Friday, June 23, 2017

And The Greatest of These......

Love has been on my mind lately.  How easily the word slips off the tongue. How easily we use it for everything in life, but how we really don't understand love's impact.
My thoughts took me to read 1 Corinthians 13. I recommend everyone read it, but here some verses that stood out to me:

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT).

"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).

These verses describe to us unconditional, immovable, agape love, love that comes from the Father. My heart is overwhelmed with that love. It doesn't stop there though. We must love our enemies.

“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.
 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:14-21, NLT)

Luke 6:32 (NLT) “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!

Wow....tough one huh??  To reflect that kind of love to those who we view as be that Christ-like example. God loves us right where we are....can you find it in you to love those around you right where they are? I'm not saying it's easy, but it can be done when we foster a Christ-centered focus. 
Now in this time, when love seems to be something so misunderstood, let’s reflect God’s character and cultivate a culture of a love that will last forever.  

Just some thoughts.....

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

He Gets Our Mess

The recalling of the immoral woman in Luke 7 wrenches my heart every time I read it. Such a beautiful example of God's compassion as the woman worships the Savior.  I'm so taken back by her love for our Savior, but more so by His love for her.

Have you ever been so deep in the mess you call life that you knew no one would ever be your friend, want to touch you, be with you, or want to be in your life. Have you felt as if you were less than nothing?

As I read these passages I'm overwhelmed by His love in my own life.  I'm overwhelmed by how God sees so much more in us that what the world sees or even cares to see.  I'm overwhelmed by His grace and mercy.

You can find the full recalling of the story in Luke 7 starting at verse 36.  I'm going to share a few of the verses here with you.

"Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them." (Luke 7:38, NLT) 

The first thing to notice here is she knelt at His feet.  Kneeling is a worship stance.  She went to Him with an open heart ready to worship Him.  When you read this you can sense her urgency to worship him with all she was and all she had.

"When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39 NLT)

Jesus didn't care how messy this woman's life was or how many awful things she had done.  He saw her right where she was as she came to him in faith, leaving all of what she carried right there at His feet as she worshiped Him.  

"And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50, NLT).

And that is where her new life began that day.  She reached out and Jesus touched her messy, sinful, horrible life when know one else would!  

None of us are beyond being a "mess" no matter where you are in life.  If you aren't a Christian or if you are, we still have messes, because we aren't perfect. Jesus WANTS to straighten up you mess!!  If you think you are perfect or you need to be perfect in the presence of God you are wrong!  He loved us while we were in our sin.  God sent His only son to die for SINNERS.  He wants us to come to Him in faith, ready to worship and accept His wonder compassionate grace.  His gift of pure love. Salvation.  

I have no doubt that woman's life was completely changed that day.  Do you need a change?  Do you need Jesus to help with your mess today?  All you have to do is reach out to Him.  Here is a prayer for you today....

Jesus, I know you see my mess Lord.  God I need you.  Please forgive me.  Please come into my heart and be the Lord of my life.  Help me through the mess.  I desire a changed life.  God make me whole physically, mentally, and spiritually.  In Jesus name....AMEN.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Get Moving!

Isn't it great when God speaks to you??  Not only does he speak to you, but he speaks to your spouse.  Then you hear the same thing everywhere you go.  Then you finally say, "OK Lord, I get what you're saying".  Now it's time to be obedient.  I was reading in Exodus this week.  Doing my best to pick up on what the Lord had to say to me in His word.

This is the verse that jumped off the page to me, "God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving" (Exodus 14:15, MSG). 

God was saying, I have told you what to do.  You know where I need you to go. Now go!  

Prayer is a vital part of a Christians life as it should be.  But how many times do we use the phrase "Let me pray about it" as a means to postpone being obedient to what God has called us to do?  

God was calling the Israelites to action!  We see God and look for direction.  He opens the doors to opportunity and our response is to "pray about it some more"?  

This is something I feel like we (my hubby and I) have had going on in our lives, maybe you have too.  So now God has spoken quite clearly that we need to move.

Then guess what happened? An opportunity to make a difference and put our faith into action has come our way!  After what God has shown me this week, we didn't have to pray about if we wanted to get involved. We knew we had to get involved!!  The prayer now is for the project and all of those involved.  We want to get moving and put our faith into action.  We want to make a difference for Christ.

James 2:21-24  says, "Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works" (MSG).

It's not just about having faith, but it's about having faith and moving forward to fulfill that vision and plan that God is laying out.  

"Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it" (Romans 12:2b, MSG).

I love the words in this "recognize and respond".  Definitely two words I will be practicing as my journey continues.

Let's encourage one another to "recognize and respond".  

These are just some thoughts.  I hope they encourage you today.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Through a season of heartache, mistakes, transition, and loss it has been more than difficult to focus on the Kingdom. When I prayed at the beginning of the year for what God had for me to do this year He gave me Matthew 6:33.
Matthew 6:33
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
I was supposed to focus on the Kingdom. It has been difficult with all the distractions, but I know it was exactly because of those distractions and road blocks that God made sure I was trying to focus on the Kingdom. It has been next to impossible to focus, but His word has been a constant reminder. A reminder that I'm not walking alone, but He is here with me.
I lost my best friend of 20 years July 10th. It's been less than three weeks. My heart is more than broken, if that is even possible. Teri was strong, but compassionate. Straight forward and honest. If she loved you, she loved you with all she was and no one changed her mind. We never had a disagreement. We have laughed together and shed tears together, we danced together, were ornery together, and at the end we prayed together. She was more than my best friend, she was my sister soulmate.
My counselor (yes, I needed to see a Christian counselor and he is amazing) reminded me that God stores our tears in a bottle.
Psalm 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each on in your book.
All I know is he must have a really big bottle for all the tears I have cried. But He loves me that much that my tears mean that much to Him!
Even a few days ago I wasn't sure my heart would survive this. In the last two and half weeks I have questioned my faith, my purpose, and asked why. How am I suppose to fill this huge hole in my heart? How will I recover? Teri doesn't hurt anymore. She is having a party with Jesus. But we are left here with an empty spot where she lived in our hearts. I am truly thankful and blessed for the time I had with her over the years. I'm especially thankful for the time I have had with her the last few months. Life doesn't continually moves forward, but I haven't been sure how to do that, if I could do that.
The wound is deep, but yet another promise from God:
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
The last few days it has been like a light has come on. I opened myself up to the Holy Spirit where I have been trying to close a door. Fear of hurt and loss. I couldn't bear anymore. But it was like God took me in His arms and hugged me and told me it's going to be ok. I can quit focusing on past hurts and loss, I can remember the wonderful time I got to spend with my Teri, I can be sad, but also rejoice knowing that I will see her again. I can have his peace. I just have to tell Him what I need.
He is so faithful to restore us (Psalm 23:3). I am seeing light at the end of this very long tunnel. Things are not going to be perfect. Jesus told us we would have many sorrows on this earth (John 16:33), but He died on a cross so that I can be free and overcome this world.
He found me in sin. He loved me before I knew Him. He doesn't expect my perfection. He offers His forgiveness. It's true...we are a constant work in progress. I'm not sure when this season will end and the next begin, but if I have learned anything over the last few years is just to let God be God. Sometimes we just have to be still.
This may not mean anything to anyone but me. Maybe I just needed to get it out. Maybe you need to know that you don't have to be perfect and no matter what season you are in there is light at the end of the tunnel and God is truly with you. What i do know is I have no doubt these are the times He carries me. There could be no other way.
Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged, For I am your God.
i will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Just some thoughts......


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hope In A Hopeless World

I'm a people watcher. I like to see facial expressions as people talk.  Most of the time not hearing a word of what they are saying.  But watching as they are engrossed in their own world, in their own circumstance, completely oblivious to what's going on around them.

It's so easy to get tied up in our circumstances. It's where all of our attention is drawn to for a moment in time.  We dwell on that moment.  We focus on it. We analyze it. We pick it apart. Because we get so focused on that circumstance we don't see the big picture around the circumstance.

Let's talk about Peter for a minute.  This may or may not be an analogy you have heard.  It may or may not be a passage you have read in your bible. Here it is.

Matthew 14:28-33
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

As Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he started to drown in his circumstance.  He felt himself sinking in the utter hopelessness of his circumstance....until....the very moment he cried out to the Lord.  Jesus was right there all the time! 

We do the same thing!  We get so focused on the hopelessness of our situation we forget that God is right there with us and all we have to do is cry out to Him.

He asked Peter "Why did you doubt me?".   He was so close to him. He had seen and witnessed the very power of the God. Yet he doubted in the moment  of hopelessness.

But Jesus is always there to pick us up, even when we waiver.  Even when we take our eyes off Him, He is always there with grace and mercy because He paid the price!!


When you are tempted to look at your hopeless situation and you start to drown in your circumstance, cry out to Jesus.  If you are doubting what God can do in your situation, remember what He did for Peter amongst the wind and waves of his life.

Matthew 19:26

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Focus on the true hope of the world.  Not self, not another person, not the government.....JESUS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love Who?

Do you ever find it difficult to love someone that you come in contact with all the time either at work, school, or church? You can't even like them much less love them? I'm not sure I ever read where Jesus "liked" everyone he came into contact with or that he worked with, but I know that he loved them. So much so that he was willing to die on a cross for them. My heart gets turned inside out when I read this scripture:

John 13:34-35
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Our love for one another will prove to the world we are his disciples because we are following HIS example! Sometimes I think if we just put ourselves in that person's place. We don't truly know what they are going through, what they have been through, where they have come from or where they are going. I feel like this scripture tells us just that:

Galatians 6:2
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Today, as you contemplate that "unlovely" person...remember the command in John 13. Think about putting yourself in that person's place. Find away through prayer and your relationship with Jesus Christ to truly love their soul. Read in Galatians 5 and check out the fruits you may or may not be bearing. Jesus knew that when we love each other, we stand together unified for one spread the gospel.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leading Like Jesus

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I pray every day for the Lord to show me my heart, the things He wants to change and mold in me. I pray for a pure heart and pure motives in all I do.  I want His will in me, not my own. 
Well when you start asking the Lord to show you things, be advised, He will.

He started dealing with me about the kind of leader I am and the kind of leader he wants me to be.
Galatians 5:22-23 came immediately to my mind and my heart.  To be the leader God wants me to be I HAVE to produce good fruit! The fruits of the Holy Spirit!  I had to take a hard look at the fruit I have been bearing, well so often, it hasn't been all of them.  Then realizing that maybe I have been depending on myself too much.  

It's kinda like learning how to ride a bike, once you think you have the hang for it, you don't feel like you need anyone to hold on to it for you anymore,  but the thing is I have to always have the Lord hang on to me and me to Him.  Make sense? 

I get on auto pilot so to speak and don't give glory and honor to the Holy Spirit for all HE produces in me.  Before I know it, I'm not producing all the right fruit, and if let go too long, there isn't any fruit and the tree dies. I never want to think I can handle anything in this life without the Lord, without His guidance, without His love and understanding.

To be the leader God wants me to be I have to then wow, not only do you have to produce fruit of the Holy Spirit, but then I have to have WHAT??? A WHAT?? A SERVANT'S HEART!

Matthew 20:28

28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We are to lead by example, by CHRIST'S example.  To learn to be humble obedience, to serve, to be open, to be loving, non-judgmental,  not condemning. 
Paul said:

1 Corinthians 11:1

11 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

Simple, right?
The Lord has shown me that He wants me to be MORE like Him.  To put aside myself, to lay down my cross, and follow Him.  To follow His example of leadership.  He wants me to bear the fruit that will win souls for His kingdom!

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

You and I may not be necessarily in a "leadership" role within your church or ministry.  We are all servants, but know this:  YOU and I ARE leading someone.  Whatever example you are setting be it bad or good someone will follow. Someone is always watching how you live your life.  Someone is always looking for the fruit you do or do not bear and the light you do or do not shine. We are ALL called to the task of making disciples, to LEAD others to Christ.

Matthew 28:19

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit fills me and produces good fruit in me. I will lead others to the truth in Christ. I WILL be, with Christ's help, the leader, the example HE wants me to be. I will follow the example of Christ. 

Who are you leading like? 

Colossians 1:9-14

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Lord give me the courage to seek out all you have for me.  Move me out of my own way that you might have your complete will done in my life.  Give me the burden for the lost.  As I start my every day, what can I do for you Lord, not what can you do for me.  Open the doors Lord and give me the boldness, courage, and wisdom to walk through them.  It's all about you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.