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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