Friday, September 26, 2014


Lately Hope seems to be a popular topic.  It seems that everywhere I turn over the past few weeks HOPE has been breathed in to the fabric of my life.

When I personally think about HOPE, I quickly turn to my profession and an early lesson I learned that has been played out so many times in the fifteen years I have been a social worker.  I was taught that sometimes the clients I work with will feel hopeless.  And that a good social worker will come along side them and bring hope to them until they can see the situation in light of hope and that spark of hope is united in them.  I have seen this time and time again across multiple settings - when I worked with children and families in foster care, in private practice, in-patient hospital both medical and psychiatric, and in working with single parent families.   

I also think about the times where I have been jaded, or where those around me have been jaded by the continual circumstance that play out in the lives of those that as a social worker we are designed to help.  Making statements about "They will never change."   When I first heard this statement, I took it as a personal challenge to come along side that family and see change happen for the positive. I have seen hope ignited in the darkest situations, and seen situations turned around that really did not look possible. I would like to say that it is because I am such an awesome social worker, but I know that Someone bigger than me was at work in those situations and that instead I was just a tool in His hands.

Then I realize there are times that I have been that jaded social worker, speaking negative over a situation that I am suppose to be helping.  If I the professional can't see hope, how are those in the depth of the darkness suppose to find hope?

As I think about times that I have not provided hope, I realize how much as a Christian I hurt the world around me by not providing Hope. Jesus Christ is the Hope of the world, and He is within me.  If nothing more than my own personal testimony, I know that even in the darkest time He provides hope.  There is no situation to hard, that God can't intervene.  There is no depth to deep, that He can't reach down and grab me out of.  There is no problem to big, for with Him nothing is impossible.  There is no addiction to strong that God can not reach in and break it.

He is the hope even when I don't want to see it.  There is no one that God does not want to help.  And in our weakness He is only strengthened.  That gives me hope.  That reminds me to hope for others.  That compels me to share Him even when I see no hope, because He is there. blog is prompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!


Grammar Hammer: Because image 2012 09 because i said so 
Because i said so.... this is one of the most overused mom-isms in the world, or maybe just in my family.  When I am busy and don't feel like explaining, because is the answer.  If because is questioned, and it often is , it is expanded on with "I said so" as if this is the end all reason.
The problem with this is that I taught my kids it is okay to question.  So in trying to shorten a discussion, I have actually made it longer.
There are so many more Because that would make it shorter,
.....because the Bible says so. No argument there, except maybe where.
.....because that is how it is done. Although I can still see why coming.
.....because that's the rule in our house.  We don't have many so this one is a tight answer.
....because you have school tomorrow.  Great for weekdays

This post is part of Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five-Minute Friday, where we gather together to write for five minutes, unedited, on a given prompt for the week.  This week’s prompt was Because

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Attacks from others

DAN 6:1-15 NKJV  It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

As I was reading these scriptures in the Bible, there was something personal that stuck out.  Having recently went through a time where persons made allegations against me that were not true, I felt a kindred spirit with Daniel as the governors and satraps plotted against him.    I wouldn't go as far as to say "they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him" as I am far from perfect.

I realized that there is nothing that I can do to stop people from plotting against me.  Daniel lived a good life, and couldn't stop them from finding something to trap him,  It is what I do when attacked that make a difference.  Daniel continued to live his values and not argue his point.

I serve a God that is bigger than others opinions.   I can't base my actions on what others think.   Daniel knew what the law said, but it violated God's law and that is what matters.  I have to live my life in line with the values that I hold to be true.

I serve a God that can control things outside of my control.  Daniel faced the lions den, but didn't change.  I don't need to try to manipulate others in to liking me or in to seeing things the way that I want.  I serve a God that even when the plots do work against me, He can bring it out for His glory and honor.

Friday, September 19, 2014


To have an to hold....... till death do us part
I have been married for fifteen years, while it hasn't always been perfect, and we haven't always got it right, I have to say that the place where I feel most safe physically is when I am being held by my husband.  Whether it is a big bear hug, or a snuggle on the couch, or that gentle intimate hold, the world feels whole when I held.  Safety and security is in the hold.

Waiting on hold.....
The times that I have felt most frustrated is when I am on hold, waiting with elevator music, or worse yet the recorded message that repeats every few minutes "Your call is important...."  Being on hold can be such a waste of time, even though for those times I actually have to hold, the end result of the call is something that is required.  Answers are usually found in the hold.

Life on hold
There are times in my life where I have felt like everything was on hold.  Waiting for things to go the way I think they need to, waiting for responses, waiting on my children, waiting on my husband, and waiting on God.  Those times that I feel like the world is going past me, that my life is on hold, I am tested.  Patience is found in the hold.

This post is part of Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five-Minute Friday, where we gather together to write for five minutes, unedited, on a given prompt for the week.  This week’s prompt was Hold.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Acts 9:13-16 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem!  And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”  But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.”

These scriptures leaped from my screen as I read them.   I often feel so unqualified for the things that God has allowed me to be part of, and for the vision that He has placed within me.  He shows me things, I submit, and then I start being like Ananias repeating back to God every bad thing that has been said about me, ever bad thing that has been done to me, and every bad thing I have done.  I remind Him of my failures and my flawsI remind him of my worldly qualifications, and lack there of when it comes to doing the dreams He has placed inside of me

But then His words back to me are "Go, for you are my chosen instrument to take my message."

It is so easy to forget, when your raised to be independent, that it is not in and of myself that I can do anything.  It is in true humble obedience that God is able to work in and through me.  It is because I see His hand print on my past, that I know there was purpose to everything He has taken me through.  That every trial I have overcome, was because of Him and because of the purpose he has designed me for on earth. 

Despite not being asked, He sends me.  Despite not feeling qualified, He chose me.  Despite not feeling at all good enough, He says Go, you are Mine.


Tonight at Beauty for Ashes, Mary shared about obedience.  She read from I Cor. 6:19-20 that says Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 

She then shared the Story of King Josiah that is detailed in II King 22 & 23.  He was crowned king at age eight, and unlike the kings before him, he loved God and was trustworthy and loyal to God.  She shared how Josiah had ordered for the temple to be cleaned, and found the scroll with God's Word inscribed.  After reading it, he then asked God's forgiveness, tore down all the idols, and shared what he read.

As she shared, I thought about how this applied to my life now.  And reflected back to her initial scripture in I Corinthians. When I came home I dug a little deeper in the Word, reading the story of Josiah from the Word.

Beauty for Ashes is a ministry of restoration and that is exactly what Joshia was working on when he was given the scrolls.  He had sent his man to the temple to the priests to find out how much had been collected at the doors for the rebuilding of the temple.  Maybe it is just me, but I tried to clean and rebuild my temple on my own too.  Man's efforts fail  in comparison to God's work.When we come to Christ it is because we are led by the Holy Spirit to realize that we  are sinners, that our temple needs to be cleaned.  By the blood of Christ we are cleaned, not by works.

Just as Josiah did, we begin to renew our mind with the Word of God and begin to realize how far from God our lifestyle really is.  Even after we have been saved for decades, God is still working on us, revealing to us deeper changes, deeper levels of obedience that He wants to take us too.    This is our Christian walk, daily renewing our mind with the Word.

As he heard the Word, he was convicted.  He tore his clothes and repented for what his nation had done.  As a nation we are at the point, and have been for some time, that people need to be on their knees before God crying out, repenting for what has been done as we sat idly by and did nothing, and for the things hat have occurred even generations before we came along.  We need God's forgiveness for our nation, and in our own personal lives for the things we have placed before Him.

He then tore down the idols and false gods that were in the nation.  It is easy for me to think that I have no idols as I do not bow to worship anything other than God, but anything that I place before Him in my life is a god.  There are times in my life I placed myself and my own desires before God.  there are times I have placed my children, my spouse, my family before God.  There are times I have placed work before God.  I realized those things must come down.  I must re-prioritize anything that I would place before Christ and rid my life of things that have no place there.

I also have to realize that this was a process in the nation, it didn't happen overnight, and in my life it will not likely happen overnight either.  But if I am obedient when God shows me things that don't belong, and if I put Him first place, He will honor my obedience.  I can not get wrapped up in the length of time it takes, only in being obedient to each step of the process of removing these false gods and idols.

And then Josiah shared with the leaders and the people saving them from the destruction that God had promised to hose who didn't obey.  Sometimes in my life, I realize that this is the hardest step, sharing my faults,the struggles,, and ultimately the work of God in my life going through those times.  It is much easier to wear a mask that all is okay, than to be vulnerable with others.  However, it is in our weakness that Christ is made strong.  It is in our times of trials and failures that God comes through that can be encouraging to others.  It is in sharing the Word, and how alive it really is that lives are transformed.

Obedience isn't easy.  One of the other women at the meeting shared how she was an obedient child, or thought she was until really she realized that she was going through the motions of obedience.  God sees the motives and heart behind our actions.  Obedience is more than doing what you are told to do.  There is grace as we begin our walk, in doing the right thing even though we don't feel it.  There is even grace given when we admit to God that our motives are wrong and need more of Him.  However, when we come to the day of judgement we will not get credit for works done with ill motives and bad attitudes.  God doesn't see those works.  Obedience is also a heart thing.

Friday, September 12, 2014


There's a big difference between being ready and getting ready, and the majority of us spend most of our time getting ready and are never truly ready.  Today as I was getting ready this morning for work, three minutes before walking out the door I realized I haven't ate breakfast, I still need to put my hair up, and I need to put on my shoes and socks.  Despite three minutes to "ready" to walk out the door,  I'm not truly ready to go to work.

 As I think about ready, I  think about the Old Testament.  When the flood came if they were just getting ready they all would have died or with the high priest if they were not ready when they walked into the Holy of Holies death awaited them.  We must be ready.

I hear many couples say "were not ready for children." Or engaged couples that say "We will get married when were ready."  The truth is, we can spend our lives "getting ready"  and miss the blessing that is attached with ready.

In our Christian walk,  were told to be ready in season and out of season.  Like the story of the ten virgins and the lamps some we're ready and some were not.  We have to realize that soon a time will come that we have to stop "getting ready" and realize if we are not ready, we may be too late. 

This post is part of Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five-Minute Friday, where we gather together to write for five minutes, unedited, on a given prompt for the week.  This week’s prompt was Ready.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Last night at Beauty for Ashes Becky shared on the topic of purpose.  As she shared scriptures from Isaiah 61:1-3, Part of which became famous words spoken by Jesus in Luke 4. 

Every time I have heard this preached it has been tied to Jesus, but in the context of these scriptures it was not Jesus.  My mind went backwards in the scriptures knowing that while we read in chapter and verse that the Bible was not written that way. 

Isaiah 60:17-Isaih 61:3 I will exchange your bronze for gold,
    your iron for silver,
your wood for bronze,
    and your stones for iron.
I will make peace your leader
    and righteousness your ruler.
18 Violence will disappear from your land;
    the desolation and destruction of war will end.
Salvation will surround you like city walls,
    and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.
19 “No longer will you need the sun to shine by day,
    nor the moon to give its light by night,
for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun will never set;
    your moon will not go down.
For the Lord will be your everlasting light.
    Your days of mourning will come to an end.
21 All your people will be righteous.
    They will possess their land forever,
for I will plant them there with my own hands
    in order to bring myself glory.
22 The smallest family will become a thousand people,
    and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation.
    At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.[a]
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

In looking at versus 61:1-3 in context,the Spirit of the Lord upon us is what empowers us to do anything.  His anointing is what we need.  Our purpose is to preach, to bind up, to proclaim, to open, to proclaim,to comfort, to appoint, to give and in doing these things we bring glory to the Lord.  There is nothing in these scriptures that preclude anyone, regardless of our past, what we have done or what has been done to us.

Friday, September 5, 2014


This post is part of Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five-Minute Friday, where we gather together to write for five minutes, unedited, on a given prompt for the week.  This week’s prompt was WHISPER.

Like Elijah, I often look for God to come to me in a visual sign or in a loud booming voice, but over the past few months I have really honed in on the still small whisper of His voice.  It moves me deeper in my relationship with Him.

I know that He has always been there, but I have to quiet myself enough to hear that voice.  In the past it has been long drives alone, where I have heard Him most clearly.  I think because after a while the music fades, and I am left in my thoughts, and when those have finally run out, He is able to have my undivided attention.

As I pressed in the the quiet, over the past few months, I have heard that whisper so clearly, calling me into a deeper relationship with Him.  Calling me in to steps of obedience and making the path ahead of me more visible. 

I realized it was because of the busyness in life, that I had allowed to surround me that His voice had been muffled.  Why had I needed visual signs or loud voices?  I had placed myself in the arena of life and surrounded myself with things that would block our normal conversation, distractions that kept me from focusing on His voice.  He desperately wanted my attention, and when I wouldn't slow and quiet myself He would shout above the noise, but there is nothing intimate about a shout.

Over the past few months, He has brought me back to that place of intimacy.  Now, I long for the quiet to surround me so that it is just Him and me.  He can whisper to my heart and I can receive.  What joy there is in that whisper.

I Kings 19:12  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Surrender is an action  verb (used with object) meaning to give (oneself) up, or  to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.  Surrender is the hallmark of Christianity, and yet most of us really struggle with the idea of surrender, even though our walk with God started with it.  

When we live a surrendered life, God is able to work in and through us.  What Satan means to destroy us, God will use as a testimony.  I can’t say that I live a totally surrendered life.  There are times I get it right, and other times I fail miserably.    

The past three months have been a lesson for me in surrender.  May 23, 2014 I was unexpectedly let go from my job.  I was told one thing, I suspected another but when I filed for unemployment I was given a completely surprising and different story.  

What I knew, was that God had placed me in the position that I held.  Serving the residents and empowering them to change their lives, was a God given passion. The week following my dismissal, I realized how much of my life was consumed with work.  For fifteen years, even when on vacation I was always available to those I served.  I didn’t know what I was suppose to do.  

Then the negative messages set in.  I started questioning who I was and what I was doing.  I started pressing in to God, I loved the time in His presence.  Daily seeking Him and hearing him.  The words that were spoken over me encouraged me, and I realized they had started before these events.  God’s peace set in, I looked to Him for my identity.  

A few weeks later I learned more about my firing.  Every ounce of my flesh wanted to fight back, those who knew what was going one were angered and wanted to see me fight back too.  I sat down and wrote out my unemployment appeal, with plans to confront those who had made slanderous allegations against me.  Looking for a job when you have been fired isnt easy, my unemployment was being denied, and the finances were not coming in that we needed.

But then I heard God say no.  Don’t fight back.  I am your provider.  I gave  you your purpose and value.   I stood on the promises in His word, and rested in His peace.  My two page letter to unemployment was reduced to four sentences. My anger towards those who spoke and believed lies were turned into prayers.  The wait wasn’t always graceful, and sometimes it was going through the motions.  But God restored what was taken from me. Although it didn’t come in my timing or even as I thought it would.    I am still a work in progress, and still trying to see the next steps, I know that God has me and that living surrendered is worth it.

As I think about surrender,  two pictures kept coming to my mind.  Someone splashing wildly in the water, screaming for help. The lifeguard jumps in swims out and saves the person without fear.  The person is drowning.  But if you have ever been at a pool with children, there are a hundred other children acting the same way.    

Lifeguards are trained to spot someone in trouble.  The lifeguard is going to evacuate the pool, swim out to the person, and if the person is conscious, they will have the person calm down.  The person must surrender control for the lifeguard to safely get hold of them and pull them to safety.  If the person is wildly thrashing their arms, the lifeguard runs the risk of being pulled under also.

God is like a trained lifeguard.  We can’t pull him down, but our actions slow Him down and keep us captive in the situation.  He is not going to force Himself or His help upon us.   He gently says “give it to me”, but until we do, even though He can help us, He is limited by our actions.  He waits for us to totally surrender before he reaches in to save us.

Salvation is a total surrender - I know that I am a sinner and I need a savior.  I believe that the price Christ paid on the cross is bigger than anything I could have done, and that God’s grace will cover me.   When we make that decision, the surrender comes naturally.  I give up who I was and give myself to the influence of God.  This is why we see so many new Christians have such dramatic changes in their lifestyle.  They are surrendered.  They are totally God centered at that moment,their life laid before Him.

As we start to walk out our Christian life, we become more like the televised drowning victim, screaming out for help, wailing around our arms trying to save our self from the circumstances surrounding us.  In the heat of circumstances we easily forget that the grace that saved us is still there to empower us to live a surrendered life.  We forget that we don't have to do things alone that if we let Him, God still wants to take us through to bring us up to the next level.

A surrendered life is pictured in Galatians 2:20   I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.   A surrendered life, Christ lives through. It is Him, His Faith, His love that flows through us driving our actions and beliefs.

We can tell that we are not living a surrendered life if we are:
1) Trying to manipulate to get things our way - Jacob and Esau, Jacob and Laban, Abraham and Hagar
2) Trying to force our own agenda Matthew 23: 2-4 The scribes and Pharisees
3) Trying to be in control
4) Reacting negatively to criticism Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.
5) We feel burdened Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The second picture that kept coming to mind is a police arrest, and it may just be a television perception, but I see three levels of surrender. All of these are mentioned in the bible.   The universal sign of surrender we raise our hands (Psalms 134:2).  The second the person on their knees, this is mentioned in Genesis 4:12, Ezra 9:5. Ephesians 3:14 The third, with the person laying prostrate (Deut. 9:25 and  II Chronicles 29:20).  It is not necessarily our physical appearance that God is looking at, but our heart because according to John 4:24 we are to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

So how can we live a surrendered life, how can we give ourselves up, and give in to the influence of God?   It is done moment by moment, circumstance by circumstance.  

First when we see ourselves responding in manipulation, force, control or negatively, we must stop immediately.  See we can stop those thoughts from coming to us, we can only stop how we respond.  II Corinthians 10:5  Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Then we must place our trust in God, the Great I Am.  We must expect Him to act, Matthew 19:26 says “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. The very word Impossible says “I’m possible.”    

It is easy to get discouraged when we look at circumstances, especially when it feels like nothing is happening but  I Peter 5:5 says Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.  We must wait on His time. Occupy your waiting with prayer, praise, God’s Word, service.  

Lastly we must obediently  follow God’s lead.  John 5:19  Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

Realize that there are facets of God that we surrender to and that there are areas of our lives that we must surrender.  Jesus walked in perfect surrender, and we have the ability, through God’s grace to surrender our lives also.  We are a work in progress, and God knows that.  We are not a surprise to Him, when the enemy condemns you for your shortcomings, be encouraged that in our weakness Christ is made strong.

When we surrender, there are times that it may seem like we have lost everything.  The very things that we think we want or need, God may ask us to set aside, but what we lose is nothing compared what we gain through Christ.   Philippians 3:8 But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ.  A surrendered life will always leave us fulfilled in the long run as we walk in his supernatural power and grace.