Friday, October 25, 2013

A NOW Word

There are days when I wish that God would just give me a NOW Word. What's that? A NOW Word is a word for right NOW. Right this very minute. Not in a few minutes. Not an hour from now...but NOW. In this instant. And while sitting, stewing, and wishing for that NOW Word... I am often missing that He is in fact giving that NOW Word to me! All I have to do is shut my mouth and listen.

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. ~Psalm 46:10, NLT

But how often do we not get quiet so that we can hear our NOW Word? How often are we so caught up in the moment that we miss what God is telling us, or miss the point, or think that it is for someone else? How often do we get so focused on ourselves that we totally miss that God is speaking to US? To me?

And when they cry out, God does not answer because of their pride............Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. ~Job 35:12 and Proverbs 16:18, NLT


The Bible is chock full of NOW Words from God directly to us. But often we miss them because we are looking to find something to make our own point. Often we miss God's point because we are too focused on our own issues, or our own agenda, or even our own self-righteousness that the NOW Word we need is lost in the shuffle of pride and prejudice. I know this all too well. And sometimes we miss God's NOW Word for us because we just don't know HOW to find the NOW!

How many times have you just known that you need something from God, that He has placed that desire within you, that you KNOW He has a NOW Word for you... but where do I look? What book? What chapter? What verse? WHERE IS IT?! I have come to the conclusion that when God has a NOW Word for me, all I have to do is open up the Bible and look down. It will be there.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV

Sometimes of course, I look on the wrong page and it is on the opposite page. But I always turn to the exact word that God has for me. If  you use an electronic Bible (such as YouVersion) it might be a little hard to do that. But if you take a tangible Bible, stick your finger in somewhere, and open the book, you will find your NOW Word. And you can also ASK God for your NOW Word. Believe me, He will give it to you! You just have to go to Him with an open heart and open mind, ready to receive it. He will place it directly into your heart.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. ~Matthew 7:7-8, NKJV

And if you aren't real picky about your NOW Word I'll give you a little secret... The whole Bible is a NOW Word, specially written by God... to YOU!

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. ~2 Timothy 3:16, NLT

I am often awed by the NOW Words that God gives me. Just opening the Bible and looking down, I find treasure troves full of NOW Words that pertain to my exact situation and the exact moment that I need them. But what I find even more amazing and personal is when I am standing on my stoop, eyes closed, basking in the presence of the Lord, and He literally places His NOW Word right there in my heart!

I hope you find your NOW Word today!






Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Are You Doing Here?

Sometimes, ya just want to hide.

For way too many years I ran from my issues. I ran because, to be quite frank about it, I was scared to death of the confrontation it would cause to stand up for myself! Oh, not just with people, but with myself and especially with God. Yes, I was totally afraid of God. Can you imagine that? Me, afraid of God...my loving, understanding, nurturing heavenly Daddy! But I was. All because of the intimidation of others.

Being intimidated by other people doesn't mean that I was afraid to come out in the open. I was not agoraphobic, although it would have been very easy for me to be. Staying in the safety of my home and never leaving these four walls was becoming increasingly more enticing as the years went by. I wanted less and less to be around people because well, everyone I got near just seemed to feel as if they had to bash me for something or other. It's as if I had a neon sign on my forehead blinking, "Easy target!" These were all enemy attacks that I couldn't identify due to the intimidation I had lived with for so long. 
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You know, another person had some issues with intimidation and fear. The prophet Elijah went through some dark moments. To the point that he ran and hid in a cave! *

Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.... There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” ~1 Kings 19:3(a), 9, NLT

The odd thing about Elijah's moment of fear and doubt is that it came on the heels of a great victory. Elijah had just killed all the prophets of a false god... and someone told on him. Then someone else wanted to kill him for it! Elijah heard about it, got scared, and ran!

But even though Elijah ran, God still took care of him. And when he got to the cave he decided to hide in, GOD WAS ALREADY THERE! Can you imagine finding the most remote place in the world to hide, thinking that your enemy can't find you there...and all of a sudden you hear the voice of God say, "What are you doing here?"

You know, He does the same with us today. We run, we try to hide, and just when we think we have it made, God says, "What are you doing here?" Is there anywhere we can go that God isn't? Is there anywhere we can hide that He won't find us? No.

Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me... I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! ~Psalm 139:1, 7, NLT

God is everywhere, all the time. There is nowhere that you can go where He can't or won't find you, or where He isn't already! If you read all of Psalm 139, you will see that He knows everything about you, inside and out.

We may be intimidated by people around us. They may threaten, ridicule, and do everything they can to insult, embarrass, and make sure they ruin us publicly. But we don't have to be like Elijah and run. Instead, we can take a stand. We can smile knowing that our God is an awesome God. He will take care of us and He will also take care of our enemies.

We can be absolutely confident that no matter what anyone does, trying to attack us, they will not succeed. And anything anyone says against us will come back on them and they will be the ones who fall (see Isaiah 54:17). Why? Because His Word says so! God is on our side! He will protect and provide for us. 

He did for Elijah. Then He sent him back the way he came, and gave him explicit instructions on what to do. What God told Elijah was basically that He, God, would take care of Elijah's enemies! And He will do the same for you and me today. 

You and I have too much to do to allow other people to keep us hiding in the cave! So, what are you doing here? Get out of there and go back the way you came. Stand tall. Stand confident. And let God fight your battle for you.

* For an in depth story of Elijah in the cave, see 1 Kings 19.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Zombies...The Walking Wounded

My son, Logan talks frequently about the "Zombie Apocalypse" that he and his friends (and many other people I have learned), are preparing for. And while I find it quite a bit comical to listen to, it hit me in church one night that quite possibly, we are already IN the Zombie Apocalypse! How do I know? Because I used to be one...

According to Logan, a zombie is "the living dead." They kind of shuffle their way around, moan, growl, and snarl, looking for someone to attack. When they find someone they instantly grab them and bite them. If bitten by a zombie, you turn into one yourself. And the cycle repeats itself. Yet, I was healed of "Zombie-ism" when the Lord literally knocked me down and healed me from the inside out, then gave me hope and a purpose and sent me out to help others. So there IS a cure for zombies.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help... The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. ~Psalm 34:15, 17, NLT

Being hurt by other people is not fun. It causes scars. I lived it for over forty years. At times I thought there was no hope for me. But there was! Healing was right there for the taking, if I would only receive it. Yes, I have scars. But these scars serve as a testimony to others that they, too can be healed from their wounds. They do NOT have to walk through life wounded...snarling, biting, grabbing, and moaning about all their troubles...in essence, a ZOMBIE, the "Walking Wounded."

Here are my scars: I was put down, made fun of, ridiculed, told I was no good, shamed, made to feel guilty for everything, intimidated, controlled, and manipulated growing up. I suffered nerve problems starting at age six (6), had panic and anxiety attacks, and fell into my first severe state of depression at age fifteen (15). I have had thoughts of suicide (but I'm a chicken thankfully and could never go through with it). I have struggled with my weight because of my emotions. Having been a pastor's wife, I have felt the sting of hateful, spiteful words, backbiting, and lies from those in the church. Each one left a mark, and each one left a scar. Through it all, I was told that it was my fault. According to my family history, I probably should be in a mental institution right now. BUT...

God said NO! God led my husband and me to a wonderful church, with wonderful people, and began to heal me. And one night, after I decided that I wanted my mind healed, God said, "It is time." Here are my scars. If you look at them now, instead of the blinking, neon sign that said, "Easy Target!" what you will see is a new sign that reads, "I SURVIVED!"

I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord ... He heals my broken heart and binds up my wounds [curing my pains and sorrows]. ~Psalm 118:17 and Psalm 147:3

Maybe you are a zombie, too. Maybe you are among the walking wounded. You have been hurt by someone you love, someone you know, someone you go/went to church with. Maybe you are walking through life wounded, trying to find where you fit in, trying to survive long enough to get to the next place. Maybe you are hoping to find healing,  just trying to stay above water and exist, yet lashing out at those who confront you.

Let me encourage you right now; Don't let what others have done to you ruin your life! Because when you allow those things to continue, you let bitterness take root and grow and fester. Don't dwell on past history. Don't let all the nasty things done to you over the years make a bitter, miserable, person out of you.

For the Scriptures say, "If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it." ~1 Peter 3:10-11, NLT

The enemy of our souls wants us to stay miserable. He wants to keep us as zombies so that we don't prosper, so we don't help others, so we don't heal. But God wants us to move forward! Jesus wants to heal us, to pluck the bitterness out by the roots and balm over those wounds so that we can use them to help others heal, too!

Precious, don't be a zombie anymore. Don't be among the walking wounded. Come out and let Jesus heal you! Forgive! Be a survivor! Then go out and help someone else heal!



Friday, October 18, 2013

Moving

My oldest daughter Rachel, is moving. Probably by the time this is posted, she may very well be on her way; she, my son-in-law Jake, and my 2-year-old grandson Abraham. They will be a whole nine hours away, from Illinois to Louisiana away. Of course, Abe says he's moving to "a hotel in 'Inn-ee-anna'" (He can't say Louisiana...he's two).

Moving really isn't so bad, I guess. This move is a good thing for them. And while I haven't said a whole lot about the move, am very proud of them. I have also tried to be positive for my daughter, supportive, and helpful. Because this is the furthest away she will ever have been from her family. So, while I was thinking about this (it happens to be after midnight as I write this so...), I wondered; Is this how God feels when His kids "move" away from Him?

Rachel, Jake, and Abe will still be my kids. They will always be my kids. They just won't be close to me anymore (they currently live right next door). But this won't be forever. On the same note, WE are God's kids. We will ALWAYS be God's kids. And many times we just aren't close to Him. But that doesn't last. And nothing we do will ever cause us NOT to be God's kids!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s loveNo power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39, NLT (emphasis added)


You know, when we MOVE away from the presence of God, it doesn't mean that we no longer belong to Him. It just means that our focus has been MOVED to something else. And it's like a big, dark cloud moves between us and Him, blocking out the warmth, the love, and the joy He gives us. And as long as we keep ourselves turned away from Him, that cloud follows us wherever we go.But it is really easy to get back into the swing of things with God. He made a very simple way for us to do it. 


But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~1 John 1:9, NLT

We often make it harder than what it is, though. We hem-haw around, worry, fret, listen to the opinions of others, and think we have to perform certain tasks in order to win God's favor back.

BUT WE DON'T!



You see, with God all we have to do is ask! He's always there. Always waiting. Always willing to forgive. And always willing to MOVE us back into His loving arms. When we move back to Him, He blows that cloud of darkness away and the warmth, love, and joy all come back! It never really left. But because we moved, we no longer felt it.

Have you moved lately? Is there something between you and God? Because if there is, you can easily move it and move back into His loving arms. The ones that never moved. The arms that have never changed, never stopped watching the one that He loves. Don't you think it's time you moved back?


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8, NLT

My daughter may be moving. But I'll always be her mom. I'll always love her and support her. And I'll always be there for her... just like God is always there for you and me.









Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wanted!

I've been hearing a song on satellite radio lately and it has really hit home with me. The song is, "You Are Wanted" by Dara Maclean. Maybe you know it. Regardless, the words are what I believe people need to hear!

Just to give you an example, the chorus is as follows:


You are wanted. To every broken heart, He stands with open arms. You are wanted. To every searching soul, look to the Rising Son!If you're lonely, hurting, gone too far. To the outcast you come as you are. You, you are wantedYou, you are wanted. You, you are wanted. You, you are wanted!

How much more plain can it get? Jesus stands with open arms, waiting for you to run into them. He won't press you. He won't force you. He won't even make you. The decision is totally up to you. Accept Him... or not. But how many people don't?

It breaks my heart to see people hurting, especially children. I can't stand it. People hurt people. And hurting people hurt people usually the worst. I grew up in an environment where I was continually told that my issues and my hurts were my own fault. Even though I did not do anything to cause them, still they were said to be my fault.

There are many people today who still believe that their problems are their fault. They have been told they were a mistake. They were told they were no good. They were told they were worthless. In hearing these things, they wonder why they were even born! And sadly...very sadly...many take matters into their own hands in order to rid the population of their own existence! I can't stand by anymore and allow that to happen! 

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Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. ~Ephesians 1:4, NLT


God ordained your existence before He even decided to create the world! That might seem "way out there" for you, but it's true! He knew you would be born, and He also laid out a very unique, very awesome, and very wonderful plan for your life. But it is your choice as to whether you take that road. He has already chosen you. You have to choose Him. That's when He will set things in motion and your life will be drastically turned around. Mine was!


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 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. ~2 Timothy 1:9, NLT (emphasis added)

When God healed me, He set in motion a series of events that first led me to a remarkable friendship with the Holy Spirit. Then He gave me my heart's desire for writing, by allowing me to create this blog/website, which came with an awesome ministry. From that, He built this ministry which has allowed me to use mismatched socks to encourage and give hope to other women who have suffered mental and emotional abuse, and let them know that they are definitely wanted by the Most High! From this, God has begun to move me up to another level and into sharing my story by speaking and preaching to groups of people who need encouragement.

This is in no way bragging on me. None of this would have happened if God had not been standing there, waiting for me to make the choice to be healed. But even just making the choice came with a decision to step forward and ASK. You can say, "I want to be healed." But unless you humbly go to God and ask Him, then receive it, nothing will happen. Healing is a two-way street. God wants to heal, you have to ask for it and accept it.

You were no accident. You were no mistake. God doesn't make mistakes. Your parents didn't make a mistake when you were conceived. It was all orchestrated by God! Why? Because you were wanted!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Life, Light, and Hope

I recently received a very uplifting and encouraging comment from someone whom I have always considered very wise and godly. It was in response to a post I made on Facebook, which most of the time, my posts don't get a lot of feedback. However, what really struck me about this comment was that I was encouraged to, "Keep speaking life, light, and hope!" I had NO idea that I had done that!

I go through life clueless most of the time. I may have mentioned that before. But seriously, I do! I feel so strongly about my relationship with the Lord, and what He has done for me, that I'm a lot like Peter and John; "We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard(Acts 4:20) And I mean that sincerely. I can't help it. I have to speak about Jesus!

My words on this website are truly meant to bring life, light, and hope to those whose lives seem dark, cold, and empty. My whole purpose for this ministry, this website, is to help people find their purpose through forgiveness, grace, and hope...which ultimately boils down to life, light, and hope! There is always hope. And Jesus is Life AND Light! So in all fairness, this whole website is about HIM!

But I wanted to take it just a little further so that maybe to someone who doesn't understand the whole life, light, and hope thing, they would gain an "Aha!" moment.



Life: Jesus came so that we may have LIFE. He came, He suffered, He died, and He rose again...all for YOU! So you can have such an abundant life. That includes here on earth, and continuing into eternity. Sounds far fetched, but it really isn't. And Jesus is the ONLY way we are ever going to have that life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ~John 10:10 (emphasis added)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~John 14:6 (emphasis added)



Light: Jesus is the Light of the world. By making Him Lord and Savior of your life, you become light as well. Because without you telling others about Him, how else are they going to hear?

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. ~Matthew 5:13-15, NKJV (emphasis added)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16, NKJV (emphasis added)




Hope: By sharing what Christ has done for you, you give someone else hope that their life isn't useless. You may just help someone else to claim the promises of God and go on to give someone else hope!

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. ~Hebrews 10:24, NLT

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. ~1 Peter 3:15, NLT (emphasis added)


God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious secret which he has for all people. This secret is Christ himself, who is in you. He is our only hope for glory. ~Colossians 1:27, NCV (emphasis added)




I don't do what I do to get praise from others. But now and again, a comment from someone I truly look up to is humbling. Yes, I'll admit that it does make me feel good, for just a moment. Then I realize that were it not for the relationship that I have with the Lord, I wouldn't say the things that I do! So really, the praise goes to Him! I'm merely doing what He has placed in my heart to do. Sometimes it's here on this website. Sometimes, it gets put on Facebook. Sometimes, Twitter. And on many occasions it gets put on all three!

I don't think you can talk about the Lord too much. But even more, I don't think you can encourage people too much, either. So let me encourage all of you..."Keep speaking life, light, and hope!"









Saturday, October 5, 2013

Silencing the Rocks

Listening to a praise and worship CD in my car, one of the lines in the song went something like, "And even if your praise is silent, the rocks will praise in your place." Instantly I thought, I don't want the rocks praising in my place! I want to do it! Of course, the rocks are welcome to join in, don't get me wrong. However, if the rocks start praising God because I'm not doing it, then there is definitely a problem!

Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful. ~Psalm 149:1, NLT

My son, Logan, once started a worship band and they called themselves, Silence the Rocks. When I first heard that, I was proud. Then, I realized what he meant by the name of the band when he asked me to look up the verse that they used as their core verse. That's when it hit home for me.


He replied, "If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!" ~Luke 19:40, NLT

How can we possibly be silent in our worship when all that Jesus has done for us? How can we even fathom the magnitude of His sacrifice? How can we comprehend to what lengths God went to for us? Yet very often we seemingly mock even the creation of the world with our unbelief, our acceptance of other theories, and our blatant disregard for God, His Word, and His rules for our lives!

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. ~Exodus 15:20, NLT (This was after all the soldiers of Pharaoh's army were drowned in the sea that the people of Israel had just walked through on dry ground!)

When God healed me over a year ago, that's when it became more prevalent than ever that I praise Him openly, unashamedly, and as strongly as I possibly can. I might look like a total baboon to some people. Some may even think my actions speak of pride and insincerity, but do you want to know something? I don't care! I am not praising God to get noticed by anyone but HIM. And frankly, it is no one elses business how I worship!


Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp. For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. ~Psalm 149:3-4, NLT

There was a time that I couldn't even raise my hands in worship because I was so afraid of being called out for what I did. I was afraid that people would question my sincerity in doing so. I couldn't even sing louder than barely above a whisper because someone might make fun of me! And yes, I have even been reprimanded because I can't stand still during song service (that was a long time ago). But not anymore!

King David danced in worship to the Lord. He was also ridiculed for it (2 Samuel 6:16). But did that deter him? No. In response to the ridicule, he gives an eloquent answer in the verses following that. But it's what he says in verse twenty-two that I think is amazing. I might even adopt that response myself...

"Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!" ~ 2 Samuel 6:22a, NLT (emphasis mine)

Whether we look foolish, sound off-key, or even if we are off beat, if we are praising God sincerely, with our whole heart, HE is the only audience who matters. You can sing, play an instrument, clap, dance, hoot, holler, shake a tambourine, raise your hands, let the tears fall... all of the above! Or, just stand quietly as you lift your heart and spirit. Your praise is your praise! Let others scoff. My praise is not for them. Besides that, in my praise... I'm silencing the rocks.





Friday, October 4, 2013

Daughter of the KING

I never really thought this through, but just realized that I am a daughter of the King! Not just any king...THE King! I know... it's a lot to take in all at once. Kind of overwhelming. *deep breaths* Whew! Who knew? Me! A daughter of the Most High King... God! Do you know, that makes me royalty. Hm...kind of gives a whole new meaning to my purple hair! (Purple is the sign of royalty.)

On a serious note though, YOU are also a daughter of the King...or a son, depending on your gender. But in all seriousness for a moment, do you even realize the magnitude of that? Can you even wrap your mind around it? Neither can I. So let me help us all out by showing you...

I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. ~Jeremiah 1:5, NLT

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." ~Jeremiah 29:11, NLT

So first of all, God already knew we would be born even before He created... well, EVERYTHING! Not only that, He gave each of us something special to do! That right there is enough to make you feel special. But it gets better...

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~Ephesians 2:10, NLT

A masterpiece, too? We are His masterpiece! When a sculptor creates a masterpiece, it is something to be treasured, cherished, loved, and is worth more than even life itself. Do you realize that you mean more to God than life? *Ahem* Check out John 3:16 if you're still confused about that one.

We are all His sons and daughters...
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. ~Romans 8:17, NLT

We are heirs to the kingdom...
And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you. ~Galatians 3:29, NLT

We are joint heirs with Jesus...
Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? ~James 2:5, NLT

Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. ~Titus 3:7, NLT


Let's see... God knew us, created us, chose us, gave us special gifts, and now we are His children, which also makes us heirs with Jesus. And Jesus is all too happy to share His inheritance with us. Why? Because He loves us.

It isn't rocket science. But when you see it in written form, the promises of God really stand out and come to life. We are children of God. Children of the KING. THE King! But here is where it gets really exciting for me; when I was a little girl I loved castles, knights in shining armor who rode white horses and rescued the princess from the dragon...okay, who am I kidding? I still do! But the cool part is that I AM a princess! And my Knight (Jesus) has already rescued me from the dragon (the enemy). And one day, He will take me to live in His castle (Heaven)! And if you know Him, you have the same thing to look forward to! How cool is that?








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