Call 911!

BREAKING NEWS: I was hit in the head yesterday. Am I ok? Yes – and I didn’t even have to visit the ER! Ok, I wasn’t physically hit in the head –  I was hit much more powerfully. The Lord jiggled my mind spiritually. And you know what He told me? He reminded me that I had become so entrenched with the craziness of life that I had neglected my WordPress blog! I’ve done a terrible thing, I know. So, I’m going remedy this dilemma and revive my blog. And you know what? It feels GOOD :-).

Have you heard that time is a good teacher? Well, I don’t necessarily believe that time is the teacher. No, I believe that time with God truly does the teaching. My spending time with God is the most important thing to me. Now, let me elaborate on what I mean by “time with God.” I am not implying that I close myself up in my closet at 5AM and sit facing the wall for an hour while trying to converse with God and abstain from falling asleep. No, that doesn’t even come close to describing my time with God. So, when do I hang out with the God of the universe? Drum roll…ALL THE TIME because He’s with me all the time! His address is my heart. He and I go everywhere together. My time with Him never ends. When do I converse with Him? All the time! I’m a very talkative person, and let me tell you, I converse with God all day. He’s not only an amazing listener, but when He speaks, it’s spectacular. His voice is more precious than anything. It is more incredible than hidden treasure or an unlimited chocolate supply! You see, you can spend time with God and converse with Him anytime, anywhere. One way you can spend time with God is by diving into His Word. The Bible is God’s LIVING Word! Yep, He’s in there! He’s inside every page! Many times, God speaks to me through His Word. He’ll speak to you, too. Read Psalm 139 next time you open your Bible. It’s my favorite Psalm and I hope you’ll know why when you read it.

So, let me retreat to the “teaching” aspect I mentioned before. My time with God has taught me copious lessons and riveting principles. But, most recently, spending time with Him has shown me just how powerful and vast His love is. God continually drenches me in His love, mercy, and compassion. When I feel I cannot go on – when I feel I cannot pick myself up even one more time, He lifts me out of my despair. His hand pulls me out of the mud and mire and He caresses my face with his holy, loving fingers.

I don’t know what you’re going through. You may be reading this with puffy eyes stinging from a night of tears. You may be reading this with a splitting headache due to a drinking binge from last night. Friend, I don’t know your story. But, I know God adores you. I know He can lift you out of ANYTHING. He is your redeemer! He is your deliverer! Grab hold of his outstretched hand. He won’t drop you. He won’t condemn you. He wants to saturate you with all that He is – and all that He is is all that you need!

“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NKJV)

Freshly Baked Goodness

Have you ever been to an unbelievably remarkable bakery? I’m talking about the kind of bakery that takes your breath away when you walk inside. The captivating aroma of all the breads, pastries, and sweets gently tickles your nose; the sights and smells make your stomach growl and your mouth water; and the incredible atmosphere of the place seems to wash all your worries away the longer you’re inside. Well, now that we’ve established just what type of bakery I’m talking about, let’s talk about the food! This type of bakery makes each and every scrumptious doughnut, loaf of bread, chocolate-covered pretzel, etc. by hand – everything made at such a bakery is unique, not some assembly line production. Hence, you know that when you and a friend each order a sticky bun, your pastries aren’t exactly the same. Doesn’t the knowledge of your order being hand-made, stamped with the signature of the baker who formed it, make eating it so much more special? Well, as wonderful as that sounds, I have something even more wonderful to fill you in on. The God of the universe hand-made you! He formed you in the secret place of His dwelling, knitted you together perfectly and intricately, and stamped his signature of approval all over you. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, His fingerprints adorn you. You are absolutely unique. You didn’t ride on an assembly line and get packaged like a box of crackers. NO! God made you precisely the way He, and only He, envisioned. You’re His masterpiece. Sometimes we all feel like we lack something – like we’re not this enough or that enough. But, let me tell you something: You have wonders inside of you. God has placed glorious talents and marvels within you and He wants you to radiate with His divine light. If you feel like your flame is slowly fading or you feel too depressed to even care what it is you’ve been placed on this earth to do, fall at the feet of Jesus. He knows exactly why you’re on this earth and He knows all the beautiful things He has equipped you with. He made you; He knows everything about you. If you’ve fallen down, that’s ok – He knows how to pick you back up. And He wants to pick you back up – He wants to pick you up in His arms and illuminate you with everything He has in store for you (and what He has in store for you is more amazing than you can even fathom!). Please know how valuable you are to the Father’s heart. Know that He loves you and wants the absolute best for you. You are His spectacular creation!

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument].”
Jeremiah 1:5

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
Jeremiah 29:11

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I like sunshine, swimming outside, frozen yogurt, and freshly brewed iced tea. I like feeling the warmth of the sun tickle my face when I take my dog for a walk down a tulip-lined sidewalk.  But, I know that there’s another time of year that has to occur before I can bask in spring and summer’s comfort and ice cream cone goodness. It’s called…winter. Yes, winter has to come every year and freeze me down to my toes. I can’t help it but always make a connection with the winter to spring journey and the valley to mountain top journey. Of course, if you absolutely love winter, you don’t feel the desperation and discouragement I feel when I’m snowed into my house and three blankets can’t make me feel warm enough, but for the rest of you out there that have an allergy to frigidness, I’m sure you can relate with me. Don’t you sometimes feel like February will never give way to spring? I know in my heart that spring and new growth will come, but it’s just so hard to see that through the lense of snow and ice and barren vegetation that winter provides. But, I am thankful that God always teaches me during this time. He teaches me that, even though I can’t feel that spring (the mountain top) is coming, even though I feel like winter (the valley) is going to blow cold air on me forever, spring is coming. Maybe you’ve been going through a very long winter – a deep valley that has crushed your spirit. You feel like your life has hit rock bottom and snow is all you will ever see. I know what this feels like – believe me, I do. But, what we need to remember is that God is in our winter – our painful valleys – just as much as God is in our spring – our joyful mountain tops. He never leaves us, no matter how cold and desolate we feel. Winter will give way to spring. Your valley won’t last forever; you will reach your mountain top. And God will be with us every step of the way. I don’t know what your winter is composed of, but I do know that God is with you even when He feels far away. And He wants you to enter into spring as much or even more than you want to. Please don’t lose heart. Flowers WILL bloom up ahead. Keep trusting Him; keep leaning on Him. He won’t fail you. He’s never let me down and He won’t let you down either. He can and will turn your winter into spring.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:19

Oh, the joy of a cinnamon roll

Imagine the most amazing cinnamon roll you’ve ever seen. It’s HUGE, covered in icing, and the aroma rising from it invigorates your senses. It’s perfectly shaped, perfectly baked, and if you don’t put in your mouth in the next minute, you’re going to lose your mind. My favorite part of a cinnamon roll is the very middle. It usually constitutes one big bite – that perfectly round center that’s soft, chewy, and the basin for all the wonderful flavors the cinnamon roll contains. I enjoy every other bite of the pastry as well, but in my heart, I know each bite I take will get better and better until I reach that much desired center. You know what else is like a cinnamon roll? Deliverance from a stronghold. What is a stronghold, you ask? Anything that creates an obstruction between you and God. And, there’s a reason the word strong is in the word stronghold. Whatever the stronghold may be, it’s stubborn and doesn’t want to leave you alone. It wants to keep your focus away from God. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a cinnamon roll, but hear me out. Picture that perfect cinnamon roll again. Ok, the sought after center of the pastry is deliverance. Deliverance is sweeter than sweet. It’s that place where the stronghold no longer has control over you. Now, the outside of the cinnamon roll is the path on which God leads you on your way to deliverance. He leads you step by step, peeling back the layers of that stronghold until you reach that golden center. So, just how do you get on this path toward deliverance and how in the world do you actually get delivered? Call on Jesus. Yes, the Lord of Lords can surely deliver you. Strongholds come in many different forms, but God can deliver you from any and all of them! He wants to deliver you because He loves you, He wants the best for you, and He doesn’t want there to be any obstruction between you and Him. That cinnamon roll of deliverance is awaiting you. All you have to do is ask the Lord to deliver you from your strongholds, whatever they may be, and He will take your hand and begin leading you through each layer until you reach that sweet spot of blessed deliverance and freedom – that place where His eyes are all you see and those strongholds must bow at His feet.

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.'”
Matthew 19:26

Polly wants a cracker

You know what’s uncomfortable? Having GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). It’s not life-threatening or anything, but it’s a real nuisance. I try to abstain from eating super spicy and greasy foods (jambalaya is definitely a no-no), I avoid carbonation at all costs, and I have to deal with agitating heartburn. A few months ago, however, I found some healthy, whole wheat saltine crackers that effectively calm the acids in my stomach. So, I try to make a habit of taking a few crackers with me whenever I’m out and about just incase a thunderstorm erupts in my stomach. Well, today, I forgot to bring crackers with me; and wouldn’t you know it, I needed some. As my stomach began to behave like a washing machine, I sought the Lord. I said, “Lord, I forgot my crackers and I need my crackers. Please help me.” And oh, what a faithful God He is! After I prayed, I was walking down a hallway and felt led to stick my head into a room I was passing. Wouldn’t you know it, there was a tray – in this very room – full of crackers that someone had left there for whoever wanted them. I was overjoyed. I ate a few crackers and within minutes, my stomach was passified. What’s my point with this story? God hears your prayers. He hears every one – even the ones about crackers. He cares about all of your needs. Do you have a need today? I’m sure you do. Pray to the Lord. Cast your cares upon Him. He wants to help you. Remember, He can do what men can’t do! He can do the impossible. You can count on Him.

“He answered their prayers, because they trusted in Him.”
1 Chronicles 5:20

I’ll have the lobster with a side of euphoria

When you order something at a restaurant, you put your faith in the waiter and the cook. You trust that the waiter will inform the chef of your order, the chef will complete it exactly as you ordered it, and the waiter will place it in front of you. While sitting at your table, do you ever think to yourself, “I’m ordering the fish and chips, but it’s very possible that the waiter and the cook will decide to change my order to chicken fingers.” Or, “Well, I may have placed my order, but I bet the the waiter and the cook will decide not to acknowledge my order and ignore me.” No, those thoughts most likely don’t run through your mind when you’re dining at a restaurant. So, why is it that when we pray to the Lord, we sometimes begin to doubt that our prayer is reaching His heart. We think that maybe He will answer by giving us something, but He may decide to completely disregard anything we actually prayed for. Or, we think that maybe He is just ignoring our prayers all together. If you have entertained these thoughts before, let me give you hope today. God does want to answer your prayers and He wants to give you the desires of your heart. And every prayer that proceeds from your heart reaches His. If you can put your faith in a waiter and a chef – trusting they will do what they say they will do, how much more should you put your faith in Almighty God? He can always be trusted. He never fails. Cast your cares upon Him and lay your whole heart in His hands. He is right there next to you, longing for you to call on Him. He hears your every prayer, even the ones that are still buried deep within your heart.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.”
Ephesians 6:18

BAM!

There are coffee lovers, and then there are COFFEE LOVERS. Yes, I am the “capital letters” category. And, I like my coffee strong and the caffeine potent. Basically, I want my coffee to kick me in the pants. It helps me wake up in the morning…or afternoon. Well, coffee isn’t the only thing I want bold and vivacious – I want my life to be bold and vivacious as well. Apathetic, languid living is to me like a cup of cold, watered-down coffee that’s been sitting on the table for far too long. I mean, who would drink that and enjoy it? One of the things I’ve learned in life is that passivity makes one miserable. That feeling you have when you’re not really going forward or backward is agonizing. The problem is, life sometimes puts you in such a tornado of emotions and circumstances that you revert to feeling indifferent because it’s easier or because you feel it offers you some sort of protection from being hurt – or so you think. I would like to tell you today that you don’t have to feel that way any longer and you can heal from your wounds. How is this possible? Because God is BIGGER than your problems and He doesn’t want you to feel destitute anymore. See, God is bold and vivacious and also compassionate, loving, and merciful. He’s the mighty Lion of Judah that fights for you, protects you, and looks your enemies in the face and says, “Back away from my child! I will fight for them!” And, He is the gentle Lamb who wipes away your tears, calms your fears, and welcomes you into His loving arms unconditionally. He is everything you need and more. And God, only God, can drive any kind of apathy away from you! He wants you to get up each morning full of purpose, full of a never-say-die attitude. All you have to do is lay down your cares before Him and ask Him to give you direction. If you feel aimless, tell Him. If you feel like you just don’t care anymore, tell Him. He wants you to be honest with Him. He wants you to ask Him for help. Ask Him to take your life and re-energize it with His mighty power. He longs to see you become all that He made you to be and He’s ready to place His hands on your heart and breathe life back into your soul.

Fill Their Cup

Coffee has become somewhat of a universal beverage. It has also become symbolic of relational warmth. How so, you ask? Well, when you visit someone, what is usually one of the first things they ask you? Yep, you got it: “Would you like some coffee?”. Offering someone coffee, bringing someone coffee, pouring coffee into someone’s half-empty mug – all of these gestures can be symbolic of friendliness, thoughtfulness, etc. Well, I wonder, what else should we offer to others? What else should we “pour” into people’s lives? The horrific situation in Haiti has sparked much thought in my mind. I see the pain and desperation of those affected by the great earthquake. It truly breaks my heart. Hence, I pray for them. I pray to Jehovah Jireh that He will provide for them – provide help, hope, healing, whatever they need. While thinking about prayer, I thought about how prayer is something vital that we should be pouring into each other’s lives. When we pray for each other, we lift people up to the One, Yahweh, who can do all things, knows all things, and can mend, restore, and heal. Praying for others releases God’s power into their lives – and into ours at the same time. When we give out selfless prayer for another, God’s power manifests itself even more strongly in us. Indeed, we cannot even fathom the difference we are making in the receiver and the giver when we pray. I encourage you today to pray for someone. And, I want you to know, I am praying for you.

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 8:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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It’s Complicated…Or Is It?

Have you ever noticed how many drink combinations there are at Starbucks? What may have originally been called “tall white mocha” on the menu can end up being individualized into “tall one pump extra hot no whip white mocha”. I’ve always admired the baristas at Starbucks that can so easily decipher their customers’ many drink “codes” – it’s like a coffee morse code! Well, have you ever noticed how life can become really complicated, too? I’m sure you have. What began as a normal, friendly relationship with a coworker can become romantic, then breakup painfully; and then, suddenly, you can’t even stand being around that person anymore. Or, you think your career is going great. You’re moving up the ladder and nothing and no one is slowing you down. Then, poof, you lose your job.  Now you have bills you can’t pay and a wounded spirit. Wow, life can become so complicated. But, you know what’s not complicated? God’s love and provision. And you know what He promised He would do in every painful, complicated, confusing situation? Be right beside us and give us victory. I can think of so many complicated, gut-wrenching situations that I have faced – situations that I thought I would never be able to handle. Yet, I chose to trust God. I decided to lay the situations at His feet instead of trying to carry the burden on my shoulders. And guess what? He never failed me. He guided me through the valleys and fought my battles for me. When I look back at these tough situations in my life, I can see God’s hand so clearly. He moved the boulders that could have crushed me. He shielded me from arrows that could have killed me. He can do the same for you. Give Him your troubles; lay down your cares at His feet and ask Him to help you. What have you got to lose? He wants to be your warrior.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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