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Friday, December 30, 2016

Keep Pressing On.

Usually at the end of every year I reflect back on the previous year and focus on how I’ve grown, what God has done in and through me. What was the theme of last year? What can I learn from it? 

It’s been a year of surprises no doubt. I wouldn’t have predicted any of it. Not in my wildest dreams! God has done things that were not on my radar. Things have happened also that I’ve had no control over. I’ve had to watch helplessly and trust the Lord, lean on Him all the harder. 

It’s been a year of conflicts. Some unavoidable, others perhaps not so much. All not enjoyable. 

I guess you could call it an unstable year. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. To be honest I don’t think I’ve finished well. I’m feeling rather battered and soul weary.  

Needless to say I’m ready to put this year behind me and begin anew. You know, it’s all how you respond to the troubles of this life. As long as we live here on this earth, we’ll have trouble. It’s inevitable. I could get all down on myself and check it in. Oh I could easily enough, believe me. I’m rather weak, so I’m leaning hard on Jesus, on His strength. He is always faithful to hold me up, dust me off, and send me back out there again. 

His wondrous Word speaks to me so many times, and the other day it spoke to me once again. I have my message for the new year. I’m sharing it with you so it may encourage you to continue on regardless of how you ended 2016. 

This is what the Eternal Lord has to say.
Eternal One: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will bring people back into your desolate cities, and heaps of rubble will be turned into grand structures.

The wasteland will be plowed and sown—a vast change from the emptiness those passing by are used to seeing. They will be amazed, saying, “This place used to be an empty wasteland. Now it’s like the garden of Eden! The cities were demolished, lying in ruins and completely abandoned. Now they are all restored, strong and full of people!” 

Then the nations near you will know that I, the Eternal, am the One who rebuilt and restored the ruined cities and replanted the empty wilderness. I, the Eternal One, promise to do exactly what I’ve said. 
Ezekiel 36:33-36 The Voice 

Has this past year left you feeling desolate? Like an empty wasteland? Yea, me too. I heard this read on a podcast a week ago and my spirit stirred within me. I felt as if the Lord was speaking directly to me these words. 

I’m going to say this in faith, claiming this promise for myself and for those of you stumbling into this new year. This year will be a year of restoration, a replanting. I’m going to thrive and be rebuilt. The Eternal One will do this. 

I will allow Him to do a new work within me. Cleanse me of bad attitudes, anger, ugly habits, etc... He will plant new seeds within me. I’m walking into this year with a renewed sense of purpose. He has more for me to do. He has not or will ever give up on me. 

Again, it’s all how you respond. I pray that God places within me a great tenacity, ability to persevere. Sun beats down on concrete and makes it harder, it also beats down on a candle and melts it. The sun is still the sun. Let’s allow the challenges to change us and make us stronger. 

Don’t you back down and check out! 

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn. Hebrews 12:1 The Voice

Beloved keep pressing on. He loves you and will not give up on you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Message for you

There are two women in the Christmas story that inspire me so much. Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth was actually a relative of Mary’s. Of course we are all familiar with Mary’s story, a teenager chosen to bear God’s own Son. 

Elizabeth was an older woman who was childless. But just like Sarah of old, God did a miracle in her life and she became pregnant. 

You could say a Holy Ghost meeting happened when these two met. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And in response Mary spoke beautiful words of praise for her God. It had to be amazing just to witness it. 

Elizabeth said something to Mary that has become a special verse to me. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her”. 

I had the privilege of meeting a well known author who wrote this verse along with his autograph. I’ve loved it ever since. What a beautiful verse for all of us who have or are struggling to believe when it’s difficult. 

I want to give a shout out to all of you today. 

To those who have stood true and did not turn aside when they asked, “Where is your God now?” They tried to discourage you and feed you negative poison. But you stood firm in your faith. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you. 

To those who “encouraged yourself in the Lord” with pain in your hearts and tears flowing. You are hurting, but your God surrounds you and holds you tighter.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you.

To those who kept seeking His face instead of giving in to fear and despair when nothing makes any sense and you don’t have any answers.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to you. 

To those who kept praying when the prayer isn’t quickly answered or didn’t happen the way you expected it to. Simply because you “considered HIm faithful who had made the promise”. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who said “Your will be done in my life” when you don’t understand the how, when and what. And you sure don’t understand why He would choose you in the first place. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who had to give up and let go in sweet surrender. When every cell in your body wants to take over and do it your way. You answered the call of the Shepherd and allowed Him to lead. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

To those who felt the “peace that passeth understanding” deep within, when the storm rages and the wind howls in your face. You stood on the Rock and remained unshaken.

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you.

To those who when people say “you are so strong”, smile in response and know it’s only because He is your strength that you left the house today. 

Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to you. 

Now you know why I love this verse so much. I’ve been all of these and I’m sure you have too. 

Because of our Savior who was born, we have a Everlasting hope. Life can be hard. I honestly don’t know how people plod along without knowing Jesus. 

Don’t take this for granted. In fact share it with those around you whose heads are bowed low. What a special, blessed gift we’ve been given: Jesus. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Will God really dwell on earth with humans?

“But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” 2 Chronicles 6:18-19

Will God really dwell on earth with humans? Not possible. Can’t happen. But the Almighty God did indeed dwell with His people Israel in the tent tabernacle and then the temple. He brought them out of slavery, fought for them, brought them into the Promised land and made them a nation.  

Will God really dwell on earth with humans? No, not possible. Can’t happen. But the astonishing truth is that He dwelt among us as a human. God Almighty, the Creator of the universe walked around in human skin.   Our God is not distant or unapproachable. He felt our pain, hurts, betrayal, and weaknesses. He has faced temptation. He experienced it all. 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us....John 1:14
 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Colossians 2:9 
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father.” John 14:9.  

Why would God do this? Why would He go after a wandering, straying sheep? Why does He love me so much? I will never know. He gives Himself so lavishly, does not hold back. What a beautiful mystery this is? 

Christmas is such a wondrous season. I love giving gifts to the ones I love. I want to show my appreciation and love to them. What a warm feeling that gives me. 

Multiply that by perhaps thousands and thousands. Perhaps then we can catch a glimpse of the love our Heavenly Father has by giving us His precious Son, Jesus. Immanuel, God with us. 

I hope you have a blessed Christmas my friends. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rambling Thursdays

We had our first snowfall on Sunday. It looks and feels like winter now. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of winter. I just miss sitting on my porch basking in the sun and warmth. I miss tending my flowers. If it were possible, I would be live in warmer climates through the winter and I wouldn’t miss it at all. 

Anyway, there are some things I do enjoy through the bleak winter season that gets me by until spring. 

Birds. Yes birds. I am a avid birdwatcher. I have bird feeders located at strategic areas around my house. Various woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, white crown sparrows, bluejays, finches and juncos visit everyday. You know it’s really winter when the juncos come. They truly are snowbirds. 

My feather friends bring such enjoyment. Put out a bird feeder and they will come!

Reading. This is the season when I settle in with a good book. I so love my books. It truly is an escape. The characters in my favorite books inspire me time and again. I have a small library of favorite books. I also discovered that I can download older books free on my I Pad. So I’m checking out some classics. 

Sunshine. Whenever the sun pops out it really gives me a lift. If I am outside or in the car I soak it in. Vitamin D, you know. 

Weekends out. I look forward to weekends with my husband. Usually we try to go out to eat. Or just walk through the mall. Nothing fancy, just a break from the routine. 

Comfort food. This is the season for hearty soups, stews, casseroles...well you get the idea. Good food makes me happy. And I enjoy creating something yummy in my cozy kitchen. 

Projects. Usually I try to tackle a new project for my house in the winter. This winter I’m finally redoing my laundry room. It was way overdo. I threw out old ugly pvc shelves, replaced them with a cute table, and bought some signs from Hobby Lobby. I’m not done yet, but I’m loving what I’ve done so far. 

Football. Football is the ultimate reality tv. I love watching it. It especially heats up in December and January, deciding the playoff fates. After the Super Bowl, my attention then shifts to Basketball which occupies me till Spring. 

Seed Catalogs. Probably in a few weeks I’ll start getting these beauties in the mail. It’s so fun to look through them and plan out my garden. You can get most of them free. If you order, you’ll be guaranteed to get them every year after. 

My Study/Office. This is my favorite room in the house. This was a project I tackled a year ago. I bought a new desk, put pictures up and bought some wall gallery stuff, (from Hobby Lobby of course.) My desk looks out over a bird feeder and the side yard. This is where I write, study and pray. I’m surrounded by my books, Bibles and journals. 

So as you can see, these small things keep me going and also inspire me. But truthfully, long about March, I’ll be longing for Spring to return. What about you? What keeps you going through the winter? If you are blessed to be in a warm climate, enjoy! I wish I could be too, but I’ll make the most of my winter season. 

I’ve included a link to a blog post I wrote about seed catalogs. Click right here. Enjoy. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Burr of Rejection

I've been struggling of late with myself. You'd think after fifty years I'd have it all together; maybe I look that way at times, but yes I still struggle sometimes. My own blog encouraged me this evening
and I hope it does the same for you. So here is a post from a couple of years ago:

I guess if I pinned down when it began, it would be in elementary school. I felt the sting of rejection then. The girls usually would shun me out of their groups, the boys constantly told me I was ugly. I heard their pointed laughter and sneers. 

It continued throughout the rest of my school years. I had very few people I considered friends. I usually hung out in the library, hidden away with my precious books until I had to go back to class. 

The only true friends I had were in my church which was in another town. It truly was the bright spot in my life. 

I’m not sharing this with you so I can gain your pity. I’m not a drama queen by any means. To be honest, I’ve never really shared this with anyone before. But, I heard a video blog recently from a friend who shared about struggles with inferiority. Her video stirred my heart.

When you face rejection like I did for a prolonged time, it can be like a burr stuck in your soul. You may pull it out, but there are still residual effects that leave us feeling inferior and worthless. 

I can still feel inferior sometimes, to other people and in my self. I’ve never been the type of person who is a social butterfly. Usually I will not reach out to people I don’t know. My train of thought is that, “They probably won’t like me anyway.” Or if I do reach out, then it’s, “They are just being polite, they don’t want to be my friend, because they don’t like me.” 

Silly isn’t it? It seems like it anyway when I read it now. Thanks to the Lord’s gentle touch in my life I’ve come a long way.  I’ve learned not to be harsh with myself. Don’t beat myself up. Speak gently to myself. After all I wouldn’t dare talk to other people like that. 

In the video blog, my friend mentions that when you say inferiority, you hear the word fear. That’s the underlying problem isn’t it? It’s all about the fear. Fear of being hurt and rejected again. And when you fear, you shrink back. It paralyzes you. This has to be a great weapon the enemy welds to keep us from the abundant life God wants us to have.  We miss out because of lies! I’m not inferior and neither are you.

The opposite of feeling inferior is knowing I am significant. So do I seek after someone to love me and give me that significance? Will a human being give me that security? I’ve looked for that in many people and was found lacking. It wasn’t that they didn’t love me, but no human can sate my thirst, fill my emptiness. 

“The nobles send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns but find no water. They return with their jars unfilled; dismayed and despairing, they cover their heads.” Jeremiah 14:3

Anything or anyone other than Jesus is an empty cistern. Jesus is the Living Water. I drink of Him and I thirst no more. So I need to take my eyes off people and fix them on my Jesus. Also simply knowing the Truth has made a difference in the way I look at myself. 

I may digress at times when that old nettle sticks me. But not for long. The truth rises up within me and I say to myself, “This is not so. The Word says, I am this...” 

I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I was chosen. I was adopted. I am an heir of God. God’s grace has been lavished on me...etc. And this is just in Ephesians chapter one! 

This is how you “encourage yourself in the Lord.” I guarantee that any feelings of inferiority will dissipate when you speak the Truth to yourself. 

Knowing I am significant, fixing my eyes on Jesus, not people, and getting the Word in my spirit. This has helped me to walk in confidence knowing who I am and Whose I am. Of course it’s a journey not a three day cruise! I’ve not arrived yet. I still struggle sometimes; perhaps I will still have remnants of that burr sticking to me till I leave this earth. 

Beloved, you are not inferior. You are a confident woman of God. Don’t believe those lies the enemy hisses in your ear. Nothing scares him more than a woman walking boldly with her God! 

2 Timothy 1:7  says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” Amplifed 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Immanuel, God with us.

I’m slowly getting into the Christmas Spirit. I’m in recovery from my food coma from Thanksgiving, playing Christmas music, and in the process of getting the decorations up. 

I realize some of you may not really be looking forward to the holiday season. Maybe you are going through a rough season of your own. Hey I get it. I haven’t exactly been spared myself. I’m going through conflicts of my own and it’s not fun. 

I want to encourage you today from God’s marvelous Word. Isaiah 8 is an amazing chapter that has such relevancy for us today. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful His Word is and how it speaks to my heart just in the right moment. Let’s dive right in. 

In verses 5-8, it tells of evil sweeping over the land like a flood. It will rise up to even the necks. Evil may plot against God’s people, but guess what?

“Plan and plot all you want—nothing will come of it.
    All your talk is mere talk, empty words,
Because when all is said and done,
    the last word is Immanuel—God-With-Us.” The Message

Do you see that? Get that in your spirit beloved! Through the rivers, the fire, the flood, whatever....He is with us and that is enough. What are you facing right now? When all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel, God with us. He is with you, you are not alone in this. You. will. get. through. this.

Verses 11-15 tells us “Don’t be like this people,
    always afraid somebody is plotting against them.
Don’t fear what they fear.
    Don’t take on their worries.” The Message

What are other people confessing around you? Or worse yet, to you? Hopelessness? Fear? Worry? Anxiety? What are you confessing to yourself? Are you stuck on negativity like a nagging ear worm? What or who are you listening to?

Don’t be like them. Without a hope. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries or anxieties. When all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel, God with us. You have Jesus. Trust Him, rest in Him. He has you. He is your refuge.

Verses 16-18 tells us “While I wait for God as long as he remains in hiding,
    while I wait and hope for him.
I stand my ground and hope,
    I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel” The Message

Don’t give up beloved. Don’t give up. Stand firm. Don’t compromise. Wait on God. Know He will move on your behalf. 

Verse 19-22 says, “When people tell you, “Try out the fortunetellers.
    Consult the spiritualists.
Why not tap into the spirit-world,
    get in touch with the dead?”
Tell them, “No, we’re going to study the Scriptures.”

This is how we build up our faith, “Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17  Let others search elsewhere. We will stand on the Word. We will speak it out. The promises are “yes in Christ” 2 Corinthians 1:20 We will anchor our lives in the Truth. The Living and Active Word, Living and Abiding Word. 

I hope this encourages you today. I know it’s greatly encouraged me You know, I can’t control what happens around me. But I can choose my actions. What I confess in my thoughts and words. This message in Isaiah encourages me and challenges me that I don’t have to be like others who without hope. I can be intentional. I don’t want to be merely reactionary. I’d like to set the pace. 

You can too. I hope you enjoy this upcoming Christmas season. Remember this:

When all is said and done, 
     the last word is Immanuel,


Friday, November 11, 2016

Broken Cisterns and Living Fountains

“Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:15

Why indeed? King Amaziah of Judah just defeated the Edomites, with God Almighty’s help of course. So does he return with a grateful heart full of praise for his God? No, instead he brings back their idols and sets them up as his gods and worships them. 

God then sends a prophet to ask this striking question to the foolish king. How absurd is this? To worship the gods of those he just defeated? What did he see in these things that he would look away from the Great I Am and worship idols? 

What do we see in these things that we devote ourselves to? If we would just consider their inability to fill our emptiness. 

I’m no different. I allow my heart to be swayed in other directions. I devote my heart, time, energy, things that do nothing for their devotees. They are like “broken cisterns that can hold no water”. Jeremiah 2:13 

So I “forsake the fountain of living water” for these things. I look elsewhere and wonder why I feel empty and soul hungry. Then inevitably I feel that tugging at my heart. His woos me back. Then wonder why I wandered astray in the first place. 

The Edomite idols cannot deliver their own people. Why should King Amaziah expect any different? Why do I expect anything different? Why should I seek after things that cannot deliver their own followers? 

It’s humbling to consider the wanderings of my heart. But even more humbling is how faithful my God is, even when I am faithless. 2 Timothy 2:13 

Beloved, you will only find satisfaction, security, joy and peace in Jesus. Only Him. You won’t find it in anything else. To know Jesus is to know life everlasting. 

There are certain things I do enjoy and even have a passion for. I don’t live in a cave. But I don’t devote my heart to them. They are only temporary. My heart belongs to Jesus. He has me. I wrote in my last blog about being stable. It’s Jesus who holds me secure. He has my heart, my life. And I will never be disappointed. 

Loosen your grip on these things that can do nothing for you and fasten your heart on Jesus. You will not be found lacking. 

There is none like You, O Lord; You are great and Your name is great in might. But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. Jeremiah 10:6+10

Yes amen, there is none like You Jesus. 

Link your blog to: Testimony Tuesdays

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Shock Absorbers

My car is bucking like a mad bronco. The shocks are shot. Do you like the play on words? Anyhoo, it makes for cautious driving. Normally I’d fly down the back roads around here with nil a thought. Not any more. 

It started with a banging, thumping sound in the rear. A bit alarming, but I wasn’t too concerned. But then one day it sounded so bad I thought a vital piece may fly off the rear end. Adding to the onslaught, the back end was bouncing like a wild trampoline. 

So I need new shock absorbers. You don’t think about shocks until they are broken, and boy you know it then. I can’t drive down the country roads. I have to crawl over bumps. 

Check out this definition of a shock absorber: “A device used to absorb mechanical shocks, as a hydraulic or pneumatic piston used to dampen the jarring sustained in a moving motor vehicle.”  The Free Dictionary

Are you dealing with some serious bumps in your path? How about jarring potholes? Rough roads? Yea, so am I. What absorbs these violent bumps? What keeps me even keeled? 

My life is anchored in Jesus. He is my shock absorber. Without Jesus, I would not be strong and stable. Without Him, I have no peace, no joy...I could go on but you get the point. Without Him, the bumps and and potholes of my road would leave me unstable, tossing here and there. 

Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean I’m immune from trouble. There’s going to be trouble, pain and hurt. But I can be strong and rise above this. 

I so love the passage in Romans 8 that tells us, 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If I want my car to be stable again, I have to take it to be fixed. It needs new shocks. Obvious I know, but I make a valid point. 

If you want to be stable and secure through this life, then you have to trust Jesus with your life. You have to let Him hold you secure. 

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 25:3-4

He alone is your anchor. He holds you secure. You want to go it alone? Push Him away? It’s your choice. 

Link your blog to:Testimony Tuesday

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rambling Thursdays

It’s been awhile since I wrote a Rambling Thursdays post, so I’m indulging today. This time of year is always kind of bittersweet. I’m sad to see summer end, but I love Fall. 

It’s been a great summer. The flower gardens have put on a wonderful display. I’ve ate some tasty tomatoes. Gazed on Yosemite. Sat around some campfires. Ate savory BBQ. Rocked on my porch. Ate homemade ice cream. Had some awesome cookouts. Is it any wonder I’ve put on a few pounds? 

Fall is here. It smells and feels different. Wet leaves. A whiff of smoke. Tangy apples. Crisp air. Yes, crisp; lovely crisp air. What a wonderful sensation that is after enduring hot, humid, sticky days. Combine this with hot flashes and you have misery. 

I pulled out my Fall/Winter clothes and decided I needed a couple of pieces to add. Of course there may be the occasional “I have to get this now”. You’ll always have that right? Will this be the year I buy a poncho? 
I hesitated last year due to the hot flashes I mentioned above. Why would I wrap a blanket around me? #hotmeltingmess 

I received a box of Tulip bulbs and Grape Hyacinth bulbs in the mail. I  ordered these in the spring. I looked at the catalog with excitement, Oh wouldn’t that look great in this garden? I love this combination. Then reality hits in October. This means I have to plant the bulbs. I’m talking about approximately eighty bulbs. What was I thinking???

Football is here and I’m loving it. I miss it so much after the Super Bowl. But alas, my beloved Colts have sputtered at the beginning and lets not talk about Notre Dame. I’m not even going there. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it.  I am a loyal fan regardless. Best reality TV EVER! 

It’s soup making time! I made chili last week and I’m making chicken noodle soup tomorrow. I love soup. A large pot will last a couple of days. Saturday was our annual Chili supper/Hayride. We have had this for years now and what a time we have! Such fond memories of pushing the hay wagon up a hill, to avoid being stuck. Then the time the tire blew a mile from home. There’s always some unexpected excitement. 

This hayride was amazing. A beautiful sunset glowed on us, with the moon adding to the aura of the evening. The silhouette of a deer on a hillside with the glow of the sunset behind. Seeing the sparks of our bonfiire from afar flying upward. It was wonderful and I’ll never forget it. 

Anyway, I hope you get out there and make your own fall memories. Take a hike, gaze on the autumn colors, drink apple cider, go on a hayride, enjoy a football game. You get the idea. Fall lasts just so long. Enjoy it. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wait for it...

This has been a summer of waiting, with some anxiety mixed in. Throw in fear of the unknown, some sleepless nights and a dab of family drama and you have a nasty tasting stew.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. It’s been a great summer. I’ve made some great memories too. But I am ready for a change of season, just as I am for fall, football, chili soup, sweaters and autumn colors. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed I haven’t written much this summer. I just haven’t had the inspiration much. But today I’m feeling it. Let’s talk about unbelief, about waiting. 

In 2 Kings 6:33 this unbelieving captain sent from the wicked King of Israel spoke these words to Elisha, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” 

Samaria was surrounded by the Syrians in a siege. It was really bad. But instead of repenting and seeking God’s face, the King blames Elisha and ultimately God for this mess. And then like a slap in the face, why should I wait any longer? 

Here’s where I’m going to get transparent and admit to you that I’m no super spiritual giant who has done and said all the right things through this challenging summer. I haven’t. I’ve doubted, and perhaps even entertained the idea of just giving up. I’m just tired of getting my hopes up and then have them crushed to the ground. 

But then, I raise my head and pray “I believe, help my unbelief.” Sometimes that’s all you have strength for. And you know, it’s enough. It was enough for the Father with the demonic bound little boy. He said this to Jesus in Mark 9. Did Jesus get upset and disappointed with him? No. He freed the boy and he was healed. 

I do believe, really I do. But I feel weak. I don’t want to give up on You Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?  The best answer I have for this is in Psalm 73:25-26.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Indeed, yes, amen. Wait for the Lord, be strong. Let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

This is my anchor through the storms. This holds me steady and strong. Are you going through a tough season? I pray this encourages you. Don’t give up on your God. 

He has delivered us, He will deliver us, and we have our hopes set on Him that He will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:10

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Open my Eyes

Summer is ebbing away and it makes me sad. But I’m glad to see Fall come. Glad to see another season change. It’s been a challenging summer for our family. 

We faced a lot of unknowns. Unexpected changes. Uncertainty about the future. It’s been a lean season.

Unknown, unseen, uncertainty, uneasiness...this has been my reality the past couple of months. But is there more going on than I know? Once again the Word has spoken to my heart and encouraged me. When hasn’t it??

Dotham is surrounded. The King of Syria is determined to capture Elisha who seemingly confounds his every move, and announces his secret plans. 

In the night his army came and encircled the city. When Elisha’s servant discovers the looming danger in the morning he is panic stricken. “What shall we do?” he asks Elisha.

Elisha is unafraid at the threat. He sees something the servant doesn’t. He prays that the eyes of the young man would be opened. Enlightened, he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. “Don’t be afraid.Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 1 Kings 6:16

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. Psalm 27:3

Are you surrounded by fear, despair and the unknown? Is this what you are facing this morning? Can I tell you that there is more going on than you know? You have the heavenly hosts fighting for you.

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is the world.” 1 John 4:4

I’ve felt weak at times. Fearful other times. “I believe, help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24 I’ve prayed this feeble prayer a few times this summer. 

Elisha’s servant did not see the chariots and horses of fire. He did not realize deliverance was at hand. I pray along with Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that the eyes of my heart would be enlightened, that I may know the hope...the riches of His glorious grace...immeasurable greatness of His power toward me who believe according to the working of His great might, that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.

May I see the truth and not go by my natural senses. May I really know what is going on. Oh Lord, open my eyes that I may see.

When I look back on this summer, I see Him at work. He’s been there step by step. In each tomorrow His grace was there anew. I’ve rested in His care and trusted His guiding hand, when I couldn’t see. 

Does this speak to your heart? I pray it does. Be encouraged not just at my words, but by His glorious Word. 

Unknown, unseen, uncertainty, uneasiness...All will become clear when you know the truth of His Word. That’s all you need to know. 

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dig Ditches???

Valley of dryness, lifeless, thirsty....The armies of Israel and Judah were in a bad way on the march to a battle with Moab. Now at a standstill with no water for the army or animals. It was a desperate situation. 

Jehoram King of Israel blames God for all this. “He did this to ensure our defeat!” Gloom and doom was his theme. 

But Jehoshaphat speaks up, “Lets pray to God Almighty.” And so they show up at Elisha’s doorstep. And he tells them something remarkable. 

“Dig ditches.” Yes in this desolate valley, in faith, dig ditches. 

“You’re not going to see wind or rain, but this valley will be filled with pools of water. You’re going to have plenty to drink. This is a light thing in God’s sight. And by the way, you will defeat the Moabites.” 

It didn’t make sense, it sounded crazy. But they dug the ditches. And the water did come. It filled the valley and the dug up trenches. They drunk deeply, moved on and did defeat the Moabites. Just like God said. 
What do we do when we are in a lean, dry season? Prayers seem unheard, passion waning and God seems afar. Do we blame God? Is it gloom and doom? What do we do? Dig Ditches. 

Make room for God. Dig in faith, believing the water/blessing will come. Dig as deep as you want to receive. Continue to get in the Word, pray, worship, attend church, etc...

God will supply the water and fill those ditches you’ve dug. He will bring times of refreshing. “It’s a light thing for God to do.” 

Rain is coming beloved. Dig in faith. You will drink deeply. 

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Thoughts on the pauses of life

Two years ago this week I began my blog, “Notes along the journey”. It doesn’t seem possible. So much has happened in those two years. I’ve enjoyed sharing my heart with you; especially encouraging you with God’s powerful Word. 

I kept plodding along with this blog. I may not post as often as I did in the beginning. I’ve just been too busy with life, as I’m sure you are. I hope my blog has been an encouragement to you. I pray it spoke to your heart. Perhaps I was able to speak just the right word to you. 

Every now and then on my Rambling Thursday’s edition, I’ll share something lighter, maybe even make you laugh. I also started an Instagram account. Check me out at: flowergirlluv2 

For today I thought I’d share my second blog, dated August 4, 2014. I thought it would be fitting as I been speaking on wilderness experiences the past two Sundays at church. This theme has been on my heart the past few weeks. 

Thank you friends for supporting my blog. I appreciate you all so much. 

“You have such a good attitude”. He looked at me sympathetically. Ordinarily, I would smile generously and feel warm, fuzzy thoughts that someone would take notice. But now, after a couple of months of struggling with the oncoming day when I would have to leave my job and move to another position, I didn’t take it so kindly. 

I grimaced a smile, muttered thanks, and turned away. “What good did it do me? This positive attitude?” It didn’t seem to do good at all. Yep I was indulging in a pity party. Please leave me alone while I retreat and lick my wounds in misery. You probably never been there right?? Yea, I thought so.

I was in complete shock when told I’d be transferred out of my present job. I didn’t see it coming. To be honest, it broke my heart. It was a dream job for me. I loved my job, loved my boss and my co workers. Now, my job would be to clean the office I previously worked in. No, I am not kidding! It was a hard pill to swallow. 

I spent the first month or so wallowing around in disbelief, hurt and anger. Then there came a point when I began to look outward instead of focusing on myself. I sought my Lord’s face, and enlisted my friends to pray. It wasn’t long before He lead me to Joseph. The Joseph in the book of Genesis. 

Joseph, Jacob’s favored son. The one who had a special, beautiful coat made for him. Who was doted on, at the expense of his other brothers. Who had vivid dreams given to him by God Almighty of a bright future ahead of him.  
This same Joseph now found himself sold as a slave material and is led along bound in a caravan heading for Egypt. Add to this misery the stabbing pain of betrayal committed by your own blood brothers, and you have all the material for a angry, bitter, hardened heart. 

Joseph’s life had shifted hugely. As he was led off in the distance, you had to feel that this was the end of the story. His life was over, the unknown stretched out ahead. And those dreams God gave him? Well, we all know that can’t happen now... And where was God while all these ugly things happened to him? 

You and I know how it ended. But when you find yourself helpless in the face of a dramatic change, it can be quite hard to see any silver linings. It’s oh so easy to feed upon those ominous thoughts that the enemy of our soul so eagerly puts before us.  The more we feast upon the tasty but sickly stuff, the worst we feel. 

On the long journey to Egypt Joseph had to struggle with all this. And probably continued to do so afterwords when he worked for Potipher. But how long does those raw emotions remain just below the surface? You’re okay now, and then something is a trigger point and you feel it all again.

How long before the raw wound is healed and we don’t feel the stabbing pain anymore? 

I guess what I’m saying is that ultimately it is a choice. Do we want to remain in our misery. Do we want to continue to wallow in the ugliness? Or do we choose to put that aside and turn to our God. Do we trust Him to give us what we have need of? Will He be enough? 

I have to choose daily sometimes to turn away from the ugly thoughts and turn to my God. I have to choose not to vent and whine. Because really, does it make it feel any better? 

I don’t want to walk around with a chip on my shoulder. It isn’t all about me and my issues. Other people are affected by my attitude. 

Joseph had to struggle with all of this. Somehow he settled it within himself. The Bible tells us clearly that God’s hand was upon Joseph and He granted him favor wherever he was. 

I want to encourage those of you that are in an ugly situation. God’s got this, and He has you. You will come through this stronger. You will once again testify to His faithfulness. His hand is still on your life. All is not gloom and doom. I can’t see beyond my nose, but my God sees it all. He’s got this!

Link your blog to: Testimony Tuesdays

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I don't know what to do.

A great multitude came against Judah for battle. Overwhelming disaster seemed unavoidable.  How can Judah overcome? What to do?

King Jehoshaphat responded by seeking God’s face. Listen to his prayer that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:
“O Lord, God, are You not God in heaven?”
“You rule over all”.
“Did you not, our God....?”
“We will stand before you...and cry out to You.”
“You will hear and save.”

I love how they stood in front of the temple and declared the promises of God. They reminded themselves of God’s power and provision.

How will we respond when our backs are against the wall? When life is chaotic? Tomorrow seems so uncertain. 

I want to encourage you today to stand and remind yourself of God’s promises. Declare to yourself His power and faithfulness. Hasn’t He been faithful to you? “He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.” 2 Corinthians 1:10 

 But look at what Jehoshaphat prays next:

“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m well acquainted with this feeling powerless. 

I don’t know what to do. 

I’ve felt this just a few weeks ago. I had a bombshell lobbed at me concerning my job. I was transferred to another department.  And not where I wanted to be. I had no choice in the matter. 

I was wrenched emotionally. I could see change ahead on the horizon and I was afraid. 

I don’t know what to do.

But my eyes are on You. 

Oh yes, I am powerless. But my eyes are on my God. He will hear and save. My hope is in Him. “God is my refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

God spoke to Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, “Don’t be afraid, Don’t be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”  Needless to say, God fought for Judah and a great victory was won. 

A month ago I sat in a meeting afraid, angry and shocked at what was happening. It was nowhere on my radar that all this was about to happen. Ironically, I was studying this chapter for my Sunday School class before all this went down. 

It was an ugly situation. But God...I love this. Insert Almighty God in the situation and watch what happens. I stood firm and sought His face. In a week after this meeting at work, I had a new job. My life is different and change can be a bit scary. 

He has been with me every step of the way. He kept me strong. 

Beloved take this to heart. He will not leave you. He will fight your battles. He is sufficient. Do you feel powerless today? Have no clue what to do? Look to your Almighty God. Trust Him to take care of you. 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Divine Connections

Two needy people, two complete strangers meet at the city gates. Each has something for the other. It was a Divine connection. 

God blessed and fed both of them, through their faith, what they had to give. Elijah had been camped by the brook Cherith, “set apart”, fed by ravens sent by Almighty God. He was hidden from the wicked King Ahab and his equally evil Queen, Jezebel. 

Now the brook dries up and God sends him far to the north to someone he has never met. Someone just as needy.

She has no name recorded. Just the widow of Zarephath. Her food supply  dwindled to one last meal. The famine has taken its toll. She goes to gather sticks to cook this last dinner for her and her son. But God sets up this meeting with Elijah. And her life will never be the same. By faith, she had to  cook this last meal for Elijah. 

The flour and oil never ran out. They ate everyday. God brought these two needy people together. 

I’ve had many “Divine connections” in my life. Complete strangers before, that end up blessing me and changing my life. 

One such connection happened last year. Last September my neighbor came across the street and asked if I’d like to come to a Bible study. I hesitated a bit, but I said yes. This women’s Bible study met every Thursday and they were all from another church I didn’t attend. 

It was a bit out of my comfort zone to be honest. I didn’t know anyone. But they were so welcoming and gracious. I felt right at home with them. 

I walked in a complete stranger. Now almost a year later, I’ve grown to love these women. They have blessed me so much. I needed them, and hopefully I had something to give to them. 

We studied the Word together, allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, shed some tears, and laughed our heads off. We even rented a house and spent a couple of days together. 

He clearly brought us together. This has been repeated many times through my life. I never cease to be amazed at how He does this. I think about the women God has brought across my path. About how they blessed me, how I grew and changed. 

But you know, these relationships took a step of faith. I had to reach out of my safe bubble. And that’s not always easy for me to do. I need to feel safe. But honestly how many relationships feel “safe”? 

We all have our “issues”, but we all are needy people. You have something to give to me. And vice versa....I have something to give to you. 

Can we lay aside our agendas, judgements, comparisons, and insecurities?  So we can bless and serve each other? 

I want to encourage you today to take that step of faith. Reach outside yourself to that person God has placed across your path. It may be a Divine connection. 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Rambling Thursdays

I’ve been busy as a bee the past month in the garden. Spreading mulch, planting flowers, transplanting, weeding, spraying. Finally I’ve been able to take a breath and start to enjoy my flowers. One of my favorites are Lilies. 

In my flower gardens I have plenty of them. I consider them a staple, a must have in any garden. They are easy to grow, no fuss, no maintenance.  The perfect perennial. 

There are three different kinds of lilies and in today’s Rambling Thursdays let’s take a look at them.  

Daylily. I have many daylilies and to be honest they can be addictive. They are so easy to grow and in a few years they expand and will need to be thinned out. There is a plethora of colors and patterns to choose from. 

The reason it’s called a daylily is because every morning there will be a new flower. But don’t worry, there will be so many blooms that you’ll enjoy them for weeks. 
They prefer full sun, but they do well in partial sun as well. There are many different varieties that will bloom early summer through mid-late summer. I have one that will even rebloom in the fall. Most of my flowers are daylilies. Simply can’t go wrong.

Asiatic Lily. Asiatic lilies are grown from a bulb that you plant in the fall or spring.  Again, just like a daylily, they are a low maintenance flower. There are many different colors and patterns as well. They are so beautiful and add such appeal to my garden. They just “pop”. 

The flowers last a long time and a single stalk can be full of blooms. Plant them in full or partial sun and you’ll have a beautiful show the first half of the summer. 

Since it is a bulb, it won’t take up much room. Also in a few years you may need to dig them up and spilt them, which will give you more. 

Oriental Lily. Oriental lilies are the Cadillac of lilies. Tall, stately, trumpet shaped, and a heavenly fragrance.  I got hooked on these a few years ago and have collected them since. 

Again, they are easy to grow. You’ll find many different colors. Grow in full or partial sun. Be aware that they do get tall. They will stand above the other flowers. But they do add a “Pop” to your garden. They bloom for a long time and when they are done, you can cut them down. 

Lilies are a fail safe flower. I love the various colors and patterns. They are enduring and will increase. They transplant very well. A good investment in your garden. 

Most garden centers sell them. I’ve bought bulbs online for the rare kinds. There are even some daylily farms around where they let you come and dig them up. I suggest googling “daylily farms” and see what’s in your area. 

If you’re lucky like me, you’ll have a friend or neighbor who will share a start. Eighty percent of my daylilies I’ve acquired that way. 

In closing...If you want butterflies, you must plant flowers.