Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Year in My Life . . .

As I look back through my posts on this website, I can see so many changes, so much spiritual growth, so many blessings. It was one year ago today that God healed my mind and my soul and set me on this journey. What started out as a journey to forgiveness has turned into so much more than that. It's not just about finding forgiveness for others, but finding mercy, grace, and especially hope in the struggles that we face daily and the people we come in contact with. It's about finding our purpose. But above all of that, this journey is about growing closer and closer in our relationship with Jesus. Because you see, without Him none of this would be possible.

One year ago on May 30, 2012, I made the decision that I wanted my mind healed of all the pent-up emotions that were keeping me prisoner of my own mind. I wanted healing from the intimidation and manipulation that I suffered at the hands of many. I wanted to grow in my spiritual walk. I wanted a close relationship and even closer one with Jesus, with my husband, with my kids and with my grandkids. And I knew deep within my soul that I would never have that as long as I battled things in my mind.

With that decision, I had no earthly idea what was about to happen to me. I was a little hesitant, a little apprehensive, about going forward at church and asking for someone to please pray with me for God to heal my mind. But here's where everything shifts into something totally amazing... God already knew my decision, knew my heart, and knew what I wanted... AND... He already prepared everything and every person to be there when I stepped forward! 

This is how awesome and amazing our God works. When my pastor met me at the front of the church, HE told ME what I was there for! When he prayed for me, when others prayed for me, they spoke the very things that I was afraid to speak and that I did not know HOW to speak! Yet, here they were, interceding on my behalf, and here I was, agreeing with them repeating what they said, and telling God, "I receive that!" What happened next is nothing but a miracle...

God healed me from the bottoms of my feet, to the top of my head! It is such an amazing thing to actually FEEL your soul heave a sigh of complete relief! How can I put this in terms that others can was as if a giant eraser swiped through my mind and cleared away all the graffiti that had been marking up my thoughts and my view. All those recordings of the hurtful words people said to me were erased, and I was free. For the first time in my life I was FREE! And the next morning, He gave me a verse to show me the path He had put me on.

The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. ~Luke 4:18-19, HCSB (emphasis added)

I'm still free! Oh, there are still battles within my mind, but I am now better equipped to handle them. I still have verbal abuse thrown my way, but I can better bat it away. Those who want control can't have it. There is no room for them. Only room for the Lord. He has shifted my entire existence. I am closer to Him, closer to my husband, my kids, and my grandkids now. I have new friends who spur me on, encourage me, and accept me for... ME. Do I miss my past? No. I miss what could have been if things were different. But I can't dwell on that. Because those who are in my past, even though I love them, have to stay in my past. I can love them now, I can forgive them now. But they can't hurt me anymore because they have no control over me.

This is a year in my life. It's been an awesome year. It's been a fantastic year. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that it's only going to get better and better. Thanks God, for loving me enough to not let me stay the way I was, and for making me a better person. Continue to help me to help others find the freedom in Christ that you have helped me to find. In the name of Jesus!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fun in the Mountains

Our pastor thinks we're on vacation. In fact, everyone who knows where we are thinks we are on vacation. The truth is that, even when WE think we're on vacation, we really aren't. But the great thing about what we do is that vacation and work are often synonymous!

When you pull a casket behind your motorcycle, you might as well be a rolling billboard. Because riding down the interstate and everyone who passes you will either look over and do a double-take, or they will pass you, slow down and let you catch back up so they can get another look at what they "thought" they saw!

However, what's really fun (at least for us), is to park, walk away from our "rig," and then inconspicuously watch people react to a casket sitting in the parking lot!

Our "lookout" vantage point

On our trip through the mountains, we stopped at a very popular overlook. There are a few trails to walk and a set of steps going up to another overlook. I love looking out over the mountains, watching the clouds float by. But this time it was a little more fun because we were high above the parking lot and could see a whole lot more activity than we bargained for.

Many people looked the casket over. Some were a little afraid to get close to it. But the message always remains the same: "When this is your last ride... Where ya gettin' out?" Watching from a distance, I wondered how many people actually understood that. We set a plastic container out with our picture postcards in it for people to take if they want one. There is a message on the flip side which explains what we're all about. If they read it, they will read about how important it is to know Jesus BEFORE they take their last ride.

Curious, but cautious visitor

Some people will take one and walk away. Some will read it right there, then walk off. Others will take a card, look at it, then put it back. And then there are others who won't even take one. Some people even stand back and take their own pictures of the casket. Even as I write this, there is a man in the parking lot of our motel, just outside our window, snapping pictures of our casket! They're all different. But God loves each and every one of them.

Some even drag their friends over

So, today we were spies. While people were checking out our casket, we were checking out them! We often get a little silly while watching people and begin to dialog as they walk around and around the casket. I thought it might be funny to install a little motion sensor speaker that starts talking when someone gets close enough; "Excuse me? Hey! Yeah, you. Um, could you help me get out of here? Please?" Hmm... Maybe that's not a good idea.

Some nice folks offered to take our picture

Seriously though, while we have a lot of fun with our casket, the message is a serious one. You really do need to have your plans made for where you are going when you die. And not whether you're going to be cremated or not. You need a relationship with Jesus and to know you are going to Heaven. Because when it's all said and done, if you don't know Jesus, well... you won't see Heaven. The alternative is unacceptable to us. That's why we do what we do... even on vacation.

See you in a week, Pastor Jason!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Run YOUR Race

It's a rat race out there. And while many people are running the race of society, allowing what others think and say to determine how they act, what they wear, what they weigh, it is not about what society thinks at all! Oh I'm sure that there will be those who have to put in their two-cents and tell you "how it really is," but they don't know any more than the next person does. Because when it comes right down to it, the ones who are trying to control you are being controlled themselves.

Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! ~1 Corinthians 9:24, NLT

For years I listened to every person who had an opinion about what they thought I should be doing. I backed down from every task I knew that God was leading me into because someone else said that I shouldn't, or couldn't do it. And then a very miraculous thing happened. God plucked me out of the laundry basket of life and said, "I can use you." Then He redirected my path, my thoughts, and my desire. Of course, I still had the desire to write, but it became much stronger than in past years, and with that came a voice to speak out what the Lord gave me to write. Not only that, but in addition to it, He also gave me the confidence to speak out. I became an encourager. No longer was I intimidated by the people who wanted to question my motives or my ministry.

It might seem a little "out there" to speak about what the Lord has done for me. But this is exactly what we are all called to do! Don't misunderstand me though, this is not about women's rights, it's not about "sticking in to the man," it's not about bashing others to get ahead in life. This is all about the healing grace of God! This is about what He has done for me. And you have this, too. God has instilled into each one of us a measure of gifts, to be used for His glory. 

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. ~Romans 12:6a, NLT

You may not be a writer. You may not be a preacher. Your gifts may be music, art, cooking, sewing. You may be a great listener. Maybe you like to post cute pictures on Facebook to brighten everyone's day. Or maybe you like to post recipes to give ideas on some yummy dishes. You may have an abundance of compassion. You may be a healer. Whatever your gift is, you are useful to God and He loves you so very much that He wants you to use your gifts.

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. ~James 1:17, HCSB

Don't buy into the statement, "Use it or lose it." That if you don't use your gift, then God will remove it. Don't even let the enemy convince you that you have been forgotten or left out. For years I didn't write, but I wanted to. I knew that was my gift. Yet I was so intimidated by others that I was afraid to write for fear of "getting into trouble." My gift lay dormant until May 30, 2012 at which time God put so many words into my heart that my fingers couldn't type fast enough to keep up!

The enemy, Satan, will try everything he can think of to keep you down, including other people. Don't listen to him. Because even though he prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), he doesn't have any power unless you give it to him. So don't give it to him!

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7

Just because the devil is against you doesn't mean that success is out of your reach. Many people may tell you that you can't do something. I've been told the same thing. But I know what God has called me to do, and He is the One in charge, not anyone else. God will do it in spite of what everyone else thinks. And no one can stop God; not people, not the devil!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Am A Lazarus

He was dead for four days! I'm pretty sure he didn't smell too good, either. He just got sick one day and before his sisters knew it, he was gone. Their brother Lazarus was dead. They had sent for their good Friend, Jesus. But He didn't make it in time to save Lazarus. Or did He? Because it really wasn't about Lazarus dying. It was about something a whole lot bigger. 

When Jesus heard it, He said, "This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." ~John 11:4, HCSB
The traditional site of Lazarus's tomb in Bethany.
©HCSB Study Bible

So, Jesus waited a little longer before He went to check on Lazarus. By this time, he had been buried for four days and probably smelled worse than a polecat. Yet, Jesus yelled for him to come out and, miracle of miracles...Lazarus got up...FROM THE DEAD (John 11:38-44)! He became a walking, talking miracle. How many people can say THAT! Hang on just one second... even today, there are many people who can say that. I know because... I am one of them. I am a Lazarus; a walking, talking miracle.

For over forty years I was a mental and emotional "basket case" as some people would call me. My family drilled it in my head that I was destined to suffer depression because, "It runs in the family." They also told me that I was destined to be fat because, "It runs in the family." Then my own mother contracted cancer and died. And I thought that too was my destiny because... "It runs in the family," even though I have always been very healthy and strong.

I read the Bible passages that stated that God had plans for me, that He wanted to prosper me, not harm me. He wanted to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). I read where if I just believed, I would receive everything I asked for in prayer (Matthew 21:22). Promise after promise I read, but it never sank in because of the negative, hurtful things that had been spoken over me most of my life. Of course I would pray, but it was for little things and always for someone else because God just couldn't help me. He could save me so that when I did die I would go to heaven. But all those other things, well I just figured that they were for other people. Um.... NO!

Those things ARE for me, too! And just like He did to Lazarus, one night Jesus called me to, "Come out!" And I did! The mental and emotional baggages I carried were thrown into the fire. The worries about my appearance were thrown down. The worries of terminal illness were banished! Just like Lazarus, I was healed. And just like Lazarus, there have been those who do not appreciate what Jesus did for me.

Pic ©; Text ©

It is really sad that, when someone gets a miracle in their lives, others try to knock them back down. But it happens. People I have known for years still say, "I know you. I know how to get to you!" I really don't know why they think they need to "get to me" but apparently they do. Bringing up my past though isn't going to diminish the fact that I am a walking, talking, writing miracle! Just like that of Lazarus.

Let me tell you something; God isn't concerned about what others say or think about you. He cares about YOU! Let me tell you that if you step out in faith, believing and receiving His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and healing, He will meet you at your decision, at your first step, and take care of you. Then you too, will be a Lazarus.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die--ever. Do you believe this?" ~John 11:25-26, HCSB

You don't have to listen to the enemy. You don't have to listen to those around you who speak lies and negative things. Instead, listen to Jesus. Believe in Him, trust Him, wait on Him. When you do, amazing and miraculous things will happen! Because even when Jesus was four days late... He was right on time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stop Feeding the Locusts

You have seen them. Flitting from one tree to the next, one plant to the next. They flit around making all kinds of racket and eating the leaves off trees and plants occasionally causing the plants to die. Locusts.

pic ©, text ©

John the Baptist ate locusts and honey. Some people today eat them covered in chocolate and call it a "delicacy." Kind of gross if you ask me, but hey whatever floats your boat! God used them to plague Egypt when Pharaoh wouldn't let the Hebrew children out of slavery. You have heard them in the trees, in the yard, at home, in the church... defines the locust as; "Any of several grasshoppers of the family Acrididae, having short antennae and commonly migrating in swarms that strip the vegetation from large areas" (emphasis added).

I think I know those people. While the insect locusts swarm and strip the vegetation from large areas, the human locust can accomplish the same thing. If we listen to those annoying, swarming, noisy people who swarm together in various areas, and allow them to, they will inevitably intimidate and manipulate every person who allows them one foothold into their lives. I know. I've been there. And like the Hebrew children, I lived in the slavery of that intimidation for more than forty years. 

But God doesn't want us to live like that. This is why Jesus came, to set the captives free! To set me free. To set you free. There is more than one kind of slavery. Not only physical, but mental, emotional, psychological, and more. And once you are free, you need to stay that way and stop feeding the locusts of your life.

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. ~John 8:36, NLT

There are people who will not like your new, free state. They will come in and try to manipulate you into doing and saying thing their way, "like we've always done it." That is not what God's Word says. We are supposed to be playing by God's rules, not man's rules.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten... ~Joel 2:25, NIV

We can't go back in time and reclaim those moments that the locusts stole from us. Sometimes it is difficult to get past those times when others held us down in intimidation. But we can move forward into the grace and forgiveness that God has laid out for us in Jesus. And once we step into His healing grace, He promises us that he will give us back double portion for our troubles.

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. ~Zechariah 9:12, NLT (emphasis added)

Allow yourself today to be captured by the hope Jesus gives us. Think hope. Talk hope. When you face a situation that seems hopeless, remember that in God, you are a prisoner of hope. Don't let the noisy, swarm of locusts around you drown out the still small voice of hope that is in you. Listen to the sound of freedom and stop feeding the locusts.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Turn the Page

Every day is a new chapter in our lives. But many people never turn the page. You can't finish a book without turning pages. Otherwise the story never moves on. And you can't finish the story by looking back at what you've already read.

Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God." ~Luke 9:62 AMP (emphasis added)

Whenever I read a book, of course I always root for the hero and heroine, the good guys! And there are always those bad guys in the book that just rub me the wrong way. They sure make things unfair for the main characters. In fact, they just plain make me mad! Then I turn the page and something good happens. The story turns around and good always wins over bad. Hey, wait a minute... that sounds very much like real life.

Maybe you have had some unfair things happen in your life. Maybe you don't understand why bad things happen to good people. A lot of that is due to the fact that we have an enemy who is doing his best to try to destroy us. 

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. ~1 Peter 5:8 AMP (emphasis added)

But we also have an Advocate who has fought our battles and won! We don't have to stay on the same page and live in defeat and intimidation. We can turn the page and see what new blessings God has in store for us. 

And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world. ~1 John 2:2 AMP (emphasis added)

You do not have to settle for where you are. Bad times are not your lot in life. Thinking positive, getting a new and bigger vision for your life, getting a new attitude, and especially letting go of the past will launch you forward into the rest of your story. Don't settle. God has some great big plans for you, but you have to be willing to let go of the old stuff. You have to be willing to turn the page.

The things in your past are not as important as what is right there in front of you, waiting for you to grab a hold of. Reach out! Grab it! Don't let go! You can't move forward while hanging onto the past. Move forward into something new and exciting for your life. Turn the page and start a new chapter; one filled with God's blessings, God's favor, God's victory for your life!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Abraham "guk" in his jammy shirt.
I love watching babies play. The wheels of their little minds are continually spinning, helping them to figure out one thing or another. They learn so quickly it's almost scary. Their coordination and vocabulary growing as they do, especially when to ask for help. Whenever my nineteen-month-old grandson, Abraham, has difficulty with one of his toys, he hollers, "Guk"(stuck)! Then, we have to go help him get it UN-guk. And sometimes the poor little fella gets so frustrated that he just crumples and cries. I can't say that I blame him.

I think we can all relate to poor little Abe's frustrations at times. As Christians, we often get "guk." We go through trials, we get in a rut, we seem to be attacked from every side. The problem we have though is, that even like Abe, we may crumple, but unlike him we often do not ask for help.

If we pay close enough attention, our trials and the attacks we come under really don't prevent us from moving forward. They may seem like they do, don't get me wrong. The problems come when we choose to focus on the problem and not the Solution. And there is definitely a solution! Jesus.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." ~Matthew 11:28 NLT

Jesus wants us to bring all of our issues to Him. Whenever we get guk, if we will just go to Jesus and pour out our hearts to Him, He will receive us with open arms and help us. Like we do with Abraham, by going to him and rescuing him and his toys, Jesus will come to us and rescue us. But we have to ask Him.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. ~Matthew 7:7-8 NLT

Too often people get in a bind, things go downhill fast, and the next thing we see is that they are so discouraged that they are crying out to everyone else about how terrible their lives are. As long as things are going great, they praise God. Hit a bump in the road and the complaints roll off their tongues.

"Well, you just don't understand what I'm going through," you might say. No, I don't... but Jesus DOES!

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. ~Hebrews 4:15 NLT 

Jesus has been there. He has seen and done everything...for you and me. His shame, His abuse, His ridicule, His suffering, He did it all for you and me. Yes, He got called names. Yes, He was lied about. Yes, He took the blame for something He did not do. All the stuff we would ever do! So YES, He understands your situation. You don't have to stay guk!

Little Abraham will learn to trust more and more as he grows. He already knows how to ask for help when he needs it, and whom to go to. We should follow his example and learn to trust Jesus more and more as we grow, too.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Put Your Foot Down

I think it's time to put your foot down. To put your foot on the neck of your enemies and take authority over the things that are controlling you. It may sound a little harsh... to put your foot on the neck of your enemies. But if you have lived under intimidation, manipulation, control of any kind, then you know what I'm talking about. 

As a Christian, in the spiritual world we wrestle every day with forces that try their best to intimidate us, manipulate us, and control us. The very things that make us cringe are the things that the enemy will use against us to prevent us from growing and living the abundant life that Christ died in order for us to have! He will even use people to do it to us.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~Ephesians 6:12 NLT

For years I lived in fear of what others thought about me. I feared what they would do if I stepped one toe out of line (their specifications, not mine). I hated confrontation because it usually meant that someone didn't like something that I said or did. I had many strongholds and those were the things that controlled me, when a living person wasn't breathing down my neck.
I became the victim of my own mind, allowing anxiety, worry, depression, panic, and imagined conversations to come into my mind and control every move I made. When presented with a live person, I could not function. Certain people knew how to control me; whether it was a derogatory comment, presented as a joke, or whether it was a direct insult or confrontation. I allowed it for too many years.

When God healed my mind, He also set me on a journey to learn exactly how to put my foot on the neck of my enemies and take back the life He gave me! The term to "put your foot on the neck of your enemy" is to take authority. We have been given the authority, by Jesus Christ, to take charge of our situations. We do not have to let others control or intimidate us. We do not have to suffer depression, intimidation, manipulation, or any other mind game that the enemy throws at us!

There are many places in the Bible where people overcame their enemies simply by obeying what God told them to do. They got His favor over their lives, and He took care of them. In the Book of Joshua, there were five evil kings who had heard of Joshua's victory over the enemies of the children of Israel. These kings banned together to overtake Joshua and destroy him, but God had other plans. He delivered these kings and all the people of the land into the hands of the children of Israel.

When Joshua captured the five kings, he didn't immediately kill them. Since God had delivered their enemies into their hands, they would not be defeated... but their enemies would. He, Joshua, could have killed the kings himself, but look how he encouraged the Israelites and taught them that they, too had the authority over their enemies:

Joshua told the commanders of his army, "Come and put your feet on the kings' necks." And they did as they were told. "Don't ever be afraid or discouraged," Joshua told his men. "Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies." ~Joshua 10:24b-25 NLT

God has given us the same authority that He gave to Joshua... that He gave to the Israelites. If we trust in Him, we can have the assurance that whatever it is that is trying to bully us, if we put our feet on the neck of our enemy (in other words, stand up for what we know God has told us to do) we will be victorious! Nothing will touch us!

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. ~Ephesians 6:14 NLT (emphasis added)

No more will depression, anxiety, worry, manipulation, or intimidation bully me! I am putting my foot down and I'm keeping it down! I am not the same person I was last year, or even thirty years ago! One of the greatest moments since my healing was when my husband looked at me with surprise and stated, "People don't intimidate you anymore, do they!" My answer? "No."

It's time to take a stand. It's time to put your foot down. Take the authority that God has given to you. Say, "No more!" Stand. Then God will do the rest.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Under Construction

Years ago there was a catchy little song by Steven Curtis Chapman. It started out talking about having a t-shirt that says what I believe, then having the letters on your bracelet to serve as your I.D. and even the necklace, key chain and many other things...including a Jesus bumper sticker and the outline of a fish stuck on your car! Then the chorus went;

What about the change

What about the difference

What about the grace
What about forgiveness
What about a life that's showing
I'm undergoing the change

If we are who we say we are... Christians... Then shouldn't there be some kind of change within us? Shouldn't we love one another, as Jesus told us to do? Shouldn't we be showing grace, mercy, and forgiveness to others who have wronged us? Shouldn't our lives be showing that we are undergoing not "A" change, but "THE" change?

The answer is a resounding YES! They should. Don't misunderstand, we aren't called to be perfect. We aren't called to be "holier than thou." We are called to be servants, to love, to show forgiveness, to show grace, mercy, and to give hope to those around us.

I am "Under Construction" so-to-speak; A work in progress. And if you're honest with yourself, you are too. Each day brings something new into our lives. And each day the mercy of the Lord is new. 

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. ~Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT (emphasis added)

Forgiveness, grace, and hope. That's what we need to be living. Every day. Our "Under Construction" sign should be blinking continually, letting others know that hey, I am not perfect. I am under construction. I am constantly changing. I am continually learning and being taught new things from the Lord. Every time you see me, there should be something new about me because of the changes that God is making in my life. I want to be closer and closer to Him every day. And I want to pass that along to you.

Be excited in who you are in Christ! Because knowing Him IS exciting! Knowing that there is more and there are better things to come is exciting! Be under construction. Let the forgiveness, grace, and hope of the Lord change you, each and every day!

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