Hello!~~~

Welcome!~

It has now been seven years since I started this blog. How quickly time goes by! We are many members but we are one in the body of Christ. Therefore you do not journey alone! Hopefully through this site you will be encouraged by the fact that many things you are going through in your own walk, others are going through (or have gone through) as well. Sometimes we think we are "going through things alone." But we are not. God said that "He would Never Leave Nor Forsake Us." (Hebrews 13:5) and that "There is Nothing New Under The Sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). No man is an island. It's easy to forget that. May the words in this blog help you to think, encourage you in whatever spiritual state you are in and may the Lord use them to help us to grow in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!

I don’t want any readers to think that I am “promoting” being a prodigal. I definitely am not. But what I am hoping to do – is to encourage those of us who either have had or are currently experiencing a hard time in our walk to be honest about it. Personal conviction is a powerful thing, especially if you truly love the Lord. I think that sometimes the Body of Christ critiques and judges to the point where the person who is at the other end of that pointing finger feels ostracized, alienated and alone. I don't think that that is what Jesus intended. When I read through my Bible - I see a firm yet gentle restoration that Jesus ministered to those around Him. Look at John 21:15-19. When Peter who was at an all time low point in his walk - he was firmly, yet lovingly restored by Jesus. He didn't tear him down, or yell or make him feel any worse then he already did. He spoke to him lovingly and gently - and in doing so, Peter was able to repent and minister in a much more powerful, humble and confident way and it became one of the largest ministries ever.

Please note that I am only a vessel, my calling - to write. I dedicate this blog to the Lord and ask that He use it to reach out and touch whoever needs a special, loving, personal touch from Him. My hope is that the Holy Spirit allows you to see Him through the words (and not me). We go through things so that we can extend our right hand of fellowship behind us to assist and help someone else. Our Bible is the same today, as it was yesterday as it will be tomorrow. (I am far from perfect and do not profess to have all the answers...) but the good news is - Our Heavenly Father does! His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy is real!Nothing you are experiencing in your walk comes as a surprise to Him! May He be glorified through this blog and may God bless you at whatever stage in your walk you are in!~



I am a Breast Cancer Survivor

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor
I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer on June 24th, 2010 - I have been cancer free for 7 years now. It was only a chapter in my life - NOT my life, but the impact is one that has changed my life forever. Its important for women to know that 80% of the breast cancer diagnosis come from women who don't have a history of it in their family (My family didn't). Early detection is the key. For more information please click on the pink ribbon above. It could save your life.

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December 28, 2015

Are You Living a Musical Chairs or Wonder Ball Kind of Life?


I really must get in the habit of jotting down notes… There are days when I am inspired and think, “oooooh this would be a good idea for a post!” And then proceed to forget what that inspiration was…
I always tend to get a bit sentimental with the ending of a year… I look back at all that has occurred, the things that I have learned and try to decide what it is I’m going to take with me into the New Year and what it is I’m going to discard.  I find myself feeling a bit anxious of the unexpected, knowing fully well that I have no control over the future, but that God tells me in His Word, “The number of my days He will fulfill.” (Exodus 23:26)
Sometimes I get this this “Alice in Wonderland” feeling – the sense that I have fallen down an unexpected hole and entered into a world that I am uncertain and unfamiliar of… Our world has changed so much.  Common sense and common courtesy are things of the past.  Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older… Naaaaah that’s not it, I truly believe we are living in the last days; right has become wrong, wrong has become right, anything goes.  I think if it wasn’t for my faith and dependence on God that I would probably have lost my absolute mind.  I don’t know those who don’t know Christ as their Lord and Savior are keeping their sanity; the world has become such a scary place to live.
Sometimes I feel like life has become like the game, “musical chairs” do you remember playing that as a kid? Where you walk around and around as the music of your life is playing and you quickly have to grab a chair before all the chairs are occupied and you are left standing… Or like the game “The Wonder ball” do you remember that?  The song went:
“The wonder ball goes round and round, to pass it quickly you are bound, if you’re the one to hold it last the game for you has quickly passed and you are out – O-U-T out!”
I suppose those are the times when we should be praying more diligently for direction, as that clearly shows worry and anxiety which is not of God, yet in this day and age I think many people would truly admit that life often feels like one of those games.  What do you do when you feel anxious? When you feel totally out of control?  When up seems down and down seems up? How do you pull yourself together? What are you planning on taking with you into the New Year and discarding from this year? And you have to be careful here, especially if you are an ex-prodigal because we tend to be our own worst critics.  We’ve become super overly sensitive to what needs to be worked upon within our own lives.  Remember to give yourself credit for the things that you have changed and grown upon, I believe that as long as we have breath in our bodies we will always be learning and changing (hopefully for the better).
What have I learned from 2015?  I’m going to be real transparent here, because it’s important that we be honest with ourselves. We cannot hide from God – He sees it ALL.  I truly never understood why Adam and Eve tried to hide from a God who is omnipotent.  I choose not to fool myself and do the same, I am honest with God about my short comings because I know He knows them anyways! No point in trying to hide them!
For myself – I have discovered that with surviving cancer,  I have developed a fear for living… A fear of the unexpected, a fear that I will miss ALL that God has for me because I tend to hesitate and question each step I take.  I guess in being an ex-prodigal I’m afraid to make mistakes. I’ve become less confident with my own choices.  I question myself more.  There are still parts of me that feel rebellious, that need healing.  What does this indicate if I am to be completely honest about it?  It indicates that I have a lack of trust in God (ouch).  There is clearly some spiritual healing that needs to occur in my life.  I can be honest and admit that.  I have to allow myself to be open to it.  I need to trust God more.  I need to believe that God has my best interests at heart. There are things that have happened in my life that make this difficult for me.  It is an area of growth that I need to examine and pray more fully about. It’s even hard for me to type those words on paper, but it is the truth and it is something that God and I need to work together on in the year to come.
Now take a hard good look at yourself… You don’t have to admit it to anyone else – only to yourself.  What do YOU need to work on within you???  I’m not talking “New Year’s resolution” those tend to peeter out three weeks into the New Year.  I’m talking, in looking back at this past year – what have you learned? And what are you going to do about it?
What has God shown me in 2015? He has shown me that His best for me is better than anything I could have picked out for myself.  That truly sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone to find what we are looking for – and what God has for us.  In venturing beyond my own back yard, stepping out in faith I have walked into a love I never knew could exist.  One that is beyond my wildest imagination;  One that could only come from God.  Is it scary? Of course!  Anything that makes you vulnerable is scary, especially when your heart is on the line – but here is the thing, you’ve heard the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained?” If you live a life behind walls and full of fear at the many uncertainties of life, you miss out on some of the BEST parts of life.  God’s word says:
 “That He came so that you could live life ABUNDANTLY.” (John 10:10). 
But here is the thing – unless you step out and receive that abundancy, you won’t have it.  It is a gift.  A gift that is only good IF you receive it.  Are you receiving it??? Maybe one of the things you need to work on in the New Year is receiving… Believing that God has GOOD things in store for you, the Bible also says:
“If you then though you are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how MUCH more so will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11)
Often times we don’t believe that God wants to bless us.  We believe He blesses others – but when it comes to our own selves, we have trouble believing.

God has a plan for our lives, what we need to do is discover what that plan is (through prayer) and then step out in faith and walk in it!  But here is the thing – we have to take a step!  He’s not going to make you – He is going to direct you, He is going to encourage you but YOU have to step out and actually take that step to walk in it.  It is scary, but at the same time there is no greater feeling than being in the center of God’s will.  Sometimes we are our own road blocks in being there.  We need to push our OWN selves out of the way! Sometimes we are the ones who are blocking our own blessings because of uncertainty, because of fear, because we don’t know how to receive.  Are these things you need to work on in the New Year?
As we end this year and begin another, I pray that you (and I) will look back on the previous year, thank God for it and also consider what God is doing in your life.  This will take a quietness of your spirit to be still and consider all the good lessons and bad that you have experienced.  Spiritual growing pains never go away – and that is a good thing because it means that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and working towards whatever it is that God wants you to become.  And you can bet that the plan He has for your life is better than anything you could plan yourself.  Trust Him.

December 11, 2015

Careful What You Pray For... You Just Might Get it...


Have you really thought about what you would do if God answered "that" prayer?
 Could you handle it? What if it came in a form that you weren't expecting?
 Different from what you have been use to - would you recognize it? Would you receive it?
 
 
Y
ou’ve probably heard the saying, “Be careful for what you pray for, because you *might* just get it…”

What have you been asking God for??? And if He gave it to you, would you know what to do with it?  Usually things God gives us, stretches us in one way or another… Causes us to grow… Usually it is a reflection of God’s love for you and is perfect in its answer because it is just for you.  Hand made. 

What is it you have prayed for?  Can you handle the answer? Or would you shy away?  Perhaps it was something that moves you totally out of your comfort zone; makes you uncomfortable, maybe even makes you have to face things within yourself that you have always wanted to avoid – but in doing so it brings you into greener pastures and helps you to grow in ways that are healing for you. Maybe in order to get the fullness of the answer God is giving you - you have to be prepared for what that answer will bring?  Personal growth, change, broader horizons... Can you handle the answer to your request?  Have you really thought it through?

He tells us “I will restore what the cankerworm has destroyed…”(Joel 2:25) But are you willing to allow Him to do that?  Or will you shy away from the fact that it makes you think about things you’ve tried to close off in your mind?  Makes you examine them and dig deeper… What do you want?  Is it what you thought you wanted?  Or did you pray too big?  Are you so use to mediocre in your life that you don’t know how to receive God’s best for you because it scares you?  Maybe God is teaching you that you need to learn how to receive...

Sometimes what God gives you, is not what you expected.  Not what you planned, not what you thought you would have and there you are praying, “Oh God, I want this so badly…”  And He is looking at you with a raised eyebrow because what you are asking for is right there before you.  Only you don’t recognize it or trust it.  Open your eyes…

God has a best for your life.  He alone knows what that best is.  TRUST HIM.  Learn to recognize your blessings and learn HOW to receive them.  Don’t take those blessings for granted because you are afraid of either your past, or being vulnerable to what the future holds for you.  Be open to new experiences, even if they differ from what you are used to… It may be the best thing ever and just exactly what you need.  Be open to it.  YOU prayed a prayer – now receive God’s answer, whatever that may be.  Because if you miss it – God may deem that you are not worthy of it or mature enough for it or ready for it – and whatever lesson He has you currently in in your life (and we are ALL in different life lessons) – He may have you take the lesson over until you get it right…

Remember it says, "To much is given, much will be required." (Luke 12:48) There is a responsibility in what God gives you.  Is it love? Then cherish that person He gives you no matter what comes your way. Whatever it is - rejoice in God's answer and receive and thank Him for answering your prayer.  Sometimes we pray prayers and we forget about them - God does not forget. So remember, when He answers your request - to thank Him for it - in fact, thank Him BY FAITH before He even answers it.  He has your best interest in mind and He knows JUST what you need.

"Be anxious about nothing, but by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5) Just remember that sometimes answers to prayer don't come in the way or form you expect. You may certainly be asked to go beyond your comfort zone - but know that in doing so, you will be blessed more abundantly than you could ever imagine...

What are you praying for? What are you expecting? What are you willing to do with what God gives you?  God can give to you – but unless you receive it with an open hand and a willing heart – you can’t receive it.  The receiving part is up to you…

November 16, 2015

How About Giving Thanks?



Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
(Psalm 107:1)

It is very sad to me to see how the Thanksgiving Holiday is treated like a step-child.... Have we become a nation who has forgotten WHAT to be thankful for????? Television goes right to Christmas movies, commercials, etc. Malls are already playing Christmas music. I'm thoroughly disgusted...  I recognize that there are times when my worries seem more than my blessings - but when I stop and think about it I have to apologize to God because there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. I, for one will not override this very important holiday. So let me share what I am thankful for this year.

am thankful for knowing that I have a loving God who absolutely directs my path - Even when my wayward feet begin to drift off of it His grace, love and forgiveness direct me back. This year He brought into my life the most amazing man, and I can honestly see how God's best for me is better than anything I could have picked out for myself. Someone I will never take for granted... And to be extremely blessed by getting the privilege of knowing his fine family...
 
This has been a year of gain and a year of tremendous loss, since my family lost three members this year...  My Uncle Lionel, my Uncle Billy and my cousin Lena. As if I didn't already know how precious life is - it has once again been engraved in my heart how none of us is promised tomorrow... How dare we act as though God owes it to us when we can't even take the time to thank Him for the current moment we are in???? Like a greedy fat kid at the table we just want to gobble up MORE.  

As I see all the craziness around us in the world, I am even MORE thankful for my faith, because I know without a doubt WHO I belong to, and that the number of my days, He will fulfill. He  ALONE knows what that number is, and my focus has become trying as hard as I can to make EVERY moment count, the best I can.
 
I am thankful for my family because in seeing how others conduct themselves I have been made more fully aware of the solid foundation of love my family have instilled within me. I thought ALL families were like us, but the truth is they are not! Common sense, honesty, honor, love and common courtesy is something that is the background of MOST of my family members and I've always been PROUD to be part of a very strong family.
 
Lastly, there are my friends and mainly my Pinks who in many aspects are even closer to me than many of my family... We understand and are there for each other in a way that people who have not faced cancer or their own mortality can. We are a sorority of women who did not willingly choose to join in on this "Pink Rover Line" - yet here we are... You've been there for me when MANY others weren't... Quite frankly even MORE so than any of my sisters and brothers in Christ.... (Oops I went there...) You are the strongest women I know and while I wish this isn't what brought us together, I'm so thankful for the friendship of EACH ONE of YOU. We will be friends for life... 
 
So there you have it - and that just scratches the surface when I think about what I am thankful for. What better way to show thankfulness but to express it? There might be some who don't even know how significant a role they have played in your life - isn't it time you told them? Quick! Before the moment has passed! Give thanks.

October 17, 2015

Who Are You?

I have come to realize that there is no truer measure of where you are in your walk as a Christian, as when you find yourself pushed up against the wall, in your life.

What has my observation of my own walk been?  Honest answer? I failed miserably…
What do you do or how do you respond when you find yourself in dire, unexpected straits?  This question is not for you to measure by the response of someone else… It’s not a question for you to answer for anyone else’s input or judgment.  It is for you to think about, look deep within yourself and see how you handle certain situations… And the answer will be different depending upon what is at stake.  Is it your family? Is it your health? Is it your job?  If ol’ slewfoot knows what buttons get you to respond in a way that does not glorify God in your life, shouldn’t you know the same?
What has it done for me?  It has given me a good meter to measure what it is I need to work on spiritually and what I have seen within myself these last couple of weeks – has made me cringe.  TRULY there go I but for the grace of God and for His mercy.  Thankfully if we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us (and if you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit does abide in you) you become more sensitive (even if you won’t admit it) to the things that need changing within your life.
I can FULLY understand Paul’s writings in the book of Romans.  It is a constant battle!
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. "(Romans 7: - 8:6)
 This does not excuse the things that I know I need to work upon, but if you have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you (which is what occurs when you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes residence inside of you), then conviction becomes a powerful thing and as you grow in Christ it is a constant.  I believe that as long as we have breath in our bodies there will be things (that if we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and honest with ourselves) we will realize that we are a continuance work in progress.
It is amazing to me because you can become so in tune with the things that you need to work on within yourself that it can feel like nasty sludge and the only thing that gets it off of you is the recognition that you need to do something to change to have your peace restored to you.  Some of these things that the Holy Spirit reveals to you that need changing are things that may change over a period of time.  They may be things that you need to bring before your Heavenly Father because YOU can’t change it about yourself, you need His help.
I am someone who has never seen the point in trying to “hide” something from a God who is omnipotent.  I find it much easier to be honest with Him and say, “Okay Father – I know that you see the good, bad and the ugly inside of me.  I admit that I need to work on (whatever it is), help me.”  Sometimes the things that we feel most rebellious about are emotional scars that have occurred in our life.  God desires to heal them, we just need to give those scars to Him.  There are some that we refuse to let go, be it that it has become a point of comfort for us or we are fearful.  Having gone through a prodigal experience in my walk, I still see residue from that period of my life that I need God to heal in me.  He is my Creator, He knows how I am intricately made.  He is the best physician or Counselor to turn to.  In my heart I know that when God tells us to do or not to do something it is because He sees the full picture and is wiser than we are.  There are times when we either push that aside or refuse to believe it, most of the time this has to do with our measure of faith in God, how much we trust Him.
The thing that amazes me is the closer you desire to draw to God – imperfections and all, the more you get to see yourself more clearly.  If God points out something to me that I need to work on,  my peace is gone until I get it right!  Until I confess it (to HIM), until I recognize that I am powerless to do anything about it (without HIM!), until I decide that in order for me to grow and reach a higher spiritual level, I need to work on whatever it is that God is pinpointing to me and trust that He has my best interests at heart.
If God is speaking to you, you will know it.  It’s what you decide to do with what He is saying that matters.  He knows us sooooooo much better than we know ourselves, we tend to forget that He has our best interest at heart – and who knows better than the one who made it, what those best interests are?
We might as well accept the fact that we are “works in progress” because fighting against the tide can become cumbersome and exhausting and in the long run, we end up having to change what needs changing anyhow just to have a peace of mind.  What I have found out in the 29 years I have been a Christian is that until I learn whatever lesson I am on in my walk, I will have to circle around it over and over again until I get it before I can move forward to whatever else God has for me to learn.  Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. The ironic thing about it, is what God has instore for us is so much better than what we have in store for ourselves.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:2)


September 28, 2015

God's Best Pathway - So Worth the Wait...


"The Steps of the Righteous Are Ordained by God..." (Psalm 37:23)
We just have to BELIEVE and walk in them... Even if it is step by step...
I've been through soooo much over the last five years, and I've just accepted things as being the way they are, I joined hands and got drafted into the "Pink Army" with some of the absolute FINEST, strongest women I've ever known in my life... A Pink Rover line none of us asked to be a part of, we just got drafted in...

I've just trudged through biting my lip, holding back the tears, keeping my chin up and my back straight through it ALL.  Accepting my portion in life, even when I didn't understand the plate that was put before me, or the contents on it. Through cancer, through the people that PROMISED me they would BE there and LIED... People who have failed me purposely, selfishly, thinking of only their own needs not truly ever once considering mine... I never once wished ill will of them, that's not in my nature, although I don't know how those people live with themselves... long ago I stopped wondering and worrying about them, they didn't deserve my love. I gave them to God, because it was too much for me to hold on to, It shattered me into a million little pieces I thought only God would be able to restore me... I forgot that God uses people... He works through people...

And then I got to thinking that maybe we wouldn't know God's best unless we went through the worst of times??? Maybe we wouldn't recognize or appreciate God's best which is a love that is unselfish, a love that "doesn't hide you" a love that is proud and loud about you, a love that is supportive and unselfish, a love that is there for you if you are sick - a two way street kind of love that maybe I wouldn't have appreciated or recognized if I hadn't been through all I've been through...

My prodigal days  are days I can't undo, it hurt me, it hurt others but it taught me A LOT. It changed me and made me humble... It taught me that only God's forgiveness, mercy, grace and love keep me. It taught me not to judge, it taught me that God loves me at my worst - I don't think I ever REALLY knew that. They are only the type of lessons one learns when they hit rock bottom, face on the ground. The "omg! Abba Father" kind of prayers... The "I can't go another mile in this pain I am" in kind of prayers... The "make the hurt stop!!!" Kind of prayers... He turns it slowly around and brings people into your life to help heal you... And your scared to trust again and your scared to love again, and your scared to live again...

But when He brings you over to that "milk and honey" side of the experience, you cannot believe your good fortune. You reach out wanting to touch it but afraid it's a mirage and will fade away before your eyes... And you whisper to God, like a child, "Really? For ME?" And the love and appreciation is genuine and real and you know that you know that you know that only God could bring it your way...

I would not have met some of the dearest most wonderful women in my life if not for cancer... I would not have turned from my prodigal ways if not for God closing the door shut to turn me around saying, "No my daughter! That's not the pathway that your precious feet were intended for! Look what I have for you!!! And showing me an unbelievable love more extraordinary than I ever fathomed... Perfect??? No... Scary? In a vulnerable kind of way... But with a sense of knowing that I have to venture forward and see where it goes... No matter what comes my way...

God has His hand on this and I know I only see in part (that always drives me a little bit crazy) but I can trust that no matter WHAT happens, He sees in full and He's got me right where He wants me to be, and I trust Him...

So... Here I go, hands in my pockets, back straight,head held high, taking a deep breath... Maybe even whistling... Heart beating in nervous expectation, my eyes focused ahead - one step at a time... But this time I feel a hand reaching for mine, squeezing it in reassurance, our fingers entwined. And i turn my face to the side and smile up into his precious blue/green eyes because God is in the business of using people and He's using him in mine, and here is the thing, you don't know WHAT the journey is that THAT person has come from and is on and just as God is using them for you He is using YOU to help them... Because that is how He works...

We just have to let Him...

September 19, 2015

Feeling Heavy Hearted? This Post is For You...



My heart is heavy with more than I can fathom.
I need to turn to the Rock that is higher than I... Do you feel it too?
Times like this require prayer and conversation with the One who knows...
My heart feels heavy today... As I was driving, I was thinking how important it is to indicate that there are/will be times in our walk when we feel heavy ladden - and that is okay.  As Christians we sometimes feel as though we should be always lighthearted and smiling, but the truth is life doesn't always feel that way and we'd be lying if we said otherwise.

Today is a day where I just want to cry out to God, "Why?!"  Not in a disrespectful manner but in one that is an honest question. Sometimes life seems so unfair and if we are to have a true "personal" relationship with Him, we have to be honest in our communications.  I think God would want us to be honest about how we feel anyways - because truthfully, He ALREADY knows.

Think about it - if we are in a relationship (you and I), and I'm troubled about something, but I don't want to discuss it because I think it will bring up an argument or cause problems in our relationship, then I am just holding onto all those emotions, frustrations  and pent up feelings inside.  Even if I don't talk about it, I'm probably going to stew over it and if  you know me well enough and are observant then you are going to realize that something is wrong.  If this is the case when you are in a relationship with someone, how much more so is it with your Heavenly Father?  

Psalms 139 says:

Lord, you have examined me
and know all about me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know my thoughts before I think them.
3 You know where I go and where I lie down.
You know everything I do.
4 Lord, even before I say a word,
you already know it.
5 You are all around me—in front and in back—
and have put your hand on me.
6 Your knowledge is amazing to me;
it is more than I can understand.

7 Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I run from you?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I lie down in the grave, you are there.
9 If I rise with the sun in the east
and settle in the west beyond the sea,
10 even there you would guide me.
With your right hand you would hold me.

11 I could say, “The darkness will hide me.
Let the light around me turn into night.”
12 But even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night is as light as the day;
darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made my whole being;
you formed me in my mother’s body.
14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.
15 You saw my bones being formed
as I took shape in my mother’s body.
When I was put together there,
16 you saw my body as it was formed.
All the days planned for me
were written in your book
before I was one day old.

17 God, your thoughts are precious to me.
They are so many!
18 If I could count them,
they would be more than all the grains of sand.
When I wake up,
I am still with you.

19 God, I wish you would kill the wicked!
Get away from me, you murderers!
20 They say evil things about you.
Your enemies use your name thoughtlessly.
21 Lord, I hate those who hate you;
I hate those who rise up against you.
22 I feel only hate for them;
they are my enemies.

23 God, examine me and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any bad thing in me.
Lead me on the road to everlasting life.
 
That right there is an honest conversation between David and God.  A perfect example of how we can converse with God about whatever is in our own hearts.  He WANTS us to!  We need to... Through communication (as with any relationship) we can gain insight and understanding through the Holy Spirit.

So if there is a day where you are tired of wearing a smile on your face, and you are downcast and heavy hearted and weary - it is a sure sign that a conversation with the One who loves you more than ANYONE is due.  I'm in need of one of those conversations myself... Lay whatever it is at the foot of the cross.  Pour out your heart to Him. He cares. He really does, He is not a God that He would lie.
 
Sometimes He even allows us a glimpse into the "behind the scene" workings of your situation.  Not all the time, but sometimes He does.  A couple of years ago, I developed a strange rash on my stomach, one that required me to go to the emergency room.  One that I had to be hospitalized for observation. This occured after having had cancer and a non-cancer related surgery.  I was feeling pretty low and like a specimen on a petri dish.  I couldn't understand WHY God would allow this to happen after all I had been through... They were taking pictures of this rash, the doctors were stimied, didn't know what it was.  I was scared that I had some flesh eating type of disease (I didn't).  Pictures were taken and discussion was had amongst the physicians.  There was no cause for this rash, I was healthy - no disease nothing... Fast Forward to this year.  The pictures from that rash allowed me to go through a procedure that if I hadn't had that experience, would not have been covered by my insurance.  A procedure that I was asking God to allow me to go through.  Funny how we pray to God little prayers and forget that we pray them.  We kind of just "file them away" with conversations with God.  It wasn't a prayer request that was in my "top 10" important prayers list - it was more like a "Lord, I really wish I could..." kind of prayer.  Well, I forgot about that prayer, but He didn't and He used the experience I had gone through with the rash to make my "wish" procedure happen.  I didn't think about it again until I realized that God had answered one of my prayers - and then of course I had to remember to thank Him profusely for having heard me and for honoring a prayer request that I had long tucked away as "not gonna happen."
 
We don't know why we go through things.  I don't think we go through things just to go through them... I think that it's either because we need to learn and grow, or because God will be glorified through the situation or its because of the fallen, sinful world we live in.  No matter how we are feeling we have to believe and trust that God has us in the palm of His hands, because the truth of the matter is - if we have given our lives to Him - we belong to Him.  We are His.
 
That's a good thing, don't you think?  And on today, a day when I've been feeling heavy hearted and overwhelmed and sad and a bunch of mixed up emotions I can reflect on what God has done for me and what He continues to do and I can trust that no matter HOW I am feeling, God is still in control of my life and my situation.  One other thing - if you are doing ALL that you know to do the Bible says in the book of Ephesians:
 
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." (Ephesians 6:13-18)

We need to trust Him.  When we can't trust our circumstances and we can't trust our feelings and we are just feeling waaaaaaaaaaay overwhelmed and heavy burdened - we need to trust Him.
 
I'll even lead by example in prayer:

"Lord, I'm tired. I've run out of answers, solutions for my current circumstances.  I have done all I humanly know how to do and it isn't enough... Which tells me that "I need to go to the rock that is Higher than I" (That's You Father) and bring this season in my life to You.  I thank You so much that I can do that through Your shed blood on the cross.  I thank You soooooo much that while I am feeling "put out" about me - you are not.  You say that I can come to You in prayer, so here I am, standing in the need.  Please help me.  Please hold back the hands of the devourer and be victorious in my life.  You say You came so that I can have life and have it abundantly - but that abundancy is not from my own works and doings - it is provided by You.  So please wash me with the precious blood of Jesus, forgive me for my shortcomings and sins and help me.  You say, "You have not because You ask not" well here am I standing before You asking.  You know what the situation is, You know the Way, You know the answer.  I give my burdens to You.  Forgive me for my sins, please work out this season in my life where You can be glorified and I can walk in the victory that Jesus has already provided for me.  Lift up my heavy heart and fill it with Your peace that passes ALL understanding.  I thank You Father and I ask You all of this - in Jesus' precious name. AMEN."

Now it's your turn - talk to Him.  You don't need fancy words or anything other than You being real before Him.  Remember, He ALREADY knows what is troubling you or what is in your heart - you just need to converse with Him.  YES it can be humbling but the peace that comes from knowing that you need His help and He wants to be there for you will help you to unload those burdens.  TALK TO HIM in whatever words you need.  He is there and He is listening. Try it.  He truly cares for you. And when He has answered your prayer (with whatever that answer may be) trust that He knows what is best for you - because He does.  Remember, He sees in full, we only see in part - so He knows your whole story.  Remember to thank Him for the answer when it occurs - whatever that answer may be... He's got you, of that you can surely believe.




September 13, 2015

Toby Keith - I Wanna Talk About Me


Are YOU all about YOU?

Is This What Your Relationship(s) Look Like? With People You Love or in Your Relationship With God? What Are You Putting Out? Or Are You? Or Does It Even Matter to You?
Communication
Understanding
Patience
Love
Listening
 
The above are all words that make for a successful relationship.  In fact, as I sat in service today, it occurred to me that the example that God has set for us to have a personal relationship with Him, is the same format that we should set for relationships in general that matter to us.  Think about it... 
 
If I was in a relationship with you and all you did was talk about yourself, YOUR desires, YOUR wants, YOUR needs, YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU without any kind of interest in me or care about what is important to me, it would show you really didn't care about what my desires were.  If it wasn't about YOU then you simply wouldn't be interested and wouldn't care to know... Is that the kind of relationship you are fostering? A relationship like that is one that will not be long lasting, for your partner would quickly get burned out thinking only about what YOU want.  What would make YOU happy.  What would fulfill YOU?  What needs need to be met in order or YOU to feel complete? Appreciated or loved? Do you even recognize the needs in the person you love?  Or that even have needs? Or have you been so self consumed that you actually haven't given it any thought?  Perhaps you should try asking them if you don't know...  At the very least it will show you how much you know about your special someone.  People receive love in different ways... 
 
I am a country music lover and as I write the words to this post, I'm thinking that Toby Keith has actually written a song about this very thing... I will post it under a separate post but the song is called, "Sometimes I Want to Talk About Me." (You can YouTube it to find it as well.)
 
Most of the time how we receive and what we need is based upon what we received (or did not receive) as a child.  It is common knowledge that it is said that a girl's first relationship with a male is with her father... It is said that sets the tone for future relationships.  Is it the same for a male and his mother? I'm not sure, but it makes sense when you think about it... Perhaps? What are your needs? How does a person who loves you know what you need? Have you communicated that with them? If you haven't you can't fault them for not knowing, of course if they were REALLY interested they would take the time to find out just what those needs are and to try and meet them the best way they could.  Believe me when I say there is no greater joy than fulfilling, caring about or being part of the fulfilling in what satisfies the needs in the person you love most.  To me, that is in and of itself a very satisfying, gratifying thing. But it is one that SHOULD be mutually met.
 
Each persons needs and ways of receiving love are different from each other.  That is why communication is key.  Listening is key.  How do you receive love?  What ways do you show the person who is key in your life that they are key? How well do you understand the needs of the person you are with?  Are they low on the totem pole of thought with you? Or do you find their needs or ways of making them feel they matter,  high on that pole if not - have you asked yourself why? Do you take an interest in what interests the one you love? It doesn't mean that you have to like ALL the things that person does - but do you share an interest in what is important to them, just because it is important to them? At least to some degree? If it isn't important to you, that should tell you something about your relationship.  It's lopsided, like a seesaw with all the weight on one end... It's off balanced... An off balanced relationship is not long lasting, it gets old very quickly...
 
As I thought about this, I thought about all the times in my conversations with God that I rushed through the format of prayer that I had been taught - Praise, Thanksgiving, Request and then Thanks again.  I thought about how sometimes my prayers have sounded like Christmas lists of - and God, I WANT, I WANT, I WANT.  Not intentionally of course... Most of the time it has been without really thinking of how it sounded. But there are times that in retrospect I realize that my conversations with God (who I am "suppose" to be in a personal relationship with) have been conversations where what I felt was important trumped what God felt was important. 
 
YES He is my Heavenly Father, but NO He is *not* my genie.  God desires to have a relationship with me that is one filled with talking as well as listening... Sometimes I've been a better talker than listener.  (I'm working on that one...) It is not enough to have a one sided conversation with God, because what happens is frustration occurs and then ol' slewfoot uses that frustration to make me think that "my Heavenly Father" doesn't care about whatever it is I'm bringing before Him in prayer... All because my conversation and my relationship has become one-sided...
 
Listening, communicating, giving and receiving go hand in hand in ANY important relationship.  It's a matter of priorities and importance.  If it is not important to you, it will show by all that I've written above.  My relationships are important to me, it is important to me that those I love, know it.  That they don't "guess" or feel like a "side dish" in my life. And in the same respect, my hope is that it is the same with them, that what I need or what I think about is equally important to them and that God and those that I love know that they are important to me.  Why? Because I CARE.  Actions along with words compliment each other.
 
"Lord forgive me for the times when my prayers to you sound more like scrolls of wants and to-do lists. Help me to be thankful not for simply what you CAN do in my life - but for what You have already done.  Forgive me for my ungratefulness or for  my selfishness. Thank you for having made away for me (through the shed blood of your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ) to be able to enter into a relationship with You AT ALL.  Forgive me for the times when I have treated Our relationship as if You are a Side Dish - because the truth is, You are the MAIN dish in my life.  I appreciate You, I love You and I want MORE of You and less of ME.  Please continue to mold me in what it is You would have me become.  Help me not to miss out on what that is.... Help me to walk according to what You have called me to become, because the BEST for me is what YOU bring into my life and delegate what that best is - which is BETTER than anything I could choose for myself. Help me to recognize what that is and to walk in it, not only in my relationship with YOU but in the relationships of ALL those you place in my life.  Help me to love them better.  To SHOW them love in a way that they can receive it.  To CARE about what that way is, even if the way I receive love is different from how THEY receive love.  It is important to me to know how to show them, because I love them and because I care.  Give me discernment when it comes to those I love.  So that I can love them more fully in away that they can receive.  In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen...."

September 11, 2015

The Gritting Your Teeth Kind of Faith

Are You Spiritually Gritting Your Teeth?
Lately I’ve been living a “grit my teeth” kinda faith.  You know the kind, where you don’t see it, don’t feel it but you are going to believe it and walk in it any ways faith.   Not to put myself in the same faith class as Job, but I have found myself wondering this week  - How did Job do it???? HOW DID HE DO IT? H O W D I D H E DO IT?!
When you are hard pressed and cannot find any relief, when you feel like it’s you standing alone against everything… When your spiritual endurance has reached its end… When the attacks are coming so fast and so furious that you feel like you are being slapped in the face left and right, back and forth…

Times when you are soooooooo weary of it all that you just want to yell out, “That’s it!” Get up and push your chair into the table and declare, “No more Jello pudding for ME, MA!!!!” 
And that is for those of us who are Christians and trying to “walk out” our faith.  I honestly have no idea how those who aren’t believers don’t lose their absolute mind.  Sometimes I feel as though my sanity is hanging by a thread of faith.

Here is the one thing that keeps me hanging on, no matter how I feel, no matter what my situation is, God is on His throne.  He’s still in control, regardless of my feelings.   I will admit that there are times when I want to rage and have a full blown childlike temper tantrum.  There are times when ol’ slewfoot whispers in my ear, “Yeah, well if God cared SOOOOOO much about you, why are you struggling so hard?”  Or he whispers other taunts to discourage me.  Even when I’m in situations where I am laying prostrate with my face down and I don’t have the energy, strength or answers to say.  I simply utter one of my “please God” prayers.  There are times when I feel defeated by my circumstances, there are times when I really DO want to give up, but here is the thing. I know that this is when I am being tested.  This is where the rubber hits the road, in spite of my faults and the things that God is working on within me, I know that there go I BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD.  It’s ONLY His grace.  If there is one thing that I am sure of, that I know from the 29 years I have been a Christian, it is that I am totally dependent upon Him.  I recognize that I am weak, that I make mistakes that most of the situations I get into are of my own doing.  Nothing comes as a surprise to God.  He knows you intimately.  He knows your mind, He knows your heart, He knows the desires of your heart, He knows what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.  He knows it ALL.  And even more so, He sees the FULL picture.  We only see part of it.  The struggle is REAL.  It’s what you do during that time of struggle that determines where your faith lies.
Satan went before the throne room of God and taunted him about his servant, Job. 

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." (Job 2:2-2:6)
If Satan could go before God and taunt him about Job, there is a very good chance that he does the same with us.

What are you struggling with?  What is your response to that struggle?  Are you blaming God?  Your reaction to your situation is being noted.  It could very well be a test to determine if your faith lies within yourself or if your faith is in God.  Sometimes your strength is so low that all you can say is, “I trust you Lord.”
Maybe that is when God steps in and says, “Okay – I’ve got this! TRUST ME.  I’m bigger than your situation (even if it is a mess you yourself has made.) Maybe He just wants us to recognize that He is our provider, the lifter of our heads.  We have promises that He has made us.  I think God has given them to us for times to reflect on such as the above, so that when we are at our lowest of low moments, we can hold on to His words and trust that He is not a God that He would lie.

“I’ve got plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29)
“I have made you the head and not the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

“I have come so that you can have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”  (Psalm 3:5)

“If you being evil give good gifts to your children, how much more so will your Heavenly Father bless you, oh you of little faith?”  (Matthew 7:11)
These are JUST a small portion of promises and words of encouragement that God has given us through His Word.  It is during those times when ALL else has failed that we turn to what He has told us.

My hat is off to Job.  I love the Lord, I cannot ever imagine “cursing God and dying” as Job’s wife instructed him to do.  (Hence the saying:  “with friends like that who needs enemies?”)  I think this is one of the reasons why God encourages us to fellowship with other believers’, people who will encourage you and commiserate with you, so that when you are feeling like your strength is depleted they can strengthen you with prayer, the Word of God and with love. 
One of the last things Jesus said before He rose to Heaven was:

“I will never leave for forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Whatever we experience in life, He is right there with us, upholding us – whether we “feel it or not.” It is what He said.   And if He said it, He meant it, and if He meant it – we can believe it.

Just simply believe.

September 4, 2015

A Bicycle Built For Two...


A Bicycle Built For Two Requires TWO Peddlers
Are You Coasting or Pedaling?
I am more and more convinced that a relationship should be a two way street, or it becomes a dead end. When you start thinking "I and me" instead of "us and we" your road is changing one way.   

What are you doing to show the person you love that you care?
Are you showing it?
Do they know? Or are you all about you?

A relationship should be like a "bicycle built for two" where both people are pedaling the bike, otherwise the person putting forth most of the effort will end up petering out and giving up.

Relationships require effort and thought, but here is the thing - if you truly LOVE someone they should be WORTH the effort and your actions should show the proof of your love which fuels the relationship on. But it takes two...

How are you loving? Do your thoughts naturally go to that person's health, well being and happiness? Or is it more "what's in it for you?" Do you consider how your partner feels? What makes them happy? If you are showing love in a way they receive it?  Or has the thought not occurred to you at all?  If not, than maybe you don't love that person at all, you just love the way they love you - and that's a dead end...

Food for thought.

September 3, 2015

"Please God..." Prayers

It has been a while since I’ve last written a post… There are times when writers TRULY DO get writer’s block, the last month has been such a one for me, it happens.  But there is one sentiment that I have noticed I’ve been saying quite a lot of this summer.  That saying is:

“Please God…” 
That’s it – simply put… “Please God…”

I have come to call it, “Please God” prayers… It is when you are going through something so heartfelt, profound or difficult that the only words that come to mind are those two… “Please God.”  It’s strange because I find myself uttering it quite a lot lately.  Situations in life comes in waves and usually at times when you least expect it.  Some events can knock us to our knees and while we feel the emotions deeply there are times when we are without words.  When I can’t find any other words to describe how I’m feeling – those two little words say it all.  Very similar to the “Abba Father” that you find in the Bible.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

Or

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” (Romans 8:15)

Or

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal 4:6)

You see, “Please God” prayers are cries out to the Father for His assistance.  The beautiful thing about our Father, is that it says He knows our thoughts before we even think them:

“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” (Psalms 139:2)

Which for me, is a wonderful thing and where “Please God!” prayers come in handy, because there are times when I just can’t sort what I’m feeling out or find the words to express them. How wonderful that He can decipher all the meaning and need behind the “Please God” cry.  He knows, He gets it, He understands and most of all He cares.
You don’t have to come up with elaborate prayers to impress God.  He knows you!  He created you!  He knows your situation! He knows what you’re feeling!  He simply wants you to feel free to come to Him.  Lay whatever it is you are going through at the foot of the cross and know that it is for THIS reason that Jesus died for you. Trust that He can take care of it - whatever it is, it is not too much for Him.  It’s all about having a relationship with Him. 
If all you can do is cry out “Please God” it pleases your God to be there for you.  Because He is.