Frostbite vs Springtime 

People love to go to places where it’s warm. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. I would dare say the majority of people are like this. [Maybe not–maybe this is my own experience with the people I’ve come into contact with, with a few exceptions.]

But everybody likes a little bit of sunshine. Darkness, after a while, even though it’s fun for a period of time, is overbearing and monotonous—and well, almost dreadful.

But when springtime comes, and the sun starts shining, and the new life emerges – we find ourselves happier, we seem to sense that we are freer, and we have a keen awareness of the beauty around us.  Continue reading “Frostbite vs Springtime “

A story

I haven’t written story format in a long time– but I’ve felt it pressing upon my heart to write this for quite some time. I keep getting this vision to write, and I set out this morning with only a glimpse of what the story was going to be. As I wrote, it just kept taking new turns and new twists– here is the finished product. Hope you enjoy!

***

Imagine you are moving, all by yourself. No one is able to help you and it’s getting late in the day. You have to be out of your old place before dark, and the sun is setting now. You are carrying as much as you can, armfuls at a time out of your old place to put in the truck you rented.

As you exit your old apartment building, you have your arms full of your stuff. You are trying to get out the door, and people keep passing you, no one willing to help you carry the load in your arms.

It’s like you are invisible to everyone around. You even say to somebody “can you hold that door for me please?” And they ignore you–maybe they didn’t hear you. Continue reading “A story”

Freedom -true Freedom 

So, I’ve come to understand that when we are looking for something to make us feel better, whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, sex – any addiction of any kind – what we are truly looking for is:

1. to be able to release the burdens that are taking place inside of us, and

2. be able at the same time to find acceptance. Acceptance without limitation. That’s why we tend to gravitate toward those who participate in the same acts of addictions that we have found.

Because there is some level of acceptance to being with those who share in your struggle.

But let me say this: there is nothing more freeing, nothing more satisfying, and nothing more fulfilling, then having the love of God present in your heart, and being surrounded by a community that also has God present in their hearts. There is acceptance there, there is healing there, there is a freedom that cannot be explained in sharing each other’s burdens.  Continue reading “Freedom -true Freedom “

Rest Area Ahead..one mile

Don’t you wish that Jesus gave us signs to tell us it’s not going to be much longer? “You will make it through this, in about a mile.”

That might translate as a year, a couple days, maybe a week. But if we had a sign right there, showing us that there is a rest area ahead, right around the corner, we might take life in stride a little better.

We might put up with the pain a little bit longer. We might understand that what we’re going through will come to an end. Continue reading “Rest Area Ahead..one mile”

Cupbearer

It doesn’t matter the position we are in-in fact every place we are in life is a chance to show others God’s amazing love.  Day to day I’m not so great at doing that, but Nehemiah reminds us that even if we are lowly ole cupbearers, we can be faithful and pray for our nation and those who don’t know Him.

“And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11 ESV

Infinite Love

Have you ever been in love?? 

No, I’m not talking about your man or your girl—I’m not even talking about your child. I’m talking about a love that is infinitely —and I do mean infinitely–more than any relationship that is ever possible on this earth. I’m talking about the Love that the Holy Spirit pours through us, making us long for our Father God, and our Lord Jesus, connecting our heart to Himself.  

Do you know that unsearchable and infinite love that makes the believer long for Jesus’ return??! If not, ask Him right now to prepare your heart to truly know Him. Ask Him to show you how to receive Him into your heart. Ask someone you trust and know has a relationship with Christ, that can lead you in a prayer to receive Him.  

How many of your friends and relatives knew Christ personally before they passed on? It’s a hard truth but one we must come face to face with for ourselves one day.  
Please, please don’t wait until it’s too late to receive Him. We aren’t promised tomorrow, nor our next breath.  

Jesus is faithful. If you are serious about wanting to understand Him, ask Him to lead you there. He will. Even if you feel that you are so far away that you could never do it—well my friend, you would be right—we can’t come to even begin to understand how to surrender our lives to Him on our own. He must work within you to bring you to that place.  

But if you feel that you are just too bad or distant to ever know Him, that is a good indication that you are being called right now in this very moment. 

He wants to make you His own, to seal you with His Spirit so that He can carry your sin for you and you can be given eternal life with Him. But first we must recognize our own depravity. We must understand that without Jesus, there is no hope. And there is only eternal judgment. 

But Jesus came to set you free just like He did me, and you don’t have to figure this out for yourself. 

There is hope. There is joy eternal. There is everlasting peace. And His name is Jesus! And He longs to fill that void down deep in your soul.  He longs for you to know Him.

God loves me –and has big plans for me

 I round the corner and I’m headed for home. It’s been a long day. It doesn’t feel long necessarily, but I’ve worked both jobs and I’ve got a lot on my mind. 

I’m thinking about two people in particular, and I’m turning over and over and over situations in my head. I’m analyzing and scrutinizing and trying to make sense of the things that have been said and done, the attitudes, the walls that seem to of been thrown up against me. 

Am I making it all up in my head? 

Or, am I really legitimately seeing the situation for what it is? 

And if so, why? 

What did I do? 

Or maybe the better question is, what didn’t I do? I always say too much, I always think too much, my heart loves too much. And as much as I want to restrain myself, there’s an even bigger part of me that doesn’t. And I guess I expect that others should feel that same way. 

They shouldn’t feel the need to hide behind walls, they should feel open and free. But not everyone is made like me. Not everyone thinks the same way or feels the same way or feels as deeply or loves as hard. [And sometimes I forget that my walls are up too-at first anyway, until I learn that I can trust them.]

What could I have done differently? Lots of things, mainly just being quiet. 

Is there any rhyme or reason to the fact that some people who I would put in similar categories (if I were to categorize them), just don’t seem to like me? 

Is it any of my business, though? 

Because honestly? It’s not. 

It’s not my business what they think about me. It’s my business what God thinks about me. Period. 

Those are the thoughts that were going through my head as I left my second job and pulled out of the parking space. 

But as I continued my journey home, all the thoughts kept coming back, and I just kept analyzing everything over and over and over in my head again. 

And then I round the last corner. I had about a block to go to make it home. And that’s when, like a lot of times here lately, God told me to turn and go left instead. 

 Left to the future place of this vision. 

He wants to show me something, he tells me. And I’m always eager to go with him there. I’m always willing to drive there, to drive around this place where one day he is going to make it all happen. 

As I near the place, I just slow down. People start passing me, mad that I’m not going very fast. But it’s late and it’s dark and there’s not a whole lot of traffic on the road. The police really couldn’t care less that someone is going 20 miles an hour in a 40 right now. Especially in this part of town– there’s bigger fish to fry. And that’s part of the reason that I’m here.  To help those that are tired of living this way and need out.
I start driving around the building and I’m just praying over it.

I’m just asking him “Lord please give us this building, Lord please make it ours, Lord please Lord, let it happen!! Not for my glory and not for our glory, but for your glory Lord, and yours alone!”

There is no part of my flesh that thinks I can accomplish all that needs to be done on my own. There is going to be lots of work involved and to think about it is just a little overwhelming. Yet, that part of my flesh is so weak in comparison to the spirit that just supersedes all of that worry and frustration and concern –human reactions that inevitably come with a project this huge and this monstrous.

But there is no fear in me. There is no doubt in my heart. I just know that God will provide. I know that he will continue to work in whatever manner he chooses, to make sure his vision is accomplished.
The spirit within me just testifies to me that if this is God’s will, it will be done. And my responsibility is to be faithful and to pray and to ask him for guidance and ask him for direction and to ask him to keep moving and to keep working and to keep stirring in my heart and stirring inside of each of our hearts that he’s given this vision to. 

We need him to stir in our hearts, we need him to provide direction and clarity, and we need a place and we need supplies and materials and workers. We need the faithful men and women that will come from all over and want to be a part of this. We need his guidance and we need his direction and we need his hope.

And as I pray these things, it hits me that there is a reason that he has asked me to come and drive around this place. 

I start understanding. It’s not about me.



When I left work, he very clearly told me that it isn’t any of my business what people think of me. And the only thing that matters is what he thinks of me. And as I drove out of the parking lot, I asked him very clearly and plainly, “so what do you think of me?”
No, it’s no coincidence that I felt drawn to go and drive around and pray over this future place of our vision. 

He wants to show me 1) to forget about all these trivial things that are trying to hinder me and trying to mess up this vision that he’s given us by way of distraction. 

And 2) he wants to show me that I am worth so much more then I think that I am. 

I asked him “what do you think of me?” And what did he do? He took me back to the place where he had spoken to my heart so clearly over a year ago. He took me there, and he reminded me of the vision that he has already laid out before me. 

I’m crying as I think about it now, how great and how awesome and wonderful our Father is. 

He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to tell me that he thinks that much of me that he would place this on my heart in the first place, and then, in my stubbornness and my blindness, and my heart turned inward on itself, he patiently guides me away from my place of safety, my place of comfort, my home. The place where he knew once I entered, I would be drug into that world of overanalyzing and overthinking and worrying about things out of my control. 

Patiently, he turned my car in another direction, and he guided me back to the place where he spoke to me, and has been speaking to me over the course of the last year and a half. He chose to pull me out of my stupor, and lovingly reminded me of the bigger picture. 

He is always creating, he never stops. He is always loving. He is always caring. He is always building us up in community- with each other, and with and in him.

And sometimes, he just has to pull us back away from our own neurotic minds and brings us back into his arms, and lovingly reminds us that he has big plans to work through us. That we are his, that we are loved, and that we are chosen, to fulfill the plans that he has laid out for us. 

And that he is always there, he is always going before us, and he is always *hymning us in from behind. We cannot go anywhere away from his presence. 

We are not called to walk this journey for ourselves, for our glory, or for the glory of others. 

But we are called to walk this journey for his glory, and for the benefit of others. We have to remain steadfast in our walk. We have to remain steadfast with him in order for him to continually wash through us and continually reach out to others through us. 

When we defiantly stay away from him, when we defiantly choose to get up and start our day without consulting him, and without submitting ourselves to his Lordship, we cannot be his vessel. 

We can think that we are being vessels. But there is nothing good in our flesh. We cannot shine. Only darkness eminates from our flesh. 

But when we live in submission to him, we become a clear vessel in which his light radiates forth. We no longer feel like we have to hide, we no longer feel shame and guilt and regret. We are only excited and longing for the next thing that he is going to do through us.

*((OK yes my iPhone did just spell hemming like that. LOL I love it! I’m leaving it!!))

Father, you are so good to me! 

You are wonderful, you are my mighty God, you are my creator and my sustainer and my deliver and my redeemer. You create continually all the time. You created my DNA, you created the stars and the planets in the ever expanding universe. You created each one of us unique and different with unique personalities and unique temperaments and unique abilities and dreams and hopes and desires. 

Father you are awesome, that you think so much about us, that you’re willing to take our hand and lead us back to the place where you found us. And remind us who we are and WHOSE we are. That we are your children and that we are chosen for your glory, because you love us and because you knew us from before the foundations of the world. 

God, you are holy and you are magnificent and you are love. You are highly exalted and highly esteemed. There is nothing that you cannot do, and I know for a fact that this vision is a piece of cake to you. It is absolutely nothing to you, even though people look at it and agonize over the thoughts of the work that need to be done, and the time that it would take to do it, and the supplies and the materials and the money /funds. 

But Lord, where you call, you provide! And I know that you never fail. And I know that you are the God of the impossible. It looks impossible to us, Lord, but we know it is not impossible with you!!

Help me to keep my eyes fixated on you, keep my heart stirred and alive for this vision, make it fresh and new every day. Make it alive and help it to grow and help it to take off. Give us direction and guidance, and the motivation to follow through. And your strength and determination to take the proper steps in your proper timing. 

Thank you Jesus!

The Living Water protects us

I remember when I was just a kid, and my brother and I were playing as my parents were working in the yard. My dad had some barrels of trash burning over near his shop, and I thought “oh I bet I can touch that barrel in such a flash that I will not get burned.” All the while I could see the flames glowing through the holes in the side and the metal starting to get red hot.

I knew better, I did. But I still touched it.  Even though it was only for a millisecond, when I pulled back my hand it was on fire. Not literally flaming, but it burned – it hurt – it stung so bad!!

I told my brother instantly what I had done, and in his efforts to try and help me, he told me to run my hand under the cold water of the faucet outside. This only alleviated the pain for the time it was under the water, but it hurt even worse when I remove my hand from the water. 

We were both worried that if our parents found out, he would get in trouble (more so than me), so we decided to play “Monkey see, monkey do”, waving our hands in the air as we walked/ran around outside while our parents continued to work. 

I don’t know what ended up finally making us stop and tell them, but I just remember it just wasn’t getting any better. I seem to remember that he made me be the one to fess up and tell them what had happened earlier.  
They immediately called our pastor who came over and put some salve on my hand and helped to bandage me up.  I remember my hand being badly blistered and I had to keep it protected for quite some time before it healed. 

Over the years, I’ve realized that when I’m washing dishes with scalding hot water, and I barely dip my fingertip into the water, it burns. Of course! I can barely stand it. And I’m always reminded of that day I decided to touch that flaming hot metal barrel.

But, if I run my fingers under cool water first, I can stand to dip them into the scalding hot water for just a second to grab what I need, and they don’t hurt. The longer my fingers are under the cool water, the more tolerance I build up against the scalding temperature.

It’s the same way when I spend time in the Living Water – the attacks against me don’t phase me.  I breeze right through them. I see them for what they are – purely the tactics of the enemy. But, if I haven’t spent any time with Jesus, every time I go into the world and try to touch something that I have no business touching, even for a brief second, I will get hurt. 

But when I spend time with Jesus, He fills me beyond anything I could imagine and I no longer have the desire to grab things in this world.