t like that feeling much, do you? I don’t like letting others down when I find that a choice I made that involves them too, ends up not being right for me. It impacts them too.

God showed me this weekend that He is big enough to take care of them too – oh yah!

Duh.

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Guess what? I have clarity now about moving out of the one choice and not knowing which thing to do next (again – sheesh). I have His peace, His joy, and His constant and reassuring presence – it’s been there underneath the tears that have been shed, and shed, and shed. It’s been there under and through the struggling, the prayer, the exposing of my inadequacies, vulnerabilities, the list goes on and on.

Part of what the Lord helped me to do these last couple of days is the following:

  • Get the junk out – I had to compartmentalize the part of this that was an attack from the enemy so I could then deal with what was left. That was my blog post yesterday – the enemy and his stupid lies.
  • Once that was done, I had the other part left. At first, I honestly didn’t know if the big blob of junk was all from the enemy or only in part. Once I took out what was from Satan, I was at first a bit disappointed to see there was, indeed, still a ball of stuff leftover to contend with. (I was secretly holding out the hope that it all was just a stupid attack that I could then stand up against and persevere against with the help of the Lord and others)
  • That remaining ball of stuff is some hard truth, but it is from the Lord…I know this without question. Today and last night I have been dealing with that along with Him. After all, He is the One in charge here.
  • I had help today too – and some of the other days. My dear husband helped me immensely. Also, we sought some good solid counsel at the church from our Assistant Pastor. He confirmed what I thought the “divine ball” of stuff was indeed in line with God’s will for where my priorities should be from here. We know this because a few of the things I had shared with my husband actually came out of his mouth when we talked and we hadn’t told him any of it yet.

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Today, if you feel like the enemy is juggling you around, go ahead and allow the Lord to help you to call his little bluff. Grab the mighty hand of the Lord and stick it right smack in the middle of all the jiggly juggly balls  and cause the enemy to falter in his pristine and seemingly-faultless ability to continue juggling  and juggling away.

His games need to end – because he’s not only playing with you (that enemy), but with God, if you are one of God’s children!

I never really liked clowns and circuses much……..did you?

Think about keeping your eye on the right ball today – you should find it right inside of the One true Savior’s hand:  Jesus Christ. Master of All.

He isn’t clowning around, either.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Whispers from the Enemy

You can’t do it…

You aren’t worthy….

You aren’t equipped…

Cut your losses…..

There’s something better for you somewhere else….

You don’t have what it takes any more….

You can’t be good this way….

You aren’t going to be able to help anyone, including yourself….

Listen to your heart….

Run…..

Hide….

Quit…..

Stop….

Get out while you’re still ahead…..

It’s okay, you just made a mistake….

Seek what you want……

Make it easy on yourself, already…..

Why are you doing this to yourself….

Are you a glutton for punishment or what……

Be free….

You don’t fit……

Get out…..

Look, this is bringing you down…..

You’re a detriment to others this way….

Stop already…..

You are so self centered…..

If it was meant to be it would be going better……

You don’t fit in….

Recognize the signs….

Forget about it….

Stop wasting time….

Realize your limitations…

God doesn’t care either way….

Who cares, just do whatever….

Move….

Succeed…..

Be strong…

Get a backbone, will ya….

Trust in your own feelings….

Trust your own gut….

You don’t need anyone else to help you decide….

You know…

Trust yourself.

Set yourself up for success…

You deserve it.

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2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

This Week was not about Weak

via pixabay

via pixabay

Today I am proud of the weak that I saw confessed.

Let me clarify that: I am proud to see the strength that is shown by others when they are willing to expose (in trust) their “weaknesses.”

Bravery seen through a tear….

Or a flood of tears….

Or a river of them….

A barrage of streaming, stinging, and ultimately, cleansing tears.

Jesus cried. Jesus even pleaded.

I am sure He still cries for us.

While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Hebrews 5:7

I am thankful for my friends, old and new.

I am thankful for their willingness to show me their tears.

I am beyond grateful for their grace and desire to see and share in mine.

I see Jesus in the reflection of them – those tears – and those dear souls.

I see joy through the pain….the admissions.

I also see us all say “sorry” for crying. Why do we do that?

I did it yesterday too. I said “sorry” for crying when admitting my fears.

It’s a gift – To be allowed to share in such cleansing crying and sharing of that which makes us feel weak, but builds us into strong when we allow God to fill us up.

It’s a privilege to be trusted to be a part of that, friends.

But when it’s me who does it, I do the very same thing – I say “sorry.”

But deep down, I’m not really sorry.

I am fearful deep down….scared to show my vulnerability in case it causes someone else to feel uncomfortable. Scared to show that I am weak and in need. Scared to be found out that I am less than humble and still a prideful creature afraid of admitting or showing “weakness.”

I think that’s a tool the enemy uses quite often – getting us to be afraid to be real – coercing us into pretending.

Fear is truly a tool of the ultimate liar.

But as I ponder this tonight, I am also so very thankful.

The world likes to tell us we always have to hide truth – pretend there are no tears.

The world is full of lies too – we must remember that.

Then we can cry some more. For the lies that are so often believed and bought into – yes, even by us….even by those who know better.

So tonight, I remember those precious tears I saw today for the gift that they are.

I don’t revel in the hurt part of them.

I do bask in the joy of knowing they were inspired by Jesus Christ – Savior – Lord – Friend and Redeemer.

I am so extremely grateful I got to see them – feel them – know and learn more about these beautiful souls who let them flow our of their hearts, up through their eyeballs, and down into the kleenex or upon the table around which we were sitting.

What an utter privilege.

Courage seen through the tears.

Exposing vulnerability and admitting we are all bonded by the need for our beloved Savior, His strength, His supernatural and divine power.

Beauty in it all.

Savior seen through the tears.

I’m so proud today of our weakness. I am so thankful for it and the strength of His that is made perfect through it.

God, please give us all the ability to keep on crying when You call us to – so you can keep on healing and keep on using the raw to work Your utter good in and through us.

We are being transformed into strong creatures of Christ – He lives inside of us, after all.

Crying is a purging of sorts too, you know. When the flesh enters in and tries to crowd the Spirit of the Lord out, it is a good idea to submit and allow those pieces of self to be put to death anew.

Self likes to breed, even when we think we have dispelled it from being the center of who we are….remnants of self will always be there and it hurts every time we have to submit and remove it so that HE can grow inside.

So as uncomfortable as this week was, I am very much in awe of the “weak” which is making us all the stronger.

There’s power in that weak. I’m so glad to know where it’s coming from.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29

Matt Gruber via Creationswap

Matt Gruber via Creationswap

Roller Coasters!! Good Times????

Photo Credit 123RF.com

                       Photo Credit 123RF.com

Friends ~

Have you been on a roller coaster of sorts this week? Particularly in regard to decision-making?

If so, take heart. You have company.

I have been in prayer and the scriptures this week pretty deeply about this – I want to share with you what the Lord has impressed upon my little heart.

I don’t have all the answers – just what He has led me to know – deep, deep down within.

Here it is:

  • IF we are in a good place with the Lord and our relationship with Him….
  • And IF we are seeking His will, actively….
  • IF we are spending time with Him in the word, seeking wise counsel, praying, checking our hearts, asking ourselves if the desires on our heart are coming from HIM or from the ugly flesh……

And then…..

  • If we are still confused….
  • We have rested and “been still”, but still feel that “nudging”….
  • We don’t know what to do and we are starting to stress….

Then, for me, for my situation, it tells me to take action. Not well thought out action, but steps….investigation….openness to change.

Seeking.

This is not always the case. Sometimes, the Lord whispers to us to stay right where we are – mired in the indecision – and be still and wait.

Other times, He doesn’t clearly give us an answer – maybe because He wants for us to be active about seeking a little more as to what His will is.

God’s timing is not ours, but we have to either be still and wait, or take the steps to see what He wants for us.

Either way, it takes faith and continual self-contfrontation in order to know what is right and best for us.

You know….here is what I have concluded so far: Even if we make a mistake, He will bring us through, won’t He? I suppose we can boil it down pretty simply….

  • If all of those things are in the right place (that I listed above) and we seek….and if our hearts are in the right place (good motivations for God, for our families and good intentions), then we can’t go wrong.
  • God will do His will in us wherever we are at and whatever we do, if we submit to HIM, not what the world says or thinks we should do. Yes…even through our mistakes or failures.

I think the world tries to tell us that only one decision or choice can be the right one, so watch out! That’s a lie. And it’s garbage.

So, take heart today in your “indecision.” Be still if He asks you to and pray. Or take steps if He nudges you to, and be filled with the joy and peace of Him while you do it.

Let’s do, or not do what He leads us to do, or not do, and then be filled with the joy of Him in either state we might be in.

Blessings to you today and every day, my friends. In Jesus’ AWESOME name!

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5

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Let’s focus on the gifts that we HAVE been given!

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So, after much prayer, consideration, and exhibition of major vulnerability today, I decided that I needed to tap into the gifts that the Lord HAS provided me with in order to allow Him room to help me to overcome some of these technical obstacles I mentioned yesterday.

What is one of those gifts and how am I going to use it? Studying.

Jesus has helped me pretty much throughout my entire life to be a good student. It’s not due to intelligence at all. But He has given me motivation and helped me form good study habits, and that counts for something.

Although I am not as good at studying as I used to be, I can still do it pretty well. It takes me longer now, I don’t absorb the massive amounts of information as quickly as I used to, but I suppose that is part of what happens when we grow old. Oh well.

But the basics – the heart, desire, and commitment to study when I know that I need to in order to master something that’s difficult for me? That’s still there. Thanks be to God.

You know…I was thinking….

Maybe, if I remain challenged in this area and have to “study” more for a while, my brain will even become sharper?

If you feel challenged in a particular area today, go to the Lord in humility and prayer and believe that He will help you. He may reveal a gift of yours that has been buried or hidden for a long time that you can use to overcome something. Or, He may just endow you with a new gift, or His own supernatural power.

I suppose anything is possible….don’t you agree?

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 ESV

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1 X 1 X 1 = 1

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This seems to be my vision in the part of my training at my new job in regard to new “systems.”

Computer stuff, friends? Not something I learn very intuitively. Not even something I master with a bit of high level teaching and then time to practice. It takes me time…. more of it than it tends to take for the average person.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am not intuitive by nature with the technical stuff. Not my generation’s “thing” and definitely not an Annie “thing.”

I can be taught, but it takes some investment and some time. And it takes lots and lots of humility.

Once I know what I am doing, I am very efficient. If I can stick it out long enough to make it through. Most of the time I can, but there are times when the Lord nudges me and allows me to cut my losses. Thankfully, He usually speaks to me pretty clearly if and when that time does come.

But in the meantime, when I am being called to still stick it out and persevere, it looks like this….and it’s not pleasant.

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The simpler it is, the harder I seem to make it.

This is not something the Lord has gifted me with – at all. Give me something obtuse or laden with feelings and emotions to drill down about and I’m there!

Honestly, I was shocked I could even figure out how to create a blog, but I know that God helped me to do that because He wants for me to use it to spread the good news about Jesus to others. The desire to overcome the technical/systems obstacles just was so strong, and He just showed up in big ways and made my fingers and brain figure it out.

I have other gifts from the Lord, and I know that. We all do.

But today, I am frustrated. Do you ever feel that way? Where you know you should cut yourself some slack and rely upon the Lord to pull you through, but you just get so mad at yourself for being such a loser in a particular area (or feeling like one, anyway)?

So, I will leave you with this image instead….in case you feel like me sometimes when you are learning something new and you come up against such hurdles that discourage, berate, and condemn.

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If you are struggling like I am, remember to look for Him.

He will equip us. And He will show up – one way or another.

It may not be easy, but if it’s His will for us to overcome the hurdle, He will help us to do it if we look to Him.

And if it’s not His will? He will lead us to something that is.

After all, there is only ONE thing we need to focus upon – at his name is not Mr. rocket science.

His name is Jesus. Almighty God. Forever-Reigning King.

Best Friend.

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