Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seasons Change

As autumn begins, I find myself, once again, in transition. Much like the seasons, I have been through many changes over the past few months. In March, I started a long-distance relationship. June marked my 40th year. At the end of September, I moved back to Indiana. I'm excited about this new season and all that God has in store - but it has been an incredibly difficult change. I thought I had rid myself of the fear of man, but some of the choices & decisions I needed to make through the last weeks have shown me otherwise...But I'm continually learning to trust God all the more, to rely on His faithfulness & unfailing, unconditional love. He is the One to Whom I answer. It is His opinion of me that counts. Yes, it is important to have trusted leaders and peers involved in life-altering decisions, but their voices should never be louder than God's. All too frequently, I've found that I have been living to please those around me - never wanting to disappoint anyone & in the process, never living my life to its fullest. This is a pattern I've seen repeated many times over the years - always seeming to let the opinions & ideas of those around me dictate my responses in order to gain their approval & favor. However, I refuse to be bitter or angry at myself or others regarding the choices I've made & instead make the choice to thank God for bringing this deep-rooted reality to light & plucking it out! As I seek Him first, making room for His insight, prompting, revelation & wisdom, I know the next 40 years will be far more fruitful & fulfilling - full of His favor - & that's infinitely more rewarding!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Praise & Thankfulness

"Oh Lord, my God, I thank You for saving me, healing me and delivering me from all the would come against me to steal, kill and destroy. I thank You that You have come and You've brought me life - and not just life, but abundant life! I praise You for You are great and greatly to be praised! There is none who can compare. You alone are God. Thank You for the favor and blessings You delight in pouring over me. Thank You for Your never-ending mercy, never-failing grace & all-consuming love. I adore You, my Savior, my King, my Lord. You have filled my mouth with songs of praise and my lips will never cease to sing of Your amazing Love!" This is from my journal this morning. Please feel free to declare it or write your own prayer of praise & thankfulness. He's worthy of all honor, glory & praise!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Who's with Me?

It's never been my goal to be a carbon copy of anyone else, to maintain the status quo, or to settle down and live in quiet seclusion (though I've often relished the thought of the latter). I know I'm different, I was created differently, and my life displays that different-ness daily. Something inside me continually compels me to go beyond what I can see or even understand - to move beyond the average and acceptable - regardless of the opinions of others - to the supernatural and fantastical. There is a place that I know exists - beyond the hubbub of daily life, above the monotony of everyday existence - where fullness and fulfillment meet on the craggy edge of faith. I must not relent in my quest to obtain all that Love Himself has - for it is He who is my driving force on this grand and risky adventure. There is always more in Him and I want it all. It is my daily endeavor to passionately pursue Him - at all costs. As an act of my will, I will overcome doubt, depression, disillusionment, and any other obstacle that would impede my progress. With the words of my mouth I will create my destiny - knowing that life and death are therein contained. The time has come to take the authority and the power of the name of Jesus, as believers in Christ, and live the way Love intended. Who's with me?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sowing & Reaping

If you've known me long at all, you know that the past few years have been trying. Through a word from the Lord, I felt called back to the Nashville area and when a job nearby presented itself, I accepted. Due to the need for a flexible schedule with said job, it's been difficult to find additional work to supplement my income. Over the past few weeks I've been asking God for lots of things - the cancellation of debts, unexpected increase, bills paid off in miraculous ways...and I've been struggling financially. I didn't want to tell anyone, but just paying my bills (not including gas, food or incidentals) was leaving me with a deficit of nearly $170.00 per month. I've also been asking God to show me where to attend church. I know I need to find a church home where I can build relationships, serve and move forward in what He's called me to in this city and in the Body of Christ, in general. As believers, we all need fellowship, purpose and an outlet for the vision God has placed within us. A couple of weekends ago, I visited a church for the first time. God impressed me to sow the last $10 I had into their ministry. I hesitated, weighing out the possibility of needing gas or groceries, but ultimately obeyed His still small voice. When it was time to take up the offering, they made a declaration over what was being given - believing for a cancellation of debts, unexpected increase, bills paid off, etc. My $10 was included in that offering. That Monday, I received a call. Someone wanted to pay off one of my bills. I still owed almost $500 and the monthly payment was $92.15. Then, an individual that had loaned me $1000 which I had just begun paying back at $100 a month, forgave me the remaining $900. Not having health insurance coverage for nearly 4 years has meant not going to the dentist for me. I received an invitation to a dental practice accepting new patients and offering a reduced rate for an exam, x-rays and cleaning. I set up an appointment and found out I had quite a bit of dental work to be done. I needed 4 fillings - totaling over $1200. I was able to put the amount for 2 of those fillings on a credit card. My parents told me later that they would pay for the other two. Thursday, I went in to get the 2 remaining fillings only to find out that they were far worse than expected. I needed 2 crowns. The price differences was substantial. I spoke with my mom and told her the diagnosis. She said to go ahead with the crowns. She and Dad were willing to take on the additional $2000 for me to get the needed work completed. In addition to that, God put it on someone's heart to take over 6 of the debts I still owe. At the beginning of January, I had a total of 15 bills. By the end of last week, I'm financially responsible for only 7. A little mind-blowing, huh? I don't know all that you may be facing today - financially, relationally, emotionally, or physically. But I do know that God loves you and wants to bless you. He longs for intimate communion with you. If you're willing to be obedient to Him, He'll take the seed sown in the soil He shows you and multiply it abundantly beyond all you can think or ask. Obviously, I'm thankful that I sowed that $10 into the fertile soil of a body of believers who agreed with me in faith and in prayer that God would bless it 100-fold. That simple, little seed opened a door for abundant blessings. What is God asking you to sow and where is He prompting you to sow it, today? Is it something monetary, a kind word of encouragement, a faith-filled prayer for salvation, healing, restoration or deliverance or a cup of coffee for the homeless one on the corner? Whatever it may be, I encourage you to sow it. It will be exponentially more effective, and open doors of blessing that you have been praying for.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Irksome Much?

Paul is one of my favorite writers in the Bible. Some of his writings totally crack me up. At times, he seems so irritated and aggravated with those he's writing to that if seems he'd rather just forget trying to help them and throw in the towel - leaving them to their own devices. I've been reading from the Amplified version of the Bible and at one point the translation for the word he used to describe the people was "intolerable" and another was "irksome" (what a great word). Talk about being exasperated! :) I'm quite certain I've been such a person to those trying to train, teach and help me. I've also experienced the same exasperation when trying to lead, disciple, encourage and mentor others. It makes me wonder if that's how God feels about me/us sometimes. No one would blame Him for saying, "You stupid humans! When will you ever get it?!" And with a thought, completely obliterating us into nothingness. But thankfully, that's just me projecting my human, finite frustrations on an infinite, uncomprehendingly-loving God. In Ephesians 5:15-17, I was especially challenged - and mildly amused - with the Amplified wording of Paul's admonition, "Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is." So I want to walk carefully, purposefully, worthily and accurately - as a sensible intelligent person, firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is and making the most of each day - not as an unwise, witless, vague, thoughtless, foolish, senseless, intolerable, irksome imbecile who would make Paul cringe.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Prayer for You in 2013

From Ephesians 1:17, I pray this over you and myself as the new year approaches, "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him." It is God's desire to commune with His creation and through the incomparable gift of Jesus, we actually can! In this Christmas season, I trust you'll draw closer to the Creator of the universe, who gave us His all and desires nothing more in return. May His love surround you, His presence envelop you, His friendship inspire you, His peace astound you and His blessings overtake you as you pursue Him and all that He is.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dwelling with Love

As I was reading in I John 4 this morning, I was praying for revelation (as I nearly always do when reading the Bible). When I finished the twenty-one verses of the chapter, I realized I had marked parts of each verse! I know people are funny about whether writing in their Bible's is acceptable, but I have highlighted, underlined, starred, circled and double-underlined things that stand out, or that I need to remember, or I want to memorize for years. Verses 4, 16, 18 & 21 racked up the most marks this morning. From the Amplified version they read: 4"Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world." 16"And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him." 18"There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]." 21"And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also." These are some pretty powerful statements! Yes, we've heard them before, but have we really understood them to the degree that they are actually realities in our lives - are we living them? Am I living them? Do my actions and thoughts and life reflect and reinforce the truths contained within them? I'm praying for continued and unfolding understanding and revelation regarding them: That because God (Love) lives inside me (and I in Him), I have the most powerful force in the universe within me. That any enemy that is contrary to Him in my life has already been defeated & I have already overcome it! That in Him (Love), fear and dread does not exist because it kicks out every trace of terror! And because of all of this, I am able to love others! Wow! Here's a prayer I wrote in my journal as a response - feel free to use it, too: "Lord, help me to become overwhelmingly conscious of Your love for me. Help me to understand that You long for me to know Your love. Let the revelation of that reality so become a part of me that my thoughts and actions are a reflection of that truth - as evidenced by my love for others and the absolute absence of fear (in any form) in my life. Thank You for this gift. I receive it with great joy and thankfulness. To You be all honor and glory forever and ever. In Jesus' name amen!"