Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sleeping in the Boat with Jesus

Do you ever get tired of living in the ‘storms’ of life?  I know I have! I have been asked that question often by other women and what I have tried to do in my own life is learn to sleep in the boat like Jesus did when He was in a storm.  (Please know that by no means am I always successful in resting in Him, but it is something that I try to be intentional about.) 
Let me explain what I mean about sleeping in the boat like Jesus.  In Matthew 8:25-26, Jesus calms the storm as the disciples start freaking out thinking they are going to die.  “Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”  Matthew 8:25-26
I freaked out just like the disciples did.
So here is our Savior sleeping in the boat during a storm.  He is not fearful, nor anxious.  Jesus is not panicking, nor is He worried or concerned; in fact, He is so relaxed about the entire situation that He is taking a nap, on a boat, in a storm!  As I picture in my mind Jesus and the boys in this scenario, I can’t help but smile thinking about the situation.  I wonder why on earth would the disciples be screaming, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”  Don’t they know that Jesus is the One who controls the waves? “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.”  Psalm 107:29  I mean, after all, He IS the Savior of the world and the Creator of the Universe! Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”  Colossians 1:16,17 (Actually, no the disciples didn’t know who He was.)  “So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matthew 8:27  (I guess after reading that verse, I shouldn’t be so hard on the boys.)
As believers, if we have been in the storms for any length of time, we are probably very aware of the above verses.  But let’s look further into this passage to see exactly what Jesus was doing with the disciples. 
Jesus had a destination in mind.  Don’t think for a minute that He just decided to go on some afternoon boating trip with the men because that was not the case.  Nor did He have plans to go sightseeing like a tourist when He got to the other side either.   The Lord had a plan and a purpose for that trip.  He knew exactly what He was doing when He got in the boat to cross that sea and He knew that the storm was coming as well. “He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm.”  Job 26:12   Not only was He taking the disciples to the other side, but He also had business to take care of while He was there…His Father’s business, that is.  “When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.”  And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"  Matthew 8:28,29 
Let that sight sink in for just a moment.  Not just one, but two demon-possessed men coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce!  Can you even imagine what was going through the disciples' minds?  One minute they think they are going to die because they might drown from the raging storm at sea and then the next minute they are staring at the faces of two demon-possessed men!  Hmmm, why I think that is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, don’t you?  (sarcasm noted.) If I had a day like that, I'd be mentally and physically exhausted, plus it would send me over the edge.  I hope the boys at least had the chance to stop off at Starbucks before they headed back into the boat!  (I have a tendency to be an emotional eater and a nice decaf, iced mocha would bring me lots of comfort! Although we all know Where the True Source of Comfort comes from.)
Wow, we think we got it bad with our trials…imagine having a day like that!  (Please note:  the Bible does not mention in this passage how long it took the disciples to get to the other side.  It could have taken more than a day.) 
As the boys witnessed all that took place in those instances, you know their faith in the Messiah must have increased. God does the same with us as He takes us through trials.  He performs miracles in our own lives all the time and He is wanting us to trust Him more and more.
The Lord has you in His boat as well and He has a course mapped out for you too.  He has a destination in mind.  Perhaps you are in the midst of sailing the ocean sea right now and the storm that you are in is raging or you have reached the other side and now you are dealing with even bigger issues.  But just like the disciples, Jesus was always there with them and He is with us as well. 
It is calm in the eye of the storm.
My encouragement to you when you are faced with those huge waves is to learn to sleep in the boat like Jesus.  You are resting in the promises of the Word of God and you are putting your complete faith in Him even when things look like they can’t get any worse. 
Here's comes the unfortunate part: it is called human nature. It is much easier to look at our circumstances rather than to look at the promises found in the Word of God.  I know, because I did just that the other day!  I freaked out like the disciples did.  
Here’s the story of how I woke Jesus up and started screaming asking Him to save me!  (If you haven’t been following my story, you can read it here at, Are Trials Really Good for Us?)  
We had just gotten a call from the real estate agent representing the Bank and she said the Bank is offering us some cash to move out of our house in 30 days.  Did I say I freaked out?  Because I did and I slept only 3 hours that nightSeeing how we are cash-challenged right now, it was great to hear that the Bank was going to offer us money to move out, but in the meantime, we do not have any money to pay for the first month's rent and a deposit for a new place.  We needed money before we moved out AND we needed to find a place that would rent to us!  Our situation looked bleak.  The next morning I headed off to church to serve for VBS and while there I saw my dear friend and I told her of the news.  Then I cried.  I knew Jesus would take care of us but I couldn’t keep my eyes on Him and I was having such a difficult time resting in Him…I kept trying but the waves of my storm looked enormous!  
Over and over in my mind that day I would remind myself to sleep in the boat like Jesus and here were my thoughts: 
“Don’t worry.” 
“The Lord will take care of it.” 
“He will show up and help us.  I don’t know how, but I know He will.”  
"He is the Miracle Maker." 
"Get my eyes off of the situation and go serve Him."
“Keep my mind on Him.”  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Isaiah 26:3
That was my spirit-talk that morning. That was me trying as best as I could to sleep in the boat with Jesus during my storm.  If I didn't do that I would have crumbled. Most likely I would have left the day of serving in VBS so I could serve myself, or should I say, cater to my feelings of worry and anxiety; which produces nothing except more doubt.
That morning friends prayed for me. Call on me in prayer and I will show you great and mysterious things that you do not know about.” Jeremiah 33:3 
Later that day Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves of my storm!  (Hello people, that’s less than 24 hours of God interceding on our behalf!)  The Lord moved incredibly quick and calmed the sea.  Maybe because He knew I was tired of sailing in shark-infested waters for so many years and I was now becoming sea sick!  It's a beautiful story of God’s hand of faithfulness.  The Miracle Maker showed up once again.  (You can read more about the Miracle Maker here at, God is Bigger Than Our Credit Score.) 
Oh, why did I worry? Hadn't He shown me enough miracles that I needn't not fret again?
Here's some application for you:  
Trust and faith were being built in the disciples' lives that day when they were in the storm.   Jesus reveled to them Who He was when He calmed the sea.  (He wasn't just another one of their fishing buddies, nor was He just a good teacher...He was showing them that He was the Messiah!)  The disciples needed to see that, because later they were faced with even more difficulties when the encountered the demon-possessed men.  One of the reasons why Jesus took them through those things was so when He left this earth the disciples would testify of all that Christ had done.  He was preparing His boys to go out and preach the Good News and build His church.
Trust and faith are being built in your life and mine as we go through the storms as well.  Jesus reveals Himself to us when He performs miracles in our lives too, but some miracles that we experience are unfortunately attached to our storms. We need to be reminded that Jesus is our Savior and Messiah so we can go out and share the Good News and build His church while we are still here on earth, because that, my friend, is our purpose in life "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." John 12:32
When I have more time to write I will share with you how God moved in our lives.  But for now, I have some packing to do!
Learn to sleep in the boat with Jesus, 

I am linked up with

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dying to Self...Is It Worth It?

Die to self.  We hear this message over and over as Christians, but actually doing it is something all together very challenging.  Last month I was reading in the book of Ezekiel, and as I read verse after verse and chapter after chapter, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor man based on all that God had asked of him.  The Lord wanted Ezekiel to do some pretty tough things for Him and I couldn’t help but wonder if I were in that situation would I be as obedient and faithful to God as Ezekiel was? Would I die to myself like that?

Take my life and let it be yours.
Let me give you a brief summary of Ezekiel’s story.
He was carried off with the Jewish exiles to Babylon, and while there, he became a prophet of God.  The message that he spoke was one of coming judgment for those still in Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, though, his preaching was not well received by the Jews that were with him in captivity.  39 out of the 48 chapters of this book, Ezekiel warned of the coming wrath from the Lord.  Destruction, disaster and doom were going to take place because of the peoples’ idolatry, wickedness and rebellion.  It was a fun read. (sarcasm noted)

Now, we all have trials, and at times, life can become very problematic, tiresome, and downright painful but after I finished reading this book, I thought to myself, “I have no trials and what God asks of me is nothing compared to what He had asked of Ezekiel.”

Read the following portions of Scripture and you will see for yourself some of the shocking things that Ezekiel went through.  I am sure after you read it, you won’t think your life is so hard either!

"Stand up, son of man," said the voice. "I want to speak with you." The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. "Son of man," he said, "I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says! 'And whether they listen or refuse to listen—for remember, they are rebels—at least they will know they have had a prophet among them. "Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don't be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won't listen, for they are completely rebellious! Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you."  Ezekiel 2:1-8

"The voice said to me, "Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. "Fill your stomach with this," he said.  And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth."  Ezekiel 3:1-3

Now, I don’t know about you, but that is not a very encouraging ministry to be a part of!  Think about it for a moment. God is telling you to go speak with His people, but by the way, they are not going to listen to you.  They will threaten you and treat you harshly.  Hmmm, I doubt that there would be a long line of people waiting to sign up to serve in that church ministry.  

Let’s keep reading about our good man, Zeke.

"Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages.  I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! But the people of Israel won't listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don't be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels."   Ezekiel 3:4-9  Then go to your people in exile and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!' Do this whether they listen to you or not."  Ezekiel 3:11  

Just envision for a moment you're walking into a room filled with people like that and you have to give them a message of repentance! Generally, a message of repentance will not produce people who will like you.  I am sure you would not walk out with many new friends, but rather lots of enemies!
God used the obstinate, Ezekiel to give a difficult, hard-to-swallow message to other stubborn people.  For all of us that are hard-headed….God has a great plan for us as well!  Since I am included in this list, I prefer to use a much nicer word like 'tenacious' instead. (smile)  Maybe you're not like this, but you have a kid who is.  Keep praying for them to be used by the Lord.  God created them in a certain way just for His pleasure and purpose.  He gave me one too! (smile)  "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10

Let’s continue with our obstinate prophet’s story.

Prepare and eat this food as you would barley cakes. While all the people are watching, bake it over a fire using dried human dung as fuel and then eat the bread.  Then the LORD said, "This is how Israel will eat defiled bread in the Gentile lands to which I will banish them!"  Then I said, "O Sovereign LORD, must I be defiled by using human dung? For I have never been defiled before. From the time I was a child until now I have never eaten any animal that died of sickness or was killed by other animals. I have never eaten any meat forbidden by the law." "All right," the LORD said. "You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung." Ezekiel 4:12-15

Sounds delicious doesn’t it? (sarcasm noted)  When you read this, you can’t help but be thankful for the food you have in your pantry.  As Ezekiel is cooking his food over dung, it is kinda hard to complain that you can’t afford to go out to dinner? 

If you want your life to get easier, change your perspective. 

Now here’s the part of Ezekiel’s story that broke my heart.

"Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends." So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died.  The next morning I did everything I had been told to do."  Ezekiel 24:16-18

This portion of the Scriptures was difficult for me to read.  Ezekiel had already endured so much persecution and physical hardship (which I did not recount in this post) and I could not help but wonder why God would take away his wife and then have him not mourn about it.  Poor guy!  Yet, here you have in Ezekiel 24:18, "The next morning I did everything I had been told to do."  

Bottom line:  Ezekiel was obedient to the Lord regardless of what God had called him to do, regardless of what the Lord took him through, and regardless of what the Lord took away from him.  

What a beautiful example of a God-fearing man.  Ezekiel was more concerned about satisfying the Spirit rather than his flesh.  He died to self.  We can all learn a lesson from him.

Keep reading... the story gets better.

“During the twenty-fifth year of our captivity—fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem—the LORD took hold of me. In a vision from God he took me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain. From there I could see toward the south what appeared to be a city. As he brought me nearer, I saw a man whose face shone like bronze standing beside a gateway entrance. He was holding in his hand a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod. He said to me, "Son of man, watch and listen. Pay close attention to everything I show you. You have been brought here so I can show you many things. Then you will return to the people of Israel and tell them everything you have seen."  Ezekiel 40:1-4

God gave Ezekiel a vision of the new temple area along with the rooms for the priests, the altar, the division of land, etc.  Imagine if you received a vision like that from the Lord.

Now here comes the best part of the story.  My heart beats fast just reading this passage!

"After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway.  Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the LORD came into the Temple through the east gateway. Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the LORD filled the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me. The LORD said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died."  Ezekiel 43:1-7

Oh, to see the glory of the Lord!  Wow, to be Ezekiel, what an honor for him.  Yes, he did go through some horrendous stuff….stuff I don’t care to go through, yet, look at what the Lord entrusted him with?  Can you see how Ezekiel continually died to himself and how the Lord blessed him?  I do hope so!

We all want to be used in a nice, easy and uplifting way but sometimes that is not a part of God’s plan. 
·       Sometimes we are called to minister to rebellious and obstinate people; maybe even to those in our own family.
·     Sometimes we are asked to endure a difficult life filled with persecutions and hardships.
·    Sometimes we have to eat things that don’t taste very good (those that are on special diets for health reasons know what I am talking about!)
·     Or for those who have endured the greatest of grief and sorrow because they have lost a loved one way too soon.

God has entrusted you with a great message; a message of Hope.  I am sure He is either taking you through something very difficult or He is asking you to do something that you don't want to do, either way He wants you to DIE TO SELF.  When you do that, not only do you bring Him glory, but in His timing, He reveals to you His glory as well.  It is beautiful and it is worth all our pain and suffering.

Now don't think for one minute that I am always dying to myself...because I am not.  I am a work in progress and I need to learn to daily lay down my life for Christ.  In the meantime, I hoping to indulge myself in a bowl of ice cream tonight!

On a personal note:  the last time I wrote to you I told you that our home was going to be sold on the courthouse steps.  On Monday, July 11, 2011, it did sell and was foreclosed upon.  You can read more about my story here at, Not My Will, But Yours Be Done.  As the real estate agent for the Bank showed up on our doorstep a few days later, she asked me a few questions.  I told her of our entire story, (and her mouth dropped open in disbelief) plus I told her that the Lord would take care of us, because I wanted to use every opportunity to testify of the things of the Lord. (smile) She told us to just stay put in the house because she has seen months and months go by without the Bank proceeding.  That was comforting to hear.  God is holding us in the palm of His hands! 

God ALWAYS has a wonderful plan for His children...we just need to remember that we are not here on earth to build our kingdom, but we are here to build His Kingdom. 

Dying to self is worth it, because we show others our hope in Christ; which is a way His glory is revealed.

Keep your eyes on Jesus,

I am linked up with:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

Have you ever prayed this prayer?  As Jesus said, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Luke 22:42   If things are going well in one’s life then that prayer is easy to say, but when your world is falling apart, it is a difficult prayer to utter because you are ultimately asking the Lord to do whatever He wants to do with your life.  You are giving Him complete control over your circumstances.  It is a tough prayer to pray because you are leaving your entire situation in the Lord's hand.  Which, by the way, is a wonderful place to be, but sometimes our flesh says otherwise. 
Asking for God's will to be done in your life is sometimes hard.

This past Monday morning our home was scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps (again); in other words, to be foreclosed upon. For many months now, the sale of our home has been postponed month after month after month and we wondered if this time it would be any different.  So we waited for the outcome.  You can read more of my story here at, Are Trials Really Good for Us?

As I sat down that morning for my time with the Lord, I had every intention of  bringing my petitions before Him regarding this urgent matter on our house.  I had plans to ask the Lord to postpone the sale of our house, however, something unusual took place in my prayer life that morning.   

When I was about to write down my petitions in my prayer journal, I stopped.  I could not ask the Lord to allow us to stay in our home.  I sat there with my Bible off to the side and my journal on my lap and all I could hear through my mind was, "Not my will, but Yours be done."  I thought about that prayer and the implications of it.  I knew what I would be praying to God if I uttered those words.  I would be giving Him complete control of my situation.  I would be surrendering all of my fleshy desires along with all my fears to Him.  I was telling Him,  "Have it your way Lord."

While I sat there writing those words I thought is was odd for the Lord to speak to my spirit so clearly about what I should pray.  There is certainly nothing wrong for a believer to bring his requests before God because the Word encourages it!  I’ve done that a thousands times in my life.  "And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."  1 John 5:15  But this time was different.  It was clearly God’s voice directing me to lay down my desires and let go of the situation.  Put it in God’s hands and let Him do His thing.  I felt compelled to pray for His will to be done in our lives regardless of the outcome because He always knows what is best for us.  So, I prayed, Not my will, but Yours be done.  

When we pray that prayer we are in essence asking the Lord to take our life and let it be His- for the molding, the shaping, the using. 

All for His purpose and for His benefit

To become a vessel for Him

God answered that prayer on Monday and our home was sold that afternoon.  Yesterday, my emotions were all over the place. One minute I knew that God would provide for us and I knew that He had great plans for our lives, but then the next minute I was reminded of my reality. Where do we go from here?  Where will we live and how are we going to survive?  Will we end up living in a homeless shelter? I looked around my home mentally taking in, all that would need to be packed (again) and all that I would need to let go of because where I was going, I could not take it with me.  I stood there thinking, "Perhaps I should have prayed for the Lord to prolong the sale."  I needed to keep my mind on the Lord and His will, not my emotions and the fear that was starting to take over in my mind.  "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You."  Isaiah 26:3

It is hard to submit to the Lord and surrender to Him.  Sometimes we need to learn to not control things and learn to let God be God and do His job.  We don’t need to micromanage Him and we don’t need to help Him fix our problems.  What God asks of us is for our obedience, our love, our faith and our willingness to be used by Him.

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:25,26

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."  Matthew 6:31-33

The word Gentile in this particular passage is referring to an unbeliever.  Jesus is saying that an unbeliever seeks those things.  The unbeliever does not have his eyes on the Lord, he is only seeking to satisfy his flesh.  The Lord further tells us, His children, to seek His kingdom first AND His righteousness and then He will provide us with all we need. 

When we worry we act like unbelievers.  Regardless of our circumstances we need to remember God’s promises…He will provide us with all we need. 

There are now a lot of things in my life that I don’t know. I don’t know when we will receive a notice on our door to get out of our house.  I don’t know how much longer we will have to live here and I don’t know where we will move to.  (Uncertainty can take hold of my spirit if I allow it and I allowed it yesterday) But this is what I do know:

Although I don’t know what my tomorrow holds, what I do know is Who holds my tomorrow.

I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to have had the Holy Spirit breathe that prayer into my heart this past Monday morning.  I am thankful I did not run ahead of Him or that I did not quench His spirit because He has brought me to a place spiritually that I do not believe I would have been at had I prayed a prayer of my own will to be done.
God's will be done, I pray...even if it hurts. Even if it will cost me my own comfort and heartache.

I have peace knowing that God will guide us to the best situation for our family because I have prayed for His will.  Yes, the days are coming when life will become more increasingly difficult.  Times when the Lord will be carrying me through all of this and when dark times rear their ugly heads and bring discouragement to my soul.  Tough decisions will need to be made again and physical exhaustion will fill our days and nights as we prepare to move again.  But through all of this, I can rest in the center of His will.  That’s where God wants us all the time- with Him. (You can read an update of my story here at, Dying to Self...Is It Worth It?)

In His presence is where we will feel loved, cared for, and nurtured.  In His presence we will not see our needs or our desires.  Our fears and our pain are diminished because we are in our Savior’s arms.  Submitting to the plans that He has for our lives will bring us comfort and peace.

A note to my friends: Based on our current situation, I am not sure how much time I will have to devote to writing new posts (articles) in the coming days, but the time I do have to write for my precious Jesus, He has prompted me to write a little bit differently than I have had in my prior posts.  What I have written in the past is my story; you learning about me, the journey the Lord has had me on, and God's faithfulness in all of it.  But now He is guiding me to write to teach and equip you in your journey as you face your own pain, trials, heartaches, and fears so your walk will be strengthened and so you can encourage others.  But beware, you may have to take off your mask. (wink!)  Don't worry, it is not required.

I still have a few more posts to share with you such as, Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job and How to Lose Your Dream Home Not Just Once but Twice, however, those posts will have to wait! 

I would love to hear from you as you have sought the Lord's will for your life.  Was it easy?  What was the outcome like?  Did you draw closer to the Lord as a result of it?

His Will is removes our doubts and brings us peace,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are Trials Really Good for Us?

Can I grab your hand and take you on a journey to see the remarkable things that God does?  I hope you will allow me to do so because seeing God at work is amazing and awe-inspiring.  When we see God’s faithfulness either in our own lives or in the lives of others, it strengthens our faith and breathes new life into us.  It is spiritually rejuvenating and I think all Christians need to be uplifted from time to time, especially in this economy.  

Today, I am going to write on trials because we all experience them in one way or another.  As believers, we talk often of our trials but not all trials are the same.  Some trials we’ve brought on ourselves, and therefore God is chastising us.  When we are in habitual, unrepentant sin, our life is going to be hard and it is going to get painful.  A Biblical example of this would be David and Bathsheba.  We all know the story of this lustful adulterer, who then became a murderer (how would you like to have that as part of your reputation?).  Obviously, because David went outside of the will of God he was disobedient, and therefore he had consequences to his actions.  He was chastised as a result and thus he endured some hard times, aka- trials.  He most certainly was refined in the process because of his poor choices.  Of course, we when are in sin, we need to repent and get right with God.

Then you have others types of trials.  Trials that sift us, refine us, and that take us through the sanctification process as Christians.  When we are walking with the Lord and we are obedient as much as humanly possible, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", Romans 3:23, trials still come our way.  Here are some Biblical examples:  Daniel in the lions den, Joseph sold into slavery and then later put into prison, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace and of course our faithful friend, the expert on trials, Job.  Look at those men for just a minute and reflect on their lives.  They were honorable, filled with integrity and committed to pleasing the Lord, yet they lived in some tumultuous storms!  However, God saw it fit to put them through those things or allow them to happen so He could teach us and others to look to these men as an example of faith and trust in the Lord.  When you are in a trial like this one, you need to have the right perspective.

In my prior posts, I would write about what God had done in our lives as we were going through all of our trials, but today I am going to share with you our current situation filled with more uncertainty and hardships.  I would love for you to join me as we watch God together, use His miraculous hand to shut the lions mouth in my own life, if you will.

The last time I wrote you I told you that our dream home, located on Ashbury Lane, was going to be sold on the courthouse steps in April of 2010.  So, in March of that year, we packed up our home and moved to a rental house and lived there for 10 months…until God moved us BACK to the property on Ashbury Lane!  Ridiculous and crazy, I know.  (That’s a story in itself that I will tell at another time.)  We moved back to the home on Ashbury this past January, which is where we live now.

So here we are now, July 10, 2011.  Our home is scheduled to go to sale (again) tomorrow, July 11th, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.  Now, let me take off my mask.  You know the mask I’m talking about.  I’ll call it the Christian mask that we wear that shows everyone that our lives are perfect. 

Here is our reality.  My husband, being in real estate, has no new clients that he is working with, so in the mean time he has been doing handyman jobs of all kinds.  You name, he does it and we are very thankful for the work that God has given him.  Up until this time, he has had some daily work but even that has died off and he has had no upcoming jobs.  Over the last month his transmission went out in his truck which cost him over $1500 and I ended up in Urgent Care twice, costing us an additional $200.  Here we are with just a few hundred dollars left in our pockets, no new work for my husband and a home that is going to be sold soon and this time, there is no money for us to move to a rental home.  In fact just this past week our phone was disconnected and the gas in our home was going to be turned off the following day.  As my husband shared all this news with me I asked him if he got the mail yet, to see if there was a check in it.  I knew that God was going to provide for us, but I just did not know how.  Soon my husband came in with a mail piece and he said listen to this.  I smiled.  I knew that God was doing something.  He read me the current electric bill which said we had a credit balance.  What?  How do we have a credit balance when we owed them from the last two months?  The bill said we had a credit of $500.  How is that possible we thought?  We never had $500 to give them.  I smiled at my husband and said I am sure the check they received for our bill had Jesus’ signature on it.  Oh and by the way, my husband received work that same day and a day later we were blessed with money for groceries.  Make no mistake about it, that's God's hand my friend!

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-4

We can either become better or bitter.
I never thought I would say this, because when I read this verse as a new believer, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had read!  Consider it joy?  What?  Why?  How is that possible?  But today, many years later and many trials later, I can say trials are a good thing because they strengthen our faith and trust in God.  As we come out of a trial, we are closer to Christ and perhaps we have a stronger resolve or conviction to follow Him, IF we have chosen to run towards the Cross and not away from it.  IF we have chosen to become BETTER as we look to strengthening our relationship with the Lord and not BITTER because we have a sense of self-entitlement.   
The Cross is where we find hope, healing, refreshment, inspiration, encouragement and the strength to endure the path that is set before us.

In our society we often hear about two different perspectives on life.  One mindset being that the ‘glass is half-full’ and the other being the ‘glass is half-empty’.  I want to challenge you today and encourage you to try and change the way you think about your glass, (your life).

Regardless of your circumstances, whether they are financial, marital, health-related, etc., think of your glass as being FULL, full of the Living Water that is!  "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."   John 7:38

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."  Revelation 7:17

God is doing amazing things in the lives of His princesses, but generally speaking, we are just too busy and too worried, anxious, fearful, consumed with our problems, etc. to stop and take notice of how He works things out in our lives. 

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 

He has a great plan for you and me.  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13  Search for Him with all your heart and trust Him.
Grab my hand and let's go to the Cross together.

Let's go to the Cross together.  I’ll do the best I can in Christ’s strength and through this blog to lift you up and grab your hand when you are down, if you promise me to extend your hand to another when they are down.  That’s how the Body of Christ works.  It is the Holy Spirit working through the King’s princesses.  What do you think?  Do you want to join me on this journey as we tell others of His awesome works?

"A psalm of praise of David. I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds."  Psalm 145:1-6

You can learn more about our journey here at, Not My Will, But Yours Be Done

Let's tell others of His awesome works,

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

God is Bigger than Our Credit Score

So, after my last post on despair and denial of the Lord, I figured I would address another elephant in the room amongst Christians.

I often wonder why we don't share about certain topics because who better to understand our fragility, brokenness, sin, failures, and hard times than another sister in the Lord, after all, they are no different than we are plus we worship the same God.

I once had excellent credit.
Of course we want to be discreet as God-fearing women and we don't want to be complainers but somewhere in the middle of all of that is a place where we should be able to share our struggles, but that's another post.

So here comes the elephant.

In America, the all-powerful credit score has a way of defining us even as Christians.  If we have great credit we have a tendency to think we have arrived at a place of financial success, freedom, or more importantly, stability.  If we have poor credit, then we have the tendency to feel like we will never again be able to purchase something of value, we will have a hard time 'getting ahead in life' and our overall financial outlook can seem depressing until our score is raised.  In a snapshot, our FICO number tells the lender who we are, thus, it does define us to a certain extent.

I have lived a life where I have had both types of credit.  Once, my credit was excellent.  In fact, I used to receive catalogs in the mail for fur coats!  I am not sure how I got on that mailing list because I don't even wear fur coats, not because I have an issue with wearing fur, but because that is just not my style.  Yet, all the while I am receiving these high-end catalogs because of my credit score, I am still shopping at the Dollar Tree.

Then our financial stability came crashing down.  Now, I am all for saving money but you can only save so much. The financial experts say you should have 6 months worth of your expenses in savings in case you lose your job or some other disaster comes your way.  This is a very shrewd principle and one that we followed as best we could.  As believers, God has entrusted us with His resources.  We are managing all that He has given us, so to be good stewards was something that we desired to be.  But sometimes life does not go according to our plans.  “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”  Isaiah 45:7

But what happens when you have already lived off all of your savings and there is no new income for you to start building your wealth again?  When you are literally living day to day as you seek to provide the basic needs for your family, how do you build your savings again?  Where do you go from here when your score starts to plummet?  What do we cling to?

Having our credit going from excellent to poor was a fearful time for us.  We put a lot of our worth and weight into our credit score.  We were so uptight about not being able to pay our bills and we wondered what was going to happen to us.

My heart sank when I saw the notice.
In the midst of all that worry, shortly we received the dreaded notice that was posted on our door....the one that said our property was going to sale on the courthouse steps on April 4th, 2010.  My dream home, the house that we deemed as 'the land of milk and honey' was no longer going to be our home.  My heart sank when I saw the paper.  I knew it was just a matter of time when we would need to move but it was still hard to experience the reality of our situation.

Now we needed to find a place to rent, but who in their right mind was going to rent to us?  We had bad credit!  Our property was going to be foreclosed upon in a matter of weeks and my husband was self-employed so it wasn't like he could show proof of employment along with pay stubs.  We were high-risk renters.  

I fretted and worried again.  “Fear not for I am with you be not afraid.”  Isaiah 41:10
  • Lord, how are we going to find a home?  
  • Logically, who would rent to us based on our financial situation?  
  • Lord, we only have so much money saved up.  
  • How are we going to afford the additional deposit required because of our poor credit?
  • Do you know what our credit score is Lord?
"I am bigger than your credit score," He said to me.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 47:10

As I look back at this time, it is sad for me to see how I doubted God.  Over and over in my life He has shown me His hand.  Through the months leading up to this time, He literally led me to a doctor where healing and restoration was taking place in my body after so many years of chronic illnesses, (you can read more about that here at, Lord, Why on Earth Would You Allow This? (The Refiner's Fire Part 2)).  He also pulled me out of the pit of despair and denial as He set me back on His path, (and you can read that story here at, Before the Rooster Crows Part 1 and 2.)  Yet, through all of this, I still doubted Him.  I forgot about His faithfulness because I looked at my circumstances.

As I write this I realize I needed to reverse my thinking and it should go something like this: 

I need to look at His faithfulness while He looks at my circumstances.

It’s His nature to care for His sheep because it’s part of His job for being God.

God is in the business of doing miracles, in fact, miracle making is a part of who He is.  It defines Him.   

If God had a job description it would read something like this: 
-Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Making Miracles
-Responsible for doing miracles all day, everyday.  No time off and no vacations.

So, back to my story.  Once again, the Miracle Maker showed up on the scene and within one week of looking for a place to rent, we became renters.  How does that happen?  It happens because of God.

My husband told the Landlord our entire financial story and the Landlord still rented his home to us.  He said, “There’s just something about you guys.”  He further reduced the monthly rent, gave us an extra 2 weeks free and we paid a ridiculously low deposit.  Who does that?  The Miracle Maker had His hand in all of this.

No matter where you live or how much money you make (or don’t make) and regardless of your credit score, none of that defines you.  Christ wants your heart and your complete devotion to Him, and Him alone.  He wants you to rely solely on Him- not your credit score, not your bank account, and not your job.  

God wants to get all the glory all the time.

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass."  Psalm 37:3-5

I am bigger than your credit score.  ~God

Look to His faithfulness,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Before the Rooster Crows Part 2

David, Peter, and Paul, mighty men of God, who were determined to live for Jesus Christ, were men that resonated with my spirit. Whether it was their personalities or their passion for the Lord, I have been drawn to them over the years as I have read the Scriptures. I have viewed them as warriors for Christ. Many times as I would turn the pages of my Bible and read about their lives, I would often identify with them and learn from them. They would speak to my soul. However, years ago when I was new in Christ, I did not understand how Peter could have denied the Lord after all the time he spent with Jesus in the flesh! Peter was so devoted to Christ, and so it just did not make any sense to me as to Why or How he could deny the One True God. I thought to myself, "I would never deny the Lord," unfortunately, many years later I did, and Jesus Christ taught me a few things in the process.
Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me.

If you did not get the chance to read about my despair and inward denial of Christ, you can read it here at, Before the Rooster Crows Part 1.

We all know the story of Peter's denial. "Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Matthew 26:34 "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly." Matthew 26:75

Shortly after that passage, I read about how Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, three times. "So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."  He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.  John 21:15-17

"Feed My lambs.  Tend My sheep.  Feed My sheep."  Those words leaped off the page when I read them back in 1997.  My heart quickened and I realized that was something that I wanted to do!  What I did not know at the time was that God was going to take me through tumultuous storms and deep dark valleys for many years so He could prepare me to do just that…Feed His Sheep.

God has a specific purpose for each one of His children and sometimes it means that life will be filled with much suffering as we go through the sanctification process.  His molding and shaping of our lives can be very painful and difficult but He is making us more effective for His purpose and His glory.  As He was preparing to use me, my preparation came through long-suffering, persecutions, spiritual attacks, broken relationships, etc…in other words, Christ used PAIN AND HEARTACHE to shape me so He could use me.  "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-4 

So what is the sanctification process?  The word sanctify means: 
1. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
2. To make holy; purify.

God is setting all of His children apart so we can be used by Him.  Through a difficult time in my life, He was purifying me.  Here is something I did not realize at the time of my despair and denial two years ago.  I was in the midst of a spiritual attack, but this time was very different from other attacks that I had experienced over the years.  This one was stealth-like and it came out of nowhere and played with my emotions.  Now, what is so ironic and somewhat moronic on my part is that for many years I would counsel women and tell them that the Gospel message is not based on emotions.  Here is my own counsel, given over and over, yet I could not discern my own problem.  The attack lingered for weeks as the enemy was slowing breaking down my faith.  I felt oppressed and I was deceived.  Satan was gunning for me and he wanted to take me down.  Over time, the Lord lifted me out of that pit and He has since restored me.  The entire experience was about 6-8 weeks out of my life.  I did not dwell on my failure because Satan would have wanted that to happen, instead, I looked to the Cross for forgiveness and restoration.  "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."  Romans 8:1  Jesus doesn't condemn us but Satan does.

He uncovers deep things out of darkness.
So, here comes a piece of the puzzle that is so from the Lord and I just had to share it with you!  As I was preparing to write this post, I re-read the passage of Scripture regarding Peter's denial and I came across this verse,  And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."  Luke 22:31-32   

Now, let me show you some of the 'Whys'.  Here was the 'Why' of Peter's denial.  Satan asked to go after Peter and take him down.  The Lord allowed Satan to attack him.  The Lord went on further to say, I have prayed that your faith should not fail you...(but He knew it would), because it says right here in God's Word, "when you have returned to Me."  Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him.  Jesus knew that I was going to deny Him as well.  Let me show you another "Why" or should I say the purpose of the denial.  So Peter could strengthen the brethrenDid you catch all of that?  I hope you did!  I was SO EXCITED when the Lord pointed that out to me.  In my brokenness I did not understand 'why' I experienced all that I went through and in His perfect timing He revealed it to me, it just happened to be two years later.  He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light.  Job 12:22

As you recall in part 1 of this post, I, too, denied the Lord like Peter.  Satan was sifting me as wheat as well.  The Lord sent a stranger to intercede on my behalf to strengthen my faith because it was failing.  Not only did He send one intercessor, but He sent another one in the weeks that followed.  This intercessor I knew.  She is a beloved woman who embodies the love, grace and mercy of Jesus; in fact it oozes from her!  As I spoke with her and shared my struggles regarding my faith, the Lord used her to shower His unconditional love upon me.  In time, my faith was starting to grow again and I was getting back up on my feet so I could continue to follow Him.

Since I got saved back in 1996, I always wanted to be used by the Lord and offer my life up to Him, hence the title of this blog.  Remember too, I wanted to feed His sheep!  Two years ago, when I went through that despair, I could not see what my life would be like today.  I did not know that God was preparing me to go out and minister to others as I blog about my life story of pain and heartache.  (I did not even have a blog two years ago!)  I am humbled and honored that He has chosen to take me through all of that misery, heartache, and afflictions so I could draw closer to Him and ultimately so I could by used by Him to strengthen the brethren; those whose faith is failing and weakening and those who are hurting.  Perhaps it takes one broken vessel to know another one!

God is putting together the pieces of your puzzle as well.  Continue to wait on Him and trust in Him.  He will reveal His will and purpose for you in His perfect timing.

In our society we often ask God, “Why me?”  “Why, Lord?”  Why are you allowing this to happen to me?”  I have asked the Lord those same questions as I have faced my own trials, but now when a storm comes into my life, I say, “Why not me?”  “So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.”  2 Timothy 2:10

Because this is my story, you have seen my scars and although my scars may give you some comfort and encouragement as you go through your own troubles, it is not my scars that will bring healing to your life; but His scars will!  His scars will restore you and His scars will breathe new life into you and His scars will bring you hope.  It is His scars that we should look to when more scars are added to our own lives.

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."  Job 13:15  May we be found faithful to trust in Him as He slays us, knowing that He is setting us apart for His sacred service.

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