Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What to Give the Person Who Has Everything


"And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.  And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11






Hustle and bustle.  Retailing and wrapping.  Running and racing to find the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on our lists.

To show our love and affection, we wrap up treasures in brightly adorned packages.  We spend money and time and gas and energy to give to those we love.

What about Jesus? 

Please don't click away!  This isn't a message about how we should scrap all the fluff about Christmas.  It isn't a message to guilt you into taking down your favorite Santa figurine.  I adore Christmas and all that goes with it.  I love giving gifts and the traditions we hold dear.

The question I am asking is simple.  What will you bring to the King? What is your gift to Jesus? 

What do you give the Person who has everything? 

It's simple really.  You give Him back the gift He has given you.  You give Him your treasure.  

The wise men worshiped the Son of God and "opened their treasures".

What is your treasure? 

Worship isn't just a song sung on Sunday.  Worship is a lifestyle of giving to the Lord.  Giving our praise.  Giving our work.  Giving our gifts.  Giving our treasures.

There have been times I have felt guilty spending time writing thinking I could be spending it reading my Bible or worshiping in some way.  However, what I have realized is writing is worship.  Writing is giving the gift the Lord gave me back to Him.  It is giving Him my treasure.

Your gift may not be writing.  Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Singing.  Selling.  Sewing. Styling.

But, it doesn't have to start with an "S". {Smile}

Building. Drumming. Decorating. Cleaning. Organizing. Washing. Teaching. Nursing. Painting.  

Whatever you do, whatever your gift is, it is worship unto the Lord.  The Lord has placed gifts and talents and abilities in each of you.  If you don't know your gift, it is there under the tree waiting for you to unwrap.

This Christmas and new year, it is time for you to open your treasures and present your gifts to Him in worship.  It is time.  He is waiting.  It is all He wants for Christmas from you.

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matt 6:21).  When you give Him your treasure, you are giving Him your heart.  There is no greater gift for our King than our hearts.

Come. Kneel. Bring Him your gift. Worship. 

Father, I love you.  I honor You.  I come before Your throne of grace and bow down.  I lay my treasures at Your feet.  I come to worship you with my gifts.  I pray You would use these gifts for Your glory and that You would be glorified through them.  Lord, I give You my heart.  May it be ever pleasing to You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Merry Christmas!!  

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright!!










Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Morning

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in haven give good things to those who ask Him,"  Matt 7:11

Scribbles on paper.  The sacred "Christmas list" made out every year by little ones far and wide. Children's hearts' desires written in crayon or pencil filled with the the led of hope.

My kids excitedly handed me their list.  My hands received the paper with almost as much enthusiasm.  My heart longs to give my kids their hearts desires (if I can).

The way a parent wants to awaken to glowing faces on Christmas morning is perhaps only a glimpse of how the Lord longs to bless His own children.

Children, bright eyed and full of wonder await Christmas.  It takes little faith for most children to believe presents will be under the light adorned tree.

What if we awaited God's gifts like a child on Christmas morning?  What if we believed there were good things wrapped up for us waiting for the right timely moment?  What if we believed as a child?

God is good.  He has treasures wrapped up for us just waiting for the right time for us to open His gifts.

Sometimes we cannot see the goodness He has stored up because it is hidden.  He has hid His presents until our Christmas morning comes.  Like a child, we want it right away and we want to know what is in the package.  However, we must be patient and wait until our Christmas.

When I was a child, I would try to tear a corner off the presents or look under the paper where it was taped to peek inside.  However, that thrill only lasts a moment and then disappointment sets in because the surprise is spoiled.  Plus, even though I knew what is in the package, I still had to wait to open the gift.  Knowing my gift only dampened the waiting process.

God has good gifts for all of us, but He likes to keep them a surprise.  He may give us a peek here and there, but we can't see all that is under the paper until opening time.

God's heart is to instill hope and anticipation as He prepares our hearts to receive.

Hope in itself is a gift.  And Hope that is seen is not hope.  

As a child on Christmas morning, we can be certain that His gifts will come.  We can believe that if it is best for us, He will answer every request on our "list".

Christmas morning isn't just for kids.  It is for all God's children.











Thursday, December 4, 2014

Some Like it Hot (I Like it Cold)

I was eighteen and the year was 1992.   After begging my parents for weeks to agree to let me go on a senior trip with my friends to Great America in Chicago, IL, they finally conceded.

Four eighteen year old girls in stone washed jeans and big hair packed in my friend's champagne Chevy Cavalier.  Four friends with a hunger for freedom and independence.  Four friends celebrating graduation and a journey into the next adventure of their lives.

The trip was fun, but also eye opening.  During my younger years, and even into adulthood, people pleasing defined me.  Sadly, my incessant need to please people and gain approval from others left little room to be...well,...me.  Who I was evaded me.  I had no idea.  I might have known my favorite color, but if I thought you would disagree with me on it, I would have seconded guessed even that trivial of a detail.

Sad.  I know.

This trip at eighteen years of age revealed I had no idea what I liked or who I was.  My friends were all confident in their likes and dislikes and it didn't seem to matter to them if my opinion differed.  They were confident in who they were.  I wasn't.

Sadly, this lack of confidence continued into adulthood.  I am not as much of a people pleaser now. However, from time to time, it tries to come back much like those stone wash jeans.

Last week, I believe God used pumpkin pie to give me an example of how so often we are trying to be someone else or convince others to be like us.  

I like cold pumpkin pie.  Don't ask me why.  I just do.  I had tried it warm and decided cold was the way to go.  Someone was trying to convince me that hot pumpkin pie was better than cold.  This person seemed determined to win me over to their pie point of view.

Finally I replied, "I like it cold.  You like it hot.  It is ok.  Neither is right or wrong.  You can like it hot and I can like it cold.  It is ok. "

It doesn't matter.  What I like and what you like are irrelevant.  One isn't right and the other wrong.  It is just a matter of opinion.

Don't misunderstand, I am not referring to absolute truths.  Jesus is the only way, truth and life and no man to come to the Father except through Him.  That is not an opinion, it is a Truth.

I am only referring to opinions.  It doesn't matter if you like Chevy Cavaliers and I'd rather drive a Toyota.  It doesn't matter if I like blue and you prefer pink.  It doesn't matter if you like Pepsi and I like Coke.

This may seem elementary to you, but to thousands, this one revelation will be life freeing.

Let me put it in a more important context:

It doesn't matter if your friend homeschools and you feel strongly about having your kids in a public school.   It doesn't matter if you feel called to be a stay at home mom and your sister is a working mom and loves her career.  It doesn't matter if you feel led to go to college and your brother wants to own his own business.  It simply doesn't matter!

All of the above examples are opinions.  They are neither right nor wrong.

We can learn to accept and love each other regardless of our opinions.  We can quit trying to convince people to change into something they were never meant to be in the first place.  When we finally accept people for who they are, the happier everyone will be and the better relationships we will have with our friends and family.

Everyone has to walk out this journey called life on their own.  Everyone must go the direction they are led.

God is our final authority and as long as we are walking with Him on our journey, we can have confidence that we are on the right path regardless of our favorite color or preferred pie temperature.

Everyone's journey will look different.  Just because one looks different from yours, does not make it wrong.  It's just different.

My prayer for myself and all of us is that we will stop judging other people's decisions and stop trying to be something we aren't just to gain another person's approval.

I like it cold and if you like it hot, that is just fine.

Relevant Scriptures:

"For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God."  1 John 3:20

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."  James 3:16-17

"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."  1 Thess 2:4







Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving and Peace

Today is a day of celebration in America of giving thanks to the Lord for His blessings.

However, there has been much unrest in our country over the past several days and perhaps many people touched by the events will find it hard to give thanks today.

Maybe you weren't affected by those events, but perhaps other events in your life have caused a pause about being thankful.

I want to suggest that perhaps being thankful isn't as much about circumstances as it is about the heart.

Peace cannot come from external sources.  When it does, it is flighty at best and structurally unsound.
Peace can only come from One source, Jesus.

The Lord gave me an equation a few weeks back that I believe sums up how the Lord intends for us to live out our daily lives...

Prayer + Praise = Peace

Thanksgiving isn't just about giving thanks one day a year.  It is a lifestyle derived from a heart soaked in thankfulness for the daily blessings that abound.

It is all a matter of perspective.  What we magnify will become bigger in our lives.

We can choose to see the blessings or we can choose to see the bleak.  We can choose to magnify the Lord and His goodness or we can choose to dwell on our disappointments.

Think about a magnifying glass.  A magnifying glass doesn’t make the object bigger.  To magnify God doesn’t make God bigger.  He is already BIG.  The magnifying glass only brings the object more into focus and your focus on the object is increased.  Our perception is what changes. 

We have the choice to magnify our problem or our God.  We can magnify God with thanksgiving. 

Our perception is our reality. 


Prayer and praise can change our perspective.

I know life can be hard.  I have seen my fair share of disappointments, challenges, and heart ache.  I am in no way diminishing yours.  My aim is to only point out that when we allow our worries and wallow to overshadow our worship of our Lord, we are only hurting ourselves.

Thanksgiving (Giving Thanks) for all the blessings we have is part of the equation to inner peace.  

Think of the ripple effect it would have if everyone's heart was full of praise and thankfulness.

Not only will our prayer and praise give us peace, it will also bring peace to others.  God will use us to help set others free and bring His message of peace to them as well. 

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of  God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Phil 4:6-7

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord will gladness: Come before His presence with singing...enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise." Psalm 100:1,2,4

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together." Ps 34:1-3

Praying you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and for your hearts to be full of thanksgiving not only today, but throughout the year.  Praying that whatever you are facing, that you would see that the Lord is bigger and He is worthy of praise.  He loves you.  He is for you.  He  is with you.  We praise You Lord for your goodness!

With love and blessings,




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A New Perspective [On Squanto]

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9  

One of the things I love about my phone camera is the ability to zoom in or out with only a move of my finger.  All it takes is a flick of my hand to change my focus.

What if we were able to zoom out and see our lives from God's perspective?  What if we truly believed He is involved in every picture of our lives?  What if we allowed His hand to change our zoom and refocus our vision?

What if we zoomed out?

This year our family endeavored into the adventure of homeschooling.  Yesterday, we watched a video to learn more about Squanto, the Native American who helped the pilgrims learn to plant and survive in the New World.

I never knew Squanto's life resembled Joseph in the Bible until yesterday.

In summary, Squanto grew up as a child in America (before it was America).  He was taken captive one day by Spaniards, and sold into slavery in Spain.  Monks purchased him, not to be a slave, but to care for him.  They taught him about God and he learned English.  The monks knew he wanted to return home and eventually everything lined up for him to return home.  However, when he arrived, his village wasn't there.  He learned that everyone in his village had died from illness.  He lived in the forest alone with the Lord until the pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock.

He was able to help the pilgrims because of his time overseas and learning English while there.  What man had meant for evil, God intended for good (Genesis 50:19).  Amazing.

If we took just one snapshot of Squanto's life and saw only that he was taken captive or only saw that he was sold as a slave, we might miss the bigger picture of God's greater purpose.

Back to my camera, if I zoom too far in, I can't see the bigger picture.  It appears blurry, muddled, and without purpose.  Zooming out allows me to see things more clearly.

We are but a tiny dot.  We can trust our loving God.  His hand never fails.  What may look like a blurry, muddled mess may actually be part of a bigger picture unseen.

I will say it again...

We can trust our God with our blurry, muddled mess.

We might not be able to understand, but we can trust His hand.

Dear Lord, show us Your perspective and Your vision.  Loving Father, we ask for You to refocus our minds and our hearts to You and what You are doing even in the middle of the messiness of life.  Lord, we give You thanks for Your love and Your hand in our lives.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.  
















Monday, November 17, 2014

Being Led by the Red Balloon



The wind began to swirl stronger as we loaded up the pearl white mini-van.  My husband eyed his phone for the forecast.  The kids were filled with excitement as they tried to maintain composure waiting for us to leave.  Today was the pool party my daughter had been anticipating all week. At this party, she would receive ribbons for swim team plus have cake, pizza and a great time swimming!  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Bags were packed, family was in the van, husband phone in hand.

Before backing up the van, he says, "There is a tornado watch.  Let me call the pool and see if they are still having the party."  We wait.  He calls.  The person on the other end says they are still having the party and people are down by the pool.  Then there was a pause.  She clarifies that everyone is out of the pool due to the pool being closed down temporarily.  She wasn't sure why or when they would be getting back in the water.

My husband conveys the news to me and we reluctantly decide to continue with our plan to go to the pool party.

We backed up out of the driveway and headed down the street.  As the wind ripped through the trees, my husband began to question our decision.

He points out:

1.  It is really windy.
2. There is a tornado watch.
3. The pool is temporarily closed.
4.  The wind is picking up and the sky is getting dark.

All note worthy reasons to not go to a pool party.

...and then there was the red balloon.

As we drove down the street, we saw a red balloon...It was a random red balloon stuck in a neighbor's tree!  It caught both of our attention.

He then says, "And there is a red balloon in that tree!"  Laughing, he decides, "I think the Lord is trying to tell us we shouldn't go!"

Please don't misunderstand.  We are not signs kind of people.  However, sometimes if there are many obvious events or circumstances pointing to going one direction or another, we do need to learn to discern that the Lord may be trying to give us a message!  We shouldn't just ignore if there are many obstacles in our way.  The Lord may be trying to protect us and we need to listen.

After seeing the red balloon and laughing, we happily turned around.  The wind continued to pick up.

That  night, there ended up being a tornado warning and tornadoes touching down in the area.  If we hadn't listened to the Lord's direction, we could have ended up stuck in the YMCA basement all night or worse.

Sometimes those "red balloons" are the red flags the Lord will use to get our attention.  The next time you are uncertain about a decision, look for those "red balloons".  They might be just the thing the Lord is using to guide you into His blessings and away from the winds of harm.  

 







Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Are You a Big Toe?

My twelve year old son, Joe, and I have been training for a 5K.  About ten days before the race, a very large eighteen year old landed on his left big toe.  Immediately he cried out in pain and the pain continued. 

His toe did not look great.  It looked as if it could be broken.  It was swollen, red and bruised.  He was able to move it, so we concluded it was just badly bruised.  

A week later, his toe was still a little bruised, but the swelling had decreased and the redness had dissipated.  We decided to try to go for a run.  About a half mile into the run, he noticed his toe hurting.  He said, "I never knew how something so small could effect me so much." 

I found this as a perfect opportunity to relate his big toe to our life in the body of Christ.  

"A big toe may seem small, but it becomes big when its brokenness hinders something you really want to accomplish. In the body of Christ, we are all a part of the body.  Some of us are arms.  Some of us are legs or hands.  And some of us are big toes.  As a big toe, we may not feel important.  We might not think what we have to contribute really matters, but it all matters.  When the body is missing the big toe or the big toe cannot contribute appropriately, the whole body suffers.  We need the big toe! Every member of the body is important."  

I want to encourage you today that YOU are important in the body of Christ, even if you feel like you are just a big toe.  Nothing is "just" a something in the body of Christ.  

"But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary." 1 Corinthians 12: 20-22

Every member of the body is necessary to finish the race. 

Joe and I did finish our race this past weekend, bruised toe and all.  His bruised toe didn't keep Him from finishing.  

The same is true in our Kingdom race.  When we are all working together, with all the gifts God has given us, we can accomplish so much!  If you feel bruised, that doesn't mean you have to sit out of the race.  God never said all the members would be in perfect working order, He only says we work perfectly together.  As a matter of fact, He says "those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary"!  

So, if you have days when you feel like a sore "toe", remember, He says, "You are necessary!"  And the truest thing about anything is what God says about it.  













Thursday, October 23, 2014

Climbing Mountains with Open Hands



Our family went on a spontaneous trip to the Great Smokey Mountains last Saturday.  We live in one of the nation's most beautiful and frequently traveled vacation destinations, yet we hardly ever go to the mountains.  However, I think that is changing.

At one point, our family ventured off the trail to the creek below.  Little feet followed carefully as we descended down the rocks. Hands were placed ever so pointedly to gain a steady foothold on the jagged surface. At the bottom, we sat and ate a snack while admiring the majesty of the waterfall overhead.  With our eyes full of God's beauty and our bellies full of trail mix, we headed back up the rocky terrain.

I'm not much of a rock climber, but I know we needed both our feet and hands to climb up the rocks last weekend.  I can't imagine making the ascent without the use of my hands.

So, the first time I heard the song above in church, I found myself scratching my head.

Worship is one of my loves.  Hands lifted.  Heart crying out to the Lord.  Tears flowing while meditating on the greatness of His overwhelming goodness.  However it is hard to raise hands and scratch your head at the same time.

The main chorus in this song is "I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open."  The musical lyric baffled me.

Ironically, the beginning of the song says, "I will lean not on my own understanding."  That entry should have been my mantra.  However, my own understanding could not get passed how you could possibly climb a mountain with your hands open.  What does that even mean?

This past Sunday, a day after our hike on a mountain, the worship team sang this song again.  This time, I asked the Lord the meaning of the lyrics.

The Lord answered by playing an image in my mind.  The image was a picture of me climbing a mountain, only I wasn't using my hands.  Instead, He had a hold of my hands.  He was leading me, showing me where to go and where to place my feet.  His strength held me up and it was effortless.  He was leading me over the mountain.  Finally, I understood.

Often we see a mountain in our life and become overwhelmed with its magnitude.  The Lord can and does remove mountains from our life.  However, there are times when the Lord doesn't remove them immediately, but instead leads us over the mountain.  He leads us hand in hand, showing us directly where to place our feet, steadying us with His strength, presence and love.

Why doesn't he just remove it?  As we climb the mountain with the Lord,  hands open, allowing our hands to align with His, we experience Him, His goodness and His faithfulness.  Our faith builds and our trust strengthens as we witness His protection, provision, and purpose.  

It is a miracle for a mountain to be removed.  It is also a miracle to be able to climb a mountain with open hands, giving everything to the Lord, believing He will lead you safely to the other side.  Letting go of everything and just trusting the Lord in the midst of a mountain is where faith is strengthened. His provision in the middle of the mountain is often the greater miracle.

The Lord wants to lead you into a deeper trust in Him.  Will you let go of the rope of control, open your hands to His loving grip and let Him lead you on an adventure with Him?  He's got you.  He won't let you go.  With Him, we can climb with open hands and there is no doubt the trail will be full of His beauty.












Thursday, October 16, 2014

Labels and Elephants


Sarah snuggled with her stuffed Dumbo the elephant. Caressing her big-eared treasure, she asked inquisitively, "Mommy, why did his elephant mom name him 'Dumbo'?  I don't like his name."

I explained how originally his name was Jumbo Junior.  His elephant mom named him Jumbo Junior at birth.  However, when some mean elephants noticed his unusually large ears, they began calling him "Dumbo".  The name stuck and became his identity.

She protested, "Well, I don't like the name Dumbo, I'll call him Jumbo Junior."

I can't help but think the little elephant smiled at the defense of his rightful name.



How many times do we take names or labels on ourselves not ordained in our original design?   Our heavenly Father names us.  Sometimes our earthly parents misname us or miss affirming the name intended for us by God.  Unfortunately, sometimes the very ones who should be defending our names are the ones tearing us down with their words.  The world can be a very cruel place, even by the ones who are suppose to protect and lovingly direct.

Unwittingly we allow the world to bully us into casting aside our given godly heritage in exchange for the detrimental identity it dictates we bear.

With the constant bellowing, the God-ordained identity Christ died to claim for us is squashed to a distant whisper.  Still, He whispers.  His voice clouded by the insistent critical clamor of the world. The mean elephants trumpet:

Dumbo
Fatto
Lazy-o
Good-for-nothing-o
Never-Good-Enough-o
Messed-up-o
Rejected-o

Their trumpets sound.  The lies ring loudly echoing as if we were an elephant with over-sized ears.  The labels stick.

It is time to reclaim our rightful name.

It is time to hush the trumpeting of false identity and hold up the trunk of truth.

You are a Jumbo, not a Dumbo. You are a Jumbo in the Kingdom of God, made for a great and giant purpose .  No mean elephants can rob you of your rightful place unless you listen to the lies, replay the resounding negative trumpeting, and allow the labels to stay.

The movie of your life doesn't have to be labeled with a lie.  Your title can be one of triumph and truth.

You don't have to wait for flying elephants.  Today you can begin.

Rewrite the title.  Reclaim your name.  Regain your identity.

"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life."  1 John 5:19- 20

Can't you just see those elephants swaying back and forth? We will listen no more to your bullying bellows.  Good riddance elephants.  Good riddance labels. We are holding onto Him who is truth, the One who calls us by our true name--beloved, accepted, approved, redeemed...Jumbo.








Friday, October 10, 2014

A Mickey Glasses Kiss {You Really Must Read This!}

A couple of weeks ago, Sarah and I went on a trip to Walmart.  Nothing special.  We were in search of a Red Box movie for movie night.

Outside the store, there was table set up with items for sale to raise money for a local ministry.   I know this is sad to admit, but I usually don't stop at such tables.  Please don't judge me.  The Lord will tell me when I need to stop and this time, He did.

Sarah and I admired the cross necklaces and catchy T-shirts.  The lady running the table was in her late twenties.  She had long black hair.  Her face was kind with somewhat of a weathered look for a girl in her twenties.  It was easy to see that life had not always been kind to her.

As we browsed the merchandise, she noticed my sunglasses and commented on how much she liked them.  It was a simple and courteous compliment.

I liked them too. {smile} They were recently purchased on a trip to Disney.  From the moment I saw the brownish-black glasses bedazzled with Mickey heads on the sides, they called to me.  I loved my new glasses.  

God spoke and you can probably guess what He said...

 "Give her your glasses."

At first I wrestled with if I was hearing from the Lord or if this was just a thought in my head.  I knew it was the Lord.  There was no part of me or my head that would have wanted to give my sparkly new Mickey glasses away.

I didn't obey right away, still trying to figure out if it was the Lord.  Sarah and I made our purchase and began to walk away.

I stopped.

"Sarah, we need to go back to the table.  I think the Lord wants me to give that lady my sunglasses."

Sarah responded with surprise, "Mom, that doesn't make any sense. Why would the Lord want you to give her your new sunglasses.  You just got them."

I explained to Sarah that sometimes the Lord asks us to do things that don't make any sense and we just need to obey.  I also explained that my head would not necessarily have had this thought by itself.  I have never thought to give away a pair of sunglasses before, so I really think the Lord is saying this to me.

With resolve that it was the Lord, I walked up to the young lady.

"I know this may seem weird, but the Lord told me to give you my sunglasses."

Immediately the lady began to cry and hugged me.

A little surprised by her reaction, I waited for her to speak.  As she spoke, her words and reaction gripped by heart.

"I said I liked your glasses because I have a little boy who will be four years old tomorrow and he loves Mickey Mouse. Your glasses reminded me of my little boy.  I haven't seen him in over six months.  I am currently in a rehab program and I am not allowed to see him yet.  I am working on cleaning up my life for him."

I didn't know how to respond.  I asked for her name and told her I would pray for her.  I did.

I left overwhelmed with the Lord's goodness and overcome with tears.

Oh. My. Word.  Really God?

They were just glasses.  It was just Mickey.  No.  It was so much more.  Those glasses spoke to me at Disney not just because they were cute and sparkly.  God new I would buy them.  He knew Sarah and I would go to Walmart for a movie.  He knew we would stop at that table and meet his sweet daughter.  He knew she needed encouragement.  He knew she needed a kiss from heaven.

It is overwhelming when God uses you to be the one to give a kiss of His love.

I pray I would be even more aware of His voice and how He would have me bless others.  I pray I would be quick to respond.  We may think it is only a pair of glasses.  But He knows it is so much more.

Be His Kiss.

Father, I pray that we would be more aware of Your voice and how You would have us bless others.  I pray we would be quick to respond without question.  You know what each person needs, whether it be a kind word, a prayer, or some material item.  Let us be vessels of Your love and encouragement.  Let us be Your kiss.  In Jesus' Name, Amen. 







 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What "In Christ" Means


"But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love in which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-6


The phrase, "In Christ", has baffled me for years.  It may be imprudent to admit my difficulty understanding such a fundamental to the Christian faith.  However, I have learned typically one question is shared by many curious cohorts.

 Understanding "Christ in me" was easier to understand.  Christ lives in me. That makes sense.  However, me living in Him didn't link with the synapses in my mortal mind. 

Then, the Lord sent me to the apple orchard...



The owner of the orchard explained how apple trees are grafted to produce good fruit.  It was quite educational.  If an apple seed is planted from an apple I eat, it will likely produce bad fruit.  He called this apple a “spitter”, rightly named because if bitten, you will want to spit it out.

To produce good fruit, a branch from a tasty apple tree is grafted onto the root of a bitter “spitter” apple tree.  He visually demonstrated how these two trees are brought together to produce sweet juicy apples.   The stem from the bad tree is cut and a notch is inserted into the cut.  A branch from the good tree is also cut and a notch inserted.  Then, like a puzzle, the two limbs are brought together, the bad tree meshes with the good tree and takes on the nature of the good tree, bearing good fruit. 


This visualizes perfectly what happens when we accept Jesus into our lives.  Our roots are bad and we will produce bad fruit unless we allow Jesus to come into our lives.  Once Jesus lives in us, our old nature becomes new and we are able to bear sweet good fruit.  This is what it means to be “in Christ”. 

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“Therefore is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5:17

Now, let’s take a look at John 15:1-3.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”

When reading verse three with the two verses above it, it goes perfectly with the apple tree demonstration.  We have been grafted in Christ.  We are a part of Him, His branch.  And because of who we are in Him, we are already clean. 

God doesn't discard us.  Rather, He is in the business of removing our ugly branches.  God is constantly removing our impurities (bad branches) and purifying us because we are in Christ. 

We are constantly in a process of sanctification and pruning so we will bear all the plump juicy fruit the Lord designed us to produce in Him.  No spitting or “spitters” here!  We are one with Christ, we are "in Christ" and we are already clean.

  




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Authority {Through the Eyes of a Child}

Last night before bedtime, Sarah, our seven year old, was reading in her The Beginners Bible the story of where Jesus spoke to the storm and it stopped.

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  

And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, 'Master carest thou not that we perish?'  

And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, 'Peace, be still,'  and there was a great calm." Mark 4:37-39

After the story, Sarah said, "The storm was like His kid and He was the parent.  The storm had to obey Him."

Children see things so clearly and simply.

Sarah was right on in her theological interpretation of this passage.  No degrees. No doctorates.  Only Jesus and an open heart.

Jesus' authority was also simple for the centurion to understand in Matthew 8:8-10.  He understood, as a man who was in authority over soldiers, that Jesus only needed to speak the word and his servant would be healed.

If only our faith would be as strong as a child's or the centurion!

In Mark 4, the boat was being overtaken with waves, to the point where it was full of water. Everyone was panicking.  Jesus was sleeping.

Jesus was the One who suggested they go out in the boat.  He knew the storm would come.  Yet, He slept.  Did He sleep because He didn't care?  No.  He slept in peace because He knew the storm would not overtake them.  He knew the waves would have to fall at His command.

I don't know why Jesus waited to be woken before stopping the storm.  Maybe it is significant that the disciples finally went to Him after first panicking for minutes or even hours.

I wonder how many storms we find ourselves beaten, tossed around and panicking before turning to Jesus. Do we wait until the point where our boat is full of water and almost sinking before calling on the One who can calm the storm?

Are you in a storm today?  Does it seem like Jesus is sleeping and you wonder if He even cares that you are sinking? He cares.  Don't be afraid. 

He is in the boat with you.  There is no reason to fear with Jesus in the boat.  With the faith of a child, wake Him.  With the boldness of the centurion, ask Him to help.

Whatever storm you are going through, it must obey Him.  Call on Him in faith and hear Him say, "Peace, be still."







 









Friday, September 26, 2014

Point Them to Their Need

Last week was crazy in the Molitor household.  Chris was gone on a work trip and I was left to being a single parent for the week.  The kids were out of sorts and decided it would be a good week for testing mom's limits... and lets just say I wanted to ground them, for like, forever!

In my quiet time, Jesus whispered quietly to my heart. (My tone in the house that week had been quite the opposite of quiet, by the way.)  But, He whispered quietly,"Point them to their need."  What do they need?  The answer...Jesus.

When Luke gets angry and hits his sister...point him to his need.

When Joe lets his sister down by siding with friends to pick on her...point him to his need.

When Sarah tattles and wants to get her brother in trouble...point her to her need.

I am often tempted to point out my kids failures instead of pointing them to the One who is faithful.

Part of being a Christian is learning that when we fail, to go to the One who never fails.  Christianity isn't about a list of  rules, its about relationship.  

I love what Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales (love VeggieTales!!!), stated in an interview with World Magazine:

"I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, 'Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,' or 'Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!' But that isn't Christianity, it's morality."

We can go to church our whole lives.  We can hear Bible stories.  We can be taught right and wrong. However, all of that is morality, not Christianity.  

Morality and Christianity are two separate entities.  

Morality points to behavior.  Christianity points to a Savior.  

Morality brings condemnation.  Christianity brings redemption.  

Morality focuses on earning approval.  Christianity focuses on knowing God. 

The Lord didn't tell me to point out my kids failures.  The Lord didn't tell me to show them all ways they were wrong.  The Lord told me to point them to their need, which is always the Cross.  

The need is always Jesus.  





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crushing the Cricket

Have you ever made a wrong decision that you thought was the right decision at the time?  I have.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

Recently someone told me a story about how they weren't allowed to watch Pinocchio as a child because of that little conscience every body loves, Jiminy Cricket.

I laughed when I heard the reason Pinocchio was banned from their home. I really shouldn't have laughed.  After all, my kids weren't allowed to watch it either, but it was for the more...ahem... pious reason of the Biblical name for "donkey" being used in the movie.  My reason was acceptable (please hear my smile), but theirs...well...it seemed a bit ridiculous.

They explained that Jiminy's motto,"Always let your conscious be your guide", was the reason for crushing the cricket.  And they quoted the verse above.  Again, I laughed in unbelief.

I'm not laughing today.  Although I'm not for condemning crickets or judging Jiminy, my friend seriously has a point.

The other day I made a decision based on my conscience.  I desperately wanted to do the right thing.  However, our hearts can deceive us.  

The Hebrew word for "heart" in the verse above is leb and it can also be translated as soul, mind or conscience.

By following my conscience, I unwittingly neglected to follow the Holy Spirit.

There will be times when following the Holy Spirit does not make sense and following Him may even seem wrong to some.  However, His way is never wrong.

Our guide needs to be the Holy Spirit and Him only.  He alone is the final authority in our lives.

If we listen to our hearts or crickets, we may find ourselves in a similar place as Pinocchio, looking like a Biblical word for donkey.  And that is never good.







Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Invitation

Today I want to invite you to head over to Deeper Still Devotions, a blog I write for the Deeper Still Ministry. 

Find out how you are a Letter of Recommendation for Christ.  



Friday, September 12, 2014

My Un-Rushed Moment

Recently I stumbled across an episode of "The Golden Girls".  Do you remember that show?  I didn't watch it when I was younger and I can't say I'm a fan now. But this particular episode caught my attention.

Dorthy and her mother share a bed.  As they were exchanging comical banter in the bed, my thoughts shifted to the sweetness of this relationship.  The mother is about 90 years old.  The daughter is about 65.  Again, my thoughts shifted...this time turning to a page in my own story.

My daughter is seven.  Every night she likes me to lay in bed with her "for a couple of minutes".  Some nights I do and some I don't.  I use to rush past these nighttime moments after a day of exhaustion, just wanting to get the kids in bed.

Sometimes my flesh continues to cry, "Just get them to bed so you can relax!"

However, my heart whispers wisdom.

"Don't rush this moment.  Read the Bible with her.  Pray.  Cuddle. Sing."

Someday, I will be 90 and my daughter will be 65.  I may not be lying in bed with her then, but I can now. We can have comical banter and laughter now.  These days won't last forever.  These un-rushed moments  ripen relationship and mold memories.

We need to un-rush our lives to uncover moments of living.

Lysa Terkeurst talks about "un-rushing" our lives in her new book, The Best Yes.  I just finished reading it and it is full of wisdom.  Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies is starting a new Bible study using this book on September 22.  If you are interested in joining the study, you can click on this link to find out more information or register  http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/.





Friday, August 29, 2014

Process of Healing


"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."  Phillipians 1:6

A group of ladies gathered on the porch on a comfortable summer evening.  The weather might have been comfortable, but the hearts of those assembled were bumpy and torn.

Ears listened intently as each lady described her spiritual struggle--an inward battle of defeat verse victory-- clash of freedom versus chains.

These ladies were at the beginning stages of finding freedom and healing.  As each person shared, the Lord brought to my mind a memory.  On that porch, I was transported back to approximately ten years ago--a time of tears and toil.

In my memory, I was kneeling over my Bible, praying.  Tears streamed down my face, and my soul was drenched with the vastness of my brokenness.

The ladies on the porch were overwhelmed with their own brokenness, desperate to be healed, desperate to be healthy, desperate to be whole.

Friends, if you are overwhelmed today with where you are at spiritually, I want to encourage you...

The Lord is not overwhelmed with our mess and He is not in a hurry.  He has a plan and He is at work.  His plan is to complete the good work He has begun step by step, piece by piece knitting together His beautiful work of art. 

It would be wonderful if we could just wake up and be completely healed and free. Wow!  Wouldn't that be amazing!  Sometimes the Lord does heal immediately, but the more common way the Lord brings healing and freedom is through a process.  I say hallelujah to quick healing and amen!!  However, if that happened, we would miss out on the beauty of seeing God work and knowing Him more intimately.  It is through the process that we discover the Lord's provision and presence.



Ladies, to encourage you, I no longer feel overwhelmed.  The Lord is taking me on a journey.  No need to hurry on this path.  It is full of beauty.  Take one day at a time trusting in the Lord to finish the good work He began in you.  He will.  He is faithful.  Draw near to Him daily and you will be amazed at where He takes you!  

Ten years from now, you will wake up a different person than you are today and you will be amazed!  That my friends is freedom, walking daily with the Lord trusting Him. 

 




Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Ok

My heart pounded as I read the words on the page.  A friend had recommended the book and I reluctantly read it.  As I read it I knew the Lord had led me to read this book.  I won't mention the book because it was controversial and there are still some parts of it that make me squirm in my seat.

However, there was a part of this book where the Lord had my utmost attention.   In this book, a girl had died and went to heaven and her father was able to see her in heaven through a vision.  My composure broke as I read this scene. Out of seemingly nowhere tears poured down my cheeks.

"I am so sorry", I softly whispered under welts of tears.

I repeated these words again and again until my tears turned to heavy sobs, the kind where you can barely breath the pain is so intense.

His voice gently crumpled me to my knees.  He spoke, "It's ok."

I argued with the Lord. "No, it's not.  It's not ok!"

Yes, I know I shouldn't argue with God, but that day He seemed so wrong in what He was saying.

Again, He comforted, "It's ok."

Again, I argued, "No, it's not ok.  How can you say 'It's ok'?  I had an abortion.  I took my baby's life.  It's not ok!"

This exchange went back and forth a few times before the Lord gently and patiently spoke these loving words, "Sue, do you think you could have been a better parent than Me?"

Quietly with eyes down, I responded, "No, of course not."

Again I heard, "It's ok."

The extent of God's grace and love will forever elude me.  My mind cannot comprehend the depth of His love, grace and forgiveness.  It is too wonderful for me!  All I know is that it is in the quietness of His presence that I have found redemption.

His whispers heal the deep and vast crevices of our hearts with His unfailing love.

"[I pray] that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with the fullness of God."  Ephesians 3:17-19

Father, your love is too wonderful for us to comprehend.  Your forgiveness and grace is too marvelous for words.  Lord, I ask for you to heal the deep areas of our hearts.  I ask for ears to hear your voice as you speak sweet whispers of love.  That you would bind the broken-hearted and set the captives free.  In Jesus' Name, Amen. 









Monday, August 11, 2014

Mommy Made a Bad Decision

This week we are on a family trip at the beach.

Last night, Sarah and I stood on the balcony as we watched lightning flash in pulsating colors across the night-sky canvas.

The majestic light show was magnificent.  However, as I stood there gazing on God's beautiful beat of blazing beams, my mind was fixed on a different beat--a heartbeat silenced.

Tears filled my eyes.  My daughter noticed.

"Mommy, why are you crying?"

"Sarah, I can't tell you right now, but I promise I'll tell you someday... Mommy made a bad decision."

"You made a bad decision?", she said with surprise.

"Yes."

She went on to confess that she too made a bad decision and had lied to someone.  It was a sweet moment. We hugged and talked and prayed.

In her mind, her sin was huge and she felt the weight of it.  However, knowing others fail freed her to find forgiveness.

This is why I share.  I share my story so others can find freedom and know that they are not alone in their heartache and pain.  I share so others will know there is forgiveness and restoration in Jesus.

I plan to share my story with my children someday when the time is right. It is a story of forgiveness and freedom. A story of grace and love. A story of restoration and redemption.

Just like the night-sky dancing with shades of light,  the Lord can take darkness and make it beautiful. His Light overcomes darkness and reveals beauty.

The Lord can turn a storm into a stunning work of art.  That is my story.













Friday, August 8, 2014

Tall Paul

Every year for the past couple of years I have prayed for the Lord to give me a word for the year.

This year He gave me the word:  BOLDNESS.

For those of you who don't know me very well, I can be timid, introverted and at times down right shy.

Extroversion is something I have had to work at my whole life.  I make myself be extroverted.

Seriously, I have prayed often for the Lord to help me be friendly. And when I ask, He answers.  So, BOLDNESS is not in my natural makeup.

When I think of the BOLDEST person in the Bible, the apostle Paul stands tall above all.  Tall Paul.  I love a good rhyme!  

Often as I read about Paul in the Bible and how bold he was in his faith, I have thought, "Wow!  I would love to be bold like Paul."  Perhaps you have thought that as well.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking over my scripture cards for speaking.  (I have scripture cards that I carry with me when speaking to pray over, to encourage me to be bold and confident in my speaking.)

I was at the She Speaks Conference and my roomie, Melissa Sherlin, was in the room with me.  I showed her my cards and told her their purpose.  One of the verses was from Ephesians.

"[Pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak."  Ephesians 6:19-20

All of a sudden, my roommate and I had an epiphany!  Paul. Asked. People. To. Pray. For. Him.
For Boldness!

Paul, amazing and tall Paul, needed prayer for boldness.

So encouraging.  However, when God is wanting to make a point, He usually says it more than once.

The next morning, Melissa and I headed down for breakfast, full of enthusiasm and anticipation for the day.

On every table setting, there was a small scroll.  Each scroll contained a scripture.  Each one was unique and prayed over to be an individualized word for the person who opened its treasure inside.

I opened the scroll and immediately was overwhelmed with  God's love and presence.

Inside the scroll was this verse:

"Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, 'Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent.'"Acts 18:9

The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision telling him to not be afraid and to keep on speaking.  The Lord wouldn't have given Paul a vision if Paul didn't need encouragement to be bold.

What I believe the Lord was saying to me through these verses was that yes, Paul was bold.  However, perhaps Paul also needed encouragement and prayer to be bold.  Perhaps there were times when Paul even struggled with boldness.

I don't know about you, but that encourages me beyond words.  Tall Paul needed prayer and a vision from the Lord and the Lord gave Paul boldness to carry out His mission and accomplish His good work.  I know the Lord will do the same for me.

Even though I may be small in stature, I can be tall (like Paul) in my boldness and faith.  Just call me Tall Sue.  (I know it doesn't rhyme, but it still works. :)  )







Saturday, August 2, 2014

Named {And WINNER Announced!}


Last night I went through the names of all who entered to win this beautiful wallet.


Crinkled paper strips laid on my bed.  Paper shredded on its own would be nothing more than a mess.  However, each of these fragments were personalized with ink.  Names penned in ink made these strips individualized.  The names made the paper scraps significant.

As they laid there all crumpled and torn, I took each paper in my hand and prayed over each name.  Yes, I prayed for you each by name.

"I have called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me." Isaiah 45:4

The Lord knows your name.  He named you.

If you have ever had a child, you probably went through the rigorous pursuit of finding the perfect name. Hours were spend over baby name books or websites. We named each baby long before birth.  We loved each one and called them by name before our existence was even known.

We understand the importance of a name.  So does the Lord.

At times we may feel like that crumpled up scrap that laid on my bed, but He doesn't see our torn up mess. Instead, He sees His daughter, whom He named and loved long before we ever knew Him, even before we were born.

I pray you would think about your name today.  Sometimes the Lord gives us a new name, different than our earthly name.  Perhaps ask the Lord what He has named you.

He takes your name in His hand and prays over your name.

The winner of the giveaway this week is....PAT EWING!!!  Congratulations Pat!!  

 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Truly Treasured {And a GIVEAWAY!!!--You Don't want to Miss!!}

Her sunlit silky straight hair bounced delightfully on her shoulders as we strolled around the neighborhood circle.  Her stroll was more of a skip-like dance as she zipped by grass patches neatly trimmed and tidy.

She paused briefly as her eye caught a glimpse of golden treasure sparkling in the sunlight.  Wide-eyed and giddy, she bent down and picked up her treasure.  Clinching her fist, she held the new found treasure tightly.

Her excitement bubbled over like a fountain without containment as she gently opened her palms to reveal the treasure she had found.

"Mom!  I have a surprise for you!", she exclaimed with joy! "Come see what I have for you in my hands!"



She opened her hands to announce her precious find. Within her hands lay a dry, crinkled dandelion.  However, to her, this dandelion was not a tattered yellow weed, it was a dazzling treasure miraculously found growing amid the boring green patches.

"The Lord will hold you in His hand for all to see--a splendid crown in the hand of God."  Isaiah 62:3 

The Lord holds you in His hand.  You are His treasure, "a splendid crown", securely fastened in His hand.

You may feel like a dry weed, but He doesn't see you as crinkled and tattered.  He sees beauty.  His creation. His treasure.

Today, I want to offer you a chance to win this beautiful wallet I purchased at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference last weekend.  The conference was amazing and I wish I could have taken all of you along with me (how fun would that be!).  However, since that isn't possible, I wanted to bring you something back.



Isn't it cute!!  

To enter, all you have to do is "Like" my Facebook page and share this link on your Facebook page.  

If you have already "liked" my page, then all you need to do to enter to win this gift is share it on your Facebook page then go to my page to comment on this post to let me know you shared.  

You have until Friday to share.  I will be drawing the winner on Saturday morning and will announce the winner here! 

A wallet holds treasure.  I pray that every time you hold your wallet in your hand, you will be reminded that the Lord holds His greatest treasure in His hand, you.









Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In God's Eye

Day 19:

For thus says the Lord of hosts, “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apples of 
His eye.” Zechariah 3:8


The Lord calls you the apple of His eye.  In the pupil of another person’s eyes, we can see a reflection of ourselves.  The pupil is referred to as the “apple of the eye.”  We are literally in the apple of God’s eye as our gaze locks with His.  Also, His image is reflected in us as we keep our eyes on Him.  

The enemy fears who God created you to be and He knows you are meant to reflect Him.  Therefore, the enemy has plundered and taken from you.  His intent is to destroy God’s creation and squelch His image bearer.  However, the Lord’s heart is to restore you to wholeness and take back all the enemy has plundered.  

The Lord will gain back what is rightfully yours and bring glorious redemption.
   

Father, my heart rejoices that I am called the apple of Your eye.  Thank You for fighting for me and taking back what the enemy has stolen.  Father, I pray that I would keep my eyes fixed on You so that I would indeed reflect Your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You Have New Clothes


Day 18:  You are New

"'Take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him He said, 'See I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'"  Zech 3:4

Last week I went shopping with a friend for some new clothes.   I bought a couple of new outfits (great sale too!).  

But, what if I bought those outfits and then just let them hang in my closet.  What if I never wore them? What if I felt unworthy to wear these new clothes or so I just continued to wear old clothes that were worn out and rags?   

Jesus bought you new clothes.  He has bought you a robe of righteousness.  He doesn't want us to leave it hanging in the closet.  Jesus paid FULL PRICE for that new robe, no sale price there.  He wants us to wear our new clothes proudly. 

Sometimes I forget about the new clothes I have in my closet, so I end up wearing the same old clothes. What we really need to do is remove the old clothes so we can easily access the new.  

The same is true with our new clothes in Christ. 

The reason our new robe is left hanging in the closet is either because either we forget it is there or we don't feel worthy of wearing it.  If you believe you are your old self, you will act like your old self.  

When we renew our mind in God's Word, we are removing the old thoughts and minsets.  We are removing the old and replacing it with new. 

You are no longer dressed in rags of unworthiness, shame or guilt.  Your new clothes are bright with the colors of righteousness and holiness.  Throw away the old rags.  Get your new garments out of the closet and wear them!  God bought these new clothes for you to wear!    


Thursday, July 10, 2014

You are Seated

Day 17 of Finding True Identity:

 "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  

BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."  Ephesians 2:1-6

Can I just say I love it when I see a "But God" in the Bible?!  If you look closely at the verses above, there is so much to see.

Once we were dead in our sins, BUT GOD!  God made us alive!

I have to do an infomerical for God here, "but WAIT, THERE'S MORE!"

As if God making us alive wasn't good enough, God went on to add more. He also raised us up to sit together with Christ Jesus in heavenly places!

One of the things I love about the picture of sitting with Christ is that it indicates rest.  When I feel overwhelmed, Jesus is sitting.  When I feel afraid, Jesus is sitting.  When I feel anxious, Jesus is sitting.

He isn't running around trying to figure out what to do.  He is sitting.

And if I choose to, I can sit with Him.

I can exchange my feelings for His faithfulness.  I can sit with Him and choose peace. I can sit with Him and choose joy.  I can sit with Him and choose patience.  I can sit with Him and choose love.

Today, will you sit down with Him in heavenly places?






Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You are His Body

We are on Day 16 of Finding our True Identity.  No matter what is going on in your world,  I hope this post encourages you.

Yesterday, I shared Ephesians 1:18-20 with you.  Today, let's look at more of Ephesians 1 and 2.

" Far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is come, and He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."  Ephesians 1:21-22

Regardless of what you are facing right now, Jesus has conquered it.  He is far above all and everything is under His feet. How comforting it is to know that our God is bigger and more powerful than any force or trial we encounter.

He is head over all things, including us.  

Depending on your view of God, this truth may cause you to recoil in fear.  However, it shouldn't.  God isn't a punishing, demanding God.  He is just and loving and kind.  Just like a loving parent, who protects and desires the best for His children.  Our Father is over us,  protecting, leading and directing us to His best.  I pray that you would come to know His true nature and let go of any misconceived notions.

 God not only desires that we listen to His leading and headship, He has chosen us to shine the fullness of who He is to the world.  When we fall under His leadership, we are His body to the destitute and lost.

 However, sometimes, we are rebellious and go our own way instead of allowing Him to be our head.  Have you ever seen a chicken with its head cut off.  Not a pretty sight.  It runs around and around with no direction and eventually falls dead.

We are like chickens with our heads cut off when we choose to go our own way instead of staying under the headship of Christ.  We run in all directions until we eventually fall.

When we are under His head, we are in line with His feet as well, and He has said that everything is under His feet.  Under Him is the safest place in the whole world.  Who wants to be a chicken, when under Him is being part of the fullness of God.




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You are Powerful



Day 15:

"[May] the eyes of your understanding be enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 1:18-20

My prayer for you today is that your eyes would be opened and that you would understand and know the hope of His calling, that you would know the exceeding greatness of His power that works in and through us.
To stop and think that the same power that worked to raise Christ from the dead is alive and active in us is mind-blowing.  Our finite minds cannot even grasp what that means or how that works.  Thankfully, we don't have to understand it, it just is.

The Father has a great calling and inheritance for us who believe. You are more powerful than you could ever imagine through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He desires to do great things through you, not by your own power or mighty, but through Him in you.






Monday, July 7, 2014

You are Acquitted





Day 14:

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?”
 
She said, “No one Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11


We have an accuser and his name is Satan.  Our accuser would like nothing better than to defraud the name of Jesus.  

Jesus doesn't accuse us.  When the enemy can get us to agree with him that Jesus condemns us, he is indeed seeking to disprove our Lord and claim that Jesus is our accuser.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Jesus defends His daughters and raises them out of the dirt.  The context of the verse above was that a woman had been caught in the act of adultery.  The "religious people" of that time had drug her out and thrown her in the dirt to stone her to death.  Jesus stepped in and saved her.  

Jesus stepped in and saved us.  Don't let the enemy or "religious people" condemn you.  Jesus doesn't.   He carried away our shame on the cross. He was beaten so we could be made whole and healed.  He was accused so we could be acquitted.
 
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