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At The Foot of The Cross

Every day I must wake up and remember who I am in Christ- loved, accepted, redeemed, worthy and righteous. When I forget or mistake my identity, and I often do, I spend my day resolving, grasping, controlling and exhausting myself trying to secure that which is already mine, procured by the sacrifice of my Savior not the striving of myself. Jesus did die for my sins and yours, but He also forfeited everything to impart His perfect record to us. I can work so hard attempting to achieve that which I only need to surrender and receive. Friend, this week I am praying for the grace to leave our debts, failures, and insufficiencies nailed to the cross where they have been rectified. There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

Jesus did die for my sins and yours, but He also forfeited everything to impart His perfect record to us. I can work so hard attempting to achieve that which I only need to surrender and receive. Friend, this week I am praying for the grace to leave our debts, failures, and insufficiencies nailed to the cross where they have been rectified. There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

There is a shady spot waiting for us at the foot of the cross.

You are loved!♥️

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The Little Life of Fear

Fear causes me to live a small, sheltered life.  She tells me lies like, you are in control by suffocating your existence into the fangs of an illusion.  I don’t desire to look back on a little life that reads, she was shackled and scared.  Fear will guarantee that outcome.  Faith assures me I can do adventurous, big things because my first breath and my last are already determined by a Father who loves me and desires me to live free not frightened.  I live proportional to my level of belief.  When I forget my destination I am incarcerated.  Not all prisoners live behind visible bars.  It is only when I remember where home is that I live the life that was ransomed for me. Today was about leaning into fear, and saying, not today pesky, friend!

 

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Shine More

 When the sadness of the world is shutting the doors of your heart, open them up more.

When persecution is preying on your joy, look for reasons to praise more.

When grief says the world will never be like before, gratify Jesus more.

When you want to give up, instead give more.

When there seems to be no love left, love more.

Evil only wins if we lose our light to the lust, lies, and lawlessness of the world. When you want to surrender shine more.

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Contentment

Growing in grace is finding joy at the juncture of what is and what we desire to be. Contentment builds her home there.

Friend, what person, plan or situation do you need to surrender to God’s sovereignty today? We are all Picassos, painting pictures in our minds of the way it should be, our way, our dreams. When we cling to our perfectly polished plans, we leave no room for God’s purpose to define our lives.

Perhaps we spend so much time longing for our coveted desires that we cannot enjoy our current destinations.

Our desires are not wrong, but our demands are. May we lay down our brushes and clear our canvases so that we can hang our hope on faith rather than fiction.

1 Corinthians 7:17~ And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. (The Message)

You are loved!❤️

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Remember and Rest,Friends 

I started my first seminary class last night. I have to say I felt slightly displaced as one who thrives on application among the academics. It is no surprise that the things that stuck with me the most were the points that immediately spoke and applied to my heart. 

Our teacher told a story about a young boy who would always wear his underwear, otherwise know as under britches (lol), backward. His dad would always say, son, turn your under britches around. Time and again they would be on backward, so the dad finally asked the child, “why do you wear your under britches backward? The young boy replied, “Dad, I want to see the big picture.” The big picture was Spiderman and all his friends.  

I have been thinking about that, and how we have so much going on in our lives that we sometimes can get so bogged down in every detail that we miss the bigger picture.

The ultimate picture is this; there are so many things of this world that I see and do not understand. There is suffering, there are tragedies and illnesses that break my heart, and I am tempted to ask, why God? Why do you allow all this? I have been diligently practicing before I ever get to the why to remember the Who.

The bigger picture often alludes us, and we see the fallen, the evil, the travesties. Thankfully, though, we have a sovereign God who sees, knows and controls everything. It would strike us as insane that He would send His only son to die for someone else, but He did because He crafted the bigger plan far in advance. God promises His picture will prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). He promises a bigger picture that will ultimately be for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

We must not get weighed down in all the little details of daily life, friends. If we pick apart ever issue we don’t agree with or understand, life will become very laborious quickly. I know it is tempting. We are passionate people who seek clarity, but we must not let our pursuits and passions overshadow our purpose. John 6:29 says, Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent.”

Will you believe in Him? Will you remember there is a bigger picture that requires faith to sustain us? It will take effort, and it will not be efficient, but effective, Yes! You will have to fight, but you will find freedom! You will forget and struggle to realize, but you will learn to surrender and rest.  

I am praying for you, as I ask for myself to resist the temptation to focus so much on the trees that I forget to there is a big, beautiful and mighty forest above and around all those trees.  
There is a loving God who has His hand on every minor and major detail of our lives. 

 Remember, friends. Remember and rest.

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God’s Sovereignty Always Stands

cropped-img_1711.jpgWe all have to die to different dreams and realities every day.  Sometimes they are for ourselves, our children or someone else we love.  Those desires are hard to let go, and often we get up each morning and have to surrender them all over again.  It is painful.

There is a great hope, however, right in the midst of the death of our dreams.  We have this glorious gift of choice that affords us the ability to choose a victorious or victimized perspective.  If we frame our thoughts in victory, we can look our dying dreams in the face and say, that may not be an option anymore, but God’s sovereignty always stands.

Whatever dreams you are dying to friend, instead of fretting about their death, focus on their direction.  This is not always easy; I know!  However, believing in The Lord’s promise that He has a plan that will prosper all His children, (Jeremiah 29:11), we can face those dwindling dreams and say, Father I do not like this new picture, but I cannot wait to see your purpose.

Life is a lot lighter under His yoke!  (Matthew 11:30)  You are loved!  #selfiesermon #preachingtoself

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Resign and Rest Today

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Hey fretting friend.  Resign from your post today and rest here.

Psalm 119:42~I trust in your word.  

What peaceful lives we would lead if we believed this word every moment of ever day.  It is easy to apply this to parts of our lives, but other areas like our children, our security, our health and our provisions pose a threat to our faith.

God’s word is not meant to be picked and chosen to fit only our comfort zones.  

It is intended to stretch far beyond those seemingly safe spheres and cover every area of occupation.   The degree to which we surrender to an unwavering belief in undesirable places, otherwise known as faith, is directionally proportional to our breadth of peace.  

Do we believe when it is counterintuitive or just when it is convenient? 

It’s ok.  Me, too.  Life is a series of remembering God’s promises, repenting of our unbelief and returning to His shelter.  We are continually under construction, and that is not only ok, but it is also normal! ‪#‎selfiesermon‬ ‪#‎surrender‬ ‪#‎mychildrenhaveaSavioranditisnotme‬

Happy freedom Friday!

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A Love to 2015

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As the hours of another year fade, I am thinking about the things, the hard ones, that I would have never chosen in 2015, but they chose me.   They brought much grief but were always accompanied by gratitude.

Our years are made of days, some ordinary and some extraordinary.   Those days, the ordinary and the extraordinary, occasionally conquer but also create us.   They sometimes shatter us but subsequently sharpen us.   We experience triumphs, and we endure tragedies.   Some days break us only to build us. Days can be messy but NOT without meaning.   Refinement and restoration marry well with an available heart.

The self-reliant use tallies of good and bad days to calculate the success of their year.   It is perspective and the pursuit of meaning and quality of growth amidst days, broken and beautiful, that the surrendered use to measure theirs.   May I always evaluate my years from a position of obedience to the word, not obtainments of the world.

This year has felt like another year of wandering in the Psalms for me.   I have been desperate, and I have been dependent.   I have lamented, and I have praised.   The year cultivated both difficult and defining memories. It was pretty, and it was painful.   I have learned that all years are as long as we are living under the sun.

2015 was a reminder that the goal of life is not happiness because it is not happiness that brokers comfortable homes; but joy outside of circumstances found in a Savior that breeds content hearts.
I am reflecting on all the fragments of the past year, the brutal and the beautiful, and placing them within the context of Romans 8:28 today. ~And we know that God causes everything to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I can find meaning in much of the messiness, but there are other situations; however, I am still waiting.   I am aware as Deuteronomy 29:29 tells me, I may never understand.   Some things are only to be known by The Lord.   Many circumstances are unfair. I am tempted to wonder how God could be working right from something seemingly so wrong?   It is here that I must exercise unreasonable faith, not in circumstances I see but in a creator, I trust.   I am slow to submit daily my exclusory perspective to God’s eternal plan.   It is here, in the stuck places, I have to put away all the “whys” and rest in Who.   I do not say this lightly because this is a difficult assignment, but we are not called to an assurance of facts, but an acceptance of our Father.

We can view life through skeptical-glasses or Savior-glasses.   It is a choice and a very crucial one. 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011… They all had obstacles that shook and shaped me; not to my final destination but towards my desired direction.   It has been those dreaded moments, the broken ones, that have rendered the sweetest fruit. So while some are saying so long 2015, I cannot wait to forget you; I am saying may I always remember you.

Meaning is often disguised within the parameters of messy.   Jesus was born in the most unclean of environments.   Isn’t it beautiful how the sloppiest of circumstances can become sacred.   Jesus was crucified and suffered a painful death with the intent to secure the salvation of a sinner like me.   It is no wonder that pain is piercing, but priceless because our eternity was founded on that principal.

Thank you 2015 for all the opportunities you provided God to prune and protect me.   Thank you for all the sorrow that stretched me.   Growth is most fertile when planted in the soil of grief.   Thank you for the tears of pain and the tears of joy.   Thank you for the portraits of beauty and the scribbles of brokenness. Mostly 2015, thank you for transporting me deeper into a relationship with my Savior.

Welcome, 2016.   I know your terrain will be one indigenous of peaks and valleys.   I also know it is my triumphs over your tribulations that are for my growth and God’s glory.   May I be a good steward of all you behold, the pleasant and the unpleasant.   This year, nor any ahead, as I have finally learned, will I evaluate by happiness or success, but holiness and stewardship of the shattered and the shiny moments that meet me down roads I do not yet know I will travel.   What a blessing to enter a new year given the grace to understand that!

Happy New Year to all. May you be rich enough to embrace prosperity and rattled enough to experience your Savior.   Holiest of New Years, friends.

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The Christmas Gift That Almost Unwrapped Me

 

In late November my husband told me he wanted to give our daughter a father/daughter week this summer at JH Ranch for Christmas.   That idea immediately sounded all the alarm buttons inside me, fear, anxiety, worry…

I love JH Ranch, their philosophy, the people and Who and what they represent.   Their programs are top notch and life changing, but I am still recovering from almost loosing our son last July in an accident while he was at camp there.   How could I agree to this? How could I even entertain the idea?   Was he crazy?   All these questions were brewing a chaotic storm in my heart and mind.

As quickly as that storm was surging, something else was surfacing.   Not something but Someone.   God’s truth began gently, quietly and consistently streaming in my head.   God does not call us to a life of fear.   2 Timothy 1:7~For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.   I was not wanting to hear that in my moment of melting.   I wanted to be fearful-very fearful! In this circumstance, fear seemed like a much safer choice.   However, I know this about God; he does not leave his children stuck in known places of “safety” He leads us to unknown positions of surrender.

It took me some time to be at peace with the decision to give our daughter that Christmas gift.   I did not want to, but I knew I was being called to.   Obedience to God’s will is seldom easy.   It often grieves us but always grows us.   It challenges us, and it chisels us into His image.   2 Timothy 3:16~All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

When we step into the shadow of death with a loved one, feel its sting and breathe its stale, suffocating air, we are changed.   When you almost lose something, you love so much, resisting the urge to fall into the alluring trap of putting ourselves in charge of the safety and protection of those we hold so dear is challenging!

Based on God’s word, though,  all indicators tell me He did not spare my son’s life for me to become my children’s savior.   He did not spare his life for me to grab on tighter and smother them in a bubble of supposed safety.   God did not spare my son’s life for me to turn my children into idols shaped in my image.   He spared my son’s life for His purpose, not my power.

Shortly after Christmas, friends and family began asking our children about their gifts.   Our daughter was asked, more than once, “what was your favorite gift?”   Each time she answered, “camp with my dad at JH Ranch next summer.   As people asked the question, I began to experience my body stiffening and my eyes squinting as if something was about to hit me.   It was!   I was “hit” with looks that if they could talk might say, “are you crazy!”   I received comments that resulted in shame.   I felt like an irresponsible mother for a short time, and it taxed the depth of peace that encompassed my decision.   I had to remember that walking in obedience is a process of frequent renewal to a life guided by Spirit, not self.

Initially, I felt the need to explain the gift to all the puzzled people.   My explaining something that is right between God and me, however, is only an attempt to tidy myself up to satisfy my need to meet the approval of people.   Explaining can become a form of self-righteousness.   I am grateful for the words in the Gospel of Matthew that release me from my need to explain.   Matthew 5:37 says, Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.     I am only accountable to One.  Sometimes what is right between God and me makes no sense to outside parties, but their understanding is not my responsibility.    I love the freedom in that!

After all the gift giving, a gift to my daughter that almost unwrapped me proved to be a gift for me, too.     It rewrapped me in the freedom; rest and comfort of a sovereign God who I am so grateful pursues me even through Christmas gifts.   Never has giving a Christmas gift been so laden with pain and so loaded with purpose.   Growth happens in grievous places.   That is good news, friends!