Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If you fear...Remember

There is nothing to fear but fear itself ~ Franklin D Roosevelt

He must have been a believer because other than the reverential fear of God we have nothing to fear. 

 When we find ourself fearful over a situation or thing, it is because we have taken our eyes off God. 

We have allowed the circumstances surrounding us to become bigger in our site than God is.  The truth is there is nothing bigger than our God.

If you fear the unknown
Remember that God knows everything
If you fear the dark
Remember God is light
If you fear being alone
Remember God will never leave you
If you fear speaking
Remember that God will give you the words
If you fear intimacy
Remember God desires to draw close to you
If you fear heights
Remember God is higher than the Heavens
If you fear rejection
Remember God chose you
If you fear death
Remember that in Christ, death has lost its sting

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Just Simply Love You {Acceptance}

Imagine for a moment, that "I just simply love you" that was the thought that came to me as I was walking on the treadmill this morning.  I admit I was looking at the over-sized card that my husband bought me for Valentine's Day, that I didn't appreciate.  I hung it up,  as a token of my guilt for not being appreciative so that I would spend thirty-minutes a day looking at it while I walk.

It's funny how God uses simple things to speak so profoundly in to our lives.The thought though wasn't from the card, although I do feel a little guilty when I look at it because of my response to my spouse (Maybe a little more now).    It was as if God was speaking "I just simply love you." I realized in that moment (As I should have when my husband gave me the card), that it is not in the grand gestures that love speaks, it is in the simple things. That simple statement literally overwhelmed me.

I do not have to perform for God's love.  He just simply loves me.  I do not have to be perfect for God's love.  He just simply loves me. When I can't compare with the talents of others, He just simply loves me.

There is nothing that I can do to make God love me more.  When I was a wretched, unforgiven sinner, God simply loved me.  When I prayed and asked for forgiveness, and for God to save me from my sin, God simply loved me.  When I fail Him, God just simply loves me.  When I do my very best, God just simply loves me.  God's love is the most profound, and yet most simple form of acceptance.  Despite me, He just simply loves me.

He just simply loves me, not because of who I am.  He just simply loves me, because of who He is.  He just simply loves me because He sees me through the perfect blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He doesn't see my failures, my sin, and how far I still have to go.  He simply loves me, because He is love. I don't have to do anything, because He did it all.

I don't believe in a perverted grace that says I can take what He did for granted and live as I please.  But as I stood there looking at the words "I Just Simply Love You" I knew that I  am loved.   I am accepted.

JPEG image-2CCA02FF19CA-1 This 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!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking back or moving forward

Delayed Promises or God's Timing

Genesis 40:14-15 (NLT)  And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place.  For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.”

For two years after Joseph interpreted the dreams, he continued to sit in prison.  It had to be discouraging for Joseph to know that he had shared what God had showed him for the baker and the cup bearer, and yet Joseph was still in prison, for a crime he didn't commit.  He received God's favor, but part of him had to be discouraged to still be imprisoned after so much time had passed.  He might have felt alone and forgotten, even as he was trying his best to serve God.

He might have gotten upset at the cup bearer for forgetting what he had promised to do.  Or maybe he related to him on some level.  When don't know 100% of Joseph's story, only the highlights.

As I thought about this,  I wondered how often do we make promises, and then fail to follow through on them, I know that I have made promises with the best of intention at the time, and then forgot when the time came.    

Or how often are we on the receiving end of a delayed promise.  Where others make promises and they don't deliver. 

On the flip side of this story, the what if is there.  We know how the story ends, but Joseph didn't. 
I realized sometimes we need to look at those delayed promises for the hand of God.  What if the cup bearer had kept his promise, and Joseph had been released.  Without interpreting Pharaoh's dream he would not have become second in command and he could not have saved Egypt or Israel in the time of famine. 

 We can never know the what if's in our life.  The things that God orchestrates behind the scenes for our benefit, or the benefit of others.  It is easy to become inpatient in the waiting, to be disappointed at the delayed promise, but what if, the delay is because God is working His perfect timing.  What if?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The lie I believed - The fear that keeps me from stepping out

I hear a lot about people failing to live up to their full potential, failing to step out in to their true purpose.  Usually it is tied to fear of failure or fear of rejection.  I have tried to say that has been what holds me back, I mean if I couldn't identify it, it could just be the subconscious mind and I am afraid to admit it.  The truth was I really didn't know what was holding me back.

I am not afraid to fail, I know (and I know it is cliché, but I really know this) that I can do all things through Christ.  I know that God is for me, and that if it is something that I am suppose to be doing, that God will help me succeed.  That doesn't mean that I have never failed, I have failed at things.  Things that I took upon myself to do, that had nothing to do with God, or that I thought I could do on my own without Him.   I know that God's grace covers me, and that in my weakness His strength is shown.  I really don't fear failure.  If God brought me to it, He will bring me through it.

I would often lean towards fear of rejection, and while there was some things I could connect with on that, I really do not have a problem if people don't like me.  I know that my worth and value is not tied to the opinions of others, and that there will just be people that don't like me.  I know that my worth and value come from my Creator, and that He accepted me long before I took my first breath.  Again, I realize its easy to say that, but God did that work in me a long time ago.  I just know what I know.  I can listen to constructive criticism, and even blatant hatred comments.  I will even see if there is some truth in them that I need to make changes in my life.  I can give it to God and let Him work on changing me.

But what I couldn't see was what was holding me back and why.  I was reading Instinct The Power to Unleash your Inborn Drive by T.D. Jakes.  About midway through Chapter 10, I have a Ah Ha moment.  It is not the fear of failure, or even necessarily the fear of rejection, although closely related.  It is the fear of lack of support.

As I have talked about before I was raised in a dysfunctional family, where my parents provided for me, but were not really supportive in terms of helping.  They stood behind me, regardless of my mistakes, but I didn't have that support that said "If this is too hard, I can show you how or help."  When I needed help, really needed help I didn't know if I could ask for it and receive it.  That is where the rejection comes in to play.  To many times the support I received was not what I needed.  I made a promise to myself that I would never need anyone.  God and me, that's what it would be.

People who don't know me well can see that I am a very task orients, type A personality.  I like to work in groups, but I excel when I am turned loose on a project.  I love to learn and I am a good teacher.    I would rather look it up on Google than need human support.  How I managed before technology, I don't remember.  I like policy and rules because they are black and white.  I like numbers because they are concrete.  I thrive on helping people because they need me. What I am not good at is needing people for support.  I am not good at asking for help.

I should have clued in to this earlier, but maybe God knew I wasn't ready for the task at hand to overcome it.  Almost a year ago, I had a conversation with my then boss.  I  was having problems, I was overwhelmed with what was in front of me, and I was slowly drowning.   I told her then "I have an amazing team.  I know that I don't utilize them enough."  My failure was not utilizing the people that God had blessed me with on my team.  I had people who believed in me, and had no problem with helping.  They just needed me to communicate my need.

I have long known that the dream within me is bigger than I can do by myself.   I know my dream is from God.  I know Satan doesn't want my dream to happen, because it would rock his world and take down strongholds he has. Honestly on the few occasions I have stepped out, the response has been minimal.  That is discouraging to someone who has a hard time asking for support.  Like once, I sent a letter to every church in my then small community - 248 churches.  I got  ONE response, and it wasn't even from my church.  When I sent out a second request, I got one face to face encouraging meeting.

I believe Satan has kept me from identifying what held me back because he was afraid.  However, God knew when I would be ready for that revelation.  He knew how to bring me to a point to see that it is a lie from Satan.  Yes, there will be times that I face resistance in the natural.  Yes, there will be people who are not on the same page as me, but God's will shall prevail.  He shall bring it to pass, despite my childhood insecurities.  He will take what Satan meant to destroy me and use it for His glory.  God will bring together the right people, and let me use the skills and talents that He gave me to bring out their strengths and talents to further His kingdom and destroy the work of the enemy.  I don't believe the lie anymore, and it will not keep me from stepping out as God directs.


Last Wednesday in praise and worship I had a vision of a fenced corner of a plowed piece of land with small seedlings. I could only see a small portion of the land and a small number of pants.  They were cute and green, but small.  I kept straining to see more, pressing God to reveal what it meant.  The only other thing I was able to see was one plant rapidly growing.

As the night ended, I realized that many seeds have been planted.  Some I know about, others I do not.  But the seeds were planted on good ground.  They took root.  There were no weeds in my vision, although I know there have been plenty of weeds in my life.  There is life in me, and what God wants to do will come quickly when the time is right.

I also realized that it is a picture of the church.  We have been through a difficult time over the past three months, and longer.  But there are seeds that remained and were planted in good ground.  We can't see all that God is going to do through this situation, but there is growth.  God will bring the harvest.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Football and Faith

February 1, 2015 , we celebrated Jersey Sunday, aka Super Bowl Sunday.  Everyone was invited to wear their favorite jersey.  I am not a die hard football fan, so I don't have "a team" and I was headed to work, so a jersey really would not have been appropriate.  It was cool to see people representing their different teams, some I recognized, others I didn't.  One of the pastors reminded us all that we are all playing on the same team, and God is our captain.

God spoke to me that only on His team can He play offense and defense at the same time.  In the rules of football, the team with the ball is offense, and the team without the ball is defense.  While there might be defensive moves made by the offense to protect the ball, they are still the offense. 

But on God's team, He is on defense.  We are called to be also.  Our goal is to stop the enemy team from reaching its goal.  We are called to violently attack the gates of hell.  We are to take every opportunity to bind the enemy, to stop him in his tracks.

But God is also on the offensive team at the same time.   He is trying to help us get to the goal which He has called us too.  He is working to get everyone to the goal, to be saved and have a deep personal relationship with Him.

Who are we missing

1 Corinthians 3:6 (NKJV) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

God awoke me with another vivid dream, which left me worried.  I knew God was speaking to me about something deeper than what I was seeing.  I woke up again repenting and praying God would redeem the time.

I work in a hospital and if someone  needs placement (like rehab or hospice or another hospital) the referral is generally sent online.  Often times  person will start the referral, call the facility liasion and then another person will follow up.  Many times we are waiting on additional information or insurance authorization.  We have the ability to leave notes for the next person to read and indicate also what were waiting on so they can follow-up. Generally the liaison and  co-worker are following up on that discharge plan, timing, and communicating with both doctors and patients. In addition, we try to check in with patients every three days, so the scenario in my dream was very unlikely. 

In my dream, someone needed place, I sent the referral and the ball got dropped. The patient was ready to be discharged and there was no insurance authorization when I left.  A week later when I returned, nothing had been done.  No one had talked to anyone, no one had followed up, the patient was left waiting and not getting what they needed to move forward in their treatment.

I thought about all the missed opportunities where I have failed to share Christ with others.   I know there will be people in Heaven because I shared Christ with them. I know there will be people who will say, if you hadn't shared Christ when you did I don't know how my life would have turned out.

But how many people did I miss?   Times where I told myself that someone else would do it.  Times that I told myself that there would be another opportunity. Times where I tried to leave that conversation to the preacher.  Times where I had no reason to believe that a person had a personal relationship with Christ, had a perfect opportunity, and yet did not take it.

In the kingdom we all have a part to play, some plant, others water, what happens when one fails to do their part? 

How many times have we missed a soul because we said "someone else will do it, or has done it?"  

How many people have missed the last opportunity that a person might have to know the love of God?

Who are we missing by failing to love the hurting, and failing to shed Christ's love in the broken places?

As I finished praying God brought to mind this scripture in Joel 2:25 That He can restore back the years..."  Praise God that He cares more about the lost than I have.  I don't want to wake up one day, and stand before God and answer for those who fell through the cracks of the kingdom because of a failure on my part. 

Leave Me Alone God

This verse jumped out at me as I read through Mark 5 this week.  I have been seeking more of God's presence, and here were crowds of people pleading with him to go away and leave them alone.  It is easy to have a sense of righteous indignation when you can't possibly be in that situation.  I immediately thought "How could they?"
God quickly reminded me of times in my own life, where I also wanted Him to leave me alone. 
  • Times when I was choosing to watch something that He had already showed me was inappropriate.
  • Times when I chose to have a drink, even after I had decided to set that down for Him years before.
  • Times when I spoke words out of anger, hurt, or just bad attitude.
  • Times when I pushed an argument with someone I love, just because I needed to be right.
  • Times when I wanted to stay in my own self-pity so I hung on longer than I should have to negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Times when He woke me up early to spend time with Him,  and I went back to sleep.
  • Times when He would prompt me to say something to someone, do something, or go somewhere and I ignored it.
  • Times when He convicted me of something, and I did it anyway.
I realize we all have our times.  This list could go on forever, with specifics. I am so thankful that even when we chose to ask God to go away, He still is there when we cry back out to Him.  He promises us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  He is waiting for us to make that promise to Him. 

God's masterpiece

We are reading a devotional by Mark Batterson, Draw The Circle in our Monday night Women's Meeting at church. As the speaker shared from Chapter 2 "Established by God" and hsared her perspectives on the chapter and how it applied to our lives, we moved in to discussion about how pottery must go through a process.  It is molded and shaped, dried out, then placed in a hot kiln, and it can burst if there is too much moisture left when it is fired up.   

God takes us through processes much like the clay.  Through our experiences, He is trying to mold us and make us into what He has purposed us to be.  Often times we are resistant to the process, and He has to keep molding and shaping us.  He has to keep the moisture in us so that we don't harden our hearts in the process. 

When we finally submit, He has to take us through the drying out phase.  Getting rid of all the flesh can be a long process.  There are so many things that can impact the time frame - our physical environment is a big one.  So many times we want to hold on to the ways of the world, while God is trying to get the world out of us.

Then God is ready to paint our lives.  He so wants to reveal His glory in our life.  That is what we were made for, to magnify Him.  But then, once again we have to go through the heat, to make sure that it is fused to us. 

I remembered making porcelain dolls at my husband's grandmother's doll shop.  She and the other ladies that frequented the shop were amazingly talented.  Grandma "walked me through" making several dolls.  AKA - I picked the green ware that was already shaped into the doll I wanted.  I cleaned it, sanded it, etc.  She cleaned up my mistakes.  She fired it in the kiln.  I painted it, she again cleaned up my mistakes.  She fired it again.  It seems like there were several firings and painting cycles.  Then she put it all together for me, and I called it the doll I made.

As we had the discussion, I just kept thinking about how long the process was for ceramics from start to finish.  If we are God's masterpieces, why couldn't we just be a painting?  Paintings aren't easy, but they are quick.  You still have imperfections, but God reminded me that when I paint, I cover the imperfections, the potter removes them.

God's work in us will last our lifetime.  Even as we are fulfilling the purpose He has designed us for He will continue to work on us, in us, and through us.  He will keep smoothing out the rough edges, taking us from one level to the next.  He never promised it would be easy.  He never promised there wouldn't be hot times, and dry times, and lonely times.  He promised He would never leave us.  He promised it would be worth it, for we are God's masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Run, hide, and take

I woke up Monday morning with my heart racing a mile a minute from a vivid dream.  My husband and someone else were running away from someone.  they took off out the door and were on foot.  In the home where we were, there was also a young woman with a young child, which was my child but not one I recognized.  I gave her the child and proceeded to try to find a hiding place.  First I tried under the bed, but wouldn't fit, then in my closet which I determined would be the first place they would look, then in another closet.  All the while those looking for us were fast approaching.

When I awoke, I had a strong sense to pray for those who are running and those who are hiding from God.  I also felt repentant because I realize that at times I have tried to run and hide.  The I felt overwhelming thankfulness that God so gently tries to woo us with his love and favor.

Many of us try to run from God.  We act as if there is somewhere we can go that He can not find us.  We run from the purposes and plans He has for our lives.  We run from the responsibilities that He wants us to take.  We run from His will for us.  Sometimes it is a short run, others spend their lives running away from God.

Others run from God chasing after something or someone else.  Sometimes I think, we don't even realize that we are running until we hit that point of desperation where we have caught what we thought we needed to obtain and realize that the happiness we sought is not there.  God did not call use to seek after other people.  He did not call us  to seek things.  He called us to seek Him.
Then there are those who know they will get caught, so they have the presence of mind not to run, but instead they try to hide.  Sometimes we hide in the busyness of life preoccupying with things that God did not call us to.  We pack  our schedules with so much that we don't have "free time" for God to speak to or use us.  We are  too busy hiding in our own agenda to allow God time to do His will in our life.

Other times we hide because we are afraid of what He might place on us, that it is too big .  We hide from His voice, because we know if He speaks we will be called to obey.  We fail to realize that it is not in our strength, but in our weakness that He called us because it is Him working through us that will accomplish what he lays before us.

Lastly there are those who think that they are being kind  and helpful, but in reality Satan is using to keep others from their destiny.  These people don't run and hide, they take on the responsibility that is not theirs. They take on things, sometimes with the right heart, but it keeps others from having to step out of their comfort zone and do what God has said they should do.  Sometimes, their heart is that no one can do it as good, but as John Maxwell says if someone else can do it 80% as good as you, than its okay to delegate. 

It is time as Christians that we stop running.  That we stop hiding.  And that we stop taking everything on so that people can start walking in the destiny God has for them.

I shared this blog at www.Blessedbutstressed.com as part of Inspire Me Mondays.