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.


January 29, 2015

100% Pure January Silliness...

My mother laughed at me when I told her that my word so far for 2015 is "Meh."  I like that word. I love the way it sounds and I like the way it is written and I like the meaning... "Meh..."

She informed me that it is a Jewish word - something I didn't know... But now that has given me another reason to like it... After all - I like using a Word from God's "chosen" people.... After all, as a Christian, I've only been grafted in... Although I have researched it and it looks like it is Yiddish...

Meh is the word I use when I've had a date that was unimpressive... (Maybe that's why I've been using it so much...) When I come back from a first date, my girlfriends are in the habit of asking me , "How was it???" to which I have replied, "Meh."  Which answers their question as to if I have any intentions of seeing that individual again... They are waiting for that un-meh response from me... Come to think about, so am I!!! LOL

Meh is the word I use when I feel unimpressed by something... (Usually this includes a slight wave of my left hand and a little lift of my left eyebrow, with a slightly bored, feel-like-I'm-going-to-yawn look in my brown eyes)...

Being able to say, "Meh" in my book means that you are comfortable with who you are.  You have definite opinions and a certain outlook on life.  You know what you want and you are not willing to settle... And you know that you don't have to.

"Meh..."  If you try to say it you might find that you like the way it feels as you mouth it. (Come on now, I see you - you know you are going to try it! Even just once... Grinning into my screen).

It truly has become one of my favorite words..

I will not settle for "Meh" in my life because life is waaaaaaay too short. This is my own opinion, but I think the opposite of  Meh is WOW.  And it is so different from Meh that you allow yourself the chance to say it backwords - WOW.    I look forward to all the upcoming WOW moments in my life - those are the keepers. You know the ones that you just can't forget or the ones that come quickly to your memory with a smile.  Meh moments all run together.  They are unimpressive-scrunch-up-your- face moments.  The word itself is more impressive than the actual situation you are "mehing" about.

Like right about now, you are reading this and probably thinking to yourself, "Yeah Kelly, you have just completely giving me a "meh" moment..."

That's okay... Everyone knows that "Meh" happens! But next time you hear the word, "Meh" you will hopefully smile and think of silly ol'me...

January 21, 2015

Broken Soldiers or Stupid Sheep?

There is one thing that I can honestly say from experience - God's plans are better than any plans  you could make for yourself... I think I've finally reached an age and a point in my life where I can honestly say I believe that, and know it personally to be true.  As an ex-prodigal, I see where I tried to take the reins of my life from God and in turn, made a colossal mess of things.

Looking back at "me" I can only shake my head because I was so stupidly naïve. What I experienced was genuine, what I felt was real, my emotions were genuine - all was real except the reality of the situation I was in.  I had taken the reins of my life from God and fallen, like Alice down her rabbit's hole into what I thought was reality... I believed a beautiful lie and because of it - I allowed myself to experience the type of pain that God (through His Word) had been trying to shield me from.  Please note that satan is a mastermind of illusion and making you believe things that are not as they seem or are not going to happen.  Don't belittle ol' slewfoot, he's good at what he does, remember his goal is to steal, kill and destroy and he'll trip you up any way he can.

Why do we go down pathways that God did not intend for us to go?  Because we are stupid sheep!

Seriously though - a lot of people see the Bible as a book of "no's."  Some people think that just having a Bible collecting dust in their house is really what a Bible is meant for, but the fact of the matter is The Bible is our get-through-life-GPS.  If you are a parent and you tell your child, "no don't touch the stove because its hot and you'll get burned," you're not saying it because you are a "mean" parent - you are saying it because you know that if that child touches the stove he/she is going to get burned!  Some of us that are hard headed and think we know "better" than God, and so when we touch that "so-called stove" we not only get burned;  we get third degree burns that leave scars and then we have the audacity to turn to "our Father" as if it is His fault that we got hurt in the first place!  All along we were the ones that chose not to listen or obey His word, which He has given to us to direct us - why?

Because He LOVES us!

He LOVES YOU.  YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU!!!!   Don't ask me to explain it - because lately, I have been raising my eyes heavenward, shaking my head and asking Him - "WHY?!!!"

"Why do you love us???? We are just a bunch of truly stupid, wayward sheep!"

But the fact of the matter is He does.  Dearly, with all His heart.  And when we come to Him with our hearts "burned" with  third degree burns because of our own stupidity of not having listened (or heeded) His book of directions (that is filled with true experiences that we are SUPPOSE to learn from, of people who came prior to us that were JUST as stupid as we are).  He takes our boo-boos and kisses them and heals them.

Not only did God heal me from breast cancer, this past Fall He took my bruised and injured heart into His hands and tenderly healed it.  I know it was Him because it certainly was not me.

Wayward, disobedient, hard headed, stubborn - does that sound like you too?  I had taken the reins of my life into my own hands - ME.  And Oh yes - the degree of emotional pain I suffered for it as I stupidly was led down a pathway of deception and lies was beyond third degree...

But Prodigal - what God does once  you have confessed and repented and admitted what you have been through (or are going through), He wraps you up in a big ol' bear hug so tight you doubt you'll be able to breath!  He hugs you THAT hard.  And He says, "I've missed you... Welcome Home."

For a while you'll wander around the house - touching things you haven't seen for a while.  All the while rethinking what you have been through, wondering WHY you allowed yourself to go there and fall or believe the what you now recognize were lies of the devil.  Once you are back home it all seems so ridiculous.  You feel as though you should have known better.  How could you have believed what you did when it was so obviously clear that Wonderland could never become your reality - and it didn't, no matter how HARD you had believed it would...  If you have been a prodigal, you know what I'm talking about....

Through His grace, His forgiveness, His mercy and His love you find yourself holding on tighter to Him than ever before.  Like a child who follows their Father from room to room - you don't want to let Him out of your sight.  You have to go with Him every where.  You know too well what it feels like to let go of His hand and get lost in the crowd of people.  So this time you are holding on to His hand soooooooo tightly with sheer determination never to let go.  EVER AGAIN.

As You go through the house, you realize that what He has in store for your future is so much better than anything you could ever have thought of yourself!  And here is the thing, you lose the desire for what you thought you wanted, because you realize that it was not God's best for your life.  You thought it was, you believed it was - but in the healing of those "third degree burns" God changes the desires of your heart.  He has to, or you won't heal.  He shows you that the plans He has for your life are more fulfulling and satisfying than anything you could possibly even think you should have.  Not that those people/things/dreams come right away - No, God allows you time to bask in Him. To heal in Him.  To rediscover the fact that He is your all in all.  I find it fascinating that any time now I even consider "taking the reins back" I remember the pain that I went through having done that and quickly give them back to the Father - saying, "NOOOOOOOOO Thank You!  I don't want them!  I don't ever want to experience the pain my taking those reins in the first place caused me! I'm FINE with whatever you have in store....  Here you go Father - you can gladly have the reins of my life because YOU know so much better than I what I need and when I need it."

I think that is when the Father reaches down to touch our "bandaged" hands (from touching that off limits stove) and kisses our bandages.  The longer you touched that forbidden off limit stove the deeper your wounds and the longer the healing takes.  But during the time of healing, you spend time with your Father and you discover anew how wonderful He is.  Along with the healing and grace and forgiveness He brings clarity.  He renews your mind. 

You become transformed by the renewal of your mind! (Romans 12:2)  

I guess that is why true repentance is turning AWAY from whatever it is that caused you to sin.

We think we know so much more than God - until we realize we don't.  His Word (if you take time to read it) is written because He loves us.  Because He knows ever so much more than we do.  It's there to GUIDE us.  To help us, to encourage us, to make us think, to help us learn.  We only have to heed it and pray for wisdom and understanding as we read it.  Something our Father will gladly give us.

I am at a point now where I know that He knows best.  I want God's best, I don't ever want to walk away from Him again and take up the reins of my life because I know when I did - I got dreadfully lost.  Yes, I have been a prodigal.  What did I learn?  That I am not one any more - that what I am is a precious, well loved child of the utmost HIGH God.  That I am a "King's kid."(Even at the sweet age of 48! :)).  That my Father loves me more than I possibly can understand.  And guess what?  He loves you too... There is nothing like a good ol' bear hug from the one who is able to hug the whole world at once and STILL make you feel like YOU are special. Give Him the reins of YOUR life and see what I mean...  His best is better than anything you could imagine... The best is yet to come - but it's not *my* best - it's HIS.

What is the Foundation of Your House? Solid Ground or Sand?... Are You Sure?????

Which Life Belongs to YOU?
 Yesterday was my semi-annual check up with my Oncologist over at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  As of June of 2015 I will be celebrating my 5th Cancer-free Anniversary.  This is a big deal because when you have been diagnosed with cancer, they watch you closely for the first 5 years to make sure you don’t have a recurrence.  I knew I wouldn’t have a recurrence because God healed me.  I am *not* in remission, I am healed. God healed me. Still, always the night before I feel anxious and unable to sleep - because no one expects to face a life threatening illness in the first place - it is not something one "plans for." And all kinds of memories come flooding back prior to each follow-up appointment any survivor (and I think I can speak for my other pink sisters in this regard) can vouch for this and relate to what I am saying, it is not easy to go back through those doors...

The sad news is that while I was going through my slew of doctor’s appointments (trying to fit them all in one day)  and rejoicing in the fact that my blood work and labs showed that I was indeed cancer-free; ironically and sadly a shooting was getting ready to occur directly across the street at Brigham & Women's Hospital, from where my appointments for the morning had taken place. Allegedly, a gentleman (whose mother had apparently undergone cardiovascular surgery in November of 2014 and had died) entered the hospital looking for her surgeon, shot him and then turned the gun on himself.
I am quite sure that when that surgeon had woken up yesterday morning he had had no idea that this would be his last day of life.  Sadly and tragically, he died from the wounds.  My heart goes out to his family as he was someone’s husband, the father of three young children and his wife is 7 months pregnant with their fourth child on the way.  I am praying for that family…
Here I was rejoicing over the news that I am healed and well and (after my appointment this June) will go from having to see my oncologist once every 6 months to once a year, right across the street from where I was -  a highly respected and young,talented surgeon died from an absolute senseless act of violence.
*None* of us are promised tomorrow.  Although we live like we are.  We live like tomorrow is owed to us.  It is not.
Someone recently asked me if, when I had been diagnosed, I had thought I was going to die.  The question caught me off guard and I had to really think about it before I answered.  The answer, was no.  Not once did I think about dying.  Why?  Because  my focus was not on “dying” but on fighting to live.  Each second, each minute, each hour, each day as I underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation; if I had focused on dying – I would have lost the ability to fight to live.  And believe me, that is a big part of going through treatment.
I think the other thing is the fact that I know Who it is my trust is in.  The Bible tells me:
“The number of my days He will fulfill.”  (Exodus 23:26)
So I trusted that.  It also tells me : 
“To live is Christ, to die is to gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
My mind would not go there.  I had to do my part in my treatment – and that was focusing and fighting to live.  If I had given up, I most definitely would have died.
One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian, is knowing that my faith does not lie within myself.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
Jesus told a parable about the wise and foolish builders it went like this:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
My hopes are built on nothing less than Jesus love and faithfulness.  On Christ my mighty rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.  All other ground is sinking sand… (This is a song by the way... I did not write those lyrics... LOL)
I have learned (and am still learning) not to trust in myself – but to trust in God. He holds my life in His hands, I do not hold my life at all.  The Bible tells me:
“The steps of the righteous are ordained by Him.” (Psalm 37:23)
(***Let me also mention that the righteousness that the above scripture is talking about - is Christ righteousness - not mine.  WE cannot be and have NO righteousness except for what Jesus did for us by shedding His precious blood on the cross).  The Bible also tells us that:
"Our righteousness is as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:4)
I’m not saying it’s always easy.  It’s not.  I’m not saying I don’t struggle from time to time. I do!  But my faith and my trust is not in and of myself (or any other person for that matter).  My faith and my trust is in God and what His Word says.
Who is your faith and trust in?  What do you believe and why?
Not one of us is going to live forever – even though we have a natural desire to do so – but the truth is, each day is a precious, precious gift.  Cancer was just a chapter in my life – FIVE YEARS AGO – but it is one that changed the course of my life and my way of thinking forever.  I never take any day for granted (good or bad).  I have learned to savor each day – as if it was a tasty meal put before me because I know that tomorrow – it could be gone.  I thank God each morning for “each blank page of life He gives me to write upon” and I choose to write well!  What are you choosing to write upon the pages of your life that God so graciously gives you?  Isn’t  it time you thought about what type of foundation your “house” has been built upon?  If you were diagnosed with cancer or some terminal illness tomorrow what or who would be your strength?  We tend to put such thoughts out of our head because “we don’t want to think about them.”  But the truth is that bad things happen to people of ALL ages all the time.  Since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden it brought upon the curses that God said it would, which include, sickness, illness and disease – the results of sin is death.  But the wonderful thing is that:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall NOT perish but have ever lasting life!” (John 3:16)

That is the rock upon which my house is built.  That is the One my faith is in. Think about this.  That dear cardiovascular surgeon did not go to work that day thinking that it would be his last.  Yet it was. (Please pray for his family…)   While God tells us the number of our days He will fulfill He doesn’t necessarily tell us when that number will be up.

Maybe it’s time you looked at the foundation you are building upon and determine whether it is on solid ground or sinking sand? It’s a thought well worth having…

January 14, 2015

Newsboys - God's Not Dead

Does Your Soul Rejoice?

God's love cannot be explained, only experienced...
If I were to describe what it feels like to experience what the Bible describes as “The peace that passes ALL understanding,” I would only be able to compare it to that warm feeling you get when you are cold and you snuggle down deeper underneath an electric blanket… Or the feeling of seeing someone you love and have been away from for a long time, when you run into their arms and give them not just an ordinary hug but a big ol’ bear hug and you feel their arms tightly around you and your arms are tightly around them and you just know that you don’t want to EVER let go…
Even those two analogies are inadequate.  Honestly, it is the reason why David danced before God!  To know personally that God is REAL and that He loves you!  Truly loves you!  And to experience it for yourself – personally! So that you know that you know that you know that you know He is real!
Don’t believe me?  (I’m looking at you through my computer screen with an “I dare you” expression on my face…)  Then ASK HIM.  Right now… This very moment!  When I was 21 I challenged God.  I said to Him:
If YOU are REAL you need to make Yourself REAL to me.  SHOW ME. I can’t believe based upon what others experience with you has been. SHOW ME. REVEAL YOURSELF TO ME or I won’t believe.”
And you know what? HE DID!  He made it personal!  He showed me that He wanted a relationship with ME.
If someone loves you, their actions should complement their words, right?
Don’t ask Him because I’m asking you to ask Him.  Ask Him because YOU really want to know.
I can honestly tell you that when you experience this personal love with God, all the rest of the world fades away and you find it is only you and Him.  That to me my, friend, is the difference between “being religious” and having a personal relationship with God. There is a big difference between experiencing a personal relationship with God or simply being “religious.”  I believe you can find proof of that in Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees.
Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! (Mark 7:6-9)

Where is your heart? What is it telling you as you read these very words upon your screen? come on, right now it is just YOU sitting there, I can't see your thoughts or know what you are feeling.  What is your heart telling you?  What emotions are stirring up in you as you read this?  Do you long to hear from God and know that He is real? Do you long to feel loved by Him? Or do you just go to church each Sunday because it is a family tradition in your household? Out of duty or tradition? Going to church is a GOOD thing, but it does not “save” you.  There is a huge difference… One that is hard to describe unless you experience it for yourself.

You can find my own personal introduction to God in a post (refer to the postings on the side of my blog under 2010 – April, entitled “Pardon Me, I Suppose I Should Have Begun With My Testimony”) which will reveal to you how God revealed Himself to me.  He is no respecter of persons – He will do the same for you!  (ASK HIM! J)

When the Holy Spirit came before Mary and told her that plan that God had for her life, that she was to become the mother to the Messiah, she rejoiced and said:

 “My soul rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)

Does your soul rejoice? When you consider your relationship with God, do you get a “warm fuzzy” feeling?  Once you personally experience the love of God and realize how MUCH He really does love you, it is the greatest feeling in the world.  It helps you to understand why in the book of Revelations:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and Is and Is to come!” (Revelations 4:6)

True worship of God is a real desire.  It is not one where you are “dutifully” repeating what someone else says, because they are saying it.  You are rejoicing and praising God because you truly FEEL it.  Not giving “lip service” because it is expected of you – but because you feel it.  It’s real. And its not about anyone else "telling you" what your relationship with God should be like - as I have said previously, unless you feel a confirmation in your spirit with something someone is telling you - go directly to the source - GOD.  Because ultimately your relationship is between the two of YOU.  YOU and HIM.

Think about it – when you love someone you can’t wait to be in their presence. You look forward to being with them! You can’t wait to hear how they are, how their day has been, what they are up to.  You want to touch them; you want to be with them.  You want to make them smile, to show them in whatever way you can that you love them.  Not because someone said to you, “Kelly, you WILL love this person,” but because you feel it personally and you do.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  And the best thing about loving God and being in a “personal relationship” with Him, is the fact that it is personal.  It is between YOU and HIM, no one else.  He knows you, He wants you to know Him. I’m not saying that every day is a wonderful “I-feel-close-to-God” day.  A relationship requires work. When you want to get to know someone better, you learn about them.  You talk to them, you show them.  Every day is not a “warm fuzzy” day.  But to know that He is someone that you can rely upon, no matter what you are feeling, to know that He will NEVER leave nor forsake you.  To know that He is not a God that He would lie; to know that you can depend upon Him.  That He loves you no matter WHAT your mood is; to know that He is holding your hand, EVEN when you are not trying to hold His.  Is truly something… He loves YOU prodigal, or unbeliever or whoever you are.  Your relationship is not one that should be judged by ANYONE but YOU and God.  When you come to know Him intimately, you know where you are in your walk with Him.  You know the things you need to work on (even when you have your grizzly bear moments) He’s not letting you go.  His love is not as temperamental as that of a person.  No matter what you do – He is standing right there saying, “Okay, well guess what? I’m still here.  I’m still loving you.  I’m here if you want to talk about it. I love you (insert your name). I’m not leaving.  I LOVE YOU. When you are ready to talk about it, let me know.  I’m here and I’ll wait.”

Once you allow yourself the opportunity to know Him personally and have asked Him to “make Himself REAL to you.” He will and He does.  I have known Him as my personal Lord and Savior for 28 years now.  And even having been a prodigal for 4/5 of those last years (right up until last year) – it has only made me love Him more.  I am more committed, more determined to show Him my love.  More in love with Him.  Because I have personally seen that unlike people – He is STILL there.  And He will be, for ALL eternity.  He will never leave my side. One day, I will be with Him in Heaven and I will see Him with my eyes and I will rejoice and praise God that He loved me enough to do whatever it took to make me acknowledge Him and make me see Him. And I will join all those angels in Heaven in praising Him and worshiping Him – not because I’m being “made to” but because it truly IS the desire of my heart.  Why?  Because He FIRST loved ME.  In spite of myself.

One day, all the things of this world will pass away. What if what I am writing is really true? Wouldn’t you rather TRY it for yourself and find out than discover that what I have written was real, when life is all over?  Seems to me it’s worth a try. I did it and I can tell YOU for myself – that He is the absolute love of my life, the best thing that has ever happened to me. And though I have disappointed Him by my actions time and time again (and I’m sure before my life is over I will again). He loves me.  His grace, His forgiveness, His patience, His love is the center of my world, my life and without it – that place inside of me, which God originally created for one purpose only (to be in a relationship with Him) would be empty.  When God created Adam and Eve he did it so that they could be in a relationship with Him. (Read the book of Genesis).  There is something so deep inside of you that was meant to be filled with having a relationship with God.  We make the mistake of trying to fill it with other things – but what it was meant for, was for you to have a relationship with Him. Nothing will ever take His place in your life, no matter what you try to fill it with… Don’t believe me, just ask Him. He’s waiting…

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelations 3:21-22)

January 12, 2015

OUCH - The Double Edged Sword Strikes Again...

God is amazing… I have discovered with the start of this New Year that you have to be careful for what you pray for, because you just *might* get it…  I prayed for a deeper walk with God.  I prayed that if there was anything that God wanted to change within me, that He would bring it to my attention so I could (with His assistance) change it.  Because of that innocent, naïve, truly heart-felt prayer I am currently experiencing one of those “ouch” moments.  Have you ever had an “ouch” moment with God?  Well, I can honestly tell you that the scripture:
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
The above scripture is true, when you pray a genuine prayer asking God to reveal to you the things you need to change, He says, “alrighty then! I was waiting for you to ask, now let me reveal it to you,” and then He shows you.  Now I don’t know about you, but I happen to be really hard headed and it takes me a while to figure out what it is God is saying to me; to say we have a patient loving God is not an exaggeration.  What God revealed to me took me by surprise, and I share it with you so that you can search your own hearts and see what it is He is saying to you.
He told me that I need to work on trusting Him more, for every part of my life and I need to put that trust in action. OUCH…
My post previous to this one dealt with realizing when a Word comes from God that you feel a confirmation in your spirit about it.  I felt a confirmation in mine, one that made me know that this word was true.  If you get quiet before God – so that it is just you and Him, what is it that He is saying to you? And what are you doing about it?
He never speaks to me in a loud commanding voice, His voice is always soft, gentle, loving and patient with me.  I was listening to a Christian Conference on a CD I had purchased from a ministry, when I heard His quiet voice tell me, “Kelly, you don’t trust me.”
“Sure I do Father,” I responded. “Of course I do… What do you mean I don’t trust You?”  And He began to show me the areas of my life where I have either tried to handle things on my own accord or areas that I haven’t trusted Him enough to give over to Him. OUCH.  As each area that I haven’t allowed Him to handle came across my mind, I felt a confirmation in my spirit that He was right.  Although He didn’t say it to me in an accusatory manner, I felt ashamed of myself as I realized, as much as I love Him, I haven’t trusted Him completely and it is something in my walk (in order to have a more intimate relationship with Him), I need to work on.  You see, trust and faith go hand in hand.  If you don’t “trust” God you also don’t have faith to believe He will do what He says He will do, because if you did – you would have trusted Him in the first place.  OUCH.
So not only do I need to work on trusting Him, but I also need to work on believing that in trusting Him (and showing Him this by my actions and not just by my words) that I can believe that God will do what He says in His word He will do.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)
I could get real personal and transparent with exactly what those areas of trust are – and I probably will in future posts, but for now what He has revealed to me still smarts (OUCH) and I need to think, pray and digest the areas in my life that He has shown me I have lacked trusting Him.  Now that I know what those areas are, I need to make the adjustments in my life to change those areas so that I can walk by faith, trusting God that He is able and trustworthy for me to hand Him each one.
What is God saying to you?  Are you listening? If He has revealed something to you and you are still “smarting” over that revelation, are you making the changes you need to make in order to have a deeper walk with Him?  He didn’t say it would be easy, but it is definitely worth it.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3:16).
I had to ask myself, if I am not trusting God, who can I or who am I trusting? There is nothing that I can do in and of myself. 
'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord .(Zechariah 4:6)
God desires to bless us, He desires to minister to us, He desires that we will live life abundantly.  When we trust that He knows so much better than we do, we realize that His plans are so much better than our own.  We just need to trust Him.  I am recognizing that part of trusting Him is recognizing that I need to bring every thought into submission to Him.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This is something that is not easy to do!  Especially if you are an independent, worldly intelligent person! But this is where the decision as to who we are going to trust – ourselves or HIM enters in.  As God revealed to me that this is an area that I need to work on in order to grow closer in my walk with Him and accomplish the work that the Lord has me to do,  He showed me some of the areas that I have not trusted Him in and I actually found myself feeling rather foolish.  Prayer requests and desires that I have brought before the Lord only to take them back to try to figure out or fulfill on my own.  Imagine not fully believing that the Creator of the Universe could not handle a measly prayer request?  I found myself humbly asking God for forgiveness.  More and more I realize that a relationship is a two way street.  It is one where it should not only be made of words, but of actions. God wants us to show Him (as He has - and does - show us) how much we love Him.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)
That double-edged sword cuts deep. But in the same way that it cuts, it reveals what needs to be healed and if we allow ourselves to be open to it - it does just that, heals. What OUCH moment are you having? What is it showing you about YOU?  You can bet that whatever it is, the pain is for your good, don't trust me on this - trust Him.

January 8, 2015

Yes, It's Personal... Between YOU and Him

It is a personal relationship between YOU and HIM.
If I were to give advice to another prodigal, I would simply say, “The most important thing you can do, is to keep your eyes focused on God.” There are many who would dissuade you, discourage you (either intentionally or unintentionally in the best of intentions), but whatever you are experiencing if you stay focused on  God by praying, reading your word and seeking Him, you will be okay; even if you are currently going through a desert experience. 
It is very hard to keep walking straight when you feel you can’t see your way.  This is where we have to trust in our promises.  Even verbally say repeat them out loud.  Those dark moments, those moments of loneliness and unhappiness or dissatisfaction – these are your most vulnerable moments where ol’ slewfoot will try to make you believe that God is not real or He is not there, or He is unconcerned with you.  Don’t believe it!  Remember, your mind is the battlefield.  As difficult as it is, don’t be led by your feelings.  Also, remember your walk, Prodigal is a very personal thing.  Ultimately it is between YOU and GOD.   If someone is telling you something that you do not feel either a conviction from or feel a check in your Spirit that it is something that you need to work on, than chances are it is from the person and not from God.  A personal relationship is just that – personal.  If you are seeking God, He knows that and He will respond.  If there is something that you should be feeling convicted of – God will bring it to your attention.  A relationship is a two way street.  Don’t let people keep you from going forward in your walk with Him.  No matter WHAT you are feeling.
I imagine that as Peter was getting out of the boat in Matthew 14:29 when he heard Jesus say to him, “Come!” I can picture the other disciples probably saying, “Peter – what are you doing?! Get back in here!  Come on now!”  But Peter saw Jesus.  Jesus told him to come!  Peter’s eyes were focused on Jesus.  In confidence and in trust Peter stepped out of that boat and confidently began to walk on water.  Perhaps his only thought was – I want to be with Jesus.  He was so focused that He didn’t question or stop to think about what He was doing.  He just climbed out of the boat.  When he allowed the wind to distract him, he took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink.  When we allow distractions (whatever they may be) or doubt to enter into our mind, we take our eyes off of Jesus and we too begin to sink.  I don’t know about you, but I want that “walk on water towards Jesus” kind of faith.  No matter what winds or storms blow my way.  Do you want that too? Than we need to focus our complete attention on Him; The One who is calling our name, telling us to go forward in Him.
Poor Job, when he was at his lowest, trying to digest all that was happening to him, trying to make sense of it all, trying to focus on God – no matter his circumstances, he had colleagues who were making his situation feel worse by indicating by their words that there must be some sin that Job had committed for things to be as they were.
“Think now, who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” (Job 4:7-8)
And a second friend who said:
“If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness reside in your tents.  Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear.” (Job 11:14-15, 17).
He had a wife who was saying, “Curse God and die.”  (Job 2:9)

With friends and family like that, who needs enemies?  They were not helping Job by their comments or opinions.  They were adding to his anguish and pain. They were not aware of a conversation which had occurred within the Heavenly realms between satan and God regarding Job.  Unless God shows us, we do not know what is occurring in the Heavenly realms.  They could not have been MORE WRONG in their advice to their friend.
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and satan also came with them. 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." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12).
I cannot say that I know personally or exactly what Job was experiencing; but I do know that as a cancer survivor, when I was going through chemotherapy and radiation and not knowing what was going to happen, there were many thoughts that were going on in my head.  Why was I going through this? Was it something I had done? Was it because of my sins?  (All these things are things that naturally go through the mind of someone going through a life threatening illness).  If someone had sat down next to me and said the things to me that Job’s “friends” said to him, or that Job’s wife said to him – it would have added to my pain.  What Job needed most at that time was to have people sit quietly with him and not say anything – simply pray.  Simply be there for him, to hold his hand, to listen (without advice) and to allow him to see that that they cared and that he wasn’t alone.  Thank God for Job’s personal relationship with God. Where he could communicate his feelings to God, he didn’t understand his situation, and he expressed that to God (read the book of Job) but he chose to continue putting his faith in God and God blessed Him because of it.
Most of the time people do not mean to discourage you; they think they are being helpful – even when they are not.  They mean well, but if they are adding to the confusion and noise and pain of whatever you are feeling as you try to travel back home, Prodigal than you need to just shut out all the noise surrounding you and focus directly on God and what HE is saying to YOU.  I have blogged about this in an entry before, but if you are praying, “God if there be any evil within me or anything that YOU desire to change within me, please do so or help me to see it.”  God looks at your heart.  People look at the outside.  A personal relationship with Him, one where you are seeking Him with all your heart, soul and mind is one where you can count on the fact that God knows it and will speak to you over the things you need to change.  It is a dangerous place to be if someone is telling you something that is not in line with what God is saying to you and if you feel no condemnation or check within your spirit over how you are being advised, than you need to bring it before your Father and see if it is truly of Him.  Don’t allow it to push you away from God.  Talk to him in prayer.  You are focusing on Him.  Let HIM reveal to you what it is He wants you to change and He will.
“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5)
God knows your heart; He knows your thoughts before you even think them (take a look at Psalms 139:2). Talk to Him through prayer, if I don’t understand stand something, I seek God’s opinion on it. Your relationship is with HIM.
The most important relationship you will ever have in your life is with your Creator.  We don’t know the conversations that are occurring in the Heavenly realms about us – oh yes… Unfortunately some of the things that satan stands before God accusing us of are true… But the beauty of it is:
“Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
“But we have an advocate who stands before the Father.  Jesus Christ, who is OUR righteousness.”  (1 John 2:1)
God's grace and forgiveness are what get us through. Even if satan has been right in what he has accused us about before the Father, we know that if we bring our sins before God that He is just and willing to forgive us and they become covered under the precious blood of Jesus.  We are "works in progress" and as long as we have breathe in our bodies, we will be learning and growing in Him.  Don't allow ol' slewfoot to keep you caught in his trap of guilt.  If God has forgiven you, you are forgiven indeed.

The most important thing to remember is that if you have made Jesus, your personal Lord and Savior - that you are in a "personal" relationship with HIM.  Your relationship is with HIM.  Relationships stretch and grow and at times there are times when you will experience "growing pains" - Job didn't know WHY he was experiencing what he was experiencing, he could have allowed it to make him walk away from God.  But he didn't.  We may not know the WHY of what we go through, and we may feel as though we are alone - but we are not. Jesus said:

"I will never leave nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

And also:

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.)  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

Focus on Him, listen to Him. Grow in Him. As Peter did, keep your eyes focused on the Lord and you will *not* sink.  You will walk on the waters of life and no wind will blow you down.  And if by chance you do take your eyes off Jesus, He will be quick to grab your hand.  He knows who belongs to Him.  He loves you. He cares.  He's there.

January 5, 2015

A Modern - Yet Very Old Tale

Sometimes, the only one left holding the stones - is us, ourselves.
If God can forgive you, isn't it time you forgave yourself?
"Go now and sin no more." (John 8:11)
"How did I ever get to this point?"  She wondered as she stood there shivering, trying to inconspicuously pull up the strap of her shift, which had fallen off her left shoulder.  she shivered, scantily clad, not having been given the opportunity to put on a robe or cover herself with something of substance.  Never before had she been more aware of her life situation. Her gaze was downward, she didn't need to lift her eyes to see the accusing and angry eyes blazing over her. The men surrounded her, poised to throw the stones they held in their hands.  Their aim directed at their target, which in this case was her.

It would be over soon.  She prayed that when the first stone was thrown, that it would hit her directly in the temple and knock her out, or quickly kill her.  She knew that she deserved what was coming, and received their judgment as justified.  She dare not lift up her eyes, for fear accusation would show in her own eyes for those who she knew had secretly partaken with other women for the same reason she stood before them now.  It was not her place to accuse, her own sins were boldly before her. 

Although she wouldn't look up, she did allow herself  a quick glance sideways at the man she had been found with. He stood way off to the distance clearly begging his wife for forgiveness, promising her anything to come back into her good graces.  She knew this because he was actually groveling at his wife's feet, his wife's arms crossed against her chest, listening to his ridiculous pleas and promises with disdain.  Would his wife forgive him? Probably.  It was hard to believe that this was the same man who had sworn she was his "one true love" the "only one who ever understood him, believed in him or had accepted him for who he truly was."  Yet was he there standing beside her?  Was he there defending her? Was he even willing to be stoned alongside her? NO. Fool she was for ever having believed him. Loved him. Now here she stood, her life on the line.  It was taking forever for this circle of men to kill her, couldn't they just do it and be done with it?! Not one of them could hold as much disdain for her as she did for herself.  Would that she could throw the first stone at her own head.

"How did I get to this point?"  She wondered.  "How did I allow myself to participate in something I knew was wrong?"  As she stood there, waiting for the first stone to be thrown, she thought about her life. Ironically, the one thing she had sworn she would never do. She had done.  Her father had left her mother for another woman, and she had seen from first hand experience as a child the unhappiness that action had wrought.  She had sworn she would not become like him.  She had hated him with a white hot searing hate, yet, here she stood. She had gone against all that she had known was right - how? Why and when?  She had been a good faithful girl all her life.  Never in her wildest dreams had she ever imagined that here she would stand.  Ostracized, forsaken, guilty, alone and about to be stoned.  Still she waited.  It was taking forever.  There was a man, dressed in white addressing the men holding the stones.  He had their undivided attention, which for the moment was off of her.  She could run.  She wouldn't get very far, she knew - but she could run.  But she didn't.  She didn't because she knew she deserved what was coming to her.

Why had she done it? The relentless question in her head tortured her worse than any stone throw could. WHY?  And then the answer came to her.  Really, it was nothing but a flimsy excuse. But it was the truth.  She had wanted to disappear, to go away.  She had wanted to forget,to lose herself... She hadn't been able to deal with the issues occurring in her life, life had not turning out the way she had expected it to and it made no sense to her,  1+1 was supposed to = 2.   But it hadn't.  So she disappeared into a life she believed was real. She had gotten lost in a lifestyle she had been convinced was real life.  Somewhere along the line the lines of reality and fantasy had become blurred and with it the ability to see things as they truly were. Any time reality would knock upon her door, she had become angry with it. She had denied it! "We shared a tent! We shared a love! We shared a life! He was mine! I was his!" No, she wouldn't go back.  It hadn't helped that her co-sinner had agreed and shared and encouraged her with selfish lies, love filled promises he had never truly intended to keep. She wouldn't look at him again.  The truth had hit her squarely in the head, he had never truly been hers in the first place and she had sinned against God, she knew the consequences. It wouldn't matter now, she'd be dead shortly.

"Oh why was it taking so long?!" She bit her lip in frustration, wanting to scream. "DO IT! THROW IT! I SINNED! I AM GUILTY.  YOUR JUDGMENT IS JUST!"  Yet she stood still, knowing it wasn't her place to do anything than stand there allowing goose bumps to form on her body.  How could she be so cold when her heart was racing so fast?

"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?"

Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

She had heard of this Jesus.  This man robed in white.  What was he writing? She strained her eyes to see, but she couldn't tell. 

"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone at her."  Again Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time.  The older ones first, until only Jesus was left.

She couldn't believe it, they were throwing their stones - down on the ground, not at her.  Her jaw dropped in surprise.  Though still she stood.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one sir," she responded softly.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.  "Go now and leave your life of sin."

(*Italic bold print taken from John 8:3-11)

I wish the Bible said more as to what happened to that woman.  How she moved forward with her life.  My hope is that when confronted with her lifestyle and when her eyes opened to show her how her life had been, that she chose to follow Jesus.  He was probably the first man to ever show her love. Yes, my hope is that she ran back to her tent, dressed quickly, grabbed a shawl and followed Jesus for the remaining days of His ministry (or her life).  She was a prodigal, as is anyone who chooses to go down a sinful pathway.  Perhaps she encountered others who had fallen as she had and was able to grow into a strong woman of God and extend the right hand of fellowship to young women and keep them from falling in the way she had.  Perhaps she found her own self worth because of the love, forgiveness and grace shown to her by Jesus.  More than likely her biggest accuser was her own self (which is often the case with ex-prodigals, no matter the sin).  But Jesus encouraged her to go forward, clearly we will not know the ending of her story until we are on the other side - but there is one thing that is clear.  Our God is a God of second chances.  Our God is a God of grace, and forgiveness and love and mercy.  The Bible tells us:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

No matter what your sin has been (or is) Jesus died for you. His words are the same today as they were yesterday, "Go now, and leave your life of sin." (John 8:11).  It doesn't matter WHAT that sin is - listen to Him.  Heed Him, the life He has for you is so much better than any life you could choose for yourself.  You just have to believe it.  As an ex-prodigal, myself I can tell you that the hardest part is the aftermath, the forgiving yourself and the moving forward.  As I wrote in a prior post, any ex-prodigal is in good company, for the Bible is filled with them:

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer..

AND Lazarus was dead!
(*Taken from rapturenotes.com)

What are (or were) YOU?  God's grace, forgiveness, mercy and love can take the worst of us and allow us to use our "mess" for a message and use it for His glory, now that is what I call - a Happy Ending... Or maybe, better yet - A new beginning? You decide...