Tuesday, April 29, 2014

You Are So Beautiful to Me

Phil Driscoll like me is a trophy of God's grace. I was fortunate to being living in Jacksonville, FL when he made an abrupt turn back to his roots and began to glorify God with his music.
Phil opens this video with a little background and the real heart behind this song.

So much of this is what your Father sys about you, too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Who Will You Be When You Leave the House Today?

All too often, especially on Mondays, we put on our plastic smile, get out the door and go do what we gotta to. We have our outside box we operate in.

However, the word says, Christ in me, the hope of glory. What if I spoke what was on my heart. What if I spoke words of truth in love instead of being afraid of hurting someone or being politically correct. What if I shared words of life? Words of hope.

What does Christ, the hope of glory look like in your life? In your words?

So what if you are vulnerable to someone's criticism or sarcasm? Would you rather have your life look like a to do list or a vibrant journey

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Ephesians 1:8-9
He has already made known to us the mystery of His will. If we don't know the will of God for our lives, it must be covered up with disappointments, the cares of the world, Unforgiveness or who knows what. The point is it is our job to discover it.
I praise God for the For My Life program at Be in Health. It helped me remove a lot of the things that were covering what God has in mind for my life. I am still in the discovery stage.
As I peel off layer upon layer of generational iniquities, self-righteousness, pride, doctrinal error, I am finding the real me. I am finding my voice and I am learning to use it.
You are on assignment today. Will you be BRAVE, and speak words of life to someone and bring them that "Christ in you, the hope of glory"?


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Are You Ready for a Name Change?

Twenty years ago at 5:30 in the morning I would go to morning prayer at Church on the Rock.  As I drove along the service road of I-20 in Rockwall County, this song would come on the radio and I would sing along.
It was my heart cry.
I will change, will change your name
I will change, will change your name

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face
I was all of that: wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid - wounded by years of abuse, the family black sheep, lonely in so many ways because I counted on Ray to complete me instead of the fullness of the Father's love and afraid of never being good enough to be accepted.
Oh, I kept up a brave front and I was very religious but actually had divination that I thought was a prophetic anointing. 
My husband was a truck driver and gone up to three months at a time. I had three teenagers. Frankly, I was a mess.

I took this song as a promise, but I never allowed God to complete the work. A name change is a journey. Like the fruit of the spirit all have to manifest. This name change requires that not only my name be changed, but first, I must be changed spirit, soul and body.

A couple of years later, n the middle of the process, someone presented me with the idea that I should help out a ministry in a small kingdom called Lesotho which is surrounded by South Africa. What a challenge! I felt special, chosen. You see when you are wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid, you need to be validated. Now I found my value.

Ray and I left for another continent. It was a good idea just not a GOD idea. It wreaked havoc on the lives of many family members. Oh, there were some good things that happened. Quite a few actually. But in just under a year we were home in Florida, repairing the damage our leaving, our detour, had done.

Our value is never found in what we DO for God.
Our value is found in who we will BE for God.

I will never know what would have happened if I had stayed my course. All I know is as I submit once again, already a 12 year process, at Pleasant Valley Church and Be in Health ministries,  I am beginning to see His promises of:

Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks His face. 

It is one thing to want to have your name changed. It is quite another to not only submit to the changes but stay the course. It is not a microwave moment, but a journey.
Are you ready for a name change?

Can You Be Still?

When you wake in the morning do you have to turn noise on? Television, computers, iPads, mp3 players added to the mix is the noise of the other family members.

Your spirit needs quiet every bit as much as it needs fellowship. To begin with noise is to splash ice water on your face. It jolts you into your day.

For me I have to slip out of bed before others get up. Sometimes it is four a.m. and I just sit on the edge of the bed talking to the Father and then I listen. I enjoy the quiet. I hear birds singing. It is a way for me to begin with gratitude instead of demands. More often than not, I will then lie back down and get the sweetest ninety minutes of sleep. Now when the alarm goes off, I am ready.

I so understand that may not work for everyone. Another quiet time I have is when I come home from work an hour before Ray. To sit in the family room and listen to the birds, enjoy the flowers and sometimes the little children playing next door unhooks me from my job and refreshes me.

Others find solace in a bubble bath or a walk.  It doesn’t matter where you find your quiet time. What matters is that you do.

It allows your body to come into homeostasis. It allows your mind to slow down and not race over to do lists. It really helps make you a happier person, because you are no longer wound up tighter than a banjo string.

Try a three day experiment of purposefully finding quiet. Carve it out where you can find it. Make it a priority and see if you better understand the Father when He says, “Be still and know that I am God.” You will find that some of the things you have been carrying are not yours to carry. Lay them down and Him handle them.

For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel;
 In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:
 and ye would not.
Isaiah 30:15
When I run to Daddy, rest in His everlasting arms, I shall be safe and I will be strong enough to face whatever comes my way. I do not want to hear Him say, "Ye would not."


Thursday, April 24, 2014

All That and a Bag of Chips

Not sure where we get the idea sometimes that we have arrived. Life is a journey and if we have indeed arrived, we are finished.

Yet sometimes in the midst of our journey, we park. Not for rest, but to wallow in complacency or self-pity. Self-satisfied that we have done the work. It's time to just enjoy.

It reminds me a child sitting in a berry patch and eating, eating, eating. Instead of picking the berries, cleaning them, sharing them and preserving some, it is all about the moment. Eat, eat, and then comes the belly ache of regret. It is the regret of selfishness, of taking and holding life for yourself only.

We were created for fellowship. Sometimes that fellowship is as much fun as walking across sand spurs. Quickly, we learn that our feet must be covered with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

How much of my journey is spent in preparation? Or because I have been a Christian for years, do I assume I am ready? What pride! Even Jesus drew away in the early morning.

They say that you can see a person's real heart by looking at their checkbook and seeing where they put their resources. I contend that you can see a person's heart also by how they (that includes me) spend their time.

If you kept a diary for a week of how you spent every hour, what priority would God be given. There, of course, is work and sleep. But those other 8-10 hours, who gets them? Is there time for the preparation of the gospel of peace?

I know that is an area I have to work out. A place to begin is Psalm 119. Read and study one section for a week until it gets deep in your heart. I promise it will change your life.

A recent study showed that if a Christian was to be different from others, they must commit to meditating on four verses a week. To help me I sometimes write them on index cards and carry them with me or leave them where I can see them.

I am embarrassed to say that I thought I had a lot of Word, could quote a lot. I was all that and a bag of chips. Well, chips are easily crushed and left out go limp, then rancid.

Let's take a verse today and meditate on it. Let it change us and our perspective.

 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
Psalm 119:59-60

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No worries? Really?

Some people say they never worry about anything. Often they are the same folks who are stressed to the max.

Revelation time! Stress is worry. You say everyone has it? Well, we don't have to.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3
Where is the focus? On circumstances or on the Father?
I am not suggesting that you bury you head in the sand like an ostrich. What I am suggesting is that you look to the only person who can help you.
During the past two years, Ray and I have lost a daughter and he lost a brother and a sister. He had open heart surgery. Some of our grandchildren went through some fiery trials which impacted our lives because we love them dearly.  We moved from the home we thought we would spend the rest of our lives in. The van I was driving caught on fire and burned up. These are stressful events.
I would love to tell you that I just blithely said, Well God's in control. I didn't.  However, beginning with the death of our daughter, Carrin, we pressed in like never before and trusted at a level we had never had.
Isaiah 26:3 became my song. When I felt stress tightening my muscles,  it was an alarm to run to Him. Sometimes it took longer than others to recognize. Nevertheless, it was the only refuge I had for no one could fix it.
Pastor Anita often says, Take your peace. That is not passive. You take your peace and don't let anyone or any circumstance steal it from you.
For me it has taken practice and I will admit, if I am tired, I can be easily duped. But I am learning to rest in Him. I am learning to be gentle on myself.
Line upon line, precept upon precept, I allow the author and finisher of my faith to write on my heart. Every circumstance is simply a paragraph in my story. I believe He likes happy endings.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Is The Price of Honesty?

Most of my life I pretended to be who you needed me to be. When I couldn't do it any longer, I would shutdown. Then weeks or months later, try again.

When I moved to Thomaston 12 years ago, I learned that was a fabricated personality. If I was going to be who God called me to be, I had to who He said I was. I was clueless.

I went to Google and googled Who Am I in Christ Jesus? I took those scriptures and began to write them in out in longhand on brightly colored cards.

Then when faced with fear, I could say, God has NOT given me a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. If I felt abandoned, I could say, He promised never to leave me nor forsake me.

It has been a process. I had to choose who to believe. What others said about me? (You are just like xxxx or You are going to be fat just like...Why can't you... You never do anything write. How many places have you lived? You will never amount to anything?) Or I can choose to listen to what the Father said about me. One brings death; the other brings life.
I choose life.

Honesty is so much simpler and brings peace. Lying or fabricating to please others brings torment. That torment brings illness through the stress of always being untrue to yourself. Fear of man or fear of abandonment says honesty is too hard. Guess what? Fear is a liar. Quit listening to the liar and listen to the truth.

We can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. Will you choose life?

Monday, April 21, 2014

If You Have Fallen, It Is Time to Get Up

There comes a time in life when you have to lay down everything 
 that is holding you back and go for it.

 Hebrews 12:1 says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about
 with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
 and let us run with patience the race that is set before us

Our races and weights may be different, but none of us can do what God has set before us unless we lay down all of the weights that we have picked up over the years.
I can rattle off a dozen reasons why I couldn't be expected to a winner in the race of life. They could be as obvious as my weight or age or as devastating as being the victim of a violent crime. But those are just events.

Sometimes we can easily identify the weight. It is the "running with patience" that gets us.  I need to lose weight, but I don't want to lose a couple of pounds a week like I put it on. No, I want dramatic results in a week. Otherwise, it's too hard. I give up with a hopeless sigh.
When I quit trying to do it all myself and rely on His strength, then I go at His pace. I learn to be gentle on myself and I talk to myself. Yes, I talk to myself.
When that commercial comes on TV or the waitress asks if I want dessert (notice she says want, not need), I say, "Self, do you really want to wait another week for a win?"
What conversations are going on in your head? You may need to delete some old tapes. Replace them with what your Daddy says about you.

I find my true identity in who God says I am,
 not the voices of the past or that image in the mirror
or even what a medical test says I am.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made:
 marvelous [are] thy works;
(Hey! I am one of His marvelous works! Woo Hoo!)
and [that] my soul knoweth right well. Ps. 139:14

To redeem them that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons,
 God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,
 crying, Abba, Father. (That means Daddy)
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son;
(or daughter. I am a member of His family.)
and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 4:5-7

 And hath raised us up together,
 and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
(so why are we in the pit of despair? Get back in that chair!)
That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches
 of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
(God wants to show YOU off!)
Ephesians 2:6-7

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil,
to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

What is holding us back from appropriating ALL He has for us? Fear? Unforgiveness? Rejection? Self-Hatred?
We have lay these weights down, get up and  run!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Is it Easter in Your Life?

All of us have suffered tragedy. The loss of a child, a job, a home, serious illness, and so much more.
However, Jesus died on the cross and on the third arose. As Christians we can appropriate that resurrection power in our lives!
We cannot let tragedy define us. Deny it? No! But walk through the fiery fire knowing you WILL be purified.

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee,
 he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee:
 fear not, neither be dismayed.Deut. 31:8
I would love to tell you it is easy. It is not. However, it is possible and when you have been through His sieve, those rocks that I thought were jewels are separated from my life, I emerged stronger and had a resiliency I had known before.
Father God is our Creator. His plans for us are for good and not evil. So when evil comes, we have to trust that He is right there beside us.
Satan's plan is to kill, steal and destroy. All we have to do is look at what is operating in our life and follow the plan that brings life.
I have people say, "But it's so hard."
Is death any easier? Death comes in many forms. Death of dreams, hopes, death of loved ones and the progressive death of our bodies.
It is time to appropriate His resurrection power, rise up and take back what the enemy has stolen. Easter Sunday is the perfect day to take back your life.


Monday, April 14, 2014

What is Your Mouth Saying About You?

There's an old song form the 60s called You Talk Too Much. The lyrics begin with:
 You talk too much
You worry me to death
You talk too much
You even worry my pet
You just talk
Talk too much
 Ever know someone like that?
Keeping our mouth closed when we think we know something that maybe no one knows can sometimes be hard. There is an urge to tell you, because I wanted you to think I was discerning, perceptive and, well, just plain smart.
There are times when God asks us NOT to talk.
      Joshua 6:10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any       noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.

      Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the   Christ.

In Joshua, because they were faithful to be quiet until they were told to shout, victory came. I wonder how many victories are lost, because we opened out mouth too soon. When we just had to tell someone what God told us, a spiritual miscarriage happens in the heavenlies.
That sacred thing God deposited in your heart is now common. It will have to be purged of its commonality and refined by fire to be used by Him. All the while we are wondering what is taking God is so long.

Perhaps we can move more quickly into God's perfect will for us.


Friday, April 11, 2014

The Strong Hands of Love

Every night when Ray and I go to bed we hold hands. As we traveled across country to visit relatives, we often held hands. I love his leathery hands. They make me feel safe and secure.
There is another pair of hands that are stronger still.
Those hands in the past two years have held me through the loss of a child, a home and even a car that caught fire while I was driving it. They held me when Ray had open heart surgery only eleven months ago. He has held us in economic ups and downs even though some were our own creation.

In fact, that is the best part, He holds me whether I am good, bad or even thoughtless.
Isaiah 49:13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. 14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. 15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
This verse is often misquoted as “I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands.”

Actually the word picture in Isaiah 49 indicates that God has engraved not our names, but our very lives, on his hands. The point is to show that God loves us unconditionally. He cares for us without reserve and He will never forget us.
I love it when Ray takes my hand at night as we lay side by side. It is a perfect prescription for a good night's sleep.
When I , accept the love of my Father, it is a perfect prescription for a good life.