God Has No Plan B

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There have been times when, without warning or announcement, my plan was abruptly halted – forcing me to move with Plan B.

I see this phenomenon most often presenting itself in the form of “interruptions to my schedule”. Now truly, a lot of these occurrences are little things in the whole scheme of life. But honestly, don’t these interruptions have a way of driving you berserk?

They’re  just LIFE THINGS, living on the 21st Century fast-track things. I believe that God uses these “little things” to remind me that He is ultimately in control of my schedule and my circumstances.

By nature, I’m an organizer. When I organize, it puts me in control of schedule, my circumstances, my day . . . at least that’s the plan. So when things don’t go according to my organizational system, I get a little miffed. And when things get turned completely upside down (which happens quite often), I can get really stressed. The bottom line here; I like to be in control!

So what’s a control person like me – maybe YOU, to do?

Give these tendencies to the Lord! Ask Him to help you turn to Him in ordering the events of your day. Now, that’s not to say you don’t make lists and you don’t plan. It’s just a reminder that there will be plenty of times when your plans get annihilated -  and you don’t have to get carried off with the debris when that happens.

Your God is in control.

He wants you to rest in the security of His presence instead of the security of your plans. Spending time worshiping my Lord and meditating on Scripture is helping me flow in the lifestyle of experiencing the presence of God during the ins and outs of my day. Now, when the unexpected happens (which is expected), I’m learning to relax in Him and move in His spiritual flow, so to speak.

Honestly, most of life is just not worth freaking out over. And besides –freaking out doesn’t do one thing to help me regain the control that I lost.

The LORD works out everything to its proper end. (Proverbs 16:4)

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Making Scripture Memory a Priority?

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The “whys” and “hows” of memorizing scripture have been a topic of interest lately in my teaching and posts on social media. The following post from Dr. Alice Cullinan, retired professor at Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC - struck a chord with many.

She writes . . .

When I was teaching a class at Gardner-Webb to ministerial students, I gave them two 20 question quizzes the same morning. One of the quizzes consisted of themes or statements made in commercials, and they had to name the product. The other quiz consisted of very basic biblical questions about people or places. Which one do you think they did the best on? Yep, the commercials. I asked them why they knew more commercials than Bible answers. I asked them if they had made an effort to memorize the commercials. Nope, was their response. We then concluded that the difference was simple exposure. Our lesson? We should read the Bible often enough, and verses we want to learn often enough, that they become a part of us!

I know by experience, that applying a scripture word by word or phrase by phrase, to a current life situation – helps me to memorize it. As I work my way through the situation at hand, I intentionally think of the portion I want to memorize, making it relevant.

The challenge is clear. Become familiar enough with God’s Word to know the scriptures that apply to what you’re going through. Then, MEMORIZE THEM.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword!

(Hebrews 4:12)

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Got Scripture?

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3 file folders where people place their thoughts regarding memorizing scripture:

 

File #1   Can’t Memorize

 

File #2   Not Important

 

File #3   Working On It

 

Which file’s active for YOU?  If you’re like many I’ve come in contact with recently, you’re thinking you have some sort of defective gene in the scripture memory department, which leads you to eventually just dismiss even trying.

Let me share my most efficient technique – the one that has helped me consistently deposit scripture into my heart and mind – and KEEP it there:

LITTLE BY LITTLE

I take a phrase at a time - mulling it over for a couple of days and                   applying it personally to what’s going on with me.

i.e. When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. Psalm 56:3

Grasping that first phrase, When I am afraid, I talk to the Lord about it during the day and even when I wake up during the night.

“Lord I’m afraid about this commitment I’ve made; it makes me nervous and consumes me with dread and anxiety…”

After a day or two of saturating that phrase in my mind and heart, I continue on with the next one.

“I’m trusting You Father, for You and You alone will help me do this thing . . . “

The scripture gradually becomes a part of me because I’ve “owned it”, making it personal and active in my life and in my conversation with the Lord throughout the day.

CARRY IT WITH YOU

My method, although not elaborate, has always worked for me. I write the scripture on an index card and carry it with me wherever I go. Side note; it’s impossible to be impatient while standing in a checkout line, sitting in a waiting room or being stuck in traffic . . . when you’re focused on that scripture in your hand.

 .    .    .    .

For many years, my thinking about scripture memory was not an active part of my life – jumping between File Folders #1 and #2.

But when I became determined enough to not stop trying to memorize, something glorious happened. My persistence and discipline were rewarded with an increasing ability to commit scripture passages to my heart and apply them to my daily walk.

You can do it too, my friend. I’m reminded of the words of our Lord when He 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)

Don’t let that ol’ devil rob you of the richness of God’s Word in your life, by making you think scripture memory is unimportant or impossible for you. Push on through and experience the fullness of Jesus in His Word.

You can choose right now to move your thinking about scripture memory to File #3. Honestly, when you do that, it’s Life Changing!

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Do you ever think about getting older?

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A well-toned, healthy and in shape thirty-five year old shares the comment from her doctor during a recent physical exam. “Welcome to aging”, he said with a smile. She did not smile back. 

During the same week a sixty-five year old woman hears these words during her exam, “Things just happen as you age”. 

Even though 30 years apart, both these women felt the same sting when faced with the reality of their aging.

Okay, the good news is – you ARE getting older. If you weren’t you’d be dead. So with that Reality Snippet out of the way, let’s take a look at how God views the aging woman. Perhaps doing so will help you gracefully accept your current status in life.

He has made YOU beautiful in His time. There’s a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (based on Ecclesiastes 3:1).

YOU are beautiful in His time! Whatever age you are, it’s the right age for you right now. Don’t allow comments from others, along with that inner negative self-talk, discourage you about getting older.

You’re supposed to age. It’s part of His Designer-Love for you.

All my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began (Psalm 139:16).

He planned out every single day of your life before you were born. He has a plan for you, Friend.  Don’t spoil this day on your timeline by being sour about getting old.

Oh I understand, and I also fight against those “getting older darts” hurled my way. But when I remember that maturing means becoming fully developed and perfected – it sounds a bit classy, right?

Worship Activity for Graceful Aging:

Find a picture of yourself as a child and study the “you from yesterday”, thinking of your innocence and desire to be loved and to feel secure. View yourself before the hardness of the world perhaps, settled in and changed you. God understands and deeply loves you then and now. Remember; to The One who lives outside of time, you’re the same to Him at this moment as you were as a child.

As you age and change costumes for each season of your life,

i.e., wife, mother, grandmother, care-giver – know that your identity, the REAL YOU is secure in your Father Who created you and calls you His daughter.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

(1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

Now relax Daughter of The King. Your body is aging, but your True Self is doing back-flips in Jesus. Enjoy the ride!

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Someone Praying for You...

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We don’t know how Jesus looked, but this picture touches my heart as I think of Him praying for those He loves. 

Is there someone praying for YOU today?

Your friends and family may be distracted, busy, and not REALLY into your needs.

But there’s One who knows your thoughts, concerns, anxieties & frustrations, your misery in waiting, along with your joys, dreams, excitement - well ANYTHING about you...

And HE’S THE ONE praying for you!

Can you stop for one moment and simply let that reality stagger you?

However, there is a condition. You must be aligned with Jesus. In humility you must say, “Lord I accept Your provision for me procured by your death on the cross”.

Then you can know He’s got your back and He talks to the Father about YOU, and they Both delight in you.

Crazy to believe, but unmistakable Truth!

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me” (John 17:9).

If you’re in relationship with Jesus, rejoice!

If you’re not, there’s no condemnation from Him, only a welcoming invitation to believe Him and enter into a relationship where your eyes and heart will be opened to unseen realities.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

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Discovering the Secret Place

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There's a SECRET place.

I don't know how to describe it, and I can hardly give description to it in my own mind - but I know it's there.

It's that "secret place" where every single one created by God (and that's every person) has ability to connect with His heart.

Ps. 91:1 (AMPC) states that when we go there - live there, there's a stability and resistance against our enemies (people, circumstances, cancer, and etc.)

Now, if apparent blessings are evident in your life right now, you may have no trouble at all believing this. However; if you've had a life of trouble and even going through horrible circumstances now, then this concept is difficult to accept and quite honestly, easily dismissed.

Hang on and go a little further with me in diving into this "secret place" exploring.

2 STEPS:

1) The entry-way into this place is a simple, but genuine  ACT OF FAITH. You must let go of all pre-conceived notions of Who God is and why He allows such evil in this world. He can't be defended, nor explained. Let go of this convoluted thinking that the enemy has planted and grown in your heart and mind to keep you from experiencing what God has for YOU right here, right now and forever in a life with Him.

2) When you release your heart's struggle and those "But God...." questions, there's a freedom that settles in your heart. As you give up, into Him saying . . . "I don't at all understand Your ways, but I surrender to YOU LORD trusting You as my Savior from it all. I believe by faith, that You defeated sin with your death & resurrection on the cross - even though I see evil all around me. I'm done with trying to figure things out, and I just release my heart and mind to You as an act of my will."

2 LASTING RESULTS:

1) As you offer your tangled heart and emotions to God, you will come to know - again, by FAITH - that nothing, not one thing in this life will be lost in Him. It's when you hang on to these hurts and disappointments, that you lose it all. Jesus gave His word.

"Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it"
(Matt. 10:39 NIV).

2) Trusting God by releasing your troubles that are holding you captive, will result in eternal rewards & blessings that far outweigh any and every angst that you have experienced here on earth.

SPOILER ALERT - EXCITEMENT AHEAD!

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later" (Romans 8:18 NLT).

In the terrible events you are perhaps going through RIGHT NOW, can you just practice a little delayed Spiritual gratification?

God has promised, and that means you have His Word - that He will far outweigh your present suffering with glories - far beyond compare - to the heartache you are experiencing.

- - - -

You must AND YOU WILL bow down to Him - either now in this life, or in the life after earth time. Choosing Him NOW will not answer all your questions, but will make you victorious, anyway.

Avoiding the "now" and proclaiming Him later will result in eternal separation from God and from ALL those who have chosen to be in relationship with Him in this life.

YOU DON'T WANT THIS!

"For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God"
(Romans 14:11 HCSB)

Not scare tactics, simply TRUTH - whether you agree, or not.

Living in the SECRET PLACE will change your life here - and simply blow you away in the life ahead!

 

 

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Joyfully Thankful!

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The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

 That was the message from Nehemiah to God’s people as they were moved to fits of tears of repentance. As Ezra and some scribes read God’s Word from dawn until noon that day in Jewish history, revival broke out. That’s the result of the heart that feels badly for failing God, and there’s a place for that. But the children of God are never encouraged to stay in that basin of remorse, guilt, and shame. For as recorded in Nehemiah, the great prophet urged the people to let go of their mourning and enjoy the feast, and according to the Nehemiah 8 text, that’s what they did!

 I cannot think of a more appropriate message for us as we enter into the season of Thanksgiving. Personally, I think neither THANKFULNESS, nor JOY, nor STRENGTH stand alone. When you become truly thankful your heart erupts with joy. Then strength rises up through your spirit and pours out from your flesh.

 Take a few moments before continuing to simply be thankful. 

I first discovered the practice of being intentionally thankful as a teenager. I’d pulled up to meet a group of my friends on a day that happened to be the “worst day of my life” (teenager talk) you know. I remember parking the car and just sitting. It was the Spirit – I now know, who prompted me to begin a mental list of people and things I was thankful for. As I did, the change that came over me was one I never forgot. I could literally FEEL the warmth of God’s joy all over me and His strength filling my sluggish body. Since that day those many years ago, intentionally being thankful has become a way of life.

It’s not always easy to spur ourselves into being thankful, but it’s the very thing we must do if we are to walk in step with God. It’s how He moves us into higher realms of faith, for it’s a THANKFUL heart that pleases Him. It’s also a thankful heart that disables Satan in his attempts to fill our minds with negativity.

Getting Practical

Set aside five minutes each day to focus on being intentionally thankful.

Are you thankful for your job? Your friends? Your family? Tell Him and enjoy pleasing the heart of God as you lift your thankful heart to Him - when you feel like it and when you don’t.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Happy Thanksgiving,

 

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Get Your FRUIT on!

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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.( Galatians 5:22 CEB)

Take a moment and let the “eyes of your heart” linger on each quality in this verse.  Are there a few of these you are especially longing to experience in your life right now? I have good news! If you are a daughter of God through relationship with Jesus Christ, then every single one of these qualities belongs to you. In fact, each holy virtue is alive and well right now in your spirit.

When you confessed that you were a sinner and accepted the provision of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the payment of your sin debt, then your spirit came spiritually alive in Christ. As you trusted Him as your Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit moved in and took up residence in your spirit.

All of you surely know you are God’s temple and His Spirit lives in you.

(1 Corinthians 3:16 CEV)

So if God’s Spirit lives inside of us, why do we so often exhibit such unholy behavior?

The answer to that question comes with the understanding of your spiritual and fleshly natures. In fact, it’s critical that you differentiate between the two, if you want to exhibit more Christ-like behaviors.

When I move into moments of  FREAK OUT (you understand those moments, right?), I find it extremely helpful to pause and consider what’s going on in my flesh in contrast to what’s going on in my spirit. In my spirit there’s perfect peace, gentleness, and patience. It’s my fleshly nature (mind, body, and emotions) that wreaks havoc. So when I have those flashes of anger or impatience, it’s my fleshly nature, not my spiritual one, that is leading. I’ve gradually trained myself to stop and pay attention, differentiating between these two natures. When life is taking me under, I pray . . . Lord, I want my spiritual nature – YOUR NATURE – to lead right now. Give me strength to yield my fleshly nature to my spirit, rather than allowing my flesh to sling me around.

It takes being alert and determined to live in the powerful reality of who we truly are as God’s daughters. We don’t have to be victims of a crazed mind or erratic emotions. God has given us the ability and every spiritual resource needed to take charge of our fleshly reactions and live with the fruit of the Spirit leading us.

Make it Practical

The next time your stress buttons are pushed, STOP and PRAY. Ask God for strength to exhibit His Holy Fruit living inside of you.

Through Him, you can do this!

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.

(Zechariah 4:6 NIV)

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A Quiet, Invigorating Rest!


Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
(Mark 6:31 NIV) 


Ladies, ever feel this way? So  much to do - you don't even have time to EAT? I love this invitation from Jesus - and want to share an opportunity for rest and relaxation.
 
I invite you to join me March 23-28, 2019 for an amazing cruise and retreat with Cruise Chics! We’ll be heading to Jamaica and Labadee, enjoying a week of sunshine, fellowship, fun, and worship! 
 
There's an incredible line-up of speakers ranging from fashion experts, to Christian yoga influencers, and women’s ministry leaders.

This cruise is ALL about enjoying God's Heart for the women He created. It's also about enjoying being together with sisters who share struggles, hopes, and find encouragement in Jesus. Are you part of a women’s group, bible study, or even just a big family? We want to bless you! Right now if you help us spread the word and get 9 girlfriends to join you, we’ll cover your cruise for FREE! How great is that?! 
 
Join me for a girls get-a-way of a lifetime by heading to www.cruisechics.com now to register! Can’t wait to see you there!



 

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Pleasing God

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I have a longing to please my Heavenly Father, and it’s not because He demands it or I’m trying to earn His favor. I just love Him with increasing love, and want to delight His Heart by pleasing Him.

Recently I realized in a fresh way, the importance of “the blood theme” throughout scripture. And as I’ve studied and considered . . . I could sense the pleasure that it brought to God’s heart.

Perhaps you’d like to share this THANKFULNESS JOURNEY with me during these days before we celebrate what Jesus did for us on The Cross. So I offer the following Blood Reflections for your Easter worship and praise:

    From the closing of the gates of Eden (Genesis) to the opening of the door of Heaven (Revelation) it’s all about The Blood. Like a scarlet thread running through the Bible, blood sacrifices occupy a prominent place in scripture. If we don’t pay attention, we’ll miss something important!

    After sin entered the world and Eden’s gates closed, Abel brought the first sacrifice which included the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 11:4)

   NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

    1600 years pass, then came the flood. Once again God pronounced His judgment on sin with the destruction of mankind. The first recorded act of Noah after he stepped off that boat was the offering of a burnt sacrifice. This signified a new beginning. (Genesis 8:20)

   NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

    God’s divine command to Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, was the revelation of Divine Truth, that only through death can a life be truly consecrated to God. Since Isaac could not be resurrected because death would “hold him down”, God substituted a ram in his place. Here we find the great lesson of substitution, giving us the picture of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. (Genesis 22:1-19)

       NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

    400 years pass and Isaac’s descendants are the Israelites in Egypt. By the sprinkling of the Blood on the doorframes of their houses, the angel passed over their families, sparing them from death. Only because of the Blood were they allowed to live. (Exodus 12:12-13)

       NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

    50 days later at Mt. Sinai, God laid the foundation for His Covenant by the giving of the Ten Commandments. The Law, The Altar, and The People were all sprinkled with the Blood. (Hebrews 9:18-22)

       NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

    Immediately afterward God commanded that a sanctuary be built, so He could dwell among His people. The Blood was central throughout. (Exodus 25:8)

    Looking deeper I find that the Blood was needful for everything – the birth of a child, the consecration of a house, and the penitence for sin. The FB status of the Hebrew of the day might have read . . . TODAY MY FAMILY IS CLEANSED AND MADE RIGHT THROUGH THE BLOOD!

       NO RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

Then came Jesus, and John recognized the significance of His coming . . . Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

The significance of all of this? It celebrates the Life and Mission of Jesus The Christ!

                  Old Testament – New Testament – Throughout Eternity!

Everything the Old Testament teaches about Blood and Sacrifice had to be fulfilled before the Once For All Sacrifice of Jesus took place. Then followed the Indwelling of His Spirit within all Believers.

Oh my, The Blood of Jesus is the deepest mystery of Divine Wisdom! We don’t grasp it all at once. In fact, we’ll never fully get it (I’m convinced) during our earthly living.  After all, God took 4,000 years preparing man with this sacrificial system before the birth of Jesus.

But, we CAN live a life of gratitude without fully grasping this Mystery. Taking the time and trouble to “pay attention to The Blood” will lead us to deeper thankfulness for all He’s done without understanding the spiritual nuts and bolts of it all.

Yep, my theological understanding of The Blood and The Cross are pretty limited, I freely admit. But my thankfulness is growing daily . . . and I know that pleases my Heavenly Daddy!

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The Cross. You Get It?

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What does The Cross mean to you?

I was invited to share the answer to that question earlier this week with a Bible study group. The moment I sat down to jot notes, tears filled my eyes. 

“Everything, The Cross means EVERYTHING to me” raced through my mind.

Pen and paper aside, I began to think about why that’s true. Through the tears the following realities challenged me to new levels of thankfulness for what Jesus accomplished for me personally on the day He opened the door of relationship between God and those He created. With a humbled and joyful heart, I offer the following considerations to stir YOUR heart with thankfulness.

·       God created a perfect world, and enjoyed a perfect relationship with Adam and           Eve.

·       Sin entered God’s perfect world, shattering the perfect relationship.

·       God set up a sacrificial system to teach about forgiveness of sin through a blood         offering.

·       It was all about the blood . . . 

And that’s where I used to stop. You know, mentally disengage and think about something else. In my growing up going-to-church-years, blood talk was pretty much absent from my spiritual jargon.  Oh, of course I knew that Jesus had shed His Blood for me, but the concept of it all held no practical meaning or application to my daily Christian walk.

Truth is, like many New Testament believers I heard the word blood and thought death. The Old Testament Hebrew however, heard the word blood and thought life! Living under the Old Covenant they understood that the term “covered in the blood” meant life and forgiveness of sin through the sacrificial system.

They also understood that they were guilty and that they could not, on their own merits, approach God. They knew that because of God’s perfection and ultimate judgment, they couldn’t even worship Him due to their own impurity. Their guilt needed to be “paid for.” This payment for their sinful imperfection took the form of a ‘blood sacrifice” (which meant a life sacrifice).

The best that they had – the most perfect lamb, ram, bull, whatever – they took to the altar. The priest would kill the animal, allowing its blood to drip over the altar, symbolizing that their sin-debt, for the time being, had been covered by the blood.

Yes, they were definitely at home with this practice and all the conversation surrounding it. Their FB status read, “My family is right with God today, thanks to the precious blood of our sacrificial lamb!”

So, when John saw Jesus and called Him . . . The Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world . . . the people there with him understood the concept.

You see when Jesus left Heaven and came to earth, everything changed. He plainly declared that His life, bloodshed, death, and resurrection was His purpose for coming. God’s plan all along was that Jesus would become the once and for all sacrifice for all humanity. 

For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, He said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But You have given me a body to offer.”(Hebrews 10:4,5 NLT)

Now here’s the part that puts a lump in my throat. THIS WAS NOT EASY FOR JESUS! This willing act of love was torturous for Him mentally, emotionally, AND physically. He, in His 100% humanity, would have avoided it if there’d been any other way. How do I know that? Because it’s recorded in scripture. 

“My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death” . . . He fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the awful hour awaiting Him might never come… “Father, Father, everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from Me. Yet I want Your will, not mine.” (Mark 14: 34-36 TLB) 

He did the HARD part so that I could SIMPLY come. 

I’LL always remember the fresh grace that washed over me during the moments right after I’d realized I’d been taking the price He’d paid all for granted. Yes, I knew about the Cross, but I didn’t really CARE about the Cross.

You can start caring right now . . . He said

 And I did, and I do!

I don’t understand it – can’t explain it nor fully describe it. All I’m left with is to thank Him and enjoy what He’s done.

Because of The Cross I’m joyful when my hopes are dashed, encouraged when my dreams are unfulfilled, energized when I’m bone-tired, and filled with anticipation when it looks like it’s all over.

So as we wrapped up our sharing time that morning in the Bible study group. My new friend who is in the trenches fighting the physical, emotional, and mental skirmishes of the chemo/cancer war remarked…

I’m peaceful. I’m not afraid. He is my peace.

Oh, SHE gets The Cross. Do you? 

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless

Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness.

Where all the love I’ve ever found

Comes like a flood – comes flowing down…

At the Cross, at the Cross I surrender my life,

I’m in awe of You – I’m in awe of You.

Where Your love ran red and my sin washed white

I owe all to You, I owe all to You . . . J-E-S-U-S

         (At The Cross, Chris Tomlin)

 

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Addicted (Part 1)

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 - adjective; devoted or given up to a practice or habit or to something psychologically or physically habit-forming.

This morning, the following question played through my mind…

Am I addicted to my phone?

As twinges of Yes surfaced, my mind hurled reasons in defense of my disguised addiction:

My Phone Is . . .

§  Where I research important topics. This includes Bible commentaries, Lexicons, Greek Dictionaries, Bible-Hub, etc. 

§  My connection with those who follow the Frazzled-Female ministry. So . . . FB, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, all a must.

§  My Go-To. I check news, weather, use calculator, store coupons, and keep up with the time. I also store my pictures, passwords, and take notes here.

§  My interaction with family and friends. Phone calls, Instant Messaging, texting, and face-timing – all a part of daily contact for me.

§  My alarm clock, flashlight, friend-finder, and timer.  And on the rare occasion I get bored, I can just pull up a game and PLAY.

So, AM I given up to the psychologically & habit-forming practice of being devoted to my phone?

OH YEH!

Now, with that assessment I don’t mind stating that MY PHONE is useful and a real positive tool in my life. So, I guess it’s okay to be “devoted” in that sense.

However, I readily admit (and confess) that I’m heading toward a full-blown addiction. It’s difficult to go very long without “checking in” for social media blurbs, messages, and instant gratification from responses to posts and shout-outs from others.

As I think about that, I’m reminded that good, helpful behaviors and tools are POSITIVE until they are overdone – and that turns them into NEGATIVES.

Martha, for example (Luke 10:28-42) was doing something wonderful - preparing her home along with a scrumptious meal for Jesus. But it appeared she carried on a bit too much, getting side-tracked with preparations instead of focusing on Jesus in her midst.

“But Martha, overly occupied and too busy was distracted with much serving.” (Luke 10:40A AMPC)

And you know the rest of the story . . . she becomes irritated at sister Mary, insisting that Jesus put her in her place for not helping in the preparations.

Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me - to lend a hand and do her part along with me! (Luke 10:40B AMPC)

Here’s The Point

Your phone, tablet, portable-mobile device . . . all good, but used in excess can turn you into . . .

an addict totally dependent upon this extra body part at the end of your arm, leaving you functionless without it!

Just like Martha it’s tempting and easy to take our “good access” to modern technology to extreme measures, becoming overly occupied, too busy, and distracted.

But take heart. There’s HELP available for the one who wants to be set free! And I am one in that number of people who is irked at the way social media has tip-toed in and taken control of my life. . . and quite often turning a good thing into a controlling thing.

 - - - - 

Chomp on PART 1 for a while. Mull it over, asking the Holy Spirit to direct YOU if you need to make some changes in this particular area of your life. 

Oh, He’ll tell you – He sure will.

Then in Part 2, we’ll explore some steps of recovery.

In the meantime, determine to control your technology devices . . .

instead of letting them control YOU!

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Sometimes I just WONDER instead of trying to explain. 

His presence is so real, so encouraging. God wants ALL to experience His love through deep relationship with Him.

I can’t explain it, but I’m awed by Him. In a world of complication and convolution, God lays out a simple plan:

1) He opens the door. 

2) We walk through.

Yep, 

HE OPENED THE DOOR, AND WE CAN CHOOSE TO WALK THROUGH IT (OR NOT).

A one time decision to walk through That Door by faith, will enable us to live the rest of our days seeking Him and exploring His wonders.

There’s no turning back once you walk through, but you CAN lose your wonder of Him.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”(Jeremiah 29:13)

I’m determined to keep Fascination With Him alive!

#HolyMystery

 

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WORRY ALERT

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I have told you these things, so that in Me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV) 

Oh, to take to heart these Words, this Promise!

Often, however, God’s children don’t feel at all comfortable and peaceful. Whether caught up in the past, anxious about the future, or stuck in the present – there are times it feels next to impossible to flow in His peace.

Notice.   “It feels impossible”, not “It is impossible”!

Truth is, God’s deep peace and His simple comfort enfold all of His children . . . and YOU are included in that ALL.

Take a look at God’s reproach to His children, Israel.

 I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,
 that you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?

 (Isaiah 51:12,13 NIV)

Friend, can you accept the same as a personal tender reproach from our God today? Can you realize He’s calling you to trust Him, to relax in His comfort? These fears, worries and concerns  - are nothing that He can’t handle and WILL handle for you. There’s no loophole of worry and angst for the child of God!

For sure, there are oppressors looming in this world. A friend shared with me, a few of her gnawing concerns about growing older. Perhaps from time to time, these fears have also gnawed at you: physical decline & demise, emotional instability, financial woes, living arrangements . . .

Look what Jesus says, 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV)

One word about worry; DON’T!

If we’re being obedient children, there’s no way around that command.

John the Baptist’s response to his disciples when they questioned him about his particular ministry – really speaks to me.

A man can receive nothing at all unless it has been granted to him from Heaven (for there’s no other source than the sovereign will of God. (John 3:27 AMP)

There you have it. God has it all planned out.

In our secret worrisome imaginings about what we don’t know, He is deep fulfillment and perfect tranquility. Every single aspect and nuance of our past, present, and future – all taken care of.

He, yes He, is our Sovereign Source of Comfort and Peace!

 

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LOCKDOWN!

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A lockdown prohibits someone from leaving or entering a building. 

But what about our mind and emotions; can they also go into lockdown mode? From personal experience, I’m shouting,YES!

Perhaps you’ve experienced this “place” too. Your spirit seems to be held in a vice and try as you may, you just can’t wriggle free.

So who, exactly, issues that lockdown order? 

Why, the world we live in along with the enemy himself.  

Let’s examine possible onsets of mental and emotional lockdowns:

·      Cares of daily living – Jesus said . . .

But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things, come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.  (Mark 4:19 NIV)

Within that perfect set-up, Satan takes opportunity to jump onboard alongside the reality of earthly stressful living, tempting us to doubt, fear, and worry.

These “cares and worries” may be about the future, present, or past. They may be over negative, dreaded things – or they may be over positive events. The point is . . . Worry is Worry. It makes no difference, the source or rationale behind it. Being consumed with CARES & WORRY stymie the soul.

·      Confusion over God’s Plan – Jesus said . . . 

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    (Jeremiah 20:11 NIV)

Sometimes while waiting on the Lord (and His plans), I walk right into that proverbial wall of unmet expectations. Hitting that wall keeps me blocked from experiencing PEACE as I wait. It keeps me focused instead on the fact that these expectations I have from Him regarding His plans for my life have simply not yet been met! 

Again Satan jumps onboard, filling my mind with doubts and confusion. LOCKDOWN ensues.

·      Critical nature . . . – Jesus said . . .

Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. (Matthew 7:7 TLB)

And Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes . . .

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing.

(Philippians 2:14 TLB)

One word regarding criticizing others and criticizing the way life is treating you – DON’T!

Cares, Confusion, and a Critical nature can certainly throw you into a stalled stated of mind, causing your heart to feel locked up. 

Whatever the reason for your lockdown – Jesus is the way to fresh and energized living. One friend described her experience of bursting through her emotional/mental confinement. When LIFE tossed her into a tragic situation, here was her thinking.

I knew I had a choice. I could either CHOOSE to crawl into a corner, curling up in a fetal position . . . or I could CHOOSE to trust Jesus and keep moving.

Truth is, it all comes down to a choice. No matter what big – or not so big – trigger throws you into that paralyzed state, you determine BY CHOICE whether or not to stay there.

SUMMARY

·      Assess your lockdown. Is its source - Cares, Confusion, Critical nature, or something else?

·      Choose by faith, to allow JESUS to free you.

·      Pray . . . I can’t. You can. Free me,Jesus, for it’s not by my might but by Your Spirit that I’ll be freed.

And then, enjoy the movement of The Living Water!

The one who believes in Me . . . will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.

 (John 7:38 HCSB)

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BUSYNESS OF LIFE!

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV)

Giving People are often Busy People.

As I consider some areas where I “gave” during the past week, here’s what came to mind: TIME, ENERGY, FINANCES, EMOTIONS, A LISTENING EAR, TRANSPORTATION, ENCOURAGEMENT, GUIDANCE, MEAL PREPARATION . . . and etc. The list goes on and on, as I’m sure it does with you. Each season of life offers many opportunities to give, and with each one there’s the challenge to be cheerful in the giving.

One woman comments about “all her plates spinning”, saying her heart is filled with both joy AND concern.  It’s true; while friends and family bring us such happiness, within many of those relationships there are needs and care-giving demands to be met.

Yes, the demands of life often seem to exceed our ability to give, right? And, GIVING CHEERFULLY, often comes down to our level of tiredness. It’s definitely easier to give with a thankful heart if you’re not worn out.

I’m reminded of Jesus reaching the well in Samaria.  

“So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down by the well…”

(John 4:6 AMP) 

Taking a closer look at the word “tired” in this passage, we find the Greek word kopiao. It means to grow weary and exhausted with toil or burdens or grief. In addition to being physically tired, this word also means to become emotionally and mentally fatigued. 

Have you ever been THAT kind of tired? Sometimes the weariness may begin as physical, and at other times the onset is more emotional or mental. Either way, TIRED IS TIRED and it spreads throughout body, mind, and emotions. 

Just as Jesus grew tired in His journey (John 4:6), I sometimes get tired – really tired – in mine. What comfort it brings to know that God, in the humanity of Jesus on earth, gets it! I identify with Him and He identifies with me. That thought truly brings comfort to my weary soul.

Knowing that God loves a cheerful giver, gives me great incentive to honor Him in my times of pouring out to others. Within each “gift” there’s opportunity to worship and to thank Him. I thank Him for . . . the ability to give and for the recipient of my gift.

With this in mind, another Believer writes . . .

 I find that it’s easiest to give to others when I have prioritized my time with God.

Yes, getting our “time in with God” helps us grow a thankful heart, and that makes the giving much more of a pleasure!

While we may or may not receive a “thank you” here on earth, we can be 100% percent sure that our Heavenly Father takes note and receives the motive of our heart to glorify Him.

“Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.”

 (Colossians 3:23 CEB)

 

Cheerfully giving,

 

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Moment Living

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What if this moment - this VERY moment could be a holy moment?

Well, according to God’s Word, it can be. Because His children are indwelt with His spirit, we have the capability of turning each second into a worship experience. When I really stop to think about that, the possibility staggers me.  That means every diddly-squat, uneventful, mundane instant can be turned into a glorious second of worship.

I remember first realizing this holy opportunity many years ago as I was retrieving annoying mismatched socks from the clothes dryer. The recent discovery I’d found in Colossians 3:23 all of a sudden sprang to life in my brain, and my heart followed. . . 

Whatever you do – whatever your task may be – work from the soul (that is, put in your very best effort), as something done for the Lord and not for men.

(Amplified Bible)

As the rest of Colossians 3 explains, it is the Lord whom we actually serve, not men. Therefore our reward is from Him. No matter what the moment produces in any given second of the day, we are able to turn our thoughts to Him, offering an intentional heart of worship. THAT pleases God, and it surely does slash my stress level!

Any new truth revealed comes with opportunity to practice it. Now’s the moment, THE HOLY MOMENT, to move from theory into real life experience. It happened for me as I was fuming over those contrary socks, and it can happen for you . . . well, RIGHT NOW!

If someone is annoying you . . Lord I respond with Your love and I worship You in this moment.

If frustrations are mounting . . . Father, here and right now, I lift my hands to You in worship and praise.

If waiting is becoming unbearable . . . Lord, I turn each moment I wait – each one of them, into praise and adoration. 

If negative memories of the past resurface . . . Father, thank You that I live in the NOW. I praise You in my forgiven state and love You for cleansing me.

In any moment . . . I worship You Lord Jesus, that You hear me and love me and accept my heart of praise – even when I don’t feel like praising.

Now my friend, may The Father encourage your heart and multiply your moments of holiness in Him.  Amen.

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Behaving in Truth

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Yet another LIFE LESSON unfolded as I pulled into the driveway with four-year old Ruby and two-year old Presley behind me in their car seats.

Opening the door beside Presley’s seat, I noticed Ruby standing on the floor beside her. She was calm and not one bit agitated as Presley struggled to get loose and climb out. I commented on her kindness to which she remarked . . .

The Bible says to let others go first.

There it was. Scriptural truth stated and followed without hesitation. In other words . . .

BELIEVING WHAT TRUTH SAYS, AND THEN BEHAVING IN THAT TRUTH!

Okay, let’s bring it on home. Do you believe what Truth says? And if you do, are you behaving as if you believe it?

Example: Jesus plainly states in Matthew 6, Do not worry about your life, and don’t worry about tomorrow. 

Do you believe that Jesus, Son of God stated those words to YOU, His son or daughter? And are YOU behaving as if you believe?

I see three elements needed here, for spiritual victory to Behave in Truth.

Revelation. God by His Spirit living inside of each Believer reveals a truth specifically designed for our circumstance of the moment . . . Do not worry.

Belief. The Believer experiences the revelation, and then accepts it as Truth spoken. . .

Yes, God is telling me not to worry. He’s got this.

Behavior. I then behave as if I truly believe that I have received a message from Him about my circumstance. . . I am joyful about God being in control of my life, and keeping positive – whether my circumstance changes or not.

In other words, I behave by looking like I believe, and talking like I believe. I behave by focusing on scripture and worshiping God. This encourages my belief in Him and what He says. 

The goal is to take every single truth in God’s Word and act upon it without hesitation. His Truths cover. . . emotions, finances, relationships, priorities, goals, and etc. He has SOMETHING to say about every detail of our lives.

As I consider those “earthly things” that have a hold on me right now, I’m seeing Ruby standing quietly, patiently, and joyfully in THE TRUTH – as she BEHAVES accordingly.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32 HCSB)

Jumping Into Faith

It’s crazy to think that she would even do it, but she did – she really did it!

Three year old Lily laid her eyes on that high-diving-board, and then on her daddy who was in the water below waiting for her to take the plunge. She climbed the ladder, hoofed it to the end of the board – and jumped!

Not one person watching that day would have blamed her for deciding to wait until she was bigger, stronger, and more capable to take that leap. BUT NO! With childlike faith, fortitude, and trust, she focused on her daddy and then jumped straight into His arms.

That’s what I love about children. Their faith is remarkable and the way they trust is inspiring. No wonder we hear these words from Jesus as He embraced them on this earth:

Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  (Matthew 19:14 NIV)

God wants you to have this kind of faith. Do you? You have to un-do what the world has done to you, becoming like a little child again – trusting, believing, and moving forward . . . 

Are you swimming in discouragement? Jump out of it into your Father’s arms!

Hanging onto guilt? Leave it behind and plunge into His forgiveness!

Do anxiety and worry consume you? There’s safety in taking the plunge of faith into God’s Love and Peace!

I can’t tell you how to do it. I can only say it’s possible because I’ve jumped lots of times. I’ve simply shut down to the world and sprung into my Father’s love.

Now, the world calls it crazy when you hope when life is in shambles. The world understands and in facts encourages retribution and doing whatever it takes to make you feel better. There are worldly answers waiting when you fall into despair and depression. But thankfully we are not of this world. Oh yeah, we live in it, but do not belong to it. There’s a Greater and Higher calling on our life.

I have some things on my mind, and I hear the WORLD shouting. But right now, I’m closing my ears and honing my focus. I’m stirring up faith, fortitude, and trust, for I hear my Daddy saying . . . Jump child, jump!

And during the leap I’m celebrating because I know I’m delighting the Heart of God.

I’m whistling, laughing and jumping (with) joy. I’m singing Your song High God.

(Psalm 9:2 MSG)

God Always Wins

 

 

Last week I took my seven year old grandson Durham, to experience Liberty Mountain in downtown Kings Mountain. This Revolutionary Drama, written by novelist Bob Inman is the story of the strong-willed and resourceful people who settled in the Carolinas – fighting for freedom and independence from Great Britain. Toward the end, as Major Patrick Ferguson and his men prepared to take on the militiamen during the battle that has been cited as the turning point of the American Revolution, Durham leaned in and whispered to me . . .

I know who’s going to win, because God is on their side – and God always wins His battles.

Yep, another poignant reminder from the “mouth of a babe”.  God is on my side, fighting my battles, and He always wins!

Friend, do you sometimes work harder at fighting, than trusting? Oh, I do. And Durham’s insight drew me to a scene that unfolds in Exodus 14.

God in His holy strategy had orchestrated a battle plan for the Israelites that would make Pharaoh think they were confused and an easy prey for capture. They had escaped this king of Egypt and God was certainly on their side. However, as Moses and those in his charge carried out God’s instructions, the Israelites became terrified. In the midst of their God-given advantage, they chose to focus on their circumstances – only seeing the immediate danger of the approaching Egyptian army heading their way. And what did Moses say to them?

The LORD will fight for you. You just keep still. (Exodus 14:14 CEB)

I needed this reminder today; how ‘bout you? Earthly living is a battle. Even at its best, earth-living becomes a battle-ground for body and soul. When I focus on my circumstances instead of focusing on my God, I think I’m going to lose.

But I have a choice. Instead of being consumed and taken under by emotional and mental strain, I can choose to train myself to trust, being still in my God Who has already won the battle!

Here you go, the Holy Reminder put before you . . .

God’s children are going to win. In the end, the victory is ours. God is on our side, and He always ALWAYS wins His battles!

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

 (2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB)