Archive for November, 2010


How was your week?  It’s Friday and I’m sure some of us are glad!  I always look forward to Friday nights when Erv and I can “date” and break up the week’s routine.

The weekend stirs up a feeling of relief as we look forward to getting out of the day to day, 9 to 5 rut or a reprieve from our daily grind as mothers. The weekend is a time to regroup and play.

I think God understands Fridays and why we love weekends.  Here’s a paraphrase of what I read this morning in  Matthew 11:28-30(Amplified).  If you are working hard and overwhelmed, Come to Me.   I will ease and relieve and refresh you.  Let me guide you, learn of me.  I’m gentle in heart, and you will find rest and refreshment and recreation and quietness for your soul.  I’ll lead you into what  is useful and good –not pressing, harsh, and hard.

Can’t help but want to run to a God like that.  He understands our need for rest, refreshment and recreation inside and out.   And the good news is we don’t have to wait until the weekend.  We can come anytime. 

How do we come?  There are so many ways to come. Whisper a prayer, sit for a moment, listen to a worship song, go for a walk and talk with Him, read a scripture, say the name of Jesus, write out your heart cry.

One thing is certain. Relationship with Jesus is personal. What matters is that we stop long enough in the busyness of our lives to come.

What is your favorite way to come to Him?  Have you taken the time to come today?   What could happen if you stopped what you were doing for a moment and came?

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Today is Veteran’s Day.   Can’t help but think about the freedom from oppression this country and other parts of the world enjoy because of hard fought battles and great sacrifice.

The choices of our leaders can impact our individual lives and freedom and change the course of nations.  Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection had that kind of impact.

Romans 5:17 says:  “For if because of one man’s lapse, and offense death reigned through that one, much more surely those who receive God’s overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness (putting them into right standing with Himself) reign as kings in life through the one Man, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”

One man’s (Adams) error led the whole world into a life of condemnation, guilt, shame.  One man’s choice opened up the door to all the evil experience in this world.  YET…………………………

Messiah’s choice brought an abundant, overflowing grace to the human race. A grace that we do not have to earn.  A grace that just is.

Jesus’ choice brought the FREE gift of righteousness (right standing with Him).  FREE to us, not to Him!

And all we have to do is receive it!  We have to open the gift!   I love how one friend puts it.  “We have to step over the line.”

Imagine a map with a river running right through the center.  On one side of the line, is  the land of  guilt, shame, and condemnation. Some of the territories, cities, camps on that side are labeled hopelessness, failure, no peace,  and despair. There is the desert places of No Vision, No Dreams, and the Valley of Excuses– I can’t, I’m not, Not now, and the litany of reasons and obstacles that we let stop us from living fully and freely.

On the other side of the line the picture is very different.   Stamped across every area on this side of the map is the word FREE.  We see the land of Grace where we are free to walk without guilt, shame, and self condemnation.  There are  the lands like Hope, Peace, Trust, and Confidence where we step into the reality that God has a plan for us and has gifted us with all we need to live life, now and forever.   There is the Oasis of Possibility where we see the vastness of what God and us can accomplish as a team.  The state of Overcomer is an amazing place.   It’s there we are empowered as conquerors of all obstacles that stand in the way of our authority and kingdom rule in this life.

We have all been given the FREE gift of grace and righteousness and because of those gifts are meant to reign as KINGS in life. We have to receive those gifts in order to step into our destiny.

The river that runs through the map of our lives is the blood of Jesus.  The price has been paid.  We just have to believe that and step over the line into all He has done.

What an amazing FREE gift! The gift of FREEDOM!!!!  LIFE!!!!!!!!

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Outside of ME!

Yesterday we talked about stepping into Jesus and living from there.  Today the topic is living outside of ourselves.

It is very important to evaluate your life and where you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually on a regular basis.  It’s crucial to deal with the wounds of the past, letting go, and letting God bring healing.  But, sometimes we can get so stuck thinking about ourselves that our lives are consumed by doing the work to “fix” us.

Jesus had stuff to deal with.  The temptation of the enemy, the religious system, the persecution, and the whole picture of laying down His life for us.  Yet, he modeled for us how to get through the obstacles of life even unto death.

Here are two points to consider:

1.  Jesus listened to the Father for direction.

2.  Jesus focused on the people around Him.

Jesus took time to come away and recharge, but on a day to day basis he  was more focused on others than himself.  Accept for some key moments, like in the garden before the crucifixion, it was always about the Father’s plan and the people’s lives.

Continually focusing on our problems, weakness, and wounds can create feelings of anxiousness, hopelessness, turmoil, discouragement,  and even despair.

Sometimes the best way to move away from the things that are holding us back is to think about someone other than ourselves.

If we are focused on how we can bless someone in our lives, we will have less time to consider all that’s wrong in our world.  If we choose to give out of the place of our own need, we often find our burden is lighter.   As we become involved in the lives of others, we are able to see the things we have to be grateful for.  It can move us from whining to thankfulness when we view our difficulty in light of someone else’s bigger problem.

When we live from a place of focus totally on what we need, what we want, and what is wrong it closes us off from the blessings of God.  It is like we are a closed fist, unable to receive or take hold of anything.  We keep our problems close to us instead of letting them go.

When we choose to focus on someone else, it is like we’ve opened our hand.  We can no longer hold on to our own “junk” because we have extended our hand to grab hold of someone else.

Picture your hand holding Jesus’  hand and your other reaching out to hold someone else’s.  Now picture your heart and mind focused on Jesus and the other person.  There is no room to hold on to your own stuff.

I wonder if that is what Jesus meant when He told us to love our neighbor as ourselves.   What do you think?

What could happen if you stepped out of yourself and into making a difference in someone else’s life today?

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Are You In?

Psalm 7:1 says, “O Lord my God, in You I take refuge and put my trust; save me from all those who pursue and persecute me and deliver me.”

Compared to some in other countries, Americans don’t know the meaning of persecution at the hands of others.  There is definitely a component of it here but we don’t run for our lives.

However, every human has visible and invisible enemies in their lives.  Sometimes they come in the shape of people.  Other times they appear as competing voices, obstacles, wounds of the past, etc.  They can appear in our lives any time and often catch us by surprise.

The Bible is full of stories about God followers standing firm in the face of their enemies.  Think David, Paul and Silas, Stephen, the three men in the fiery furnace, and so many others!  How did they do that?

They knew and understood the bigness of their God.  They were in personal relationship and knew the voice of the Lord in their lives.  They could trust and take refuge in Him, knowing He was the one who knew the beginning from the end.

We went through a very difficult time in our life about 9 years ago.  I can honestly say the thing that kept us sane and saw us through it was running to God and hiding in His presence.  He was our ultimate protection.

I have a very unique picture in my mind this morning.  If I could paint it, the message would be profound.   I hope my words will paint it for you.

I see a picture of Jesus in flowing, white, radiant clothing.  He has a transparent quality to his body.  I am actually able to step inside of Him.  As I do that, He is then between everything that has come against me.  It’s as if nothing can touch me there because I am hidden inside of Him.

Can you imagine yourself there?   What could happen if you didn’t just run to Jesus but you actually hid yourself inside of Him?  Inside His character instead of your own.    Inside His power.  Inside His promises.  Inside His purposes.  Inside His word.  Inside His passion for you.  Inside all that He is!

I remember a song my mom taught me.  One door and only one and yet its sides are two.  I’m on the inside on which side are you?

Jesus is the door in ALL OF LIFE.  When we step into Him, He enfolds us and we are safe in Him no matter what’s outside the door.


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Fit and Fruitful

I have a friend who is so disciplined and focused on her physical health and well being that she hits the gym and watches her diet every day.  Me not so much!

I can’t help but wonder what could change in our lives if we were that dedicated to our spiritual fitness and growth.

Like our physical fitness, spiritual fitness takes action on our part.  The scripture tells us that we are responsible to “add to” our faith with all diligence.  2 Peter 1:5-9  Our diligence keeps us full, fit, and fruitful.

I’ll cover this more completely in an upcoming workshop but here’s a few tips for the gym of life.

1.   STRETCH–Don’t try to face the day without a time of warm-up.   Even if it’s a few minutes, take time to connect with God.

2.  SET YOUR GOAL–Take time to look at what you want more of or less of in your life. Then plan the steps you need to take to move forward.

3.   COMMIT–Commit to God and yourself.

4.  STAY FOCUSED–Staying focused on your growth and development will help you maintain consistency.  Practice makes perfect.  Staying focused on your goal, keeps your eyes off the obstacles.

5.  ADD TO YOUR ROUTINE–There is always room for more growth.  Like adding a new activity to increase or enhance your physical work-out, spiritual activity needs to be new and fresh as well.  Do something different to connect with God.   Add a new goal.  Learn something new.

Our physical body is important.  It’s the temple where God’s spirit dwells.  But we are more than a physical shell.  We are body, soul, and spirit.    We can maintain excellent physical condition and leave our souls and spirit untouched and weak.  All these parts in excellent working order add to our fruitfulness in the kingdom.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to maintaining spiritual fitness?

What step can you take today to add to your faith walk?

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You Were Made To Hope!

Psalm 22:9 says:  “Yet You are He Who took me out of the womb: You made me hope and trust when I was on my mother’s breasts.”

What a great picture of hope!   Think about it.   As a baby, hope and trust are the first lessons we learn.   We hope for food, to be nourished, cleaned up, and taken care of.

Nothing changes about that picture as we grow up.   We continue to long for those things physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  What does change is the where we go to meet those needs.

So what is hope?  Some define it as wishful thinking, like “I hope everything turns out.”  However, when you do a study of the words used for hope in the Psalms, you find words like secure confidence, trust, refuge, waiting, courageous.

What do we hope in?  We choose where and what we hope in.  Some choose government, religion,  parents, friends,  spouses or significant others, and some even their kids.   Others trust in money, education, or career.  But, all those things can disappoint or be taken from us.

What’s so awesome about putting your hope in God is that His character is consistent and His promises never fail.   No matter what circumstance or pain, He can only bring it to good.   That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt or isn’t hard.  It means we can trust that before, during, and after God always has “goodness” in mind.  It gives us a solid place to hope.   Trusting God to help us, comfort us, and heal us.  Hoping in His good plans for us instead of letting the difficulties hold us back.

Like the baby at mom’s breast, we can run to Him.  He never turns us away.  He meets every heart need we have.

I can’t help but wonder if God understands hope because He has put His hopes in us?  Hope for a world that  really gets His amazing, unconditional love for all of us. Hope for us to do greater things than Jesus did.   Hope for all to experience an intimate relationship with God, loving Him, their neighbor, and themselves.

What have you hoped in that has disappointed you?

What circumstances are you struggling with today?

As you bring them to Jesus, what words of hope does He offer you?

God is the source of hope, the who, what, when, why and how of hope.  You were made to Hope in Him!

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Citizens Unite

No this isn’t a political blog.  First and foremost we are citizens of heaven as Christ followers.

It seemed appropriate, during this week when Americans will vote and choose our country’s leaders, we should look at Philippians 1:27 more closely. “Only be sure as citizens so to conduct yourselves that your manner of life will be worthy of the good news (the Gospel) of Christ.  So that whether I come to see you or am absent, I may hear this of you:  that you are standing firm in united spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the glad tidings(the Gospel).”

Here’s some things to consider in looking at this verse.  A good citizen of God’s kingdom:

1.  Values the gospel (Christ’s unconditional, sacrificial love for us).

2.  Makes life choices that reflect the love of God in their lives and the lives of others. They understand that their character counts!

3.  Stands strong with other believers, in a single united purpose. Their central focus and the thing they work together for is spreading the good news and faith.

In other words,  as citizens of heaven, it’s important to take our faith seriously.  That means we know how to live in the natural and the supernatural.  Our natural life reflects God’s work in us.  Our supernatural life is full of power.

We each have our individual unique purpose and corporately our purposes has a common purpose.  That purpose is to work together, each of us using our strengths and purposes.  We could never do enough to repay what Jesus did for us.  But, we can value what He did enough to honor Him by living our best life! Our stories and lives are meant to tell His story–a story of intimate relationship with the Father(how He lived), sacrificial love(even unto death), and power to overcome (resurrection life) anything that tries to hold us back!

What can you do today to gain greater intimacy with God?

What in your life today requires sacrificial love for someone?

What could you do to overcome the thing that is holding you back from all God has for you to accomplish?


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