Living The Dash

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Hubby and I just finished watching a movie, unfortunately, the main guy died in the end.  I said to Felix if I would have known it would have been about dying I would not have watched it.  He said, “Honey it’s not about dying it’s about how you live your dash.”   On June 15th my 57 year old brother died and on July 10th my 72 year old aunt died.  Our family has had a great deal of sorrow in this last month that I can’t really remember smiling this past month at all.  Ok so now the dash.   Since hubby said it’s not about dying it’s about living.  I got to thinking about how much time is actually wasted each day on pointless meaningless activities or just sitting in a recliner and watching television.    The dash – – –

What would you do if you were told you had only one day left to live; what would you do?  Who would you see?  I know I would not be sitting here in this recliner watching television.  I know I would not be wasting my days being lazy, worrying, stressing or being mad at someone.  So with the last month in mind and the pain and sorrow of losing my brother and my aunt I can’t help but think of family.  Under less than desirable conditions I’ve seen my cousins and had some good times just remembering the “old days”.   We have such a large family.  My granny had 13 kids and we have so many cousins some old and some young; some first cousins some fourth cousins but it never mattered to us … we are family.  We were close family.  So why do we allow the mundane of life keep us from spending time with family?  Why do we allow ourselves to become so busy that we don’t try to get together with those that we love?

Most of our days we live like we don’t have an end day that is going to come at any given time.  When God created us He gave us a purpose; are we living out that purpose?  What excites you deep inside?  What stirs your heart?  Lots of questions but do you have any of the answers.   I know I need to do a real spirit check.  I know in my heart that I am to live my life as full as possible.  I know in my heart that I am supposed to love on the broken and wounded women that God allows to cross my path.  I do hesitate.  I don’t think I live up to my full potential.  I sometimes worry too much.  I allow my physical body to wear down.  I sometimes want to crawl in bed by 9pm.  I allow my weariness to keep me from spending time with family.  I allow my broken past to keep me from making lasting friendships.

At any given time on any given day any single one of us could be living our last day, our last hours; what do you want to do with that time.  I feel it is time to call the ones that we love and make sure they know that they are important in our lives.  I feel it is time to start getting together with family members that we have allowed time and distance to separate us.   It’s time to learn a craft or play a sport we’ve always wanted to do.  It’s time to pursue a career path we may feel we’ve missed out on.  It’s time to forgive … let it go, get over it.  Has someone hurt your feelings or treated you badly; well, it’s time to move.

Out of the big family of 13 kids there are now 2 sisters left.  On Monday life support was withdrawn from my Aunt Lavene and she remained unresponsive until she passed at 5am on Thursday.  So in the evenings it would be hard to leave her even though she wasn’t awake.  She was so special to all of us.  Every niece and nephew was her “favorite” and she told us each time she saw or spoke to us.  She loved openly and didn’t once judge us.  She was the aunt we could tell all of our secrets to and she would never tell.  She was the aunt that would bluntly tell us what she thought regardless of the outcome.  She was definitely a feisty fireball and I am proud to be her “favorite” niece.

This Sunday my family will be saying goodbye to our “favorite”.   Even though the movie brought a lot of tears it has inspired me to live.  Not just live but leave a dash so big that a tombstone cannot contain it.  I want to make sure each and every member of my family knows how much I love them and want to be with them.  I want to love on the broken and wounded and show them the healing that comes from God.  I want to live with the freedom that Jesus died for me to have.  I don’t want to waste one second of the dash.  I’ve wasted too much.  It’s time to just do me, loud and proud of the woman God created me to be.  Sharing my life to bring hope and healing of Jesus to the broken and wounded.

Friends, it’s not about money, it’s not about fame … it’s about living to the full potential of your calling.  It’s about kissing your babies, loving on your spouse like it’s your first date, calling your friends, spending time with your family.  It’s about doing you and living that dash to the fullest.

Praise Him!!

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Finally Friday – It’s Time To Come Undone!!!

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Compassion – suffering with someone with the desire to help them, this is what my husband told a youth group we pastored 16 years ago.  I thought I understood the meaning of compassion back then but I had not even begun to comprehend it’s depth of meaning.

Life for us has been crazy this last month with the closing of the café, my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the experimental medications the insurance company has made me go through before I can take the one my doctor actually thinks will help me.   So for me, this week wraps up a four year long journey as we will lock the door to Offerings Holy Grounds Café for the last time this Saturday.  What a journey it has been.  Just penning these words springs up a well of tears filling my eyes.

We have met so many people.  We have seen the good, the bad and the truly ugly.  I have so many stories that it would take me all month to share.  One that comes to my mind to share is of a blonde haired woman that lives a life of prostitution and crack addiction.  I had only known “Misty” for about a week when I found her crouched out in the back parking lot trying to smoke crack out of some kind of make-shift pipe.  She was frayed from end to end, disheveled and rocking back and forth.  I remember walking up to her and standing there for minutes with her never even looking up to see what I was doing.  My heart was feeling physically heavy as I lowered myself to my knees in front of her.  All the while she never once looked at me; she continued to try to put crack in this so called pipe while she continued to rock back in forth.  I can still feel the pain deep inside of me this day as I recount this story. I sat there for a minute or two and just watched her not knowing what I should do.  With a deep breath I stretched my arms toward her and I cupped her weary face into my shaking hands.  As I cradled her face her eyes met mine and at that moment I had become totally undone, never to be the same again.

Have you ever had an encounter with such suffering that it totally rocked your world?  I did that day.  That day I felt so much suffering and pain that I began to understand the meaning of compassion.  Right there that day it hit me; compassion feels bad.  It hurts, it’s dirty, it’s messy, it’s . . . awful.  Compassion is walking away from an encounter that you know has changed your life forever and you realize that life as you knew it would never be the same.

Friends, we live in a world full of pain; do you feel it?  Or have we become so desensitized by all the news stories and so self-centered that we will walk right past a person begging on the streets.  Or as we pass the poor we drop our eyes so that we don’t have to look at them.

By now, most have put in at least a 40 hour week already work.  So now we can have this weekend to enjoy and kick it up as we please.  I understand this; I lived it for most of my life.  I worked long hard hours at a job that was okay just so I could pay a mortgage on a house that I no longer live in and travel to a tropical state for a two week vacation once every year.  I was living the dream; right?  No, I had bought into a lie.

After four years of street ministry I have got to admit it’s dirty, it’s hard and it’s painful.  But my friends, I could not go back to the comfortable life that I once knew.  I have been called to follow Jesus, the one who gave up the comfort of heaven and had compassion on me.  As I was holding Misty in my arms Jesus was holding me in His.  Jesus was whispering into my ear, He was saying, “Kimberleigh lay down your net and follow me.”  Suffer with her, have compassion “with” her, feel it.  He showed me in that very moment that I would shed many tears for the little children that I would see running around in the alleys barefoot, dirty and hungry.  He showed me that I would feel the deep heart wrenching pain of holding a drug addicted prostitute in my arms.  He showed me that the road that I had stepped onto was narrow and the path that I was about to take is dirty, full of busted beer bottles, heroine needles, crack pipes and cigarette butts.  Sitting in a little church, pastoring teens I would never have imagined that I would be here today serving the poor and broken in my community I would have avoided it at all costs.

Before you approach your weekend and all the activities you have planned I ask you to spend some time alone with God.  Listen for His whisper.  It’s there.  Your path and purpose have all been laid out before you were even created.  Turn the world down for just a little while and turn off its lies of if we work hard enough, make enough money, and buy all the latest and greatest gadgets that we will be happy.  What is He calling you to do, where is He calling you to go?  We live in a world full of pain and suffering but few have actually engaged it.  Most of us, walk past the beggar and the drunkard and lower our eyes.

Four years ago, I had an encounter with my Savior that caused me to become radically undone and since that time I have held many women while they cry.  I have seen pain and hopelessness in their eyes.  For me, I know that my life will never be the same.  There is no way to put those pieces all back together, the dirt has been under my nails for so many years that OPI can’t cover it.

Just for this weekend, before you go out to eat buy someone else a meal first.  Before you buy that new outfit you’ve been waiting for buy one for someone else.  And when you walk down the street smile at the person you are passing.  I encourage you to become UNDONE!!

Praise Him!!

Moment by Moment

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I am sitting in my sewing room listening to KLove on the radio and trying to install a zipper on a cosmetic bag that I am making.  I have only sewed one zipper before and after ripping the seams out 4 times and starting over I can say that  I am really getting frustrated.  A commercial played on the radio from the movie Son of God where Jesus was talking to Peter and Peter asked Jesus, “What are we going to do?”  Jesus replied, “Change the world.”

I know you must be thinking what does all of this have to do with sewing zippers.  Well, at that very moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “take a breath, say a prayer and then tackle this zipper with gladness and an opportunity to learn.”  Really?  I did just that.

Renewing our minds is not only a daily activity it can be a moment by moment task.  Therefore, I encourage you, if you are working on something at your job that has you frustrated, if you are waiting on patients or customers that are pushing your last nerve, stop for a moment, take a breath, say a prayer and then approach the situation with a willingness to learn and grow.  With each day and each obstacle there is an opportunity to glorify God.

With the remaining twelve and a half hours left in this day step outside of yourself and strive to serve others, actively go out of your way to make someone smile, speak kind words to everyone you encounter, approach your task with gladness and embrace this gifted day as an opportunity to reflect Jesus.

Praise Him!

A Woman Transformed – Rahab

Scripture:  Joshua 2:1-24, 6:17-25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25

Rahab

Rahab lived about 1406 B.C. in Jericho.  Rahab was strong, brave, decisive and a prostitute.  This was a common profession back in this time but still not looked good upon.  She lived in a house that was at the city wall which made her highly accessible to travelers. Rahab is known in scripture as being Rahab the Harlot.  Harlot meaning a woman that yields herself to any man who approaches her.  During this time she had learned about the Exodus of Israel and the miracles of the Red Sea.

So here we are after 40 years of struggle the Israelites were ready to enter the promised land.  The Israelites were now under the leadership of

Joshua who trained under Moses.  Joshua needed to get the Israelites to the Promised Land so he sent two spies to secretly scout out the area.  Upon their arrival these men were spotted.  So the king of Jericho sent a message to Rahab to bring the men out.  Instead under the threat of treason and the penalty of death she hid the men and told the king’s soldiers that they had left town.

So Rahab asked a favor of the two spies.  She asked them to spare her family from death.  They agreed.  Rahab told them to run to the hills so she lowered them by rope through a window to safety outside the city wall.  For seven days she waited and while she heard the Israelities marching around Jericho; but she had faith.  This act and her faith in God earned her the title as a woman of Faith.

As  women, wives and mothers we all have day to day struggles and we make mistakes along the way.  We can learn faith, courage, commitment and o

bedience from Rahab.  As Rahab’s example, no matter what your path in life has been a simple step of faith in Jesus Christ can turn your life around. Hebrews 11:31

Listen she went from prostitute to being in the lineage of motherhood of Jesus Christ.  Wow!  A prosititute in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  What Rahab found was deliverance through the mercy of God.  Friends Rahab experienced a transformed life.  If a prostitute can become a saint of faith and become a mother in the line of Jesus then nothing is impossible.

Rahab had no religious background but she had a courageous choice to make.  First, she chose to have faith. Second, she chose to help. Rahab risked her own life by an act of treason.  Just as God transformed Rahab he is able to transform any life that is brought to Him no matter how wicked, broken or wretched it may be.  God showed her mercy.   Remember that you have not fallen so far that God can’t reach you.  No matter what you’ve done, where you are right now take a risk, put your faith in God and allow Him to transform you.  You are His creation.  You are His precious daughter, allow Him the opportunity to transform you into the woman He created you to be.

 

Praise Him!

Fence Walking

 

 

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I mentor several women as well as do prison ministry, I’m constantly being asked, “why do I keep winding up here?” “Why can’t I seem to make the right choices?”  These are legitimate questions am I asked almost every week.  These ladies are trying to kick addictions and destructive behaviors and find themselves defeated.  I ask them, “How are you and Jesus?”  They respond, “Well, I try to go to church or I’m trying to read the Bible.”

 

Friends, are you facing the same burdens, the same situations in your life?  It may not be drug addiction but the same applies to excessive shopping, gossip, weight issues, over scheduling, worry and fear.  I’m asking you sweet sisters do you really want to break free from the bondage of sin?  Let’s expose Satan’s lies and shine the truth of God’s word on these questions.

 

In Hosea 4:6 you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.  Basically stated My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me.  Ask yourself this very important question, do you really KNOW God.  I’m talking a close personal relationship.  Do you know His voice my friend?

 

John 1:5 This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

 

John 1:5 has the answer to those questions that I keep getting asked.  We cannot go on living with even part of our old man.  There is no room for fence walking in God’s kingdom.  We must must must not walk in darkness.  Check this out John 1:6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

 

Is this you?  Are you living life as Jesus did.  Have you humbly submitted yourself to the master that you claim to have accepted as your personal savior?  Are you walking this out daily?

 

God commands us Do Not Love This World John 1:15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

 

This is powerful stuff and it is true.  Our God expects us to follow these commands.  I challenge you to live as Jesus did.  Listen, this is not a trial run, there is only one life we have to live and if we call Jesus Savior then we have to make Him our Master and follow him and his commands.  Give Him your life and allow Him to work in you and out in you as He wills.  Amen.

 

Praise Him!

 

The Temple of God

 

In my personal devotion time this morning I was reading on brotherly love and unity within the body of believers.  I could not help but to think on the condition of believers today.  The condition of the body of Christ is steadily declining into a self serving, self preserving state of being.  We no longer strive to put others before ourselves or to serves others, instead we mostly tend to go with whatever is pleasing to us individually; whether that is in the form of our material possessions, our jobs, our friendships, or our time.

 

In Psalms 133: 1 How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!

 

When we live in harmony we resemble the heart and life that is produced by the Word of God.  Brotherly love is profitable and pleasing.  Brotherly love brings abundance and blessings to our lives.

 

As brothers and sisters we must come together as one realizing that God is more important than we are as individuals and yield our life totally without reservations.  We need to take on the mind of Christ.  Christ became man and in doing so He taught us how to live the way God wants us to.  His life on earth is our example of how we are to live our life on earth as children of God.

 

In Philippians 2:5 we are told “Let this mind be in you”; this is a command, it is not optional.  Unity and brotherly love is a matter of attitude, motive, thoughts, conduct, conversation and community in our body.  We can say we are living in unity as commanded but allow a test or trial to come, something to challenge our unity and see where our reactions are.  Unity and brotherly love is the result of Christ manifested in the life of the believer.  We recognize it by the appearance of the character and the attitude of Christ within each believer.

 

Let’s take a look at Philippians 2:1-4  Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

When we go through a disagreement or quarrel with a brother or sister if anything comes about in our thoughts, actions or feelings that are not love we need to immediately “put them off”; dismiss them, put them down, set them aside.  We must set aside everything personal and think of the body of Christ.  Listen, the real test is when the devil gets involved and tries to stir things up among the body; how will we respond.  Will we come together as one in Christ realizing that God and His plan and purpose is more important than ourselves.

 

There cannot be life in a divided body; it is unhealthy and it gives the devil a toe hold to jump in and start wreaking havoc within the body.  Jesus Christ is our head and as the body we must do as the head does.  Follow His example, his leading.

 

As believers we must understand that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in each of us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NLT) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

 

We MUST get this – if we truly grasp that every believer is the temple of God and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t our attitude toward one another change.  Listen, do we really understand this, our brothers and sisters are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, when we have bitterness, unforgiveness or strife against our brother or sister we are helping the devil out by hurting the temple of God.

 

Before we act or speak to a fellow believer realize that we are acting or speaking where the Holy Spirit resides.  A temple means a holy place, the holy of holies.  Friends we are God’s Holy of Holies and so is each believer.  Does our life, love and unity with one another display this?  The devils seeks to destroy believers, the body.  God tells us not to give place to the devil.  Friends, he doesn’t just come in and take over, we give him that place.  We allow our pride or our hurt feelings to become more important than Christ’s command to love and live as He did.  We are allowing the devil to come and take over.  As believer’s we need to stop devouring one another and allowing Satan this place in our lives.

 

I want to go back in Philippians 2:1 and we see the word “therefore”.  I was always taught when we see the word therefore we must find out what it is there for.  So back up into Philippians 1:27 – 30. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

 

Perhaps you are facing an issue with a brother or sister right now, if so remember that your fellow believer IS God’s temple, the Holy of Holies, treat them accordingly.  Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Praise Him!!

 

 

 

Walking In The Spirit

Most of the ministry Pastor Felix and I deal with people that have life controlling issues.  These life controlling issues can be anything that deals with any aspect of Substance, Behavioral or Relational; drugs and alcohol addiction, sexual addictions, eating disorders, depression, co-dependency, etc.

Tomorrow night we are starting our new Insight Groups.  During these sessions we help and encourage people to reveal, confront, deal and heal from life controlling issues so that they can live victorious lives.  I’m convinced that in order for us to overcome our issues, if we are not saved born-again believers then our first action is to confess and repent that Jesus is Savior and Lord of our lives.  If we are already a born-again believer we have got to understand the true meaning of being a “new creature”.

Friends, the Bible tells us clearly that we are to dwell in the secret place of the most High.  That secret place is Jesus!  We must abide in Jesus.  So check this, when you receive Jesus into your life as Savior and Lord you become instantly a new creature in Christ old things pass away and all things become new.  So we are laying down the “old creature”.

So why do we struggle in our daily lives against life-controlling issues?  Well, we start reverting back to our “old carnal nature”; we allow Satan a foothold when we do this.  At some point, in some facet of our daily walk we have stopped abiding in the secret place of the Most High.  Listen friends, Satan can only steal, kill and destroy the part of you that is outside the abiding in Christ.  In Ephesians 4:27 we read about not allowing Satan to have any ground, it says anger gives a foothold to the devil. So where does anger come from; self.  We give Satan ground by dwelling in ourselves whether it be by anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, strife,pride,  gossip, covetousness or hatred, if you allow it to continue then you are giving ground to Satan.  To be free you must break this stronghold by crucifying the flesh. We must realize that nothing is protected outside of abiding in Christ, this walking in the Spirit, not your jobs, not your husbands, not your children, not your money – nothings is protected.

We have a choice to make every hour of every day.  Are we going to crucify our flesh, our “old nature” and walk in the Spirit by abiding in Christ or are we going to make the CHOICE to step outside of our protection, our secret place and give in to the lusts of our own fleshly desires.

During the course of our sessions we begin to see people start waxing and waning, sometimes eventually quitting altogether. So why are these groups so hard for us to stay in?  It is painful; it is unpleasant at times to deny ourselves of our self.  It is not our birth given fleshly nature to deny itself, only in Christ can we truly accomplish this.  So when we start allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with us it can get ugly for us and sometimes the urges become so strong that we make the CHOICE to revert back to them.

Notice, I keep saying we are making those choices.  Why?  Because it is our choice whether or not we are going to walk in the Spirit or walk in the Natural.  God tells us in his word to resist the devil and he will flee James 4:7.  So in order to do that it takes action on our part.  You may be tempted by Satan every minute of every day but it is your choice either to resist him or give in to him.  Once we are saved, we have God living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit, if we allow Him; He will direct our path, and guide our steps.  Satan cannot gain an inch unless . . . unless, what? We allow Him.

Bottom line, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.  Jesus us tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him, our cross is the cross of our flesh – our natural lustful worldly desires.  We are born again believers.  We are born again into the righteousness of Christ Jesus; therefore, if I abide in Christ and He abides in me I will live victorious.

You may ask, as we have been asked, why are so many Christians “falling”?  They are falling because at some point they stop abiding in Jesus.  They stopped walking in the Spirit; they gave Satan a foothold and in doing so Satan is able to destroy and kill.  We need to pray for our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to pray for their choices.  They do not need “delivered” they need to crucify their flesh.  Jesus delivered them on the Cross of Calvary.

Today, this hour, this minute, make the CHOICE to abide in Christ and crucify the flesh because Satan cannot touch what is in Christ.

Praise Him!