Archive for December, 2010

Made To Hope

Last day of the Virtual Thanksgiving Feast. I hope you’ve developed an attitude of gratitude by participating.

I’ll be taking a few days off now until the New Year to enter a time of retreat and planning for the 2011.  It’s a little late in coming but much needed!

Don’t know about you but my year was filled with some real challenges and some real victories.  Regardless, the beginning of a new year can create a sense of hope and expectancy.

As I pondered hope this morning, I found this verse in Psalm 22:9.

“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 is hope?  The Hebrew word is batach which means to his for refuge.  Figuratively it means to trust, be boldly confident, sure, secure. Hope is not wishful thinking.  Hope is being calm, confident, and secure in our source.

Where does one gain hope and trust?  Today’s verse tells us we were made to hope on our mother’s breast.

When I had my kids, breastfeeding was just beginning to become normal again.  I actually had to fight with my doctor to convince him that I was going to feed my baby the way God intended!  That time was such a bonding time between me and my sons.  It was our time to come away and my baby’s nourishment.  I loved to just sit and trace his little hands and face and sing to him or talk to him as he rested in my arms.

My first baby was very fussy and nursing was what would calm him down and allow him to rest even if it was just for about 20 minutes!

So what does that mean for us?  Here’s how I see it.

Hope, as defined above, is found in the place of our nourishment.  Physical nourishment is key to a healthy body and mind but feeding our soul is as well.  What we read, watch, listen to, spend time on, and think about are all places where we are feeding our souls (mind, will, and emotions).  If you have lost hope, perhaps it would be wise to look at what you are feeding yourself on.

A nourished soul is a comforted soul.  A secure soul.  A confident soul.

Having hope is the direct result of taking refuge in our source (God) by allowing Him to nourish and nurture our mind, will, and emotions through prayer, scripture, and His voice which we most often hear when we are still.

If we want hope our job is to intentionally focus on looking to God and listening for His voice on a daily basis.

I hope you’ll join me in making 2011 a year of hope.

What could you do today to begin?

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand fakeness.  At least not in the other guy!   You know, the drill.  Things like: Answering, I’m fine, when really I’m a mess or in crisis.  Pretending you have the perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect life.  Or, putting on the face and language of the good Christian when you are really hiding some crisis of faith.  Here’s a few more. How about the pretending that you know so much about God, yet you are covering up some secret sin or failing.    Or as one of my friends puts it, the I love you’s when you don’t spend a moment of investing in someone’s life, thinking about them or calling them, and are really just saying empty words.

One of the things I love when I’m around people is when we all have the freedom to be real.  To honestly speak our hearts.  It is not always easy for us because of the vulnerability and trust that it takes.  It’s not always easy for the one listening either because sometimes where we are at is hard for them to hear.

Ever since Adam and Eve, we have been hiding.  Hiding from God, ourselves, and each other.  We don’t realize that there is no reason to hide.   Who and what are we afraid of?

No doubt emotions of fear of rejection, shame, guilt, possible conflict, feeling pain,  and many others begin to stir within us as we think about becoming real.

But what is the consequence of hiding or lying about who and where you are?  I’ll let you answer that for yourself.

Whether it was emotions, faith questions, my failures, my challenges, or anything else, hiding or not being real caused more pain, longer suffering, and bigger challenges.  Afraid to bring something into the light and examine it for what it is and feel all the emotion that goes with it, has caused me more darkness, more bondage, less freedom.

The more honest and real I allow myself to be, the more freedom and joy I find in being me and the stronger my relationship with God and others is.

I find that God loves me being real.  He loves meeting me where I am and hearing my heart, whether it’s joyful or sorrowful.

I find more people can relate to me.  Not all of them but more.  People like to know that they aren’t so different.  They like to hear how others struggle with the same things or have overcome something.  For the most part, they like to help, support, and laugh or cry with you.  That is true relationship.

I find that when I stop hiding or running from who I am, whether I’m hiding my warts or my wonders, I am much more aware and free to be me.  I’m able to move more quickly through the tough stuff and meet the challenges head on.   I’m able to laugh more, love more, and be more.

That’s why I decided to start the year of 2011 with Real Change for Real Women.   If you are wanting change in some area of your life you don’t want to miss this!

My gift to you is FREE info packed teleconference call or for the local gals a in person event.  To sign up and get the schedule and information e-mail me at marian@connectedlifecoaching.  Subject:  Real

Make 2011 a GET REAL year!

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Looking Forward

Each year before the New Year begins, I set aside time to reflect on what the next year could bring.  Of course, none of us know what circumstances or situations might come our way, but there are still absolutes we can hang our hopes on.  Today’s verse is one of them.

II Corinthians 6:2  tells us, “For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation).  Behold now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance of you from God: behold, now is the day of salvation!”

God has always declared His promises over His people.  I believe 2011 is the year of grace, welcome, and acceptance…the day of salvation.  The word salvation in this passage means deliverance, rescue and safety.

There are things that many of us have struggled with for years.  Among them are emotions like uncertainty, insecurity, fear, and trust.  Perhaps yours revolve around temptation or addiction, or maybe questions about what your faith or belief systems.  Maybe your struggles are practical ones like career issues, finances,  or time or household management. Or maybe you are facing a relationship problem in your marriage, among family, or a someone else important.

I have heard and know of several stories of people who have just about given up.  Everything seems in ruin with no hope of repair or restoration.

The previous verse correlates with Isaiah 49:8 (Amplified) where it is written, ….and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to raise up and establish the land(restore the earth–NKJV) from its present state of ruin and to cause them inherit the desolate heritages.

The Isaiah passage is referring to Jesus.  Jesus then and Jesus now.  Through Jesus the earlier promise has been fulfilled and is now in full effect for us!

Do you see what I see?

1.  This is the year of our deliverance!  Whatever we have struggled with this is the time of breaking through!

2.  We are welcome and accepted by God.  We always have been but I believe this year He is pouring out that truth in greater measure.  He wants to settle that question once and for all!  Not based on what we have done but on who He is and what Jesus has finished.

3.  Our desolate places are being transformed from ruin to inheritance.  They are going to become productive and purposeful.  They are going to be moved from the trash cans to vessels of treasure.

4.  This is the time of heard and answered prayers.  What you have prayed and cried out for is about to see the helping, delivering, and saving hand of God!

Next year, this year, this day, this hour, this minute, this very moment is your day of gracious welcome acceptance of you by God and your day of deliverance. Receive it.

And receive it with purpose—in order that you may use it in the lives of others.



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The Wonder of I AM

The wrapping paper, ribbon, and packaging is in the trash can but for me the wonder lives on.

It was so much fun to see our fifth grandbaby celebrate her first Christmas.  Unlike most one year old’s she wasn’t quite into the paper and wrapping but did love the toys inside.  Her little eyes lit up and the smiles and giggles were contagious as she discovered a doll that played peek a boo, cell phone with all the buttons and ring tones, and the music and rhythm coming from her toy keyboard.

On the other hand, just before Christmas, we got some disappointing and potentially devastating news that ripped my mother’s heart apart.  When we settled into the motel for the evening, all those emotions would come pouring in again and I found myself praying through the night.  I felt the hopelessness of not being able to control the outcome or even speak to the two people who were so dear to our hearts.

That was the routine Friday and Saturday.  On Saturday night I collapsed into Erv’s arms and just asked him to hold me and let me cry.  Then came Sunday!

As Erv was packing up the car and checking out, I checked in once again with the word and God.  John 16:22-24 were familiar to me but I saw something new I had never grasped before.  I’m still grasping the magnitude of it.    I hope you’ll read them in the Amplified version yourself, but here is my paraphrase.

So right now you are in sorrow, distress and depressed.  But I will come to you again and you’ll have gladness and delight and joy that no one can take away. (That was before Jesus gave His life for us and sent the Holy Spirit)

He continues, When that time comes you won’t need to ask anything of me but can go directly to my Father who will grant you what you ask according to My Name (presenting all that I AM).

OK!  Did you get that!   ANYTHING!!!!!  Really?   Have you ever had a prayer not answered?   How can we believe that?   That is what was going through my head.

Has that ever happened to you?

Here’s where revelation took over.  As I pondered the presenting all that I AM, I begin to get it in my spirit.

Jesus is the I AM personification of God.  He was God on earth in human form.  He lived, died, and rose again to show us the love and attributes of our Father in Heaven

When we go to the Father in His name it’s because of who He is not ourselves that we can ask with confidence.

When our prayers and petitions line up with the character of the I AM we can be certain the Father will answer them.  For example,  when we need provision, God is Jehovah Jireh our provider so He must provide.  We have confidence because we see Him as He is and know He does not lie.

Unlike us, God is consistently and always and forever who He is.  Jesus embodied that.  When we ask in Jesus name, declaring all that He is over our situation it will be granted to us.  It can’t be any other way.  It may not mean it will look like we thought it would look but the end result is LIFE!

Something overcame me as I read those verses and I began declaring and decreeing the I AM presence of God into the situation our family was facing.  As I declared the attributes of God and prayed them over this part of our family, joy rose up.  Peace rose up.  Hope rose up.

The situation is still there.  I am still interceding.  I am still praying hard and seeing what I can do to help.  But I am looking at it with more confidence and faith then before.  What seemed over now seems like it’s a new beginning.  The Father has heard my prayer because of the I AM presence of Jesus, carried on the wings of the Holy Spirit.   He must answer based on the I AM of God.  I will stand, fight, rest, and believe on the I AM nature of God the Father.

So Father, today, in the name of Jesus, I ask.  I ask for justice, mercy, goodness, kindness, long suffering, healing, provision, grace, love, joy, peace, meekness, counsel, and every other thing that you are to pour down on my family, and the hearts of every person reading this today.  I pray the presence of I AM in each of their hearts and lives.

I declare and decree the I AM of God in our lives.  YOU ARE and YOU ARE ENOUGH!

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Divine Grace

I woke up this morning thinking more about Mary.   What was it like to hear the angel say she was to conceive and birth the long awaited Messiah?  What must she have felt as she went into labor and was anticipating not only the arrival of her first child but knowing this birth would change the course of the world?  What if she had said no instead of “Be it unto me”?

In the 1990’s, shortly after reading this book, I was asked to speak at a Charismatic Catholic Prayer Group in my home town of Anaconda, Montana.  As I prayed about what to share, I was drawn to Luke where I read of Mary’s encounter with the angel again.  Kind of funny that God wanted me, a non-Catholic to speak to them about Mary, don’t you think.   The title of that talk was Pregnant By The Spirit. I share the things God spoke to my heart in the chapter of my book, Moms On Mission, Discovering Destinies, entitled Possible Impossibilities.

You see, the Mary miracle was not just for then.  As Jack puts it, “What the Almighty did then in the physical biological realm, supernaturally begetting life, promise, and hope where none existed–He is fully ready and able to do now in virtually any realm.”

Mary would never have conceived or delivered Jesus had it not been for divine grace.  Divine grace is not something that is reserved for those who qualify, or as Jack puts it the “Saint Mary’s”.

Divine grace is not the result of self-accomplishment, degree, or pedigree!

Divine grace is where God’s purpose and power descend on mankind to bring the realities of heaven to earth. Paraphrasing Jack again, Heaven came to touch your world and mine, as well as Mary’s.  Not only in the broad and sweeping ways we usually concede … but with and beyond great salvation, in the most intimate and personal ways.

The only requirement for a Mary miracle and encountering this grace is that we are open to it. Breaking out of our life limitations requires more than positive thinking and attitude.  It’s more than visualizing, meditation, luck, or making a wish.  If we are to birth the seemingly impossible or work through difficult problems in our life that restrict us, we must have divine grace.

Divine grace is a “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6.  It is the endless supply of the Holy Spirit’s power and work.  It is the precious gift of God, our Creator, who as Jack says, comes to us individually to say, “I’m not finished creating yet.”

Need a Mary miracle?  Open yourself up to His divine Grace and He will bring it to pass.

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I love surprises! But, I am also curious and impatient when I know they are coming.

My poor mom and dad were never able to keep many secrets from me around this time of year.  I would either search ’til I found my gifts or inadvertently stumble onto conversations that would let me know what my gift was.

I think God loves surprise too.  I don’t think  He’s ever surprised by us.  Good or bad, we don’t catch Him off guard.  His plans and purposes for us are set and He is  expectant and patient as we move forward in life. And here’s what’s amazing.  He surprises us along the way.

Has God ever showed up for you in an unexpected way?  I’ve had moments when I’ve not even been looking when I have seen God in someone or something around me.  God is always revealing Himself and sometimes we find him in unusual or surprising places.

We often conceptualize what God looks like, what He acts like, and what He wants based on our religious upbringing or the culture of the day.  I know I’ve been guilty of trying to interpret God for someone else based on what I think rather than guiding them in discovering the surprise of God in their life.

Sometimes we aren’t able to see God’s surprise because we  keep God in a tidy little package called spiritual separating that compartment of our life from any other part.  We can do our religious duty or follow our tradition or current style of worship without letting it truly affect our character or lifestyle.

It’s easy to think of a non-believer as hiding from God.  But believers can be trapped as well.   And because we are still hiding from ourselves and God, we often use God wrapped up in our spiritual lingo, as an escape or cover up for what we are truly feeling or how we are truly living.  We try to validate our relationship with Him by projecting a false image of who we really are.  We are often afraid and ashamed, thinking that if we’re honest we’ll be rejected by Him and others.

I love Ephesians 3.  It is a great chapter of who Christ is and what we can anchor our faith in.  Here’s a great place to start.

Ephesians 3:20, 21: “Now to Him Who, by the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do super abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask and think (infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, and hopes or dreams)  To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen. ”

Lord, open my heart to your surprises!   Thanks that you are a bigger than anything I could ever ask or dream of. Today, let me be surprised by You, myself, and those around me as you work out your purposes for us.  Amen.


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Impregnating Hope

My favorite book on Mary and her journey is The Mary Miracle by Jack Hayford.  My eyes fell on this quote this morning.  “The angel’s words had introduced rumors of greatness, promised by heaven to earthlings who will receive the impregnating hope that births God’s kingdom possibilities within them.”

That is so profound.   I don’t know how you feel about it but that describes the work of God in my life.

I am so thankful today for Jesus and His Holy Spirit’s impregnating hope.  For me, it is so much more than a hope for life after death, meaning after we are gone from this earth.  It’s the raising of the original intent of us being in God’s image to life.  It’s the taking of the dead things and creating life from the ashes.

Following Jesus, opening ourselves up to His Holy Spirit does exactly what Jack points out in this book.  When we listen, it introduces to us the possibilities of  things God wants to birth through us as we allow ourselves to become impregnated by the the kingdom possibilities.

Sometimes we look at “great things” and get a little afraid.  How could we birth something great?  After all, we are just ordinary men, women, and children.

It’s all in how we define greatness.

Some of us will be impregnated with a vision for changing the whole world, eradicating poverty, educating the masses, healing the sick, raising the dead.  These are all possible if we believe.

No less great is the raising of a child, the loving relationships we build, the making peace with our enemies, or overcoming the things that hold us back in life.  In fact, I believe it’s the everyday life things that are the foundation of any true greatness we might bring to the world.

With all my heart I believe we are all destined to birth a piece of the kingdom of heaven on earth.  Your piece is so important no matter what it is.

What is in your heart to do, be, or say?  Big or little, it’s all great!

My prayer for all of us is:

Lord, may we hear the words of the angels and the Holy Spirit resonating deep within us.  Help us to discover, understand, and walk out your identity and purposes for us.

As we hear those words, may we accept the impregnating hope of “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Grow the seeds of greatness you have put in each of us, as we walk through life with You.  Amen.

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An Open Door

Been thinking about doors.  Doors come in all shapes and sizes and lead to all sorts of interesting places.  Practically speaking their function is to keep things out or let things in.

Interesting illustration of our hearts and lives.  If we have doors in our own hearts or lives that are seemingly unable to be opened, the affect would be like a prison.  It’s like being locked in a cell or behind a wall, knowing there is something on the outside but unable to get there.

Maybe those doors are ones we’ve created.

We’ve been hurt, disillusioned, or suffered injustice.  We put up a door to protect our hearts, choosing to hold on to judgment, unforgiveness, and lies and false perceptions.  In an effort to avoid dealing with our pain or experiencing further discomfort, instead of protecting our hearts we imprison them.

Or maybe we seen the possibilities of the dreams and desires we have but have allowed someone else to steal them through words or actions.

Perhaps we find ourselves holed up in the room of possibilities, hindered by the pile of obstacles blocking us from the door knob that will open the door to our future.

Whatever the reason we find ourselves locked in or kept out or life, it can feel like we have been sentenced to a life of imprisonment without parole–tired, hopeless, and alone.

Today I am thankful for a God who is the God of Open Doors!  Revelation 3:8 -10 holds the key to it.  The church of Philadelphia was the church in Revelation that was not corrected.  In this passage, they are told that God holds the key of David (Jesus) who opens and no one shall shut, and shuts and no one will open.

Jesus is the door that we can walk through to gain the key to the locked doors in our life and to open the door of the kingdom of heaven to us.

What is our part?

1.  Keep His word.  In our human nature we will struggle and fail at following His instructions for life but we can keep His word at the front and center of our heart.  We can embrace and focus on His values and character.

2.  Guard His message.  His words to us personally and His message to the world are meant to be guarded (watched over).  It is our choice to stand watch over what He speaks and brings to our life and the lives of others.  For me this means, Take it seriously.

3.  Hold to His word of patient and expectant endurance.  The Holy Spirit spoke in verse 10, that because the church had held on to the lesson of God’s patience and expectant endurance they would be kept from trials that were coming on the whole world.    For many this passage is referring to us being raptured from the world in the end.  I’m not an eschatologist (don’t even know if I spelled that right!) but here’s how I see this for today.

We live in a world that has trials and testing and will experience it.  But if we go through it with patience, endurance, and expectancy, we will experience open doors all along the way.

Keep doing what God puts in front of you and you will always have an open door that no one can shut!  Not by might of by power, but by His Spirit.

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I love it when I find a new word or make a discovery when studying scripture.  Today was no exception.

The word is dayspring.  Luke 1:78 “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.”

Zachariah was prophesying over John the Baptist, proclaiming his purpose to announce the coming Messiah, making room for Jesus among the people. This passage is part of that speech.

The word dayspring in Hebrew is shachar. It refers to the point of the horizon at which the sun rises on any given day.   It also has meaning in the sense of the rising of the heavenly body. In the dictionary it is defined as dawn, the first appearance of light.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live in the world back then.  The culture was so different.  Some of the challenges were violent and oppressive leaders, rampant idol worship, and for those who longed to follow God, a system of rules and laws that were near impossible to obey.

The news of the Messiah must have been welcome news.  Just imagine a group of shepherds or wisemen, hunkered in the desert or cave, feeling hopeless, as if life could stop at any moment.  Overtaken by night, suddenly a light appears and an angel announces the birth of the promised hope, Jesus.

The sight of this spiritual splendor must have overwhelmed them with awe!

I love to think about this in terms of our life.

When we find ourselves in the middle of the desert of life, no hope, overcome by the circumstances of the moment, it is easy to withdraw.  We can sit in our caves of self-pity, depression, negativity, restlessness and others.  When circumstances are not in our control, it’s easy to feel the pangs of loss and death, thinking our life has stopped and it’s over.  It’s common to allow our dreams and possibilities to be overtaken by the night season we are in.

Then along comes Jesus!  Promising never to abandon us or leave us, He steps in.  He is so merciful and gracious to us that He always brings light!  He will reveal a strategy to overcome, a promise to stand on, or do something supernatural to get us through.  Whatever He does we are able to look at our darkness through His light and it is always transformed.

God is all about resurrection.  He is all about rising  from the dust and ashes of life.  He is always about life and not death.  He is all about transformation of mourning into dancing, dark into light, complacency into commitment, and death to life.  He is the God of miracles and possibilities and He brought that good news to the earth through the birth of His son, Jesus.

We have been given the dayspring.  Why should we fear?  Why should we feel discouraged.  He came, He died, He rose again.  Alleluia!

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Woke up this morning contemplating what to write today.  Found myself singing the old Amy Grant song, El-Shaddai.

I found some interesting things about the meaning as I researched online.  The most common meaning we think of is  God Almighty. There are several interpretations of its origin and meaning and I found them fascinating.

El points to the power of God above all others.  Thus, the Almighty part.  Shaddai is interesting.  This Hebrew word is defined in different ways.  Here are some of them.  God of the Mountain, Guardian of the Doors of Israel, Destroyer, Fertility, Fruitfulness, Breasts.

Mmmmmmm.  Who cares which one is true?  Maybe they all are.  And who wouldn’t be thankful for a God like that?  Here’s how I saw it.

1.  God of the Mountain—they may have meant the literal mountain but I saw it as the mountains of our lives.  Ever seen a mountain move in your life?  I have.  They always move. Whether I climb over it or move around it with God’s help, it’s no longer in front of me so it moved! If God chooses to supernaturally take care of it, the mountain moved!  Either way it’s not holding me back!

2.  Guardian of the Doors of Israel–A door is an entrance or exit.  I saw this in my life as God will guard what comes in and goes out of my life.  If I post Him front and center, welcoming Him as my protector, I can have full confidence that regardless of what comes He is in control.  He is my tower, my watchman, my guardian.

3. Destroyer–That is such a harsh sounding word.  I saw it as God is the destroyer of  the things that are contrary to His nature in my life.  He has come to destroy unbelief, unfaithfulness, injustice, doubt, etc.  He has come to destroy the hurts of the past, the indecision of the present, and the fear of the future.  He has already destroyed the work of sin and death and I’m no longer under it’s rule.

4.  Fertility–God is a multiplying God!  He is able to multiply and increase my money, my faith, my character, my influence and anything else that needs multiplying!

5.  Fruitfulness—God is fruitful.  He never wastes seed.  Seed that is planted produces the crop it is designed to produce.  He has planted so much seed in our lives that it will produce according to His purpose.  We were meant to be His harvest of His seed and to replant and bring harvest in our world.  His purpose for His people will come to pass!

6.  Breasts–What?  A breast is the place of nourishment.  It signifies supply and satisfaction.  For me I see, God who blesses me with all I need and He is enough.  Why would I want more than what nourishes or satisfies me?

Today, I am thankful for El Shaddai.  He is Enough!

Share how God has been El Shaddai in your life?

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