ALL Glory to the King!

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Countdown officially begins. I am honored to announce this coming book. It is Fantabulous – that is a fantastic fabulous word – to describe this wonderfully inspiring book. LOOK for more info to come in the next couple of weeks.

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They Knew My Voice

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I have been blessed with 3 children who have grown to adulthood, but in their early years the training process was arduous. What seemed like constant “no” was heard day-in and day-out as they learned what obedience looked like and what consequences came from lack thereof. But that time eventually turned to walking in peace – for ultimately obedience does bring that. I often wondered if it was worth all the work it took but I would then witness children without any constraints – walking in continual disobedience – and I knew I didn’t want my children to be adults walking that road.

Gen. 22: 1-3 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So, Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and rose and went to the place of which God had told him.

I have read this story for years and wondered how Abraham was able to instantly say YES to this request from God. It looks like Abraham was only given the BIG directives – “leave your home and family” “sacrifice your son”. However, just like my children, those big directives are only followed when the voice is heard, known and with no hesitation followed. That process takes a building time – so unseen to us – Abraham had learned the voice of his God, and was able to quickly say “Here I am”.

When my children heard, knew and heeded my voice they learned that the reason, ultimately was for their good. They learned to obey the “pick up your room”, “brush your teeth”, etc directives without questioning so that if the day came and the train was barreling down the tracks at them, with me on one side and them on the other – they would instantly, with no hesitation – hear my voice and stop – keeping them from certain calamity. They had learned and knew my voice.

As God’s children, we too are being trained to hear, know and with no hesitation say YES! It is a process and it will cost us much, just as it did for Abraham. But, when we know He has only the best for us, our YES will come quicker and without hesitation. We will know His voice.

As I chose to be committed to obeying the voice of God with an immediate willing obedience – my valiant YES LORD has become my determination to live my life as He directs. It’s the only appropriate response to my loving God! No matter how strange, difficult or unpopular His direction may be – my desire is to say YES LORD. As Abraham said “Here I am” – I chose to take one little obedient step forward at a time.

Let’s walk out obedience as we learn to hear, know and respond with a valiant YES LORD! For as we walk in our daily lives with this focus we will see His hand move and transform our lives and those around us – bringing the Kingdom of God into our own back yard.

The key is learning to hear His voice – know that He has the best for us – saying YES – and courageously moving forward.

Obedience is only obedience when it is quickly followed – for delayed obedience is unfortunately – disobedience!

Join me in a courageous obedient stand and with a valiant YES LORD – we will move into new adventures as His voice speaks.

 

 

Worries of the Heart

When there is no peace – stop, back up, ask and wait for His peaceable wisdom. It’s always available – even when you somehow end up taking a few spins on that roller-coaster first.

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Decisions, decisions, decisions – they loom over and around us every day. Some are small and easy but then there are those “heavies”. When we are faced with major decisions that are overwhelmingly life impacting, our thoughts and worries of the heart become extremely heavy and peace is nowhere to be found. It’s in these times that wisdom is critically needed and often very hard to find.

In the midst of a month of one of those times I found myself emotionally riding a roller-coaster. All the natural solutions spun my heart and mind further and faster downward. But still the decisions kept asking to be made, drawing me closer daily to that undesirable deadline. Crying, praying, researching and reaching out to “those who surely knew the answer” – all to no avail. The more I opened myself up to hear others opinions the more I had NONE and the more confused I became. I KNEW I did not need man’s wisdom – because I had heard so much of that – I needed God’s wisdom.

Where there is no peace – fear and confusion reign. That is where I sat and that is NOT where the Lord wanted me to sit!

Asking for wisdom, when we really want to hear His wisdom is a prayer that He always answers. However, we must get to the end of us in order to hear it – that’s why we often take that horrific roller-coaster down-hill-speeding-bullet ride. We must get to the end of us and our efforts to “fix” the situation.

Thus, began my prayer for the Wisdom of God to intervene. In the midst of confusing and frustrating circumstances (God’s directed intervention) I waited as He unfolded that gift. I ended up on the end of a phone line with God’s appointed distributor of His wisdom. With patience, knowledge, compassion and wisdom that conversation brought the answers that flowed like honey and instantly peace flooded in. Within a short conversation, amazingly all that indecision and emotional struggle disappeared.

Not to say, all is now well and good – those decisions now must be walked through, but often the decision is what stifles and causes us to sit in the mire of fear and confusion. Once His wisdom is dispensed the burden lifts – His love pours in and fear must leave – leaving the peace that passes all understanding.

When there is no peace – stop, back up, ask and wait for His peaceable wisdom. It’s always available – even when you somehow end up taking a few spins on that roller-coaster first.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Life’s Unexpected Pauses

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In the midst of life’s busyness, abrupt unexpected pauses come crashing in. Those unwanted, unexpected and usually unfortunate pauses bring everything to a halt.

It’s in these times – when the flu bug puts you to bed for a week, when you break a rib while enjoying a ski trip, when you lose your job and bills are still due, when you get the call to the hospital bed of a critical loved one, and when the final goodbye has to be said to one whose time here is complete – these are the times when life instantly is set on “pause”.

Here in the midst of these, life seems to just stop.

Just minutes before, our calendars were full, plans made and life was in constant movement. It’s in these times I find myself realizing that none of those calendars and plans really matter; everything is expendable and ultimately unimportant. For what we thought HAD to be done when it comes down to it CAN be skipped. Not much really matters in the face of these times.

Priorities are often not set by what our heart and emotions dictate but by the small busy details that can often be swept under the carpet when the BIG pauses come to visit.

 So, what really does matter?

From the flu to the loss of a loved one, these pauses cause us to STOP. It’s during these times of stopping the busy activity that we sit back (once we process the “in your face” reality) and look up to the only place our healing and strength comes from. What really is important is walking through this unexpected pause knowing we are loved and not alone – the love of Christ begins to lift the confused emotions that ride along on these journeys – as we focus our eyes upward.

There are none of these pauses that make sense –  but if our mind, heart and eyes make a decision to REST in HIS presence we will find that which matters most. His peace and love will wash over us and we will make it through this journey and out the other side with a new and stronger understanding of how much we are loved.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

A Lifetime of Chocolates

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I love a new box of chocolates – surprise waits in every bite. When I was a child it took a long time to decide which was the very best one and that choice would bring delight to my taste buds – most of the time. My mom’s rule was “if you take it – you eat it.” When it was that “gooey” Caramel I was in heaven but then there were those ones – you know those ones that ruin the whole chocolate experience. The only name I had was “nastiness.” When I was the unfortunate recipient of that choice, my only focus had to be on the fact that it was wrapped in chocolate and I would will my mind to think of that. Soon I found a trick – at least until I was found out – if I stuck my fingernail in the bottom I could know what was inside, and avoid a “nastiness” experience.

Well, “life is like a box of chocolates” and we wish we could use that fingernail trick to check inside. However, just like my moms response to my great idea; life’s response is the same – “no peeking allowed”.

We receive those “yummy gooey” Caramel’s, those “ok” cream centers and those “nastiness” unknowns – in our lifetime box of chocolates. Each filling is wrapped in chocolate. The chocolate is the ultimate focus. When we get the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” ones we often miss the chocolate so lovingly covering it. But, without that covering layer those “nastiness” ones just wouldn’t make it down.

Jesus has lovingly covered each of life’s fillings with chocolate – giving us a gift of the Holy Spirit. He is always there covering us with that sweet layer as we enjoy the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” fillings of life. But when we get a bite of the “nastiness” fillings, the reality of His presence – His very taste – is our comfort and focus to get us through.

Our box of chocolates comes pre-sorted just for us from the Father’s hand and we don’t get to peek. Whatever each piece brings into our lives, we can depend on that sweet chocolate taste to get us through. As we focus on the chocolate, not the filling, we will find the surprises He has planned for us – even in the midst of the “nastiness”. Our box takes a lifetime to complete so allow each piece to produce its effect in your life – and don’t forget the chocolate.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness, have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV)

 

Speak Life

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Life is full of the “ good, the bad and the ugly” along with many more expletives. But today I desire to focus on the fact that the first in that well-known quote is “the GOOD”. Life IS full of good – it is all around us if we look.

Unfortunately we are inundated with the negative. We hear and see it everywhere. The news visually captivates the worst of the worst, as it pours in through our televisions and the radio screams it in our ears, while we scroll through an endless social media feed.

Somewhere within our senses we become callused and obsessed with the bad – forgetting that there is good. That callousness easily fuels and changes our hearts. Soon we have become bitter and continually negative – everything is tainted by that bend in our thinking.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)

Choosing to do as this scripture encourages, means a concerted effort to turn off that “bad and ugly” input – to look around and find the “good”.  Join me today in an effort that will renew your life – an effort to find the “good” everywhere you look and go. Begin by speaking life to those around you and watch the transformation happen.

A New Day of Hope!

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I woke this morning to an explosive sunrise, one that filled the entire sky with all shades of oranges, reds and yellows. It was literally – breathtaking and it surrounded me. Not a typical sunrise from one side of the horizon but one that seemed to be full circle, full of brilliance and fire . There are no words or photograph that can really express its phenomenal presence.

Breathing in a new day that begins like this sets a hope and a joy deep within.

In the midst of pain and suffering all around us it is easy to become wrapped up in a spirit of despondency, hopelessness and fear. These become clouds that stifle and destroy any sense or ability to move forward, to care, to love – they captivate our lives.

Nature’s transition from storm clouds to brilliant sunrise gives hope for a new glorious today. If storm clouds have kept you captive – realize it and move forward into the arms of Jesus. His presence is waiting with open arms to bring freedom to the captive. Step out of the clouds into the hope of a sunrise bursting with joy.

Psalm 30:5b Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Photo courtesy of Sherry Phinisey