April 30, 2009

Rebuilding

I will rebuild and not demolish you, and I will plant and not uproot you.
Jeremiah 42:10


Today, I am borrowing from Beth Moore's book, "Breaking Free, Day by Day", a wonderful daily devotion.

"The only reason the sun rises every day is because God gives it His permission. He's never had a wink of sleep, and nothing is hidden from His sight. God has been through every single day of your heritage.

If you are dealing with some ancient ruins, He was there when they crumbled. He knows every detail. He knows exactly how you've been affected, and His experience is reconstruction. After all, Christ was a carpenter by trade. Nothing has ever been allowed to crumble in a Christian's life or heritage that God cannot reconstruct and use."

When houses are crumbling because of poor foundations, you cannot just build another house on top of that same foundation. The house has to be torn down, and the foundation re-built. Sometimes, because of what lies in the ground (i.e. marsh) under the foundation, that foundation has to be totally rebuilt in a new location.

When the ground beneath that foundation is corrupt, a relocation to new land is necessary. The finished product will be amazing, but during the building process, it can be frustrating to look out your window, expecting the same surroundings, yet disappointed because the view is entirely new and different.

It can be exciting, yet uncomfortable all at the same time. We have to learn to adjust to that new location, because it is there that the foundation is firm and solid.

When God allows a "building" in our life to crumble, it can often result in finding "cracks" in our foundations. God wants to restore, rebuild, and fill those places with Him.

April 28, 2009

Hope deferred

Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.


I spoke to someone yesterday whose hope was gone. The dream in his heart had been crushed, and he couldn't find any reason to live. His purpose was gone.

Day by day, he simply went through the motions of going to work, coming home, zoning out in front of the television, and going to bed. He didn't care anymore. He had nothing worth fighting for. He has two children, but doesn't talk to them because it reminds him of how he "screwed" up his life, and it hurts too much to know that his ex-wife and his kids have moved on without him. He can barely take care of himself right now, and doesn't know how to comfort his children, so he just doesn't call. He begs that God will protect and love on his kids, because he can't right now.

He is at the bottom of the bottom and feels like God is punishing him for years of hurting his wife. So this man just takes it, and accepts this pain and hopelessness he feels. He once prayed that God would show him just how much he hurt his wife, and then asked God to let him to carry her pain, so that she could wouldn't have to. He doesn't complain because, in his mind, he "deserves" this agony. This is the journey he is on.

He prays for one last chance...even though he's had many. He tortures himself by re-playing scenarios from his marriage over and over, and condemning himself for the things he could have done, should have done...

One last chance...He's learned how to love his wife, yet will never get the chance to show her because she says that God still is telling her "no".

She wants to obey God because He knows the future. God knows what she needs. God knows her journey...and his journey...and where each path is leading...and he is in control of each of them.

Nothing about this man and his wife's relationship surprised God. Nothing about their divorce surprised God. Nothing about the sadness this man is feeling surprises God.

I struggled with what to say to this man. I had no wonderful words of wisdom or comfort for him. I spent most of my time listening to him, and to his broken heart. He only wanted to hear one thing, because that was his longing and his dream, and I couldn't give that to him. Hope deferred has made his heart sick, and all I could do is listen and pray. Christian cliches were not what he needed to hear.

He begged with, pleaded, and sobbed to the woman whom he longs to be his wife again.

He needed to hear that he could have just one last chance in his marriage...

His wife couldn't tell him "yes" because God had told her "no".
---------------------------------------------------

What we see with our earthly eyes is only a small puzzle piece of what is happening in the spiritual realm. God sees the whole picture, and by seeing the big picture, He truly does know what He's doing when he guides us in a direction that doesn't make sense to us...

We don't understand why God says, "no" or "not now", but there is always a reason behind it, and it's because He loves you and wants to protect you from things you have no clue about. Maybe God is working on the other person's heart or preparing the way in things we can't see...

We don't always know why...

So we must simply trust...


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April 27, 2009

Calling and Purpose

God has a CALL and a PURPOSE for my life and for your life. There is a phrase that says, "Whom God calls, He equips," meaning that whatever He asks you to do, He will give you what you need to complete that task.

As I recall the things that have been spoken over and into my life, I often wonder if I "messed" up and lost out on the specific purposes God meant for me to do. At times like these, I go back to the following scripture.

Romans 11:29 NIV
for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

IRREVOCABLE according to Dictionary.com means: Impossible to retract or revoke: an irrevocable decision. Incapable of being recalled or revoked; unchangeable; irreversible; unalterable; as, an irrevocable promise or decree; irrevocable fate.

God knew all the days ordained for me (written in His book) before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16). God knew the times in which I would "divert" or detour from the "plan" for my life. He also knew when I would make the "big" choice to totally throw everything away because of a sinful lifestyle, and have the "rug" pulled out from under a ministry I was being trained into. God knew I would react in rebellion and pull away from that calling completely. God also knew I would leave that church and go to a new one. He knew as well that I would totally shy away from my calling again in my new church because of "fear of failing" Him again.

On Saturday night as I was preparing for church on Sunday, God gave me a verse:

2 Peter 1:10- "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall"

Hmmm...that got me thinking...

Was it really NOT too late for God to resurrect that dream in my heart???

Was there still a chance that I didn't "blow" my opportunity years ago???

Could God still bring fruition to the calling on my life???

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

According to this verse, I don't believe it's not too late. I don't think I "messed" things up so horribly that God can't still bring it to pass. I do, however, believe I will have to work for it. I also believe that I will have to fight spiritually for it as the enemy doesn't like it when God's kids get powerful in the Kingdom. But I also know that God has given me everything I need to succeed in this area. "Whom God calls, He also equips." Right???

Is there a dream in your heart you think you "messed" up?

Are you afraid you totally blew a "calling" in your life?

Ask God, your Papa God, if it's too late. Ask Him to speak life into that dream or to place a new purpose and calling into your life. Ask Him what your purpose is?

...and then put feet to it.

Ask God what steps you need to take to get there. See, God can give us dreams, but if we just stare at them and daydream about them, they may never come to pass. We have to walk towards them. We have to put action to our faith, even if it take one baby step at a time...

God places a path in front of us and directs our steps, but we are the ones that have to move. God leads, and we follow...


2 Peter 1:3-10 The Message

3-4Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

5-9So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

10-11So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

April 23, 2009

Teacher! Teacher!

"Teacher, teacher!" She exclaimed excitedly as she tried to get my attention to show me how high she could kick the ball.

Those two words have been flickering through my mind all day as I thought about the 4-year old girl who shouted them Wednesday evening at church. She doesn't call me by my name, no matter how many times people have told her my name is Miss Heaven.

She simply calls me teacher.

I looked up the word "teacher" on BibleGateway.com because her words keep echoing in my head. What I found in the New Testament references was pretty interesting!

From what I can tell, when Jesus spoke of "teachers", he spoke of the pharisees and referred to them as "teachers of the law".

When people referred to Jesus as "The Teacher", it was simply "Teacher".

So, I'm sitting here typing, wondering what I am to see, and why this is "bugging" me so much...

...I start thinking...

...and looking...

...and waiting...

...and suddenly, I think I see...

Am I being a "teacher of the law" to those around me (especially my own children), or am I reflecting the "Teacher", being Jesus Christ?

Are the rules, guidelines and expectations I am setting those of "religion" or "relationship"?

Am I judging and over-bearing like the Pharisees or am I merciful and forgiving like the "Teacher"?

Am I portraying a "stiff-necked-vengeful-lighting-rod-striking" portrait of God, or am I portraying the kind of Father God, Abba Father, Papa, and Daddy God that I can go to EXACTLY as I am, knowing I can be all dirty and full of mud, yet still crawl up on His lap, as He wears the whitest-of-whites, robe of righteousness?

I am listening to a 6 disc CD series by Dave and Kris Toyne, called "Experiencing the Father's Heart." Man, it's good. I told one of my blogger friends today how I have scabs starting to peel away, leaving my wounds wide open, yet I'm o-kay with that because I know God can AND WILL heal them.

I'm in a "good place", even though it's a little painful.

We have churches FULL of Wounded Christians who operate like "Teachers of the Law" because they don't truly know the heart of Papa God. I understand a little more of why I react the way I do. I understand a little more why I can be in a church of wonderful, loving Christians, yet still feel like I don't belong. I understand that it's not their issue...

...it's mine. I can say I know God loves me...

Yet do I really believe it? Do I really believe that I can crawl up on my Heavenly Father's lap, with dirty and muddy clothes on, and know He'll love me and hug me and hold me close, even though He is the KING! Do I truly KNOW that He is 100% approachable? Do I truly KNOW His love for me doesn't depend on what I do or what I say? Do I "KNOW, KNOW" that God is NOTHING! like my earthly father?

So...back to the "Teacher".

Yes, I have been a "teacher of the law" because I truly don't know how to grasp and grab onto this incredible love that Father God has for me. I am "teaching" and "reflecting" God from what I know...Head knowledge, but not heart knowledge.

Don't get me wrong. I've had amazing experiences with God, but I don't even think I've begun to touch on what He really has for me. I don't think I have even begun to comprehend what it means to be His daughter, royalty, an heir to the throne, and to be the daughter of the KING...the King who is approachable, and loving, and who will drop everything just to spend time with me...His girl.

Quite a concept, huh? Looks like I'm in for an incredible journey of learning what this looks like...

So, once again, feel free to take the journey with me...and thanks again, for taking the time to read my thoughts-

"
"Rabboni!"

"Teacher!"

"Teach me how to be more like You!"

April 22, 2009

Discipline

Hebrews 12:10-12 (New International Version)

10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.


Ah...the love of discipline...

NOT!

I am an "all or nothing" kind of girl. My thinking says that if I can't do something right or good all the time, then I surely am not good at it AT ALL. Now, truth be told, I know that is so incorrect in my head, but in my heart, I still condemn myself for not being able to do it all the time.

I wrote a post (now deleted) that I was taking a break from blogging AGAIN! I continue to get caught up in escaping from reality by sitting at my computer and totally "zoning" out to the world around me.


I was condemning myself (again!) because I am not "getting" this thing called life. I continue to fall into the same traps of sin or over-indulgence time and time again. When it comes to the computer, I say "Ok, I am done blogging...done checking Facebook...done twittering...done playing games."

Well, this lasts long enough for me to fall "off the wagon", so to speak, and then I'm back into the over-indulgence again. It's that "all or nothing" mentality that I get trapped into.

My past is full of different addictions I've overcome, yet I've simply traded one addiction for another, and declared myself "recovered." The pattern of addiction still remains, yet it tries to masks itself in another habit.

I sat down with God yesterday, and just poured my heart out, totally frustrated with myself. Everything in my life right now comes down to "self-discipline". The battle remains in my will...


"...My spirit is willing, but my body is weak." Matthew 26:41b

That means that "I press on toward the goal...(Phil. 3:14)" Press on through the pain. Press on to train my body and my mind to become obedient to what God has called me to do.

That means I don't go into "flight" mode when things get hard, running away from those things that overwhelm me. That means I need to go into "fight" mode and stick with things as God teaches me discipline. That means when I wake up and am overcome with depressing thoughts, I need to run to the Word of God and make my lips speak scriptures instead of running back to bed and disappearing under the covers for the day. That means that when I am tempted to "zone out" in front of the computer because I don't have to deal with my life, I instead "zone into" the Word of God, or a devotional, or teaching tapes, or anything that is going to keep my focus here, in my life, and on God, the author and perfecter of my faith, who has promised not to let me handle anything which Him and I, together, can't handle.

That means before I blog or check my other favorite sites, I have my own devotions, grab a timer, and begin to make myself become disciplined...one moment at a time.

And if (when) I fail, I need to get up, wipe myself off, and once again, press on and into a life of discipline...

April 19, 2009

He is there...

I find it amazing that when God wants to tell me something, He will repeat Himself over and over until I "hear" Him.

I listen on the radio...He is there.

I read a book...He is there.

I talk to friends...He is there.

I talk with my kids...He is there.

I overhear a conversation...He is there.

I hear a song...He is there.

I blog...He is there.

I read a blog...He is there.

Ok God, I'm listening...I'm here...and so are You...and I'm listening...

April 18, 2009

"Stop it" and Trust God


In the midst of the swirling, cloying fog of fear,

Jesus commands, "Stop it!"

Stop letting your imagination run wild.

Stop analyzing every little detail over and over again.

Stop
flogging yourself with the "if
only's" and "what if's."




How in the world is it possible to o
bey a command that involves so much of our emotional feelings? Our obedience begins with a choice to stop being afraid, followed by a decision to start trusting God.

(Quoted from Anne Graham Lotz)
"My Heart's Cry"


Things work out when you trust in God
.

Proverbs 16:20 THE MESSAGE

April 17, 2009

The Real Me

I tend to blog about being real often.

I think I do this to remind myself to be real often.

I am not a people person, so it's extremely easy to hide behind a computer screen, and write and express and talk. Doing this would totally be my choice of work...

because I don't have to see you face to face.

Sounds kinda' rude, I know, but unfortunately, there is truth in that for me. I wrestle with insecurity often, so if I have all of these "powerful-in-your-face" posts, it seriously is for me. God speaks through my writing, but before it can speak to you, it has to speak to me. How can I write about things that I really have no clue about? I don't have extra education, so what I write is God's message of the day for ME. As I've said before, you simply get to ride along and listen in.

Have you ever thought about how people would respond if they "really knew" who you were? Or what they would think if they "knew" those thoughts you were thinking? How many friends would you really have if everyone could totally see through the charades and masks you put on?

There is One...

He is the One who knows it all and STILL desires to be close to you, who still desires your companionship, and who still wants to pour out every good and perfect gift into your life.

Read Psalm 139.

God formed you and knew every day of your life before it even came to be. He knows every thought you have and knows every hair on your head. AND STILL!!! wants to be part of our life.

Another Natalie Grant song- The real me
(Grab the tissues)


April 16, 2009

Perfect?

I am going to post a music video today. If you have ANY perfectionism in you what-so-ever, I encourage you to listen to it. I actually decided to do it for one of my bloggy friends.

So, Ms. Bloggy friend, (who will definitely know who she is), this is for you. I pray for the day that you are able to post on this subject and truly get healing in this area.

I was listening to Joyce Meyer today talk about perfectionism and rejection. (Isn't it funny how God brings a subject through many different venues until you listen???) She quoted the definition from Webster's of "perfect", and then compared that to God's definition of "perfect".

God simply asks for a perfect heart after Him. It doesn't mean to be flawless in everything we do. What it means is that you actually care if you sin and fall short of God's glory? You long to be the woman or man after God's own heart. You desire to do the right thing even if you don't always do it. God looks at the heart...

Natalie Grant- Perfect People
(lyrics are in video)



April 15, 2009

"Be? Do? No, just Be..."

(This post is simply for me. It was scheduled for today, but written days ago. I need a reminder of these things...sooooooooooo, I am disabling comments to this post. If you get something from it, great)

Do you worry about what people think of you?

or say to you?

or might be saying about you?

or may be thinking about you?

Are you plagued with thoughts of inadequacy in a room full of people?

Are you insecure?

Do you realize that isn't God's best for you?

Do you realize that YOU are cherished and prized in His sight?

Do you realize how much you are ACCEPTED and adored in God's presence?

Do you realize you can come to the throne of God with CONFIDENCE?

Do you realize that He rejoices over you with singing?

Do you KNOW that you are loved?

Do you KNOW that you are a King's kid?

Do you KNOW that God has a plan for your life? Plans to PROSPER you and to give you HOPE for your future?

Do you KNOW that God longs to shower you with good gifts from heaven?

Do you KNOW that there is NOTHING hidden from God...

...even your worst offense against Him!

Did you KNOW that He still LOVES you and CHOOSES you despite that offense???

I once told God I hated Him...

Know what???

He NEVER left me. He NEVER deserted me. He NEVER turned His back on me. He NEVER held a grudge. He NEVER took His love from me. He NEVER treated me as the world would have.

I've blamed God for unanswered prayers...

Know what???

He NEVER left me. He NEVER deserted me. He NEVER turned His back on me. He NEVER held a grudge. He NEVER took His love from me. He NEVER treated me as the world would have.

God does not love as we love. God does not accept as we accept. God does not forgive as we forgive. God does not think as we think. God does not put conditions on His love. God does not desert us like others desert...

God does HATE sin, but He loves the sinner.

God does HATE sin, but doesn't see it because Jesus Christ stands in front of us, saying:

"Father, she is covered in my blood, and she is pure, holy, and blameless before You."

God says, "Come, come just as you are!"

A man at church on Sunday made a profound statement. He said, "I spend all this time before church, putting on my finest outfit, and getting polished before I come to church, yet it is in God's presence that we come to get polished."

You may be fooling everyone else...

But God isn't fooled.

He isn't waiting for you to get polished before you come to Him. He's saying,

"Come my precious daughter."
"Come my precious son."
"Come just as you are."


Don't wait until you are "polished" to go to God. It's our job to simply come, sit, and spend time before the throne of God. He's the One who washes us up, dresses us in robes of righteousness, mends our wounds, and gets us polished.

What about ALL the "stuff" Christians are supposed to do and be?

Ha! Is it not God who works in and through us?

John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.


When we realize who we really are and WHOSE we are, it is THEN that we "DO" without needing all the extra fluff, attention, and praise. We "DO" because we have BEEN in His presence where He has breathed His life and purpose into us. We "DO" not because it is "expected" of us, rather because we love Him and are allowing Him to work in and through us.


Come...sit at His feet...let Him tell you how much He loves you and how much He just wants you to "BE" with Him. God is about relationship...

...not rules and regulations..

He works out the "kinks" in our lives.

Sit quietly and listen...

You may just hear Him whisper...

"Come, simply come..."



April 13, 2009

Christians, we are failing!!!

I am struggling with a subject to blog on...

Not because I don't have ideas or experiences or verses or stories...

or even time.

I have a million thoughts running through my head, many I cannot even begin to put in words...

It's 8:30 p.m. here, the sun has set, the kids are safe and snug in their beds, I'm sitting in a comfy chair, in a warm and comfortable house. About an hour ago, we all had a bedtime snack, took showers, and the boys crawled onto their freshly laundered sheets and under warm blankets.

You would not believe it!!! We had three full meals today and snacks to munch on here and there. I was EVEN able to brush my teeth with pretty decent tap water, and wash my face with a clean washcloth. Can you believe I even was able to put on clean clothes today? It was so nice to lie around and snuggle with my kids while watching a movie this afternoon. I am so blessed to be able to do that. After doing ALL that, I was able to pick up the phone and call my friends and chat in the comfort of my own living room. WOW! It was quite a day...

I WAS EVEN ABLE TO GET ON MY COMPUTER and waste meaningful time...just because!!!

It was incredible!!!

AH....THE COMFORTS OF HOME!

Then I stopped by my friend's blog, Sailor & Co.'s, and suddenly, my heart ached...

My emotions stirred as I stared at the images on my computer screen...

Tears fell from my eyes...

My heart ached some more...

This was my city...

How did I not know?

How did I not see?

Was I so preoccupied with my own discomfort when I saw (ignored) people holding signs saying, "PLEASE HELP. LOST JOB. ANYTHING WILL HELP!"

Denial maybe?

Helplessness maybe? Not sure what to do?

Selfish??? Not willing to take the time to look past the outward appearance into the heart of the person standing there. Handing them $5.00, to ease my own guilt, and so that I could sleep with a good conscience for doing my "good deed" for the day.

I called my friend, and by the time we hung up, I still had no clue what to do...except pray.

Hand-up vs. hand-out...

Most didn't choose to live this way, and don't want our "stuff" or our money. They want to be able to have a home and a job and security and safety...

How do people get OUT of these situations? How do WE help the people around us when we cannot "see"? When we cannot "hear"? When we do not know how to get over our own denial because it would be painful to admit that we may have failed as a society? That just maybe, we, as Christians, really ARE NOT doing our jobs?

I encourage you to check out Casting Crowns song, "If We are the Body", if you haven't already...

...sober thoughts and hard to swallow...God, what do we do???

If you haven't already, PLEASE go check out today's post at Sailor & Co.'s blog! This isn't just happening in my city...

It's ALSO HAPPENING IN YOURS!!!

April 11, 2009

He is not here!!!

Matthew 28:6
He is not here; He has risen,
just as He said. Come and see
the place where He lay.





Jesus is risen EVERYDAY, not just on Easter. His resurrection power is alive and available 24/7/4all/eternity.

It is because of Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection three days later that we can walk in the total freedom that the enemy hopes we never truly discover.

After the day is done, the candy is all gone, the wonderful meal with family and friends is over, and the decorations are placed back in their respective boxes, the good news is...

The TOMB will STILL be empty because Jesus is not here!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!

This Easter, I pray YOU will discover the resurrection power that was bought and paid for by the shedding of Jesus' blood.


April 8, 2009

For only one...

Luke 15:3-7
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.


If I write for only ONE person, it's worth it.

If my honest recollections of my daily struggles offend all but ONE person, I'll write it.

If my life becomes an open book for only ONE person who needs to hear it, then I'll hold the door wide open.

If my posts affect only ONE hurting and lost person, who questions, "Why God?", and finds comforts in those same questions I also write, then I have done my job.


I find myself sometimes "competing", wanting a "super" blog post that everyone raves about. You know the ones where hundreds flock to their blog because they just have such a way with words. I've talked about this before, so I won't go into this much.

But I want to have a purpose in blogging. I want to have an impact on people as God asks me to share some pretty transparent and ugly stuff that lies within me. I mean, God could at least bring me an audience if He's going to ask me to share those things. He could at least make it worth while. :)



But God HAS brought an audience...

and once again this morning, He brought me to my knees...

I received an e-mail from a person I haven't heard from in quite awhile. Long story short, God directed her to my blog in spite of her own feelings. She read and read and read, and as she began to read, her heart softened and God began to speak to her.


He rekindled in her the flame that once was alive and burning for God.


He met her at the well, as she cried out to Him for mercy and grace and forgiveness.

He picked her up, embraced her, as she willingly came back into His kingdom and into His arms.

~It may seem as if your efforts, words, and actions are not making a difference, but people are watching and listening and waiting. People need people who have the "real thing", Jesus Christ.

You have an audience...Jesus Christ and whoever else He decides to send your way. There are people who may faithfully be reading your blog who may never comment, but are sucking up your every word and hope in the One you call Savior! There are people in your neighborhood or at your workplace who are waiting to see if you have the "real deal", waiting to see how you handle life when life gets hard. There are people watching your reactions in traffic simply because of your bumper sticker which proclaims the Good News on the rear bumper of your car. There are parents watching to see if your "rules" are different simply because you claim to follow Christ. There are people listening to the words that flow from your mouth. There are people observing your lifestyle to see if you live a life of character and integrity besides just on Sunday morning.

Get the picture? I say these things not to pour condemnation onto you or to drive you to a life of false "works". These are things that God is showing me and bringing to my heart, and you just get to ride along for the journey.

I'd rather be real and transparent to help that "one" person, than to be fake...and fool 100.

This is life, and we are called to "do" life with each other. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Being a Christian isn't an easy road to walk on...Oh...but it is soooooooo worth it in the end! Making that decision to follow Christ will cost you...but the rewards are eternal!

Please pray with me for my friend, let's call her "Mary", as she has chosen to follow Jesus again. Pray that she will be welcomed into a Bible teaching church with open arms, and that other Christians will surround her with love and acceptance! Also, please pray for her husband to make the same decision.

Let's rejoice with all of heaven because of her decision to follow Christ!


April 7, 2009

The B-I-B-L-E...

Ever notice how your mood changes when you are not plugged in the Word of God, the BIBLE, that is??? Ever notice how your peace tends to fade if you do not renew yourself with the Word of God?

Personally, I become more agitated, irritable, worrisome, restless, "snappy", withdrawn, and carry a sullen countenance. Little things bother me, and I don't feel like joy is radiating from within. I go through my day with an, "is this all there is to life?" attitude, and often wander aimlessly throughout my day. My thoughts become congested, which in turn feeds depression and poor attitudes. Productivity consists of simply doing the routine of the current day, instead of embracing and soaring higher into the day God has planned out for me.

You can wake up and predict everything that will happen that day, because your life has become mundane and dull... Or at least if you may not predict events, you at least "know" something unpleasant will happen today, simply because that's "just life", just the way it is.

You wake up,

go to work,

take care of the kids,

clean,

make supper,

go to bed.

Wake up and do it all over again!

When I take the time and read the Bible, God SHOWS UP and speaks to my heart: sometimes with a gentle whisper of comfort and other times, with a nudge of correction, but HE ALWAYS shows up! There is something wonderful about starting your day with the Word of God.

There are days when I don't start out my day with Bible reading, and some days I don't read it at all. (Oh no!!!)

Does God still love me? Absolutely! Am I still going to heaven? Absolutely! (only because Jesus is my Savior) Am I missing out on something that God may have tried to tell me? Absolutely!

Not reading my Bible doesn't make me a "bad Christian"; it simply means that I 'm missing out on the guidance, encouragement, wisdom, or direction I may have needed for that day.

Now God will speak in other ways (i.e. radio, songs, other people, etc.), but there is something so personal about looking in the Bible with millions of scripture verses, and God pointing out the perfect passage that you needed at that moment. It strengthens your faith because God is ALIVE to YOU in that moment. God is showing YOU that HE loves YOU and wants to speak to YOU. It's truly a personal moment, and no one will "get" that moment quite like you, no matter how you try to explain it, because God PERSONALIZED it for YOU, His son or daughter!

Nothing like a "date" with Papa God!

So, do I read my Bible everyday? No

Am I missing out on what God has to say? Most likely

Does it affect my day (and my peace) if I do not read my Bible? Very much so.

Does it feel like God is drifting away from me if I don't read my Bible? Yes, but He's not the one drifting--I am.

Now, a side note for those people plagued with the "RELIGIOUS SPIRIT":
~I'm not saying don't read your Bible.

I'm simply being honest enough to say that I do not sit down and read my Bible everyday, hopefully releasing other people from condemnation because they are being hammered with the lie of "I am not a 'good' Christian".

Sometimes, I listen to only worship music or Christian radio.
Sometimes, I listen to teaching tapes.
Sometimes, I sulk all day and do nothing.

If you want to get to know God, READ your Bible, even if it's one verse a day!

If you want to defeat the enemy, memorize and QUOTE scripture, even if you have to have it on an index card.

If you want to hear God, then SIT QUIETLY and BE STILL long enough to hear His sweet and gentle whisper.

This is simply my honest journey in life... it truly does make a difference to read and seek out the Bible on your own. I know if I'm feeling a little bit "off", it's because I need to be in the Word of God, where He wants to fellowship with me.


For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts
and attitudes of the heart.

I visited Karen at Surviving Motherhood this morning, and she had this video posted. It is beautiful! The song talks about how Jesus knows your name and fits in with having a relationship with Him. I hope you are touched as deeply as I was!


God's Word is alive and waiting for you (and me)!!!




April 6, 2009

Peace


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Is there something troubling you today?

Is there a situation in your life that is causing turmoil and worry?

Jesus says not to be afraid and not to let your heart be troubled.

Crawl up in the lap of your Heavenly Father and let Him love on you and grip your heart in the palm of His hand.

If the whole "father figure" doesn't work for you because of past wounds, then hide under the shadow of His wings. Let Him bring you peace and rest and comfort...

April 5, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes

16"Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him.
"Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read,
" 'From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise'"
Matthew 21:16


My 8-year old told his grandma this yesterday:

"Nothing is impossible for me because God has sent me on a mission for you."


Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14


Oh, to go to the throne of God with such faith!


April 3, 2009

99th post

Wow! It's hard to believe that this is my 99th post.

My blog started on September 12, 2008. This is a snippet from that post:
I hold within me a bandaged heart, almost whole again. I tuck two wonderful boys in at night. I still have an thin indention on my left finger where a simple gold wedding band once sat. I am on a quest for a brand new career or degree, not sure which. Yet I still remain simple, or at least try to be...

I tend to be pretty transparent, not necessarily to my liking; however, God has made it plain that my writing is to be just that. I've learned a lot about myself since I've started blogging, and God has a lot to do with that.

In this post, I talked about God being my life jacket in a "storm":
Your life was just shipwrecked...without notice...without cause...the world must still spin in orbit...yet you quietly stare at the debris and the wreckage, somehow knowing that your life will never be the same again.

In this post, I found healing in aisle #9: I let myself become numb to my feelings, because then people couldn't hurt me. Heck, I couldn't even hurt me anymore with my self-rejection and condemnation for not "doing things right".


In this post, I shared a revelation regarding my dissatisfied heart: We say we are grateful, but are we really? Have we become like the Israelites who received daily Manna, and yet still complained.


In this post, I blogged about my "open mouth, insert foot, judging" syndrome: Life has never has been and it never will be about us and our rights; however, somewhere in life's journey, we believed the lie that said it is "all about me"

This is my "20 things about me post": I have been praying for God to make me 'real' and authentic, and that's what He has been doing. He is stripping away all those things that I find acceptance in, to show me that He has already given me everything I need. All I need to do is simply pull on heaven and bring them down to earth.

In this post, God showed me about "bounty" for my life: Jeremiah 31:25 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Praise God for that!!!


Here, God reminded me to just "be still": Know that I am God= quit trying to figure everything out...shut your mind off...no analyzing...


In this post, I shared about running ahead of God: "So since God knows my future and also my past, then I need to trust Him with my present, and say, "O-kay God, where are we headed now? What do you have in store for the boys and I now?"


In this post, I talked about being a conquerer:
"I am not a victim. I am not even a survivor (one who just hangs on). I AM A CONQUERER! "

I wrote a letter to myself and found much healing.

I've posted about how God totally provides:
"I trust Him so much with my finances. I really trust Him...so much that...well, sometimes, I make things happen and...take things into my own hands...well...just in case He doesn't...um...provide."


I was looking through my different posts, and wow, I've told you all quite a lot about me. I'm not sure I like that too much:) but God has a plan and apparently wants to use transparency in my life.
Some of you have been blessed by my honesty and others have turned away.

That being said, the fact remains that my name is Heaven and this is Heaven's journey where I share the journey each day brings, good AND bad:) Love ya guys!

April 2, 2009

I'm sorry...

(First of all, thank you Debbie for caring about and loving me. I wrote this post this morning, deleted it, and decided to post it again. I came home from work today with a few messages on my phone, and was honored that you took the time to think of me!)


"I'm sorry."


...Those two little words etched on a piece of paper lying on my counter this morning totally transformed my thinking and gave me hope again today.

Yesterday was NOT a good day!

I put my foot in my mouth AGAIN and GOSSIPED, hurting a friend, possibly losing a friendship.

I was fighting the "Why's" of my divorce again, leaving me angry at God, and was hurt and lonely.

I didn't get my lesson planned for my class at church so my 2-3 year olds and I simply played.

My mom and I had a not-so-good conversation, so I was done...

I deleted my Facebook because I was just done...

I put my drawings and colored pencils away, deciding I was done with those too.

My car broke and I missed work because it took to long to fix.

I felt defeated and took a nap.

My 12-year old and I fought all night.

I swore...

He swore...

I yelled...

He yelled...

I screamed...

He screamed...

I didn't "tuck" my kids in because I was sooooo mad!

My 8 year old cried himself to sleep because I was too mad to pray with him before he went to sleep.

My 12 year old went to his room for the night and I didn't even bother to check on him the rest of the night.

I turned my ringer off and fell asleep crying...

It was NOT a good night!

I was done!!!
--------------------------

"I'm sorry," my 12-year old wrote...

...Those two little words etched on a piece of paper lying on my counter this morning totally transformed my thinking and gave me hope again today. He had already left for school when I found the note.

So I had my coffee, turned my ringer back on, and stuck that little piece of paper in between the pages of my Bible, where God had me yesterday.

"You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help, I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall." Psalm 18:28-29

That little boy will never know just how much God used him to add oil to my lamp this morning...


TODAY will be good day and I will not give up!

April 1, 2009

My Psalm...

Awhile back, Karen Hossink at Surviving Motherhood, encouraged her readers to write their own Psalm based on Psalm 31. After agreeing to this, fear gripped my heart at the thought of totally being 100% vulnerable before God, and I suddenly didn't want to do it.

I know that sounds weird, because that's what we are supposed to do, and that's what I tell others to do- "Tell God what you are feeling. He knows it anyway!"

In overcoming personal depression and mood disorders throughout my life, I have trained myself praise God in the storm- to declare the positive despite the circumstances. To speak out the storm to God seems pretty "faith-less to me."

This Psalm writing experience for me has taken almost a month to do (or at least it seems like it) because I have been afraid to go back into the pit that God's brought me out of. Afraid that by speaking those things which grip my heart will cause me to dwell on them, and become depressed again. This has been challenging, to say the least.

So, as I determined to get this Psalm done this morning, God brought me back to David. He was a man after GOD'S OWN HEART! Yet he was probably one of the biggest "whiners" or "complainers" in the Bible. (Just my opinion) How could that be? GOD'S OWN HEART!

I love the Psalms because David is so real in his conversations with God. There's no trying to decipher what he is saying. He simply says how he feels, and then ALWAYS goes back to God and says, "BUT I know you are in control! BUT I know you have a plan! BUT you are still good!"

As God reminded me of David (once again), I realized that this project was not a "faith-less" act, yet a declaration stating that EVEN THOUGH some things in life look bleak, God is STILL faithful and in control! Here's my Psalm:


O Lord, You are my Rock and my Salvation. You are a firm place in which I can stand. As I stand on You and Your Word, I stand on the Strong Tower, which raises me above all my enemies and the plans of destruction that the enemy has for my life. I am able to conquer because of You. I am able to breathe life because of You. I am able to declare freedom because of You. I am able to walk and run in Your place of rest and peace. I am able to step on the destructive traps of the enemy and step into my destiny- The one which you have planted into the spirit within me.

Father, you see the pain and worry surrounding my heart regarding my children. You hear the groaning cries praying that life will be different for them. You see the plans that the enemy crafts before their feet, hoping they will fall into destruction and wicked lifestyles. He has a plan, but You, O Lord, have a bigger plan that will prevail in my children's lives. I cling to your Word and your promises that my children WILL serve you.

Some people say, "Let kids be kids." Others say, "That's just what kids get into now-a-days". Lord, don't they see what spiritual doors get opened through those things. Don't they hear the cries of the captive saying, "that's how it all began." Don't they understand that You have called my children and I to higher ground- Your hill of holiness? Don't they see how clinging to worthless idols and deceptive lies destroy people? Are they that blind to the things of God that they just can't see? Don't they understand how simple images become implanted into their brains forever, making them long for more, or how the song lyrics eventually become the song of their hearts? Why can't they see that those things are not to be the "normal" in our lives? Those forbidden acts. Those words listened to and spoken are not just "the way it is."

Lord, you have told us that we are strangers and visitors here, meaning we have an eternal home that holds our citizenship. We are not to get "comfortable" here or engage in the things of the wicked. We are not to "try out" or "settle into" those things which are not of You. Lord, my pain is exaggerated because I know how those things damage us, as I've experienced, and I don't want my kids to tread in those waters.

I want to protect them from wandering hearts and deceptive people. I want to hold onto them tightly and never let go, yet You tell me to trust You with their hearts. You ask me to loosen my grip and place them into Your arms. You ask me to step back and let them begin making choices, yet I am afraid. Afraid you will "drop them". Afraid I will not be able to pick up the pieces of their hearts once again. Afraid of losing them. Afraid that they will walk in the counsel of the wicked...

...BUT You have brought freedom to me even though I ventured into those things.

...BUT you love my kids more than I do.

...BUT you have a plan for them that will succeed despite what it may seem.

...BUT You do hear my cries and prayers and the enemy is trembling because he knows I will fight in prayer for my kids.

I choose to trust You Lord. I choose to declare freedom into their lives. I choose to speak life into the champions you have created them to be. I choose to release them into your grip and choose to allow you to work in their lives. I choose to proclaim victory over those things trying to ensnare them. I choose to train my children up in the way of the Lord, pleasing You, and You alone.

I pray that You would infuse your wisdom, discernment, and guidance into my spirit and show me when to hang on, let go, or simply wait. I choose to cling to you more and less to fear. I declare that fear will not grip my heart or their destinies anymore. I hold fast to Your love and promises and goodness. You are faithful and the Great Shepherd of our lives. I will be strong and place my beating heart into your strong and rest-filled hands.

In Jesus' name, Amen

Trusting God

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