Live With Abandon

live-with-abandonToday is my 100th blog post! The timing of this celebration blows me away. I just returned from a vacation in the mountains of Estes Park, Colorado. He knew! He knew before I even took my first breath that this week in time would align with this 100th post of encouraging others. As the winds whistled through the trees I heard Him whisper sweet and tender things to me. I started this journey on January 1, 2015 almost 2 year ago out of an obedience to The Lord. My family had just picked up and moved. We had left everything and everyone we knew behind us. We had said YES to The Lord, and He wanted me to share some of my journey with YOU…to encourage you and to testify to you that He is GOOD. I stand in AWE of what He has accomplished through this broken vessel over these past two years. Together we have reached 16,827 views in over 60 countries with the good news of Jesus Christ. This my friends is worth celebrating!

peace-in-the-winterThe whole experience has come full circle for me. As I hiked through the mountains, I recalled my very first blog post. (You can read “A Real Journey” by clicking here.) The Lord had given me an experience with my grandmother that I will never stop praising Him for as long as I have breath. He allowed me to see Him through her REAL journey home to Him. I was the only one in the hospital room with her when she asked me if she would know when she made it to the top of the mountain. She described it as the most beautiful and pure white that she had ever seen. She saw her mother and her brother there…smiling at her. She was not having a lapse in memory as Alzheimer’s had robbed her so many times before, she was really experiencing her journey home. I remember tears falling down my cheeks as I rubbed her hair and held her hand. She was so peaceful and so ready to make it to the top of the mountain.

Friends, we are all on our journey towards our forever home. Only God knows when we will make it to the top. Until that moment comes LIVE and LIVE WITH ABANDON! After our hike we started our way back down to the village when this song came on the radio. There He was speaking to me again right through the radio waves. I believe every word of these lyrics. I hope it inspires you too.

“There’s gotta be so much more to life than this
A higher calling that I missed
I want my life to count, every breath
I wanna live with abandon
Give you all that I am
Every part of my heart Jesus
I place in your hands
I wanna live with abandon”

So what’s stopping you? Every single day we are given is a gift straight from above. Make it count. Our callings are different, but we are all the same in how we are loved and are to give that love away. On our flight home yesterday I saw it lived it out so well. There was a precious couple in front of us. They looked to be in their 70’s. The flight attendant had made her way to their row to ask if they wanted to purchase a snack. The gentleman nodded with a yes and ordered. The African American pregnant lady next to him asked for a sprite only she did not have a way to pay for it. The sweet gentleman told the flight attendant her snacks and drink were on him. He told her to order whatever she wanted.There wasn’t a big heroic celebration. No one else really knew that it happened, but he was living with abandon. He was showing love and offering it to someone he did not know nor did he expect anything in return. He simply gave it away.

trees-with-the-crossSo how will you give love away today? How will you live with abandon this coming year? Do you have new goals in mind? I hope you do. I hope you draw closer to our Lord. Spend time with Him daily. His Holy word is a comfort and a lifeline to my soul…may it be the same for you. Give Him thanks daily for your many blessings. There are many even in the midst of suffering and adversity. Look for them. Praise Him for them. You’ll be amazed at how your perspective changes and you will feel lifted above the mire. Share His love with those you know and those you don’t know. Be the gift! Live with abandon!!!

May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13. 

 

Give Your Best

best-quote-2It’s finals week at our house and for many of your homes as well. Our kids are tired. There is a bit of weariness in us too. We’re all ready for the break, and if we are not careful we will be tempted to throw our hands up and just go through the motions to get through… offering less than our very best. I want to encourage you today to not fall into that temptation. Don’t listen to the lie that mediocrity is okay to give. We should never settle for anything other than our very best. I have the best Christmas story to illustrate to you why.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11

north-starJesus was probably one to two years old by the time the wise men found him. They had traveled far following the star to get to him. Can you imagine how tired they were? What a journey they had traveled to meet the KING of kings and LORD of lords. I am sure they had moments of tiredness along the way, but they kept going. They kept giving their best foot forward to get to him, and when they arrived they gave him the best gifts only fitting for a KING. Enjoy these words from the footnote of my study bible for verse 11, “The Magi brought gifts and worshipped Jesus for who he was. This is the essence of true worship-honoring Christ for who he is and being willing to give him what is valuable to you. Worship God because he is the perfect, just and almighty Creator of the universe, worthy of the BEST YOU have to give.”

Did you catch that? He is worthy of the BEST that we have to give! Day in and day out we are to give Him the best. Only you and He knows what that best is. I love the story of the poor widow who gave all she had. “Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth, he said, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4

best-quote-1He sees and He knows. You don’t have to be rich to give Him your best. You don’t have to be the most successful. You don’t have to make the highest grade in the class. Just simply give Him the very BEST of YOU! Our oldest daughter exemplified it so well this week to our family. School doesn’t come easy for this precious child. In fact, it’s downright hard. She had a big test in her Pre-AP Geometry class that was going to make her or break her. We had a discussion about what giving her best looks like. She went to tutoring every day for a week. She stayed after class and came to school early. She even met with her tennis coach who teaches math. He helped her too. Test day came and she gave it her very best. She felt good about what she had done and was hopeful to hear the results. It took the teacher a couple of days to grade it. Early this week she was in my office after school. She logged into the portal to check her grades. I was busy working not paying much attention when I heard her burst out in tears of joy. “Mom, I did it!  I made a 89 on my Geometry test.” You guys…this momma could not have been more proud.  Our girl had given her very best she could offer and that is worthy to Him. You are worthy to Him! He’s the KING of kings and LORD of lords. Don’t settle for giving him your second best. Give Him all you’ve got, every single day He gives you.

We are on our journey to meet Him face to face…just like those three wise men. One day we will see Him, and we will lay our gifts at His feet. We will lay down every treasure we have earned along the way. Follow the star sweet friends…we will get to where we are going and we too will be overjoyed when we get there. Give Him your BEST today!  Merry Christmas!

 

Don’t Miss the Reason for the Season

img_2887The anticipation of Christmas is drawing near. Presents are being wrapped and excitement is brewing. This week our youngest sat under the tree picking up each present to give it a firm shake as she tries to guess what could be waiting for her to discover. What is inside? It reminded me of my own Christmas memories as a child.

I remember being the first one to wake up. Being the oldest sibling I would creep down the hall to take a peek into the living room to see if Santa had already made his visit. Once I saw that he had come I would glance quickly to see some of the gifts and run back to tell my sister. “Come quick Jess…come quick. Santa came and you are going to love what he brought you.” That’s usually all it would take to stir her awake. Off we would run to wake up our parents. Christmas had arrived and presents were being opened.

Fast forward a few years…I am now a teenager. Christmas morning started to look different. Presents were wrapped not laid out for us to plainly see. This one Christmas I will never forget. I am ashamed to admit this story, but there is so much to learn from it. All of my friends had Dooney and Bourke purses…that’s right the $300+ designer purses, and I wanted one. I told my mom I wanted one and she gasped. I pleaded my case with her that everyone else had one, so I felt I deserved one too. Christmas morning had arrived and my sister and I took turns as we unwrapped each gift. I purposely laid aside the box that looked like a purse box waiting to open it last. I just knew the purse I wanted was waiting on me. The moment had arrived…the last box. I carefully unwrapped it wanting to savor the moment as long as I could. I peeled off the tape on the sides of the box and opened it. There inside was a genuine leather Liz Claiborne purse. I looked up at my mom with disgust and remember saying, “Really…a Liz Claiborne?” My mom burst into tears which was very uncharacteristic of her. I instantly knew I had hurt her but my words had already been said. I couldn’t take them back. My dad stepped in and sent me to my room. There I was on Christmas morning in my room alone as an ungrateful little girl over a purse. I did not get what I wanted, and I had missed the meaning of Christmas completely.

luke-2-11If we are not careful, Christmas can become an overindulged, overspent holiday with no meaning leaving us ungrateful, empty and broken. We must make room for Jesus! In the hustle and bustle of the season, slow down, breathe and consider the real gift that has been given to us. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Did you catch that? A Savior has been born TO YOU, Christ the Lord! He is ours to unwrap. There is nothing disappointing about Him. There is no other name above Him. He is the KING of kings and Lord of lords. Celebrate HIM! Make Him the biggest GIFT you receive…and like the shepherds GO and spread the good news. Give HIM away!!!

Merry Christmas!

Mended

img_2825Decorating for Christmas this year came with an intimate moment for me like I have never experienced before. It happened when I took our Angel Tree topper out of the box. We have owned this beautiful porcelain and gold angel for several years now. The very first year we bought her I was taking her out of the box for the first time when I accidently broke her. They wrap them up like they would a barbie doll with zip ties around every limb to try to keep them safely packaged. Unfortunately, when I went to remove her from the box her porcelain neck cracked. She was broken. At the time I didn’t have anything at the house to fix it, so I just put her up vowing I would fix it later. Fast forward a decade…and there I was on Saturday holding the still broken angel tree topper. This is when I heard God whisper, “It’s time to fix things.” My middle daughter was with me when the moment happened. She saw my tears swell up inside. She asked what was wrong. I told her it was time to fix things that are broken. She went on to ask what all is broken? My answer was quick with a question in reply. What isn’t?

I had her run and grab the super glue from the back and we were starting with this angel tree topper. Then we moved on to the nutcracker that had fallen and broken a few years back. He got fixed too. I know it may sound silly but there was a beautiful and freeing moment in fixing these broken things, and there was major significance in what He was speaking to me. It was time to start fixing things in me that are broken. I am coming up very soon on my 40th birthday. I have mixed emotions about this one. It’s quite possible that this is the marking of the middle of my life. I have been reflecting on my first 40 years quite a bit lately. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way. I have learned. I have grown, and I want to continue in that growth by His grace over the next 40 years, and live them even better than the first. In order for that to happen I am going to have to work on the broken parts of me to make them whole.

img_2842So fast forward to the middle of this week, and the message I hear about fixing things continues…but this time I’m confused. The devotion I read speaks about problems being a part of life. They are inescapable in this fallen and broken world. Yes! I agree with that completely as I see the evidence of this truth daily, but I heard Him say to me “It’s time to fix things.” This devotion says don’t let fixing things be your top priority. My conversation with The Lord looked something like this, “God, I am so confused.  I thought you wanted me to fix things. What are you saying to me?” My answer came as I continued to read the devotion. The last two sentences resonated loudly with me. “Rather than trying to fix EVERYTHING that comes to your attention, ask ME to show you what is truly important. Remember that you are en route to heaven, and let your problems fade in the light of eternity.” Friends, we don’t have to take on the burdens of this world and try to fix EVERYTHING. In fact, when we do take on those burdens of fixing things that are not ours to fix we are distancing ourselves from Him. He is the Mender, the Healer. We get to seek Him in what He wants to fix in us and then He does the healing. I suddenly saw myself as the angel tree topper. For years, I have been walking around broken, banged up and bruised, all while trying to fix EVERYTHING else around me. The Lord was intimate with me in such a graceful way to say, “Gen, it’s time to work on fixing YOU.” Tears! I am ready because I know my AMAZING Father is redeeming me and making me new. How about you? Are there things that are broken in you that He is ready to fix? It’s personal isn’t it? Don’t be afraid to ask Him. He will show you and He will make you new! And don’t forget the best part…we are on our way to our forever home. Our problems start to fade away in light of eternity. That is good news my friends!

In closing, of course I heard this beautiful song on the radio after my week of listening to Him speak so intimately. Every word in this song speaks to this truth. This is my favorite phrase:

When you see nothing but damaged goods
I see something good in the making
I’m not finished yet.
When you see wounded, I see mended!

Close your eyes, take a listen and hear Him sing this over you. It’s so beautiful!  Keep on keeping on my friends. Advent is here…Our Lord is coming! Merry early Christmas to all!!!  #truth #gloryup

 

Serve Others

linseyI want to introduce you to a beautiful servant friend of mine, Linsey. She was one of the first servants I met when I moved to Boerne. She was Kendall Elementary’s PTO President my first year. Everyday without fail she would come and serve in some capacity all while trying not to be seen…completely humble at heart. We also both belong to the same church, Currey Creek, where she is active in serving in many ways. A few months ago she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. When I learned the news my heart ached for she and her precious family. I wanted to do something to help. A Sign-up Genius made its way around encouraging others to sign up to bring the family meals. I opened the email the same day I received it…only a couple of hours of receiving it to sign-up.The first opportunity for my family to bring the Laws family a meal was two months down the road. WOW! The outpouring of love astounded me. It speaks volumes to the amount of love and respect this community has for the this beloved family.

serve-others-quoteOn Monday I took my girls with me to deliver the meal.  I needed their help in carrying it in, but I also wanted them to be a part of serving others in their time of need. On the drive over, tears swelled as I recalled doing the same thing with my mom as a child. My mom has always been an amazing cook, and she has always shared that gift with others. It’s how she shows other people love. I wish I could say that I inherited her amazing cooking skills, but I do share her heart in loving other people by showing up when they need you the most. I told my girls I wanted them to remember this day for always. The Lord marked it extra special for us. Linsey greeted us at the door with a beautiful smile and a welcoming spirit. We all gathered around her kitchen island as I began to ask her how she is doing. Linsey is one of the bravest ladies I know. She inspires me. She answered all of my questions without hesitation and her chin only quivered once when she was mentioning her children. She has completed her 9th chemo treatment out of 27 and she faces radiation at MD Anderson when her chemo treatments are done. She is optimistic and has an amazing peace about her that can only come from God above. You can see Him being her strength, and it is an amazing beauty to see. Before we left, we all joined hands together and prayed. It truly was a beautiful moment for all of us. God was certainly in our presence.

sunsetAs we drove home He continued to show us His Presence. We looked out our window at the most amazing sunset. Beautiful pinks and blues blended with the white clouds as we drove. Then as we turned onto our street the colors had changed to an amazing shade of orange with a hint of red. It took my breath away. I felt Him speaking to us through the beautiful artwork He was revealing. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36

Friends, there is nothing more fulfilling than serving others because we are serving Christ Himself. When we take our eyes off of ourselves and place them on to the interest of others beautiful and amazing things happen. Linsey has lived a life of serving others and now she is getting a beautiful outpouring of love showered over her. Our God is faithful to us. He shows up. He never leaves us. He takes every single step we take with us. We do serve a mighty and faithful God!

How are you serving Him today? Is there someone hungry that you can feed? Is there someone new you have met that you could invite them into your home? Is there someone that needs clothes? Who can you serve that is sick or is in prison and needs a visit? Let’s put love in action and serve others! I promise you it is worth it!!!  #gloryup #truth

Before you close your eyes tonight, will you lift up Linsey Laws to our Heavenly Father above? When I asked her permission in sharing her story with all of you she was gracious and said “Yes, I could use all the prayers I can get.” Let’s shower her with them today!  We love you Linsey and we are praying!!!  XOXOXO

 

My Prayer

My Dearest Father,

prayer-quoteAs I take an honest look around at the condition of our world, my heart breaks. I weep big tears knowing how broken we all are before you. You see it all. Nothing escapes you. We are all guilty before you. Father, please forgive us. Forgive us of our selfish pride and arrogance that continues to rear its ugly head and tells us that this world is all about us. That is the biggest lie we listen to. Help us to keep our eyes focused on you. Your word tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. This is hard for us Lord. We often think that we can do things better and wiser than you and we take matters into our own hand. Oh how wrong we are. Please forgive us. Help us to do everything without complaining or arguing, so that we may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation. Help us to shine like stars in the universe.

praying-handsThis week has been hard for all of us, Lord. Have mercy on us all. I am grateful that we have a Savior that has passed through the Heavens. I am grateful that He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. Thank you Jesus for interceding on our behalf to the Father. You have been tempted in every way, just as we have, but did not sin. WOW! Thank you Father for understanding our hurt. Thank you that we can come before you confidently and receive your mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need EVERY TIME. Thank you for always being there. You never leave us or forsake us. You are faithful Father. Thank you for loving us first. We love you too! Amen

Philippians 2:5-11
Philippians 2:14-16
Hebrews 4:13
Hebrews 4:14-16

The one thing that unifies us more than anything else in this world is not our beliefs, values or opinions…it’s when we come together to pray. Won’t you join me today and lift up this prayer? When we approach His throne of grace with confidence we receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. That time is now…Lord hear our prayer!

The Unseen Victories

img_2671This week will be a week our family will never forget. Our oldest daughter and her teammates made their way to the UIL Team Tennis State Tournament in College Station to compete with the best of the best for the title of being a State Champ. I would like to tell you that all of those memories we have wrapped up in the past two weeks have been storybook perfect but that would be the furthest from the truth. It’s had many challenges and trials just like most weeks do. I actually resented the fact that we couldn’t have just one week without them. Just one…is that too much to ask? I found myself having this conversation in my quiet time with my Creator. As always when I am honest with Him He is faithful to be honest with me in return.

“Do NOT be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart’s desire is to be aware of My Presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life. Don’t let feelings of failure weigh you down. Instead, try to see yourself as I see you. First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with me through your life. I am pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. In addition, I notice the progress you have made since you first resolved to live in My Presence. When you realize that your mind has wandered away from Me, don’t be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you. Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, YOU ACHIEVE A VICTORY. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days.” Jesus Calling – November 1, 2016

quote-1After reading these words with tears, I knew I had to share them with our oldest. She too was struggling with all of the pressures of school work, being a teenager and being on a team competing for a State Champ title. That’s a lot of pressure for a 15 year old girl, and I wanted her to be able to release that over to the one who loves her the most. I cracked open her door while she was sleeping and sat at the end of her bed watching her sleep. I patted her on her shoulder to gently wake her to ask her if I could share something with her that really spoke to me. She opened her eyes and leaned over to turn on the lamp. I read the devotion to her with a shaky voice and a misty eye that released a tear as I finished reading. I followed it up by telling her that I loved her, I was so proud of her and for her not to be afraid to communicate with Him. Every time we plow our way through the massive distractions and communicate with HIM, WE ACHIEVE A VICTORY! EVERY TIME!

img_2708I watched every point of every match at the State Tournament. I could see her wrestle and fight for every point. I watched her walk to the back fence several times to regain her composure and to “communicate with Him.” I whispered to Him, give her a victory! Give her a victory! I wanted her to WIN so deeply. I wanted her to taste and see that every time she communicated with Him a victory was in store, but the win did not come the way we intended. She and her Boerne Greyhound Teammates were defeated by the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs. There were tears as the medals were placed around each player’s neck. They were going home after an amazing hard fought season.

Here’s the thing about victories…some we get to see in the form of trophies and accomplishments and some we don’t. As much as we desire the trophies and the accolades, it’s in the quiet unseen victories where we accomplish the most. I believe with all of my heart there were unseen victories in our midst yesterday. Each time my daughter communicated with Him, there was a victory! Each time I communicated with Him there was one too. As I laid down early to go to bed, tears fell again as I communicated with Him. I asked Him specifically for a couple of things and then closed my eyes to rest. I had probably been a sleep a couple of hours when I turned over. I heard voices in the living room. I tuned in to listen. It was my husband and daughter speaking together about the day and our trials of the week. My specific prayer I prayed was being answered in that living room. This was a victory he let me hear and see. It was worth way more to me than any State Trophy ever could be.

Friends, whatever trial you are enduring keep fighting! Keep communicating with Him. There is a VICTORY every time you do. Memorize these verses and let them reach deep down into your soul: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

team

To the BHS BOERNE GREYHOUND TENNIS TEAM…YOU HAD VICTORY this season in ways we could see and ways we could not see! You are the 1st TEAM in the history of Boerne High School to make it to the State Championship. WOW! We are SO PROUD OF YOU! Trophy or no trophy you are champs to us. Thank you for an amazing season where we all grew in unfathomable ways!

Be a Prayer Warrior

prayer-warriorHer heartbeat climbed to 197 over a 7 hour span as she and her husband were on a mission to rescue three young women from sex trafficking. Danger is an understatement when it comes to this line of work. She reached out to her closest family and friends for prayer. They needed help. They knew they could not fight this battle alone. The prayers began and the circle widened. Those praying reached out to their close circle of friends to pray. This is how I came to pray for these brothers and sisters in the faith. Our circle sent the prayers back and forth to each other throughout the morning. We knew who was trying to stop them from succeeding.  We claimed VICTORY over them and we BELIEVED God would be MIGHTY to SAVE! We were all standing in the battlefield with them. Later that evening we received word that our God was VICTORIOUS! Not only had he calmed the physical beating heart like He calms the raging seas, but God had doubled his fruit! There were 5 young women between the ages of 18 and 19 years old that were RESCUED and SAVED! PRAISE GOD!

This story is a beautiful one of the mighty power of prayer! It reminds me of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison in Acts 12. He was bound with two chains, sleeping between 2 soldiers being guarded by 16 sentries standing guard at the entrance. There was NO WAY OUT! But the church was earnestly praying to God for His escape. An angel appeared and awoke Peter from his sleep telling him to get up as the chains fell off. The angel continued to give Peter instruction and Peter followed him all the way out of the prison. Peter thought he was experiencing a vision until he came to himself realizing that God had sent an angel to free him. He went immediately to Mary’s House where many were gathered in prayer for him. They couldn’t believe their eyes when he was standing before them. Their prayers had been answered.

believeSweetest Friends, our God hears our prayers. He loves to answer us when we pray, and He is always MIGHTY to SAVE! Do you believe? I do. Just this week I have seen a local pastor be rescued and saved…He is ALIVE and only through the work of our Mighty God. There were many in the church praying.  I have seen not 3 but 5 young ladies be rescued from the chains of sex trafficking. There were many in the church praying. They will no longer be bound by those chains. They are FREE! I have seen a teenage heart soften after weeks of having a hardened heart. There were many in the church praying. Our Lord and Savior that raised Lazarus from the dead is still ALIVE today, working in miraculous ways that we cannot see or understand. Angels are in our midst doing the work they have been sent to do. Churches are praying and gathering together. God is hearing and is answering. Be a Prayer Warrior! Stand in the gap for those in the battlefield. BELIEVE God is listening and is actively answering when you pray. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 

Then when you SEE Him answer in MIGHTY WAYS…SING, DANCE and SHOUT IT TO THE ROOFTOPS!  Our God is on the MOVE!!!  He is MIGHTY to SAVE!!!

Friends, join me at 9a today to lift up a friend that will be going into surgery. I am claiming His sweet healing hands are upon her through the doctors and nurses. Will you stand in agreement with me? I’ll keep you all posted and we can sing and dance together!!!  I believe! Be a Prayer Warrior!!!

 

He Speaks…I Listen

luke-1-45This week I heard God speak to me in the middle of the woods while I sat in a folding chair underneath a cedar tree gazing at the stars. It’s amazing what you will hear when you get away from all of the distractions and you are simply still in His presence. He speaks. I listen. It’s been a tough few years for me and my family. We have endured so much in such a short time. We’ve had to let go of any and everything that we held dear to our hearts. My grip used to be tight on the things of this world, but as I have grown closer to Him I have learned to loosen my grip. Let go and TRUST. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been down right hard.

He has been with me through it all helping me to keep pressing on towards the goal. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about Him walking alongside of me, guiding me and encouraging me through. I am grateful for His faithfulness. He whispers sweet and gentle things. “I see you. I love you. I am not finished with what I started in you. Keep trusting me my child. I am fulfilling my promises to you.” Can you hear Him speak those words to you? I hope you do because He whispers them to all of His children.  There is not one of us He doesn’t love.

The morning after my special time with Him in the wilderness I stumbled upon these words:

hoseaTherefore I am now going to allure her. I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14

I couldn’t believe the words I was reading. I had never read them before. I needed to understand the context so I read on and spent time studying the footnotes of the verse. Here is what it says: “God was promising to bring the people to the wilderness, a place free from distractions, so he could clearly communicate with them, and to change what had been a time of difficulty into a day of hope. God uses even our negative experiences to create opportunities to turn back to him. As you face problems and trails, remember that God speaks to you in the wilderness, and not just in the times of prosperity.” Wow! Tears! Affirmation!

pursuedOur God has not forgotten us. He is working His master plan for all of our good. He can turn the most difficult days and trials into masterpieces. He speaks. We listen. A day of hope is coming…don’t ever let go of holding on to hope. Hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5). Get alone with Him in the wilderness, in those quiet places where you can hear His voice, wherever you can be still. Hear Him speak tenderly to you and may you BELIEVE that He will fulfill His promises to YOU! He is faithful. You are LOVED!
#truth #gloryup

 

Why Am I Talking

prayerIt’s everywhere you turn. You can not seem to escape it. You want to get away from it, but it keeps finding a way in. NEGATIVITY. Oh how lethal it is. If we know how toxic it is why in the world do we participate in it? Have you ever really stopped to ponder this question? Have you ever been to a restaurant or a party where the music was turned up too loud in the background, and it made it difficult to carry on a conversation? Instead of getting up and leaving we compensate, and we just talk louder so we can be heard over the noise.

The world in which we live in is truly exhausting me. I wonder if this is what Moses felt when he was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land?

So they quarreled with Moses and said, Give us water to drink. Moses replied, Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” Exodus 17:2

FullSizeRender (43)These are the people that The Lord had rescued from slavery in miraculous ways, yet they still had unbelief and grumbled. Manna and quail were provided for their meals, water was given from rocks yet they still carried on with their negative selves. Oh how I see us in them. We grumble, we complain, we quarrel with one another all while on the way to The Promised Land. It breaks my heart for all of us. What if we stopped the grumbling? What if we TRUSTED in The Lord with all of our hearts? What if we truly waited on Him to see us through to the Glory Land?

The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now. The Lord replied, ‘I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” Numbers 14:18-23

These are difficult words to read. We always like a happy ending, but not all endings are happy especially when it comes to the testing of our Lord. I hope we begin to take notice to our grumblings. I hope we will stop our unbelief and start to turn to TRUST in the Sovereign God who has the best plan for all of His creation. I learned a new acronym just last night for W.A.I.T.. It’s a good one…Why Am I Talking? What if we stopped to think before we speak? What if instead of getting louder to be heard above the noise we stopped participating in the noise. Turn off the garbage being fed to us through our televisions! Sit around with your family and close friends and love each other instead. Enjoy each other’s company. Quit replying to comment feeds on Facebook that only stir others on to anger. Just STOP! It’s not helping. Here’s what helps:

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But ENCOURAGE one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Hebrews 3:12-14

prayer-2Let’s encourage one another daily. Let’s help each other to keep our hearts soft so we won’t be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. All of this noise is a simple distraction from the enemy. It’s time we wake up and get our eyes FIXED on Jesus. He is the ONE who has already overcome! The battle is already won! He can be trusted! Hold firm to your confidence sweet ones. Persevere. Don’t ever quit…keep fighting the good fight! #truth #gloryup