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Fishers of Men Not Means

Through earnest prayer, I have seen God change so many circumstances in my life and the lives of people I love. More importantly, I have seen him transform me so that I am not bound to begging for a different outcome but rather a divine income.

For many years I thought the purpose of prayer was to get something from God. Now I understand that the hope of prayer is to get God. Just God, more of Him and less of me. His desires become mine, not vice versa when I sincerely seek Him.

Praying does not require fancy language. God does not give credit for style. He is looking for surrender.

Prayer changes everything. The thing is, change just does not always mirror our desires.

I have heard a couple of renditions of this misconception the last week, “I don’t understand, He didn’t answer my prayers.” He did, friend. He just answered them His way, and we are not called to comprehend but to commit.

If you are a parent and you make decisions that are best for your children, you know sometimes they are hard, but they are also right. Our kids most often do not understand. Hard and holy go hand in hand, though, and it has been that way since the beginning.

God understands our difficulty because He, too, is a Father. He is a person to know not a commodity to control.

Prayer sometimes changes earthly directions, but most importantly it alters eternal destinations, and that is our primary commission.

We are fishers of men not means.

If I can pray for you today, please let me know. It is my privilege to petition the Prince of Peace on behalf of my friends.

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The Commission is at Hand

Dearest friend,
We are children loved by a good Father without comparison. He has anointed us with a unique mission, in unprecedented times. The Father chose us for this moment in time that can be difficult to reconcile because it is a marriage of both beautiful and brutal. Because of this, it is necessary for us to love fearlessly, believe scandalously and hope without compromise. What mission has He entrusted to you today? May we all be good attendants of His holy assignments. Scandalous belief says that we have all we need to succeed today so do not look ahead for the commission is at hand.

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To Believe Or Not Believe, That is the Question

I made a commitment to myself at the end of the primaries not to comment on politics on social media because I did not think it was wise or helpful and I am not well versed enough to be credible.  do feel led to say this, though.  I went to bed last night, and I am pretty sure my blood was boiling.  I was anxious; my soul was very unsettled, and I was angry.  There are things in both candidates that bring out anger in me that I shutter to know is there when stoked.  They both succeeded in different ways at fanning those flames last night.

The hypocrisy and arrogance, from both parties, last night, along with the barrage of social media posts lamenting our choices, sent me to bed a mess of emotions and feeling despair. I was praying and talking to Jesus in an attempt to calm myself.  There in the dark last night, The Lord reminded me of something very critical that I think we all need to remember, myself included!  All my anger, anxiety, lamenting and despair is just a form of UNBELIEF in who God is and the character that He possesses.  

Tim Keller says many of us believe in God, but do not believe God.

Last night I had to ask myself that question.  I believe in Him, but am I going to trust Him? If I am going to choose His word, which I am, then my terms can not be conditional.  Even when things look dreadful, and circumstances appear unredeemable, God is good, faithful, sovereign and working good in the midst of our gaffes.  He has plans for the good and prosperity of his children, and He can do immeasurably more with a mess than any of us can begin to imagine.

Today friends, I pray that if you believe in God, you will choose along with me to fight to believe God.  There is a very critical difference in the two.  When we intentionally make a choice not just to believe in him but believe Him, our lives will reflect that is our posts and our peace.  I love you all!

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Selfie Sermon Tuesday

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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 #preachingtoself

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Who or What Are You Trusting

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Right now it seems all the world has to offer is unrest, uncertainty, division, fear and anger, but God gives us His word.  It is the balm and the pacifier for all things.  Last night I was reading in the Psalms before I went to bed.  Psalm 112:7-8 says, they do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.  They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.  As I meditated on that, I immediately felt lighter.  I cannot just read God’s word.  That does me no good.  I must believe His word.  Perception without practice is unbelief that only leads us down dirt roads disillusioned by fear.  The degree to which we trust the Lord at His word is directly proportional to our level of peace. We are all trusting in something.  When I find myself anxious, afraid or mingling with any of their cohorts, I know I am trusting in something or someone other than my Savior.  May you find freedom and rest in the Word, not the world today, friends.

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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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Even If

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I was sitting on my counselor’s couch Thursday, and we were talking.  She has several large picture windows in her office, and it is up high, so I often feel like I am sitting in the trees, so close to the big blue sky that I could reach out and stroke my hand through the white, puffy clouds. This day the sky was particularly beautiful. Like a sea of bright, unadulterated baby blue.  As I talked to her, my attention kept being drawn to the beauty of the sky.

I was explaining to her my need to stay in the moment every day as to prevent events on the horizon from sabotaging my peace.  Taking every thought captive to the obedience of The Lord is imperative for me. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

As I continued talking I told her,”I want to sit here and ask you, what if this happens; or what if this, what if, what if, what if.  At the very moment I finished those words, my mind was interrupted.  There was a pause in my spirit, and The Lord planted a crucial truth in my heart.  The words spilled out of my mouth before even realizing it.  In that moment God said, D’Anna, you are asking the wrong question.  Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?  They never asked what if, they confidently and courageously stated, “Even If.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were the three pious, Jewish, youths thrown into a “fiery furnace” by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon because they refused to bow down to the king’s image according to chapter 3 of the book of Daniel.  The three replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”  As the chapter goes on to relate, the three were bound up and thrown into the fiery furnace.  Much to Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement they were seen walking around unbound with a fourth person who looked like a God in the furnace.  The king ordered the men to come out.  Not a hair on their head had been harmed, and the king exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!”  (Daniel 3)

How often are we letting our minds become battlefields; wandering around asking, “what if?”  When we enter the “furnaces of life”, what questions are we asking, and how are we viewing God; absolute or apathetic?  I am thankful the Lord reminded me of this valuable truth on Thursday.  I pray I never again forget not to ask what if; but with confidence and trust in my Savior to say, “even if.” Even if it does not work out as I see it, I will still stand with faith in my God who works all things for my good because I know He loves me! (Romans 8:28)

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Falling At the Feet of Jesus

 

One of the most endearing things about our dog, Paisley, is a ritual she has had since the day we got her. She prances up to you and falls to her back in the most relaxed and vulnerable state of rest.
What we quickly learned is that Paisley does this entirely trusting a belly rub is in store for her. She has no doubt just complete confidence.
For a time, she would do this to everyone who entered our house. It became an idiosyncrasy that we always felt needed explanation. As someone walks in our door, having a puppy garner their attention only to fall at their feet in an utterly defenseless posture waiting for the one thing she desired the most. Well, ok, maybe second to treats, but who doesn’t love sweets!
After time passed and Paisley matured, she no longer greeted guests this way; only us. The people closest to her and that she was sure she could trust. You see, she learned to fear, and she experienced rejection and I would say she learned a bit of wisdom. Warm, welcoming hands are not found everywhere.
Her behavior has taught and continues to teach me a great lesson every day. Do I come humbly, fully expectant, entirely trusting, in a helpless, vulnerable posture and fall at the feet of Jesus every day waiting for the one thing I desire most? The one thing I cannot do for myself. The one thing that satisfies my soul. The one and the only thing that gives rest to my riddled heart. Maybe I do sometimes, but sometimes, even though I have learned fear and rejection, too, I still plant myself in susceptible situations expecting to find what I can only gain through One person-Jesus. The person who knows loves and protects me better than anyone. This is a lesson Paisley renews for me daily.
Sometimes the truth must fracture me before it frees me. I love the faithfulness of my Father to use every medium, even a small puppy, to teach me His character and what it means to be His daughter.

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We Must Live As We Believe

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At the root of anxiety, fear, worry and discouragement is always the seed of unbelief. When I find myself fraternizing with any of the above, as I often do, I have to ask which of God’s promises I am not living? Self-examination is liberating and crucial to soul stability.

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Embracing Change

When our familiar becomes foreign, normal becomes new and usual becomes unknown; it feels as if a piece of our life is gone forever, and it is. Lost. It will never be as it was again. It is the dying of a part of us that is so deeply rooted and known that it is painful to imagine how life will look moving forward. It is a challenge to gently and fondly hold, and remember what was so that we may courageously embrace what is.

Overcoming the sting of circumstances we do not wish, nor would we choose does not mean we are happy. It does not mean we are complete, unbroken or perfect. It means we are at peace.

God tends to script our lives in such a way that eventually brings peace to our pain.

Peace does not evolve by chance. One must be available to the works of the Spirit to reap Its fruit. Looking when we do not see, believing when we do not understand, listening when we do not hear, and fighting for it all when we are weary. In the midst of staying faithful, little fountains of gratitude are born in the middle of all our grief. The light of gratitude ultimately overcomes the darkness of grief.

One secret to mastering this mystery is found in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 26:3~You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You.

Embracing every big and little re-direction is part of life. Some are happy, and some are sad. One glorious day, though, everything we knew, and everything we lost will be familiar again. Nothing eternal is lost forever. If you are facing a new normal, God is extending His hand. Don’t lose hope friends!

For all my family, I love you all so much!