Thursday, November 29, 2012

O Little Town of Bethlehem...

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." ~ Micah 5:2

I love this prophecy from Micah regarding the birth of Christ... and that the name Bethlehem means "house of bread", and Ephrathah means "fruitfulness, life"

Now look at Christ's response in John 6:35 in this light... 'And Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'

From Bethlehem the One who brings eternal life had come... "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight"

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas with the Angels

I was thinking today about how even though there are a few more days in November, its never too early to talk about that wonderful night over 2000 years ago - so I dug back in the archives and found this... Be blessed friends :)

As the most beautiful of heavenly creations, the angels played a part in the whole nativity story (foretelling Zechariah and Elizabeth to be the parents of John the Baptist, a few months later appearing to Mary with the news that she too was going to have a son, appearing to Joseph as well telling him of Mary’s pregnancy and reassuring him that it was all part of God’s plan, and then appearing to the shepherds, of course, announcing the Savior’s birth).

But have you thought about the fact that they were actually there at the birth of Christ? The point where heaven and earth actually met and collided?
These angels were created by Christ, they were with Him in His heavenly realm and glory, saw what he was giving up… imagine knowing this God who gave you life, created you to be the bearers of His news throughout creation… now He was giving it all up to go down THERE?!

As his cherubim and seraphim must they have thought that this was absolute madness? Would they have wondered at the sense of the plan? Ever since they had been brought into existence they had watched Him create - the earth, the universe, witnessed Him spinning the cosmos, creating us with such care and love, now they were to witness Him setting aside His glory, His heavenly home, His heavenly robe to put on a flesh robe, a very costly robe, a plan that would end in His pain and death…

When God decreed that He was putting on this flesh – coming as baby no less – needing diapers changed, needing food, being cold, hungry, alone in their eyes because they as His heavenly host, His army if you will, would not be staying with Him in quite the same way as they had before...
And the fact that He would arrive in a dirty stall or cave where animals lay and ate… that gold and frankincense and myrrh could not compare to all the riches
He would be leaving - what must they have thought of this sacrifice?
It would be easy just to say that they would think it crazy – and that may be true – but I think that when they were told of the plan, the cost, the sacrifice, they then must have realized just how precious we were to Him and how immense the sacrifice would be and that they were more than proud, more than humbled, more than blown away by the fact that they would play such a integral part of that night.
Of all the figures and beings hovering and kneeling around the stable at the first Christmas, only the angels knew just how much that Christmas really cost. Not in dollars and cents, of course, but in sacrifice and love. It cost Him everything.

They must have watched the event unfolding with wonder and love for their King… that He would leave their undying worship and love of Him to be with us. I think they thought how much more blessed we were to be receiving such a love, and how their hearts were breaking at the thought of the journey and where it would take Him.

I think those heavenly beings may have even bordered on jealousy for a moment – in my finite mind I can hardly comprehend them not being envious as they looked at the love Mary had for Jesus, the awestruck wonder of the shepherds, heard the earth whisper and rumbled on a deep level that only their ears and hearts could hear... and that the most important event in history was beginning right then and there before their eyes – and it was all for us… not them, but for us… and they realized we would have the choice to love Him and know Him in a way they never could.

Maybe this Christmas when we look at the birth of Christ through the eyes of the angels we can begin to truly see the sacrifice made only for us, and worship Him in a way only we can.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for each of you, for my family, and for the gift of Hope in Christ - and am praying for a day filled with worship for us all!

Psalm 100 "A psalm for giving grateful praise."

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his peop...
le, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Friday!

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want... That is what love looks like."
~ Augustine
Be ready to be used today - need comes in many shapes and forms... eyes open on this Friday to see what He sees so we can love like Jesus :)

Joyful on the Journey

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Its Time to Rewrite the Story...

There isn't much else to add or to say when a story like the one below is told so clearly...

If there is someone you are struggling with harboring bitterness and unforgiveness towards, and even if that person you haven't forgiven is yourself - grab some kleenex, find a quiet place to spend the next 10 minutes, and take a deep breath.

First, listen to Renee's story

Matthew West - Forgiveness: Mother Forgives Drunk Driver Who Killed Her Daughter from matthew-west on GodTube.

Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Now listen to the song that all this inspired...
Matthew West - Forgiveness (Official Lyric Video) from matthew-west on GodTube.

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

God calls us, implores us, through the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ that was freely offered, to forgive as we have been forgiven... are you ready to offer freedom to someone else? To yourself?

It's hard. It means giving over the control you have tried to keep, the power you tried to wield over the circumstance to feel like you had a footing to stand on. But it's done nothing but make YOU a prisoner of it all. And friend, the footing is ever shifting and not on THE ROCK - that's why you still feel so OUT of control all the time. The circumstance is controlling YOU.

I have had to be forgiven of a lot. I have had to forgive others of a lot. It feels good to let it all go!

Are you ready to begin to live freely again? Or maybe even for the first time? Your story is a part of God's story - its time for a different ending that will bring HIM honor.

Take another deep breath - Remember God loves you and so do I. Say the words, open your hands, make the call, write a letter, say it out loud to your Redeemer... GO AND WRITE A NEW STORY!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time for a re-post...

Something was said by someone today that brought to mind this earlier post from last year. So I went back through the archives, found it, and I pray it speaks to your heart either again or for the first time...

A Refinement by Any Other Name

In the refining we are cleansed, we are polished, and we are changed...
Zechariah 13:9 I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’

I am always so thankful and encouraged by how in every season God has placed a few people in my life that are consistantly on a parallel path with me. Yesterday I was chatting with one of them, catching up on life, ministry, a lot of things. And we ended up talking about some similar refinement going on right now and about why we so often only think of a 'refining' as a time of suffering, of pain, a trial, of great change that we in the flesh will see as a dark time. Those are things God does use to grow us and stretch us for sure and how we relate to His suffering.
James1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

But I know that my own refinement also comes from seeking with purpose to fully experience God's Holy Spirit. I DON'T want to wait on the trials or valleys to bring me closer to Him. I know those are a part of what will come when its the perfect time for deep profound life altering truth and change. But I want to run after Him before those come and offer more up of me for DAILY refinement, all the while looking for the lead of love His Holy Spirit offers to draw me closer to who He is and what He wants to do. There is soooo much to be said for the sweeping romance of Him speaking through every relationship, every twist and turn my feet and car take me along, at every store I frequent, every conversation I have, and in every moment He has created :)

I loved the fact that recently my pastor posed the following question when he did: He said "I have asked the question 'How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?' I now believe that the real question should be 'How much of me does the Holy Spirit have?' "
What I sense from God in my life right now is that I MUST seek to give more of myself over in every way DAILY because He has something special in store for me DAILY and I need to be able to see, hear, feel, sense Him at every turn to receive it!

Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.."
Fearless living - that is abundance!

But the biggest thing I am understanding about this? Is that the refining that leads to that life of abundance, the guidance, the wisdom, the right choices, and the change in me He desires, truly does hinge on how in tune I am to His Holy Spirit so I can receive what HE DEEMS as the abundance uniquely planned for me inside of each day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Answer is Coming

1 Thessalonians. 5:24 "The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."

Don't mistake time passing for not getting an answer. His answer is coming. HE is coming. Don't we want what will best benefit our life? And if our very lives ripple out and affect others each day - and we know that they do - then so must our long sought after answers. Our God is working out each and every detail so that many are affected by your answered prayer - so that many see His glory - and so that the many touched by your life's ripples benefit from it as well.
Begin right now praising Him and thanking Him in advance for what He is doing!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prayer of Thanks

"My Monday is not a rush from beginning to end, no thrills that some would say are things I need to feel alive.
My tomorrow will be busy in itself and there is much to accomplish, so today I slow down and see what you have made for me to enjoy.
Mmmmm - the smell of a chicken casserole cooking in the oven. My headache gone. A couple of sore muscles that are treasured reminders of a horseback ride with old and new friends. A cool breeze gently blowing thru my lovely sheer cafe' curtains made with love by my friend Sharon. A beautiful walk by the water this morning with my friend Claudia. A time to study your word tonight with lovely ladies at church. My later return home to my sweet Hubs.
My heart hurt that you are tending to, and working in and around, I so I feel you there as well today - gently loving me through it and giving me sweet words of both comfort and wisdom.
I am blessed - just so simply and so sweetly blessed.
I count it ALL joy because each thing shows me your favor and your love.
For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
You mean then and now, Lord - past and present, Father - ALL is favor, NOW is favor, the GOOD is favor, the HURT is favor, you ARE continually saving me - FAVOR!
Thank you God for the precious gift of this day and everything held within it.
Amen and Amen"

Joyful on the Journey

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Monday Morning Challenge

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

How about a challenge for us as we enter this Monday? Something we can sink our teeth into a little. Are we up to it? I think we are :)

The challenge is this: as we begin a new week in a world that is not our home, that we don't act so much as if it is. This week we will remember that our spouse that just doesn't seem to get us even after all this time isn't our enemy. Our stubborn child isn't. That friend that keeps asking for our advice and doing the exact opposite and driving us bananas isn't. The boss that we can't seem to find common ground with isn't. That person at church that maybe we just had another run in with that left us feeling on edge is not the enemy. The one that walks into where we work with a less than gracious attitude isn't.

Our real enemy, satan the liar, can get us so distracted with all his sneaky handiwork that we take back the reins we let go of before. We then find ourselves praying that God would just get a hold of them, change them, and remove 'the thorn' in our side. (Not that sometimes a person  can't be a thorn - a relationship certainly can. But either way this applies)

Let us make a pact with one another today: To not let the real enemy, that prowls around like a roaring lion seeking who he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8), to not let him control our emotions, and shape how we view the world around us.
This week, knowing full well we may fail miserably at moments (grace will fill those spaces), lets vow to pray for our response to those that are like fingernails on chalkboard. Let's pray and ask God to help us. To help us see them as God does. To remember our shortcomings (quite often don't we get angry with someone because we see ourselves, truth be told?), and that God loves us in spite of them and He asks us to reflect that behavior.
Let's decide that we will keep in mind over the next few days that their own journeys may be very very painful right now, and what we may be seeing are results of deep insecurity and hurt, or from whatever their empty spaces are longing for. And don't our own empty spaces make us behave horribly sometimes? Yes, yes they do.
Lets ask God to show us the planks in our own eyes that keep us frustrated - frustrated enough so much at times that we hone in like beacons on the things they do that we allow to make us crazy, sometimes even exaggerating those actions out of proportion.
And if we know this person, lets determine ourselves to find at least two things positive about them - and mean it. And here comes the biggie - lets find a way to share it with them.
I know, I know. But we can do it. I think its what we are called to do in His love.
The truth is that if we can't find those things we simply aren't looking hard enough... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" Genesis 1:27

We battle a realm we don't want to get drug down into. And that's what we do when we let our feelings and emotions beat us, and we begin listening to the goading and lies of the real enemy. We get drug down to satan's level.

I'm tired of looking around and suddenly finding myself there.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 

May God be glorified is us this week!

I would love to hear back about how this week goes for you :)

Joyful on the Journey

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Want To Be Sure of You

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."”

That's exactly how I feel some times. Some days I just want to be sure. Of those around me that I love, and of their love for me. I will awake with a need to know that they are really IN my life. I  sometimes need to be assured that they see me.

Some days, I feel this way about God too. My heart just needs reassurance He is there. I  will find myself with a desperate desire to know that He's ALL IN, that He is for me, that He loves me, and that He sees me.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you just want to place your hand in some ones and know that yes, you are here, and find comfort like Pooh and Piglet?

Write these verses that mean so much to me on your heart for those days that come...

You are the God who sees me. Genesis 16:13

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. Psalm 139:1

The LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. Psalm 33:18

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Psalm 139:18

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:4-5

Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:15-16

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21

Rest assured... He knows, He loves, He keeps, He sees!

Joyful on the Journey

Friday, September 7, 2012

September's Chick Chat Book Club Selection

The Chick Chat Book Club selection for Sept is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp! You can get it for 22% off from our sponsor - Knoxville LifeWay Christian Stores! (Join by "liking" the Club page on facebook and simply inbox me from that Club page that you want one)
"Just like us, Ann hungers to live her one life well. How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long---and sometimes even dark? How is God even here? In 'One Thousand Gifts', Ann invites us to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted ... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others."
Join us in this months adventure of seeing what God wants to say to us as we grow together!

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Am Crushed Under the Love!

I had a conversation with my friend Leslie on Sunday during one of the services we weren't either attending about a sacred echo in my life right now. Leslie has cancer. She has completed 10 of her 12 treatments so far. She has them every two weeks. So she has a really bad week and a good week. Over and over and over. We were talking about God's favor, His blessings, and His application of love in our lives in those disconcerting times (like cancer, loss of a job, a completely broken relationship with someone you love dearly, or ‘you insert your disconcerting time here’). You know, the times in our lives that don’t always leave us with the warm fuzzies at the moment... at first. And yes, on the surface (and sometimes even quite a a few layers down) these times suck! Can I say that? You’ll forgive me if I offend, but it’s a fact. It sucks.
But as we discussed and shared some things on Sunday morning, like Leslies days of feeling so sore and horrible from her treatments, she also shared a revelation she has come to - that she can now share her faith in such a bolder way than she ever could before and that she is thankful for all this!
Wait a minute, thankful for cancer? Yes, she is now thankful for this fight against the disease in her body. Because Leslie says she is realizing, like I am in my own hard journeys these last 18 months, that even while we're still in the midst of our hard places that’s when we can truly feel loved the most – and began to see and feel the warm fuzzies even before the hard place goes away!
Why? Because these cannot happen without the fact that the Potter is at work in us!

So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Jeremiah 18:3-4

And here’s the catch and the glory of it all... when the potter is breaking the vessel and beginning to rebuild it, and the wheel is turning, and the clay is being pulled, is being stretched, and is being shaped - HIS HANDS ARE ON THE CLAY!

So here is the echo I keep hearing and learning lately - The life more abundant that Christ came to give us sometimes means an abundant stretching, abundant growth, abundant discipline, and an abundant rescue that seems sometimes to take so long because the fact is that it's just not about us anymore - and it never was. True love ALWAYS builds up, makes us better. And His is an abundant rescuing love. It's about others. It's about Him.

So what I am learning even more now is it's about Him lovingly crushing Leslie, lovingly crushing me, lovingly crushing the one I am alienated from, lovingly crushing someone who is watching me walk this journey, and someone watching Leslie walk her journey – and its about Him lovingly crushing you and someone watching you walk yours. And the truth is that in either way or all the above it doesn’t matter, because it’s all about Him, His revealing, His renown, and that sweet abundant love that changes everything!!

Father, help remind me that in the hard places YOUR HAND is lovingly upon me. Even in the sweet crushing. Thank you for the grandeur of your love, a love so all consuming that you allow in my life not only what I sometimes need to change me into the person you created me to be, but that you also give me in it all the honor of knowing you desire to use me to show your faithfulness to others and in the end to show the world what YOU can do anything! Amen and Amen

If you, like me and Leslie, find yourself on the Potter’s wheel today, thank him for His Hand. For the crushing. Thank Him for His rescuing love that is already taking place – we will be beautiful!

Joyful on the Journey,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America - Home of Who?

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship.” ~ Patrick Henry

As much as we want to only wave the banner of the first part of this statement, the love compassion and freedom demonstrated in the second half IS the tangible way we can reach others with that gospel. I think we miss the mark in our enthusiasm, so we miss making the most of the opportunities for sharing His love the way He intends us to. The same Divine Love that saved me is for anyone, the same freedoms afforded me by living here in America is for everyone as well, as it was meant to be.

1 Peter 3:8 "To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;"

Ephesians 5:15-17  "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.


Acts 17:26-27 "From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us."


Joyful on the Journey

Monday, August 27, 2012

Echoes of "Unglued"

"Why is it the one thing I'm trying so hard to work on is the one thing I fail so miserably at as soon as I'm tested in it - as I'm literally reading the book?"
A friend asked me this question as we met over coffee the other day - we're both reading the book "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst  :)
She shared she felt really bad about her response to a situation. Then I recounted an almost word for word story of my own failure in less than 24 hours from hers.

"I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." Romans 7:15

We both felt we had failed miserably. The voice of our enemy clearly baiting our insecurities and minds.
That is until God reminded us of the fact that at least this time we had been convicted much more quickly about our reactions to our loved one. Thank you God, for some of what Lysa TerKeurst calls 'imperfect progress covered with perfect grace.

Tonight at our women's ministry leadership team meeting more talk of coming unglued arose - some different women, but similar stories. More echoes of God lessons in my life - His voice getting more urgent and more frequent.

"What a wretched person I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25

I'll take the grace, the imperfect progress, and I'll take my rescuer - Jesus keep pursing me! 

If you haven't picked up the Chick Chat Book Club selection "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst from Lifeway Stores then join the club now and message me there for your 22% off certificate today 

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stepping on the Cracks

I was home the other night, very tired but not sleepy, and caught a few minutes of a movie I had seen before but not in awhile. It asks a simple yet heart stopping  question that is made up of the title of the movie itself  –  “what if this is As Good as It Gets? “
Jack Nicholson is a hard edged slightly over middle aged man with sand paper issues out the ying yang. Helen Hunt is the waitress he finds that he has an affinity for and she can’t stand him – at first. It doesn’t take too long to figure out her issues are as numerous as his, and I’m thinking the tension between them can somewhat be attributed to the fact that he only reminds her of her own – besides the  fact he’s so in every way crudely direct, I think that’s what bothers her the most about him actually. J
Anywhoo, one of the things that is most visually obvious things about Melvin (Jack’s character) throughout the movie is the obsessive need he has to not step on cracks of any kind – random cracks in the sidewalk or any pavement, the perpendicular grout lines formed by tile or pavers, or even parallel lines formed where one flooring type meets another – basically he avoids any inconsistency in where and how he moves or where places his feet as he makes his way through the day.
Hmmmm… Sound familiar to anyone? Maybe it’s just me.
I have found myself resistant to change. I have been fearful of things that change the direction or course of the path I am comfortable with. I have become paranoid about making missteps that could cause me to stumble or fail. So much at times that I kept my head down and focused on making sure I kept things within my control (HA!!!!). I have done it to the point that, like Melvin, I became obsessed with it in such a way that at the very least I have wasted time not seeing what would enhance my life and relationships until it was almost too late. And at the very worst I have missed opportunities God has for me to do great things, to become a better person, maybe find a relationship that could change my life, and to know Him with a faith and trust in Him in a way I never could otherwise.

So often I have kept my head down so I won’t step on a crack. So I won’t look like a fool. So I won’t stumble and fall. I don’t want to mess up and cause anyone any trouble. I definitely don’t want to bring any attention to my shortcoming, heavens no. And I sure don’t want to embarrass myself or my family.

What I am saying really, is that I’m not willing to let the plans God has for me begin to fulfill His desire to bless me.

We all quote “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
But what about verse 10?  “This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised you, and I will bring you home again.
There was definitely a stumbling to get to those plans, a direction that may not have been the best. But God will bless. Even in failure He redirects and brings us back to Himself.
And what a promise here to stand on in verses 12 thru 14 – “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
So doesn’t it ring even more true that in good, bad, leaps of faith that result in immediate success or a failing forward, that can know that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28…  It does say everything.
And lets back up to the less quoted  verse before as well  “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  Romans 8:27.
Even if we step outside the lines of what may have become our own self created path we obsess with adhering to, and even if we mess it all up, we can be assured HE knows our intentions to bring Him glory and do good in His name – AND OUR GOD WILL ALWAYS REDEEM!

Proverbs 16:9 says that “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”

What if the detour I am afraid of really is His perfect for me? Where I will grow the most?
“Every place where you set your foot will be yours…” Deut. 11:24a

Father help step on some cracks today J

Joyful on the Journey

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drawing Circles in the Sand

Before I get to far into reading the new selection for the Chick Chat Book Club for August (Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst) I wanted to touch on last month’s challenging book – “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson – and encourage you to read it if you haven’t yet. 

“The Circle Maker” begins with the story of Honi, a religious sage in first century BC. Honi was a man who was known by the folks in the village where he lived to have a special and close relationship with God, a knowledge they themselves didn’t really grasp. He had “made” it rain before, and now after a year of drought they were seeking Honi’s help again.
They needed LOTS of rain.
So Honi stood up in front of that village and literally drew a circle in the sand and out loud promised God that “I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children.” It wasn’t a challenge to God, it was a vow of faith to stand on a promise of his God to take care of them. He turned several times with his staff making that circle over and over, then inside that circle he stayed.
And it soon began to rain.
The thing is, Honi didn’t know how long it would take. It didn’t matter. He believed God would come to his aid. He knew that He would. Honi knew God well enough to trust He would. Honi wanted others to have that faith too.
The book is full of great stories from modern day ‘circle makers’ Mark Batterson has met, and also his own accounts of drawing and walking circles (think battle of Jericho) are inspiring and challenging. Stories of the miraculous kind – of people drawing circles around some things that others would have long given up on, or maybe not even dared dreamed at all. These made me take a long look at my own dreams, the lack there of in some cases, complacency, procrastination, lack of faith, and weariness I had allowed to set in regarding some things.
I was convicted in my prayer life and fasting. I’m considering the intensity with which I seek Gods answers. And the specificity of my prayers – how often do I actually think completely through what I’m praying for and not give Him a somewhat vague request because I have prayed for it so many times before.
Do I want God to vaguely answer my prayers??
One of the quotes from the book that truly was an eye opener for me was "Our prayers are prophecies, and God Almighty seals them until their designated time."  What if the Israelites had only marched around Jericho six times instead of seven because they got tired and gave up? Imagine being one march away/one prayer away from that audacious answer coming to fruition but you quit just shy of it all – aauurrgghh!!!
So, that’s where you'll find me now, drawing circles. I am standing in two already.  Around someone I love dearly, and a dream I have that I think God has placed in my heart. Things I NEED HIM for. I hope I have what it takes. I know I do because the promises have already been made. The flesh is so weak sometimes though. I am praying for endurance too.
I encourage you to read “The Circle Maker” if you haven’t already – it will change the way you pray, when you pray, how long you pray - both at each time you pray, and sometimes over a long season that may in some cases be years… but if it’s important enough to ask God for, isn’t it important enough to keep praying about it until He answers? To find the promise in it and stand on it? How long are we willing to stand, to pray, if it will show the world that He is a God who loves keeping His promises?!

Joyful on the Journey

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Sacrifice of Praise

Have you ever longed for something only to find yourself filled with dread as it grew near?
It's been a crazy busy few weeks with the health of my mom, the latest is her battle with pneumonia - which at the age of 83 can be a scary thing for sure - and I have been spread pretty thin with some necessary tasks.
So as it got closer to this weekend, one that I have waited for so anxiously, I realized there was some uneasiness also creeping in - not as much relief as I anticipated there would be.
Beth Moore LIVE in my hometown of Knoxville TN! Since first learning of the possibility this might happen I have been so pumped!
Maybe you know what I mean? You look forward to something you know will be so good and life impacting, but as it draws close you begin to have a sense of almost discomfort that you don't understand.
This is how I have felt as these two days have approached.
Why have I been feeling this dread just under the skin these last two weeks? Why would something that I know will be such a blessing cause me to begin to experience feelings of apprehension?
As I've considered and prayed about this, it came to me. Some of it is that I am tired. Plain and simple. And we all know that when we aren't rested adequately it affects our thoughts, mood, and well everything.
But as a sense of almost foreboding began to materialize, and some conversations took place with some good friends this week, I finally recognized it for what it was. In that state of fatigue I was allowing the enemy  to talk to me. I was giving voice to him.
As the day grew ever near to where I would find myself in an arena with thousands upon thousands of other women and girls lifting up the name of Jesus, the enemy has been quietly telling me I would be taking all the unanswered prayers with me. Satan was whispering that as I would sit there with my bible open so Beth Moore could led us through the Word that it would be with the weight of the things that are on my heart and mind of concern.  And girls, that's its own big old state of weariness!
He was attacking me.Trying to get me to not be focused, not be ready to receive, and trying to place a wall between me and what my Creator has planned for me the next two days. Plain and simple.

So I opened my bible this morning to find this "
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15
Can anyone say hit the nail on the head? God set it right between my eyes: if I'm tired, burdened, concerned, distracted, worried, waiting... under attack - its a sacrifice to still go, still do, still praise, to do the hard thing. But its the sweetest praise there is to Him! To bring it all with me, to lay it at His feet - bring it all as a sacrifice to Him and thank Him for using it ALL in my life. THIS is the good  - to bring it and praise Him in it all, and through it all, with my sisters this weekend in that arena!
And if I do? If I praise Him, if I sacrifice those things and lift Him up, if I ask Him to use it in these hours many of us will spend together tonight and tomorrow to show me Himself? He also promises me this - "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 Can anyone say GLORY?! A revealing is always on the way Chicks! Don't let the enemy keep you from your divine appointment with HIM - whether its to get to Beth Moore this weekend or just to get quiet with your bible in your home - bring God that sacrificial praise, bring it all with you and lift it up. He wants it, He'll take it, and He will give us the most beautiful things in return - His presence, His joy, and His peace!

Joyful on the Journey,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just a quick reminder...

So on my way to church to set up for our ladies movie night tomorrow I went by Starbucks for an iced chai tea latte. When I made it up to the window the nice lady working it told me that she was sorry for my wait. I had just been thinking to myself as I sat waiting my turn for about 4 minutes that I wish they would speed it up a bit - my air conditioner as great as it is just cant keep up when sitting still in the sun right now.
But all I said in return was simply this "thats ok, no worries". She stopped in her tracks, leaned over in the window, looked me in the eye and thanked me for being "the nicest person she's talked to in the drive thru for the last two hours".
WOW. Really? Its not like I profusely poured compliments over her of her ninja like barista moves. But I was the nicest? Really?
She didnt say it with disgust - just bewilderment - and she wondered out loud at what could be going on with everyone today. I said I was sorry she had hadn't had the best last few hours. Told her that maybe it was the heat getting to everyone. And thanked her for working so hard. I invited her to our ladies movie night at church tomorrow.
Lesson learned for me today. What if I had acted like everyone else obviously had? As I drove away I said a little prayer for her that more people would see her sweet smile before they opened their mouth, and actually have a conversation with her .
Take a few moments wherever you are or go to today and just be nice. I bet she was just as nice to all the others as she was to me. Her personality that shone thru tells me that yes, she was. She left a great impression on me, I hope I did in some way for her too.
What bothers me is what impressions I've left in the past - like yesterday... was I nice? Or did I not even see those in my path.
Eyes open. Eyes open.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Good Cry

So I set aside a few hours today to watch movies.
Well, let me back up a second. Here’s the deal.
I woke up today feeling a little off, a little blah, after actually going to bed that way too. Well, 'blah' is not even an accurate word. If you are of the female gender you know know what I mean. There’s nothing that hurts, no one thing that is on my heart and mind. And that is the issue at the core. There are a lot of thing on my mind and heart.
So I decided to not let it get out of hand – to do something about it.
I’m not obsessing. Not by a long shot.  This is just a time when there happen to be a few things I’m working through simultaneously; caring for my mom, missing my son, contemplating decisions, grieving some areas of my life, and simply in a search for some answers that seem so long in coming.
 And one thing that almost all women can relate to is the fact that when we have days or even seasons like this – and then sometimes for no apparent reason at all – we just need a good cry.
Men make fun of it. They don’t understand it. I think it frightens them a bit. Emotion on that level usually does.
But we understand one another. And we also know what having this special time set aside can do. If handled properly it provides a cleansing that nothing else can.
So why do we need days like this?  I think it’s because as women we’re made as a reflection of the emotional side of our Creator. And that’s become a beautiful thing to me.
If men were a full representation of Him there would be no need for us. But God saw an infinitely better plan. To have us truly be the other half of one another, and to complement one another. To fill in the gaps He made us differently for a reason – to help us discover and understand HIM more!

So today I celebrated both my emotional side and my need for Him, but in a very selective way.
I got my bible, my devotional, and spent time with Him in prayer and in conversation first.
His word tell me “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
I poured out and worked through the things known, and eventually the things hidden that He revealed that are also putting a bit of weight on my heart and mind.

Then with the right choice of movies the rest of my day of cleansing began. I watched movies today like Steel Magnolias, Finding Nemo, and Facing the Giants  - movies that tug at my heart and provide good lessons and reminders (and yes, there are several in Finding Nemo by the way). These and many like them result in a good cry for me because the cry comes with a ‘better ending than the beginning’.
I went through a lot of Kleenex today people.

Once I was done with the movies I returned once again to finish that much needed conversation with God. My chance to verbalize what I was feeling now, what He had said to my heart over the last few hours, and the chance to thank Him. I thanked Him for being my everything, for understanding me, for speaking to me, for being patient, for already working for my good in these things that were my concerns, and then I handed everything on my heart and mind over to Him. And I told Him that I’m very thankful to be made truly in His image
John 11:35 “Jesus wept”
 Luke 19:11 “But as Jesus came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep.”
It brings me unbelievable comfort to know that Jesus, God’s Son, a part of the mysterious Holy Trinity, and Creator of the World wept. He wept for those He loved, those suffering, and for those in need.
I used to hate to cry by the way, hated that feeling. It seemed a weakness to me. But as I’ve grown older, closer to him, and now that I understand more how He designed me, why He created me with certain traits, I see this is another way to undergird my need for Him. And it draws us closer together.
It’s not that I like to cry, and I hate that I can make that really ugly face sometimes when I do – one that can even freak my dog out. But I love the fact it is by His design that I can and need to cry. That He made me like Himself. That He created me with the capacity for deep love, to be concerned for others, for compassion, empathy, sympathy, and a need to pour my heart and my eyes out to the only One who can calm, heal, touch, encourage, and mend me.

So I feel better this evening, refreshed and renewed.
“… weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5
I am His daughter. I turned to him today to be emptied out and then filled. And I believe it pleased Him to come to me in that sweet time, and to do just that.
If you need a good cry invite him to meet you there, seek Him out in very specific ways.
Romans 8:15-16 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Give Him the chance to hold you, to speak deep things, to renew you and take your burden. Don’t go there by yourself, you weren’t made to cry alone – let Him weep with you.
Joyful on the Journey

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hello, My Name Is... Martyr?

Name tags are very handy. At gatherings and parties name tags help quickly identify who we are, tell us who we are about to introduce ourselves to. And in some cases like business networking or ministry functions the name tags may even include what we do, so that the person looking at it has even better idea very quickly of who we are and what we may be about.
Over the last 16 months or so I have become much more acutely aware of something… That at the very least a whole lot of us women seem to find it an honor of some twisted sort to walk around with a name tag that says "worn out, frazzled, frustrated, and encased in busyness"... and the title under the name? “A Living Martyr”.

That says a whole lot very clearly doesn't it? I mean, we can very easily understand what we're dealing with when we read that title. And the reason I can say this is because at times I too have worn that title on my tag to the world. And I wrote that self created moniker on my tags with my own pen, in my own handwriting.

I've been thinking about the ‘why’s’ lately. I mean yes, I have busy days and even weeks occasionally, and rightly so because sometimes life just gets messy and hard and demands a lot from me. But it’s the self sabotage behavior that I’m speaking of here, and that isn’t something that God demands of me – not to the point of detriment. So I have started asking myself, and others as well, why do so many of us  seem to strive very hard to able to fit so much more in a day and a week than there is really room for? Why do we seem to relish the challenge? Why do so many seem to not be able to talk about anything for any length of time at all without somehow getting around to reciting their to-do-list and the enormous scope of it? And Why do so many of us seem to be so proud of the fact that we are exhausted?
Here are some thoughts about it all that I’ve had:
For some it seems to simply be a way to draw attention – to be able to say “look at me, see me” when we maybe feel there is no other reason for someone to notice us.
For some it’s a way to always be right - because it means if they are the one that ‘does everything’ that gives no one else the right to have input.
For others it is a way to remain in that place of misery that we have lived in for so long we can’t fathom anything else – we’re way too comfortable there.
For some it can be a way to make sure we are ‘needed’ – it becomes a good thing somehow for others to not be able imagine doing anything successfully without our help “If we want it done right then we need to ask insert your name here”.
For some, it’s the acts of service gone awry –out of some sort of guilt. We must always be giving an serving even unto exhaustion – as if somehow this is being holy.
And there are a whole lot of Martha’s out there (Luke 10).
In the name of ‘having it all’ society has in many ways told us we can do it all, should do it all.
Some of our churches over the years have even taught us (maybe unknowingly) to feel we have to be involved in everything coming and going in the name of serving God and being a ‘good Christian woman’.

My reasons for wearing the badge before? Truthfully, it’s been a combination of several of the above scenarios, all different depending on when in my life you would be referring to.
I feel very differently now.
But it was a revelation forced on me by a God who cared enough to stay after me. Seems to be the normal way to reach me – He has to be very persistent :)
With more time on my hands after losing my job, I at first I saw on some level a chance to fill it with everything I could get my hands on (really to be honest I was running from the 'quiet' - does that sound familiar by chance?).
I mean, I’ve worked hard since I was 17years old. I had two parents that were hard workers. I come by it naturally.
How about this one  - does this sound familiar? “Oh my gosh I could volunteer for this ministry and that one, I could do more at church, and began setting up more activities, helping with and creating more opportunities, and I can, I can, I can...”  Gee, wonder what the common theme was there?

But God had much different plans for me.
He had plans for me to seek Him more. He wanted me to Himself more. He desired to speak to me on a more ongoing basis. He had a better idea of how to teach me what may be next for me. He wanted and wants to always be preparing me for what HE has ahead.
When things didn’t work out like I thought they would, He was there. When they were cooking with gas, but I was miserable and worn out, He was there waiting.
He was waiting to get on with the work of renewing me, refreshing me, pouring into my life so I could then pour back out. Teaching me, speaking to me, romancing me.
I’m beginning to see a ‘me’ I like much more now.
It’s a ‘me’ that I think my friends and my husband like much more now too.

I am a bit more of a woman who revels in actually doing nothing every once in a while with no guilt because I am supposed to rest in Him - find quality time for just me and Him.
Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
I want to ‘stop and smell the flowers’ as the old saying goes, I mean He created them after all -
Psalm 19:1-4 “
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.I want to love being a part of the Creation that cries out His existence each day and night, and experience the gift of the time He has given me – not wasting, but relishing.

I want to clearly see the hand of God at work and what it can do, not how much I can accomplish in a short amount of time –
John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
I want to choose carefully what I do… there are many good thing that need attention but a very few that are great for the purpose He has given me in this season and I want His best plan for me –
Proverbs 16:9 “
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps”
I should be concerned that others find their gifts and use them to help fulfill His plan. And I’m not to feel guilty about doing only what He wants me to –
Ephesians 4:16 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Romans 8:1  “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
If I want to be holy then I should imitate God’s standard – Jesus Christ… not try to outdo Him –
1 Peter 1:15-17 "
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy”. And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”
I need to long for the things that make me truly holy in Him…Psalm 42:1 "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God."
Romans 12:2 "
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
And as far as all the Martha’s out there (of which I have been known to be at many times in my life)... Luke 10:41-42 "But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
He makes me holy. So knowing Him, spending time with Him, discerning His voice and doing the exact things He wants me to do accomplish His Will for not only my life but for others in my life is what He desires of me. Not keeping busy, packing my days, serving on every mission, every ministry in the church, every opportunity that comes along – His plans are holy and perfect. I want joy, time, abundant life, laughter, deeper relationships, and divine appointments He is creating every day for me.

A. W. Tozer said “In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety [stress].” 
I want to make sure I’m always giving more of Him away, not more of me, in carefully selected ways that please Him and praise Him, and bring me closer to Him – because that's when I'm the happiest, that's living stress free!

I want to choose to wear a badge that says “Living Abundantly in Him” instead of “Living Martyr”

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking Up from the Bottom

"There is a bottom. A brokenness that's neccessary. A need that can only be met with a surrender before the miracle can begin. Praying now that this is as deep as it has to be for them. Praying for wisdom, strength, resolve, and most of all total surrender!!!"

I just sent that text message to a friend in response to a pray request, but then God prompted my heart to more, and that there is someone else whose loved ones are in jeopardy and you are crying out on their behalf, or you may be crying out for yourself...

**Brokenness: forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured; with gaps and errors, weakened and infimed; bankrupt, crushed

If that means something to you reading this I have prayed for you, or for that loved one that it speaks to. God moves the most in response to the most surrender - when you give Him that which you admit you can no longer fix yourself.

Isaiah 57:15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

God's biggest miracles come from true repentence in the midst of our biggest brokeness :)


Feeling Anxious?

Isaiah 42:16
I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them.

Anxious about what you cant see around the corner?
Gods promise stands true and ready to be fulfilled - just as He led Israel out of the wilderness, He will lead us down a path unknown only us to what goodness He has waiting!

Joyful on the Journey

Friday, July 6, 2012

Do I Want Predictable?

Ok, I keep going back to this today...

"If you want God to surprise you, you have to give up control. You will lose a measure of predictability, but you will begin to see God move in uncontrollable ways!" a quote from Mark Batterson's 'The Circle Maker' (our Chick Chat Book Club selection for July)

Is it just me or has that been one of the hardest lessons to learn as you have grown - to relinquish control?
You know, the type of control that can keep you captive to complacency, to fear, to the compromise you shouldn't make, and to unfulfilled dreams.

I'm still learning to give up control. I do well in some areas but I'm understanding its about ALL control. The control of all relationships, of calling, and of tomorrow... it was never anything I had a handle on anyway :)

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

What I want to say to you and to myself today is this: Christ didnt come that far, give that much, and give up that much, only to leave us to our own devices... He came to conquer!
But not only to conquer death and the grave eternally for us. He also came to conquer the here and now - to overcome that which we let stand in our way, that which He can remove in His power to give us the life we are designed to live!
I want to try harder to let go and let Him bring me the things He wishes to give me - blessings beyond what my mind can see thats best for me.

Did he not tell us in Isaiah 55:9 that 'For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.' ?

So I also remember Ephesians 3:20... 'Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.'
My feeble mind is predictable - He isn't. I don't want what I can do - I want the 'more' He is waiting to do... Are you with me?!

Joyful on the Journey


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Book Club Is Back!

I am so excited to be bringing back the Chick Chat Book Club!
So many have asked for it and I think God is now saying its time.
We'll read one book every month or so (depending on how big the book is) and meet together to discuss it too if you like.
Selections and dates/locations for discussions will be announced here on this page. If you arent in the Knoxville TN area but want to join please do so - I'll post some questions along the way you can particpate in as well :)
The books selected will always be to help challenge us to be who we were really created to be - and to inspire us to a deeper relationship with Christ and those around us. 

The first book selection is for July and it is "The Circle Maker" 
by Mark Batterson (author of In A Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Primal, and more).
Mark asks - 'Do you ever sense that there's far more to prayer, and to God's vision for your life, than what... you're experiencing? It's time you learned from the legend of Honi the Circle Maker---a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people. What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around?'
Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Mark Batterson helps uncover our heart's deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.
I'll announce the date and location soon where we will get together to talk about this selection - so pick up your copy and join me as we learn about drawing circles around the huge prayers of our lives!

Learn about the book here
Buy online here
or check your local Christian book store

So whether you were a part of it before or not all those years, join again or for the first time, and lets begin a journey of growing, discovering, hearing, and listening for Him together!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Am I Determined or Defiled?

Matthew 15: 16-18 says:
“Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked. “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what can defile you.

Who I am isn't determined by what legalistic traditions I keep, or by what I do that only shows I hold or subscribe to this or that behavior or habit... I am determined to be His and about His work only by the way I am seen and known to love and treat another.

No amount of quiet times, devotions read, praying at the altar on Sunday, or giving money to a need can replace life change, getting to the heart of someone, loving them where they are, helping them reach a higher place of joy, making their messiness yours where you can, and just being kind in our accounting of one another.

I don't think that God is so much interested in the 'good girl' in me. I think He wants the me that errors but knows His voice and is ready then to repent and try again. I believe He wants the me that can be used in the dirty places. But not just in locations, also in the dirtiness of the heart - mine and the one I am to serve. I know He wants to use me to flavor the world, and He wants to be glorified in how I speak and love another.

Lord let my words set about a burning to know you, not one that destroys. And help me love well. 
Call me out to truly seek the heart, and speak life and hope into it.

Joyful on the Journey

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Claiming The Day!

A friend of mine last night mentioned as we left each others company that she had been nasty to her grandchild that day and that God had pulled her up short, had convicted her of that. She is one of those women that you can easily think probably had never even raised her voice in front of anyone, and I'm sure her idea of being "nasty" is no where near what mine is :)
As I drove away her words echoed. But it wasn't her slight indiscretion that was on my mind, it was what I let that do to me.
See, I noticed at her mention of her experience with her grandchild how quickly the 'guilt' of my day tried to rise up in me again. I messed up many times that day. In thought. In deed. And my God had convicted me. Gave the chance to repent and ask for forgiveness. And I had. So why let that roll me over now?
Isn't that just like the enemy? And I have bought in hook line and sinker over and over to his lies.

Isn't that just like me? I've even become very adept over the years of creating my own voices so the enemy usually can just walk away and leave me alone to my own devices.
I am very good at letting my mind attempt its own destruction of my joy and my faith and belief of who God says I really am.
Fact - if I have repented and asked for forgiveness its done. Its gone.
Is there a need to understand and respect and honor the level of  the depth of God's mercy and grace? Oh my Yes.
But is there a need to continue to feel guilty? Oh friend, no. There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
Is the blood so freely given and still flowing on Calvary in our heart not enough?!
So my vow as I move through this day? To believe and walk out the truth of Romans 8:33-34...
“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one — for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one — for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

I am sought, chosen, bought, loved, refined, claimed, held, adored, treasured, pleaded for, forgiven, covered, made righteous and holy by Jesus, and no one can change that - not even me!

I think I'm gonna claim this day for victory... you?

Joyful on the Journey,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Making Brave

I wrote down something in big bold letters from our last session of the Angela Thomas “Brave” bible study last night.

Together a group of about 10 looked at many different things over the last few weeks that we as women at one time of another face - feeling fearful, broken, invisible, being worn out, undisciplined, and bearing a thorn.
It was at times an exhausting study - these uncomfortable things are markers of hardships and trials of life. And they are uncomfortable to think about let alone go through. 

But once again God is trying to show me that these are actually the joys of life because if I let them they bring blessings – blessings of being used by Him for His Glory
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.”  - 
2 Cor 1:3-6

He is once again telling me that I can use those hard things to dig in and identify with Christ or I can turn away, wallow, stay broken, and miss His touch, healing, and what He has waiting on the other side.
“It is the Spirit himself bearing witness to our Spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him - Romans 8:16-17

I want to be more diligent to seek Him quickly for comfort when I am fearful, for a redeeming when I am broken, to be truly & fully seen when I feel invisible, to find rest when I’m worn out, for strength to be disciplined, and as my all sufficient portion to endure the thorn!
To run to Him first – always - instead of my husband, friends, a distraction, or whatever else my mind sometimes tells me will meet my immediate need.

The saddest thing is that as we walked through those hard things together the last 7 weeks, what came sharply into focus is the fact that they will eventually become a prison, a holding cell, and a binding - but by our own hands. Because even if the things that have hurt us, made us feel afraid, worn out, and left us broken are at another’s hand and doing, we only are left in captivity by our own choice.

See here’s the truth…
1. We can make a run for it and be released straight into the arms of Jesus! But instead we try in our own strength and mind, both too weak, instead of trusting He is a strong enough shield to do the fighting for us.
2. The cage door is unlocked! But we’re just too afraid to move through the pain.
3. We can be free! But we choose fear, bitterness, and unforgiveness and hold a shackle in our fist that has long ago rusted and busted apart, no longer able to restrain.

Brave - to confront with resolution

 “And the God of grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” - I Peter 5:10

We have a Kinsman Redeemer (someone closer than a brother, who is willing, who is able, and that paid our debt in full) to take us somewhere else and away from that which we feel captive to and bring resolution if we let Him make us brave!

The truth I wrote down in bold letters?


Is that me?
Is that you?

As a famous bald man with a mustache from Texas on TV is fond of asking… 'and how’s that working for us?'

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" - Romans 8:35-37

I want to be free at any given moment to go wherever God leads with no restraints, with no regrets, to accept the promises He is waiting to fulfill for me, and even if the thorn remains I want to live my life expecting Him to show off despite and because of it, and I want to run unhindered with my Jesus prize in sight!!

Now, on to the business of making brave 

Joyful on the Journey