Wednesday, December 14, 2011

devotional - what is joy?

This entry is a copy of a devotional I get emailed to me daily. These online devotionals are easy to read and usually very short. I use these in addition to my daily readings, especially on busy days when I just need a little refueling in between meetings or during a lunch break. If you don't already subscribe to one, I recommend you do. Little encouragements are very helpful in keeping your sanity during a busy day! =)

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
 – 1 Chronicles 16:27 (NIV)

Today’s commentary
 by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

One of the things that will mark God’s dwelling place is joy. This is more than happiness. Joy is a sense of satisfaction that causes us to be overflowing with life. A joyful person is a satisfied person. That is one reason why God tells us not to try to get life from the things of the world, for joy only resides in Him. As the saying goes: happiness is based upon happenings, but joy is based upon Jesus.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Through my journey I am continuously encountering new levels and colors of peace. I am in awe of how this little word can translate into such a large emotion. Although I am at peace myself, I feel as though there is someone out there who needs a small reminder that peace is there, all you need do is ask. Whisper it to the Lord and let Him fill you with His peace. Pray these verses and claim them for yourself today. His promises are for you and they cannot be broken.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God"
This is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me that I don't have to be God. I don't have to control everything, I don't even have to worry about everything. All I have to do is remember to be still, and I know that He is God!

Claim your peace today my friend.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quiet Times

This blog has been silent for quite some time now. For those faithful few out there, here we go again~

The last few months have been some of the most challenging and rewarding I have had in a long time. In the midst of accepting past hurt and finding future hopes, I have been blessed beyond belief. God has brought me to acceptance and peace after a process of deep healing began in me. The healing continues, but the pain is no longer overwhelming. I have discovered new types of joy and hope, and am beginning a new volume in the book that is my life. It's almost funny the way God works to restore us, He takes us through every element of each emotion we try to hide from, and the end result is not only a renewal, but an awakening. New levels of life, and shades of glory never before known are presented to you. Few of you have been here already, and you can understand what I mean, those of you who haven't been through it yet, in God's time you will understand the majesty that comes with allowing Him to recreate you as He intended. You will no longer think of any element of your past with shame, confusion, anger, regret or any of these feelings, rather you will view your past as a journey only you could have travelled. Your experiences become jumping off points for Gods glory, and a new hope for the future springs into your heart as you move into the next volume of your life story.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Hurts

August is here again.

I have spent the month of August for the last few years hiding from the world. I think this year will be different for me though. I lost someone who meant very much to me during the month of August, and for the last few years, I have met this month with so much fear and heartache there were moments I felt I would literally die of a broken heart. I faced my loss with the mentality that with it went my hopes, my dreams, my heart and my life.

Have you ever been there?
Are you there now?

There are points when it feels like life just happens to us, and we realize we do not have control over the storms of life. There are times when we are tossed by the waves of pain and the waters of sorrow and loss feel so vast we think we'll drown there in our pain. The truth is, if you allow it to happen, you will. If you allow the waters of despair to consume you, they will swallow you up.

It doesn't have to be that way though.

Pain will come. We will all experience loss. Anger may arise. Give it to God.

Give it ALL to God.

August hurts. Four years later, there are still moments when August hurts so bad I can't breathe. But August won't last forever. September will be here soon, and with that knowledge peace fills my soul.

I know my Father will walk with me through this month, through all my months.
I know His hand will catch mine when I am afraid.
I have faith in His guidance when I am blinded by tears.
I believe in His promise to carry me when my legs are to weak to walk.
His light will guide me when I cannot see ahead of me.

These promises are not for me alone. They are yours as well. Just believe.

I was right in believing my life had ended, the life I knew was gone, but not the life I was promised. My heart was broken, but only so my Heavenly Father could replace it with His heart. My dreams were shaken, but only so I could realize the dreams my God has for me. My hopes were shattered, but only so my God could show me the hopes He had for me.

Psalm 46
1God is our mighty fortress,
   always ready to help
   in times of trouble.
    2And so, we won't be afraid!
   Let the earth tremble
   and the mountains tumble
   into the deepest sea.
    3Let the ocean roar and foam,
   and its raging waves
   shake the mountains.
    4A river and its streams
   bring joy to the city,
   which is the sacred home
   of God Most High.
    5God is in that city,
   and it won't be shaken.
   He will help it at dawn.
    6Nations rage! Kingdoms fall!
   But at the voice of God
   the earth itself melts.
    7The LORD All-Powerful
   is with us.
   The God of Jacob
   is our fortress.
    8Come! See the fearsome things
   the LORD has done on earth.
    9God brings wars to an end
   all over the world.
   He breaks the arrows,
   shatters the spears,
   and burns the shields. [a] 10Our God says, "Calm down,
   and learn that I am God!
   All nations on earth
   will honor me."
    11The LORD All-Powerful
   is with us.
   The God of Jacob
   is our fortress.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nails in the Fence

The story below was forwarded to an entire school district by the district superintendent. I think this story is a beautiful example of the effects our words and actions have on people. God has blessed us with an opportunity to show people what it means to love and be loved by Him every time we encounter another person. I think there are times when we all forget about this whether we're frustrated at a check out counter, waiting in a drive through or out with a friend, our actions are an example of how we let the Father shine through and in us.

Nails In The Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same.”

When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out but it won't matter how many times you say “I'm sorry”, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Remember that friends are very rare jewels indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

God's grace is such a beautiful gift. If you have had any difficulties in receiving and accepting His grace, I pray that away. Let yourself fall into His arms and let His grace and mercy cover you. Let Him wrap you in a Heavenly embrace today and let Him guide your heart toward His. Accept it and praise Him for it. Amen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Philippians 1:6

...There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears... Philippians 1:6

As I move through my new life with Christ, I am amazed at how I continue to grow. The changes His mercy has guided me through has been nothing short of extraordinary.

He has granted me the privilege of serving Him, and I have seen the blessings that come from complete surrender. This however comes with a cost. We must pay the price to experience life as He has intended it. At first, the price seems high, all He asks of us is everything we are. That's right, He asks that we surrender everything we think we are in order to become the people He intended us to be. I can honestly say, once you begin the journey, there is no end. You continue to grow and you are renewed every moment of your life. Following Him is not easy, I can honestly say it's been one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but the end result is well worth it. The journey I am on is more beautiful than I can describe, and all it cost me was everything. I received more from my Heavenly Father than I had to offer Him.

He will  continue working in me. His transformation will never be complete, and until He returns, I will serve Him. Amen.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I have baggage... probably enough to travel around the world several times. Eventually there comes a point when you need to sit down with God and unpack your bags. I'm warning you though, as will all steps towards healing this isn't very easy. It is however a beautiful process. One of my favorite quotes is from Stephen King, he once described something as "poisonous inspiration" I loved that phrase immediately. Life is so full of wonder, that when something comes along and truly inspires me it feels poisonous. It engulfs my entire being and becomes a catalyst for change and moves me closer to God. I look for it, I seek it and as I move towards, I face God on new levels. Each day Jesus calls to each one of us, and some days it is easier than others to answer, I'll admit, there are times when I am terrified of picking up the phone! However, even though it feels easier to just ignore the call, it's always worth the risk of answering.

I was put to the test recently, and a part of me just wanted to give in. God found a way to break through even though I didn't want Him to, and the results of His divine intervention are more beautiful than if I had just allowed myself to turn away. God understands everything we go through. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Because the Son was human, He completely understands our hurt, our anger, our fear and our weakness. Through all this, He can bring us a better sense of hope, of love, He can completely restore our joy, and He can give us strength beyond our comprehension.

Hold tight my friend, and trust in God to carry you when He needs to, and to walk alongside you. I can't promise smooth sailing, but I can assure you that our Heavenly Father will be with you. If, after all I have been through in my life He is still with me, I know no matter where your journey is taking you, He will never leave you. He has promised this to us all, and He will NEVER break His promises to us!

Hebrews 13:5
...God has said,
   “Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"'...a reaction is started when we earnestly seek after God in His word and prayer. The attributes of Christ begin to appear in our lives...' This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – John 15:8"

This was written in one of my devotions this week, and I can't help but think of the ways in wich life can sometimes seem so cruel to us. My personal journey is pointing me in the direction of facing those that would discourage me daily. I am having to look at all the sources of doubt and denial in my life and I have a choice to make. I can give into the doubts as I have so many times before or I can trust in my Savior and continue to push through my stuggles.

The funny thing is, there are times when it seems the source of the "you can't do it" 's and the "you're not good enough" 's are family and friends. Those people we look to for support and love can sometimes be the biggest hinderances on our journeys. Christine Caine once said "who needs the devil when you've got well-meaning Christians..." This will happen no matter where your journey is taking you, you will hit a point when it seems like you were wrong in believing you were meant to take the path you did. If you are wrong, God will lead you out. If you are on the right path, The Father will guide you through any obstical.

Don't lose heart my friend and don't give up! Seek God in your prayer time. Read His word daily - multiple times if necessary!! - and remember seeking Him and following Him will leave you with a more full and wonderful life than giving into any doubts or fear.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


This blog has been quiet for a while now, I apologize to the one of you I know looks at it regularly =) lol =) I have spent some time over the last month really just listening to God, and I felt that the Spirit was asking me for some time of just listening.

It's so rare that most of us (especially me!) can find the courage to stop talking at god and to just listen. I realized over the last few weeks that my God wants so badly for me to shut my mouth and listen to what He has for me; and I realized the more I press into Him, the more I thirst for His voice! It's really mind boggling how the "problems" of life don't seem so over whelming when you can rest in the certainty of a relationship with Christ.

I've hit a few stumbling blocks lately. You know those grey areas of life when you re basically walking on a tight rope and you run really fast across it... so you make it to the other side, but you miss all the beautiful scenery along the way?? .....maybe that's just me... but that's where I was. I was running through life so quickly that God called me to slow down- in some areas stop all together and to spend time with Him.

If you have never done that, or haven't done it in a while, I strongly encourage you to do it NOW!!! It's so refreshing! I was reminded of why I was called into His service, I spent time reflecting on who I was, who I am becoming, and who I pray I will be some day. I really spent time worshiping my Father, not just raising my hands to a song, but remembering the very breath of worship in me! Living worship, and resting in His presence! If this is making sense to you, then you've been there, and you know the sweet feeling of knowing you are wrapped in His love. If this doesn't make sense, then I pray you are able to take some time - even if it's just 15 minutes - and let Him hug you! I promise, it's worth it!

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 36: 7

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Relay for Life

I'm spending my Saturday night walking in Relay for Life. Looking around me I see people who are fighting cancer, people in remission, people walking for loved ones, and candles burning in memory of lost loved ones. Only about 2 hours ago, the announcer called a moment of silence for a woman who lost the battle to cancer earlier today. Her team is still here. Still walking, still raising money, still supporting allthe other fighters in the world. What strikes me most is how much love and courage is represented here. It's tough to watch someone you love face cancer, I've seen it. I'ved loved others who've gone through it too, and I know this is a situation that can bring questions about Gods hand being in every situation. Make no mistakes, it's beyond our comprehensiion, but I can promise God's plans are better than ours. God moves through life's trials in ways we cannot understand, but it is well worth itto believe His promises are true. I know from my own experiences that He wants nothing for us that will harm us. Our God is a God of love, and thats what He does. He loves us. There is nothing we can do to earn His love, He simply loves us because He loves us! The point my friend is God is present in all circumstances- even the ones that hurt- and He is bigger than this life. Rest in His love, take comfort in Him, and believe He has strength we do not posess. HE LOVES BECAUSE HE IS LOVE. When you accept that you realize that although you may still have questions, the answers do not always matter. His love is all you need.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book Review: The Chasm by Randy Alcorn

I just finished reading a book called The Chasm by Randy Alcorn. I actually read it twice - it was such a short book, I couldn't believe I'd taken it all in the first time! I have to say, the contents of this 110 page book, just blew my mind. There were parts of it, I was certain were written for me alone. Alcorn takes his reader through the journey to salvation in one of the most original ways I've ever experienced. The story is haunting, but so realistic, you can't help but feel the Spirit working in your own journey as you recognize the pieces of pain, doubt and the loss of hope we all experience in our attempts to solidify our relationships with Christ.

The Chasm is a beautifully written and genuine illustration of our journey with Christ. Alcorn presents and honest depiction of how most of us attempt to become the master of our own lives, and can allow ourselves to become blinded to the realities in the world around us and the choices we make in our own lives. Alcorns imagery is brilliant and his approach allows the reader to relate to and follow the main character through his struggles with salvation. I definitely recommend this book!!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This book can be purchased from:,,,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lam 3 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end they are new every morning.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


There are times when I am alone and quiet when I feel Gods presence so strongly I cannot help but marvel  at how faithful and constant He is. No matter how I come to Him, whether in joy, in pain, in laughter or tears, I am always comforted in the knowledge that He is with me.
I find myself praying more persistently than I ever have to continue to seek Him. I have been through many places where I was unfaithful to my Lord. I would run and hide from His face out of my own shame, anger or just plain selfishness. I have been in moments where I was too busy to spend time with God. Yet, through it all, the Creator of the Universe has never been too busy to spend time with me… how wonderful is that?
Have you ever felt too busy to spend five minutes alone with God?
Have you just had too much going on?
Have you been too tired to wake up fifteen minutes early?
I have.
In the place I am at now, I realize my own fears have kept me from seeking Him. I was afraid of what I would be asked to let go of. I was afraid of Him showing me things I need to change. I was afraid of meeting the woman I was created to be. I still am in some ways, but I can rest in the assurance that comes with building a lasting relationship with Christ. I am not capable of changing anything about my life, but God is. My Savior is much bigger than any habit I have formed, He is greater than any fear I possess and He holds the key to my heart. He holds the key to your heart too. All you need is the courage to say yes- He can give you that too!
One of the most impacting moments on my journey happened about a year and a half ago. I had only been regularly spending time with God for a few months, and the excitement of reconnecting with Him was still very new to me. I hadn’t had a solid relationship with Him in years, so I was eager to ensure the fire didn’t die out. I remember crying out to God and praising Him for everything I was experiencing with Him. He was changing my heart in so many ways I’d never imagined possible. I asked Him what was next- what would my next step be in the new season of my life. God showed me a picture library of all the people I regularly surrounded myself with, and slowly began erasing some of the images. One by one, I saw people being taken off the wall. It was painful to watch in some ways. But as I saw images being deleted, new ones began to form. Not all of the new images were recognizable, and some appeared to be objects and not people. I must admit, some just didn’t make sense to me. I asked God why some of these people were being removed. These were my friends! In some instances, these were family members! I couldn’t believe it. I heard God speak more clearly than ever at that point. “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” The words of Jeremiah 29:11 were all that came into my heart.
Now, at that point I had a choice to make. I could trust God and let His plans for my life begin to unfold, or I could trust myself and not let some people be removed from my life. I chose to trust God. With everything else that He has done in my life within the two years before this, I was confident His plans were far more lucrative than mine would ever be!
Needless to say, people left my life soon after. Some people I had courage enough to break ties with, and some people God removed in His own ways. As this was happening, God began bringing new people in. People that were strong in faith. People that were growing in faith. People that would bring His Word into my life in new ways. God began surrounding me with people that loved as much as I did, and I began stepping into a new season of my life.
This journey is not an easy one. Being a Christian isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, but being a Christian means I no longer have to face this world alone. My God is for me. My Heavenly Father is guiding me, holding my hand, and in some areas, He is carrying me in His arms. I know the battle is not up to me to fight alone; rather it is for me to trust that God has my back. When I step onto the battle field, my Lord is with me, and nothing in this world can stand against Him!  
Ephesians  6:10-18 tells you everything you need to know:
 You do not have to fight alone my friend. You do not have to figure out who is and isn’t supposed to be in your life during any particular season. Trust in God to show you. Trust in God to erase people, and to bring in those that will encourage you in your walk. Trust in God, for He is constant. He who was and is and is to come will always be with you and in you. He will never leave you nor forsake you, and in Him you will find the courage, strength and peace to continue on your journey.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
He is never too busy for you.
You will never face anything too big for God to handle.
My prayers are with you all. I pray by the power in the name of Jesus Christ you find the courage to give your time to God. I pray you find the strength to let Him step in, and I pray that you trust in the One who made the Heavens to guide you. For He has a plan for your life, and it is a good one! Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Romans 12:28 ...and we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him.
Trust in the Lord. In everything you do, trust that our Father in Heaven is with you at all times.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 23

Day 23: Pray
Life is hard sometimes. I know this from experience. However, there are points in which the beauty of life’s difficulties shines through to us. God has been moving in me in ways I cannot understand. He has shown me pain and hurt in people and not given me the permission to do anything about it. He has called me to pray. He has granted me the privilege of interceding on behalf of His daughters and sons, but He has told me to leave it at that.
As a person of action, this is a challenge. I am not content with just praying, I want to DO something, but I have not been given the authority to move. One thing I have realized is the power of prayer can be just as strong as taking action.  Eugene Peterson says in The Message (Romans 10) “it’s the word of Faith that welcomes God t go to work and set things right for us.” Do you realize how much power there is that? By the faith we have in Gods ability to heal and to lift people up, our prayers can be more than just words to God. Our prayers are a declaration of our faith in the Living God. Our prayers bring meaning to what was done on Calvary. Our prayers draw us closer to God when it is so easy to run away.
So, what’s on your heart? Do you even know? Sometimes I don’t, but I can rest in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will guide me. I have faith in the fact that when I come before the Lord nothing else matters. I don’t have to have a plan or an agenda, but His Spirit will guide me.
Romans 8:26-27 (The Message)
 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Pray my friend, whether you understand your situation or not. Give it to God and let it go. Our Heavenly Father knows what you need. He will bring you peace, fill your heart with joy, and He will bring your soul rest.  Amen!

Monday, March 28, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 14-17

Days 14-17 Strength
(Psalms 119:28) 28 My soul is weary with sorrow: strengthen me according to your word.
There are times in life when the weights of circumstances around us are almost too much to bear. When you reach a point when your world feels too heavy, what do you make the source of your strength? Do you rely on solving your own problems? Do you try to carry yourself through life’s difficulties?
Education was pushed on me from an early age. College was never an option, it was always understood I would go, and I would complete my studies. There are times when I am told I am a snob, or I think I am better than the people around me because I went to college. It’s almost amusing when I think about how many times someone has been upset with me about something, and the same comment always comes up, “you think you’re better than me because you have an education.” I always believed the hard work and dedication to furthering my knowledge was something to be proud of, and I sometimes wonder, why do people encourage other people to achieve something, and then make them feel like their achievement is something to be ashamed of? Wouldn’t it be better just to leave the person alone?
It’s here, when I feel the most alone. I feel like I ought to be ashamed of myself. Who I am, and what I have accomplished means nothing. Then I realize, God created me like this. God had His hand in my education and in my accomplishments before I was born. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. The knowledge and talents I poses are gifts from God to be used for His glory, and that is nothing to be ashamed of! It is here, in remembrance of this, that I find strength.
Thank you Lord, for when “my soul is weary with sorrow: [I know You] strengthen me according to Your word.” Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 13

Day 13: Joy
Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one's strength.
There are times in my life when I look around at my circumstances and the human side of me wants to scream. Things don’t seem to be falling into place, or I don’t seem to have enough of something. Sometimes I just feel like crawling back into bed and waiting for the rapture, and then something in my soul whispers to me and I am reminded of one very important fact; I am a child of the living God, and joy floods over my heart life a tsunami.
Have you ever been depressed? It’s pretty miserable, isn’t it? Life seems to have spiraled out of your control, you think you are alone, and if you’re not, you want to be. The color seems to have disappeared from the world leaving everything grey and covered in fog…. Yeah, I’ve been there a time or two, and once you let it take over, it’s pretty hard to get out of the little rut you’re stuck in. if you’re there now, take comfort in our heavenly Father. He has not come to let you be lost in misery, but to fill your heart with joy. He delights in you and when you learn to surrender all to Him, He fills you with such overwhelming joy; you can’t help but look at the grey world around you and see the color in it.
The joy of the Lord has the ability to catch hold of you and remind you of all the blessings in your life. The gifts He has bestowed upon you, by His divine providence surround you, and whatever the small matter is that left you feeling depressed no longer has hold over your heart. Whatever your circumstance, know that God is bigger! There is no circumstance, no problem, and no emotion that is greater than our God. With Him all things are possible, and with His Spirit breathing life into you, there is joy.
Happiness is fleeting, but with God there is an everlasting joy that can overcome any sickness in your heart. Claim it my friend! By the power and the authority of the blood of Jesus Christ, I pray God’s infinite and everlasting joy settles in your heart right now! I pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ that you feel the love of God sweep over you and cover you this hour. Amen!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 12

Day 12: have hope
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
There are times in life when I feel like I am finally heading on a sunny path. There is a cool breeze, everything around me is beautiful and shinning, then something pops up that has the ability to take all the joy and sunshine out of my life. have you ever been there? It’s kinda like spring in Southern California, a gorgeous day suddenly becomes overcast and grey… I am there today. It feels as though I have suddenly been thrown into a storm and can no longer see the sunlight. This isn’t the first time I’ve been here, and I am confident you can understand this feeling. The difference about today is that I know there will be an end. I have hope, and I am more confident than ever that I will not wade this storm alone. The simple truth is I know God has my back.
Are you there right now? If you are, can you be 100% certain that God is holding your hand and steering your course through your storm? Where is your hope today? lists the following as one of the definitions for hopeWhen I look at the secular definition, I’m not incredibly inspired, there is so much left unsaid about the power is this little word. When I hope, I don’t want to face something with “reasonable confidence” I want to know the outcome of my faith and my belief is truly going to be worth wading through the turmoil and pain that life can sometimes put us through.
to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
J. Hampton Keathley, III did a study on hope, he reports the following: a little more inclinded to be hopeful when God is added to the equation. There are terrible things that happen in life. there will be times when the wind is knocked out of me, there have been, and there will come another time when I am uncertain of my ability to make it through the day. I can however, be motivated to get out of bed  knowing that I can have a “strong and confident expectation” that God will see me through!
In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation.
Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both.
I must say I’m
We cannot make it alone in this life. we will not be able to survive the hardships alone, but we can hope that the outcome will strengthen us. We can rest in the assurance our faith in the living God will carry us through the darkest of hours. The psalmist writes “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”
So take courage my friend, and have hope. Our heavenly Father is with you, and no matter how dark the circumstance or how great the pain, know that He loves us! He has moved men and nations so that we may see how very much He loves us! He will never fail you or me, for we are His greatest joy! We are precious to Him, and He loves us. Life is hard, but by the divine providence of our heavenly Father, we will be comforted.
So have hope. That is the challenge today. Know how He loves us, and have hope!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 8, 9 & 10

Recently I received a copy of the book Soul Print by Mark Batterson from WaterBook Muktnomah Publishing Group. In it, Batterson encourages us to look at how God has created us to be unique, and even though we are all made in His image, we are all made according to the very specific plans He has for each of us. Within the Christian world, there is always an underlying concern with who the people around us are, and how we can model ourselves after them. The beauty of being Gods creation, is that when He designed us and blessed us with our gifts and talents, He did it in the knowledge that no other human will ever have the specific set of talents that we possess.

Within the beauty of our uniqueness, God has created for each of us a purpose, that purpose at times can be lost in our insecurities. Thoughts of not being good enough, fears of rejection and failure can keep us from answering the calling on our lives. Batterson repeats one thought throughout the book,
"what you are doing or where you are going are secondary issues, God's primary concern is who you are becoming

This statement brings us to the challenge for days 8-10. I challenge you, my dear friend to spend these days truly pressing into God and to begin the deepest self inventory you have ever done.

Ask God to reveal the following to you:
Where is your focus right now?
Are you focused on your goals, ambitions and plans?
Or are you looking towards His hand to lead you?
Are you navigating the journey?
Or are you following the path God has laid before your feet?

Ask God these questions, and if you can, pick up a copy of Battersons book, those of you I see regularly, I am happy to lend you mine. I challenge you to really and truly seek the person God has created you to be. Put away every thought you have about who you are and what your destiny is, and let God show you the unique and beautiful purpose He has for your life!

You can read the first chapter of SoulPrint online at

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This book can be purchased from:,,,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 7

I am in Last Call, after Wednesday night service right now, and all around me I hear people being encouraged and encouraging others to take the gifts talents and life God has blessed them with and to go out and bless others. There are two people in here tonight who have "physical disabilities" and how amazing is it that someone most people would consider "handicapped" can take what others perceive as a weakness and use it as a powerful tool of ministry!

My mind is ready to explode with all the thoughts I have had about not being "able" to do things. Well, dear brothers and sisters, here's the secret: YOU ARE ABLE!

Yes, you are well able to do what God has called you to do in this life! You have everything you need to overcome any and ALL obstacles the enemy might seek to put in your path. You have the power and authority in the name and in the blood of Christ Jesus and it is a gift given to us by the one and true God! This gift is FREE! We will never be asked to do more than to take the many blessings bestowed upon us and to turn around and to use your gifts, your talents and YOUR GOD to bless others!

Check out tonights service tomorrow at 7:30 pm, PST

Thursday, March 10, 2011

15 Minute Challenge, Day 2

Day 2:
Psalm 27:4 One prayer have I made to the Lord, and this is my heart's desire; that I may have a place in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, looking on his glory, and getting wisdom in his Temple.

I got an interesting phone call last night while at church. My sister was calling to let me know our Papa (grandfather) was in the hospital. He'd had a heart attack and we didn't have much additional information.

Once again, I am reminded of the fact that life will come to an end for all of us at some point. As Christine Caine said it at the CATWEST 2011 conference, "life is terminal." With that in mind, what are you living for?

Most of our generation is living for themselves. We live in a culture that looks at all the glory and splendor of this world and asks "what's in it for me?" Self gratification and self importance is so important to each member of our generation that we often miss those beautiful little moments that come from getting over you and doing something without seeking anything in return.

There are even times when our prayers become muddled with our wants.
“Please God let me have…”
“God, can you just give me…”
“Dear Lord, I really want…”

I can’t say my own prayers haven’t sounded like that at times, but in the grand scope of things, and when I think about how much I really have, I am reminded of what really and truly matters in this life. this leads me to our verse for day 2 of our 15 minute challenge:

David writes in Psalm 27:4 One prayer have I made to the Lord, and this is my heart's desire; that I may have a place in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, looking on his glory, and getting wisdom in his Temple(From The Bible in Basic English).

How beautiful is that notion? The thing David wanted most was to remain in the presence of the Lord on this earth. How different will it be if we tried to focus on God with such determination? What would life be like for us if the only thing that mattered was being able to sit in Gods house seeking His wisdom?

This life will end, it is a guarantee. James writes in James 4:13-15 (The Message) And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."

If you are given tomorrow, what will you do with it? Who will you live it for? Will you remember the prayer of David? I can promise you if you make the choice and call out to God the way David did, He will transform you. He will change the heart behind your prayers; He has the power and the authority to transform your heart. He can take us and restore us and reconnect us with Him. At the end of the day, we only have a small amount of time on this planet, we can spend it focusing on things we want and do not need, or we can cry out to God and spend this time seeking His heart and living for the Creator of the Universe.

15 Minute Challenge, Day 1

Some of you reading this have already been told about my 15 minute challenge, so you can skip over this bit of the blog today. For those of you who do not know what it is, I’ll explain. I am challenging myself and anyone else out there who wants to participate to spend an extra 15 minutes with God for the next 40 days. This is 15 minutes in addition to, not as a substitute for your private time with God. That time is still vital to your growth and to mine, and I am not asking you to give that up. During this time, those of us participating will be working together on a common scripture, word, action, etc. Through this we will each explore what the Father has for us individually, as well as together. I pray this leads to a greater understanding of who each of us are called to be in Christ and will take us to new depths together as a group. You are welcome to use this blog as a forum for your thoughts and prayers, or you can contact me privately. I will be praying for each of you as we do this, and I will pray WITH you at anytime if you would like me to.
So, on to day 1:
One of my favorite Bible verses is “'because the splendor I have given you makes your beauty perfect' declares the Sovereign Lord" Ezekiel 16:14
Why is it that we, as women, look to validate ourselves in other people? When you do this, and you do just like I do, you strip yourself of the blessings God have put on your life! God has looked at each one of us and declared that we are precious to Him. We are made in His image and He has breathed life into each one of us! So where in that knowledge can we find room to feel we are not good enough for anyone or anything?!
For me personally, I get lost in my insecurities and my self doubt. There was a time when I was well aware of the calling God has placed upon this season of my life and I had the nerve to tell God “Lord, that’s a great idea, but I am NOT good enough!” How funny is that? God has blessed me with gifts and talents that are pleasing to Him. He created me, He gave me the ability to do things that would glorify His name and His kingdom, and in my insecurity and fear I told Him it wasn’t good enough. That is the same as telling God that He is not good enough, and that is a sin.
It is somewhat difficult for me to admit that to you, especially here, but without admitting the truth behind my fears, I would never be able to write this and to show you that when God says “go” you’d best believe He will make sure it is pleasing to Him. This blog is an example of finally being able to say yes to God and to stand up to my fears. As I am writing this post, I can hear all the negative comments about what is in here, and I stand against that in Jesus name! You all need to do the same thing! I the precious name of the savior of the universe, you need to stand against fears that may be keeping you from completing the tasks He has set aside for you.
God has a calling on your life, just like He has a calling on mine. He makes a promise to us in His precious word regarding this in Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Do you realize how much power we have in that statement? He has made us beautiful in Him, and we have the nerve to question our abilities and our worth. I am guiltier of this than anyone I know, but I can recognize the truth in the fact that He has chosen every single talent I possess. He handpicked the skills I have been blessed we. He mapped the course I would take in life, and I would be so foolish as to question my ability to live out His plan…
Please do not feel that I would write this to judge or to condemn, that is not my intention. I wish for nothing more than to share a piece of my heart with you here. There is so much freedom in claiming the power of Jesus’ name and in choosing to live in accordance with the plans He has made for your life. The simple truth is, God’s got your back, and if He is for you, NO ONE can stand against you!
So think about this verse today and think about what His promise is for you.
“'…because the splendor I have given you makes your beauty perfect' declares the Sovereign Lord" Ezekiel 16:14

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Plan for Lent

I am proud to say I am sponsoring a precious little girl from Rwanda. She is beautiful, and I can’t wait to learn more about her! That isn’t the point of this blog however, while I was playing on the internet, I saw the following Facebook update:
"During Lent I'll be giving up foods other than the staple foods that make up the diet of the Compassion children we sponsor. Wanna join me?" - Pastor Chris Seay, Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas

What a notion! During a time, when I can’t think of anything to give up this idea is shared with me! to honor my new friend in Rwanda I plan on accepting the challenge and spending the season eating only the staples that would be found in her home village.
I have inserted some general facts about Rwanda below if any of you are interested in learning more about that part of the world. There has been so much bloodshed and disease across that land, and it truly does break my heart to imagine it all. I believe there is a purpose for that region (one little girl in particular) becoming a part of my life, I don’t know now – honestly I may never really know, but I am excited about this new adventure.
If any of you sponsor your own angel or want to partner with me during the time of lent, I would love for you to do so!
Oh, and for all you people that know me well, coffee and tea are both on the list!! (Thank you Lord!! Although, unfortunately there is no sugar…)
For those of you who aren’t 100% certain what LENT is, I googled it for you:
The name lent is a Germanic word originally used to refer to the spring season generally. Over time, it replaced the Latin quadragesima, which means “forty days.” Lent lasts forty days because, according to biblical accounts, Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days of fasting, meditation and reflection before beginning his ministry.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child or learning more about Compassion International:
Compassion International’s website

I have not been asked to provide any of the websites I have listed above nor will I receive anything for directing you to them, they are simply there to provide you the opportunity to either gain a greater understanding of the charity that has captured and broken my heart or to verify my facts on Rwanda.

About Rwanda from 

The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Tanzania.

Kigali is the capital. Other urban areas are Butare, Gisenyi, Gitarama and Ruhengeri.

Rwanda's terrain consists of savannas, hills, and mountains. Rivers are the Kagera, Mwogo, Nyabarongo and the Ruzizi.

The temperature varies according to altitude: much of Rwanda is temperate.
National Parks in Rwanda are Nyungwe National Park in the southeast, Akagera National Park in the northeast and the the Parc des Volcans in the northwest.

The Parc des Volcans is home to mountain gorillas, made famous by "Gorillas in the Mist". Dr Dian Fossey, who died in 1985, spent many years among these endangered primates. The number of mountain gorillas has risen since Dr Fossey started working at the Karisoke Research Center in the 1960s.

Other animals found in Rwanda include antelopes, buffaloes, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes and zebras.
Butare was the principal city in Rwanda before Kigali became the capital in 1965. In nearby Nyabisindu the nineteenth century Royal Palace has been restored and now serves as a museum.

Kigali, Rwanda's capital and business centre, is a modern city with low-rise buildings.
The population of Rwanda was estimated at 10,186,060 in 2008.
Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. Kiswahili (Swahili) is used in commercial centres.
The majority of Rwandans are Christians. There are some Muslims and followers of indigenous religions.
Beans, cassava, plantains and sweet potatoes are staple foods in Rwanda. Porridge is made from sorghum, millet and maize.

Dairy products are part of the diet. Meat, usually beef and chicken, is eaten. Fish is caught in the lakes.

Vegetables and fruits available include aubergines, spinach, soybeans, avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, passion fruit and pineapples.

Beer, made from bananas or sorghum, is brewed locally. Coffee and tea are grown.

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Years Resolutions... better late than never, right?!

Well, it’s already two months into the new year, and, if you're like me, I’m sure ya’ll are working hard on the 2011 resolutions you've been meaning to get started on, but probably won't  keep. Like planning for diets, excercise and weight loss regimins that really aren't gonna last – cause we all know the holidays will come around again at the end of the year and there goes all that hard work… Ok, so hopefully you have had more luck with your resolutions than I usually have.
I’ve spent some time (two months) reflecting on 2010. It truly was a whirlwind year! There was some pain, there was some sorrow, and there was definitely some regret. However, in all of that, there was laughter, there was joy and most importantly, there was love. There are days I hope to never relive, and moments I can remember being so full of fear I thought I was going to explode! In all of that, there is so much I can only thank God I experienced. Every moment of fear taught me a little more about my own courage. For each tear I shed in pain, I shed five tears of laughter. Every time I was knocked on my butt, someone was there to help me get back on my feet. Yes, I have been blessed, and I am fortunate enough to realize it! There is another, more important and most rewarding knowledge that came to me this year. For every time someone was there for me, I was there for someone else. That brings more joy, comfort and hope for my new year than reflecting on the many good things I have been given.
I spent a majority of my life being selfish. I worked hard for myself. I gave only when I knew there was a benefit for me. I showed affection only to those who showed me affection first. My heart and my emotions were so tightly kept in my own pocket that I never truly appreciated or loved the amazing people in my life. But over the last couple of years I let God break me. You see, the sweet thing about finally surrendering is God will break you, but He will do it in a way that doesn’t actually hurt. Now, it isn’t easy, and that doesn’t mean you won’t have to come to terms with past hurt, but you won’t experience hurt in the same way ever again. I faced my past and through His strength I was able to stand.
This last year, I apologized for pain I had caused, and I learnt my own pain was minimal in comparison to the pain I caused others to experience. I found a way to really look at my actions, to examine my behaviors and to fully understand the consequences of all I do or say. A healing process began in me, and through it I was able to reach out to others and encourage them to allow their own healing to begin. That is what I hope to inspire by sharing this with you. Pain is part of life. We cannot escape it, and no matter how we try, it cannot be avoided. There is hope sweet sister, when you allow God to take your pain; you can find His joy through it. No, I am not crazy, but yes, there is a way to find joy in your pain. The everlasting joy that comes with completely surrendering your pain to God will remain in you through pain, fear, frustration and even in moments when you want to be angry. These feelings are not of God, and no matter how much the events of this life bring us close to them, if you remember that God has your back, you find joy!

If you look at God as a freight train and all those negative emotions as a car, the car doesn’t even stand a chance! That train will roll right over it and only fragments will be left on the side of the tracks. That is what Gods joy does to all those negative things. You cannot be overcome by them and if you reach out, He will lift you up. Every time you feel your equilibrium is coming off center, He will balance you out. That is our God. He is amazing and He wants nothing more than to see us experience Him to the fullest.
I am excited to see what 2011 will bring my way. I am prepared for some pain and a few tears, but I can thank God now that they will be outnumbered my laughter and smiles and joy! As the healing process continues in me, I will keep more people close to my heart. I will not let my heart and my emotions stay locked away. I will share my heart with the people I love. I will express my emotions as I feel them. I will love. Oh boy, will I love!
I will live this year, not for myself, but for the people around me. I give to those in need. I will smile more. I will do something every day to make someone else smile. When life is getting tough, I will reach for a good friend and a glass of wine and I will laugh my worries away.
I will remind myself every day of how blessed I am. I will breath in life every morning. I will drink in the promises of my God before my coffee. I will trust in my Savior to carry me when I think I cannot stand. Now, there are some resolutions I think I can live with.