Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End

Today is the last day of 2011, yup, the last day of the year! Some people are very happy to see 2011 go, and are eager to greet 2012! This last year, 2011, was a full year for me and for my family. We had many joys and blessings. Our two youngest children seemed to grow by leaps and bounds and it seemed that if I turned away for even a second, they gained another inch without me seeing.
Our adult children flourished in many ways with their lives and we have enjoyed relationship with them on so many levels. And, the way that God has blessed us in our family with our children is beyond anything I could have hoped for. And, I know His hand is upon our son and daughter in law that searches for more and needs distance right now.
We have been so blessed with a ministry that speaks into the hearts of women and men. And, I know God is using our ministry to further His Kingdom. He uses it to bless others, and to bless our family.  The year of 2011 has been an exciting and full year for ministry with Jesus.
He has expanded our territory and He continues to do so.  He has sent me to speak, just as He said He would. I have found that His works have been incredible!
In 2011, I have been stretched, challenged, moved, and grown. My faith has wavered, strengthened, blossomed, and questioned. There have been days that I've been so joyful I could hardly stand it, and then days when I have felt pretty sad and depleted. Always, I have known, that He is by my side and He will talk to me no matter what the circumstance. In 2011, I raced after truth with a passion, I held on to the robe of Jesus and prayed for His glory to shine on me, I have danced in His Captured Hands, and I have hidden there as well. I have been bold, and I have been afraid. I have started a journey on a long road in 2011, and I hope it ends in 2012.
Jesus, whatever happens, whatever has happened, I just ask you to Say That Again! You are with me! This is about you and the journey You take me on. I'm going Your way.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Endorsement

I went to a luncheon yesterday with a small group of lovely women, and while I was there I spoke about my journey and the ministry God has given me. It was a nice luncheon, and the women there were all very kind. God was gracious towards me, because of the place I have been in the last few weeks, I needed a lot of grace. My words did not flow as easily as they normally do, and I did not say as much as I normally might. But, as one friend commented, "the highlights were hit!" And, my prayer is that someone's heart was touched by His Spirit. This morning, in my time with God, I continued to pray that He use me for His kingdom, even in the times when I am challenged. That He takes my struggles and uses them for good. As I prayed 2 Corinthians came to mind, and I love the entire chapter.
This verse is especially lovely: "You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it-not with ink, but with God's living Spirit: not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives-and we publish it."
I am the endorsement, and so are you. Christ Himself wrote the script with His Spirit carved into my life, deeply rooted. The way I live my life, is the way I publish it. My testimony of Him. And, when I am challenged with difficult times, frightening times, and I am, I can choose to walk through them or I could run away from them. But, I am a living testimony, obedient to His word, so I will choose to walk with Him through the challenges.
As it says further down in the chapter, "With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us."
I'm going to hang on to that verse, the hope part at least. And, claim all of it as a promise.
Say That Again, Jesus, You have endorsed me as Your testimony to witness for You.  You have asked me and asked others to meet many challenges through you, so here we are, chiseled before you, sometimes fearful, but here. Say That Again, Endorsed and on Your side. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Long Road

Back in September God and I were talking and He told me, as He always has that He would never leave me nor forsake me, that He would walk beside me and come up behind me and be my Safe guard. He then said that the road ahead of me was going to be a long road. I didn't know at the time what He meant by a long road, I was anticipating a long road in  speaking, possibly a long road with ministry, or a long road with our family maybe. But, I'm seeing now that is not what He was talking about.
As October rolled around and my prayers continued to ask God for truth, He continued to reveal to me that it was time for me to face more of the darker issues that I have chosen to forget. Issues I had to forget in order to survive, the only way I knew how to live.
And, so because I live out of obedience to Him, this is the path I've been on.  But, this morning, as I sat in my chair at 4:30 am praying. I asked Him again: "Do you really want me to go down this path? Why me, why now? I am finding this distressing, challenging, and I don't want to.  Father, I am finding this unspeakable, difficult to separate the truth from the false beliefs. Father, are you sure?"  My prayer went on and on, as it tends to do in the mornings about this issue, and when I finally finished, He said as gently as he could "I am sure, Bethany, remember when?"  And, he reminded me of a few key things that I had forgotten, not the most fun things, either. Then, He led me to Psalms 43.

Clear my name, God, stick up for me against these loveless, immoral people.
Get me out of here, away
from these lying degenerates.
I counted on you, God.
Why did you walk out on me?
Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands
over these outrageous people?
Give me your lantern and compass
give me a map, 
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,
to the place of your presence,
to enter the place of worship, 
meet my exuberant God,
Sing my thanks with a harp
magnificent God, my God.
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God--
Soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face
He's my God.

This is a long road, but as God walks with me in my times of pacing and wringing of hands, I know He will give me a lantern, a compass and a map. He will lead me to His sacred mountain, deep into His presence where I can worship and thank Him for this opportunity to learn how to serve Him better.
I am down in the dumps right now, and I am crying the blues. But still, I will keep my eyes on Him and He will lift me up, and His promise that soon, very soon I will have a smile on my face again gives me hope.
Say That Again, Jesus, You will put a smile on my face again, because You are my God!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Vet

My stinky dog went to the vet today. She has had a very sore leg and so my husband loaded her in his truck today along with the kids, he took her to the vet. I chose to wait at home, because I knew she was in safe hand with my husband and I wasn't sure I could go. She had to stay with the vet for a few hours, they needed to take a few pictures of her leg, so we didn't know right away what the problem was.
When the vet called, I felt all tense inside. She talked to my husband. When he got off the phone he said that stinky dog probably, but not for sure, has arthritis in her leg and the vet can give her pain meds.  We all piled in the truck and headed over to pick her up.  There is still a small chance that our dear dog has bone cancer, but I am praying that is not the case. She was very pleased to see all of us, and we were happy to take her out of the vets office and get her back home. She is now laying on the bed beside me, looking a bit sad and not her normal self. Her visit to the vet was distressing and exhausting.
I had a visit like this today as well. I've been working on something that I find exhausting and distressing. It feels like bone cancer and it makes my entire body limp. I feel just like my stinky dog, I simply want to lay in my bed and sleep. Small chance that I have bone cancer, big chance that it will get better, but right now it's hurting, just like my dog. I don't have any pain meds at the moment, although I did try some ice cream. It didn't really help.
This is part of the long road God talked about. He has told me about this. This is part of my journey, and I am walking it, I know He is here. But, like my stinky dog, I'm feeling the pain more than the joy right now. I've been told this is not a forever road, and it will be okay.
So, as I wrote about earlier, learning to  walk the long road and speak the unspeakable and live in faith, this is my journey right now. It's another step toward His glory, a step in learning about how to further His Kingdom.
Say That Again, Jesus, You have asked me to come to this place for a reason, so here I am. Now use me, prepare me, and bring me through.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Unspeakable

Right now at this very moment it feels like I have led an unspeakable life. As I took this before the Throne of God this morning and He asked me if I was willing to speak about my unspeakable life, I had to say "no."  There is so much I have spoken, right? Do I have to be willing to speak more? And, if it's "unspeakable" why should I speak it? And, what will happen if I do?  These are the questions I have presented to God, I'm waiting for an answer. I'm not saying that God has to answer me, I mean, He is God, and  basically, He has Spoken! He has said to me "Bethany, I want you to speak!" And, I have been doing exactly that, I just didn't realize at the time that speaking might include the unspeakable.
So, here am I again, at a fork in the road of life. And, I have this horrible gut feeling that there are several forks down this road, many more unspeakable's that I will not be happy about. The kind that I have to learn to wrap my brain around and accept in an unacceptable kind of way. And, when I speak about the unspeakable, I will have to learn to do it in such a way that it is graceful and gentle, yet sadly that is not even possible.
God has led me on a long road for a reason, and that reason I am sure of. It is to help other women, and to speak into their hearts. He has blessed me with a heart of compassion and love, if I am able to speak the unspeakable, to make it so that others see that I too have survived and praise Jesus, so can they.
But, right now, I'm not going to, because the reality is I'm feeling edgy and afraid of the unspeakable. Right now, I just want to be alone, in my house with my family and my dog. It's good here. God and I will have some long talks here.
Jesus, I know who you are and I know you walk beside me. I know this is a journey you are asking me to travel, so I will go. I don't know how graceful I will go, but I will go. Jesus, I need You to Say That Again to me, You will walk beside me!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Fruit

It is the day after Christmas, and as I sit in the quiet of my home and reflect on yesterday, and Christmases past, almost 30 years with my husband, I feel humbled and amazed at God's gifts to me. It is because He always brings me through this season with something good, even though it's not my favorite time of year. I am very challenged this time of year, yet so blessed.
I am challenged almost every Christmas, yesterday was not an exception. But, let me tell you about the blessings, the fruit God has grown in my life. Yesterday, as I recognized that Christmas is actually a time that saddens me, I was able to reach out for support, and it helped. I recognized that I don't have to understand why I might feel sad or even have to explain myself, it's okay to just reach out and check in with someone that's willing to say "I'm here for you." I found that by checking in, I didn't check out!
My heart is full with family, as I've mentioned so many times. My sons that are so faithful and loving. God has blessed my husband and I by making them Godly men, and by working daily on their hearts. I love watching them, hearing them, seeing the way they interact with their wives. I enjoy listening to the memories they have of Christmas past. I can't wait to watch them as dads.
My husband has given me a nestled life. He has been a spiritual leader and his kindness and allowed me to grow  and feel nurtured and loved. God has blessed me through him and God has blessed our children through him. My husband has been an example of how to abide in Christ, and therefore be fruitful for Him.
I could go on, because of the amazing rescue that I so often talk about, the fruit He has done inside my soul. Jesus, touches, changes, blesses. And, He is still doing all of this as I write, each day.  There is still work to be done, it is a long road. But, Jesus is walking on the road beside me, and fruit continues to grow as I rest and abide in Him. It is a journey that supercedes all journeys. I'm staying on the road to meet the challenge with Jesus, and as He prunes the branches, more fruit will grow. This is His promise to me, and to you.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, you are  on the road with me, through every challenge.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Visit

Our grandchild was born one year ago today! She is a Christmas Eve baby, and it's hard to believe that a year has gone by already. I remember the day well, how exciting it was to think that we had a new member in the family. And, the feeling of walking in the hospital room and seeing her in the arms of my son, so little and so warm, and so beautiful.  All my sons were there with there wives gathered around to see this little child, and it was a delightful sight. And, they named her Bella Brady, Brady after her daddy.
We had the joy of spending the first few months with Bella and watching her grow, but after her parents moved out we have not seen much of them. Her mother has needed space from our family, and does not visit. But, this Christmas, we chose to visit them. It was the first time to play with Bella Brady since she was three months old, and it was very nice. We sat on the floor with our son, and his daughter and gave them gifts. We took pictures. We slowly introduced ourselves to our grandchild that has been kept from us, and it felt like a basket of mixed emotions. Some were exciting, some were painful, some were anger, some were confused, some were joy, and many I didn't even know. As I looked upon my son with his daughter it was clear that he has been stricken with love for his princess daughter, and I was pleased.
I have spent hours praying for God to bring truth to hearts, his heart, the heart of his wife, the hearts of everyone in our family, so that we will be in complete unity. It only takes one person to step away, and not want to be a part of the family and discord is then a wound. But, we have been blessed with a strong family unit, beautiful children, another grandchild on the way, and promises from God for reconciliation.
Thank you Jesus for the visit with my grandchild. It was good and I pray for more. Give my son the ability to bring us more. Give me Your heart through all of this and Your strength and Your wisdom.
Say That Again, Jesus, You want me to love in all circumstances, and to believe in reconciliation!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Deed

 I have been asking Jesus to love my children through me. I need Him to love them through my actions, my words, my very essence.  The very essence of love is meeting the needs of others. And, my most important assignment from God is to meet the needs of those who are close to me. My husband and my children. I know I can't do that, I need God to work through me to do this.
The days that my daughter is screaming because she doesn't want to eat eggs for breakfast or my son is crying because my daughter is screaming. The times when my stinky dog is just a little too stinky. And the times when my husband is out of town and I am sick. The days that I feel drained, stretched to my limit, pulled in a millions directions, and I just want to stay home forever where I feel safe.  I need God to pulse through me, be my brain, be truth, fight for me, be the love in action, the rescue, the revival, the retreat, the rest, the everlasting promise!
Life isn't life without God. My deeds are worth nothing if they are not deeds done through His hands, His love, His way.  His arms wrapped around my child will show love, His Hands will feed my family, His words will speak kindly, He enables me. Praise to Him!
Say that Again, Jesus, thank you for using me to minister in deed and truth to my family.  Keep working through me, Jesus, use me for Your Kingdom, teach me, love through me!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Good Friend

Lately I've been praying for God to be my brain. It seems like a good prayer, some re-programming, as my husband would say. It wouldn't be the first time that God has had to go into my brain and move things around a little, or a lot. Shake things up, or settle things down. Whatever the case, I'm thinking that having His brain, with His thoughts and His words is at the top of my list this Christmas. So, with this prayer,  this re-programming I want Him to use me more. I prayed that He would show me how to be a good friend. We did talk about it for awhile, and I did some writing on it in my journal. After thinking on all of this for a bit, God sent me to Colossians 4. I've read this chapter many times, and have never seen the good friend part, but today He showed me and it was pretty exciting to me.
In verse 5, the writer starts with saying this: "Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out." And so, there it is, "the most of every opportunity" hmm, I can take some time to think on that and pray for grace on that, because I know this is something I do not always do. And, to be gracious in my speech? Or, bring out the best in others in conversation? All of this is what a good friend would do, and this is how I want to be all the time. Jesus, program me like this.
In verse 7, he talks of his good friend Tychicus, a trusted minister and companion.  This is a friend that encourages in the faith. And, then he speaks of Onesimus, another trusted and dear brother, that brings information to Christians. Both of these friends are ones that he trusts! They are faithful companions. A good friend is trustworthy at all times! And, a good friend is faithful.
Verse 11, speaks of Justus, his friend that stuck with him in working for God's Kingdom.  And, Epaphras, a man that was tireless in his prayers. Praying that the people stand firm , mature, and confident in everything God wants them to do.
He goes on to mention more Good Friends, and encourages them to do their best in the job each one has received from the Master!
I want to do my best as a Good Friend in Jesus! To be a trusted minister of who He is, and to encourage others in the faith. A faithful companion, and a sticky friend for His Kingdom. I want to be the one that prays for His people and with His people. Jesus, program me to be all of this and more. To do life Your way! To be the kind of friend that You are, a good friend.
Say That Again Jesus, You are a Good Friend , my Friend, and I know that you live IN me. Your character resides and shines through me and your people, thank you for your programming!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Puff

In the last 12 hours I've seen two good friends. We've had some good talks. I left my house. Really, this is an event for me lately because I am staying home with my kids and my dog. It's been nice. So, when I realize it's time to take off the sweats and put on the jeans, boots, and coat, I feel like I've accomplished something big. Everyone should know about this, right, I've left the house!! As I drove down the hill this morning, the road was covered in a new dusting of pure white snow and it was still dark outside, I was praying to God about truth. He brought Psalms 39 to my mind. I didn't get to read it right away, but the conversations that I had last night with my friend and this morning with my friend tied right in with this chapter that God brought to me and I thought it was cool.
Last night my friend and I were talking about truth and how I've been praying for God to reveal truth to me and how I want to speak truth. Psalms 39 begins by saying: "I've determined to watch steps and tongue so they won't  land me in trouble. I decided to hold  my tongue as long as Wicked is in the room. Mum's the word, I said, and kept quiet. But the longer I kept silence, the worse it got--my insides got hotter and hotter. My thoughts boiled over, I spilled my guts."
I was telling my friend last night that I had decided to pray for God's leading in truth and believe that His words would be my words and I would no longer hold my tongue, then this morning He gave me this verse! Imagine that. I would continue to speak my story, and allow His continued freedom!
This morning, as I was with my friend, and we prayed together and we visited. God showed me the beauty of His love. He showed me the deep impact that the wicked can have on another and when we are quiet about our stories, we really do get hotter and hotter on the insides! We, I boil over in various ways until I am no longer in the relationship that God intended me to be in with Him.
Further in this chapter it talks about how we are all just puffs of air! I am just a puff of air in the scheme of this life story.  A spit in the wind, a shadow in a campfire. I am a born rebel, waiting for the grace of Jesus to save me. Praise to Him for coming up behind me and wrapping me in His Robe of Righteousness, and keeping me in His arms.  He purges me, puts me through the fire, and the idols that I hold onto, blow up in smoke, gone. But, yes, still, it is always all about God, and not about me, I am just a puff. Having said that, He can use even puffs.
Say That Again, Jesus, use this puff of air to speak the story of who you are. To speak against the wicked, to run into your arms!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Rescue

It is almost Christmas! I've had a few people remind me of this, and I guess I need reminding since I've done very little to prepare for the big day.  First of all, the last couple of weeks, with my husband gone and my body ailments I put it all on the back burner. Then, this last weekend, I just hung out with family at home. I've been wanting to just be home lately, it feels good at home and I like it. I had big grandiose plans yesterday that the kids and I would venture out and get most everything done in one clean swoop, but by the time I got home I was tired and that idea quickly dissipated. We went to the post office, and that was the extent of our adventures. Even with that, my son sat in the car pining that he was not at home, playing with his friends. And, my stinky dog even looked forlorn and sad about something and made the car extra stinky while I was in the post office. We drove home with the windows December.
So, today is another day, and I guess we will try again. God and I discussed it all this morning. He basically just told me to rest in Him. So, what if it never happens, and I don't get the stuff done? I know I've been sorta recluse lately, nestled in my house, writing, reading, talking to God, spending family time, resting as God has asked me to. I've been processing thoughts, thinking about truths that He has brought to me, talking, and talking some more.
This morning as I worked to focus on all the beauty that God is doing right now, the blessings, leaving behind my list and my concerns, He pointed me towards this verse in 2 Peter 2 "So God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And He knows how to hold the feet of the wicked  to the fire until judgement day."
As I read this verse over several times and continued to hear Jesus say  "rest child" it was coming together for me. An evil trial could be anything, for me it might be my Christmas list if it takes my focus away from Jesus. It might be Christmas, especially if Christmas is a time that brings  unpleasant memories, rather than good ones. An evil trial is whatever takes away my rest in Jesus. The origin of that evil trial is the enemy and the enemy often uses others as instruments in his battle. But, God knows, and he will hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until the judgement day!
So, I am resting in His promise of rescue. I've been rescued so many times I can't even count them. I know He does it well. And, in His rescue I will rest in His hands. Captured there forever.
Say That Again, Jesus, You rescue, You Save,  and In you I will rest!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sermon

We go to church in the valley over the hill. I like it a lot. I like it because it's one of the only places that I have gone every week where truth is heard consistently about who I am IN Jesus and who He is. I like it because the words spoken there are challenging to me, and because I know, that God wants me and my family to be there. I like it because I can actually feel the Spirit of God moving throughout the building as we worship, and I know His power is there. It is amazing.
The sermon today was tingling, it made my heart want to open up even wider to God and ask Him to show me more, tell me more, be more! It was all because of His statement about Mary, the mother of God. God chose to use a young a child, probably around the age of 13 to be the mother of Jesus. The Holy Spirit came upon her and she was with child. Never had it happened before and never has it happened since! Wow, we do hear the story of the virgin birth all the time, especially at Christmas, but do we really HEAR it? Do I really HEAR it? This young girl was chosen for the impossible to carry the King.
She pondered many things in her heart, but I can't even begin to imagine. Being a mother of four sons, I try to put myself in her position and think, what if? How could I even begin to wrap my brain around the fact that my son is the son of God? He is my precious child whom I need to raise and protect and teach and love and discipline....oh yeah, and worship! This child will someday be the child that dies for my sins! What?  How did she cope with that? She was His mother, He was her Savior! She was the chosen child that God hand picked to be the vessel for our King. She is the one that nursed Him, changed his diaper, protected Him, nurtured Him, watched Him grow, and then stood at the cross and agonized as He died for her sins. He was the loving  Son that tenderly told His disciple to take care of His Mother.
I hear the Christmas story every year. I read it the bible often. It's in my head. But, I'm asking Jesus to really weave it deep within my heart so that I truly get the depth of what this is all about. I have not grasped the magnitude of what He did for me by coming to this earth to be a babe---from King in heaven to babe on earth.  The miracle of Mary's pregnancy, the way it felt to her to go through the shame of not being married at the time, the faith she must have had. The gift of Jesus, is bottomless, I say that, but I want to understand it more. I want to know more of the passion of this gift, and I want to share it.
Say That Again Jesus, tell it to me in a sermon, your Word, your people, however You can, I want to hear.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Christmas Tree

We Went to a Christmas tree farm yesterday where we were gifted with a tree! Our son diligently cut down a tree and carried it to the truck, a large tree. It is a beautiful tree and a very thoughtful gift. Our oldest son and his wife were with us and they picked out a tree too, so it was a fun family event. Our tree went on top of  my Land Rover with both our kids on the roof wrapping rope around it to secure it. My husband joked with them, saying they should be on the roof and the tree in the car and they both loved that idea!
As a family we have many years of Christmas memories picking out the tree, and we've always gone together as a family to get it. All the boys walking through the trees trying to decide on which tree would come home with us for Christmas. And, then we  decorate it together, and listen to Christmas music. It's a nice time together.
This year, we came home, and set the tree up and brought all the boxes in. We watched a Christmas movie. We are going to decorate the tree tonight when more family comes over to visit, and listen to music!
My husband and I have found that we are so grateful for the relationships we have with our children. It is such a joy to be with them, and see their lives grow and flourish.  We want to decorate the tree with them and enjoy life with them. We want to be a part of the life they now have, who they are. More than anything this Christmas season, we want all of them to know Jesus and what He has done for them.  Jesus, the King put on human flesh for our children so they could have eternal life. Jesus the King became a child, so my children could be saved, and He wants a personal relationship with each one of them. Jesus, died on a tree made into a cross, so my children could have an abundant life, so I could have life. Isn't this incredible? Without this, I wouldn't have my children, my sons, or my daughter! The very life I live everyday would be non existent.  Relationship, the ability to engage in each others hearts, would not happen, if it weren't for Jesus!
Say That Again, Jesus, You gave your life on a tree for me, for my children, for others. I give you my all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Santa Clause

Its the time of year that we are discussing Santa a lot. My kids don't believe in Santa, but they sure do have a lot of questions. My daughter came home from school a couple days ago, a little confused. She wondered how her teacher could have received a phone call from Santa if Santa is not real? She told me that the phone in her classroom rang, her teacher answered it and said "hello Santa!" they had a wonderful conversation with each other about all the children in the classroom. When her teacher hung up she told all the children that it was Santa from the North Pole and he had them all on his list! My daughter turned to her friend, who happens to believe in Santa and informed him that Santa in not REAL! This is not the first time my daughter has destroyed the fantasy world of other children. Our neighbors, two little girls, are firm believers in Santa. They were visiting us and happily telling us of all the gifts that Santa would be bringing them for Christmas. Our daughter bluntly and firmly informed them that Santa was a lie and he does not exist.  She told them that all the presents they received most likely came from their parents!  The two little girls burst into tears, and I apologized to their mother.  My daughter simply couldn't understand why this was an issue! Why do children want to believe in something that is not true?
Her question has haunted me, why do any of us want to believe in something or anything that is not true? Yet, so many of us do. I have had so many false beliefs, and I still do have false beliefs that I stumble through. But, at least now I can recognize them. But, there was actually a time that I just chose to believe a lie, because it was easier. I chose to live a life of denial because it hurt to live in truth. Just like the two little girls, it was very painful to hear the truth about Santa Clause. And, for them, it is easier to live in a world of fantasy.
My daughter is on a mission to set her friends free! She's kind of abrupt about it, but for some reason she feels like it's important. At times, I have wanted to stop her, because I feel like parents aren't going to appreciate my daughters passion. But, then again, it is her passion and her mission, who am I to get in the way? She knows a truth, and it is the truth, why should I stop her?  The truth sets us free. So, she is speaking freely, and I'm happy about that, as painful as it may be for some. She has Jesus in her heart and she knows this season is for celebrating Him.
Say That Again Jesus, You are the one that breaks through the lies and sets us free!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Unbelief

The story of Thomas, the guy who had to actually touch the wounds in the hands of Jesus and in His side before he could believe that Jesus was alive again, is a lot like me.  Except, sometimes I can touch, see, and still not believe! As I prayed for God to reveal truth to me, He has revealed to me that there are just some things that I simply do not want to believe! It can be right in front of my face, all the evidence right there, but my unbelief is stronger than my belief. So, my prayer is changing, and I am asking God to give me the Spirit of belief, and with that Spirit of belief, I too will heal the sick, raise the dead, and have the power of His Spirit in such a way that there will never be any unbelief!
Thomas believed as soon as he touched the wounds of Jesus, that's all it took! And, then Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."
He closed my eyes last week and asked me to walk by faith. He asked me to believe! And, I have had to pray for Him to heal my unbelief! To believe, at all times, to be sightless and walk  along His path with my hand in His hand. His leading, His calling, His way. Only He can see the future, but I will believe it turns out well, for the outcome is eternal.
Say That Again, Jesus, Believe, and heal my unbelief. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Right Here!

My stinky dog has sore joints. She's been limping, and it's starting to be more of a challenge for her to get in my Land Rover. She's been a little down in the dumps the last couple of days and she's been sleeping more, it hasn't been fun for her and I feel sad for her. I think she is going to need some pain killers.
I think I've been having sympathy pains for her, because my hips have been in pain for almost a week now. It's been a challenge for me to walk as well.  And, this morning, I awoke with a migraine right on the edge, threatening to take me. The last week and a half hasn't been fun for my body, and it's not looking good for my stinky dog either. I guess on the plus side for me is, I got a lot of rest. As I told a friend this morning, with my eyes being unable to open last week, I slept a lot. They were hurting because the tear ducts were blocked and my eyes wanted to stay closed most of the week!
As I was driving down to our ministry this morning and reflecting on the last week and a half and talking to God about my health and about my Dog, He told me to read Psalms 42. So, I just finished reading Psalms 42, I read it in the Message again, and this part was especially true for me last week: "I'm on a diet of tears-tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, 'where is this God of Yours?'
And then further down he goes on to say: "When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you....Chaos calls to chaos to the tune of whitewater rapids You breaking surf and Your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer."
Where is my God? He is in all that I do, all that I think, in the pain, the joy, the trial, the triumph, the lesson learned, the walk taken, and the light that makes my path. Where is my God? He is right here, wrapping His Robe around my ageing body, holding me in His arms, directing my ways. Whispering in my ear, giving me my thoughts. making Himself known. Where is my God? He is scouting the path before me, hedging me in today, battling the enemy, clothing me for the battle, loving me deeply, rooting Himself deeper and deeper within me, using me. Where is my God? Right here!
Say That Again, dear God, You are right here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Wine skin

In my devotional this  morning I read about Jesus saying that one cannot put new wine into old wine skins. The wine skins represent the package our faith comes in. We as Christians wear out our purposes and the next generations don't relate to them.
When Jesus came, He came to fulfill the law, and to usher in a new age. He came to fill the new wine skins  But, the Jewish community was locked in tradition, the old wine skins, they didn't like it when He confronted their traditions. What about now in the church I attend, or the church you attend? If tradition is confronted, are the old wine skins offended? Have new wine skins come in and tried to fill old wine skins, bringing in new wine, not conforming to tradition, inviting a new wind, new lightness, a different view?
Did Jesus conform to tradition or was He a non-conformist? I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with tradition, I like tradition, but when it becomes the law, a tired old wine skin  breathing wrath on the new wine skin, then possibly it's a problem?
I grew up in a church full of old wine skins! And, Jesus, I want to be a new wine skin. A strong package wrapped in You, full of the power of Your spirit and Your love. I do not want to conform to anything or anyone but YOU. I want to adapt to You, be led by You, surrender to You, and be unified to Your body. Oh Jesus, Say That Again to me please, continue to make me a new wine skin!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Saint

Before  I came to Jesus, life was not to pretty. All my troubles were bundled up and kept inside, they tumbled inside my mind and caused havoc. They caused illness, and pain, and destruction. I was angry, bitter, and self-destructive. No, life was not pretty, I wanted to die....
"You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air....and were by nature children of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3.
But, then, Jesus rescued me. He Captured me in His Hands. He made me a Saint, His Saint. Ah, He forgave me, He gave me an identity, He cleaned me up for good! And, when I sin, He picks me back up, and says, "I forgive you, Saint, I love you. You are now of my divine nature. The old is gone, the new is here."
I am born again! In Christ. Once a sinner, but now a Saint, united with Christ! "You were formally darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light." Ephesians 5:8
Jesus, my soul is in union with you, spiritually alive and identified with you, Your Saint. Thank you for this gift. Say That Again, Jesus, You have rescued me and made me a Saint!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Hiding Place

As a child I use to hide under the dining room table on top of the chairs, but as I got older I realized that I had not chosen a very good hiding place and I simply began to hide within my mind. It was far more effective and creative! But, then, as I grew closer to Jesus and His desires I realized that hiding within my mind was not His way and was not truthful, and thus began the process of letting go of being my own hiding place and running to Him as a place to hide.
In Psalms 32 this morning I read about God being my hiding place: "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance." verse 7
As I hide in Jesus,  He keeps me from the troubles of this world, and while I am with Him, He surrounds me with courage. He gives strength. He provides refuge. A place to breathe and receive living water. Renewal, revival, courage,  hope, and perseverance.
I like that I have a place to hide, it feels safe. Being in the arms of God, Captured in His Hands, feels safe to me. I need to hide there, away from trouble. I need to know that when I venture out into our world, I am hidden IN Christ. He has me covered, delivered, saved, redeemed, renewed, and loved!
Say That Again, Jesus, I am hidden IN You!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Trash

I finally got to clean out my truck, yes, it was pretty dirty. There was a lot of garbage in the back, where my kids sit. Lots of school papers that they have discarded from their back packs. I found toys, clothes, shoes, wrappers, etc...I scooped it all up, sorted it and threw most of it in the trash. My truck seems to be a catch all for everything.  When's it's all cleaned up and free from the stuff it seems to actually run better!
This morning I read in Philiippians 3:7-9, "The very credentials these people are waving around as something special I'm tearing up and throwing in the trash--along  with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant--dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ--God's righteousness."
Yup, like my back seat, I too am throwing out the rules for Jesus. His Robe of Righteousness is covering me and He is leading me on an unexplainable path, the crazy path of Jesus.  To throw out all the riches, the world, the fads, the mediocre life, the ways to conform, the usual ways of thought, and the old life for Jesus and His embrace and the privilege of knowing Him.. Yes! This is value!
Say That Again Jesus, you have brought significance, renewal, life, value, love, and peace, because You have embraced me. Thank you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Kept

This birthday, I felt loved and treasured by my family and friends. There were some significant gifts that God spoke to me through, all of them bracelets! One was a garnet bracelet with a heart charm, symbolizing compassion. For me, it has reminded me of the compassion that Jesus has poured upon me on a daily basis. his never ending love and His patience for the journey that I am on. The compassion that He has when He looks at me, and in turn, the compassion that He grows in me for others. He keeps compassion in me, to extend to others on a daily basis, because this is love and blessing.
The second bracelet has a little saying on it: "My dear friend may your day be filled with blessings and may you always have the courage to spread your wings and fly."  I really like this, and I know that if I remain captured in the Hands of Jesus, kept there with Him, He will give me the courage to fly. We will stay on this adventure together, each day looking at life, growing in new ways, being transparent, real, alive, courageous.  And, even though I feel like a scared person sometimes, I know the power of His Spirit is deeply rooted within me. I know I have His authority to overcome the enemy. And, so His name I will praise!
The third bracelet has a single charm, a butterfly. My friend chose a butterfly because of transformation.   Butterflies are creatures of amazing transformation. God created them that way! This is what He has done and is still doing with me, transformation. And, during this process He has lovingly kept me, and tenderly promised me many things. It is an amazing journey!
So, my friends may not have realized the significance of their gifts, but God was whispering in their ears. He is keeping them too, holding their hearts, transforming them on their journeys towards the kingdom.  He is molding each one of us with tools of compassion, courage, and the capacity to be transformed into His image.
Jesus, I am asking for wings of a butterfly to fly this journey with You, to be as compassionate as You, to have the courage of Your Spirit, and to always live Your truth.  I am thanking You for the blessing of friends who speak into my life. Say That Again to me, You have Kept me, because I am Your child and You love me! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Season

The verse in Luke 10 has been coming to me through various people several times, and when I woke up this morning, it was the verse on my mind: Luke 10: 19 "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you."
I need this verse, in this season of my life. I believe it is true, but I don't always FEEL it! I've become aware of more patterns in my life, and one very prominent one is that I have a very difficult time during the months of October-December. It is my season of challenges, fears, memories. And, as I peer into the box of time,  and stake my claim on Jesus through surrender, and claim authority over the enemy, letting go of old pain that has held me back from enjoying the joy of this season, He moves me forward.
I think it is challenging to look at a life that has been abused.  But, I know that I am Captured in His Hands, and His love for me never ends. He has asked me to walk this journey for a reason, and I will walk it for Him, so I can in turn help others. He has brought so many women into my life and blessed me in wondrous ways, my prayer is that I will be able to bless them.
This is a difficult season for me. Jesus is walking with me and He is wrapping me in His robe of Righteousness. It is good. He has promised. And, it won't last forever. Summer always comes!
Say That Again, Jesus, You give perseverance, to keep going. To keep looking. Thank you for sticking with me!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Sight

When I woke up this morning my eyes were stuck together with gooey stuff, and they were hurting. Once I got them open they were red and still in pain. Ugh, I've been here before, and it's not fun. I put some drops in them, and laid down with hot packs on them.  As the morning has progressed, the redness has lessened, and the pain too, but I will need to be diligent, or I will not be able to use my eyes. And, I don't know about you, but my eyes are a necessary part of my daily coming and going!
This afternoon, while resting my eyes and visiting with God, He brought to mind the story of the man in  Mark 8. He was blind and his friends brought him to Jesus and begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus took the man by the hand and led him out of the village. He then put spit in the man's eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, "do you see anything?" The man looked up and said " I see men. They look like walking trees."  So Jesus went at it again, and put His hands on the man's eyes again and this time the man's vision was perfect!
So, what's with the tree's?  I think this is a fascinating story, and I don't really understand why Jesus didn't just heal him right the first time. What's with the tree's?  What's the message here, exactly?
Men aren't always as they seem? Yeah, that's true...
We don't always see perfectly? Yup, that's true too.
The forest gets in the way....
I prayed for healing of my eyes this morning. And, I know that He will do that. Maybe not today, but He will heal them. Because He is my Physician, my Healer, My Mighty God. I pray for insight, truth, understanding, love, depth, for His glory to be revealed, He will and He is doing all of this. It is magnificent. Who will join me in this prayer? My Mighty God is here to love on you too!
Say That Again, dear God, You are Healer of us all, take my hand and lead me to wherever You want. Heal my eyes so I can see Your way. I am Yours!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Claim

Last night someone asked me to talk about what this last year has been like for me.  I didn't answer her question. I diverted to other things and went on to other people, because, the question was big, and I didn't know where to begin. I was with a group of friends, all of them women that I love, but, still God has done so much that my mind swirled and toppled and needed time to think. When I look at all that God is doing, even in one day, sometimes it's hard to keep up! Just in that room, last night, with my friends gathered there, I found it amazing. Look what God was doing!
It was only a few months ago that God had very clearly said to me that He would be expanding my territory, and sure enough, many more women have come into my life.  Lovely women that have enriched my life, women that He is using to further His Kingdom. Women that teach me and bless me in numerous ways. God takes each one of us and brings into our life such growth, and I found it so amazing how He enriches us with just the right friend at the right time. I find it to be such a blessing how He has brought so many of us together to love each other, at a time such as this when love is so deeply needed.
When I got up this morning and God led me to 1 John 2,  I especially loved verses 5 and 6. " But if anyone obeys His word, Gods love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are made complete in him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did."
Jesus loves better than anyone! He loves beyond my behavior. He sees my heart, my soul, my motives.  He then works to change me into a being that is like Him. He enables me to walk like Him if I am willing to do that, so I can love like Him. And, oh, how I want to do this! I want to further His Kingdom, I want to hear hearts, and love deeply. Who will join me, to join Him in this quest for the Kingdom?  Who has a passion for Jesus? And, a passion for His people?
Jesus, change me in such a way that I will hear Your heart, and then hear the hearts of others. Keep talking to me! Say That to me again and again and don't stop. "Love others!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Love

"When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end.  Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your savior, I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you." Isaiah 43: 2-4

Say That Again, Dear God!  You truly are amazing.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Crazy Track

It shouldn't be surprising to me that on my birthday I woke up to the verse in Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust God from the bottom of your heart: don't try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track."
This year God has been challenging me with trust. Do I trust Him with all my heart? When He tells me to do something, do I listen to His voice and believe He will keep me on track? Do I trust that the people He has brought into my life are wise and good and also trusting Him with their hearts?
Reflecting back over this past year, it's amazing to me how He has led me on a path that at times, to me, seemed so senseless. I do hear God's voice, and when I hear Him tell me something, I do it.  It leads to a crazy life sometimes because it doesn't usually make any sense, not to me and probably not to others. But, then looking back, I see the path has become straighter and straighter. Relationships have become stronger and stronger. I have trusted more and more.  It may not always feel like it, and I may still be feeling the fear and asking God if this is really the direction I should be going, but still I am stepping, and still He is working. And, strength is building within me.
This is the miracle of God. This is what He does everyday in all lives when we allow Him too.  And, this I think is marvelous and of such magnitude I can't even explain it.  He changes hearts, transforms living souls, sometimes without one even realizing it. And, it's all about trusting enough to love enough to step out enough to love others to trust and so on and so on.  To persevere in love. To stay when all else fails.
So, today on my 49th birthday, I praise God for the path that I walk, the one He has presented before me. I praise Him for the family He has blessed me with to walk this path alongside me.  He has gifted me with an abundance of children and an adoring husband.  I praise Him for the friends He has given me that stay in my life, my messy life. Friends that love. And, I praise Him that He stretches a path before me and says to me "go that way"  even when it seems like a crazy path, I choose to go.
Jesus, Say That Again, You will keep me on track, if I listen to you!