Tag Archives: Preacher

Don’t Give Up

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I have walked through one of the most difficult times to date in my life. In short I had foot/ankle surgery 7 weeks ago. I just knew I would be back to it, the daily routine and being my ever so busy bee self within 2 weeks. Here we are 7 weeks later and I am still not walking and haven’t driven in months. I am literally learning to walk all over again and this process is so painful at times. Can you hear the screams on the inside? What? Are you kidding me? I am not going according to “my” pace? Not to mention I have to receive help, key word receive not resent the fact I must have help.

One of the key factors of the above paragraph is pride. I had no idea that was in my heart, I know I don’t ever feel I exalt myself above another. I without a doubt just know I have it together and that has been rooted out years ago. Clearly this isn’t the case.

The first few weeks I was totally 100% relying on my husband to do everything. Our church kindly provided meals for the first few weeks, thank the Lord for this or we would have starved. This is important to know because in the past I wouldn’t do that on any level. You know the “I can handle it,” “someone else needs that above me,” and the all to common “I just don’t want to bother anyone.” P-R-I-D-E!

In no way does our Heavenly Father do something to harm us, it would go against His nature (everything good, perfect, noble, kind and so on). However, I have learned he will allow a hardship, trial and test to show us what is in our heart. To root it out and grow us, which is for our benefit because He loves us so much.

Being in the 7th week of this process (which in retrospect of the rest of my life isn’t that much) I have learned to just trust my Father that He will protect me. Also, that everything will be completed and taken care of if I am not always involved. After all I am a Pastors wife and isn’t it my job to make sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? NO!!! I have learned that my girls will be ok and they actually LOVE to help if I will give them the opportunity. Also, do not worry how others see you, I have in the past felt I needed to “look together” and be able to handle anything thrown my way always with grace. Well news flash, I have found I don’t and that is what makes this so perfect, it gives God the ability to show Himself strong on my behalf. Lastly, Josh, my ever so kind husband, I didn’t realize I have felt I didn’t want to let him down and look “weak”. Wow, what a mistake that was, because I was not giving him the opportunity to be strong for me and stand in the gap. I could go on and on but you get the point.

Pride will keep us from the blessing of letting others close into our lives. We will lose the ability to receive love by letting others in and be a blessing. Meekness isn’t weakness, but power under control.

I found is so interesting when my mom-in-law drove from Oklahoma this week to cook us dinner, I just set there. She mentioned to me that 3 months ago I wouldn’t even let her in my kitchen. WOW!!! That is years of behavior wiped out in this 7 week difficulty. To my amazement I could not believe how much change had happened in my heart.

It is important to mention during this time I have continued to seek Him through, loads and loads of teaching, reading my word and many great books and of course prayer.  I knew if  I just kept my heart open to what God wants to show me then I would overcome this very hard season in mine & my family’s life. Making the choice of getting into a place of why me, why can’t it be someone else or just giving up and letting “life” just do what it will (which is chance not faith in Jesus) will not help you to overcome. Just keep your Spirit open to all God has for you and let him transform you.

In conclusion, I have learned that often times God  will use people to show us love. If we are to busy (prideful) to not receive the help, care & support, we keep people/God our Father at the same arms length. I never knew this was part of my nature I had developed I believe as a child; with the loss of my father & abandonment of my mother. It is so important to just let those things go, they can help shape you into all God has called you to be. I am no where close to where I want to be, but I am not where I once was in my heart. God can use every situation to totally transform your life. Our job is to keep walking, don’t give up, walk in the love of God and his grace & forgiveness. Don’t Give Up!

 

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Scars

 

 

As I drove home from the gym this morning, I began to think about scars. How they look. How they heal. How did it get there in the first place. The Lord began to show me how scars relate to how He transforms our life.

Over 20 years ago I had a surgery that changed my life forever. A doctor made a mistake, which in turn caused me to have a total hysterectomy at age 19. I have a scar from one side to the other on my lower abdomen (along with others in the same area). These aren’t noticeable to others, however they are to me. They are reminder of a deep wound not only physically but emotionally. I don’t dwell on this, I have accepted it as part of my past.

I have experienced great disappointment of never physically being able to have children, and hurt from the trauma caused by the hand of someone I trusted (my doctor). What was an attempt to destroy life, turned into something that forever filled my life with great joy. Had I not had the hysterectomy,  I may have never adopted my 2 daughters. What the enemy meant for bad, God turned into good. The scars of the past, are erased when I see them. They are my absolute joy.

This is how Jesus is when we accept Him into our hearts. The wounds and things of the past are healed. We may have the memories and thoughts which are the scars but we have a future in Him, which heals the broken hearted.  I want to encourage you today that the scars of the past do not determine your future. They may take you in a different direction, BUT God will turn whatever was meant for bad into good.

The scars Jesus has in his side and hands, are the scars that reveal our future. Jesus took the most brutal beating that left him with scars of His past, but oh my goodness the promise of the future. Jesus knew that the wounds He took for us were to give us our destiny, a great future in Him. His scars from the nails in His hands, to the spear in His side are a reminder of Him being raised from the dead and the redemption for His people. Thank you Father that you heal the wounds of our past and have given us the promise of a great future through your only Son.

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In The Midst of Adversity You Are Covered

Rather than saying “God, here is my problem,” we should put the problem into perspective by saying, “Problem, here is my God! 
Anonymous 

We’ve all had to face adversity in our lives. It’s a time of hardship, affliction, recession, depression and otherwise unfortunate circumstances. If you are like me, you probably thought adversity would be a breeze after you sold out to Jesus.

Wow, was I ever wrong! In the beginning of my Christian walk, it seemed the more I obeyed God the more adversity came my way. I quickly discovered that I didn’t like adversity. I still don’t. I like peace. Like a severe storm, you can almost sense adversity coming…the calm before the storm. When the storm of adversity comes, it demands your total attention.

Adversity visits us all from time to time – and in many different ways. It can come disguised as marriage trouble, sickness, financial calamity, hardship from personal attacks, or even difficulty in the workplace and many other ways. Adversity is no respecter of persons. All of us will face it. The question is how will we respond to it.

There is a  scripture in the Word of God that reveals, “If we give up in the day of adversity our strength will be small” (Proverbs 24:10). In this context, giving means to withdraw, let go, or to show yourself slack. Instead of pressing through of what is a time of growth, we shrink back because we prefer to not go through the opposition. This will stunt our growth, I personally prefer growth.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape…shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in this verse, though. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

Let me tell you stepping into the call of God on your life, does in fact come with adversity. As I have began to fulfill the call of God on my life it seems there are plenty of times to shrink back, or grow through adversity. Folks think that being a leader is something so great and is so breezy easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth, to get to where God is taking you, there is always opposition you have to overcome.  I have purposed in my heart, I will not give up, I will not give in. I will keep pressing forwarding, keep growing in Him, and love people. All the while knowing that in adversity I grow deep roots of strength.
Over the past few weeks I have seen several go through adversity and opposition. Cancer diagnosis, offense of a church member, illness, financial attack, a driving accident and so on. Some have grabbed ahold to the word of God and not given an inch. Others have taken to offense and left the place God put them to grow.  The attack on finances has caused folks to stop giving instead of standing on faith continuing to give; knowing that God will not let them fall but is faithful.  One friend had an accident and proclaimed the good news that God  protected her, giving Him all the glory. One group shrank back another group grew deeper roots.

I have personally been walking through a mess. Both of my daughters had strep then I  had it. Which turned into bronchitis and now into pneumonia. You name the symptom I have had it, and it’s not been pretty. As I thought about this adversity and my attitude through it, God has began to show me where I need growth & where I have  grown. One area of growth, I have received help and have reached out, not trying to do this alone. The pride I had isn’t there in the area of thinking I have to “do it all”, and not receiving help. Did you know that people really do want to help? Letting yourself say, “I need help, now,” is huge. That’s a place of letting God work in your life and a step of surrendering.

Another area I have noticed is the desire to just watch as much bible teaching as I can. I watch and re watch my favorite teachers. The enemy didn’t win in shutting my spirit man down. I felt myself just get so sad the other day and lonely, Josh has been gone so much I almost wanted to throw a pity party for myself. Instead, I asked my friend Rachel to come and set with me (for goodness sake she only lives 5 minutes from me) and just talk for a few hours, that is HUGE for me. My spirit man grew a little bit bigger this week.

Now the areas I have seen I need to surrender to the Lord. I have really struggled with how others perceive me. I am a pastor’s wife and I haven’t been to a service in 2 Sunday’s. My girls were sick then I became even more sick. What will others think, and will they be upset with me?  Seriously God is the only one I need to seek approval of, and now I see how I really need to give that to the Lord. I felt the same about my trainer, is he going to be upset with me because I can’t go to the gym? Not that I could do one workout without throwing up all over the place. Lastly joy, oh my how we let joy be stolen in the midst of adversity. I have had moments of just not wanting to talk, to upset, then crying and snappy.  Let me tell you, I still tried to be joyful. However, how I felt would take over from time to time. This is an area the enemy will attack the most, trying to get us to be led by our feelings. By faith we have to surrender our feelings to the Lord and speak we are full of joy until we see the evidence of it in our life. This is possible and there is so much power in doing so.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape.. Shrink back and say it’s not worth it.  The Lord is very specific in the verse Proverbs 24:10. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

When adversity attacks, run to Jesus: When adversity attacks, the first thing you should do is run to Jesus. Don’t flake out, shut down, break rank or isolate yourself from those who can help you. Run to Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus will not let you down. You can trust Him to get you through this turbulence. After you run to Jesus, check your heart. Go down your personal checklist and check yourself. If you have sinned, repent. If you violated the Word in any way, repent. Running to Jesus coupled with repentance should always be our first reaction to adversity.

One thing to help you overcome adversity – get back to church. God’s Word is very specific: don’t forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 4:9). Listen, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Isolation is not healthy. Find a good Bible-believing church where the power of changed lives is visible. Plug in and help that church fulfill its vision.

Adversity attacks everybody, but with your love for Jesus you can overcome it every time. Remember this, God causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s you! With Christ in your life you can make it through every sorrow, oppression, trouble and adversity.

Psalms 91:1,2  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,  my God, in whom I trust.”

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The Ripple Effect

Have you ever thought about how touching water makes a ripple? Think about when you throw a stone into the water how it affects all the area around the point of contact. From the start of the first small ripple it grows into a large ripple. You can throw a small stone and make a huge impact with the ripple, I call this the ripple effect.

The ripple effect applies to how we respond and interact with one another. Take the cashier at Wal-Mart for instance. She can be having a horrible day, not friendly to you because of what she is dealing with, and it will effect  your day. The ripple effect will be, you jumping in your car, driving aggressively and get a phone call and respond with an attitude to the caller. We will think how someone could have been so rude, and get offended over something that actually had nothing to do with us. The same is true if you get a phone call that someone wants to bless you with a gift, this will effect  your entire day in a positive way. The ripple effect will be, because of someone’s action it created in you a positive response, which will in turn causes you to be kind to someone else.

This brings me to a story that happened while living in Chicago. Wow, that was a culture shock living in such a large city. Imagine everything you need within walking distance. People packing the streets busy about their day. Cars and their horns blazing. Sirens blaring and the yellow of cabs flashing by as you walk to your destination. Many people make these very streets their home. A place to lay their head and a place where they may find food to eat.

I will never forget the lives I passed daily who lived on the very street I walked to school every day. Do you think the passersby thought about the ripple effect? What about those who pass by and give no thought to the fact that these are lives, not just something to walk by as quick as possible. Ignoring these lives has a ripple effect, it says you are not important enough for me to stop by and say hi.  Muchless ask if they have a need that could be met.

I daily passed by such a person when I would walk off of the “L” train.  She would stand in the same place everyday not bothering anyone. She had a shopping cart with her full of things that we would throw away. On the cart were plastic bags tied to the side, of what I would assume were items she didn’t want to get wet. She has such a sweet presence about her. Everyday she would be singing and humming with such a joyful heart. She didn’t know that she was having a ripple effect on me.

As I made it home each day I would have her on my heart. God began to really speak to me about her . I felt in my heart I needed to reach out to her and bring her a hot meal. I really wanted to do something that would really make her happy. As I stepped off of the “L” train I approached her, this was the day to reach out. I said to her I had some chili on the stove and if she would give me 30 minutes I would make cornbread and bring her dinner. She said to me, “oh sweetie thank you so much but if I want to get a bed I have to be on time, thank you.” Oh gosh I felt like I had been gut punched. I knew the Lord had told me to feed her and to reach out. The following day I didn’t even say a word, I ran straight up ( took the elevator) I lived 15 stories up, put some chili in a bowl and ran right back down. She was gone. Oh how my heart hurt, I felt I was missing the Lord on this one.

 The weekend rolls around, I look out my window and I see her in her usual spot. This morning I made bacon, eggs and biscuits. I pack her a nice meal up and take off down the stairs, as you can guess she was gone. At this point I gave up, I thought forget it, I tried. Isn’t it funny how we want to make sure things are “perfect” and “just right”?  Often times God just wants us to make the step and let Him do the rest.One evening I make my way home, I see this joyful spirited women and I say to her,” stay right here, don’t go anywhere I will be right back.” I booked it up to my home, I had zero groceries at the time because I hadn’t had time to shop. I  ran to my closet and found a pair of wool socks and new tennis shoes. I had noticed she had holes in hers. I grabbed saltine crackers and some more “whatever is in the pantry” and I grabbed my Bible, packed it all up in a box and ran down the stairs.She was still there, I was so excited to see her. I said to her, Jesus told me to bring you these and I want to give them to you. She looked at each thing, but much to my amazement was her response to the Bible. She grabbed me, hugged me better than I have ever been hugged before and started singing a worship song. She loved the Lord and could not believe she now had a Bible. She kissed me on the cheek and thanked me over and over. I told her, this was from the Lord. This still brings tears to my eyes today. I left her and never saw her again. She was never there to greet me with her singing as I got off the train. I never saw her pushing her cart around making her way to where she slept in the evenings. To this day I believe she was an angel of the Lord. The Bible says we will entertain angels and not even know.

What I thought was me doing a good deed and doing my best to listen to the Lord, turned into impacting me in a life changing way. She had a ripple effect on my life and I am sure on so many others. Today, this has set me on a course for helping those in need. To see the value in everyone. To take the time to talk with someone and make sure they know they matter. The one pebble of encountering one of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of meeting, created a ripple so large that it still reaches others.

As you go about your day, think about the impact you have on someone else. Something as simple as a kind voice tone and attitude can have a ripple effect to help change someone’s day. Next time you are at the check out counter, think about how many people the cashier sees a day and does anyone take the time to just talk and see how they are doing. When you go home to your spouse, take the time to notice one another. This list can go on and on. Jesus made a HUGE ripple when he went to the cross for us that is still making contact with lives every day. Jesus will lead you to someone if we will be open to listen and obey. Make a ripple today.

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You Came To My Rescue

Knowing what it is like to feel unwanted has created in me a desire to make sure others know they are wanted-Oprah

When I heard Oprah say this statement while giving her story of how she overcame her past and has grown into who she is, rang a bell inside my heart.  I have a deep care for those who have been “tossed away” by society, families and life in general. This care has really taken over in my life regarding pets. Oh my, I believe I could take in every unwanted animal and help rescue every abused animal out there. Anyone or thing being mistreated or tossed to the side breaks my heart and I have deep compassion.

As a child my father passed away at the age of 5 years old.  My mother ran off around the age of 4 years old.  You can tell by these 2 sentences what really affected me, the loss of my father first, then abandonment of my mother. This created a deep wound inside my heart, along with insecurities and fear. You don’t really know how deep a traumatic event effects a child until they develop as they age. I grew into someone who wanted to please and be everything to everyone at the cost of myself. I developed a fear of being left, unloved and would break off relationships (create rejection) before I would let others reject me. How unhealthy is it to have that in your heart? VERY!

I grew up where you didn’t talk about this kind of stuff, it just was what it was. I never understood why my dad died, I actually for a while thought he died on purpose, because something was wrong with me. I never knew why my mother ran off, or how to navigate through life having such a deep wound in my heart as a child. I always felt there was something wrong with me. I never really felt it was others, more from a place where I wasn’t good enough for others. I never believed I could make it, that I could make a difference or amount to anything. I felt unwanted, not loved and like I was just simply in the way. This kind of loss and rejection as a child, will set you on a course to a life of destruction if God has not been made the director of your life.  Oh, did I make so many bad decisions. I am so thankful that God has redeemed me and used everything for His Glory and to help others!

Once I cried out to the Lord and He changed my  life, I began to see how valuable I am and the value in others.  God says, we are wonderfully made, we are made in His image and He has a future we have hoped for. The Lord says, that he came for those who need a savior (hello that us you and me), those who have been given up on, who’s lives are a mess. He is our deliverer. He came to heal the broken hearted. He is the Father to the fatherless. We are adopted into Christ. I can go on and on. Isn’t that good news? The Lord wants to make sure they know they are wanted and He created them to have a full and great life. Oprah didn’t come up with that, Jesus did.

What the devil meant for bad God turned to good in my life. I have gone from knowing I wasn’t wanted by my mother and feeling abandoned by both parents; to knowing I have a Father who has set me free from my past. I have been adopted into the family of the Lord, I have a HUGE family now that fellowships around the love of God. I have gone from being rejected to accepted. From feeling unloved to loved. From letting my past decide my future, to letting what Jesus did determine my future.

Growing up with this in my heart has given me a compassion and heart for the really wounded. To help those who do not know they are even seen. To use what had my heart broken, into helping others walk through healing in their hearts through the power of God’s word. Knowing what it is like to feel unwanted has created in me a desire to make sure others know they are wanted and loved. God wants us to know our past doesn’t determine our future, but our future can help others determine theirs. If you have a wounded heart make the decision today to call out to God, and ask Him to fill you with His love. If you have already walked through the healing power of Jesus, reach out to someone who is broken and share of His power in your life. Today could be THE day for you!

 

 

 

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Out of gas can somebody help me?

We live in a fast food, microwave society. If  I can’t get it now or do it now then I don’t want it, and forget working hard for it. It’s amazing to look at photos from 50 years ago and see how hard society worked for what they had.

The world wants amazing benefits with no effort. We eat whatever we want for years,gain a bit of weight and don’t want to put forth the effort to get it off.  We want diet pill or this and that workout machine to get the weight off quick. Instead of making healthy food choices and good ol hard core working out. We spend too much money on credit cards,it’s time to payoff the debt and we get new cards to pay  off the debt. Instead of working to pay it off by setting aside extra, make choices to not go out to eat or buy items we don’t really need.

This same thinking has now creeped into the church. Everyone wants something for nothing. Either they want from the Pastor with zero commitment or just “fix it” for me. We want our kids taught at church and to “change”, but don’t even crack the Bible. Much less pray with our children at home. We want to be taught the Word, come to church and be radically changed. However, we don’t spend time with Lord and forget about reading our Bibles daily. We want options to attend and connect at church, but don’t reach out to anyone and get offended when no one “seems” to notice us. As Joyce Meyer says, “it’s all, what about me, what about me?”

Of course we are to live by the grace of God. However the word grace means, “the ability to do what you can’t do in your own strength.” God doesn’t empower us to set on it. He empowers us to go and to do what you have been called to do. He empowers us to over come in His strength not on someone elses strength or anointing. Often times when someone prays for you, it renews your strength to continue by standing on what He has promised and the word of God. The problem is we don’t know what to do, because we haven’t built ourselves up on the inside. Think of the word built, it means we have to be active in the building process. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We are grown from faith to faith. You build your faith on the Word and you grow it by exercising your faith.

The Kingdom of God needs you, we aren’t meant to just ask Jesus into your heart and then set in the church and just get fed.  What happens when you set and eat?  You get fat. We are supposed to go and do, exercise what has been deposited in your heart. Otherwise wouldn’t He had just taken us up to heaven?

We have to press on, it doesn’t matter if you have tried 10 things and failed, you have to keep trying. Sometimes we step out ahead of  God’s timing but that doesn’t mean we shrink back. We keep moving forward!

Thomas Edison failed over 2,000 experiments before he invented electricity. What if he would have given up or relied on someone else to do his work for him?  I can see him now, just trying and trying to get it right. I can see him staying up late thinking to himself, ” I will get this, I just know it.”

That is how we need to be with the Lord, put all our trust in Him by growing in Him daily. We have to get rid of the fast food-microwave thinking, make the decision today to dig our heels in and start pressing in. Say to yourself, ” I can do this with the Lord.” Commit today to grow more and more in Him. Reach out to someone today and share what God has done for you. Come to church with your vessel full not empty so you can pour out onto others not always with a “fill me up attitude”. A car without gas will not run. Fill your tank with the word of God.  You can do it, begin to live from the overflow that is in your heart!

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Conjunction Junction What’s Your (F)UNCTION?

I find so many today, do not know the Lord will use them and desires to work through them. Do you know you have purpose? Did you know God planned a specific call on your life? It’s true that God has a divine purpose and destiny for each and every one of us. This took me years to step into, but knowing that God works everything for good and that every event, decision and situation in my life trained me for the call of God on my life today. It’s a great thing to know you can learn from every situation in your life to help someone else. God doesn’t keep you in your past, He delivers you and uses it for good. He’s the only one I know who does that for us. Often times those in our lives want to hold us to our past, but not Jesus!
 
When I decided to receive Him and let Him work in my life, I began to serve Him will all my heart and connect right to Him. The word conjunction means the act of connecting or conjoining. The word junction means, the act or process of joining or the condition of being joined. I am fully conjoined and junctioned to the Father. Knowing this has now set me on a destiny and life in Him, full of hope and a great future of sharing what He has done in me and transforming my life.
 
This passion and zeal comes from an unction of the Holy Spirit;meaning excessive, earnestness or fervor for the  Lord. When we know that God has taken up residence in our heart we have an unction for Him and all His word says about and for us. When we step out and begin to walk according to what He says, then we will see with each step He begins to use us. We have opportunities to share with those at our jobs, friends, family and those we bump into in our everyday lives. We can start with just being an encouragement, building up someone in the Love of God.  As we begin to step out in faith, our call and purpose will become more clear as we seek Him.
 
The Kingdom of God isn’t made up of just a bunch of Pastors/Preachers, but of everyday folks with a call of God to help advance His Kingdom. Philippians 1:5-6 says that because of our partnership(conjunction/junction) in the gospel, we can be confident of this, that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. That sounds like a promise to me. Start today and begin the work and call He has for you.
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