Today’s Message

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I try to write every day….I usually get to write three out of five weekdays.  Today, I need to start my Thanksgiving cooking and I need to take a dog crate to my mom’s house.  Instead, I am sitting down writing until the battery on my 5 year old computer craps out.  I need to get this computer fixed (around $250) or I need to get a new computer…both options seem like “not an option” right now.  I haven’t prayed about this yet.  If you follow my blog, you know that I am not posting three times a week.  I write and then many items get left in draft mode.  That’s okay.  Sometimes, I am not in a place to “complete the thought”.

Recently, I was using my book as a reference for some material I was sharing.  The material is still good but I think I have matured in some areas and would modify it somewhat.  Why? Because I am more healed today than I was ten years ago.

As I consider what to write today, the message I have is to encourage you, dear reader, to seek your FREEDOM.  Seek your healing.  That is my one message today.  As we enter the last six weeks of 2016, please do not allow another year to go by in which you remain the same and repeat the same ole mistakes and poor choices that you have made.

Stop trying to protect yourself from pain or even any emotion at all.  Get healed and allow God to be your protection.

Stop the anger.  Stop the rejection cycle.  Stop choosing to date someone who isn’t going the direction God is leading you.  STOP.

Take some time to seek God for your healing.

Stop making the same mistakes your parents made while parenting you.

Stop reading the Bible and other books but never applying the truth you read.

It’s time for real change to happen.

STOP BELIEVING THE LIE THAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE.

Hopelessness is NOT from God.  It is time for hope to be restored.

Stop trying to minister out of your good intentions and your experience with self-healing.

The only real healing is God-healing; supernatural, Holy-Spirit-led-healing.

There are no shortcuts.  Your healing cannot come from other people or a book.  Real healing takes place in His presence.  You cannot vacation your hurts away.  You cannot eat them away.  You cannot exercise them away.  You cannot work them away.  You cannot read them away.  You cannot rationalize them away.  You cannot minimize them away.  You cannot give them away.  You cannot busy them away.  You cannot internet them away.  You cannot pornography them away.  You cannot educate them away.  You just can’t….

You can seek God.  When you ask God to heal you, it is one of those prayers…one of those prayers that He is faithful to answer, every time.

Here is the deal.  What we think needs healing is often not the place God sees as our issue.  God has a way of digging deep.

He goes past the death of that child we loved to the pain of the birth.

He goes past the issue of rejection to the issue of hopelessness.

When did you lose your hope?  Where did you wonder go?  He knows.  He remembers.

He sees the little girl, peeking over the side of the crib looking at the new baby.

He hears the news, “cancer” and feels the pain of chemo.  He knows the pain of a failing liver and kidneys.

He feels the cold hand of a mother, a sister, a friend as they pass into eternity too soon.

He feels the choking nausea of infidelity.

He sees the endless prayers for healing seemingly went unanswered.

He hears the words that were spoken in the dark that shaped a warped identity.

He feels the heart breaking of the news “birth defect”.

He hears the words, “We have bad news….found dead.”

He hears “divorce” and feels the breaking of hearts and families.

He knows the sting of abuse.

He feels, sees, hears, smells and taste the bitterness of rape.

He feels the hearts break as the babies are taken out of the arms of foster loving foster parents.

He sees, feels, hears, KNOWS.  God isn’t bound to time and space the way we are.  Whatever happened to you, God was there.

We get stuck.  We do not often realize it but we often get stuck in that time or event.  We stop growing spiritually.  Our relationship with God just stops.  We go no farther.

He was there.  He was there when it happened.  Ask Him.  Ask Him “Where were you, when this happened?”  Ask Him “What did you think about this?”  Ask Him, “What do you say about this?”

Don’t be afraid.  I have never heard God say, “This was all your fault”, even if it was.  I have never heard God say, “I wasn’t there because you didn’t know me or invite me there.”  I have never heard God say, “I think this abuse was okay” or deserved.

God says, “I was there.  It grieved me.  I cried with you.  I surrounded you with people who know Me and love you.”

God says, “It was never plan for you to be abused.  It made me angry to see that abuse.”

God says, “Divorce wasn’t my plan.  I hate it too.  I want to heal your heart. You can trust me.  Even if you cannot trust other people, you can trust me.”.

God says, “I was there when they brought you the news of that death.  I wept with you.  I felt your loss. Your baby is with me now.   I love him/her more than you can understand.”

Until we get healed, we work to protect ourselves instead of allowing God to protect us.  When we protect ourselves, we do not allow God in (any farther than He already is) and we do not allow other in.

We have to be willing to ask God to heal us.  We have to get to the point of asking God the hard questions.  Ask Him.  He is not too big for your questions.  There is nothing too big or too hard for Him; NOTHING.

Seek healing. Seek life.  Seek FREEDOM.

#seekfreedom.

 

Momlog 2016: Career Choices

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Our girl is 3 and 1/2 now and we have acquired another 3 and 1/2 year old (the Niece).   You can imagine the conversations.  As it goes with kids, we sometimes have to ask the Boy (now 8 years old), “What did she say?”

We have family dinner almost every night.  (Little family/marriage advise…when the Hubs and I got married, we would sit down to eat dinner together every night.  My family valued family dinner.  As our family grew, it has been our habit to eat dinner together every night.  No tv.  No toys or books.  No devices.).   This is part of our family time and when we find out about everyone’s day.

I love to ask the Girl questions.  She is a bit of a character and I never know what she might say. She also has an opinion on many things….already.  The Hubs calls her my “mini-me”…usually when she is being difficult.

At dinner, I asked the typical childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  The Boy answer, “An inventor.”  Then he tells me about some of the things he wants to invent…mostly large weapons.  I plan on living out my final days in luxury (Ironman’s dad was a weapon developer).  The Niece says, “A cooker” (we explain that this is called a chef).  Here is the conversations with the Girl:

Me:  What do you want to do?

TG:  I want to be a “poker”.

Me:  What does a “poker” do?

TG:  They poke bad people.

Me: What do they poke people with?

TG:  A stick.

Me:  Where did you see this?

TG:  In my dream.

Me: what kind of stick is it?

The Boy: is it metal?

TG:  Nope.

Me:  Is it wood?

TG: Yes.

There you have it.  I’m not sure, maybe she just decided to be pool shark?  Maybe the Boy can invent her an iron woman suit with a stick.  She also added that she wants to be an “adventurer”.  We had to ask the Boy what she was saying.  When asked about it, she explained she will go on adventures.   Where does she come up with these ideas? 

Truth

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2 Timothy 4:2-4

preach the word as an official messenger; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome; correct those who err in doctrine or behavior, warn those who sin, exhort and encourage those who are growing toward spiritual maturity, with inexhaustible patience and faithful teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction that challenges them with God’s truth; but wanting to have their ears tickled with something pleasing, they will accumulate for themselves many teachers one after another, chosen to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions and will accept the unacceptable.  (AMP)

When the Boy was three we went through a season (a long, long season) of teaching him to tell the truth no matter what.  His tendency was to lie even if he didn’t need to.  There are reasons why he was like that…raising adopted children has it’s challenges.  The Girl on the other hand is a natural truth teller.  She has recently realized that she can lie to get out of trouble…for the most part, she tells the truth.  Our little addition (who has a similar background to the Boy), tends to lie even when there is no reason to lie.
I cannot stand being lied to…it’s one of those things that irks me.

As a family and as a parent we have had to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward lying.  What that means is, if you lie, even a small lie there will be a consequence.  Since the kiddos are young, there is some grace in all of it. For example, I usually give them a second or third chance to tell me the truth. “Are you sure that is what happened?”  and “You know you will get in more trouble for lying than for telling the truth.”

All this truth telling tends to get me in a place of being more honest with myself about how I feel and being even more honest with other people. Basically, in teaching the children to tell the truth, I am called to a higher personal standard of truth.  I am naturally a person who sees things as black or white.  I also grew up in a region where people tend to lie to each other to keep peace or make others feel comfortable.

Lying is not okay even if we are doing it to make someone else feel better or comfortable.

Lying is not okay even if we are doing it to “be supportive” of some someone’s choices.

Lying is not okay even if we are doing it to be liked or make friends.

Lying is not okay even if it gets us out of trouble.

Lying is not okay.

We wonder why “offense” occurs.  There are many people who have read books about not being offended, etc.  I haven’t.  This is a personal experience belief.  Offense occurs when we lie to each other about how we feel. “It’s okay.  We are good.  Things are good between you and me.”  When it things are not okay, it isn’t good and things are not worked out.   Be honest.  “It happened”.  I cannot  control other people.  I can forgive.  Does forgiveness “fix” everything?  No. I no longer feel that I have to say, “It’s okay.” if you come to me with excuses looking for me to comfort you when we both know, you could have and should have done things differently.  It’s not okay. You are welcome to make a sincere apology and then things can be “okay” between us. (A little personal rant…makes me feel old too. I want to write something here about how “youngsters” do not take responsibility for their actions any more but we have ranted about the “younger generation” then we lie to them and say “it’s okay”, when in fact it isn’t.  This mess is our fault too. ) 

It occurred to me that as a church, especially in the South, we have failed.  We lie to each other. We say things are “okay” when they aren’t. We support things the Bible doesn’t support.  It’s okay to abandon you marriage if you do not want to forgive your spouse.  It is okay to date that non-believer if you really like him.  It is okay to go for a “girl’s night out at a strip club”.  It’s okay to “live together” when you aren’t married to each other.  Nope.  Shut it down.  None of these things are okay.   If we would tell each other the truth a new level of accountability would naturally occur. No one wants to hear truth because with truth comes accountability. Accountability is a bad word in our trendy churches.  

An example…a couple is splitting up because the husband isn’t a believer (not unfaithful, not abusive…just doesn’t believe).  We rally around the wife and say, “I’m praying or you.”  “You are going to be okay.” “God is taking care of you.”  What about what the Bible says about it?  The Bible says in I Corinthians 7 that unbelief is not a reason to divorce.  Is anyone willing to gently say this?  Or do we blindly support decisions so everyone can feel good about themselves?

When did self-esteem become more important than God’s Word? 

We must stop trying to make everyone feel better about themselves and tell the truth.

A while back I wrote a blog, “If you have to ask“. We do it all the time.  We ask people their opinion about who we are dating, how we are parenting, how we treat our friends, etc so our actions can be justified.  There are few situations for mature believers in which we need to ask other people what they think about it. Those who are new believers, they may need guidance.  If we are providing guidance to a young believer it is even more vital that we point them to the Bible and lead them in truth.

It is hard to be the one to tell the truth.  Most of the time, people do not want to hear truth, they want to be told they are “okay”.  I give you permission to speak the truth in a loving way.  (not that you need my permission).  It is easier to speak the truth in anger than in love.  Love is the challenge.  Love.

If you ask someone for their opinion or you ask for advise, be prepared to hear truth.

If you tell the truth, be prepared for it to NOT be received or acted on. That’s is okay.  We can still be friends. I had a friend ask me what I thought of her dating a man who not a believer (she is a believer)  who also so has some other issues (complicated and private).   I told her, very nicely it was not right in the eyes of God and that I wouldn’t do it.  I told her I love her and God sends good gift, He doesn’t send second best to His kids and I do not believe this man is God’s best.  She is still dating him.  That is between her and God.  She is a grown woman.  I believe she heard the truth and decided that she wants what she wants.  We have all been there. My will doesn’t have to be done.  I still love her. Do I think that it is wrong?  Yes.  Do I think she’s going to get hurt?  Most likely.  Have I been there? Yes.  I did something so similar in my single days that it is not even funny.  I had several friends who told me the truth and then shunned me when I didn’t comply with the truth.  Did this help?  No.  I want to be the connection between people and God, even people who have wondered off from Him.  There have been times in my life when I have needed someone to connect me back to God. I want to be that person for someone.   That’s grace and that is love.

Let us stop telling each other everything is okay when it isn’t.  Especially if “okay” is going against the Word of God (the Bible).  It may be “okay” right now, but when we live outside of God’s Word there are consequences…maybe not today but one day you will understand why God says “no” on some things.  The truth you speak may be what leads someone down a  godly, healthy, fruitful path. 

What about when someone has clearly wondered out of truth or is on the way and they haven’t asked for advise?  Pray and wait.  Pray for them and wait for God to put change in their hearts.  Let God work on them.  God can and does work things out for our good. If you pray for them, God may open a door for you to speak truth.  

Speak that truth in love. 

 

Declarations

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I am still listening to the Orange Revival from Elevation Church.  Normally, I just listen to the podcasts.  This is a great message so I am sharing a link.  Elevation Church graciously shared (for Free)  each night’s service.  I haven’t listened to all of these messages yet but Joyce Meyer’s message and Christine Caine’s messages are worth taking the time to listen to as well.

Orange Conference Craig Groeschel

At the end of this message, Craig Groeschel shares a list of declarations that he says each morning.  These are good, so I am typing them up.

  • Jesus is first in my life.
  • I love my spouse and will lay down my life to serve her/him.
  • My children will love God and serve Him with their whole hearts.
  • I will nurture, equip, train and empower them to do more for His kingdom than they can think or imagine.
  • I love people and believe the best about others.
  • I am disciplined.
  • Christ in me is stronger than the wrong desires in me.
  • I am growing closer to Jesus every day.
  • Because of Jesus my family is closer, by body is stronger, my faith is deeper, and my leadership is sharper.
  • I am anointed, empowered and equipped to reach people far from God.
  • I am creative, innovative, driven, blessed beyond measure because the Holy Spirit dwells within me.
  • I develop leaders.  It is not what I do, it is who I am.
  • My thoughts and imaginations are under the power of Christ.  I take thoughts captive to be obedient to Christ.
  • I wake up with purpose, direction, and meaning every day of my life.
  • Pain is my friend.  I rejoice in suffering because Christ suffered for me.
  • I bring my best and then some.  It is what happens after my best that glorifies God.
  • The world will be different and better because I serve Jesus today.

I have been thinking about a 90 day challenge our pastor put forward on Sunday.   Making some declarations (maybe these or some version of these) would be a good place to start.

He ended his message by having us say, “Let me see what God can do through me.”  The message meshed so well with our pastor’s (Harry Fleming, City Chapel at Slaughter Creek click on the link to listen) message on Sunday.  Sometimes the small changes we make in our lives lead to the biggest changes.  Let’s do something and “let’s see what God can do through us.”

 

The Secret is: It’s  just a Nerf War

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This should be interesting. I had a dream a few mornings ago.

It went like this:

I was in a large warehouse and one end of it was glass (we could see out).  It was  a church.  It wasn’t fancy but it was cool.  I was actually in a back area helping with a class.  Many of the members were wearing t-shirts with some cool logo.  It was a pretty hip church. (Similar in many ways to our church except we meet at an Elementary school).  There was worship going and as I said I was in a back area helping with a class (maybe new members class or something with adults).  Rather suddenly the building was being surrounded by an army.  They looked very organized with full on uniforms, helmets, dark goggles and fully equipped with Mega Nerf guns.  (The boy had a birthday recently and asked for and received a Mega Nerf Gun from Nana.)  They also had regular Nerf guns and what seemed like unlimited ammo.

We have some Nerf gun wars at our house on occasion.  And some of the Nerf bullets hurt when you get hit with them.  And the Mega Nerf guns…well, if you are too close when you hit someone it can leave a mark.  Of course, none of the Nerf guns are deadly.

As the army surrounded the church people began to get very nervous and fearful.  We had a few generic Nerf Guns (imagine lame Dollar store guns with fake Nerf bullets) but we had very few bullets.

I decided to go stand in a back hallway out of range of the bullets.  Because even though, I wasn’t alarmed, it still hurts to get hit by a Mega bullet.

As I was standing in the back, these guys started come into the hallway from the outside.  They were dressed in matching t-shirts similar to our church t-shirts. And they began taking people into a back room and talking to them.  A man came up and asked to talk to me.  I went to talk to him.  I knew who he was, a friend from high school.  He was a familiar person even though I didn’t immediately recognize him. This is significant because many times the enemy comes to us as someone familiar to us or someone who knows our past.

We went into a back room, where round tables were set up and people were having little meetings. The man began to offer me a beach with a waterfall.  The beach with the waterfall is a place I have had frequent dreams of…it is a desert that has a large cliff with the bluest waterfall pouring into a beautiful blue water hole near a blue beach with very gentle waves…no one is there, it is a completely peaceful place.  He told me that if I switched to his side, the waterfall/beach would be mine.  But, I knew that the that peaceful place already belonged to me.  I told him, “You are promising me something that already belongs to me.”  I wasn’t angry just found him incredulous.  He very quickly became frustrated with me.  He went on to meet with someone else.  I followed him.  I followed him to this beautiful bay front property; a house with a boat dock next to it.  He knocked on the door and began to promise the owner he could have the house if he would change sides.  The owner was willing to do anything to “get” the property that he already owned.  I tried telling him, “It is already your property….don’t buy this guy’s promises.”  The owner was so full of fear about the pending war that he wanted to take the deal.  The owner actually walked out on his boat deck, into the water shaking his hands toward heaven…he was very distraught.

I went back to the church and spoke to the pastor.  I kept telling him, they only have Nerf guns and it might hurt but it isn’t going to kill us.  It may be very painful to be hit over and over but it will not kill us.

Then I woke up.

All I could think was…  We are willing to trade what God has already given us or promised us, to avoid a war that is fought with guns that cannot kill us.


The secret of all the things coming against us is that  it may be painful but in light of Eternity, all the enemy really has is Nerf bullets loaded into Nerf guns; it’s not permanent, nothing here is.  We take it all so seriously and it all feels real but with a Kingdom perspective, it is all so small in light of how big our God is.  We have to hold on to what our God has promised us, keeping our focus on Him.  I hear an old song coming on…”Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and  grace…”

 

 

The Least of These

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This idea has been swirling around in my head for a while.

Reading in Matthew 25:31-46 About the coming judgement.  The King separates the sheep from the goats.  He tells the sheep, “…for when I was hungry and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me;  I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.”  They answer Him asking when did they do these things.  The King’s response was down in verse 40, “Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it for one of the least of these My brethren, you did it for Me.”

I have often thought about this and how we (America) send missionaries to foreign lands (before I get blasted with responses…I believe in missions and we support several missionaries)  yet, “our brethren” right her in our city are left to their own devices.  On one hand, because of pride, many of us never ask for help when we need it.  We may ask the government for help…we put a lot of faith in our government for help.  What happened to “look to the hills from whence comes my strength.”?   We have friends who run a ministry for the homeless and they struggle to raise support for their ministry (shameless plug for Lost and Found ministries…click here)  but we have no problem sending money to build houses in South America.  I get it.  As Americans it is very easy to throw money at an unseen problem but the homeless man we see every day on the corner seems able-bodied and should get a job.

That’s not what this is about.

I went to the grocery store yesterday.  I didn’t buy any creamer because we just went on a family trip (spent a lot of $$) and payday is on Friday.  I bought milk for the children.  This morning, while I was making my iced coffee, I ran out of creamer, I used milk.  Moms do it all the time.  We quietly put someone else’s need before our own.

Around Mother’s Day the Hubs told me he wants to give me $200 to spend on myself (clothes,getting my nails done, whatever I want) but he was sure that I would take the cash and buy something the kids need.  I would be tempted…I really would like to get my eyebrows waxed…they are out of control.  As parents that’s what we do….we buy our kids new clothes while we wear the same thing year after year.

I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn.  These are quiet things most moms do every day.

I’m presenting the idea that there are times when the thirsty person we need to give a drink to is our family members.

Our niece is with us once again.  She is three years old, the same age as my daughter.  She needs stability; she needs love and kindness and discipline; she needs to be clothed and fed.  She is a little smaller than our sweet, well-nourished baby so, we could give her hand-me-downs, that’s okay, but I have already purchased a few brand new items for her because she deserves to have some things in her life that are new and especially for her…thus, no creamer, and that is okay.  Because sometimes we need to clothe someone in need.

Talking to my sister about this recently and how we fuss at our children to clean their rooms.  She told me that she made a decision to just go in and help her twelve year old with his room without complaining about it.  It is serving.

Often, we think of serving as it relates to our church or community and overlook opportunities to serve our own families.

We have extra people living in our home…almost always… from foster children to extended family.  I’ve given up on my house being super clean until my kids grow up.  (I don’t really care if it’s super clean if I’m honest…things that matter to me are relationships, books, art…it’s okay).  Because of our situation, we often have dirty dishes in the sink.  I don’t like doing dishes.  Never have, probably will not develop a desire to do dishes.  A few months ago the Hubs volunteered to do dishes…he offered to make sure dishes get done.  I appreciate this very much; it is a small act of service that I appreciate.  Does he do all the dishes?  No.  When someone does something for you, then you don’t mind doing things for them.   When the head of the household serves it creates an atmosphere of serving in the home.

Maybe your elderly parent lives with you…you have taken some in.  Maybe you are providing food for them, you have fed someone who is hungry.  Maybe you are a foster parent, and you are clothing someone who was naked.  Perhaps you have gone to prison or jail to visit someone…all these little things you do every day, even for family, count.

They matter.  They may seem small to you but they are big to someone.

You matter; you make a difference in someone’s life.  YOU!

When you serve your family, begin to treat it as if you are doing these small things for Jesus, Himself.

As you change your attitude at home and see yourself as a serving person, it will not be as difficult to see yourself serving in your church, your child’s school (homeschooling moms do all the volunteer work at their school), or in your community.  Just because you do not serve every single Sunday at your church does mean you aren’t contributing.  Contribute where you can, when you can as much as you can.  It’s not about being the volunteer of the year…it’s about quietly and graciously serving.  And it’s not what is seen that is important.  Of course everyone sees the worship team and pastor…that’s a given.  Your prayers for them matter just as much as what they do.  Rocking the babies in the nursery so a mama can attend service is HUGE!  Believe me…it’s HUGE to that mama.

Sometimes it is as simple as giving a smile and a compliment to the cashier at the grocery store.  Or picking up a piece of trash out of your neighbor’s yard.

Even if no one else sees, God sees.

Be a blessing to everyone, everywhere and start at home.

 

 

Trust ME

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This is a Word for a friend.  Someone needs to hear this today.

Last year, life went crazy and a little sideways.  It’s a long story.  Nothing was as it seemed. Everything seemed swirly.

Thankfully God allowed the “crazy” to happen at the perfect time.  I was backed into a corner.  I could not react the way I wanted to…God knew.

At the time I prayed and I told God, “I cannot trust this person.”

We have all had situations come up when we cannot trust the people closest to us.  When trust is broken…it devastates.

In that moment, when I felt I hadn’t been hearing from God; in that moment when I felt my emotions were overwhelming His voice I heard, “You don’t have to.”  Relief flooded me.  I don’t have to trust this person…a weight lifted.  Then God said, “Trust ME.”

Like I have so many times in my life, I trusted Him.  I knew that I could believe what He said to me.  He is a good Father.  His plans are good.  I can trust Him.

There will always be times in our lives when people fail us.  Sometimes they are failing us for the first time but sometimes they are failing us for the fourth time.  You don’t have to trust them, but trust Him.

When He says, “I have a plan.”  You can trust Him.  When He says, “I know how much this hurts.”  You can trust Him.  When He says, “You are going to make it through this.” You can trust Him.  He keeps His words.  He always does.  So when He says, “Trust Me”  You can trust Him.  He LOVES you.  He LOVES your children even more than you do.  He is for you and not against you.  He is for your relationships, your marriage, your parenting, your ministry…He is for you.

When you cannot trust anyone else, trust Him.