January 2, 2012

Powerful words for a new year

A new year, and with it comes a hunger for the new things He has waiting for us.  This morning I wrote out a simple daily "confession", based on God's Word, that I want to teach my kids...and myself!!...to say everyday.  Choosing to set our minds on what He says, and then using our words to declare His promises reaps a bountiful harvest.   Our faith comes by hearing, so as we speak it out, our faith is built, and our lives are changed!!  I know I continue to have areas that need "re-programming" with His Truth, and what a joy that His Word is powerful and mighty to save, able to renew and transform.  

May we know more of Him this year...oh, how we need Him and how He longs to be gracious to us.  The plans He has for you are filled with hope, and today He rejoices over you with sweet songs of delight!

Daily Confession 2012

This is the day the Lord has made and I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.  God has done great things for me and I am filled with joy.

My God sits on the throne and is faithful and true. He is mighty over everything I will face today. I have authority over the enemy's schemes, by the power of Christ who lives in me.  The Holy Spirit teaches me all things, and as I trust in Him, He leads me in the way I should go.

My body is healthy and strong, every part functioning just like it should. By Jesus' stripes I am healed, and I am able to do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

My mind is sound and alert, able to understand things easily, especially the word of God.  I choose to think on things that are true, right and pure. 

My heart is at peace today as I walk in the forgiveness and love of Jesus, and quickly show forgiveness and love to those around me. My God of hope fills me with all joy and peace, as I trust in Him. 

Today, I choose to honor and trust in Jesus. He is aware of everything that concerns me, and has good plans in store for my life.  He is my Savior, my Shield, my Help and my Friend. I live to know Him and make His glory known. 

August 27, 2011

and after the battle...rest

I have always been fascinated by the story in 2 Chronicles of King Jehosaphat.  He and his people were being threatened with a disastrous attack and desperately cried out to the Lord, "We don't know what to do but our eyes are on you!" (been there... you?)  You can read about how God used their praises to defeat the enemy here... Ambush of Praise

Anyway, a few weeks ago I heard two different messages in a row that both talked about that very same passage. I got curious and started snooping around in 2 Chronicles, just wondering what other cool stories might be in that Old Testament book. I was blessed to find 3 different ones that all had this amazing pattern.  Now mind you, I am NO Bible scholar.  There are probably other similar stories that I missed, and other meanings that never struck me, but here is what blessed me so much about these 3....

a battle, a cry for help, victory, then rest 

 so a quick review of these stories...
2 Chronicles 14:7....King Asa had obediently removed high places of other gods and chosen to follow after the Lord.  He says in verse 7, "Because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side."  Later in verse 11 he reminds the Lord in prayer, "There is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty.  Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and in your name we have come against a vast army.  O Lord, you are our God, do not let man prevail against You."  Sure enough the Lord struck down the enemy and gave them the victory!

2 Chronicles 32 shows King Hezekiah also under attack.  His response was to cry out for help, and the Lord sent an angel who annihilated the fighting men.  The Lord saved Hezekiah and his people and verse 22 says, "He took care of them on every side". 

Finally, the story of Jehoshaphat, my personal fav!  After he cries out to the Lord for help, the Lord Himself sets ambushes against the enemy, while they are worshipping Him! And the chapter ends with this, "King J's kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side!"

What an amazing pattern....so like our lives, huh?

The truth is, we all know what it's like to be in a battle, whether it's the daily battles of unmanageable schedules, traffic jams, not enough money, arguing kids, barking dogs, health concerns, family problems, difficult decisons, weather concerns... or maybe, most likely, the battle for each of us at times has been much deeper and much more painful.

I am sure there are many in a fierce battle this very day.
Some are exhausted from a battle that has continued for so long they can't imagine having the strength to face another day of it.
Clinging weakly to a promise and asking for the fresh hope to wait patiently for the victory. 

Who doesn't know what it's like to face a situation with no earthly idea what to do, except to humbly cry out to the One who does.  I've heard it said, you are either coming out of a trial/battle, or in one right now, or heading into one soon.  It is the real life we live here on planet Earth, and God in His grace and wisdom allows these times to strengthen our faith in Him.  How else do we learn that He will answer us?  How do we understand Him as our Healer, our Peace, our Victor?   And I love that His Word is clear that our cries are dear to God's heart.  He tells us when we cry out, He WILL answer.  He keeps our every prayer in bowls it says in Revelation.  Every word spoken, every heart cry, every tear...stored up and held precious.

Finally, the victory and the rest.  Yes, sometimes the victory comes because we have finally given up something we have held too close, or because we choose to obey something God already asked of us.
But, the rest, when it comes, is sweet.  The "knowing" that God showed up, carried you through, comforted your hurting heart, brought good, allowed growth, and now has given you rest.  I love that God is in every detail concerning our hearts, so it's not just rest, but it says "rest on every side".  As though He is saying, "Everything covered here, no detail missed...you can lay down now and rest my child, the battle has been won. My purposes fulfilled. Your prayers answered. Rest." 

My prayer for those in a battle today...God is in control.  The battle will not rage one day longer than He allows.  He is a trustworthy God, faithful to the end, fighting on your behalf, working all things together for His intended good.  There will be victory...even when that looks different than we thought it might... our God is a God of victory! He has never lost a battle! Jehovah Nissi. So hold fast and do not give up.  Keep your eyes on things above in this battle, your God will have His way!
And after the victory, then He will give you rest.  His beautiful rest...on every side!

August 15, 2011

a gentle reminder to trust

So, recently I listened to a message about trusting God...seems to be a theme I need reminded of often.  The speaker challenged the group at the end by saying, What would God say to you today about the season of life that you're in?  
This is my letter that I wrote out quickly in my journal, just a few thoughts on what God may be whispering over my heart in this season, and I thought I'd share.  (Just in case I'm not the only one who needs to be reminded of Who He is, and how trustworthy and faithful He remains!)

Dear Child,
Though you cannot always see, you can trust Me.
Though easy answers haven't come, you can trust Me.
Though some things appear out of my domain, as if I'm not in control, trust Me. Nothing is out of my sovereign control, nothing.
Your faith is worth more than gold to me, and I am answering your very own prayer to have more of Me, to have my purposes fulfilled in you, and to become a radiant reflection of my beauty.
I have good in store for you, trust me in this even when your thoughts and fears say that maybe I don't, or maybe I won't. Trust Me.
My plans for you are abundantly above and beyond what you could ask or imagine.
So even when your human eyes can't possibly see how I am able, or how something bad could be good,  trust Me.  I am at work.  I AM.
Trust me today for the strength and grace and mercy you need.
Tomorrow... trust me again.
I am for you.
With unfailing love, your Heavenly Father

February 26, 2011

cute and cheap decorating makes me happy!!

The other day I saw some pretty glass vases in the Pottery Barn magazine...expensive, but pretty!  They looked so fresh, so welcoming of Spring time...and just about anything can go in them and look great!

So I found a few small glass jars and vases at Good Will that were cute and very cheap.  I grouped them together with a few glass jars I already had, added a bag of green and beige balls, nuts, and sprigs that came in a bag from the Dollar Store, threw in a few outdoor twigs... and VOILA!....a fresh and fun decorating change for very little money!  Happy day!

February 12, 2011

Ambush of praise!

I love, love, LOVE the powerful truths from this story out of 2 Chronicles 20.  God brought this passage clearly to mind this week in relation to a new friend's situation that from all outward appearances, seems impossible.  (Good thing nothing is impossible with Him!)

So, in a nutshell the story goes like this.  Jehoshaphat gets news that a huge army is coming against his people, like.... on their way, a disaster in the making, run for your lives kinda thing!

I am amazed and challenged at his first response to this news....he resolved to inquire of the Lord.   I know for me when I am faced with a difficult situation, my first resolve may be to inquire of my own understanding....to figure it out by myself.  Then, I may inquire of a friend's understanding...to ask them to help me to figure it out.  Don't get me wrong....God gives us wisdom and He does use friends to speak truth.   But, the first place we should turn to is Him.

Next, Jehoshaphat declared out loud for all to hear this prayer, "You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you! We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you!"

Ever been there?  Are you there today?  Lord, we don't have a clue how to solve this problem.  To climb this mountain. To heal this hurt.  To mend this relationship.  To fight this battle. To help this child.  To be set free.  To find relief from this pain.  To find joy again.  To have hope... but our eyes are upon you, Lord.

Sometimes it is in the humblest and simplest of requests that the gates of grace and mercy open up and reign down on our need.

Okay, so now is when this story gets good.  really good.  As they prepare for the battle, they are reminding themselves and speaking out TRUTH.  Not the truth of their reality and circumstances, but the TRUTH of who He is in the midst of their moment.

Things like, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  The battle is not yours, but God's.  Do NOT be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.  Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld."

I know that sometimes our greatest battle is the one that goes on in our hearts and minds.  Battling back and forth between what His Word says is true and what our hearts really believe is true based on the old ruts of our unhealthy thinking.   Unfortunately for me, there are days when my own fear wins the battle.  I look at my self and my circumstances and choose to believe my story..the one I've told myself a million times.....about who I am, my circumstances, my limitations, my fears etc.

But, God wants me to speak out and believe His story....the one He is writing about me.  The way that He sees me, my strengths, my weaknesses that He will use, the purpose for my life, His unfailing love, kindnesses and mercies new every morning.  That He is a God who sees and promises to show up, give grace and wisdom and help in time of need!  

So, here's the amazing conclusion to Jehoshaphat's battle.  He appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out ahead of the army....giving thanks to the Lord as they marched.  Choosing to believe He would show up for them in might and power.

And as they began to sing and praise....THE LORD SET AMBUSHES against the enemy.  Did you read that???  The Lord took their praise and worship and used it against the enemy's purpose.  They didn't fight, or struggle, or wrestle for the victory...the praises brought the deliverance.  Our praise and shouts of WHO HE IS...can be used to defeat the enemy's attempt to discourage and overwhelm us with whatever we are facing.

Listen, I've seen and heard way too many things lately that confirm we are all in some kind of battle.  Yours may look different than mine...but the battle is just as intense.  Some of you may be at the place today of saying, "Honestly, Lord, we have no idea what to do next.  It's pretty much hopeless, Lord, if you don't show up!"

My encouragement to your heart....Pull out your weapons!  Speak to your own heart, speak it out loud to those around you about Who He is.  His power.  His ability.  His strength and might and glory and power.  Put on your praise music in your car, your home, your children's rooms and claim the victory over your circumstance!

Believe His story...that He can take things that are awful and use them for good.  That He shows up for us in our weakest moments.  That His Spirit is a salve that can mend much hurt.  That our focus on Him can be the very thing that defeats the enemy's attack against us. 

Set an ambush today against the things the enemy has used to bring discouragement, depression, fear, hopelessness, despair, pain and heartache by praising the One who was and is and is to come!

Sing His story, choose His truth, and sing it loud against your battle!!  Then, rejoice and rest in knowing that the battle is not yours, it belongs to the Lord!  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged....have faith in the Lord, and you will be upheld.

January 7, 2011

She once was lost...but now has been found!

With my sister's permission, I want to share just a hint of what I have seen the Lord doing in her life.  My words here will be few, but her words will tell much more about her journey. 


Amazing. Miraculous. Life changing..literally.  Worth the read!

A few weeks back Kara shared with me that she had found Christ.  Just like that..."I thought I was, but  realized I wasn't, and now I am."   After a life of not understanding His thoughts towards her, or His healing forgiveness,  or His beautiful purposes set apart just for her...He captured her heart. 

Truth be told, the journey for her has had pain, been difficult and at times even hopeless.  But God. The One who would not let her go.  The One who loved her enough to use her life circumstances to be the very thing that would open her eyes to His life giving truth. The One who led and arranged and worked and called and softened and allowed the things of this life, which are but a moment, to make sure she would be with Him in eternity...that is a forever love story for sure.

So I stand amazed and rejoice. The book of Luke talks about the shepherd rejoicing over the one sheep that was lost and then found.  And, the woman who lost her coin and found it...then threw a party and celebrated with her friends. God says the angels rejoice over the one sinner who has come to repentance.   I am filled with such awe and gratitude and wonder at His amazing grace. 

Oh, and I see Him in her.  I see a peace that is different.  A hope and a freedom that only He can give. A hunger for His word.  It is a beautiful sight, full of fragrance that is a delight to the soul.  I hear His words coming from her heart, now filled with rich soil planted by Him.  He has such amazing plans for her life...for everyone who is yielded to His good and perfect will.

Kara...you go girl.  Run with abandon after the One who is holding you tight.  He looks so good on you!  I love you...my sweet sister...and now my forever sister in Christ!

December 27, 2010

got water?

I'm just sayin...I feel thirsty.  My spirit feels a little dry.  Like after being in a desert for several weeks, with only little drops to drink along the way.  I am parched...needing the washing of the water of the WORD, as Ephesians says. 

See, I have lived on sips for the month of December!  With all the busyness of what had to be done, places we had to be, and fun we just had to have!   But along the way only sipping little bits of His Word here and there, always being distracted by what called my name for the day, ...wrapping, shopping, decorating, baking, singing, laughing, talking, scurrying, and of course, just enjoying the season.

So now I find myself longing for the filling up of what only He can give me.  A drink that satisfies and refreshes a parched and "too busy" soul, in need of some sweet refreshment.  Jesus Himself says, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to ME and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him."

I need His streams to fill me up this week, so that I can have sweet waters to pour out on those around me.  Something that is refreshing and lovely, not stale and dry. Trust me when I say, that without His sweet waters, I got some stale and dry people... let's just be real!  You too?

Take a moment today...whether you are returning all that didn't fit, or dragging that dead tree out to the curb....and fill up with a drink that will truly satisfy your deepest needs and driest places and bring sweet refreshment to your soul!
Jesus....the one drink that truly satisfies.