Thursday, November 19, 2009

Think Again...

Got the list below in an email...
I added a little and tweaked a bit, but Truth is Truth!!
The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...
Most people we admire in scripture didn’t think they could be used either. We remember that they were great men and women of God, but we forget they were in desperate need of him

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were told they were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah though of talking his own life
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer
AND Lazarus was dead…
What did they have in common?

Jesus helped, changed, and used them all!
He chooses the weak because in our weakness His strength is revealed
If you feel like everything’s a mess, let Him untangle the knots as you move.
You aren't the message, you are the messenger.
No more excuses – whatever He is calling you to He is equipping you for.
Don’t buy into the lies anymore - Listen only to His Voice of Truth

**Marisa’s twist on an unknown authors thoughts

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Perfect Man?

I received some of the following statements in an email forward after getting an earlier email the same day about a friend of mine who is struggling right now. She's a single mom who is so dedicated to her kids, her friends, her church, and her community and I thought of her when I read it. I also thought of several other ladies, some single some not, who have shared some things with me over the past few months... I tweaked it a bit and added a few thoughts. Ladies, this is for for you...

Dear Friend, if you are longing today, you don’t have far to look:

He is a gentleman – He never takes anything by force, and gives selflessly
He is a confident provider and protector
He is rich and powerful… He owns everything; and there is nothing He wouldn't do for you
He perfects all things concerning you
He anticipates your wants and needs, He has from before you were formed
Every day He tells you and shows you how much He loves you – Are you listening?
You never have to perform in order to earn His love
He keeps all of His promises
No one can influence His opinion of you – in fact He intercedes on your behalf and you have no greater fan!
He is the ultimate intimate partner – the lover of your soul, your creator and the only One who knows you inside and out
He can't disown you or throw you away, you are a part of Him and bought with a precious price
He covers you and doesn't expose you
And He left you the most wonderful love letter, unforgettable words of encouragement and care so you will never forget how He feels about you…

Wake up every day and greet Him in your life!
His is Christ Jesus, and His perfect love is all you need.
Rejoice today no matter what it may bring - The King has claimed you as His princess and His bride and loves you more than any man or anyone ever could!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I was wearing Jesus!

In the middle of 250+ children, countless moms, the deacons and elders, pastors, project workers, and the team I was traveling with in Ghana Africa, at the Galilea Gods Will Compassionate International Student Center… I, a simple 43 year old mom and wife, learned what it was like to wear Jesus.

Outside of Accra Ghana, as our team gathered to interact with the children who had been planning and anticipating our arrival for weeks, the energy was palpable.
After an amazing worship service together their eyes and smiles were so big as they watched us begin to set out our bags of toys and playthings down to arrange them. I remember wondering if their little faces might actually be getting sore from so much smiling - their little cheeks almost bursting!
The laughter, singing, squealing, and hand clapping was deafening as we pulled out the bubbles, coloring sheets, stickers, balls, jump ropes, and more! The children rushed up against me, against us all, making large circles surrounding us at least 7-8 bodies deep.
They were so excited! So were we!
The air was so thick, hot, and humid with all our bodies pressed together. The music started again and some groups began dancing . They LOVE to dance!
As I moved from one spot on the floor to another just to try and make sure I interacted with as many different children as possible they followed me as if their cloths were sewn to mine.
Suddenly what could have been have been overwhelming suddenly wasn't at all. Everything seemed to almost begin to move in slow motion and I felt calmness and a sense of peace in that chaos that was so surreal.
That’s how it began...
As things slowed I could almost hear the rustling of cloth against cloth as I moved through the crowd of kids, then the scrape of my shoes along the concrete floor as I moved back and forth. I looked down as I felt the small arms of a young wisp of a girl wrap around my waist and her small feet stepped up to stand on mine - just to be as close to me as possible.
I heard a whisper in my heart say "see, this is what it was like for me, to be surrounded by those who love you because you are you, and simply want you to love them the same way in return".
“What?” my heart lurched.
"See the child at your side, she has been waiting to just be able to touch you, for you to just be with her and show her you care.” I did see how she simply looked at me with excitement and expectation and I wrapped my arms around her and we swayed together to the drums. I told her she was beautiful and she beamed!
After we danced a while, I worked my way over to where the bottles of bubbles were and begin holding the wand up to all their lips. Laughter erupted from all of us each time the bubbles floated up!
The voice whispered again, “See there, there is a young boy waiting for you to really see him" I seemed to feel gentle fingers gently turn my head to where a group of children still sat in their chairs, not up and running around like the others. I saw a young boy with what I could only assume was cerebral palsy being held in his sisters lap – they were watching me intently.
As the sounds all rushed back as my eyes rested on that young boy. I walked over to him holding the bubble wand out. His big brown eyes crinkled up in the corners as he tried to smile at me. I held the wand close to his lips and he breathed out toward it as best he could, trembling with excitement… his sister smiled so sweetly at him then at me. I joined him in blowing into the wand and bubbles flew up! He jerked with joy! And when he felt the tiny bubble burst on his cheek that we created together his breathing turned to bursts of his own unique sound of laughter!

I laughed out loud too and Jesus whispered again. “See how beautiful? How precious each breath is? How much I love Him and how much I love you? So much that I orchestrated and wove threads of your lives together over 10,000 miles of ocean apart just to bring you to this place, at this moment, all so this young child could blow bubbles with me!”

Tiny hands reached for my attention again and I turned. As I reached out to pull all the children close to tell them of how much my Jesus loved them, what He did for them long ago, what He wants for their lives, it was as if I could feel His hands lovingly on top of mine, His arms draped along my shoulders as I hugged them… As I asked them if this news of my Jesus made them happy they began to dance with joy and pulled me along with them.
That voice sweetly said “See? Through you I love them, I touch them, I play with them and I dance with them, and through them I love you, touch you, and dance with you my daughter”

Oh my word, I was wearing Jesus!

See the thing is, we can make a choice every day at any given moment whether or not to put on Jesus. Like the softest of sweaters we can see with His eyes, touch with His hands, serve with His heart, dance with Him... He’s already there, waiting.
Oh how I want to wear Jesus!

Monday, August 10, 2009

All I Can Say Is Beautiful!

We serve a beautiful God who could weave a thread across and ocean to bind the lives of an African child to mine... Todd and I just became mom & dad again with the help of Compassion International! Meet my Bernard and his sweet sister Beneditta from Ghana!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Day 2 continued - Lucy walks home from the Compassion Project long dirt roads. A beautiful girl with a shy smile who passes street after street lined with adults and kids alike in need, looking for hope. She passes a man selling third hand shoes that he found in the dump to earn a living. She keeps her head up though. She passes a building falling in on itself that holds a make shift market stand where a woman sells soup to take care of her family - selling it to those who have nothing to cook soup on... no big silver pot to place over an open flame for them or they would try to eek out a living too.
Lucy walks on, gingerly stepping on stones over the open sewer stream that runs where a street used to be a few years ago. That sewer stream leads to a small lot with a three walled room where she and her family crowd into to sit, and escape the midday sun, and simply be a family.
Did I mention her family consists of Lucy, her dad, her stepsister an brother, her grandmother and great grandmother, who cares for them all while the dad makes $1.50 a day to fish on another mans boat. That is their income - when the fishing is good that is. It not right now. Both previous wives walked away from this family. Did I mention they have to buy undeground water because they have none in the home? Did I also mention that everytime it rains it foods the three walled concrete floor with that sewer waste we so carefully stepped around and over to visit her home? And that they need rain though to grow food? And that they asked us to pray about both????

Did I mention Lucy has hope because each day when she walks home its from the local Compassion Project where she has just been fed, looked after, educated, and loved on by men and women who love Jesus and want to make sure Lucy has every opportunity to know and love Him too?

to sponsor a child log on now to and click the link on the bottom left!

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Africa?

After quite the ordeal to get here that meant our finally plane left JFK 3 hours late and with a whole new brake system... I was strangely very calm about.
I arrive in the capital of Ghana. Standing in the rundown airport, with it's odd odors, the airport staff wearing facial masks to ward of the swine flu germs and Lord knows what else floating around, people from so many places, going to so many places, and bits of languages I do no understand in the least... I am still strangely calm.
After sitting in a shuttle van for almost an hour crammed full of most of our team and luggage alone in the parking lot in strange country waiting on our team leader who was inside the airport with 2 whose luggage did not make it... I am again, calm.

Check in. Lunch. An unexpected chance to go ahead and visit a Christian school outside Accra with Dr John of the Ashanti Tribe & Rev Harry Thomas of the states (the two men have been friends for 20 years & with Gods divine vision obediently birthed this school to sit right smack dab in the middle of a Muslim Community!).
I met the head mistress (helping run this school since its inception, she is 60 years old now with the most beautiful skin and smile and laugh.
The ride from there to the top of a mountain Dr John wanted us to see took us through villages and towns with an assault on my senses - smells, sights, sounds, potholes that could swallow small cars, the haves and the have nothings living side by side along the way... not only am I calm... I feel at home.

What does this mean? I think it means that the next few days of my Compassion International Trip that has brought me to this strange and wonderful place I have somehow yearned for will contain untold assaults on my other senses, the more important ones - my spiritual eyes and ears, my heart, and my soul... I can't wait to see what God will reveal here in Ghana~


Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Sweat or Not To Sweat

To sweat or not to sweat – that is the question...
OK, I’m reading “The Noticer” by Andy Andrews, our Chick Chat Book Club selection of the month for July. One of the main characters, Jones, a.k.a the noticer, who always turns up just when he’s needed with just the right things to say, the right advice to give, and a different perspective of their life that seems to impact that life almost supernaturally, just spoke something into the life of another character in the chapter I was on last night that really was pretty cool. Jones asked Henry if he had ever heard the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff?”
We’ve pretty much all heard that one and we all agree probably that in the usual context (things out of our control) that its very true and very good advice. But Jones challenged Henry to view that statement in a different way. Not to negate the meaning of it the way we have always heard it, but to see it in a different light, from a different perspective. We should sweat the small stuff when it comes to the actions we choose to take, that affect others, that affect how they see us, things we are in control of at least in the sense of having that choice.
The choice to make dinner for that sick person at church, or down the street
The choice to offer to run an errand for a friend that is overwhelmed
The choice to take a couple bucks and give it to the person in front of you in line at the store because they’re a little short
The choice to court your spouse like you did before you were married
The choice to ask that friend out for coffee that you haven’t spent time with lately – or that new friend that needs to feel included
The choice to stop, smile and say hello to that person at the table next to you at Panera who looks like they could definitely use someone just to acknowledge they are alive
The choice to sweat the small stuff that you can do or not do that really matter to everyone around you.
We all have a dream, the big picture if you will, of what we want our life to be, and how we want others to see us…. In “The Noticer” Jones said that in this case most of us don’t get that the big picture we envision will be entirely composed of the small stuff – that the big picture will never be a masterpiece if we ignore all the purposeful tiny brush strokes… and a lot of those have been painted into our big picture by others right?
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
The truly amazing thing is that when we do in this context “sweat the small stuff” we not only change our own big picture but we can actually get to be one of the beautiful tiny brushstrokes in someone else’s masterpiece!


Thursday, June 25, 2009


To really live, fully live and feel alive, we have to find our passion... we have to use our gifts to serve. And we all come equipped for at least one thing that is THE thing that will pull and draw us to finally selflessly serve & give to others and will simultaneously draw us closer to Christ. By the way, serving is simply doing what He has already made you good at to make someone else’s life better!
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
Sometimes the way we become aware of that gift comes quite unexpectedly. It may not be what you ever even knew you had a heart and burden for, or ever considered that you would be good at... sometimes it’s revealed because we decided to step outside our comfort zone one day, we go along with our family or small group to join others at a homeless shelter, or decide to adopt a single mom and her family at the holidays, or we pitch hit for a friend who is sick and can’t pull her Mobile Meals route one day, and WHAM - your heart becomes both broken for what you see the needs are around you and at the same time it is joyful and you somehow feel more excited and fulfilled than you have in years – if ever before!
Identifying what your gifts are can be gained from close introspection of yourself, how you react to certain situations, by taking a spiritual gifts assessment (of which there are plenty online, and in most churches), sometimes God simply reveals it to you with a resounding clarity during a mission trip, walking through a difficult season of life with a friend , any number of experiences where you spend selfless time... God will use that time to hone your gifts and reveal them to you and to others.

And no, you aren’t the exception, a person with no visible gifts, you were not left out, EVERYONE has been gifted with talents. If we are made in His image we contain His love, compassion, and concern… He would not command us to do His work without giving us what we need to do it!


Discover them:
1. Take a gifts test to determine how God has gifted you. They are easy to search on the internet or your home church may already have one. Also ask yourself what gives you life? What makes you happy to do? What are you good at? What do your friends think you are especially good at?
2. Make a list of your top two or three spiritual gifts you score the highest on. What ways do you already use those gifts? Look for ways you can serve God and others that highlight these strengths. Think about the things that cause you concern in your world.
4. If there are things you’re currently committed to and perhaps not gifted in, you may need to cut back a little so you can make time to really use your gifts. If you are doing something just because, truly begin seeking that new passion – it may be right under your nose!

1 Corinthians 12:4 (New Living Translation)
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.
Romans 11:29 (New Living Translation)
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.

Whatever you do seek and use your gifts. Think about it this way - if you gave a gift to someone that you really thought so long and hard over, that you went through the trouble matched up a gift for someone with everything you knew about their likes, their dislikes, their personality, what you thought would benefit them the most, and they never used it, no doubt you’d be disappointed . . . How much more so must God, who uniquely created and gifted each one of us, eagerly desire to see us use our gifts!? He’s passionate for you, be passionate for funding the purpose He created you for!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How Deep Are We Digging our Ditches?

In 2nd Kings Chapter 3 the three kings join forces to come together to fight Moab. They found they were in need of help in the desert with nothing to sustain them or give them the edge they need to fulfil the mission they had been given. Elisha gives them a word from God... to dig ditches.
Dig ditches. In the desert.
Now, without any rain or clouds in sight the three kings and those they served with in battle obeyed and dug the ditches. They awoke to ditches filled to the brim! This is a passage I never thought about much until my pastor shared it at the prayer walk we did at our churches new property recently (I shared that prayer walk in my last blog entry).
What I have been meditating on is how my pastor used it that day. I have been thinking about the fact that they received the abundant blessing they needed and more because of two things.
They dug when they were told to dig, and that they dug deep - they went all in.
In the dry, arid, desert earth, they dug them deep.
It's not the easiest thing to do, to dig when its dry, in the heat, the sand flying in your mouth and eyes blinding you to everything that is ahead, in a barren landscape, when you can't see the outcome in front of you... but dig they did.
Sometimes we are seemingly asked to do things that don't make sense, so we only do them halfway maybe. Sometimes we we are asked to do things that make perfect sense, the next logical step in the process if you will. But we still only do them half heartily because we expect the next logical reaction to the step we take. We're not expecting miracles.
Our Pastor made this comment - that most of the time we don't dig our ditches as if we are expecting enough, so we never receive the total blessing intended.
What could happen if we just give God bigger reservoirs to fill?
What if we really believed He is bigger than our minds can comprehend?
What if we honestly knew in our heart of hearts that He does love us, wants the best for us, wants to give us all we need and more?
What if we truly believed that as long as we seek Him and the desires HE has for us in the center of His will, that He is waiting to bless us and those we serve in amazing ways?

Then our ditches would aways be deep and ready to receive what He is ready to give!

Each day I want to be ready, really ready to change the world. I don't know where all the ditches should be dug. I will have to depend on God to reveal that to me. And our ditches will be in different places, in different shapes, at different times, for different reasons. But one place I do know we should ALL be digging is in people, in our relationships with one another.
We should be preparing to have God pour out His mercy and grace in abundance, to anxiously be looking for glimpses of Him working in the lives of others BECAUSE we are digging into their lives ourselves... because we are about the business of helping one another open our hearts, minds, ears and eyes to receive the love, hope, joy, and blessings from Christ.
Think about how dry, parched, cracked, and thirsty the lands some people are treading through right now around you. They need to be filled so desperately with what only He can give them.
And sometimes we find ourselves in a dry land in a dry season. The digging becomes even harder then. All the focus is on the need and the pain. We have to really throw our backs into it then and dig harder.
But remember, the ditches we dig He will fill. And the deeper we dig them the bigger the blessing!
Then we can see His glory - we see Him revealed - and we realize it was never about us. It is always about others, about Him, about how we all can be filled so the excess pours out into the ditches of others in need.
Grab a spade, a shovel, a spoon, a bulldozer - whatever you need to begin with to get started, and see the ditches filled and overflowing with Him!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


There are many types of way to walk with God... but literally walking along side of Him is always awesome!
Last Sunday afternoon some members of my church met on our new property to worship, and prayerwalk the property as we look to break ground in the next few days. It was hot. Humid. Kind of a stagnant feeling in the air - not to mention that we had to come through the neighboring cemetery since the property has no official entrance yet... all together not the most inspirational start some might say - one of those "some" being me at that time :)
We gathered at the parameter as folks were arriving. Chatting, joking, making fun of Alex. We had all been asked to bring shovels, trowels, hoes, etc as we would break the ground first together ourselves. Alex brought a sickle. Yes, a sickle. He stood there holding a huge sickle at the edge of a cemetery looking like a young tall sun glass wearing Grim Reaper - it was hilarious.
Our pastors daughter, Erin, brought a shovel head. Just the head - no handle attached. Also hilarious and worthy of a few jokes at her expense.
We then walked to the highest point of the property as a few members of our praise team lead some acoustic worship songs. Again - it was sunny, hot, and humid. Pastor Scott then began to speak, to share how we got to this point, shared some scripture. As he spoke I felt just a slight change in the air - just a quick wisp of wind. He shared something unexpected for the occasion (seemingly so at first anyway, more on that in another entry later), so my attention began to shift a little. You know, when something just a tad out of the norm happens, you pay a little more attention.
We spread out, broke ground, placed some of the dirt in vials we could take home to pray over on our own and met again on the slight hill.
I looked around as we all came together again. A few goose bumps on my arms rose up.
David and the guitars began again. This time it felt a little different.
God, are you here I asked quietly inside? Are you purposefully here with us?
David and the guys began another song, "How Great Is Our God".
I heard something and looked up. The wind appeared in the tops of the tallest trees closest to us, began to blow to the point of hearing it overhead, above the voices singing. God immediately brought to my heart and mind "My Father takes great delight in me and quiets me with His love and rejoices over me with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
Was He singing with me? With us?
As I opened my heart to Him more in that moment, to what He wanted to say to me, that verse and others began to flood over me... He sings over me, He dances over me, His angels are all around me! But not like in that worship song we sing at church sometimes - not this time, because I COULD hear the sound!
As I closed my eyes and raised my voice and my heart to Him the winds increased in the trees, the sound became louder and the winds dropped down lower where I could feel the air meet the perspiration on my skin, on my face and arms and neck.
So sweet was that moment - He's here!
The temperature around us dropped just slightly. Pastor Scott finished by asking us to break up as individuals, couples, groups, however we wished and we were going t saturate and cover the property and pray.
As I took my husband Todd's hand and walked to one side, I asked in my heart "God, will you walk with me a little while, let me hear you just a little longer?"
It was incredible... as we quietly walked praying silently the wind moved over to the side of the property we were on and began to move through the trees next to us! It literally followed us as we walked - blowing through the trees and underbrush and over our parched skin like a cool mist almost... twice we stopped next to the tree line looking out through the dogwoods and red buds on the far edge and it seemed to hover exactly where we were as if waiting in us! I can't speak to what Todd was sharing in that moment with our God - He was having his own in is own personal conversation - but my heart was absolutely bursting in that most precious exchange between me and my Lord!
He told me how much He loved me, desired to be with me, how He wished I knew just how precious I was, and I shared with Him my desire to be with Him more, my prayer not just that our church, but that I myself, would be a city on a hill for Him! The most amazing part about the whole thing? He rejoiced in that encounter with me!
The rest of our time and conversation together I will cherish in my heart - but friends, what a exquisite time I had with Him as we walked and talked.
That's really what He desires - just to simply be alone with us, to talk, share a personal, intimate, and special time that is ours alone.
You know, we spend our lives desperately craving and wanting others on this earth to share that type of relationship with - how is it that we forget so easily that we are created in His image? Why don't we once and for all get the fact that He made us that way because He designed us to have that relationship first with Him? The creator of the universe craves the chance just to tell you how much He loves you! So walk with Him, talk with Him, listen to what He wants to say - there will never be a sweeter voice tell you how much you are loved!

Monday, April 27, 2009

More on Esther and Freedom...

Yes Dear Ones - my heart and soul overflows with what God has done this past weekend!

The book of Esther is a small book, but it is packed full of the goodness of God, the sovereignty… and Esther willingly gave of herself that God could use her to accomplish His will.
Mordecai sent a question to Esther: What is you have been placed here, now, just for such a time as this?”
He knew her answer just as God knows what ours can be - He created us!!!
Sometimes when faced with decisions and scenarios life throws at us our reaction is to look out for ourselves, play it safe, stay silent, just be what others say we are, and to because to take action to change our circumstance means to be outside of what we deem as comfortable, safe, even normal
Then Esther reply was… “If I must die, I am willing.” Esther 4:13-16
What I hope this weekend will be is the beginning of us all learn individually that God knows our character so well that He allows those things in our life to not hold us in bondage but because He knows we have what is takes to handle that thing in such a way that it glorifies Him! If we only trust Him and realize obedience is FREEDOM! What God wants for us right now, in this moment of our lives, to trust him for the truth about ourselves… to begin to hear His voice and what He has to say right now in this moment, and to trust Him to work it all out for our good – that is what the beginning of real Freedom is!
Thank goodness He knows absolutely everything, the outcomes, what’s best for us, - that’s why we can trust Him to have control.
Remember – Esther’s reply was among other things… : “ If I must die, I am willing to die.” Esther 4:13-16
That also means that we always have to decrease, die to our own desires, our own issues - wants, self induced needs….. and we become no less important to Him, even to the world, but we DO become less selfish, less hands on, less prideful, less all about us and more about Him and others so He will be glorified – MORE OBEDIENT TO FREEDOM!
What my prayer is for after Esther is that we all truly learn to hear how precious we are, how wonderfully and fearfully made we are, how worthy, how strong we are and then realize that He is bigger, He is more, He is perfection, He is sovereign, He is worthy of all we have and all we have is straight from Him, that we have been given the freedom to be all He is calling us to be… to realize that its by holding onto the chains with our own hands that we hold ourselves captive, and that NOW is the time to finally be free! LET GO AND RUN IN FREEDOM!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Called to Be Free

There is soooooo much I want to share with you about my time at The Esther Experience! But to do would mean I may ruin it for you if you have never been before, and I want you to go to the next one, so I can't share all I would like...
I will tell you that God met me there in a ways I did not expect. And one way that maybe in the back of my mind I may have anticipated - anticipated because I already knew what I needed to do to address an area of my life that was not as it should be, and I knew in my heart He had been guiding me to so something about it... but as usual I had been in some sort of state of denial where I keep telling Him, "OK - if you really want me to do that then show me a sign". You know what I'm talking about, when you just keep asking for signs even though He has already all but put a giant alarm blaring neon lit up sign in your face that is 20 feet tall?! He had lovingly and gently been gently trying to lead me to the result He wanted. And me? Of course I kept adding one more need of confirmation after another until this weekend at The Esther Experience He just said "OK Girl - you asked for it" and He shouted it so loudly at me that I could not deny it any longer! But He so shouted it with love and an intense passion for me to be free from what was binding me!
The result? It meant I had an extremely difficult thing to reveal to my sweet husband, the man I call my best friend, but the man that I was keeping something from.
Here's a question - why do we always assume the ones that have loved us so unconditionally will react differently than they ever have when we come to them broken and needing them? I knew that my precious husband would love me through it all but I guess the desire to not disappoint him and left me feeling such trepidation at the thought of it all.
As always my God went before me and all I had to do was follow in obedience. As I went to bed that night safe and secure in my husbands love and acceptance I realized that even if he had reacted differently at first that I would have joy - joy in that I had been faithful to follow the leading of the Faithful One who has never failed me. No matter what happens, when we follow His leading we can always rest assured He has a bigger plan that we get to now be a part of! My relief was I think even more in the fact that I finally did what My Lord had asked me to do than even in my husbands holding me and telling me it was ok... such a wonderful blessing in them both though friends I must say.
That my dears is what it feels like to be free... we are called to be free, live free, love free, follow Him freely - true freedom is when we respond faithfully in obedience to God's leading because we finally trust He has our best interest at heart and we no longer have to question it... FREEDOM!!!! So let the chips fall where they may - the lover of our soul is calling!!!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let's Have An Alabaster Easter!

My pastor Scott Cagle for the last few weeks has been walking us up to the cross at Northstar Church. Last week he shared the story and his thoughts on Mary and her Alabaster Box. It fascinated me - for lots of reasons, and a few I had not considered before were brought to mind as I sat there listening and even in the days since.

The "incident" happened before Passover in Simons House. (By the way, Christ would have dined there even if He hadn't already healed Simon. He would have walked right in and blessed Simon and shared his table - just like my Lord...
There were several people there eating together, some of which were Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Simon, the Disciples of course, maybe even more.

My Pastor shared with us that each time this Mary is mentioned in the bible that she was at the feet of Jesus - what a wonderful place to be found!
· She sat at His feet and listened to the Word in Luke when Martha was aggravated with her because she was not helping cook and clean and do the busy work of the day.
She knew the worship of listening to His voice and Reading the Word was more important

· She dropped to the feet of Jesus after the death of Lazarus in John. Not so much in sorrow that her brother was dead but in worship of the one before whom she knelt because she understood the life giving power He held and was overwhelmed - they were tears of worship of the Christ, the Messiah, the Miracle Worker

· She also was at His feet as she broke her alabaster container of the most expensive anointing oil that could be purchased at that time - a years salary worth in fact... how long she must have saved for this.

And this particular perfumed oil was usually reserved for a wedding bride, or to show honor of a loved one in death.

I have never truly considered this was for both of those reasons!
* Mary broke open this precious gift and proclaimed herself bound to the groom before her for eternity, as His bride, all as the disciples chastised her for "wasting" what could have fed the poor - they didn't consider the fact that here Mary was pouring out her personal worship on the one who IS the Bread of Life!
* Mary also broke open this gift over the One who would soon give up His life for all of them, for all of us, when He would die on the cross... she poured her personal worship out as the first one to anoint His body BEFORE He even died.
That's why you don't find this close personal friend of Christ at the cross with the others when He was taken down - she had already honored Him!

And here's another thought that hit me like a ton of bricks - when Mary dried His feet with her hair and she left that room, she left that home that night being the only one who shared such a personal experience with him - one like no other would! She even smelled like Jesus! Oh my goodness, to have such a unique soul and heart meshing experience with the Son of God!

She found all she ever needed at His feet - blessings, burdens cast off, and beauty of a binding relationship with her King... all because she worshipped Him sacrificially and freely each time she encountered Him!

Mary wasn't rich. That anointing oil and perfumed spice was worth a years salary. It was a commodity that was expensive. Alabaster itself was the most expensive container you could buy. Once the box was opened, the oils had to be used immediately because they would begin to break down right away - lose their scent, their properties that made them extravagant. The stone container could only be used by destroying it.
Sound familiar? Like a broken body hanging on the cross spilling out the precious contents from inside?
It was all or nothing.

The gift - the one thing she had of value was all that would do. Like God's gift this Easter season over 2,000 years ago. It was all or nothing, only the most precious part of Himself would do to save His most precious creation.

Extravagantly lived out, freely flowing, sacrificial worship - we owe Him nothing less this Easter and every day after...
I want to break open my alabastor box of worship for Him! I want to have a heart and soul meshing experience every time I encounter Him!

Happy Easter

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ok - I'm reading the Chick Chat Book of the Month "Boundaries"... its rockin' my world people... a kick in the pants to not only set mine more firmly with a particular relationship in my life but helping that person learn theirs in the process of setting mine in a blessing for them whether they know it at first or if ever.
My responsibility isn't for them but to them... and to myself. I need to love myself as much as I love them, and love them enough to not enable their behavior any longer. Wow God - you are just lovin' me right on through this aren't you? Thank you for revealing what I needed to know in my heart through this book and through your Word! It will be hard, but you are beautiful and my eyes will be on you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where Patience and Contentment Meet

Patience – a hard trait to acquire, I just don’t ever pray for it – learned that lesson back in the day!
But I’m gaining ground on it little by little because it’s obviously something God knows I need more of but is gently teaching me in small increments fortunately… I think that’s why when my pastor mentioned a certain scripture in church a few weeks back it caught me so off guard – you know, you read something a million times then boom – all o the sudden it’s like you just learned to read a foreign language!
It was this: Luke 3:23 “Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry”
This was a picture of utter patience - even beyond Abraham waiting to have sons, beyond Job enduring the things he did, beyond me trying to lose weight and get healthier, beyond a young woman I know who tried for years to have a child, beyond a man I know who is waiting for his wife to decide she will come home and be a mom to their kids again and seek help to mend their marriage, beyond the woman whose waited so long to be able to find a job she has a passion for…
Here is Christ – who gave up everything – do you understand it was EVERYTHING? We’ve heard that before right? As we begin this 2009 and are maybe waiting for something to happen that we want so badly and are just so anxious for in our lives and that we want so much, think about this.
Here was God, get that, God in flesh, here on this earth that WE made a mess of, came in a world where He literally had t experience pain, hunger, being cold, dirty, lonely, scared, and then think about this...
Now this is where patience and contentment began to come together for me like ever before. I began to really, REALLY see, you CAN’T have one without the other.
How early did Jesus begin realizing he was special, different, how soon did he have the comprehensible relationship with the Father that He knew what was to become for us, when he was 12 years old in the temple teaching the sacred scriptures, when he was working in that carpenters shop learning his earthly fathers trade, think for just a minute if that is you and you know – you know your purpose, your ministry, your destiny! When you know that you and the Father are one and that you are going to change the face of humanity forever even if you don’t yet understand how, or maybe you do! You know what God has sent you for! That there are those in need around you that need to hear what you have to say, that there are people dying every day that need what you have to offer. But you are silent. You are patiently waiting on your heavenly Fathers leading.
As I began to think about this at church that Sunday I missed the rest of the service lost in my own thoughts but that’s totally cool because God was speaking to me you know?! As I thought about all this I was amazed at His patience! But then the word contentment began creeping into my thought too. The Messiah was content in that.

The Bible tells us he worked as a carpenter and in his life growing up that he was loved by everyone who knew him. See, He was content… He didn’t walk around anxious, irritated things weren’t happening quicker, in a bad mood, wishing he could hurry and get started, day dreaming about things he didn’t have or questioning constantly why he couldn’t begin now, second guessing what God was doing because he knew he was born to do something great…
I think when Luke 2:52 says “And Jesus grew in wisdom and standing, and was loved by God and man”, that it’s a picture of contentment and that he trusted God so he found his opportunities to serve wherever he was – working in that carpenters shop, in his daily chores at home, at the temple, being a good son, and friend to those around him, letting his actions and his life draw a circle of love around the community he lived in. Surely if He could await Gods timing and gifts knowing it meant the world, the WHOLE WORLD, then we can too.
So as we begin 2009 with the goals and desires we have, lets first make sure it’s in line with what God wants for us, that we are leaning on His wisdom and timing for it all. But also that we don’t sit in a stagnant state waiting until He moves us somewhere else. Serve how you can where you can – that’s what Christ did. Sometimes it’s as if we are waiting for the door that we want to walk through to suddenly sprout legs and come to us – if we’re out there engaged in our world then the doors we come across may swing wide open as we touch them! He never has us somewhere we CAN”T be effective or make a difference or that He hasn’t given us the talents and gifts to be used in that place.
Don’t compare yourself to others – look at the ultimate example of patience and contentment. Christ waited 30 years to begin. But yet He didn’t either – in the sense that he took opportunities where he found them to begin preparing for the coming purpose. And He gained in his relationship with God with each one
Be grateful what He has given you for this time, and this place even if you’re in a struggle – He gives you strength anew each day and simply pray for God’s eyes to how you can give and live outside of yourself… sometimes that inner voice needs your mind to be in a different place than where you usually dwell so you will hear what it clearly says.
Make time to be quiet with Him too – know Him, learn His desires for you. Be content that your are on a constant journey – and the journey itself is where you gain most of what you need for when the door finally opens – it’s all a part of the bigger plan. Be patient with knowing He is at work in you making you into what He designed you to be.