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Even When it Hurts…

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When you read, hear or see Scriptures that say like this one (on my wall) from Philippians 4:4, to rejoice in the Lord always–not just sometimes or not just when you feel swell but, always–how do you feel?  That is just never easy and one of those things that command that we lay aside our feelings and respond accordingly!  Tough, huh?

Rejoice when I feel yucky, rejoice when someone has hurt me, rejoice when my guy and I just had words with one another, rejoice when I hear of how awful my dear friend is doing with her chemo, Lord, I don’t want to do this at all!

This is also one of those phrases you don’t want to blab to someone else who is not doing well.  So, it becomes a personal thing between you and God!  If we stay connected to the vine and nurture our faith by staying ever so close to our Father, I have come to believe that it will carry us through the difficult times, you will be sustained! In other words, there is a healing that comes from being close to the Father. This is what must cause us to praise Him even in the tough stuff! Even when it is difficult I will trust in Him.

A favorite worship leader of mine reminds me with her song that He is the One who can steady my heart in the midst of all the stuff that life can bring through my days and nights.  Is it easy?  No way, and as a matter of fact, it can be very painful.

You are here...You're real...and I know I can trust You... Click To Tweet

This is the stuff that gets me through the tough journey of life.  I don’t like it but I know that it is all a part of my Lord’s wonderful plan.  How many of you have the following verse as your life verse?

I believe in a sovereign God who really does direct my pathway along this journey called life.  I sure don’t understand when the tough things come my way or when others have to suffer so, but as I learned long ago from Bible teacher, Kay Arthur, everything that happens in our life is filtered through God's loving hand. ~ Kay Arthur. Click To Tweet If I will trust in that knowledge and even embrace the not so pleasant stuff of life, it will be used to grow me up and draw me close and make me more like Christ!

Here is the Message paraphrase version of Jeremiah…

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Dear friend, where are you on your journey of life?  Are you still shaking your fist at God wondering WHY God?  It’s okay, He definitely understands your pain like no one else can!  However, if you listen to His still small voice, you will hear Him whisper to your heart, “I love you, will you trust me?”

Father, it is really hard in the midst of stuff to lean back and say, “I trust You!”  I want to, but it sure hurts and I just want to know what tomorrow is going to bring.  Will I wake up and see a brighter day or will the weight of the dreary sky be the picture of my uncertain future once again?  Lord, fill me with Your hope, help me to see the light in the midst of my dark situation.  May my tomorrow bring hope, help and healing as I willingly see things through the truth of who You are and not from my finite perspective.  Right now I confess with my mouth that I trust You with my life and all my concerns, in Jesus’ name!  

When the Stess Becomes Evident

Our living situation, or should I say our comfortable empty nest has changed. I have always thought of myself as fairly adaptable and willing to flex and change to accommodate those things life throws into our comfortable mix. However, I recently learned how I too can be in denial.

Almost four years ago on July 4th, after discussing at length, the options for our mom, I told my sister–after discussing with my husband–that living up north with us might be a workable option. I said yes and my sister said okay and brought her up for what mom thought was her annual three-month stay in Minnesota. She always enjoyed pleasant summer temperatures and her lovely trailer tucked beneath the trees beside our home. Independent living at its best. Mom always said it was the best of both worlds. Orlando for nine months of the year and International Falls in the summer months. Life is good!

It didn’t quite turn out the way our little momma thought it would when asking my sister to make her return flight to Orlando. My sister had to be the bad girl and tell her that she wouldn’t be coming back. Bam…the first blow. We did work it all out however and our poor, little lady had to face her first winter with–us as one of the coldest in many years blew through the winter months. Apart from some physical issues she really did do fairly well. Along with her friends, we made sure that she was set with clothing to keep her warm. My little momma is only 4’10” tall, weighing in at 80 pounds. Yeah, how does that work without fat on her body to keep her warm. However, she did make it!

Blow two came in the summer when she was looking forward to moving into the trailer for three months or so. “Mom, you aren’t able to live in the trailer anymore. It isn’t suitable and you can no longer see well enough to be alone. But maybe we can find you a place in town where you might get a meal with your living plan and I can even bring you meals.

That plan softened the punch a bit. However, there wasn’t an apartment available at that time but she could be put on a waiting list to call when one became open. Summer came and went and nothing opened up until later in the fall of 1014. By then we just couldn’t see her living by herself at all. Yup, the third blow.

As we rolled into 2015 we realized we were at a crossroads with our mom. Her independence dwindling as she basically resided in our daughter’s old bedroom and our living room upstairs. “Well mom, this is home!” Our hopes were that she would be able to resign herself to being comfortable with us. But a few issues got in the way of that, including health issues and trying to make her comfortable.

I am so not a drug person. I don’t like to take them and for me, they are a ‘last resort’. With our mom, she has to use a few which I understand is pretty good for an 86-year-old today. She started itching like crazy when she was with us and we did the derm and allergist thing and you name every cream, pill, and salve in the book, all to no real avail! What were we going to do about this?

Almost every night I have helped load her skin up with of cream all over her little bony body so she can sleep through the night. She would sometimes wake up itching like crazy and be very angry. I have often wondered how much of this was brought on by her disappointments? I guess I will never fully know the dynamics. From a tiny, elderly lady who awakens to puff a half a cigarette, eat a few bites of some sugary pastry (oh how she loves her sweets!), and seldom drinks any water, I’m amazed at how well she is doing. So needless-to-say, her skin issues may never get better at this point, it is so hard to retrain a person in their 80’s!

I have shared prior to this post of how I have had to let go of some of my dreams because this momma is my top priority right now. However, there are times when you have a V8 moment and realize you have been harboring resentment and to top it off, not dealing with it! Ouch, that is a reality that I really didn’t think I would ever have to deal with.

Last early spring I started losing my hair. Now I am on a fabulous nutrition product so that isn’t the problem. I studied and looked and pondered and prayed as to what in the world was going on. Thyroid? Diet? Vitamin deficiency? Or dread, maybe…stress? Well after doing all the ‘right’ things I could think of, this was the only thing I could conclude as my issue…stress...oh how it doesn't do the body so good! It can literally destroy us when we aren't willing to deal… Click To Tweet

So I again when to my mantra of Philippians 4:6-7 and asked the Lord to show me what in the world was going on. On one of my walking routes one day it all came pouring out of me. I had to admit some things to the Lord that I really didn’t want to out of the fact that I was sort of ashamed I had harbored these feelings. After all, didn’t He tell me I was supposed to write that book and speak all over the place? But as I had to give up my space, my time and all those things that gradually took me away from my dreams, I guess I got angry. Ever heard it said that anger turned inward is depression? Makes sense doesn’t it. We harbor bitterness that grows and makes us a very angry, unhappy, unhealthy person.

Argh, I walked and cried like an idiot that day on my walk. I’m sure people driving by were wondering what my problem was. However, getting it all out on the table so to speak was so the right thing to do! I was then in for a huge blessing.

Now, you might think that when you get a dozen roses that’s pretty special right? You bet it is. But better than roses–even though I couldn’t bring them home with me–there along the road in the ditch (where I walk all the time) low and behold…a perfect dozen Pink Showy Lady Slippers (our state flower, btw.) It was just like the Lord blessed me for my honest walk with him!

I really can’t tell you just how much that meant to me. They were absolutely gorgeous! It was as if He confirmed my forgiveness by giving me this incredible gift!

Oh, friend, God is so kind and gentle, and I love this from Psalm 145:8…

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

You see, I had to let go and let God fill me with His peace!

You know what? I did quit losing my hair within a few days! That is just proof that stress destroys. I believe we aren’t meant to carry bitterness and anger. And when we choose to ignore it, we will suffer because it has taken up residence in our hearts!

Friend, sometimes you just have to let it go and when you do you will be flooded with the ‘peace that passes all understanding’! I’ll take a dose of that any day…how about you?

 

I Want Child-Like Faith…

It was such a dreary morning as I got into my car and began my journey. The windshield was getting spattered with intermittent light rain so that I had to keep my wipers going, but not consistently. Traveling on days like this are not my favorite especially with the fog making for limited visibility! Lord knows what could jump out in front of me since it would be an hour or so before daybreak!

Where was I going? It all seems so fresh and new but I have to admit that I am really feeling hesitant about the next part of this journey. It is those stinkin’ uncertainties. After all, I like to know what I’m getting myself into. Guess I’m sort of a black and white kind of person these days. And it is really kind of scary to imagine the what ifs that I could run into. What if this venture doesn’t pan out? What if I am making a ‘big’ mistake in making this move? What will he say if I fail at my attempt to make things better? Will he understand or be angry with me?

Oh, I dislike those thoughts that are rolling around in my head. Okay, I just remember that when I get like this I need to go back to some of my favorites…

He will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJ)

There it is, perfect peace…why? It’s those last four words, “he trusts in You.” That takes Faith! Oh man, this faith thing certainly is a challenge!

And then there are these two verses I have claimed as my ‘mantra’ for a long time now…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7 (ESV)

Again, peace of God that will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus! Oh yes, I have had loads of opportunity to put those verses to the test and you know, God has never failed me on His word! Stop and ponder this...how could He renege on His own word? It just doesn't happen or He isn't the God he says he is! Click To Tweet

So, why does this new adventure seem so scary? I need to take some time and remember the many times that God has seen me through. Because He has upheld me in the most difficult of circumstances!

If I can’t trust God by now then seriously, what’s the point of continuing? I have made up my mind that I want to finish my journey here on this globe strong. I want to be the woman that God has designed me to be. I want all He has for me as I finish and Lord, let me finish strong! My word this year is “Faith”, but I added the adjective Big to my word because that was the kind of faith I want to learn this year. Faith that moves mountains, faith that believes in big changes, faith that knows the prodigals will return home and faith that believes that the lost will be saved!

So, here goes! I am preparing for the next leg of the journey, and it just might include (shhh…) retirement. But I don’t want it to look like what I see some slip into. That’s why it will be one baby step after another. And you know, I am actually excited to begin the trek.

How does it go? How do you prepare? How do you plan? Well, I am adding this verse to my repertoire…

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

I know it well, I have used it times before and I now have three Hebrews 11:1 graphics for my blog posts!!! But with this faith thing, this BIG faith thing, something tells me I am going to need to remind myself over and over as I begin to live it out purposefully!

You may not think that you have a faith issue, and if you don’t I want to know how you do it! But for those of us who have lost our ‘child-like’ faith somewhere along the road, let me challenge you to examine how you respond to those rough bumps we encounter. You may be like I am thinking I can’t do this thing unless I have all my ‘ducks in a row’!

So what are your faith inhibitors?

  • Fear?
  • Uncertainty?
  • Control issues?
  • Gotta have your ‘ducks in a row’?

These will certainly rob you of unadulterated FAITH, the big faith I’m talking about. The faith I want and honestly struggle to maintain!

So maybe you would like to at least join me from the standpoint of growing in your faith? If you do then you might not have such a ‘faith deficit’ when you get to that place where I am hoping to be someday!

Step one has to be memorizing those three verses if you haven’t already…let’s do it so it can do the work inside of us that only God can do when we implant His word in our heart! And then just like I did on my North Dakota trip, put His word to the test! I have wondered if God doesn't delight in showing us a glimpse of His character during our rough times? Click To Tweet

We will check back on the progress here…I promise. This is a journey that is not too soon to end

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is most of all highlighted by Valentine’s Day, and designated to express and receive love! How delightful. Let me share this writing with you by Stephen Crotts…

Love ~

To be young, wealthy and in love–all in the third century. And to be a Christian. 

Such was young Valentine. He would consummate his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon he would be wed. But his world came crashing down around him when the Roman emperor declared all Christians illegal citizens and guilty of treason. All they had to do was to say, “Caesar is Lord!” Rather than deny Christ, young Valentine was arrested. 

In jail, awaiting his execution, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend…beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his great love for her. But theirs would be a love not lived out. On February 14, 269, Valentine was put to death, martyred for Jesus Christ. 

Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ and romantic love on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters to special people. And we do so this year, let us resolve to live for Christ unashamedly.  ~ Stephen Crotts 

So my friend, how will you spend your Valentine’s day? Maybe a romantic dinner with card and flowers from or to your beloved? It seems odd that we need a day in the year to remind us to show and exhibit love. Click To Tweet A day that indicates we should express our faithfulness and love to our beloved!  Yet, how about most of all to our Christ. His words to us penned by the apostle Paul in Corinthians need to be seared upon our hearts:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13 

No small wonder it is called the Love Chapter. The above words are the key to any and every relational issue known to man. For if we do as it says we should, we become humbly involved in laying aside our agenda and we pick up the care the concern for others and administer love, unselfish love. 

I know my tendencies and I know how hard it is to look beyond me and see others in the light of God’s love, forgive me Lord. As Your creation, it should be a natural to do likewise–as You do unto us–to those around us. Why do I always get in the way? 

Father, when I am struggling with my spouse, my friends and even the poky driver ahead of me who thinks I should live my life at his speed, help me to think LOVE. Forgive all the “buts…” that I throw out as excuses to justify my unloving attitude. Lord, if I could always have on my mind the love You showed Your unworthy child, I just might remember. And how do I really show Your love to that unlovable person(s) we all seem to have in our lives? Whatever it takes Lord, I need Your grace and mercy so that I would remain that humble servant who desires to walk in love and then purposes to do it! I am so weary of asking and then I watch myself turn around and reneging on my intention. Give me authenticity that will reveal who You are through me. I love you Abba and my desire is to live for You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

The Battle With Doing It My Way

Letting go is just never an easy thing to do! What I mean is that stinkin’ pride sure makes it hard to surrender the “it’s all about me” areas of our life!

We had just completed a stressful couple of weeks at work. Preparing for an audit is never what I would call fun. Then there’s the two days when the accountant visits, well…he’s a great guy but he is still our accountability guy. You know what I mean right? Stressful!

So the weekend was coming and it was going to be oh so nice to stay home, get some much needed things done. You know how it is when you work all week, and the weekend before, because you had papers to find and reports to print out! So I had even planned to start some minimal purging to prepare for the spring cleaning thing. (I get this way after the new year!)

Well, I received a txt from a loved one inviting me to take him to watch his son wrestle for his first tournament. Now of course I wanted to see this young man who I seldom see, but I also wanted to have my long anticipated weekend. Argh, now what am I going to do?

So there it goes…those nudging of the Holy Spirit, saying to my heart, “you need to go.” Well of course I do, I know that but…oh how selfish I saw myself being!

Well of course I knew what I needed to do, I knew I wanted to see this guy who I hadn’t seen for almost a year and a half. Yup, we were going.

The long and short of it is that when God wins the wrestling match, you can bet that blessings will follow. Click To Tweet We had a fun day watching all these little kids modeling their coaches and parents. And I was so surprised to see the little girls that were also wrestling with the boys. Wow,times have changed. Finally after four hours, our guy was up. He had been a nervous but by his third match he was getting into the swing of it. His dad was heartily cheering him on. Nah, he didn’t win his matches but toughed it out like a young lad should, shook the hands and was more than ready to get out of there! It was off to get a sweet treat before we headed back home.

Thank you Lord for your prompting and prodding and thank you Lord that I saw how I needed to say yes. For whatever reason, we were meant to be there.

And my reward? That was spending time with a young lad I seldom get to see and that was very sweet. But I have to say that the blessing came from time with the Lord the next morning.

I had brought a magazine from a ministry we carry on the radio, home from work. The cover intrigued me with a shepherd and some sheep on the cover and the words, “They hear my voice and they follow”. Ah yes, that goofy reality that we are His stupid sheep desperately in need of His shepherding.

Well the first article was my gift from Him by Mike Lee, on ‘Giving Up Control’. Okay Lord, another reminder that I am that work in progress that still has so far to go. But as I began to read…and it wasn’t long into the article I read the words the Lord used to touch my heart deeply…

“You see, He didn’t have the one and only thing He really desires. He didn’t have my heart.

“And when He doesn’t have our hearts, He doesn’t have us.”

Oh goodness, did that one do a number on my spirit. Because I knew He was again pointing out to me that my pride was what was keeping me from giving over my heart to Him.

Would I have wrestled so much when the opportunity arose to see a grandson I hadn’t seen for so long if not for my selfish desires? Of course not. I would have jumped at the opportunity to go. I would never have second guessed that offer, shame on me! But I did go and I was blessed with the day. And with my time with the Father the next morning.

Then as I continued reading, Mike gave some thought provoking questions. So I grabbed my journal and proceeded to let the Father have my heart as I answered and soul searched
for the answers to the following:
1. Is there anything God wants me to start doing?

2. Is there anything God wants me to stop doing?

3. Is there any reason not to do what God wants?

I was brought to Psalm 51:10-12 NASB

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

Man, that will bring you to your knees!

Mike then concluded with these application points:

1. Begin with what you already know from God’s Word. Not to learn something new, but to obey something you’ve already learned.

2. Say yes to the next obedience opportunity. You will encounter and opportunity to say yes to God, whatever that might be.

3. At the next T-intersection , go God’s way. You’ll know it when it comes–when you could go either your own way, or God’s way.

It is at moments like these that a person realizes the forfeited opportunities lost to the pride of going my way instead of following after the Shepherd.

You know, as crazy as it sounds, this was a  lesson that almost felt good. Maybe I am tired of fighting and ‘doing it my way’! It does get old believe it or not!

I am anxious for the next set of instructions like when you play the scavenger hunt. You get to each clue and it propels you onward the next and finally to the prize!

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Friend, can I tell you from experience that the battle of the will and self is just not worth it? Can I also say that it does get old as you fight to hold on to that prideful reasoning that gives the ‘right’ to win and do it your way. You know the Bible talks about our hardened hearts opposed to our hearts of flesh, gentle and pliable and willing to surrender. Which will you choose?

Making the Shift

KN with tagWelcome, I am so glad you are here!

Sometimes we get to a place in our lives when there comes a tweaking, a nudge, or a reconfiguration if you will. That is what is happening on this site you have visited, just a smidge of a shift to embrace the fullness of not just the Spiritual and Emotional part of our lives but to include as importantly our body.

A few years ago I got seriously involved in making a difference in my health. Deciding to put to test a product that I had been introduce to by a dear friend. You can read more about my Zeal testimony.

Just so happens I began to really like what was happening with my health as my immune system was being boosted. I found that I wasn’t getting sick like I typically did. Because of that I ended up becoming a consultant for Zurvita.

I am thankful that I have made this move because what has happened is a better awareness of the importance of building into our earthly tent or body, as well as the other two elements that comprise who we are. And the Bible has a lot to say about taking care of our “temples.” Why? Because we house the Holy Spirit when Christ redeemed our lives!

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In the past I dabbled with health fads and eating various nutritious foods. I have always gardened and love fresh foods. But in this age of super farming (which has annihilated what was once good for us, by genetically modifying our base foods,) we are basically putting a gun to our heads by the food choices we make when they aren’t healthy. Or we may be completely ignorant going along with the societal trend of the super-size, fast food eating.

This new area includes issues like dairy and grain allergies. Don’t you wonder why people are struggling, trying to maintain their health even when it seems like they are eating well?

Well, here is a place where we will embrace all three elements of health and wellness from top to bottom if you will.

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I hope you will join me on the journey of healing so we can be the effective instruments God has designed us to be…as we confront the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of this pathway called life. Let’s be an encouragement to one another and lift each other up because when the ‘body’ is hurting then we all are hurting!

John16.33

Knowing that God has called to live a life full and abundant should tell us something. And when we are dragging around we aren’t much help to ourselves and others!

In here you will find information about how we can guard, improve, address those stumbling blocks, and grow into healthier human beings. I will even include recipes and features from friend who are on the journey with me.

So if your with me lets give it our very best! Join me on the journey to wholeness so we can finish strong and take many with us!

This Scripture will remain a standard closing for us when we finish our time together…

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Message Paraphrase

It’s Truly Amazing!

The grace of God is pretty amazing and although words can try to describe what it is all about, it is still hard to get the full capacity of it’s meaning.

All About Grace

I many times in my Christ-following journey I have ‘fallen’, turned away or neglected to put my trust in Him, not to mention that I probably sin every day. But truly, I stand in awe at the reality that God only sees me through the blood of Jesus, not my sin. Whoo,… Click To Tweet

We don’t have to think that grace is just a New Testament thing either…look what is written in Jeremiah 31:2-3…

“Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest,
the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

Secrets of the VineMiss Leah, a friend from a retreat I spoke at last fall,  reminded me of a lovely little book from Bruce Wilkinson, “Secrets of the Vine”. I have a copy but hadn’t looked at it for a very long time. So while on the treadmill it has become the riveting read that is making my 30 minute workout zippity-do-dah along.

I was taken aback at the insight from the Vine-dresser (he who tends the vineyard,) who doesn’t discard the unproductive vine that has not produced. Bruce Wilkinson, at one point asks the dresser if he just cuts off those muddied vines and throws them away. In the vine-dressers words he says “oh no, they are much too valuable to do that.”

No, those vines aren’t just discarded. Instead, the vine-dresser carefully lifts them up (for they have fallen down, gotten covered in mud and started to mildew), and rinses them off in the bucket of water (carried along just for this purpose.) In the lifting up, the dresser gently ties the rinsed off vines, twining them into the trellis. Before long they are once again beginning to be productive.

Hey there friend, I don’t know about you but I have been a wayward girl, and I know wayward people. People who once loved God but then sin began its deteriorating process and they too fell, got muddy and began to mildew. I/they are given up for ‘lost’ or ‘back-slidden’. Thankfully there is that Christianese saying that says “God loves us too much to leave us the way we are” or something like that.

The Lord has given us the ability to make choices, which means the freedom to make mistakes, to slip and fall. However, like any good parent, He disciplines us. We either respond to His loving rebuke and turn from our sin and poor choices or we will keep reaping the consequences. Bruce Wilkinson says it this way: “The discipline doesn’t have to continue! It’s all up to me. I will only experience pain as long as I hang on to my sin.” Or I will only reap those consequences if I continue along my sinful way!

Wow, these words from Hebrews 4:14-16 are so awesome…

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When I think of prodigals, I think that they might just believe that they are too far gone. Maybe caught in the trap of working for their salvation. That’s when it is easy to say, ‘well I blew it so there’s no hope for me.’ Isn’t that just one of the enemy’s great lies!

So how can I/we help those beloved prodigals believe that God loves them too much to give up on them?

That they can quit wallowing in their sin and come home even if they are really stinky from the miry cesspool they have been dwelling in?

How do they come to realize that Christ died for them even while they are steeped in their sin?

…grace, God’s grace…lived out by us…extended toward them, me, you, my son, your daughter…

Will you remind me when I begin to let that sly dog, judgement come creeping in, to tell him right where to go?

Will you remind me that I am a product of God’s never-ending love?

Will you remind me that my son may only see a glimpse of God’s grace because I have extended it to him without payment?

Yup…freely given and Lord I pray freely received…

Grace Goals

Grace Goals Course

I want to introduce you to a blogger friend of mine whom I have shared with you before and who has offered her wonderful devotional “Trust Without Borders” which I believe has been for ‘such a time as this’ (at least in my world), Arabah Joy.

Arabah has just released her latest project for us “Grace Goals” and it is going to bring an excellent start to your new year!

If you would be interested in checking this out for yourself, you just need to click on the image above and discover what in the world Goals is all about.

Arabah is a woman of the word yet struggles just like the rest of us to walk in the Spirit day by day. I personally love her transparent style and I believe you will too.

Let’s join the journey together and be blessed by this new release from Arabah Joy!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

Ah yes, the lyrics are in my head, “It’s the most wonderful time, it’s the hap…happiest time of the year”.  Is that really true?  Is it really the most wonderful time of the year for you? Personally I waver back and forth between good and sad!  I have had some good Christmases and some very sad ones.  Most of the difficult ones have come as a result of poor choices I have made in my life.  At those places I was either a little girl in an unhappy family setting, a lonely runaway when I didn’t even know it was Christmas and then in a marriage that was very difficult where my family suffered from the results of alcoholism. These were times when I had no hope, because Christ was not in my life.

Is Christmastime a Difficult Time for You?

There have also been times when even as a believer that Christmas has been sad or difficult.  I have a prodigal son who has caused much sorrow because of his poor choices.  For many years we have seen him come and go without any change in his lifestyle or he continued to add more “stuff” to the baggage he continues to carry. This makes for sadness for his family as we watch him struggle to keep his head above water.  These are times when all the sentiment and family time just doesn’t take away the pain of watching a loved one flail through life.

Prince of PeaceHowever, deep inside the recesses of my heart, I really do have peace and joy.  And it is because of the Christmas story.  An incredible expression of love that was lavished upon mankind as the Creator of ALL. He humbled Himself to come as a little baby, being birthed in a lowly manger just so that we could once again be in fellowship. He restored what was broken in the Garden of Eden.

You Are Loved…

This extravagant love, poured out in the form of a baby, then child, then man, the Christ, was God’s greatest work from a desire to once again have fellowship with us.  As it tells us in Genesis 1:26,27,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 

We have been created in God’s very own image!  That is sometimes too big for my comprehension but…I have accepted this truth and accepted the Christ who came yet was crucified, died, and buried (defeating death) when He rose on the third day! All for those who will receive the loving offer of redemption through His shed blood.

John 1.14 Christmas

Christ Our Hope!

So in the midst of your Christmas, I pray you will know the peace that surpasses even the difficulties (and there are so many things that try to rob this peace from us), whether death of a loved one, divorce, prodigals, sickness, financial loss, hunger…remember, Christ is the one who fills us completely with His peace and purpose in spite of the former mentioned.  Click To Tweet

With love and a blessed Christmas to you all!

 

At The Heart of Worship…

WorshipWorship…it is a very big topic with a lot of varying opinions about what, why, where and when we do this thing called worship!

I have come to know that my soul purpose here in this earthly existence is to point to Jesus, that is why we… Click To Tweet

(Thank you Frances Chan for making that very evident in Crazy Love.)

With that being said I want us to think about your most favorite person on earth. You know what I mean don’t you…the one you long to be with, can’t get enough time with and can’t wait until the next time! Well now let’s make that person our Lord. Let’s base this whole worship concept on who it is that we adore.

This is a fascinating definition of worship by apologist, Ravi Zacharias:

“is the submission of all of our nature to God,

it’s the quickening of conscience by His holiness,

nourishment of mind by His truth,

purifying of imagination by His beauty,

opening of the heart to His love,

submission of will to His purpose,

All this gathered up in adoration…is the greatest of human expressions.”

~Ravi Zacharias

Love it, an intellectual defining of worship as only Ravi can define! But we aren’t all there with the lofty understanding and sometimes need a down to earth picture of what this worship is all about.

As you can see from Ravi’s point, this is a something you do or we can say that the out-flow from us makes this worship a verb form of the word. Or I like to think of it as a ‘response’ to the Father’s love. The more I get to know Him, the more I want to worship Him in everything I do.

In my everyday living, loving, serving, this is it...this is my response to a God I'm madly in love with, and… Click To Tweet

But what about the musical aspect of worship? Oh I love my worship music! After all I host a radio program for two hours every weekday filled with music that points to the King! That brings Him glory and expresses my love for Him.

Now here’s the thing, music is something I can do a lot of the time because I sing all day long. I wake up with a song in my heart. But I want to say that how I live my life for Him, every moment of every day is really my expression of love for Father!

Pouring my heart out before Him as I express my hearts desire to know Him more!

Singing along and worshiping with this great group of ‘worshipers’ is one amazing event! I love the element of deep focus on the Lord that musical worship brings into my heart. Oh how I look forward to a day when this is what we will be doing forever, gathered with the Saints in worship before the throne of God!!!

Revelation 7.9-12

I don’t know about you but, I think we need to practice the worship thing while we are on this side of eternity! So let me ask you…

  • When do you know you are worshiping God? Does it feel like a result to doing something, like warm fuzzies?
  • How can you practice, this in your everyday living? Careful, I’m not talking about a works based thing here.
  • Remember, worship is a state of the heart. Go back and read Ravi’s description before you move on.

The result of a changed heart from experiencing His presence when we draw near to Him with an adoring heart creates an out-flowing love for others. It brings us to that place called ministry, called caring without thinking about it. Worship is my time with God in whatever form that takes in our individual lives. And on this side of the journey, I am always thrilled when I can pull a bit closer knowing it is transforming me to be more like Jesus.

And another aspect you may want to investigate is that Worship is a Tool! And in the Bible there were the worshipers who went before the soldiers to accomplish a certain task before the battle would take place. Quite fascinating especially how we can apply that to our services today that open and close with worship.

Will you let the Lord pull you a bit closer by opening your heart to His? He wants to reveal more of who He is to you and as you draw near He does just This is the stuff that changes us from the inside out, friend!

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.”   Psalm 73:28 (NASB)

KD Love and Grace Smaller

Kimberly serves in ministry at Psalm FM Radio in the “Icebox of the Nation” where she hosts a daily music program,”Vertical Connection”

Living northward with her husband, mom, dog and cat is a must while indulging her grandsons with lots of woods to venture in when they visit.

Kimberly loves to encourage and challenge through her words and whether speaking or writing her love for Jesus is evident.

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much;” Luke 7:47a