It’s In The Eyes

Over the course of the last several months I’ve been experiencing some health issues that have kept me in bed most days.  At times I would get up, look in the mirror and realize that my bright blue eyes had lost their sparkle.  There was a certain sadness that lay beneath and around the corners of my eyes.  I would take in a deep breath, shrug my shoulders and then crawl back into my cozy safe bed.

I’ve been studying in Thessalonians with some very sweet wonderful ladies these last three weeks.  Over the course of this time God’s been doing a work in me that is not easy for me to explain only to say that He has been turning the purifying flame up a little hotter this time so that the dross that is deep down has been able to dislodge and come to the surface so that he can wipe it away.  The important thing to note is that this is an unpleasant, somewhat painful process that we sometimes need to go through to get rid of some ugly so that God can continue to move us forward toward His goal for our lives.

Friends, this week as I was reading about all the stuff that the Apostle Paul was going through during this time I realized that through the floggings and beatings he took, the shipwrecks, the imprisonment, the stoning he remained devoted to Jesus Christ and the church.  No matter those obstacles he did not allow them to become a hindrance to his mission of sharing the gospel.  At some point during this week I felt the wake-up.  I felt like Jesus placed his hands on my shoulders and looked into my weary eyes and said, “enough”.  It is time that you got up, and continue on this path that I have placed you on.  You have allowed the enemy to take up too much room in your mind.  That’s it!  God you are right.  I have allowed the enemy to jab at me day after day, steal sleep from my eyes, occupy my thoughts and weigh my body down with unnecessary burdens.  And I do not want any of it, as a matter of a fact my strength is in Jesus.  It is time for me to get up out of this bed, and boldly walk confidently down the path toward the goal God has for me.

So tonight hubby and I were running some errands and I was driving so he could run in and out of our stops quickly.  As we were at our last stop I had my head down playing candy crush on my iphone as I had done during this whole trip.  I had a feeling come over me and I felt compelled to look up.  When I did I seen this man standing against the building.  He wasn’t very old, perhaps early thirties. He had tried to speak to a couple of people as they were walking by each one shaking their head as they quickly passed him.  I knew at that moment that he was probably homeless and was asking for money.  So when Felix came out of the store, I pointed to the young man and asked Felix to go ask him what was wrong.  I rolled my window down so that I could be a part of the conversation and we learned that his name is Steve and he is homeless and hungry.  His time had ran out at the shelter and honestly there really isn’t any other place for a young single man to go.  We had the opportunity to pray with him and share God with him.  Felix gave Steve his number and the address of our mission and told him to stop in Saturday night and we would have some more food and hygiene products for him.  He was grateful and as we were saying goodbye my eyes caught his and I seen the despair, the  loneliness, the hopelessness, the sadness.  Now, if know us or if you follow my blog you will know that we have worked with homeless people for about four years now.   Most of the time within 5 minutes of speaking with them I can pretty much summarize their situation.  Every now and then, you will meet someone that has a certain look in their eyes that only disappointment and time on the streets can put there.

As we drove home, I began to cry.  I could see his dirty fingernails reaching out in thankfulness for the food.  I can see his brown hair curl around his face but the impact of the hurt I seen behind his eyes I believe I will see in my dreams tonight.  Friends, I encourage you today that no matter what situation you are in, financial, physical, spiritual or emotional not to loose the sparkle of the holy spirit in your eyes.  As you wake up this morning and walk to your mirror boldy and confidently know that you are a work of art created by the master.  You are more than your circumstances.  You are more than your past mistakes and failures.  You are more than your personal finances and all the material belongings you may or may not have.  Your life has been delicately and wonderfully strung together by moments and encounters as you journey along the path toward the goal that God create you for.  You are loved so much.  So my friend, stand up, pull your shoulders back, take a deep breath and reflect God’s glory and impact someone’s life today.

Praise Him!!

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cupofblessing

As I pause to notice the community around me I hear the pimp banging on his girl’s door while I imagine the lonely prostitute behind that door as her heart breaks while she prepares for the night ahead of her.  I see the alcoholic on the street corner that has been drinking since waking up early in the morning and begging for food.  There’s another across the way attempting to detox from the latest alcohol binge.  The person next to me crying out for hope while contemplating suicide.  The heroine addict down the road living in her car while the baby inside of her silently screams for someone to help her mom to stop.

My thoughts turn to the number of people attending churches on Sunday and I wonder when did God’s people resign the battlefield.  We have become a religious society living self adsorbed lives attending a church service wanting to be…

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Negative Thoughts

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Friends, I pray that your day will be blessed and that you were able to take some time with God yesterday. 

How many of you have regrets in your life?  Perhaps you started out in college but didn’t finish or you made a career change.  Perhaps you wanted to start crafting and you bought all the tools and books but never actually got anywhere with it.  Can anyone relate to those statements or something similar?

 Do you seem to be people pleasing; or even have negative often self defeating thoughts?  Do you have a to-do list a mile long and you feel trapped by it?

Sisters, today I want us to focus on living in the here and now.  I mean the kind of living where we wake up and realize that today is a gift that has been wrapped up so beautifully and handed to us by God.  Can you imagine with me for a minute that you are lying in bed just gently waking up and you feel the peace and presence of our God lovingly handing you a gift, the gift of today.  I don’t know about you but, wow, that makes me smile.

I can probably say that most of us don’t think that way.  Our typical morning routine would be to jump out of bed with the alarm clock buzzing loudly; we rush to grab our coffee and get our day going.  After all we have that dreaded to-do list that we need to tackle and accomplish today.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with organizing your day with a to-do list.  However, we should never get so locked in that we measure our days and the success of that day in the amount of action items that we have crossed off.

Girlfriends, I’m talking about embracing our gifted day with the excitement and enjoyment of the here and now.  Be present.  Be mindful.  Be in love with yourself, your family, your creator and your life.  Take the steps today to remove negative thinking from your lives.  Most of us can’t even begin to remember the last time we actually felt good about ourselves.  We are just too busy being overwhelmed that we put too many pressures and restrictions upon ourselves. 

We need to break the cycle of the same old negative thoughts we have playing and replaying day after day.  Today we need to start to make a conscience effort to make an audible or inaudible acknowledgement that when we start down this same path of negative thinking that we abruptly stop it.  We have got to say to ourselves it is time to change the channel because I am not listening to this tune any longer. 

Stay on top of this and you will begin to see that your negative thoughts will not come as often and not only that your attitude will start to change and your mood will start to lift.   We are not victims to our negative thoughts – we are told by God to take every thought captive. 

Spend some time alone with God today reading, praying and meditating on His word found in 2 Corinthians 10:5.  Journal about some thoughts you need to yield to Christ.   What thoughts and thought patterns do you need to capture?  Write them down, pray over them, and then release them. 

Keep in mind that our thoughts can hold us back from becoming the women God created us to be.  It is so important to start our journey by recognizing and acknowledging how important our thoughts are.  Now, is the time to make that change and release it all to God and live in the here and now.  It is time to be peacefully and successfully present and arrest the clutter that goes on within our minds.  So girlfriends, it’s a brand new fresh day and God is standing over you holding out this beautiful gift – what are you going to do with it?

Praise Him!

Declutter

As the Christmas season approaches us it can be a very stressful time.  Most of the time we overspend, over commit and run ourselves ragged until we hit the bed at night exhausted.  Why not start this holiday season and start making the changes in your life. Show that you care for the home God has blessed you with by cleaning out the clutter.  Appreciate the people He has surrounded you with by spending quality time with them, stop and actually “listen” to what is going on in their lives; be present.  Be good stewards with the income He allows you to make, remember everything belongs to Him so ask Him before you spend His money.

Ok so dear friends, for those of you who are ready to join me in a true “Awakening the journey begins today.  The journey begins with you and God.  It is important that we spend some time alone with God today.  Ask him what His priorities are for your life.  Ask Him what activities or appointments are not necessary for you to be involved in; even if they are good.   Allow Him to begin to set our schedules and priorities for us.  As we’ve been learning this past week in our women’s group, we exist to glorify God.  That’s our purpose, to glorify God.  Take a good inventory of your life from how you spend our money, how you spend your time and what relationships may be unhealthy for you.   Do your life and the way you spend your time, your money and your relationships glorify God? 

I encourage you to start journaling through this process as well.  Journaling is an invaluable way to organize our thoughts, look back over our accomplishments and recognize our personal development. 

First step:

  • Grab a journal – this does not have to be anything fancy, just a regular notepad will do. 
  • Sit down with God and spend at least 10 minutes in prayer and meditation and take the time to silence the noise around you so that you can really hear God.  

In your quiet time today, please read Psalm 139: 13-16.  Read it quietly then read it out loud.  Spend time with God meditating on these verses.   We can see in these verses alone that God cares so deeply about us that we are marvelously made.   Pay special attention to verse 16, “You saw me before I was born.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”  Friends, God created a baby book for you!  He planned out your life and recorded every moment of it.  Isn’t that just like a parent; proud of their precious creation given to them by God?  When our precious babies are born we start planning their lives, we have hopes for their futures and God has those same desires for our lives; He makes plans for us.  Now, it’s up to us to make sure our lives line up with God’s plans for us.  Jeremiah 29:11.

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Abide in Jesus

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I pray that as you read this blog that the Holy Spirit will make truth real to your heart. I have heard and seen many Christians struggle with the perception of negative, defeated, useless, helpless lives.  I can recognize it quickly in someone because for a very long time I lived that way.  I walked in what I thought was the way; however, I never really seemed to grasp the truth.

If we are a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ He dwells inside of us via the Holy Spirit.  Our part is active, we are not only to recognize this power within us but we are to abide in it.  Abiding is active; abiding is our daily choice and responsibility.  Abiding means to endure without yielding, withstand, bear patiently, tolerate, and ACCEPT WITHOUT OBJECTION.  That one seems to be the toughest one when it comes to abiding.  It means we give up our wants, our desires and taken on His.  We lay the “I” down and become “in Him”.

When Jesus ascended back to Heaven He left us here to not only tell people about Him but to show people Him by allowing God to conform us into His image.  This is not an easy process and quite frankly I don’t know who jumps for joy when going through trials, tribulations and temptations; however, this is how God chooses to purify us and mold us into the image of Jesus Christ.  God takes us into ourselves through these times of testing and trials to reveal and confront the condition of our heart to rid us of ourselves.  

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we die to our “old” self and put on the “new”, Jesus Christ.  We leave our old life, habits, people, places & playgrounds behind to take on our new life and our relationships with God.  John said, “I must decrease so that He must increase”. This is still true for us today.  We have got to empty ourselves of us.  Check this friends, the same Holy Spirit that led Jesus Christ to the cross will lead us to our cross being the everyday sufferings and rejections. Submit yourself to God, allow Him to perfect His will in your life, to accomplish the purpose for which you were created.

We have to understand the truth in the holy scriptures.  God wrote us a book, we have got to pick it up, pour ourselves into it and allow Him to work in us.  When we are attacked we need to understand that Jesus Christ serves as a hedge of protection around us and in order for Satan to get at us he’s got to go through Jesus Christ, just read the 1st two chapters of Job.  

1 Corinthians 10:13 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

What does this verse say to you?  It tells me that God always ALWAYS provides us with an escape.  Get that, know that truth.  Also, know that any attack on us is also on Jesus and He protects, defends and supplies all of our needs.

Next, check out Ephesians 1:20-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

So we see that Jesus Christ is exalted above ALL spiritual realms.  

Ephesians 2:6 New Living Translation (NLT) 

For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

This portion of scripture tells us that we are united with Christ, we are in Jesus Christ and as believers we are positioned spiritually higher than our enemy, Satan.  So when we come against these attacks we fight with more superiority than the enemy does.  We have the advantage and we always have a way of escape.  So no more self-pity, no more saying the devil made me do it.  We have a choice.  A choice to abide in Jesus Christ.  A choice for escape.  A choice to claim the victory that Jesus Christ has already won.  Wow!  What hope!!!

Live today with the hope of what Jesus’ shed blood means to us and how important the blood is and how important we are to God because of it.  Recognize it, stand on it, claim it and realize that we are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!!

 

Contentment

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Growing up in “the church”, or should I say in community with a legalist slant to it, I really learned how to be me focused.  I needed to dress right, I needed to talk right, I needed not to smoke or drink, I needed to be in the building every time the doors were open.  Blah! Blah! Blah!

I resented my past, the good and the bad, until I started to learn that God has been molding me for many years. He’s allowed certain phases and circumstances into my life for my own good and for his use.  First, after my daughter was diagnosed with an incurable unpredictable disease called Multiple Sclerosis I began the journey of learning that I truly don’t have control over anything.  I used to like to think that I did but ultimately I learned that living with MS that I really couldn’t control anything but my reaction to situations. 

 

Second, I needed to be authentic.  I needed to be just who God created me to be.  Rough, blunt, and straight off the cuff at times.  I lived for many years in shame of my outward personality because after all I wasn’t this quiet nice mousy church lady.  I would tell you what I felt, thought, saw and all.  But now after all God has been preparing me for Jail ministry, loving on felons, drug addicts, homeless and prostitutes – – they wouldn’t respond well to the mousy but they do to the straight forward street preacher whose love for them they can see. 

 

Third, I learned Jesus Christ is the one and only true person that can make me happy.  Not my husband, children, money, job or material things. Finding the love of Jesus and looking to him every day for joy is the source of my true happiness.

 

Forth, contentment, I have always wanted a little bit more, if I had a little bit more money, if I had a little bit more car, house, clothes, vacation, knowledge.  Geez, what I could do and be for Christ.  Hhm, Christ wanted my obedience.  After true surrender of my life to Him for His plan and purpose I have found contentment.  I may not have nice clothes, cars, or money but I have the satisfaction of knowing that each morning when my feet hit the floor I am walking in Jesus’ footsteps for my life.

 

I have made many mistakes, lost friends along the way but have learned and grown into being the person God created me to be.  At various times he prunes and kills the weeds in my life.  He stops friendships, changes directions and basically cleans out all the ugly.  I now know and understand that I don’t have to pretend to be anyone other than who God created me to be just to make other people happy.  I need to be who God created me to be to make Him happy and bring Him honor and glory.

 

This day, as I sit on my small patio looking into the blueness of the sky feeling the sun on my skin and the soft breeze blowing my hair, I can finally look around, let out a sigh of relief, and know that I am in God’s perfect will for my life!  No more fear, no more worry, no more panic – my life is in God’s hands for His purpose, for His honor, for His use.  Blessed!

 

Praise Him!