Saturday, December 27, 2014

What I've Learned

2014 is wrapping up, and it's time to say goodbye. I've been reflecting on the year for a couple days now, it's like a rear view mirror. Praise God the years behind me are like mirrors that are tiny, and the years ahead are wide open windows!
Thank you, to my many readers for bringing my blog to 100,000 reads! Thank you for sharing my posts on your pages and with your friends and around the world. Thank you for making 2014 a breaking record year of over 2000 page reads a day! God has blessed this blog, and He has blessed me through all my readers, and I want to Say That Again, and Again!
What is the biggest most important thing you learned in 2014?
This is the question that I have rolling around in my head. 
Through it all, what have I learned?
1. When people die, even people that I may not be especially close to but I still know, I feel sad. And, I need to cry and talk about that pain.
2. Love is a choice, it's a direction that we all can choose to take in life. Wearing love for ones self is a practice that requires the power of the Spirit just as much as loving others.
3. God's promises seem slow sometimes. This can be discouraging. This does not mean I do not have faith or I do not believe!
4. It's okay to have expectations! In fact, it's weird not too. I have expectations of myself, and when I'm in a relationship with people that I love, it's only natural that I would expect them to love me back, or to reciprocate. 
5. To be authentic is scary, but it really brings out the true and faithful. 
6. I am weak. But, I believe God is strong and I believe He is going to accomplish all that He has promised. I have goals and dreams for myself and for my ministry. I know I cannot do any of this on my own, but with God, somehow He will make it happen. 
7. Passion is a gift from God.  
8. God heals.
9. Prayer works in amazing ways in my life. Prayer is a fragile gift from the Spirit, His language soaks deep into my soul penetrating every fiber. 
Prayer is my avenue to being known. 
Everything is wide open in prayer, nothing held back, no secrets. 
Prayer is love. Faith. Hope. Trust. 
I have discovered to pray for someone is very different than to pray with someone...for someone is coming alongside them in love and support to lift them up to Jesus. To pray with them, I am giving them a view inside my heart.
10. I'm 52 now. There are many things in my past I would prefer to be different, but then again, I would not be who I am without those challenges. I have made many mistakes. Through it all, God has brought so many blessings. He has lifted me up into a life of restoration, renewal, and love. I need Him to Say That Again to me every day lest I forget His glorious gifts!







Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Shadow


We've been out of town all month, and just rolled back into our garage last night.  It was a great trip, one of the best ever.  While I was playing with my children at Disney Land, and enjoying the warmth of California sun, my thoughts were not on Christmas.
But now, it's the 21st and Christmas is just around the corner. My kids received money for Christmas, and I was warmly blessed to see their eagerness to spend their gift money on others.  
We were also given the pick of our Christmas tree from a tree farm, so today we headed out to go cut down our tree. We were greeted with hot chocolate and donuts before the short trek to find the perfect tree.  And, there were a lot of perfect trees, but when we saw the tiny tree, shorter than me, it just seemed to be more than perfect.  So,  with a few swift cuts of the blade the tree was ours!
This Christmas all my children will be with us on Christmas day and our grandchildren! To me, this is a beautiful gift. There are not a lot of presents under our tiny tree, but it is wrapped in love. 
As I mentioned, we've been away on a trip. We went to California. My husband had business to attend to there, my kids and I had some serious play time.
It wasn't all fun and games though. God sent some rainy days to stop the flurry and put us all to rest. It was delightful.
With each day I thanked God for the way He was wrapping up 2014 for me. He took a year that has been hard and challenging, and topped it with fun, rest, play, and love. All the things I really needed. I felt wrapped up in His love and protected in His shadow.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1

And, I realized that sometimes when we are in the shadow, it can feel dark and alone--for a time. Shadows are like that. But, there is safety in that dwelling place, and knowledge of light.
In shadows, there is a wrapping.
This Christmas season, my prayer is that each one of you will abide in the shadow of the Almighty and know the wrapping of His amazing love. May your life be filled with rest, play, family, joy, and Jesus.  
And, in the New Year Say That Again!



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Totally Saved

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a very nice day. I had a few birthday wishes, all of which I got to do. 
The first thing I wanted to do was visit Bethel Church, and we did that on Sunday. It was a great experience for our entire family. I enjoyed watching the people engage each other in conversation there. Both my husband and I noticed that they reached out and touched each other a lot and prayed for each other often. The conversation in the HeBrew coffee shop centered around God and all that He was doing in their lives. It was stimulating, exciting, and good.
I also liked it because at the end of the service, I went to the front and asked someone to pray for me. My right arm has been in pain for a long time, and I haven't been able to fully move it above my head or behind my back. She prayed. It moves now. The pain is almost completely gone. She also prayed for my time to be refreshed and restored and as she did God gave me a picture of a hammock and a sword. 
A hammock for rest and a sword for restoration!
She asked me what I was planning to give God in exchange, and I gave Him the stresses in my life.
It was a beautiful time.
My family and I spent my birthday day together. We did some shopping, went out for coffee, and ate Italian food. Then we drove to the beach, one of my favorite places. I loved watching my children play in the waves and run in the sand. We explored new towns, and had good conversations. It was a relaxing and fun day.
Many friends and family wished me a happy birthday and I felt loved. It was a good day. 
Above all, I knew on my birthday, and I know now, I am totally saved! Because my Jesus came to this earth and was born, lived a life as a boy and man, then died on that cross, I am Totally Saved!
He didn't do it half way. In fact, He even said "It is finished!"
Totally Saved
That's the best part of every day.
Say That Again, Totally Saved!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Painting Life

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."
I painted this on a pallet last week and gave it to a friend. As I was painting it, I kept reading 'joy of the Lord' over and over. 
I don't always feel joyful. This verse continues to remind me that it is not my joy; it is His!  When I am able to accept His joy, then I am strong!
I also painted the words "God Will"  on a board. Because, He will. He gives us joy. He will do what He says He's going to do. He will, because He is God. 
There are times that I have to remind myself that God Will. Sometimes I remind God that He says He will! Sometimes it's hard to believe that He will. 
But, God Will. 
Then I painted
"Shine On"
Isn't it true? When we have been blessed with the joy of the Lord, when we persevere through all things knowing that God will our life will shine on!
Above all, He is King. He loves me and holds me and calls me His own. I am His favorite!  So are you. 
King Favorite!
I painted that too. 
Say That Again, His joy covers me, and God will do all that He has promised. And, as the King's Favorite, we will all shine on!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Delivered

David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the Armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."  The Story
Even though I've read the story of David many times, this morning when I read it, I was struck by his words. David was able to prophecy!  He told Goliath what God was going to do.
Goliath was the big huge enemy of Israel. They were terrified of him. But, David knew that God was bigger, so he  was able to walk up to Goliath and simply say to him, "the Lord will deliver you into my hands." 
This is true for me, and for you, too. God is greater. The Lord Almighty will deliver his children from the enemy that comes against them, and the whole world will know that He is God!
Say That Again, Lord Almighty!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Introverts

As I was browsing through my Facebook, I found an article about introverts: 10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World. It caught my attention right away, because I am most definitely an introvert, so I read it. And, yup, it confirmed the fact, that I interact differently than an extrovert!
My husband is an extrovert.
And, I would say that several members of my family are extrovert.
So, are many of my friends.
Here's what the article says about introverts:
They withdraw in crowds.
I tend to find a quiet place where two or three are gathered.

Small talk stressed them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive.
I feel the closest to those who jump to the deep stuff right away and skip the small talk. Small talk is one of my bigger challenges!

They succeed on stage--just not in the chit-chat afterwards.
yup.

They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored.
I am usually pretty focused, very seldom bored.

They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers.
Love to write!

When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit.
Always aware of where the exit is.

They think before they speak.
Reputation of being a listener. Reflecting internally.

They don't take on the mood of their environment like extroverts do.
All processes are more internal with introverts then extroverts , even in their environment.

They physically can't stand talking on the phone.
It's true. At the same time, I always appreciate hearing from friends.

They literally shut down when it's time to be alone.
I have to be alone now!

I read this article to my husband and he commented on how much it sounded just like me. And, it does. I am wired very different than he is. I really value time alone and quiet. If I am not able to get that time, I become exhausted. God made me to refuel differently. No music, no people, nothing. Just God and me.  It is good.
How has God created you to refuel? What are you doing each day to fill your energy cup? God wired you a particular way, how do you honor that?
Thank you Jesus for giving me time to refuel. 
Say That Again, Introverts!



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Shine On!

Personally, Halloween, is not my favorite time of year. As a family, we've never had big parties or gone all out on Halloween. At the same time, we haven't told our children that they can't dress up or eat candy either.  We take them to Harvest Festivals or pass out candy to children that knock at our door. Sometimes, our children trick or treat in the neighborhood.
But, this year, it was different. They didn't want to do any of that. They wanted to spend time with us. They wanted to go out for dinner, in their costumes, and just eat out with mom and dad! So, that is the way we spent our Halloween.
They put on old man masks, and we took them to the Olive Garden. It was a lot of fun. I am praying it becomes a tradition with our children. 
Earlier that day I took them to the dollar store and we bought some candy for them to have after we got home from the Olive Garden. They enjoyed that for dessert. 
As a child of God I am called to bring Light into the darkness, even on holidays like Halloween. And, Halloween is dark. 
As we gathered at the Olive Garden and prayed over our food, we were shining light into a very dark holiday, and it brought glory to God. 
We live in this world, as we move through places of darkness, I know His Spirit will be the wind in and around all those that love Him, and His Light will shine. The darkness will dispel. 
If I do not walk into any of those places with the presence of God, than I am missing the opportunity to shine the light God has blessed me with. 
Say That Again, Shine On!

Friday, October 31, 2014

New Logo




Our ministry, Agape Celebration, has a new logo. We like it. What do you think?
 We celebrated with new hats for our team!
I am thankful to have a team of Warrior Sisters that help me in this ministry. I am praying for a boldness and a fire from His Spirit as we move ahead in all that God has planned for us and we praise the name of Jesus for all the nations to hear. 
Say That Again, Sisters!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hope in God




"Refusing to live disappointed is only part of the equation.  The other part is making a choice to 'hope in God'"
This is from the book HOPE, beyond disappointment, by Dave Hess. 
In today's world it is easy to become disappointed. I am reading another book, Half the Sky, and every single page of that book brings sadness and disappointment to my heart.  As I wade through the pages, I find myself asking God, "where is the HOPE?" 
But, then I am reminded of versus like Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. 
ALL my heart, that means my heart has the ability to trust God 100 percent! Consequently, when I read books like Half the Sky and learn about the horrible oppression of girls and women in our world, I will still praise His name, trust Him, and have hope!
I want to release His joy and peace. I want to speak against evil. Hope that God will walk through the horror's and through the oppression gives strength to those that love Him. 
I have felt disappointed many times, but it's because I have put God in a box of expectations. And then, when my expectations were not met, I felt disappointment, and my hope dwindled. 
God is a God of expectancy. Expectancy eagerly waits for the miracle! Expectancy is thrilled and excited and eager to see what happens next. Expectancy praises God with every outcome!
Expectancy lives with the reality of God hope, and knows there is nothing to prove.
Holy Spirit, pour over me today and give me new hope, new expectancy in You. 
Say That Again!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fear Not

Last week in church God gave me a picture during worship.  It was amazing to me, because it felt like I was being lifted up right into His presence and He was showing me a beautiful image:
My entire family was gathered together, and around us were Army Angels, covering us with their wings. above the Army Angels Jesus hovered, His wings completely covered the Army Angels to protect us. Then, above us was God, my Father, with His Wings over everything, safely protecting all of us. 
The Spirit of God soared  throughout our gathering and filled our bodies with His Resurrection Power.
I knew this was God's picture, and as worship penetrated throughout the room, my heart praised my Father for giving me such amazing hope and victory. 
In Isaiah 54:17 I am promised this:
No weapon formed against you will succeed.

How could it? I have an Army of Angels, Jesus, God my Father, and the Holy Spirit? 
I've thought a lot about this and the hope it brings. Not just the hope, but the ability it gives me to walk in love, not fear. When I walk in love, there is no fear! I am covered!
Say That Again, Jesus, You will cover me and my family, and you tell us to fear NOT!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Tree


 My blog page has had a lift. 
A tree, because God has firmly rooted me deeply in His vibrant soil and renewed me with many branches in the community.  He has strengthened me as an oak tree and because of Him I will not be shaken. He continues to restore my brokenness and completes me within Himself. He is greater than me. 
Where He is, there is love. 
Say That Again, Jesus!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The 4000 Mile Journey

My long road trip with my sons has created a fond memory for me. This time it was not necessarily the destination that was the highlight in my heart; it was the journey. 
I am pleased about the destination, and felt blessed to have my sons with me. It was good for me to honor my family with a visit, and good for my sons to see them too. 
Our drive consisted of at least three audio books. 
Several rest stops.
Food.
Good conversation.
Laughs.
Detours.
Time lapse Videos.
Photo's.
The Apple Store.
Corn Fields.
Mt. Rushmore.
Country Roads.
And, ice cream.

It was late when we arrived home, and I was happy to see my family and my dog.  I have continued to thank God for the gifts He has given me through my children. Because of this trip, I felt loved. And, I needed to feel loved. God has such amazing ways of meeting needs for His children all at the same time. I love how He puts all the pieces of our lives together and loves us, and His blessings flow!















God brings healing in the most unexpected ways. He sees the bigger needs, such as needing to be soaked in time with my sons, so He planned a 4000 mile journey for us. The entire trip I felt God smiling upon us,  as if His plan had come together magnificently. 
Jesus, thank you for the 4000 mile journey, and all the blessings that came with it. Thank you for speaking into my heart, and lifting me up. 
Say That Again!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Twenty Six To Go

We made it to our destination, stayed two days, now it's time to drive twenty six hours to home again. 
Long. Road. Trip.
We have Starbucks.
I saw my mom, and it was good. 
We saw my brother, his wife, and their kids. I'd like to see them more. 
It has been one of those trips where God has whispered to me to recognize my blessings. And, I have. 
My sons, as we have traveled together and I have listened to them and watched them, I have felt so incredibly blessed:
My husband, sons, daughter in-laws, grandchildren, and lovely daughter. 
Through my hardships, God has cushioned my life with a family that loves me and blesses me. 
Right now, we are heading towards Kansas City. We are going to drive through the city today, because we want to. And, we are going to check out the stadium. Then, continue our drive towards home. 
Jesus, Say That Again, recognize your blessings!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hour Ten

I'm on a road trip with two of my sons. 
I tried posting pictures earlier, but I couldn't get it to work, so I'll show those to you later. 
We are on hour ten, and have seven more to go today. Then, eight hours tomorrow.
Long. Road. Trip.
It's dusk now, I'm thankful for the laughter we have had, the beautiful scenery, audio books, frosting cookies, and coffee. 
Thank you, Jesus, for Sons and long road trips. 
Say That Again!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Living Epistles




Adam, Eve, Ruth, Deborah, David, Tamar, Rachel, Rebekah, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Peter, James, John, and so many more....
So, what if your story were in the Bible?
I've been thinking about this question for myself all day. What if I had been one of the people the Holy Spirit had instructed someone to write details about? And, billions of people would have access to those details, like when David sent Uriah to the front lines on the battlefield, or Peter betrayed Jesus.
Yet, am I not a Living Epistles? A witness before God and others of His amazing grace and love?  His Spirit is already working and speaking through me and so many others, just like all those incredible characters in the Bible!
It's through the trials, mistakes, repentance, and forgiveness that God restores, redeems, and renews. He takes my mistakes and my sins, and turns it around into His good. 
He brings beauty.
He restores joy. 
He dances over each of us with thanksgiving.
In His love He speaks revival into our days, and there is depth in our relationships and life thrives in the Son. 
So, what if? Say That Again, living epistles!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back to Trust

Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

Just when I think I'm trusting God with all my heart, He points out to me that there are a few details in my life that need a little work. Just a few!
I have felt some pressure in my chest over a particular topic lately and I am realizing that trust factors into it. But, I don't really know exactly how....
I  know that when my heart get hurts it takes a long time for it to recover. I do not trust easily again.
I know that when my heart hurts it takes a long time for me to sort it all out, and I want to be alone.
I  know that when my heart hurts, I loose my words.  I hear God tell me that He will bring them back to me I just need to be patient.
I  know that God binds up every wound. He heals every broken heart. He brings reconciliation to loved ones.
I  know that God builds trust in those that love Him. He has healed me by His stripes and His victory is mine.
I  know that as I pray to God, Jesus, and His Spirit, he will continue to reveal to me His truth and He will cover me with comfort, healing, power, and strength.
I know that God continually points me to trust. Am I going to trust that He will work it out? Am I going  to press into Him? Am I going to believe Him? Am I going to walk in His victory? Am I going to live in His healing power? Am I going to trust that He will provide a trustworthy Body?
I will say YES.
Say That Again! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Faith of a Friend

A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to Him, carried by four men. When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, "Son, I forgive your sins." Mark 2: 2-5

Jesus continues to bring this story to my mind, and the words, "Rise up, and walk." The man on the stretcher was healed and Jesus told him to rise up and walk.  Another pivotal moment in this story is when his friends decided to actually pick up his stretcher and carry him to Jesus, but that's not all! I find it even more compelling when they got to the house, saw that it was far too crowded for them to enter, yet because of their faith they carried their friend to the roof, cut a hole in the roof, and lifted him down through the hole to Jesus!  Because of the faith of the paraplegics friends, he was taken on a stretcher, to the roof, through a hole, down to Jesus, and told that his sins were forgiven, then told to    rise up and walk! 
The significance of a friend's faith in my walk is beyond measure! 
When two or three are gathered together, there is strength.  I know that when I am feeling weak, I can go to my friend for love and encouragement.  Her faith can lift me up and hold me in times of weakness. She can speak words of blessing and life over me and remind me that God has given me the power to RISE UP and WALK.  She can carry me to Jesus when I do not have strength and she can bring me before him in prayer.  I can do the same for my friends when there is need.  My faith can be a sturdy shelter that holds them before Jesus for healing.
So, again I am praising Jesus for His Words to me, RISE UP and WALK, for I am understanding that there are many connections to these words.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, I will continue to listen to you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rise up and Walk

This last weekend I went with a friend to a weekend retreat. It was good. I enjoyed it mostly because I had a lot of time alone with Jesus.  I was able to take a long afternoon hike to the top of a rock and sit in the sun. I read my Bible, prayed, and journaled. Lately, every time I pray, God has been saying one main thing, "Rise up, and walk" ! 
 I have felt mystified by His statement. But then, I realized this evening, that He is telling me that I am completely adequate in Him.  There is nothing that will ever hold me back, because He resides within my heart, NOTHING! 
Just like the man that was lowered through the roof  so Jesus could heal him. Then Jesus told him to take up his bed and walk. There was nothing that could hold that man back, he was healed and he was ready to go! Jesus  had restored him, renewed him, and certainly revived him!  Can you imagine how he must have felt? He got up off his bed and he walked, just like that! 
Rise up and walk! Every step is a next step of faith. And, I have to RISE UP AND WALK right into that step of faith. I will do it because He is calling me. 
He has restored the brokenness. He has renewed and revived the broken-hearted and brought His Spirit of completion. He never stops working to show me the areas to surrender to Him. What a Mighty God I have! Each day I will Rise up and Walk with Him and I know it will be good. 
Say That Again, My Jesus, Rise up and Walk!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Women of God-part 2



All of these women are Warriors for Jesus, filled with His Spirit. Every one of us have the voice of the Spirit within us, and He uses us to spread the WORD of His kingdom. It is good.
He uses me to teach both female and male, to pray for them, love them, prophecy over them, and minister to them. I know this because His Spirit is within me, and it is His Spirit that is working through me and speaking through me, using me, and each of these women. It is the Spirit using my husband, and my children, creating us as equals under the Head, which is Christ.

 Old Testament prophetes and judge Deborah, led Israel. There were a lot of men in Israel. She was a Warrior women.
There were other women prophets as well: Miriam, Huldah, Noadiah, and Isaiah's wife.
In the New Testament I encountered more women prophetesses:  Philips daughters. Philip was an evangelist and he had four daughters with the gift of prophecy.
I also love the story of the Women at the well. After she left Jesus, she went back to her town and taught the people there everything that she had learned. It was because of her the town became convicted. She was used to teach many men!
Before God, men and women are equal. We both have His Spirit within us, and we both are used to speak, to teach, to love, to be used for His Kingdom.
What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Women of God-Part 1


A women must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness . But I do not allow a women to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve. And, it was not Adam who was deceived, but the women being deceived fell into transgression. But women will be preserved  through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctify with self-constraint. 
1 Timothy 2:14-15

This verse can bring controversy and division in the Body of Christ. I've been researching this, and I'd like to know what you think?

Jesus, You are in me. I speak for you. Women in your Word speak to me. Jesus, I am a women of God filled with Your Spirit. Your Spirit reveals truth.
Say That Again,  filled with your spirit Bold and brave!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Women's Retreat 2014


Yesterday was Agape's Annual Retreat.  We worked hard to make it a delightful day, and God shed His light upon us throughout the entire day.






As I think back on the days leading up to the retreat, I am thankful for all that God accomplished. There were times that I felt like quitting. But, God brought light at those times and pressed into me and our team. He did a good work through each of us.
I am thankful for a team of women that pulled together, despite the many distractions. I am thankful for the beautiful location we were blessed with, and very thankful for the help from my family and friends.
I am thankful God used me to speak into the life of women, and to pray over deep needs. He works miracles in our lives, and I know He did that at our retreat.
I am thankful for the praise and dancing that brought smiles to every face. And the love that deepened in many relationships.
Now, I'm thinking and praying about the next event. What does God want and how will He work it all out?
Today, I am resting. My family and I purchased some peaches for canning and ate ice cream. Now, I think I will take a nap.
The joy of the Lord brings strength and energy to move ahead according to His plan. He is the Author and perfecter of my faith.
He prospers me in the mind of Christ, He prospers all my dreams and desires according to His will. His providence fills  my life, and the roots He firmly plants in my life will help others.
He prospers His Spirit within me and there is humble boldness. 
Say That Again, my Jesus, in you I do prosper every day of my life.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Unity



 Two trees growing together, in unity.  I looked up the word unity, and the dictionary said: "the state of being one, oneness."
God calls His church to be unified. That means all of His children. 
If I am in unity with the Body of Christ, what does that look like?
I've been praying for God to give me a clearer picture of what unity looks like to him.  Does it mean we are members of every church? Does it mean we will think of each other, and be there for one another, even before spoken? Could it mean we will share our belongings, our dreams, and our lives with each other?
Lots' of people talk about unity. How is it walked out? I think it's uncomfortable on so many levels. Its loosing oneself for the good of the whole. Yet, I fight hard to keep myself. My boundaries. My life.
I pray to God about unity, seek it within my circles, yet sometimes I hold back. 
What am I afraid will happen?
In Psalms 133:1 it says:
"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."
In Colossians 3:14 there is an explanation of unity:
"Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."
So, God is love. If we put on God, we will be perfectly united? And in that perfect unity we will find life to be pleasant and good. 
It sounds pretty simple
Yet, we have hundreds of churches and ministries, that are not so pleasant. 
I am not always pleasant, yet God dwells in me.  
Round and round it goes. 
Today I am asking God if unity is comfortable. It just seems like it would be, because there wouldn't be so much to bicker about. All of God's children would be welcome in his churches, membership well established because there is unity in Him. Welcome signs would be on every door. Living open handed would be a pleasure, sharing would feel exciting.
Do I always live in unity? 
I am curious to see what God is going to do, as I continue to seek unity with his people. 
Jesus, Say That Again,  unity exists in God.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Time at the Lake

Many years ago we had a cabin on the lake, it floated. We would spend a lot of our summer days there, and our boys really enjoyed playing there. Our family has many fond memories there. This weekend I had the opportunity to go back to the same area. I hiked down by the lake and by the cabin we use to have. I spent some time in the nearby campground and remembered the days I use to take my boys camping there. I thought about all the boat rides, hikes, dirt biking, tubing, fun, and hard work involved in having a cabin on the lake. My husband and I were young, and we were raising boys, and trying to make a living, and keeping the laundry clean.
Life for me at the time felt all messed up.  I wanted my boys to have a good life, and to have it better than what life had been for me. But, on the inside of me, it felt messy and confusing. Going back this weekend and seeing all the same spots, I could remember some of those feelings. I could remember my little boys climbing the hills and laughing, and to me it felt like they would never get tired. I could remember the long hot summer days and, back then it felt like I would never be okay. It felt like my kids would never grow up, the days would never be short, my insides would never line up, and life would never seem to make sense. 
I was wrong.
Now, this weekend, as I walked the same trails and overlooked the lake; it was all peace.  Now, I know that even though circumstances can get really messed up, I am not. Now, I know that the Spirit within me has lined up with the Spirit of God, and I am not confused. Now I know that when I have days that do not feel okay, there is always tomorrow, and it will be okay again. Now, I know that all children grow up really fast, most days are super short, and with God, I don't have to try to make sense of everything all the time.
Early this morning I went for a walk. There was a huge rock down by the lake, so I walked down the hill and stood up on the rock. Everything was completely still. There were no people, just me and God. I thanked Him for the bountiful blessings He has given me over the last 20 years. My family, my sweet boys that are all grown up now and have children of their own, the ones I thought would never grow up!
I asked Him to prosper my mind in His mind, and my dreams in His. To continue to multiply the blessings in my life in such a way that His Kingdom is revealed within me and His light is illuminated. I asked to see His face. 
 I know it's going to be great. 
And, the wind began to blow.
Tomorrow I'm back to a busy, full week. There are things to do, plans to make, and people to see. But, in my memory, I will keep this weekend safely tucked away as something that was very healing and good for my soul. God has a way of bringing me back to all the right places when the time is right. he knows when to Say That Again in my life!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Camping

We left this last Thursday to go camping. I will admit that I really did not want to go. It felt like a ton of work to me. Thursday was NOT my favorite day, I probably should have stayed in bed with the covers over my head, and the idea of camping did not make the day any better.
But, my husband really wanted me to go and he thought I should go. My kids wanted me to go, so I bucked up and off I went, camping, in the woods, in a tent, by the river.
When we arrived, it was dark. Oh joy. I was so very tired. At first I was thinking that my sleep was going to be on a flat air mattress but then my husband informed me that he had purchased a new one, and I felt relief.  I sent a word of praise to God for blessing me with this man, and I also smirked. I felt like my husband was on a mission to make sure my camping experience was a good one!
We unloaded the truck and set up camp. It all went very well. We had good lights to set up both tents and get all our gear in place. We crawled into our sleeping bags and quickly fell into dream land.  I slept so peacefully! It was good.
The next morning was an early morning for us. We had a nice fire going in the fire pit and we were about to settle in for breakfast when my husband realized that we had left home without the cereal. Whoops! He drove down the road about 15 miles to buy some cereal to go with our milk and all was well again in our camp.
The day was slow with walks by the river and children fishing. I was able to read books and relax by the river. Later in the evening when it was chilly we had a fire and we made smores and popped corn. It was all very nice.
That night it was colder and I was snuggled in my bag. I was looking forward to coming home and having a shower and getting warm. I was thankful though that God had used my husband to bring me camping. I complained, I whined, I said I didn't want to go, but he knew that once I got away it would be good for me. He was right. It was good for me.
Sometimes it feels like this with God. He will tell me that if I go a particular way it will be good for me, but I don't always see it that way. I complain, I whine, I say I don't really want to go. But His promise to me is that it will be good.  When I listen, it is good. His word to me is always true and I always benefit. There is rest.
Jesus, thank you for reminding me of that this weekend. I know You will Say That Again to me when I need you!









Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pain and Joy

Today was a good day, and a long day. I am very tired. I am looking forward to going to bed and sleeping for a long time. My day started early this morning with meeting a friend for tea at 6:30am. It was a good thing. Oh, the joy of friendship!
One of the best parts of my day, was holding my new grandson Micah. He and I got to spend a few hours together, and it was a precious time. He slept through most of our time together, but I still thought it was pretty special. When he did wake up, I fed him from a bottle. It was his first bottle experience, and he thought it was mighty good. He took it all in with great enthusiasm, then settled into my arms for another nap. Life is good when one is 3 weeks old! Oh, JOY!

I saw a friend in a lot of pain today, and I felt frustrated that she's suffering, STILL. I want her pain to go away. I keep running to God and I'm asking him to heal her, but she's still hurting. I don't understand! I believe God heals! I believe he will and he can, yet my friend is in pain. What is going on? This is pain on so many levels.
I am listening to a new book as I drive. And, I drive a lot. It seems like today I really drove a lot. The book I'm listening to now is about the love between siblings, raising families, the joys, and the hardships. It has made me think a lot of our older boys when they were little. Sometimes there were days that it felt so long and so hard.  But, then they grew up. They got married, they all have children of their own.  They come to our home and they bring a new joy, and it feels amazing and exhausting. 
When I got home this evening, I couldn't stay long because I had a meal that I needed to deliver to a family. I grabbed my kids and we headed out the door. We delivered the meal and then we went out for huckleberry milkshakes. It was fun. Then we came home and ate melted cheese sandwiches on bogie bread. My kids made a golf course out of yogurt cups in our yard. Fur Ball thinks it's a game to grab the cups and chew them up. My kids find it a challenge to play a game of golf before Fur Ball chews up the cups! We ate our cheese sandwiches and we played golf. It was a joyful time. 
Now, I am so very tired. I am still having a conversation with God about so many things. The pain His children have can be so incredibly unbearable at times. The healing can be so amazing. 
His Kingdom is within me. He has given me all authority. What is holding me back from declaring a healing word everywhere I go? Am I simply accepting sickness?  If the enemy is under my foot, then how can he possibly have any power?
Oh for the Joy of the Lord within my heart may I hear His Word and walk within it! Jesus, keep repeating it to me, please, Say That Again!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Walking the Parade

This year my husband and I went to the fourth of July parade alone. We didn't sit and watch, we walked from one end to the other; it was fun. It was the faster version of seeing the parade.
I am praising God today for the freedom he has given me in the country that I live. I am praising him for the freedom of my heart.
Freedom to live because Jesus lives in me. The God in me is bigger than all things. The seat he has given me is in heavenly places. I am seated there so I can have a view of heaven, then bring that view to earth! The place he has given me enables me to have relationship with him, and in that there is freedom!
So, after the fourth of July has slipped away and my calendar is full of other activities, I will still be celebrating the freedom I have been blessed with, and the view of God's Kingdom that penetrates my earth.
Say That Again, freedom reigns in the Kingdom!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Two Edged Sword


The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword.  The Word of God is living and active. The Word of God is quick and powerful.
This verse has been on my mind a lot this last week. I've been repeating it to myself, and thinking about it's meaning. 
The two edged sword is especially fascinating to me. My Bible, the one I carry around in my back pack and have beside my bed. The one that's got packaging tape on the pages to keep them from falling out. The one that's all marked up. This Bible, is alive and sharper then any two edged sword.
As I was driving yesterday and thinking about this sword; it occurred to me that this Sword has the capacity to cut out, really cut out, what I do not want.  This Word lives inside of me, because the Word is God. So, as I pray and ask for the power of this Word in my life, I can also ask to be cut by the two edged sword. 
With this powerful strategy I may bleed, but I will also be more and more active and living. As the Sword cuts, the Word discerns and divides. My thoughts become more and more like the thoughts and mind of Jesus.
I think its bazaar. Odd. Crazy.
But, so true.
It's incredible to think that this Word is that powerful. 

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12
Jesus, Say That Again!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bliss!




So, I'm going to just come right out and say it: grandchildren are wonderful!  We've been blessed with another grandson. Our oldest son and his beautiful wife have delivered a miracle. It's truly amazing to hold him.
The night she was in labor was a sleepless night for me. I could hardly contain my excitement. And, then when he entered the world, my emotions went crazy. I couldn't stop crying or smiling. Oh what an amazing God we serve to bring to us this little miracle!
We have been given five incredible children, and our three oldest are now fathers. They are so impressive. 
Our son came for a visit this evening and brought his newborn son with him. They went out for a drive. My heart soared just watching him with his son.
The journey of life sometimes grabs me in unexpected ways, and I feel overwhelmed with all of it. Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself, because here I am with this huge family and I cannot begin to explain the love I have for each of them. 
Today as I prayed for them, for my new grandson, I felt hesitant to give them all over to God's will. I noticed that there was an element of fear inside of me, WHAT IF, God's will brings a pain that I do not understand? I want all of them to be spared from any pain, I want my sweet children to live in bliss.
This was my confession to God today.
And, He whispered to me; "Bethany, my will is bliss for I am life and your eternity."
Oh Jesus, hold my family in your hands and bless this new child!
"My will is bliss" Say That Again!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Release in me

Today is another cold and rainy day. It is gray. It makes me feel quiet, and I find it hard to come up with anything to say. I want to be by my fireplace with a roaring fire and a good book.
It was like this yesterday too, my son and I listened to an audio book for hours. And, we had a fire. It was nice.
I've been thinking about the Holy Spirit a lot. I've asked myself questions about his power in our Body. Why is there evidence of him in some places, and not so much in others? What do I have to do to have more of Him?
I recognize that there is a continual work within me that breaks down my outer man, flesh desires. My Spirit is longing for more of Jesus, for a release of his Spirit within me. As I continue to pray for an alignment with him, I pray for less of me.
Still, I sometimes feel old feelings of rejection, fear, jealousy, pain pop through. And, I hear him whisper his love and remind me that his Spirit is within, I have all things through him. I have every spiritual blessing available to my spirit. Every.Single. One.
The book I'm reading right now is about releasing the Spirit. It's all about being broken before God. That fleshy side of myself coming before him and admitting that I desperately need him. I need him now. I need him everyday, only him.
To walk with God; it gets messy. And, so beautiful. I've noticed that in that state of prayer, he brings me to recognition that I am unable to do life without him.
It brings me to a place of quiet and a place of humbleness before him. I am nothing,  but with him I am his everything! His love for me is so great, intense, amazing, and full, that I am filled with his greatness. It makes me cherish the days by the fire. It gives me hope for sun tomorrow. It gets me through the rough spots when I start to feel something other than blessed.
And, sometimes I feel that way.
Oh God!  Release in me, all of You!
I want to Say That Again, and again. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sisters

Yesterday was a full day. It was fun. My Sister team met in the morning to paint the living room of my daughter in-law. We painted fast and the job was complete in less than two hours. I enjoyed being with my sisters in Christ. 
We celebrated with lunch by the river. I found it beautiful there, and thanked God for His provision and the time spent with those I love. We talked about the upcoming Agape Celebration Women's Retreat, and the plans we have to make it enjoyable for those that come.
I'm looking forward to what God is going to do, and it's exciting to watch an event come together in His way.
I was blessed to spend some relaxing time in the park with another sister, as we discussed more plans for the retreat. The sun was warm, the fellowship was sweet.
We are working on a video, and yesterday I also had fun listening to the comments of others as my husband recorded. There was laughter, and good things to say.
This morning as I opened my Bible to read in Psalms, this verse was popping out at me:

But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. Psalms 86:15

This verse reminded me of yesterday. God has covered me with His immense love, and he has brought tenderness and kindness into my life. It is good. Sometimes, I become stressed and I don't recognize it as easily. 
But, God never quits in his love towards me and he brings into my life women, like my sisters in Christ, to remind me.
He pursues me like a Warrior of Love, and puts within my heart to do the same for others.




Today, I am thanking Jesus for his love. The love he brings though others, and his love for all of us. He continues to demonstrate beauty to me, and it is very good.
Say That Again, sweet Jesus, you are tender and kind and immense in love!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sowing and Reaping






Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Galatians 6:7

In our garden we sometimes choose to sow judgments, the kind we have had against others, or ourselves. Judgments are thoughts that turn into seeds, and then grow into weeds. I have made judgments. And, they have turned into weeds.
God and I have had discussions about the weeds that have been sowed in my life, and I have asked Him to show me how my judgments against myself and others have made a garden of weeds rather than flowers. 
How do flowers grow? With grace and mercy. 

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:7

Grace and mercy triumph over judgment. When I walk into the glorious liberty of Jesus there are flowers.
To step into grace and mercy I am free to rise to my full potential in Jesus Christ. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed over all the power of the enemy! The enemy is under my feet as I step into God's amazing grace.
I will Say That Again, because it's worth repeating.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thoughts

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every  thought to make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

I read a little book this morning. It pointed out that every negative thought is from the enemy, and every positive, life-giving, up-building thought is always of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always positive, and the enemy negative. 80 percent of the time, our thoughts tend to be yielded towards negative and judgmental thinking!
Wow! 80 percent? He goes on to explain that we are in this position because of our pride and self-sufficiency. We think we have enough understanding and information to make fair and honest judgments in every situation. And, when we judge, it is almost always negative.
How can I take captive these thoughts? There are days in my life that this is true for me, I have negative thoughts that I come up against for much of the day, and it is WAR.  It is my flesh oozing all over the place, and the need for my Spirit and God's Spirit to walk together is desperate.
I have started to pray a simple prayer on days such as this:
"Dad, (Heavenly Father) I am over here in my soul ( all flesh) and I can't seem to find you. Please help me! Draw me back into my Spirit., back into You. I am living in my thoughts, emotions, fears, and insecurities. I feel alone. I need Your strong arms around me, Father.  Please run to me now and give to me the love, comfort and security that I need. I want to worship you in Spirit and truth."
This has been very helpful for me. I have found that with this prayer of surrender I have been flooded with His peace on days that I am challenged to take my thoughts captive. Sometimes it is a constant prayer, all day long, for some days are harder than others.
I met with my friends today just after I had read my little book, and we talked about the impact of words spoken.  Our tongues can be like poison, or they can be like the tree of life. We can bring blessing, or we can bring wounds. So, again I pray that God will guard my mouth, and my thoughts, so that I will not bring wounds or offenses. I do not want to grieve the heart of God with my tongue or my thoughts, I want to bless the heart of God.
I come before my Father and ask that He keeps my thoughts pure and innocent. Judgment free. Quick to forgive. Full of love. Peaceful. Yes, I will Say That Again!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Injustice

My heart is crying for the woman in Sudan that has been sentenced to death for being a Christian. She is currently pregnant and waiting in prison with her 20 month old son. Her husband, also a Christian, is in a wheelchair, and has depended on her help for his welfare. She is 27 years old, and she will not deny her faith! She stands strong, knowing she may die.
There's a lot of emotions that get stirred inside my heart when I think about this! I want to cry out, "What is going on here?" 
I feel so angry, sad, afraid. I want to rescue her. I wonder what I can possibly do to help? I do NOT understand! 
Of course, this is not the first time a horrific atrocity such as this has happened. Not too long ago, a large group of girls disappeared. Gone. And, they have not been found. It is said they are being sold as slaves. But, then again, girls disappear everyday and are sold as slaves. 
Then, we have the issue of abuse in homes. Isn't a home suppose to be a safe place? Yet, so many children are not safe in their homes. They are hurt from sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. And, it begins to feel like injustice in too many places.
Since I'm speaking of injustice; it brings me to the Body of Christ. Isn't it unjust for a body of Saints to be treating each other like Sinners? Is it an injustice to treat someone with anything other than love? If so, I am guilty. 
Our Father is a God of justice, honor, and love. As I read 1 Corinthians 13 this afternoon and put his name in place of love, it read like this:

Father is patient, Father is kind, and is not jealous; Father does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; He does not seek His own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

But, woman are still imprisoned, girls disappear, children abused, and saints treated like sinners.  It is unjust, yet we have a Father that is merciful and long suffering. My prayer is to be like Him. I need to Say That Again, every day of my life,  Father God, teach me to love as you do.



Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Real Prodigal

The word prodigal means "one who spends or gives lavishly; recklessly extravagant." As I read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, I began to wonder if maybe it should be called the Prodigal Father. This Father had two sons and he loved them both extravagantly. One of them came to him and asked for his inheritance early, which in their culture was an insult. The Father, loved his son so lavishly that he was willing to give to him all he wanted, so he passed on the inheritance. The son left his father's home. His father didn't give up on him, he watched for him, and waited for his return. 
The son did return, and when he did, he had nothing. The father was recklessly extravagant with him. He clothed him in all the best clothes. He had a welcome home party for him to show his excitement. He lavished him with his love.
This story is exactly how it is with God, our Father. He spends his time pursuing me and lavishly gives to my heart. He is recklessly extravagant to save me and to love me. He will always welcome me home. He covers me in his robes and protects me under his wings.
The enemy attempts to bring up lies of judgment and shame, and sometimes I battle with the truth of the Prodigal Father. I begin to feel that I am clothed in fig leaves rather than righteousness. I wallow in the pig pen, and do not recognize the lavish love right in front of me!
Say That Again, Father, your love is recklessly extravagant!

For I am convinced that neither death, not life, not angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39

Monday, May 19, 2014

Healing Hands



This last weekend in church the Spirit of God surged through the room. He was thick upon the hearts of every soul, and the praise in the room was glorious. For me, not only could I feel the glory of God around me, but I knew He was deep within me, and it was good. 
God is our physician, he still brings healing to our hearts, minds, and bodies. He loves us and restores us. He does this through the Body, through our Healing Hands.
I experienced this as his Body gathered together and laid hands on those that needed healing. God used my hands to heal, along with many other hands. His light was shining in every corner.

"All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of  the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles, 
those who have the gift of healing, 
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of
leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers?
Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? Do
we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? 
Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts." 
1 Corinthians 12:28-31

I love knowing that I am captured in His Hands, and in return His Spirit gifts me with Healing Hands. Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, Your Healing Hands envelope your people, and it is so very sweet and good.