Friday, February 25, 2011

She's Gonna Blow

So, I purchased one of those nifty electric pressure cookers; it's chrome and it's all shiny.  Looks pretty nice sitting on my counter.  Today I decided I would try it out and make some lentil soup.  It's suppose to cook the soup in 8 minutes, that's my kind of cooking!
I chopped onion; it also sautes the onion, and the garlic.  Put in some carrots, and chicken broth, added the lentils, salt and a bay leaf.  Pretty simple. I got the lid on and set the cooker to high pressure, 8 minutes.  It heated up very fast and the steam poured out of the top.
My kids and I watched the event with anticipation, and I was thinking "she's gonna blow!" It beeped, I let it cool down, and then removed the lid.  Yup, there's lentils in there, but no liquid.  This is not soup! Tasted it, and found it to be very good, but where's the soup?
I added more broth and stirred it around, sprinkled a little more salt, and wa-la, I had soup!  And, it was very quick, I'll definitely  use it again, probably tonight.  I think I'll try chicken noodle soup, and hope the liquid stays in tact. The pressure gets so high, that it seems like the whole thing is going to blow, but with the lid on, all is well!
I know what this feels like.  I've had a few days here and there where the pressure inside of me feels pretty intense and I think "I'm going to blow!" Last night, I had dinner with some girl friends, we really had a nice time.  But, I found myself making sly comments here and there that I could've been left out of the evening.  The kind of comments that are right on the edge of blowing it.
God was quick to convict me, and put the lid on. He reminded me that I am to treat those that have hurt me with love and respect.  It is not okay to build up steam against them, and then let it blow out on girls night. God and I spent some time talking about it, me confessing, repenting of my wrong, Him loving me still. He is good all the time, and He wants me to not only guard my own heart, but others as well. And, I do fail at this often. I let the pressure of life's trials build up until I just want to let it all blow out. But, that is not the solution.
So, I am praying still for Jesus to take the pressure that I sometimes feel and turn it to good. Continue to sweeten my mouth and cleanse my heart. Continue to move me forward, and cover me with the lid of Your Spirit and Your love. Say That Again, Jesus, that You will fulfill Your words to me, and take all that I give you, even the steam and pressure of life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


There's a lot of new snow outside.  This morning, I crawled back into bed, because I just needed to be cozy.  All the snow made me want to cuddle, have my fuzzy blanket, and see a fire.  When my husband got up I asked him to open the curtain so I could see outside, he pushed back the curtains beside our bed.  It is very pretty, but the view from that window is blocked  by a yellow house.  I can still see trees and snow, but not nearly as nice as the view from the other windows.  From our bathroom window, I see our hill and it is covered in white this morning.  Usually I see deer or squirrels wandering around, and it's serene.  From our other bedroom window I can see far out over the valley, the neighborhood, the street, the quiet in the early morning.  It too is very beautiful.  "Maybe we should move our bed over by that window," I suggested, then we can lay in bed and see the beauty outside. He nodded. "That house is in the way." I continued with a chuckle.
Windows, we all have them. What about the windows to my soul? What does someone see when they look into me? Is it a reflection of Jesus? Does my heart and soul have windows of beauty and love?
I read about obedience this morning, and how it is impossible to love God without obeying Him.  I remember a few years ago telling a friend that God had called me into obedience to Him.  Not just when I feel like it, but all the time.  My freedom depends on my ability to willingly obey Him.
The journey of obeying Him, and looking into my own windows has been challenging.  And, I haven't always done a spectacular job of it.  But, I can say, my heart is committed to this journey He calls me to.
I've had to allow Him to scrub many of my windows, so that I could reflect Him clearly, and so I could see clearly.  I've had to trust Him, lean on Him, challenge myself and others.  I've had to investigate things from my past and be real about them.  I've had to believe that even though some of the windows I have looked through in this process have been dirty, He is there, cleaning, living within me, refining me.  In some places, I just have needed brand new windows, because the old ones have been broken, smashed. He has done that for me, and as He continues to work in me, He gives me the ability to bless others.
Windows of my soul and heart reflect His love, His desires, His suffering, His relationship with me.  Ah, that is beauty to me, and I want to share it with others.
Jesus, Say That Again to me.  Open all my windows to you, and keep cleaning.  Walk with me through the journey of my window life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I awoke at my usual time this morning and read my devotional book.  But, instead of journaling my prayer, I just spoke it to God this morning.  I was feeling a little out of sorts, again, and I just needed to speak. I needed Him to talk to me as well, so I was quiet and listened.  He is always quick to assure me that He is here for me and that He loves me. I know this is true, even with that, I am still left to question sometimes the path I am on.  I want to do His bidding, not my own.
He gave me the thought to read Proverbs 12, so I turned to that chapter in my Bible.  It starts out by saying that whoever loves discipline loves knowledge. And, a good person delights in God and wants nothing to do with devious schemes.  Fools are headstrong and do what they like, but a wise person takes advice.
There is healing in words of the wise, and the truth lasts.
The truth lasts--Jesus is the truth and He is my solid foundation.  He will last through everything, no matter what, I know I will be able to count on Him.  He is the planner behind the plan, He is the One that molds me, completes me, drives me to my goals.  It is Him, not me.  He is the One that disciplines me, and increases my knowledge of Him.  I will delight in Him today, because He is who He says He is!  I will continue to learn of His goodness and pray for faith that sustains me through all trials.
There are days, that I just want to hide in my bedroom and pretend that everything is cushy all the time. But, that is not real life, it's not truth.  I can't hide from the pain, the losses, the reality of life.  But, I can move ahead IN Him and be full of the power of His Spirit.  I can choose boldness, love, peace, and relationship. I can do this, because it is the truth about life, Jesus is truth, and I choose Him.
So, today, I'm going to keep walking in His truth.  I will not pretend that everything is cushy and great, I will look at reality and I will be real.  He makes me that way, no walls, no avoidance, accountability to Him.
Say That Again, Jesus--Truth Lasts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stick with the Plan!

It's been a good day, I've accomplished stuff.  But, then sometime late this afternoon, I started to feel a little discouraged. I received an email, and it kinda set me in a discouraged mood.  My kids ran down to play with the neighbor and I went to the bedroom, to pray.
"Jesus, in my heart I want to do as You have asked! Change me so I can carry out Your plan, not mine. Jesus, I need You, help me.  I believe in the calling You have set before me, but I am not moving right now. I feel like I'm just here, Jesus do something!"
Hebrew 10 came to mind and I grabbed my bible that was sitting right beside me.  Willing to hear, eager to see what He was going to give to me, right now, in this moment.
The chapter is full of treasure and, of course, it is just what I needed to hear.  It starts out reminding me of the sacrifice of Jesus and His forgiveness.  It tells how Jesus walked this earth God's way, so that he could enact a new plan for me. Such amazing love! His plan, carved on the lining of my heart.
It encouraged me to believe in his promises, to love and help others. To worship with others.  It reminds me that vengeance is His, not mine.  And, at end of the chapter, He says this: "Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back. So don't throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves  then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion."
Ah, I really needed to hear this.  I needed Him to tell me to keep going, to not let stuff get to me.  This is about Jesus and His plan, not me.
Say that Again, dear Jesus, keep reminding me that I need to keep going.  I need to stick with Your plan, and join You. It's all good!

Little Children

My son and daughter do not always get along with each other very well.  There can be some days where they just want to fight.  Eli will give Ruby that look and she will scream "Eli looked at me!" Ruby will poke fun at Eli and he will stomp off in tears.  "Ruby touched me, she's bothering me!" It is not fun when they behave this way, they just get on each other in annoying ways, and that in turn is annoying!
The last two days, they have actually been very good with each other.  No fighting, they've simply played with each other and been kind.  Ah, I like this. They've spent most of their time playing lego together, and enjoying each other as playmates. They've been in right standing with each other, and consequently, life has been far more pleasant for everyone in the house.
God led me to 1 John 2 this morning, and I enjoyed it very much. It teaches me about being in right standing with God.  John points out that the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love.  Anyone who claims to know God intimately will live as Jesus lived! When I love my brother and sister, I am dwelling in the light, God's light, and I don't block the light from others, but it shines all around. If I am hating my brother or sister, I am living in the dark, stumbling around, blinded by darkness. There will not be peace in my household, there will be anxiety.  As I fellowship with my God, His word will be steady within me, and I will gain victory over the enemy.  This means I will be steady in relationship as well, and get along with others.
Eli and Ruby practice living in the light, but they are often stumbling around in darkness, caught up in fights, temper tantrums, blame, anger.  They don't even want to be in right standing with each other, sometimes! They are little children and they are learning to get along, slowly.  As they grow, they do better, their level of maturity is stronger and it becomes more evident that they love each other.
I can be like a little child sometimes too, I get angry, I feel hurt, I blame someone else for the issue. I need to step back and let God's light shine on me and His forgiveness work through me.  I need to be in right standing with my sisters and brothers, not in turmoil. This is displaying mature love for Him and obeying His commands for my life. At the end of 1John 2 it says to stay with Christ and to live deeply in Christ.  I like that.  Deeply IN who He is, so I am like Him. And, the last blurb  "all who practice righteousness are God's true children." This is because He is right and righteous.
I am hoping that today will be another day that my little children are in right standing with each other, and they will know who they are  IN Him, and live accordingly.  Today, I am living in right standing with them, and with others, so all will know that I am dwelling in God's light.
Say That Again to me Jesus, it is Your light, Your righteousness, that keeps me in that place of loving my sisters and brothers. Hold me there, deeply In You.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peace Man, Peace

I have a lot of favorite things. I love to collect rocks off of the sandy beach, and sand dollars. I really enjoy boots, skirts, and my Land Rover.  I collect journals, and enjoy writing in them. I have a favorite chair that sits by the fireplace, and it's piled with favorite blankets.  I have a favorite dog, and my favorite food is chocolate covered ice cream bars! My favorite book is the Bible. And, I like the peace symbol. I have clothes with the peace symbol, books, jewelry, and paper; it' cool!
I like peace, because it's a gift from God and I strive to live a peaceful life in unity with His Body. I like the fact that Christ gives me peace deep down inside, even if things around me are chaotic. He blesses me in times of trouble and strengthens me.  He lights the path before me, and gives me peace in walking His Way.
In the battle of life, and it is a battle, I have peace knowing that He is the Victor and I am in His hands forever. In the trauma, the hurt, the wounds, He offers His peace and His love for me to settle in. There is peace in knowing that I am complete IN Him and my life is going to be blessed because of who He is.
I want to bless others with His peace and have the depth of peace that is beyond understanding. A peaceful Spirit, calm and soothing.
In peace, there is joy.  The joy of the Lord, brings peace! As I walk the path He has lit for me today, I will continue to be in peace and joy.  When the emotions of conflict and pain swell within me, I will turn it over to Him and ask Him to take it.  I will pray for peace. Peace within and peace in our nation, our world. I will pray today for His Spirit to bring peace to all and favor to shine upon me and you.
In His authority and in His name I will bless others with His peace, joy and love.  I will pray for Him to use me today to be fruitful in this way, the way of His Peace.
When my children are fighting, the dog is stealing food off the counter, the grandchild is crying, the phone is ringing, the chores are piling up, the car won't start, I'm running late, the schedule is in chaos, friends are hurting, the money is low, relationships are in pain and turmoil, and more...I will pray for peace to cover it all, and to reflect off of my character. For truth.
Say That Again, Lord, You are my peace and my life. My covering in the chaos.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This morning I was reading in Isaiah 39; it's the story of Hezekiah showing all his treasure to the messengers from Babylon. If I back up a little bit, Hezekiah is the king that God healed from death, and he was pretty excited about that.  In his excitement, he kinda forgot that the story was about God, not himself. He was a very wealthy king and he wanted to show off all that he had.  So, the messenger guys came and they got the grand tour of Hezekiah's kingdom.  They saw that it was very good!
 A little later, the prophet Isaiah showed up and he asked the king what these guys were up to.  He also asked Hezekiah what he had showed them. "Everything," Hezekiah said. "I showed them the works, opened all the doors and impressed them with it all."
Isaiah gave him a warning, telling him that someday everything, even his sons, would be taken away to Babylon. There would be nothing left--nada.
Hezekiah said it was a good thing, but in his heart he was thinking that nothing bad would happen in his lifetime, he would enjoy peace and stability!  Basically, not his problem!
The first thing that came to mind after reading this story was how God wants me to have wisdom in the choices I make. I need to be careful who sees my internal kingdom, because if I trust someone who is not of one spirit with God, it will all be stripped away!  Wow, this is big.  God has given me experiences, and those experiences can be taken and used for bad if I'm not careful. God will turn it back into joy, but the pain I walk could be big.
I have walked in caution most of the time when it comes to my internal life.  But, I've also been pretty open to some people, and I've been hurt. I walked these steps believing it was the will of God, so why the stripping? Why would God allow me to be trampled upon and left wounded? I think it's all for the purpose of learning His wisdom and learning to trust in His ability to bring it all together for good. It's to see that He can and will reconcile those who are one spirit.
Babylon was not one spirit with Hezekiah, and consequently, he was greatly harmed and enslaved. The consequences of Hezekiah showing his all to his enemy was devastating.  He was not wise.
I recently had a man tell me this exact thing, be wise about who I reveal my life to. He had a lot of wise advice, actually.  And, even though, I have been careful, some of my choices have not necessarily been wise. My question to God is where's the balance between transparency and wisdom? Wise transparency is the goal in my life and I'm praying for the ability to discern better.  Hezekiah did not have either of these.
So, today, Jesus, Say That Again! Seek wise transparency and know discernment. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Shepherd

As God's child, I am commissioned to be a shepherd of the people in my life, my neighborhood, and my community.  He has called me to be like Him, and Jesus is our Great Shepherd. We were with a group a few days ago, and we discussed what a shepherd looks like.  I enjoyed seeing in black and white, right in God's Word what He says about that.
For me, I want to do His bidding, and be the shepherd He has called me to be.  I also want to feel like I am being shepherded. This has been a challenge for me lately, because I have not felt that way in some avenues, and so it has challenged me to continually come back to God and ask Him what  can I do to love and shepherd people in such a way that they feel it and know it.
To shepherd, is to keep.  It's keeping His people in my heart, and watching over them. I really like Ezekiel 34, because it lays out what it means to shepherd souls, to keep them. To be a shepherd like Jesus, who is the ultimate One, what must I do?
I will commit myself to feeding His people. I will go after the strays, encourage the weak, nurse the injured. I will protect them, never expose them to harm, or put them in vulnerable positions,  keep their confidences. I will lead them to Jesus, and help them rest. I will acknowledge them, never ignore them, and rescue them when they have scattered and fallen away. If they are lost, I will go after them.
I will make things right between myself and others, and help others be in right standing with each other. I will proclaim a covenant of peace and enforce safety within His fold. I will be blessing to all and through His Spirit I will bear fruit. There will be contentment and safety within His Body. I will move forward fearless and free. I will proclaim that God is our God and we are His people, and He is keeping us all.
I need Jesus to enable me to be a good shepherd for Him.  I need Him to shepherd me, teach me, live through me.  I need Him to lead me in times of trouble, and give me rest. I need Him to feed my soul and show me how to do the same for others.
Jesus, Say That Again to me.  Remind me how to be a shepherd for You, and give me Your strength.  Love others, through me, Jesus!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walking along

I went to my husbands office on Tuesday and walked a mile on the treadmill. He was beside me, running his mile.  I use to walk a lot, 8-10 miles a day, but life got busy, winter came, and my walking has slowed down. It is still one of those activities that I enjoy. Sadly, since I haven't done that much of it lately, my muscles are sore now just from walking a mile.
Back in the day of Jesus, they did a lot of walking.  Jesus walked everywhere.  The sandal business was good back then, because I'm thinking that most folks went through several pair.
I was reading in Luke 24 this morning and enjoyed the story of the two men from Emmaus.  They were walking along, intent in conversation.  They were confused and sad about the recent events of Jesus' death. Nothing had turned out as they had anticipated, and it wasn't feeling so good to them. They did not understand at all.
As they were walking along, a man joined them in their walk.  It was Jesus, but they were so wrapped up in trying to figure it all out, they didn't even recognize Him. Jesus asked them what was going on, and to them that was an incredible question!  How could this man (Jesus) not know what had just occurred? Seriously, everyone was aware of the fact that Jesus had been killed,and to many, all hope was gone! They were extra confused about everything, because no one knew where the body of Jesus was. Some of the women had been to the tomb and they were claiming that Jesus was actually ALIVE. How could this be?
They told Jesus all these things, and Jesus began to talk to them about all that was in the bible and how scripture had been fulfilled.  When they arrived at the edge of the village, they urged Jesus to come to their home and eat with them. He accepted this invitation and went home with them.  They sat down to eat and as Jesus broke the bread, their eyes were open and they knew it was the actual Jesus seated with them.  Truth right before their very eyes, and they understood.  They knew that it was because of Him their hearts burned with desire and joy, and in reality, life was full of hope!
Jesus disappeared after breaking the bread, but it didn't matter at that point.  They went searching for the Eleven and their friends, and told them that Jesus was alive. They had walked with Him and He had showed them truth.  He was right there beside them the entire time, and they didn't even know it!  But, He revealed Himself to them, and they knew.
Ah, lovely indeed! I'm on the same path, and Jesus is walking beside me, shepherding me.  He is revealing truth to me through His Word and through others, and I have understanding because of this.  He is my companion, my leader, my hope, my security, He is everything as I walk this road. He is so much to me that I too want to tell others, I want to share with my friends the good news of Who He is and all that He does.
Say That Again, dear Jesus.  You are walking beside me, talking to me, loving me.  Your truth is burning within my heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet Tarts

I had a great evening with my husband. It's one of those evenings that will go in my memory bank as very special. Not that we did anything too out of the ordinary, but we were together, and it was nice. We both enjoyed our dinner, and we cuddled during the movie.  We ate sweet tarts, my favorite, they are only a dollar at the Dollar Store!  I tried to keep them from him, but he still managed to get a few; it was fun!
While eating sweet tarts, I decided that he was the sweet one, I am the tart one, and we mix well. Without the sweetness he brings to my life, I would be only tart.  He keeps me balanced, my better half, for sure.
As my thoughts moved around about sweet and tart, I began to think of the balance God brings into my life. The times of sweet, the times of tart. His consistent nature and promises move me through life into His sweetness. I need this all the time, for God provides to me strength and assurance. Sometimes, my faith is very tart, and I am challenged to believe that I will be able to walk through whatever lies ahead. Other times, I look back and see how sweet God has made life, even in the challenges.
The Accuser is often there to tell me that life is only tart, and I need to walk away.  He accuses me of being unloved, unwanted, not needed, and when I listen to him I feel tart. He tries to judge me, discourage me, and move me into a faithless life.  I don't always recognize his accusations, and I take credit for what he is doing.  But, in God's faithfulness, He finds a way to remind me of truth. His sweetness shines through, and my faith increases.
Today, I am feeling revived.  I see the image of Jesus behind me gently pushing me into the sweetness of His will. And, whether it goes the way I want it to or not; it is His will.  His light is shining on my path, and because I am IN Him, it will be sweet, mixed with some tart. Through Him, I will continue forward, and In His authority, I can tell the Accuser to go away and leave me alone. The battle can rage, but I know Jesus has won the battle. He clothes me IN His sweetness and covers the tart with His blood.  He gives me hope for another day, and that is good.
So, Jesus, Say That Again, remind me to come into Your Sweetness and be covered.

Monday, February 14, 2011


It's Valentine's Day, I've always loved this day! My husband is very good at making it a special day for me. We spend time together, and He takes me out for a nice dinner. Sometimes we see a movie. He buys me gifts and He goes an extra special mile to let me know that he loves me.  I've always known that he loves me, but it is meaningful to me when there is that extra pump of enthusiasm, and he walks it out.
As I continue to be challenged with some other relationships I find that I just want peace, but that may never be the case.  I want everyone to love me, and I want to be able to love everyone.  But, we live in this world of conflict and sin, and not everyone is going to love me! As I walk forward in relationships, and focus on Jesus, He makes it clear that sometimes I need to quietly leave if I am not heard or loved.  Or, if I am pushed away, then I should wipe the dirt from my feet,  and leave.
But, there is my heart that hurts. It it didn't work out to be a loving relationship with tenderness, I am hurt and I am sad. So, it brings me back to Jesus to ask Him to flow truth into my life and to just lead me.  Show me where to turn when it comes to His will and His people.
I read Mark 6 this morning. In  the Message it says: "If you're not welcomed, not listened to; quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way." As I look around me at the people I love and want peace with, but feel unheard, not welcomed, and not loved, I ask myself, can I do this? Can I shrug my shoulders and walk the other way? Can I just stop? How does this factor into reconciliation and loving my brothers and sisters?
Jesus has loved me without fail, He continually asks me to keep my eyes on Him.  He knows the path, He knows the future, He will work all things together for good.  So, I have to believe He will work out relationships for good too, even if I walk away. He will heal my heart and give me courage, boldness, and strength to move on.
So, it's another step for me today. I feel sad, actually. But, I'm going to give that to Jesus, and ask for His light. I'm going to move ahead on the path He has lit for me, and believe what He tells me.  I'm going to thank Him for the blessings He has given me, for they are numerous, and recognize all the love He has surrounded me with. I'm going too speak about that love, and be true to Him.
Say That Again to me, Jesus. You are love and light today, and You will keep me on Your path!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Box

God has been telling me to step out of the box. move away in courage and boldness so His light can shine brightly in the darkness of our world.  In one of the imagery's that I had Jesus was behind me again with His firm hand on my shoulder and He was telling me to move ahead. I didn't move, I just stood still and looked down the path that was lit for me.  He again, firmly encouraged me to step out and walk down the path. "Jesus, I want to, but where is this path going to take me?"  He commanded me to trust IN Him,  then He put both hands on my back and nudged me forward.  He nudged me out of the clearing, into the forest where I have to walk by faith! He asked me to step out of the box of rules, what others think, fear, and just move ahead IN Him on His path. I may not be able to see where it's taking me, but I can know He is there behind me every step of the way. He will nudge me when I am stuck, encourage me when I am fearful.  He will not leave the path He has set before me, I am not alone.
I can only go one step at a time.  My growth in Him is fully dependent upon Him, not me.  My sanctification is fully dependent on Him, not on my good works! I cannot maintain, or even gain, acceptance with Christ by doing anything, or having a standard of performance.  If I try to do this then the burden of responsibility is based my  behavior not on His unending, enabling grace. This is the difference between being led by the Spirit and being driven by flesh!
He is behind me nudging me into the light of His Spirit.  I can't see where I'm going or what is going to happen, but I know, He is there.  It is His path, His light, His Spirit, and I have to step out of the box, so I can grow In Him. Sanctification, comes with trusting Him. My walk is all about Him, and as I step out box, closer to Him, I am closer to the cross.  It is the Cross, the place He gave me life and forgiveness that gives me desire to serve Him. It is because of the good work that Jesus did at the cross, and then living again, that I can step out of the box and serve Him in the way He is calling me to serve.
Did you know that all the apostles, even Jesus, had to step out of the box? Even the great Saints of our time, had to step out in order to do what God was calling them to do. They had to blaze the trail out of the box and obey God's calling in their lives.  And, they were greatly blessed.  They were blessed by His grace and the knowledge that their growth did not depend on their efforts to maintain Christian discipline or practices, but only upon the grace of God.
So, today I will continue to step out of the box. Because my God is behind me all the way, and I am accepted and loved, He will bless me. I don't have to "do" anything for Him to gain this favor, but because He is who He is, I will seek Him and serve Him, because He loves me so deeply.
Say That Again, Jesus. Show me how to step out of the box and be lit up brightly by Your light and Your will.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

City or Country?

We live at the top of a hill, and we have a very steep driveway. In our back yard, we have about 1/2 acre of forest on a steep hill. We are not far from town, but to me it's country living! I'm not a big fan of country living, I prefer town, or city.  In fact, my dream home would be right in the middle of the city, Manhattan or Seattle, my two favorite cities. I like the hustle and bustle of the city.  And, I like all the coffee choices, the food, the culture. I like watching all the people. Yup, city life is more adventurous to me, than country.
I was reading the last couple chapters in Revelation, and I find it exciting that God likes cities too! Very big cities, actually, and when He comes He is going to give us a new city to live in. This will not be country living. It's the kind of city with bling--lots of gold, jewels, and the Tree of Life.  Naturally, there's a bit of country in the city, because we will be able to stroll through the Garden of Eden at any given moment.
So, this great city is a city of shimmering light, and it has a majestic wall all around it with twelve very large gates. At each gate, an Angel is posted, and on each gate the name of the tribes of Israel are engraved.
This giant wall that encloses rmy City of gold light,  is jasper. And, the foundations of my City walls has every precious stone imaginable. The streets are pure gold, like glass.
God is the temple of my City, there is no need for a sun or a moon, because it is well lit by the glory of God!
It is safe there, and everyone living there will be free to come and go as they please, the gates are never closed. Nothing dirty or defiled will be in my City, no deceit, pain or tears.
Everyone living in my City, The City of God, will be full of love, kindness, patience, boldness, hope and courage.  They will be in loving relationship with each other all the time, and there will be much laughter. Oh, I can hardly wait to be in my City!
Today, I will pray that the home God has provided for me and my family, here on earth will be as it is in His City, my city.  I will pray for continual love, and the binding of the enemy.  I will pray for hope, courage, boldness, reconciliation, safety, peace, and friendship.  I will pray that His treasures will be in my heart, and I will worship Him freely, the gates of His love available all the time.
Oh, Lamb of God, thank you for building a city for me and for all those that love You! Come soon to take me home to live with you. You promised that You would come soon, Say That Again to me, "I am coming soon!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Horn

The facilitator of the training that I'm at has a horn. It's like one of those bicycle horns that attach to the bike handles. He "blows" it when it's time to start in the morning, or when break time is over.  It's loud, and it gets the job done.  Today, after break, I took his horn and hid it behind the bag of one of the guys there.  Only one person saw me do it and he was very good at keeping my secret!
The facilitator came back and went after his horn, only to find nothing. He said "who took my horn? Where is it?" He pegged a few people, not me, but no one fessed up. It was an easy, sneaky task for me, and I was not suspected as the culprit at any time.  It was fun :-)
So we finished the afternoon session without the horn; it was quieter.  Then, when it was time to go, my friend whose bag was hiding the horn moved his bag and wa-la, a horn!! The facilitator spotted it right away, and assumed it was my friend.  He said "wasn't me" and the hunt was on. A little while later, I walked up to the facilitator and said "I see you found your horn!"  He knew then it was me, and he gave me a hard time the rest of the evening. I was never a suspect, I was quick, and sly.  I pulled a good one.
Of course it got me thinking about God and all that He sees.  And, the grace He offers me, because of what He sees.  He is an amazing God! I am in love with Him,  and it's a comfort to me that He sees everything and knows all. I can't hide from Him, no one can. And, in the end, it will all come into view, and justice will be done. All the guys that are hiding will be brought into the light. There will be no more darkness! That same light that He will shine then, can shine through me right now. I will be a vessel for His light, love, words, and His power.  I will move ahead today in the open light of His calling and be whole and complete IN Him. He is my God of wonder, and I'm excited to see what tomorrow holds.
Say that Again, God, Your light takes away the darkness!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Radical Thoughts

There's a women in my group that is challenged with the questions and the work book we are going through. She's a pastor, actually, and she's simply not use to being a client.  She doesn't know how to be on the receiving end. I totally get this, I too, have a difficult time being on the receiving end of therapy.  I don't like it.  She came to me and said "none of this makes any sense, I can't do it!" I challenged her with this: "what if it's not suppose to make sense right now?" Her mouth dropped open and she responded with "that's a radical thought!"
I had the same thing happen to me earlier while I was having one on one time with the facilitator.  He is very good at what he does, and very discerning.  I like him, because he tells the truth, he doesn't hold things back at all. He tells it like it is, and I can see that he is genuine.
I asked him about some of the current issues in my life, and we had a fascinating chat.  He said "Bethany, you are such a free spirit, you are healthy and well, do not let anyone tell you otherwise." Ah, how did he know that it would feel so good to me to hear that? Even though this is something I know about myself, I really needed to hear it from him too. Yes, I have issues, yes, I have stuff to deal with, but none of this stuff is holding back my Spirit and my life! Once again, I am praising God for the freedom He has so graciously given to me. I'm praising Him because He is so real.
We were doing an imagery about ways that we protect ourself, and the thing that came up for me was The Wall.  When I do not feel safe, I put up a wall of protection.  In my minds eye, Jesus came to me and stood behind me.  I was standing outside in the cold and it was snowing. Jesus put a big fluffy fur coat on me, a hat, gloves, and boots.  Then, He wrapped His arms around me, enfolding me in total warmth. It was lovely.  It felt like the sun was out, shining on me.  Jesus said to me "Bethany, sweet child, kick down the wall, I am your safety, you don't need it."
He has proven to me over and over again that He is my safety, even when unsafe situations come up and I get my emotions hurt.  Jesus comes in and helps me, and I grow.  I grow in such a way that I am able to help others break down their walls and show them the safety and beauty IN Jesus.
I will choose to trust Him with my safety, and let the wall go. It's the right thing to do, even though it's the hard thing to do.  I will reach out to those I love, and even to those I am challenged to love, and I will be warm to them too.  Now, there's some radical thoughts :-)
In His heart I will abide, and I will learn, and I will live to my fullest potential. In Him, today, tomorrow, and always.  Say That again Jesus, You are here with me, guiding me, laughing with me, loving me, and being my safety!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

False Beliefs

We did an exercise in the training that I'm at today about our false beliefs. The lies I tell myself in order to survive or the lies I have been told. One of mine was that if I trust someone with who I am, they will leave. I really found this to be a challenging belief because, my experience has told me that it is true. If I allow someone to really see inside of me, and I try to process what I'm allowing that person to see, they will eventually leave me. I have found that I believe this about everyone, except my husband and children. And, because of my experiences in life, it feels true.
At one point in the exercise, the facilitator prayed for me to let Jesus come and tell me what He thought and to speak truth to me. A picture came to mind of Jesus walking towards me, as I am standing all alone. He came up behind me, my rear guard, and put His hand on my shoulder. He gently spoke words of encouragement to me, like "I am your authority and I want you to continue on the path of light.  I will not ever leave you" And, "use discernment, I am your authority, trust me."
After the prayer, I did feel better.  On a scale from 1-10, I started with the belief being a 10, when he finished, it was more like a 5.
It is a belief that has been with me for a long time, and I have found that when I am vulnerable, some people have stepped away. But, God has not ever stepped away, and He knows that plan in store for me.   His love is abundant and sure. He can bring safe and healthy people in my life and give me the discernment I need to trust them.
It's a scary step to risk again. But, it's part of being real and transparent. Believing truth is freedom, and I like freedom. Jesus is freedom and protection for my heart. Say That Again, Jesus, You will be my rear guard and You will give me discernment for the times You want me to risk again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Road

There's a road that I'll be traveling on this Sunday, a journey in my car with a friend.  I'm looking forward to going, and we are leaving early--6am! My bag is packed, and I even have new socks. I've got some books, and my computer will go along too. My Bible and my journal, totally set. We are headed East, and the road is long and parts of it are windy. The weather could be stormy, but hopefully it will be clear and sunny. Whatever the case, we will drive right on through, knowing God will get us to our destination.
Life is a journey, and God is getting me through it.  The road I have traveled in my life and will continue to travel is sometimes clear and sunny, other times it is very stormy. Whichever way, I have learned to praise Him. Naturally, life is far more challenging when it's stormy.  Right now, life is stormy for me. There is that constant trial that seems to just loom over me, and occasionally I have a hard time keeping my head above water. The road I'm traveling has required patience, faith, love, strength, and hope.  God offers all of that to me, if I am able to just let Him be the One in control!
He has carried me on such an amazing road, and when I look back at everything, I know that God is real and true. His love it so intense and He has pursued me so fiercely with such a passionate love, how could I not do the same for Him?
The road has been riddled with abuse, spiritual trauma, heartache and loss. But, through the storms on this road, He has never left me. He has encouraged me, waited for me, yearned for me, and given me freedom from horrible chains. In return, I want to serve Him, and I want to speak of His Glory. I want to be integrated In Him and Him alone. His peace will be with me along this road that I travel on with Him. He is the leader, and His Spirit grows me into whatever He desires.
So, I journey with Him. The fruit of His Spirit dwells within me and I grow with each trial.  I have learned that He can do all things. He can accomplish through me His joy and His blessings, His peace, His love, and I can be assured that it will all work out for His good. If I continue to stay on the road He has laid out for me, I will have a heart like His Father. I will desire to speak to Him all throughout the day, and I will be always open to His bidding. I am His and His alone, the road he takes me on is His choice, not mine. It is all about Him, not me.
So, come and travel this road with me, it's an adventure! It's worth it, because He died for my soul, and my reward for traveling this road, is eternal life.  I have this eternal life right now, full and beautiful In Him.
Say That Again, Lord, Jesus, when the road is rocky and hard, carry me, lift me, and bring me closer to you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Belly Dancing

Last night was girl's night. I went with a group of very dear friends to celebrate the ending of one thing, and the beginning of another.  We have taken steps together as friends, and through those steps we have grown, loved, and found great blessings in God's gift of friendship. Because of the love He has given us, we have loved each other. And, so we continue on a journey together seeking relationship with God, and each other.  We continue to be accountable to each other, and to God. It's a freedom in Christ, that has been transformed into a freedom in friendship.  The road of life, love, laughter, and acceptance.
At our dinner, we had fun conversation.  We enjoyed laughter, jokes, food, and belly dancing!  I've never belly danced before, so when the belly dancer came to our table and offered to teach me a few moves, I jumped at her generous offer. It was a lot of fun, even though my dance moves lack all grace, it was lighthearted and fun.
It reminded me of the freedom to be mobile, at peace, and joyful in Christ. Whatever the circumstances that are happening in my life, I can still dance freely before Him and enjoy my relationship with Him. I can choose this path because of Who He Is, and who I am IN Him.
As I prayed this morning about life, God rested His Spirit upon me and gave me the peace of knowing that He is not only working, but He is dancing too! He is dancing with me, giving me hope, courage, boldness, and His Truth! He is the leader in this dance, He holds me, breathes life into me, and uplifts me in His arms as we dance together through each day, each circumstance I encounter.
He led me to Romans 8 this morning, and I love both the New American Standard version and the Message. Near the end of the chapter on the Message side it is quick to ask this question: "who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us-who was raised to life for us!-is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us?"
Jesus loves me, this I know! He loves me ALL the time, and His truth will prevail, ALL the time.  In my life, He is present, alive and full, sweet and powerful. He fills me with His Spirit and set me on His dance floor, and leads me in all the right steps.
The last couple verses say this: "None of this fazes us because Jesus love us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
He has embraced me in His dance, the dance of life and love and light.  I will be joyful in that dance, and I will persevere, because I know how much He loves me.  I will move in step with Him, and be fruitful, free, and rest in the peace of knowing that there is no condemnation when I am freely dancing with Him!
Say That Again, Jesus, your love for me releases me from finger pointing, accusations, fears, and turmoil.  Say That Again, and let your peace cover me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Recovery, Restoration and His Image

It's late for me, but as it is right now, I can't sleep. So, I made myself some hot chocolate and sat down beside the fire. There's a lot going on inside my head right now, and I have found that constant prayer is a given. There's a lot going on with some friends of mine too, and they need prayer. I have been challenged in my walk with God to take a hard look at where I am in life, and seek where He wants me to step next. His light continues to shine on a path that I find challenging to walk at times, because it means going in a direction I did not anticipate. It means holding others accountable for their words or actions in a way that mirrors integrity. It means being bold in the Spirit and speaking. It means upholding my morals as God's child.
If I am walking in the light of God, what does that look like for me? It means that I understand the absolutes of right thinking, behavior, conduct, ethics, and standards.  It means I do the right things. It means I live in a state of integrity, which is doing what I say I'm going to do. I keep my promises. I set goals and I achieve them. I'm responsible. It means I will have healthy emotional and sexual boundaries.  If I am walking in His light, and growing in Him, I will be able to hand over to Him my emotions for Him to safeguard.  I will not lash out in anger or defensiveness. I will take responsibility for my outlook and my perspective. I will live in a state of recovery, which means restoration to health. Everyday, I will live in continued growth and trust in God. Seeing what God wants to change or do in my life and then participating with Him. It's an ongoing journey, I've discovered. It's all about relationship with God and others, and responding to those relationships in love.
Tonight as I bring my heart to His throne, I am praying for all of these things to be evident in my life.  I am praying that I will choose to forgive those that have hurt me. I am praying for His life to pulsate through my veins and invigorate me with wholeness. I am praying for the mourning that I feel, to turn into Joy. His peace to reign over me when the times are rough and rocky.
Father, as I go to yet another meeting on Thursday, I ask for Your power to be deep within me.  Your love to shine from my being, and your words to be strong and powerful upon my lips. Remind me often, Father, who I am and what Your desires are for me, In You. Give me life and the ability to walk in Your Image.
Say That Again Jesus, and enable me to hear Your words of love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Sinner

The devil has a duty, he is on a mission, and that mission is to convince all of God's children that their sins render them useless to God.  He whispers in our ear, when we screw up, saying "Oh, you've done it now. There's that sin again that you succumbed to, God will never be able to use you!"
I've heard him say that exact thing to me.  There have been times that I have believed him, and I've sunk into a world of despair. Useless before God, because of what I've done!
Thankfully, God in His ever present grace, has always brought me to His truth.  That truth is that when I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me! When I rebuke the lies of the devil, and seek the truth of Jesus, He uses me.  He brings fruit into my life!
God has transferred me into His light, I am His saint, not sinner.  Sometimes I choose to sin, but He brings forgiveness and light to that every time and I continue to walk as His Saint. If I wander about with the mentality that I am a sinner, it is professing that sin is at the core of my identity.  That is not truth! The core of my identity is Jesus, and He enables me to walk in His steps and through the power of His Spirit.
He reveals truth to me daily and sanctifies me with that truth. His spirit brings boldness, light, discernment, and wholeness.  Because I am a saint in Jesus, and He is my identity, I have wholeness In Him.
Sometimes, like yesterday for example, I fall into doubt and sadness.  My identity has been attacked by others, and my wholeness and health.  But, the truth is, I cannot allow that to be a dagger in my heart. I cannot allow the opinion of others to bring me to a place of sin. I cannot allow my fears that I will be pushed away and unloved to determine my actions. God loves me, He has called me to a ministry for Him.  He has crowned me with His splendor, and wrapped me in His robes of righteousness. This is the stand I make for Him, and for my identity IN Him.  He knows the truth, and He sheds that on my path.  I will walk that path, no matter what.
When I feel assaulted, misinterpreted, misunderstood, I will choose to remember that Jesus was once in those shoes and He prevailed. This is about Jesus and the mission I walk for Him.  It is not about my reputation, my feelings, or my communication.  This is about Jesus and His truth and the truth He has given me to walk in.  He has not brought me to this place for nothing or asked me to carry out His will in sin.  No! He has transferred me to His light, sat me in the heavenly realm beside Him, and compelled me to carry out the saintly walk of His light and His love.
So, when I am faced with opposition, and faced with battles, faced with confusion from the past, God will still prevail and in His timing truth will be evident to all.  To all who have the heart that is humble and willing to see it.
 This is about Jesus, Say That Again, Jesus so that I will continue to walk Your path in Your light.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Set up

There's been times in my life that I have felt totally set up. And, I'm not talking about being set up on a hill, or set up with a bunch of money, or set up for life!  I mean set up for disaster. When the motives of someone else felt just wrong, and I allowed myself to engage. I walked away feeling like it was a disaster and asking God what the point was?
Of course, God has set me up for life eternal, in His Kingdom. I am seated there right now beside Him. I am of His Kingdom, and it is my goal to serve His Kingdom everyday.  Even during the times that I feel like it's a disaster.
So, I'm walking today with questions and pain. I'm not liking the set up, or the method.  But, His Kingdom is calling me to something higher and that is the direction I must walk.  He is my ultimate authority, and it is Him alone that I will run to. If the motives and someone else slows me down, I will remember His calling to me and just keep on the path of light.
Deep inside my heart when fears creeps in, I will focus on His love. When I am disappointed or angry, I will pray for His healing. I will run towards the calling He has given me, and towards the people He has graciously put in my life. I will allow Him to set me up in the palm of His hand, and be fruitful for Him. I will seek His will, not the will of man.
And, I will rest in His forgiveness, for I need that. I will remember that this is about God, not me. It is about His will, not mine. Life is full of grace to those who walk in His path, and healing from the hidden motives of man. I will be set up in His love, and seek to love others as He does. I will leave the judgments to Him, and rest in the knowledge that He is my God and He is good.
When He calls me to run, to leave, to be still--then I will obey.  For I am set up IN Him this day. I will listen to Him through His word, His trustworthy people, and through His church. This is the set up He has arranged for all of us, eternal life. And, I will rejoice in that set up today.
Say That Again, Father, because I will need a lot of reminders today.  Put Your voice on replay and Say That Again!