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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February 25, 2015

From an Ex-Prodigal to a Prodigal

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
We each have our own crosses in life to carry, the weight of those crosses for those of us who have gone through (or who are currently experiencing) a prodigal period in our walk depends on what point of the lesson we are at.  The earlier one is in their prodigal lesson, the heavier that cross may be because the Holy Spirit is probably doing His job - convicting you of what needs changing within your life; and while His voice may be soft and steady, you know right from wrong.  I know that for me (at that time), I had lost my peace.   I never understood why in the book of Genesis Adam and Eve hid from God after eating from the tree He had commanded them not to eat.  It never made any sense to me because God is omnipotent.  You can’t HIDE from God.  He is ALL seeing and ALL knowing.  So while I went through a significant prodigal period in my walk, I would talk to God about it.  I recognized that it was wrong, I admitted it. I did not excuse my disobedience.  My disobedience was one that I literally fell into, but there is no excuse for any prodigal situation we allow ourselves to get into, because the decision has always been one that we choose to make.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The obvious choice is to not give into whatever the temptation is,  I gave into the temptation and the cross that I had to carry, was one of willful disobedience that robbed me of my peace with God.  And no matter how much I tried to go around it – it was something that weighed heavily on my heart.  You see, I had fallen in love with God at the age of 21.  I fell head over heels in love with Him.  He became my all in all.  When I had learned that Jesus died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins, and rose from the dead and that ALL I needed to do was to make Him Lord of my life and my personal Savior, my life drastically changed.  He made Himself REAL to me. It was not from anyone else telling me to do it, not that I was being “forced” to attend a certain church.  It was  a simple prayer – “Lord, I ask you to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.  If You are REAL I need You to make Yourself real to me.”  And dear reader – HE DID.  (If you haven’t tried it already – you should, and don’t be surprised when God knocks the socks off your feet because He makes Himself REAL to you! – Don’t trust my words, try the prayer I prayed and leave it at that!).  My life DRASTICALLY changed.  All of a sudden when I picked up the Bible I had a new understanding of what I was reading.  I fell in love with God.  I wanted MORE of Him and I could not get enough…
In fact, I remember the first time I heard His voice,  it was steady and gentle.  I was a sophomore in college engaged to someone.  I was a new Christian, I was into theatre -  you see I planned on becoming an actress, I had known since the age of three what it was I wanted to become, an actress and everything I did was in a very passionate way.  When I came to Christ, I took a Sharpie pen to my jean jacket and wrote in large black ink – “JOHN 3:16” on it.  I wanted the WHOLE world to know!  (I have never been one to do anything halfway). At that time, I was engaged to someone who was trying to make it in the music business and was not a Christian.  God asked me, “Who do you love more? ME or him?”  There was no doubt in my head who that was – I broke off the engagement.  (Remember God sees everything in full and we only see in part, so I’m quite sure that He knew that this was a relationship that would not work out or was not the “Best” that He had in store for me).  I never regretted the fact that I chose Him. I wanted ALL that He had in store for me.
Just like we go through stages growing up physically, we go through stages maturing spiritually once we become a Christian.  It has been interesting to me talking to Christians who accepted Christ in their hearts at an early age because there is a lot of “poop" that they don’t experience because of that early conversion.  Yet many of them feel they “missed out” on all the “fun” they think those of us who didn’t have an early conversion have had.  I find it ironic that “the grass seem greener on the opposite side of the fence.” Because I felt (as someone who didn’t know about Jesus or come to Christ at an early age), envious of them who had; because to me, it seems as though I would have avoided a lot of heart ache, tough times and other worldly things I had gone through if only I had known about what Christ had done for me and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior at an early age.
Still, the plans of the righteous are ordained by God.  He allowed the scales to fall off my eyes at the time He felt I was best prepared for them to do so and for that I am thankful.  No matter if you come to Christ at an early age or at an older one, we are still in this world and the temptations (which have always remained the same and not changed) affect all of us at one point in our walk or another.  It is where we are in our spiritual maturity that determines whether or not we give into those temptations or we do as Jesus did and tell satan “to get behind me!”
I have been a Christian now for 28 years.  When I look back, I see all the different periods of growth and change that has occurred in my life, spiritually.  The deepest lessons I have learned have been within the last five years, the time that I allowed myself to be in a prodigal situation.   A time of excruciating spiritual pain that because of my disobedience and my straying from what God had told me to do; the cross in my life became overwhelming.  My love for the Lord versed my willful disobedience to His Word. I became bound by the poor decisions I had made and even though it was something that I just happened to ‘fall in to” – the decision to get right with God warred against the prodigal situation I had allowed myself to fall in.  I was in serious anguish, which is a sign of bondage.  All through that time, I would speak to God (because once again He sees everything, so I saw no sense in hiding anything from Him).  Quite honestly, in my head I already knew how things were going to turn out – but my heart refused to accept it.  I stayed in that prodigal state for FIVE years.  Five excruciating years that I knew I wasn’t right with God, but couldn’t get out of the situation I was in bondage to on my own accord.  Finally, everything came to a head and the choice was taken out of my hands.  Gone was the pain of being disobedient to God, fresh was the pain that what I had wanted I would no longer have.  God allowed the situation to be taken right out of my hands because He knew I was not strong enough to do it myself.  In looking back now, I can honestly say that the pain of no longer being in a prodigal situation (although it hurt and is one that I am still healing from, it was not an overnight situation!) is a lot less painful than that in not being right with God.  I will also say that getting back on the pathway that God has for my life has been one where I learned a valuable lesson – personally – and that is that, you cannot be a ‘good enough” Christian.  Our Righteousness is (and quite always has been) filthy rags.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
I think before experiencing a prodigal experience in my walk with God, I somehow felt as though I was a “good Christian girl.” WRONG.  What I realized, the most powerful lesson that I fully, personally understand that I have gained in my walk; Is that it TRULY, TRULY is NOTHING but HIS grace HIS love, HIS forgiveness and HIS mercy and the precious blood of Jesus that allows me to experience a relationship with Him.  It has made me a stronger Christian.  It has made me a humble Christian.  It has made me less judgmental of others.  Unless YOU Have walked in someone else’s shoes – you have no right, no way of judging them.  You simply DON’T know the fullness of their situations or what they have gone through.  It is between THEM and God.
I can’t say I’m “glad” I allowed myself to become a prodigal.  The ramifications of my allowing myself to have become one are still vibrating throughout my life.  It has changed my life.  It has changed ME.  I am not happy I chose the “hard road” to allow myself to be open to those changes.  But I WILL say that God can take any “mess” we make and turn it into a “message” that glorifies HIM.  And quite honestly, isn’t that what our lives should do? Glorify Him?  It has made me wiser and more determine to live for Christ and to really *think* about the decisions I make before I make them.  My life is not my own and I realize that the best I wanted for ME is nowhere near the best that God has.
It is ALL about trust.  It is ALL about growth and it is ALL about life.  The truth of the matter is that as long as we have breath in our bodies, we will be growing and learning and changing – until the day comes when we are able to stand before Him.  Thank God that Jesus is already well familiar with all the temptations we face in life, because even though they may come as a surprise to us, they do not to Him. 
When I turned my prodigal situation – my cross over to Jesus, He took it upon Himself and told me that I did not need to carry it anymore. He had my situation covered in His precious blood, is there a situation that you need to give over to Him?  Isn’t that cross you are carrying feeling mighty heavy?  As I said before – nothing surprises Him, He sees all.  TALK to HIM.  Tell HIM. Be open and honest and share with Him what you are thinking, feeling, experiencing.  He knows your thoughts before you even think them:
“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  (Psalm 139:2-14)
A prodigal experience is not one that is to be permanent.  It is a lesson and hopefully we learn from it so that it is not one that we have  to repeat.  Personally, I have also found that God allows us to go through situations so that later on – we can extend the right hand of fellowship to someone behind us, who is going through what we have gone through and help them to know they are not alone. YOU are NOT alone.

February 24, 2015

Carman - Satan Bite The Dust


The Fight


The first blow caught me by surprise. I simply didn’t see it coming…
The force of the blow knocked my head to the left. Another resounding blow turns my head back to the right – like an old fashion typewriter, the carriage flying furiously to the other side.
Right
Left
Right
Left
Stunning me, rendering me helpless; I’ve become a spiritual punching bag.
One
Two
One
Two
Unbelievable pain that I can’t seem to rid; can’t seem to get away from; I can’t raise my hands, they lay helpless at my sides.
Raise your hands!” The Holy Spirit cries out in my ear.
“I can’t.” I croak back, feeling as one does with a cracked, swelling fat lip. An upper cut to the chin jerks my head backwards.
Accusations plummet against me. Raining blows all over my mind; but the real pain are the searing blows to my heart which cause me to cry out and stagger backwards.
“Raise your hands! You’ve no protection!” The Holy Spirit cries out again. 
“I can’t!” I moan as the attack relentlessly goes on.  Through the pain I wonder why I haven’t yet passed out?  Where is my relief? Haven’t I yet reached the entitled point of passing out? When will it end? How much can one person take?
“Come on! Raise your hands! I can’t do it for you.” The Holy Spirit calls out again. “Why won’t you protect yourself?”
I lift my battered spirit in the direction I’ve heard the Holy Spirit call, not able to see for my eyes have become swollen shut. I yell out.  “BECAUSE I’M A PRODIGAL! THE FAULT IS MINE.  MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE!” 
The blows become more frantic with each self-proclaimed declaration.
“I deserve this!”  A blow to the right. “It is my fault!”  A jar to the left. I can feel the blood trickling down my left brow. 
“Enough! Though your sins are scarlet He shall make them white as snow!”(Isaiah 1:18) The Holy Spirit booms. “RAISE YOUR HANDS.”
I’m tired. I’m worn. I’m beaten.  I have no strength of my own. My arms feel like led. Slowly, I raise my hands to my face in a spiritual warrior’s stance... Not as a boxer; not as fisticuffs - but palm against palm.
“Now make your way back home!”
I peek out throw swollen eyes, noticing the self-inflicted fighting arena surrounding me.  I try and open my eyes wider to see who my enemy is.  There is no one in the ring, but me. It dawns on me that I have become my own worst enemy. The enemy is ME. I know what I need to do.
I raise my hands to trembling lips.
“Help me Father. I can’t do this by myself.”
“Not by power, nor by might – but by my Spirit.” Says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)
“I’ve lost my way and I don’t know how to find the way back to you…”
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (John 14:6)
Gently and lovingly He washed my wounds in His forgiveness and love; and clothed me in His mercy; with His Grace He directed me back to the path I had previously and stupidly left.  The first step was the heaviest but each following step felt lighter and lighter as I realized my steps have always been ordained by Him, how even at my worst moments, He is with me, loving me in spite of myself.  Even during the times when I have become my own "worst" enemy.  The fight is over, the bell goes off ding ding...

And the winner (due to the shed blood of Jesus) is...

ME!

February 23, 2015

Kari Jobe - I Am Not Alone (Lyric Video/Live)


Baaah, Baaah Black Sheep...

She stood so still you would have thought she was a statue. She had been through this experience many times before and should have at this point become quite stoic about it. She knew too well how easy it was to be alone in a room crowded with people. Really it shouldn't hurt her anymore - but it did. Since making Jesus her Lord and Savior she had become the black sheep. It had been 28 years; you'd think that it wouldn't bother her anymore. That it shouldn't - but it did.

Inside she knew it was only because they were ignorant to the truth. They were spiritually blind. She tried to soothe away the pain with the knowledge that satan always tries to use those dearest to our hearts to hurt people, especially if they are already prisoners of his camp. That was the most pathetic thing of all - she was the one hurting while they were the ones who were imprisoned and ironically they weren’t even aware of it.

She wanted to cry but the tears wouldn't come. It made her think of the times when she and other camp counselors had had to do something called "muck walking" which was when they would put their bathing suits and their sneakers on and would walk out into the pond to stir up and clear away the fallen fall leaves from the bottom of the pond, making it sandy and clear for the campers who would soon be beginning their camping season.  Emotional muck, years of it; layers of it, piled thick, so high that the years of tears were backed up within her like a clogged sink. She couldn’t cry and she wouldn’t.

"God these people still have scales upon their eyes, it really shouldn't bother me that they treat me like a second class citizen - but it does. They are spiritually blind. WHY did you remove the scales off my eyes first?" 

But deep inside her, she had recognized the need for something more and had searched for it and because she had heard the knocking on the door, she had opened it and became a Christian.  While in doing so, the world had become clearer, the truth was how the world functioned was not according to the way He had planned it to be.  Without the scales upon her eyes she could see the sick distortion.  Right was wrong, wrong was right, like the hole Alice had fallen down in Alice in Wonderland. Nothing made sense, a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah that she was supposed to accept and blindly play "Follow the Leader" just because “they” said to.  But the ironic thing was they were blind as to who it was they were really following!  They didn’t even know!~ No matter how much they talked behind her back, judged her, ridiculed her and mocked her, she would not turn her back on the One who had opened her eyes. She had made her mind up to follow the TRUE leader, and when she had made that decision (of her own free will), the scales had fallen off her eyes and the truth became apparent. She could never go back, never be who she once had been and she didn’t want to.  The truth had set her free.  But while she was free, they were not. They were like walking dead; living zombies; their bodies living and going through the motions of life; but their souls dead.  There were scales upon their eyes that they didn't even realize were there. Watching them it was hard for her to believe she had once been as they were. The truth was all around them, they were just dead to it and because God had given them free will, blindly they chose to walk in ignorance and unless they were brought to a point where they knew they needed “more” they would continue making the worst mistake of their lives and only face the true fact when it was too late.  This was where intercession came in.

She wanted to cry out, “the truth is ALL around you! Open your eyes!” But they snubbed her after all, what did she know?  She was the black sheep.

"Why did you choose me?" She cried out again to God. "Don't you know I am the black sheep? I'm fighting a losing battle." It shouldn’t hurt anymore, but it did.

“A prophet is not accepted within his own home town.” (Luke 4:24)

The meaning of her name stood for “fighter.”  She had been chosen to fight not only for herself, but those she loved most.  It was then she remembered that she should not get mad at them but at the spirits that were standing behind them using them, like pieces of a chess game.  That’s when her hurt became anger.  That’s when she recognized the attack for what it was – spiritual.

“Instead of getting mad. PRAY. I’ve called you to pray! I’ve called you to intercede. I’ve called you to be the one who stands in the gap. Gird up yourself with your spiritual armor and guard your heart.  It doesn’t matter what people think of you, it matters what I think. Pray so that I can bring them to a place where they will recognize that it is me they need, so that they can make the choice for ME.  When they do that, the scales will fall from their eyes.  Guard your heart! Understand that it is their ignorance which is the reason behind their hurting you. Consider the source! They are blind.  Keep your eyes focused upon Me.  Believe in Me.  Trust in Me and trust that I am the balm to soothe the pain their ignorance strikes at you with.  Recognize it for what it is and then it will not hurt.  It doesn’t matter how they view you or what they say about you because you are MY child I have called YOU by name.  You do not nor have you ever needed their approval to be all that I have called you to be.  I know who you are.  You are *not* a black sheep, you belong to Me. I am the good Shepherd and you are MINE.”

The realization took away the pain.  She realized she needed to refocus.  The only people that could hurt you were those that you allowed.  There was a war going on and whether or not an individual recognized that they were in that war or not did not change the fact that there was one.  In not choosing a side – you chose one.  Blindly or fully aware.

She loved them enough to withstand the battle wounds.  If she didn’t stand in the gap and pray for them – who would?  Even though she was not of their world anymore she was still in it.  And she remembered the prayer Jesus had prayed:

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one--I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:15-22)

She needed to refocus and renew her mind.  It didn’t matter if they accepted her or not – it was not her they were rejecting but Him and all in ignorance.   She was a chosen vessel.  She had chosen which side she would fight. Ironically, the battle had already been won by Jesus – the story had been completed when Jesus died on the cross and cried out, “It is finished!”  (John 19:30)

The morale of the story is this – don’t let people define who you are – especially if they do not know the One who created you!  They look on the outside and speak out of their own ignorance! God looks at the heart!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It hurts when you are rejected by those that you love most, but they do it in ignorance and not in knowledge.  Remember, that they are not even aware of the pain they are inflicting because they are spiritually blind.  God has called you to intercede on their behalf – don’t give up!  Keep praying and believing that God will remove the scales from their eyes.  No matter where you are you ARE a missionary keep praying!

“They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” (Isaiah 44:18)

And as you stand firm in your faith, trusting and believing God for their salvation, praying on their behalf, God (who desires to see none perish) will honor your prayers. Remember beloved, YOU BELONG TO HIM.

February 19, 2015

The Heart of The Matter...


“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 
 (Matthew 6:21)
Where is your heart? I have met many people whose hearts are contained within the life box of materialistic items. Picture a King’s treasure room filled with jewels and items of great wealth – there they sit in the middle of the room, sifting and boasting about all these worldly items they possess; allowing these treasures to determine the wealth of who they are. Their lives consist of nothing other than wealth and worldly positions and people’s elevated opinion of them.  To be “ooo’d and awww’d over because of their prestige.  Items that I imagine bring great worldly and physical comfort but are superficial, cold and empty.  Never knowing if someone wants to know you for who you are or be around you for prestige and what you have…

What would it be like to live life like that? Honestly, I hope I never find out.  Would it be nice not to have to live paycheck to paycheck? Yes, it would.  Not to have to worry about paying bills? Oh yes – the heaviness that comes with being under financial strain is not one that I’ve enjoyed.  But here is the thing – I would not trade my life for ALL the riches of the world because I feel that trade off would be more of a burden than one of worrying about money.  Now I’m not saying it is a sin for having nice things – I don’t believe that at ALL.  But Matthew 6:21 is true.  And the truth of the matter is, in the end, you cannot take it with you.

I can honestly say that my heart does not lie in money.  You see, everything I have my Father has provided for me. My Father owns cattle on a THOUSAND hills!   I may not always have what I’ve wanted, but I have always had what I needed.  My trust and faith has always been in His provision for me. 

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:9-13)

What a joy it is to know that I know that I know that my heart’s desire is to live for Him! My treasure, my riches, my desire, my heart – my life – is all in Him.  Everything I have needed His hands have provided. My trust has not been in myself, when I see people who don’t know what it is like to personally have a relationship knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior, my heart hurts for them because true richness is when He removes the scales from your eyes and all of a sudden you are walking in the knowledge of Who He is and what He has done for YOU.  You recognize from personal experience how true God’s love is for you!  You experience it for yourself, so all of a sudden you know that it is REAL.

Deep inside of you is a place that was made to be filled only with Him and if you are honest with yourself and you truly think about this, you will admit that there is a place that is restless within you, that even if you try to fill it up with people and items and hobbies they can’t quite fill this void.  It is a place that God has meant to be filled only with Him and when you recognize that and you allow Him to be the center of your life – there is such joy and love and peace that fills you!  The peace that the Bible talks about that passes ALL understanding, and all of a sudden you get it! You realize that the true riches are not financial, worldly, prestige – but the knowledge of WHY you were really made and Who God is and What HE thinks of you.  True riches are found ONLY in Him.

Everything I need He provides for me.  I recognize that the mistake is keeping my eyes on possessions and worldly items and not on the One who can give it or take it away in a moment!

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:36 – 8:38)
When I check my heart on this, I realize how true what I have written above is, that the treasure I have my heart set on is living for Him.  Applying all the gifts He has given me to write for Him, to allow my fingers to run across my computer keyboard and fill the empty pages of my blog with words that will glorify Him and minister to people who feel alone or don’t know how MUCH God loves them.  True richness is in knowing that you are fulfilling what your calling is! I cannot find adequate words to write that can contain the joy and love and peace and contentment and fulfillment that comes in knowing that you (in all your imperfections – because God uses imperfect people!) are living for Him.  Learning more every day about exactly what that means, surrounding yourself with others who also recognize that the purpose of their lives is to live for Him and utilize their gifts (which may differ from yours) to glorify His name.  Praying, reading His word (that is filled with wonderful treasures of wisdom and examples on how to live your life) and striving every day to learn who it is you are in Him, recognizing that it is only His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness and His love that allows you to do so.

Where is your heart?  Examine it and be honest with yourself as to where and what those treasures are.  Maybe it’s time to do an early “spring cleaning” and reprioritize what is important in your life.  Your life is a gift in and of itself – one that HE has given you, we are not promised tomorrow the only way in making the most of today is in knowing who the Giver of today is and finding out your true treasures are in Him.

February 15, 2015

JJ Heller - What Love Really Means (Official Music Video)


God the Father - MY Father...

It seems as though the one thing you can count on in life, is change... My life has changed so drastically within the last five years that when I stop to take a look at it, sometimes I'm floored by all the changes I've weathered...

Except for one.  One constant in my life and that is Jesus.  I stopped for a moment when I typed that - I was going to put "God."  But I found myself feeling more comfortable writing Jesus' name and I had a revelation that God sent Jesus for that very reason.  To make Himself more personable to us... I know that there is one God in three - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Three in One.  But I just had a revelation that I'm more comfortable acknowledging two of the three.  Jesus - because He is God manifested in man and the Holy Spirit - because I am comfortable with Him.  I FEEL Him, I know Him personally because He  resides in ME... But God the Father - wow... I need to work on that side... The Father side... That is the one I have a  hard time identifying with... I suppose it is because depending upon how your relationship has been with your earthly father affects how your relationship is with your Heavenly Father.

We live in an imperfect world.  As a parent myself, I am aware of ALL my imperfections. There is no perfect parent.  I pray every day that my kids will see through my weaknesses, my faults, my imperfections that they have a mom who loves them with all her heart to the best of my capability.  As a parent, I know that God has only loaned them to me for a while, but they belong to Him.  I make sure I point out to them that I am imperfect, and that while I love them - God loves them MORE and that they should keep their eyes on Him and not on me. God is perfect and will never disappoint them - I am not, and I will.  I have noticed that a lot of people when it comes to faith have given up on God because of what "people" have done in their lives.  They blame God for the actions that people have done.  They turn away from God because of people. God gets the brunt of our disappointment and anger.  When all along, it wasn't His actions, it was ours...  He has been the scapegoat.  When all He has been, has been honest since the very beginning...

In the book of Genesis God clearly gave Adam direction and rules - like any good parent does.  He spelled it out for Him.  He blessed Him abundantly with ALL that was around Him.  Yet He told Him the one thing He shouldn't do.

"The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

He gave Adam everything - but one thing, because He knew what was best for Adam.  He was Adam's Father. Adam walked with God.  He fellowshipped with Him.  God allowed Him to name ALL the animals in the world.  God showed Adam such love from the very moment He created Him and blew he breath of life into his nostrils and when He saw that Adam was lonely.  He made him woman...

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18)

Once again an example of how thoughtful and caring "God the Father" is.  Anticipating Adam's needs before Adam was even aware what those needs were.

When we are young, we are so self-involved that we (especially in this society) take our parents for granted.  We think "you were never young, you don't understand!" Or because we are so self-involved we don't see the wisdom in what our parents say... Until we grow up and have children of our own...  And we make our own mistakes and we see our own faults and we come into the knowledge of how valuable our parents are.  (If you grew up in a healthy emotional home). 

When Adam and Eve fell - sin entered into the world.  There were no longer "perfect" relationships.  In a sinful fallen world, you have sinful fallen people.  And that is what we are.  But again, "God the Father" loved us.  In spite of the pain we caused Him.  Can you imagine how hurt and devastated  He was over Adam and Eve's fall?  Now I know that God knows everything and He knows what is going to happen before it even does!  But maybe somewhere He was hoping that Adam and Eve wouldn't give into the temptation to do what He had told them not... Maybe somewhere He was saying, "Come on now, don't do it... I know what pain this will cause you... Don't do it! Heed me!  Don't do it! I know the results that will  throughout the course of time - Choose me!  Choose me!!!"

But Adam and Eve did not. They listened to the lies of the devil and were deceived.  But our wonderful God.  God the Father, already had another plan in place - in case using the "free will" that He had blessed them with, they chose otherwise and although I'm sure it pained Him from having to follow up with the consequences He had indicated would occur if they ate from the tree He had clearly told them not to, He followed forth with what He told them would occur. The results of their willful, disobedient actions.  He sent us Jesus.

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

How often in our own lives have we chosen to go against what God has told us to do?  The Bible is our instruction manual.  It is filled with guidance and wisdom and direction.  Yet we often choose not to follow what it says... We listen to our flesh, we decide to go with "If it feels good - do it." Or we rebelliously think we know more than God. I'm old enough to know and to see how much I do not... Regret?  Regret is when you realize that you should have listened to God and His direction all along.  Knowledge - is when you recognize the wisdom of His direction... Wisdom - is when you choose to follow it and realize that throughout your life, it will be a struggle... And that it is truly nothing but God's mercy, His grace, His love, His forgiveness and His overwhelming patience with us that allows us to "get right back up" when we miss the mark and try again. 

He loved us enough to manifest as man.  To come down as man - He made it personal.  He "lowered" himself to our level.  He came down from Heaven - to meet us where we were at... He didn't have to do that - but He did... Why?  Because He loves us...

He loves us... Individually, specially, fully, totally, completely, unselfishly, mercifully... YOUR FATHER - GOD THE FATHER loves YOU. 

At the beginning of this post, I felt closer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit ( our comforter) than I did God the Father - but now, having re-thought this.  I can honestly say, I love you Father.  Thank you so much for loving ME in spite of  my self... Hopefully you who are reading this - are feeling the same...


February 12, 2015

Gigi - 22 "I Remember It Well"


Ahhh Yes, I Remember It Well...


I am by no means an expert on love (currently not being in a romantic relationship).  My observation of Valentine’s Day is that it is a day where one scrambles around idiotically trying to put all the love that should be shown to someone throughout the whole year into one special day; it becomes a contest, a day of unnecessary pressure not to mention outrageous expense.  Would it not be better to remember to show love all 365 days of the year in some small form, gesture or measure rather than try to accumulate it all into one day of the year?  As a woman (and one that delights in giving) – lucky (or rather blessed) will my "last best friend" be when God brings him into my life - my recommendations would be as follows:

1.       Make something for the one you love.  What about making a coupon book full of personal love coupons that pertain only to things the two of you could understand?… When someone takes time to make something it shows a great deal of thought and consideration…

2.       Take an interest in what interests the one you love.  A relationship should be a two way street. A relationship can get stale if you do the “same ol’ same ol’, switch it up a bit. What is something that you’ve always wanted to try and never done?  Maybe sit together and plan a “bucket list.” Your special someone might surprise you with a suggestion they make.  You might discover a new hobby or interest the two of you can do together.  Make an effort, if they are not worth the effort perhaps the relationship is not worth the having…

3.       What about instead of taking each other out for dinner for Valentine’s Day, you purchase a calendar together and mark a date night once a week (or once every two weeks or whatever fits your schedules?)  Try a restaurant you’ve never been to before.  Make it fun – dress according to the ethnicity or food genre.  Decide on a fun way to eat the meal – going out for Chinese? Opt for the chopsticks instead of the utensils, or set rules for your meal – you are not allowed to feed yourselves, only each other.  If you are in Massachusetts a great restaurant to try is The Medieval Manor.  Go in character!  Be a wench or a scullery maid or a Knight!

4.       Don’t want to go out? Have a theme night date at home.  Put a bunch of ideas on pieces of paper, put them in a bowl and choose one.  It might be fun playing your favorite Bible character like Adam and Eve… J Or even making up your own Song of Solomon – only put your own name to it Song of _____________.   Be creative!
 
5.       It is better to give than to receive – think about doing something for someone who is *not* in a relationship.  Valentine’s Day can be a lonely time for those who aren’t with a significant other. Plan a party or fellowship where you have fun games to play – Twister never goes out of style.

Romance and love differ from couple to couple.  It’s not the same for each person.  It’s just a matter of taking time out to really think about the other person. What would bring a smile to their face? What fun can you have in setting it up? To me, there is nothing greater than the surprised look of appreciation on the face of someone I did something special for!  A good relationship is one that requires thought, appreciation, love and attention.  When you care about someone, all of those items take no effort at all because it’s worth it.   If you are with someone who you have been with for years and years, rediscover them – like opening up your favorite book.  Read the pages of them over and over and show them how much you love, treasure and appreciate them.  Not only one day, but every day of the year…

 

February 10, 2015

The Grass MAY Seem Greener - But is it Really???

The grass *may* seem greener on the other side of the fence - but it might only look that way from the angle you are viewing it... 
I woke up this morning in somewhat of a black mood.  Have you ever been in a mood so bad that you can't even stand being around your own self? Ol' Slewfoot was up to his usual tricks and I recognized his tactics right off the bat.  It's funny how he can just bring one thing to your attention that just sets you off.  More than likely it was one of his foot soldiers sent out to annoy me and if I was to really think about it, the attack actually happened before I went to bed last night.  He knew exactly where my sore spot was and poked me right where it would annoy me most, and right before I was getting ready to head to bed, one of our most vulnerable times.  As I was trying to minister to someone online, I came across something I thought I had totally wiped out of my laptop search engine, but I hadn't and what I saw annoyed me and set off my suppose-to-be-under-submission Portuguese temper.  I recognized the spiritual attack for what it was, yet still it got my goat (so to speak).  He hit a spot I had thought I had protected.  I was mistaken.

But here is the thing - the benefit from coming back from a prodigal experience in your walk is that the Holy Spirit has made you much more sensitive to the methods of the devil. As soon as I recognized the attack, I knew I had a choice - I could either allow it to bring me down or I could choose to rise above it. I decided to rise above it.  (Not so successfully at first), but then as I continued to think about it and pray about it - I realized it for what it was - a tactic that I would not allow to go any further into my skin than it had already gone. In righteous fury I yanked that firey dart out of my side, threw it down and stomped the heck out of it!  (Sometimes a Portuguese temper comes in handy... LOL).

If you are not a believer, you might be reading this post and scoffing.  You don't believe in spiritual warfare or demons or angels or any of that.  Guess what?  Just because you don't believe in it does not mean it is not occurring ALL around you.  Because whether or not you believe it - it is!  AND the devil has you right where he wants you to be - in ignorance of it! You are prisoner of a war you didn't even realize was going on!  Jesus said:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

It's not important what it was that set me off, but what it did do was make me more aware of the need to make sure that there were no openings in my spirit for any attacks to succeed. That I had not permitted any "open doors" for those fiery darts to successfully hit and I knew that one of the best ways to make sure all the doors to my spirit were closed was to pray.  So I prayed:

"Lord, if there be any evil within me or anything that needs changing within me - I pray that you would reveal it to me.  I'm feeling really upset about what I noticed.  Something that really shouldn't bother me at all because I had previously given it all to you, but it opened up a scab I had thought was already healed.  So I ask you please to heal it completely and help me to really let it go. I know there are some things I can only do with your assistance and this is one of them.  In Jesus name I release this into your hands and I let go.  Amen."

With my prayer came a realization, one that I've been thinking about.  Sometimes we think the "grass is greener on the other side of the fence."  But the truth is, it really depends upon the angle you are viewing it. Your perception may not be the actual reality... We look at the outside of a matter, God looks at the heart of it.  Honestly, we simply don't know - but God does.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about something you thought they were thinking and you were totally off base? Such is the case with the grass.  It may look greener from where you stand, but it could just be the way the light is hitting it and not the reality of that yard.  Stop thinking so hard, it's probably not for you to determine anyhow and why are you concerned about the condition of someone else's yard? Best to keep your attention on the up keeping of your own.  So let it go.

The only victories that the devil and his minions can have over you is the ground you allow them to take. So the answer simply is - don't give them any ground.  Pray, talk to God.  Read your Word and know your promises.  The more you know the more weapons you have to combat the enemy.  That is why God has given us His written Word, to direct us, to strengthen us, to make us aware, to aid us, to open up our eyes to ALL that is going on around us, to encourage us - of course if you are just letting it sit around on a shelf accumulating dust or on the corner of your desk, it's really not doing you any good... A book is for reading... Read it, it might do you some good.

Ignorance is not bliss - it is an open area for attack.  

"Be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16). 

I wrote another post about this recently (see February, 2015 "Battlefield") it talks about how our "Gettysburg" is the battlefield of our mind. Protect it and be prepared for the attacks of the enemy, don't allow yourself to stand vulnerable and naked before him. Be prepared. And know that through Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection the war has already been won.  The purpose for Jesus' leaving us here (until His return) is to bring awareness to those who are spiritually blind around us - bringing them into the knowledge of salvation and of God's love.  We need to remember that we are soldiers in God's army and that we are to (in His strength and power) rescue any of those that have been made prisoners of war from the hands of the enemy.  We are to stay focused and keep our eyes focused on the captain of our army - which is Christ Jesus Himself.

 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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 6:10-18)

The day will come when all of this will be but a memory - and we will be in the presence of the Lord. And we will hear Him say, "well done my good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)  - I don't know about you, but those are the words that sing like sweet music to my soul, rejuvenate me and help me to remember who indeed is in control... "Greater is He that is me, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4) and "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

I'd say I know the owner of the greener grass... In fact I'll go one "step" further and say better than that - I know the Creator  - do you?

February 9, 2015

Random Snow Filled Thoughts...

What Storms Are Raging Around You? And When They Rage, How Do You Find Your Peace?
I live in Massachusetts, where it has been snowing on and off for the last two weeks... As I sit and type this by my bedroom bay window, periodically stopping to look out at the snow storm that has kept everyone home from work; I can't help but think how ironic it is that these tiny little snow flakes can amount to so much...  Outside the snow storm rages, but in the confines of my warm little sanctuary of a home, it is cozy and warm and peaceful. How wonderful it would be if life was truly like that in all the other areas of life.

Flake by flake individually does not amount to much, but a non-stop relentless raining down of them can make for seriously hazardous conditions, like the kind that causes the governor to declare a state of emergency, or shuts down companies from opening, such is the case  here in Massachusetts today.  I think when we choose to compromise in our lives or wrongly prioritize, we get the same stormy affect...

I was talking with someone earlier this week, wishfully saying how I wish that God still spoke to us as He did to Noah or Moses with a big booming "Thus saith the Lord!" kind of voice, you know the kind - and how their faces radiated God's glory for their time spent with Him.  For me, more often than not, God's voice has been gentle and quiet and its not until I  have taken time to quiet my own self and spend some time meditating on the Word of God, or in prayer, that I am able to hear it.  Sometimes the noise of life or my thoughts get in the way of my hearing what God is saying to me and  often times I have wished that I could stand up in my boat (of life) and put out a hand in command (like Jesus did) and say to the storms that rage all around me, "be still!" And all would grow quiet...  More often than not it is my own thoughts that cause the most noise.  My own actions that cause the storms in my life.  My mind is always going - non-stop, it takes a lot for me to quiet them down and actually hear what it is that God is saying to me.

Please note that I don't mean this as a slight to sports fans - I am not judging, just making a simple observation, and if it would soothe you, you can think of it as my personal opinion... Last week as I was watching the Patriot's celebration parade take place down the streets of Boston on the news, while I was at lunch; I watched all the excited faces of the people gathered out in the cold to see their favorite team.  The excitement and joy on their faces as the duck boats filled with their favorite Patriots players progress down the roads and as much as I respect the love of the sport (one that I just simply don't share because sports are not my cup of tea) - I respect that people have a love for a team or a sport, but as I watched it I thought, wouldn't it be something if people felt that way about the Lord and celebrated the Lord as they do a football team? What if people rejoiced and celebrated and threw confetti when they thought about ALL that God has done for them?  I suppose I would have thought the same thing in a lesser degree if it involved something that I was interested in, like maybe if it was Tim McGraw or Miranda Lambert or Blake Shelton or some wonderful country music star that I like to listen to, parading down the street - but still, I found myself thinking... We SHOULD be like that about all that God has done for us.  Genuine, true appreciation and love.  After all - He DID send His Son to die upon the cross for forgiveness of our sins (John 3:16) that truly is something to get excited about...  I myself will try to remember that next time I spend sometime worshiping in Him in prayer.

It actually saddened me... I thought about all the blessings I should count, I thought about all that God has done for me throughout the day - He woke me up this morning!  (Some have not been so fortunate...) He has given me another sheet of life to write upon!  It is truly beyond me, how anyone could feel "meh" about the Lord. I thought about all the things I should thank Him for - but have taken for granted... I felt ashamed and I asked the Lord to forgive me for all the things that He has done for me that I have taken for granted and not taken time to thank Him for.  Imagine being in a personal relationship with someone who takes time to do special things for you, and you don't acknowledge them?  I'd be a bit put off, wouldn't you?  Yet we do it with God all the time and the only time we think of Him is when things are bad or we are in trouble.  What about the good times?  The times when we should "rejoice" and thank Him and praise Him as IF we were celebrating our favorite team or country music star?  If you feel "meh" about the Lord, why should He feel any different towards you? (Yet He does...)

If someone was to tell me they loved me, but only showed me one day a week (or when they "felt like it"), what type of relationship would that be?  God cares about you, He loves you, He wants to know you.  He wants to have a relationship with you where you talk to Him and tell Him what is on your mind, what is in your heart, what is troubling you or what makes you happy.  He cares!  But often times people just approach Him when they want something or when they are hard pressed.  I can attest that there is so much joy in coming before Him every day and just talking to Him like you would anybody!  I have found Him to have such a sense of humor!  He is a personable God.  He is not some "God" shaking His finger at you standing on a mountaintop looking foreboding like He wants to strike you down!  He is a God of love!  Often times I visualize what the Garden of Eden must have been like, with Adam walking around with God.  Talking with Him, conversing with Him.  How cool must that have been??? That is the same type of relationship God desires to have with us now. But a relationship should be a two way street - and one where you seek God.  He won't "make" you have a relationship with Him.  He has blessed you with free will.  So it's really your choice... But if you haven't made that choice to come to know Him, I have to tell you - you are seriously missing out.  Because knowing God is so much cooler than celebrating your favorite team, way cooler than watching your favorite superstar and until you "taste and see that the Lord is good." You cannot possibly know HOW real and HOW good He is...  Ironically, this is a thought that most people do not have until they are on their death bed.  That is when they think of God the most.  When He becomes "front and center." When their life is just about over and all of a sudden God becomes "super" important to them.  They want to have someone come and hear a "death" bed confession or to pray over them because they are standing on the brink of eternity and all of a sudden they aren't thinking of their favorite sports team or tomorrow even.  They are thinking of the here and now and what will happen to them... God is a good God, He gives people up until their very last breath to come to know them.  How do I know this? Because I have witnessed it myself, someone coming to Christ on his death bed.  And although it is better that someone come to Christ on their death bed than not at all, it is SO much better to know Jesus in the fullness of living and life.  To know His love, His will for you, His desire to bless you and to know you and to have you know Him.  There is NO greater joy.  It is one that I don't have adequate words to write - because it is a personal relationship with Him, each person's relationship differs with Him.  It is personal.  But it is amazing and fulfilling and fills you with more peace and joy and love than any adequate words I could possibly write.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells." (2nd Peter 3:9-13)

I'll be the first to say that worldly blessings are nice... I work hard for the things that I have, nothing has come easy for me - and I don't begrudge those that have had it easy.  But there is one thing I'm very much aware of.  You cannot take it with you and you don't know when in life your last day will be.  Jesus told this parable:

"The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God." Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you--you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." (Luke 12:16-31)

Which type of person are you? One who trusts in things? Or one who puts his trust in God?  I can attest that God has always provided for me.  I may not always have what it is I've wanted, but I've had what I needed.  My Father provides for me.  And to be honest, maybe the things that I have wanted that He hasn't given me is because He knows what is best for me, better than I do!  I only see in part - but God sees in full.  I trust Him, I depend upon Him and I love Him.  I know He knows better than I do what it is I need and what it is I don't.  I'm not saying that I don't have a child like temper tantrum from time to time over those things I wish He would give me, but in the 28 years that I have known Him personally as my Lord and Savior, I have found Him to be gracious, and loving and kind and caring and oh so tolerant of my impatient ways! (I'm laughing as I write this).  Do you think what I'm writing is too heavy?  Perhaps you should consider WHY you think it is too heavy? Because somewhere inside of you it is hitting a cord... Your spirit is in agreement with I am writing, yet accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior changes you.  It does, for the better.  I'm not saying it is easy, I'm not saying at times I haven't felt that "ouch" of God convicting me of something that I need to change inside - I have, I do and it's not easy.  But when you trust in someone, when you love them - truly love them and know that they TRULY love you - the difference is truly worth it!

"As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”  Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions." (Mark 10:17-31)

Jesus indicated this to that gentleman because He knew that the man's heart was in his possessions.  There is nothing wrong with having nice things! But there is something wrong when you put those things ahead of your having a relationship with God. I have heard people say, "Yes, if I get to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior as you say, I will have to give up so many things..."  Actually, first I would ask you, how do you know that? If you haven't made Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, you are assuming.  Because I will tell you that of the things God has asked me to give up (things inside of me that needed changing) He has blessed me with SO much more than the things I have had to change.  And the things that He has asked me to change (or changed within me) are things that have been for my good!  Just as if you are a parent, and you have raised a child (or are raising a child/children) there are things you have had them do that they perhaps have not liked or even been mad about that you have made them do.  But you as a grown up and a parent see the whole picture - while your child is young and has only seen in part - from a child's point of view.  God is your Father, and is the same way.  It's all about trusting Him to know what is best for you.  Sometimes God allows situations to occur in your life to draw you closer to Him.  To make you aware of the need you have for Him.  I know this personally, because He did the same thing to bring my attention to Him, when otherwise I would not have taken time out to know Him.  Is He doing the same thing with you?  Maybe there are situations occurring in your life that are painful, that are hard for you to accept? Maybe you are feeling totally alone.  Lonely, like there is no one there for you.  God is - you just have to turn to Him.  You don't have to take my words for it.  After all, you don't know me, why should you?  But if in the quiet of wherever you are, you take the time to pray this prayer, I can promise you that God will make a difference in your life.  What do you have to lose? If it is just a bunch of meaningless words, nothing will change for you - but if you truly want to see if God will make a difference - take the time to pray it.  And see what God does for you.  He is real, He is alive, He is so much EVEN better than your favorite sports team or superstar.  He will be there for you when no one else is.  IF YOU ALLOW HIM TO BE.  You have nothing to lose if the words that I write are not true or do not make a difference.  But I can promise you, that if you read them and say them out loud and truly want a difference to occur in your life - God will honor your praying them.  I speak from personal experience because He did with me and He has no favorites.  What He has done in my life - He will do in yours.  If you are at a point where everything else has failed and you feel empty and unfulfilled than pray this prayer and see what God will do. 

"Father God, I need you. I confess that I am a sinner. I pray that You would enter into my life. I willingly make You Lord over my life & my Savior.  I believe that you were born of the virgin Mary, that you died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins and you rose again.  That you are seated at right hand of the Father and that one day, you will come again. I thank you Lord, for coming into my life.  I choose YOU.  Thank you Lord, In Jesus precious name I pray.  Amen"
That's ALL it takes! Seems too simple doesn't it - but it is not, and it is the most important decision you will ever make in your life.  It's a heart thing! You may not realize it now, but you will... And when you do, it would be great if you dropped me a message to let me know, just so that I can rejoice with you - in  a way that is even MORE celebratory than a parade on the street for a favorite team! Because the Bible says:

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:8)


Yep, right about now, if you prayed that above prayer - they are having the biggest celebration you ever did see up in Heaven.  In YOUR honor!  Rejoicing bigger than any parade celebration over your decision.  Now watch and see how your life changes... Oh it will... Sure as that snow that is storming outside my window, the peace that passes all understanding should be filling your soul. The best is yet to come.  Just you watch and see...