Wednesday, July 31, 2013

God's Waiting Room~

Have you ever been in God's waiting room?






You prayed for an answer.




(Silence)




You prayed for God to move.





(Stillness)





You prayed for God to open doors and make a way.





(Dead end)




Waiting.




It's not easy.






God IS faithful, we know this to be true.



But.....



Why?



WHy?



WHY?



Why does God sometimes choose to delay?





Why do we have to wait?














Could it be



- in the waiting -



we discover if WE are faithful?






Will we wait





UNTIL the answer comes,






UNTIL God moves,





UNTIL the door opens?









Will we persevere in prayer?


Waiting for Grownups
{Photo Credit}


Maybe God is waiting to see~



I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope. ~ Psalm 130:5







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Monday, July 29, 2013

Live Jesus~








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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Reunion in the Air~











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Monday, July 22, 2013

Just In Case You've Forgotten~


WOW! 

Courage lived out loud through the life of Robin Roberts. 

Several nights ago, 
Robin received the ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award. 
Through the testimony of this 
beautiful, 
gracious, 
Christ-filled, 
COURAGEOUS woman, 
I was reminded that:


(1) It's not what you accomplish, it's what you overcome that makes the difference.


(2) Strength is found when we allow others into our pain, into our struggle, into our battle.


(3) Strength is given when we willingly step into someone else's pain, into someone else's struggle, or into someone else's battle.


(4) When fear knocks, we need to let faith answer.


(5) There is a purpose behind all we are facing. We need to find the meaning and turn our mess into our message.


(6) Never, Never, Never give up.



I thought maybe, just maybe, you might need to be reminded of this, too.

Happy, blessed week to you~







 
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Friday, July 19, 2013

God's Glory Revealed~








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Too Late~

Too + late

I think these two words,
when joined together,
create one of the saddest sentences in the English language.

Some of the "too late" moments of our life are minor:

Ever turn in a homework assignment only to have "too late" written in bold, bright red letters right underneath your name, along with a big fat zero?

Ever have an overdue library book that cost you a few nickels, dimes, or quarters in fine money?

Ever arrive at the bus stop just in time to see the tail lights of the bus in the distance?

Ever become so involved in what you are doing you forget to keep an eye on the time and end up fashionably late for a dinner date with a friend?

A zero. 
A small fine.
A long walk home.
An embarrassed blush as you greet your friend.  
Not good, but not devastating.

Some of the "too late" moments of our life, however, are monumental:

#52 Too late
{Photo Credit}

Ever spoke words in anger and before you could make amends, the person disappeared from your life without a forwarding address?


Ever put off going to the doctor until the damage was long since done and the diagnosis grim?


Ever planned to visit an aging parent only to get the phone call we all dread the most?

Too late.

Sadly, some of our "too late" moments are irreversible,
                   leaving us overwhelmed with
                                               unrelenting guilt and
                                                                 heartbreaking regret. 

We long to go back,
to say "I'm sorry",
to make an appointment for a check-up,
to hop the first plane home,
but we can't.

It's too late.

The Bible is full of "too late" moments.

The moment raindrops started falling and the doors of the ark were closed.

The moment Lots wife looked back only to turn into a pillar of salt.

The moment Esau realized he had been tricked and his blessing had been proclaimed over his brother Jacob.

Choices made.
Fates determined.
Irreversible.
 Done, not to be undone.

Fortunately, for you and I, there is still time to make the right choice.


God is still calling us into the ark of His salvation.

God is still beckoning us to leave the riches of this world behind, without one thought of looking back, and follow Him.

God is still longing to proclaim His blessing over us.


It's not too late.
          Not yet.
                 But, one day, (possibly as soon as a moment from now), it will be.


Turn to the Lord before it's too late.
  Call out to him while he's still ready to help you.
~ Isaiah 55:6


If you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ, the time to do it is now.

For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT

 Right now.

Today.

Before, it's too late.~








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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Every. Single. Time.~







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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Next Step~

She knew it in her heart.
More than that, she believed it.
Yet, her knowing and even her believing were not enough.

She had to reach out.
She had to touch.
She had to take her faith one step further and take a step.

We find her story in Mark 5:25-29; the woman with the issue of blood. 

No doubt she had heard about Jesus' healing touch.
And, no doubt, she believed His touch could heal her.

She thought, "If I can just touch his clothes, I will be healed." ~ Mark 5:28, NCV

Faith is more than just believing, though.  Faith is action.

She could have spent the rest of her life knowing Jesus was a healer.
She could have tarried away the remaining years of her days on this earth believing He could heal her.
But, sadly, she never would have received her healing.

Peter believed he could walk on water, but it took stepping out the boat to do it. (Matthew 14)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abnego believed God could save them from the fiery furnace, but it took their obedience to God, refusal to bow down to the golden image and a trip into the fiery furnace to experience God's deliverance. (Daniel 3)

Abraham believed God would provide a sacrifice in place of his precious son Isaac, but it took building an altar adorned with his son and a knife-clad hand held high to the sky to reveal the ram hiding in the thicket. (Genesis 22)

It is faith that propels our knowledge and our belief into action.
It is faith that
reaches out,
steps out,
stands tall,
and sacrifices all.


Our righteousness is found in our faith in God. Period.  (Romans 3:22)  There is no doubt about that.
But, faith in action opens the floodgates of Heaven.

Faith in action reveals the active presence of our God.

She knew it in her heart.
More than that, she believed it.
Yet, her knowing and even her believing were not enough.
She had to reach out and touch.

She had to take her faith

                one                step                  further



One Step at a Time
{Photo Credit}


     and
                   take

                               a

                                          step


                                                       of


                                                                    faith~



 
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Our Sheltering Place~





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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

God, How Could You?~

Just the other day, God used me to answer a prayer. Me! Imagine that. Now, I know God uses each of us, in many ways, on any given day, to be an answer to prayer, but on this day, it was the last thing I would have ever expected God to do.

You see, on this particular day, my thoughts and actions had been anything but pleasing to God. From the moment my alarm had jolted me awake, my grumbling and complaining had started. Before my feet even had a chance to hit the floor, my mouth had started groaning to God about this, and whining to God about that. By the time I made it to the shower, my pity party was in full swing.

I wish I could say a nice hot shower did the trick, and before long I was rejoicing in this new day that the Lord had made, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It seemed the more I moaned, the more I found to moan about. By the time I left for work, I was singing the blues better than B.B. King!

And it didn’t stop there. The events of the day kept giving me more to complain about. I couldn’t believe what a horrible, rotten, no good day I was having. Then, to top it all off, I found myself sitting in traffic at a railroad crossing. With nothing to do but wait, I began to watch the activity in a store parking lot to my left.

That’s when it happened. I spotted my 84 year old father-in-law attempting to change a flat tire on his truck. When the way was clear, I maneuvered my way over to where he was parked. As soon as he saw me pull up, a look of relief flooded his face. “Oh, Stacy! I can’t believe it’s you. I just prayed God would send someone to help me and here you are. You are the answer to my prayer!”

Who me??????
{Photo Credit}


Me?!



God, how could you?



How could you possibly have chosen ME
to be the one to bless this dear man today?


How could I be the answer
to a prayer spoken in desperation,
when my own lips were
so desperately far from you today?



How could you even think to use me
when I have been acting in a way so undeserving of this honor?




In spite of my thoughts, my actions and my lousy, no good for nothing attitude, God used me.

In spite of what I had done and what I had said, God used me.

In spite of who I am, God used me. But why? Why would He choose to do that?


Because, it’s not about me….it’s about HIM.


If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Message


The sad truth is, even on a “good day”, when my words and my thoughts bring a smile to my Father’s face, the only good in me, is still HIM. Who I am is simply a vessel that, amazingly, God chooses to work through to touch others with His love, and in this case, His provision.


I phoned my husband, and soon, my father-in-law and I were each back on the road again and headed back into the rest of our day. As I drove, I bowed my heart before the Lover of my soul. Through words of confession and repentance, mingled with tears of shame and regret, I felt God’s unconditional love flood my heart.


I was chosen to be someone’s answer to prayer, and yet I couldn’t help believing that God has used this encounter to answer a prayer of my own. Just like my father-in-law, I needed my God to rescue me. Depression was sucking the life out of my day and out of my heart, yet before I had even sought the Lord for a way of escape from this cruel prison, He had answered.


God, how could you? How could you be so beautiful to me?


As I continued my day, I found myself humming a brand new tune. A melody of grace, forgiveness and joy! Why, I could hardly believe the beautiful day I was having!

(Spending precious time at church camp with 4th-6th graders this week, so I'm sharing a few of my favorite posts from days gone by. Re-posting today from Sept. 24, 2011.)




 
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Like Raindrops~









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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Free In Jesus~








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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Name It, Claim It, and Wise Up~



"Why are you mad at me? I didn't throw any rocks at your dog."
~ my dad.

When I think back on my childhood, I fondly remember:
the adobe brick house that was my home,
the trails through the pasture I blazed on my bike,
the aroma of fresh baked bread greeting me after a long bus ride home,
the turquoise colored curtains in my bedroom,
the hum of my mother's sewing machine late at night,
the thrill of spotting a roadrunner on our kitchen window sill,
and among a zillion other things,
the grin on my father's face each and every time he looked at someone in our family and said,
"Why are you mad at me? I didn't throw any rocks at your dog."

Admittedly, as a child, I had absolutely no idea what this meant. Especially, since he would still say this during the times of my childhood when we didn't even own a dog!

As I grew older and was given more liberty to make my own decisions, I began to understand.

Bad choices = bad consequences. And when the bad came back around to bite me, naturally, I would get upset. I would start announcing how unfair life was and everyone within a 20 acre radius knew I was not a happy camper.

Sometimes, I did the unthinkable and (yes!) tried to blame someone else for my own foolishness.

"Well, it's not my fault. You should have stopped me. You should have told me not to do that. It's all YOUR fault"

But, alas. I had no one to blame but myself.

The blame game.

I have a feeling, at one time or another, we have all played it.

Maybe, even with God.

People ruin their lives by their own foolishness
and then are angry at the LORD. 
~ Proverbs 19:3, NLT

Have you ever blamed God for the consequences of your foolish choices?

I have. (Don't jump ahead in hopes of finding some examples. They won't be there. Simply admitting that is enough transparency for this girl!)

It's not fun reaping the harvest of seeds sown in the soil of foolishness.

And yet, the harvest is sure to come.

And, when it does, the only one we can blame is................our self.

Not the bathroom scale,
not the cigarettes,
not the officer who gave us the speeding ticket,
not the bills that arrive each month because we can't say "no",
not (fill in the blank),
Not God.

Choices come with consequences, and, even though we may not like the result of our actions,
these consequences can become the very thing that motivates, inspires, and compels us to choose differently the next time.

If someone has a hot temper, let him take the consequences.
If you get him out of trouble once, you will have to do it again. 
~ Proverbs 19:19

My father was a wise man. He knew in my mistake, there was lesson to be learned and in my failure, there was wisdom to be gained. But only, only when I accepted the blame for my own actions.

Being mad at my father wasn't going to free me from the consequences.
Being mad at God, won't either.

Today, put down the rocks of accusations. Take a good, long, hard look at yourself.

Are you reaping the harvest of seeds sown in the soil of foolishness?
Then, own up to it. Admit your mistake.  Ask God to help you use this experience for future advantage. Learn to seek God in all you do, BEFORE making any other decisions.

Just like my earthly father, our Heavenly Father is a father of forgiveness, love, mercy and grace.

We still have to pay the price,
but if we learn from it,
our God can and will use it for our good, and His glory~

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Monday, July 1, 2013

To Know and Be Known~

I look out the window and marvel at such a God.

The sun is slipping behind the mountains, drawing this day to an end.



The sky, not yet ready to give in to the dark of night,
is the perfect backdrop for the dance.


Pine trees, tall and stately,
are swaying to the music of an evening breeze.
This way and that, their branches look as though they are raised in adoration to their maker.


It is a moment made for worship.


As I gaze upon this scene,
I raise my own hands up to my God.


What kind of God are you
that even the trees praise you?



A mighty God.

A loving God.

A majestic God.

A tender God.

A forgiving God.

A all-love, all-the-time God.

MY GOD.

My heart explodes in sweet delight.
And, I realize,
possibly for the very first time,
that in my delight,
God has granted me the desire on my heart.

My desire to know and to be known by God.

I smile and bid the day, adieu.

Embracing the delight in my heart, I close the blinds and dance into the night.

Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, 
who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
 Delighted, they dance all day long; 
they know who you are, what you do—they can't keep it quiet! 
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us— you've been so good to us! 
We're walking on air! 
All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!
~ Psalms 89:15-18, The Message

 




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Breaking Free~

I wish I knew then what I know now.
I wish I was 21 and just heading out into life.
I wish I had read the words in Proverbs 29:25 many moons ago.

Here it is in a few different translations:

Being afraid of people can get you into trouble,
but if you trust the Lord, you will be safe. NCV

Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
but trusting the LORD means safety. NLT

And, the one that really hit home for me:

The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that. The Message

For the majority of my life, I have known the disabling power of human opinion.

Have you?

What someone thought about me became what I thought about me.
What someone else spoke about me became the very words I spoke to myself. Unless.....the words or the thoughts were positive. Then, I simply dismissed them as being untrue.

Have you done this, too?

Who we are is not determined by what others say or think about us.
Who we are is not determined by what we say or think about us, either.

Who we are is determined by what GOD says and thinks about us. PERIOD.

However, if we let it, fearing the opinions of man can:

determine our outcome

and

derail our God-given destiny.

Quite possibly, where you are right now is no where near where God intends for you to be. Maybe, you too have allowed fear of man to dictate what you think, what you do, and tragically, who you are becoming.

Always remember and never forget that it is God who created you.

He created you
ON purpose,
WITH purpose,
FOR a purpose.

It is God, and God alone, who knows who we are and who we were created to be. Not the world. Not the voice of man. But, the voice of TRUTH.

Who have you been listening to?
Who have you been fearing?
Man?
Or God?

Fear of man is a deadly trap.
It latches onto the very heart of us and holds us captive - captive from our own life.

Fear of the Lord frees us from the chains
Twirling
{Photo Credit}
of human opinion and earthly expectation
and enables and empowers us to be
ALL we were created to be.

Fear of man brings death to our dreams,
our hopes, and our God-given destiny.

Fear of the Lord breathes life
into our very existence for being
and spurs us on to our very purpose for being.


Don't become ensnared by the opinions of others.


Don't let the words and thoughts of others trip you up.


Know who you are IN Christ.


Then, step out into your destiny and let the world know, too.~










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