Thursday, June 22, 2017

When You Feel Like Quitting



"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. "Galatians 6:9

Don't!

You know quitting is not cool, but when you're discouraged you don't care, do you? You start to wonder what in the world you were thinking when you started all of this. You try to convince yourself that you're ok with throwing away all the hard work you've done so far, but deep down you know you're not.

I've been there.

Halfway through the classes to get my degree, I hit a wall. This was all harder than I thought it would be, and my enthusiasm ran out of gas. I had applied for a scholarship and didn't get it, which meant I would have to keep working that part-time job after my full-time one. I was exhausted and wanted to quit, and I did.

 My I'm-throwing-in-the-towel announcement met with strong opposition. That's when I realized people had been watching me and  were secretly cheering me on and counting on me to finish. I was surprised that what I was doing mattered to them. Those were humbling moments. This wasn't just about me.  If I finished, it meant they could too. I called and got my old job back and got back on course. I wanted to be a source of encouragement to the onlookers in my life, not a quitter.

God used that experience to teach me that
my actions have nerve endings connected to the tender places in other people. This is true for you too. Working to bless others gets better mileage than just doing it for yourself.

Who's counting on you not to give up? Think of them and encouraged. Let their faith in you recharge you to keep going when you feel like giving up. Persevere, My Friend. Your journey matters more than you think!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Don't Even Think About It

"but I beat my body and bring it into submcission...." 2 Corinthians 9:27

This is something you have to put into practice if you are ever to accomplish your Big Thing, My Friend. There were days, many of them, when I had to get moving before I talked myself out of it. A resistance is always there to do everything else to avoid doing what you need to do.

Have you felt it?

Sometimes it's fear, but oftentimes it's laziness,  or you've simply allowed your Big Thing to cause you to feel overwhelmed. That's what happens when you spend too much time staring at the mountain instead of climbing it.

Don't let the enemy paralyze you like that! Don't let your flesh be the dictator of what you will or will not do. Paul said he beat his body and brought it into subjection. That means he had to tell his body who's boss. You do too. You've already decided in your heart that your Big Thing must get done. Now it's time to do it already.

I recall many hours after work, dragging that laptop out to work on my dissertation even if I was so tired my skull hurt. I knew if I went home, distractions would push my finish line back farther. I realized my Big Thing wasn't going to do itself.

The road to DONE is paved with DOING, not thinking about doing. Don't even think about it, just get doing it, and your mind will catch up later.

Please share: What ways have you allowed your mind to talk you out of moving forward toward your Big Thing? How would it look in your life  to overcome this?

Monday, June 12, 2017

How to Do Big Things

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

I am still waiting for the official notice to arrive in the mail, but for all intents and purposes, I have earned my PhD! This massive project has taught me valuable lessons on how to accomplish a huge project. Come sit next to me on my patio swing and let me encourage you with what I've learned:

Are you facing something big that leaves you overwhelmed before you even start? I have learned you can tame that feeling and not let it paralyze you. Know your feelings are not facts and determine to move forward! 

How? 

First, remind yourself you are not alone. You may be tackling your mountain by yourself, but you're not doing it alone because the Lord is with you. Let Him strengthen you and cheer you on daily. This happens when you read His Word so He can speak to you, and you speak back to Him through prayer. Your Bible reading may be a one-time meeting in your day, but your conversations with Him can last the whole day. Isn't it wonderful? 

Next, write down what part of your Big Thing you want to accomplish today. Don't underestimate how powerful this can be! Make it realistic or you may get discouraged. Small steps are still steps, so don't beat yourself up or compare to what others are doing or where you fell short the last time you tried.This is a brand new day and God made it for moving forward, not looking back. I put a chart up in my bathroom vanity to chart my progress. It kept me motivated as I celebrated every step, no matter how small. 

I would love to hear what Big Thing you are striving to accomplish. Please share! AllOw me to sing in the background as Jesus rejoices over you with singing! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Telling God No?


It sounds like a bodacious thing to do, standing before the Almighty and telling Him what you're not going to do. Maybe your "no" feels more like an impersonal text, less defiant, but a "no" all the same, right?

I understand.

Just recently, I was presented with an opportunity, and I skipped praying about it, pole-vaulted over even considering anything but what I wanted, and landed squarely on "No way!" (and with great feeling at that!) A wise person in my life approached me with three words that pierced right to the heart of where I was:

 "You're just scared."

I was stunned, but I realized they were right. Oftentimes when we say "no"to God, it's because we're scared that what He is telling us to do will cost something we don't want to give up. We fear that letting go of what we have or hope to have means we will get shorted somehow. That's a trust issue, My Friend. It may not be that we doubt God's goodness; maybe we are afraid of how long it will take before we receive what He has promised. We are tempted to settle for a substitute to curb the discomfort of waiting. Problem is, the substitute always overstays its welcome, and it grows roots that make its removal painful and nearly impossible. Please don't go there.

Saying "no"to God is saying "yes" to less than His best., My Friend. There is no sting like the one that comes when you see what you've missed out on because you were impatient or fearful or defiant. Haven't you had enough of that? Nobody ever said, "I sure am glad I said no to God, I'm so much better off since I did!"

It may not be easy, but it's always simple. Change your "no" to what it must be. Not maybe, not wait, not once I  _______. It begins in the heart and the rest follows. What is your answer to Him today?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Come to the Place of Surrender

"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:33

Tears were streaming down my cheeks before I even realized I was crying. I had the briefest moment alone, and my heart showed what I was trying to deny I was feeling. I couldn't let anyone see my tears, so I had to have an express therapy session with the Father--only He could dry me up in the short moments I had before I had to show my face.

So I got honest with Him real quick: "Oh Father, I want this so very much, but I am afraid it might not happen...but...but...if it's not what you want me to have...I...I trust you!" Then He gave my heart strength to stop crying. I'm not sure how well I dried my eyes, but they didn't get blood-red like they tend to do, and I looked straight ahead just  in case.

A prayer of surrender can feel like a wrestling match between yourself and what's best, but it's the best fight if You let God win. Our wills cannot be trusted because sometimes they are selfish without our realizing. Sometimes they have been pasteurized enough by the Spirit, but we can't tell if it's us or Him. That's when it's time to pray. Ask God to sift out what's not right and in that moment, give you the good sense to let Him have His way.

What do you need to surrender, My Friend? A dream? A man you know is not God's best? A secret that may kill you if you keep it to yourself? Your reputation? A habit? Something else? Whatever it is, God can do more with it than you ever could. Sometimes He sends it to the dung heap where it belongs; other times He gives it back to you and is delighted that you love Him more than IT. If you give Him time, He will always fill the void with what is best.

Think about it: Surrender is rarely about the thing we are giving up. It's about what we think they offer us--love, security, status, belonging, pleasure, and so on. Are you settling for the cheap knock-off of what Christ offers you in Designer original? He owns the patent on all of those desires, My Friend. Be convinced He loves you enough to lavish them on you when the time is right if He hasn't already.

How do you come to the place of surrender? I hope you get there without as many drag marks and hard knocks as I have. I find that tearing our sin-lensed eyes away from our idols and taking a full frontal look at the heart of God has a softening effect on strong wills and hard heads. If He, out of the kind intention of His will, gave us the best He had when He gave us Jesus, why would we hold so desperately to anything He calls us to surrender to Him?

I know it's not easy, but neither is it impossible, and it certainly is worth it. Once we do the deed, we must continue the gaze or we'll return to Egypt and add a layer of callouses that make it easier to stay there and the needed surgery more extensive. It's so not worth it, My Friend.

My prayer for you is that the Father's request will sound more like an invitation to a divine dance than a dreaded death-march. God rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17) so why not dance with Him in surrender?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

You Have Worth Because He is Worthy

"and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority." Colossians 2:10

One of the enemy's favorite spots for punching is that soft place where you question your value. He likes to put on his spiked brass knuckles and continually pummel you with thoughts like, "You are not good enough, and you never will be," or "However bad anyone else is, you're worse." Maybe you've heard, "If anybody knew the real you, they'd reject you."

He throws your past in your face to darken your present and to blind you to any hope for your future.

To make it worse, you and I respond by covering up and pretending to be someone else. That's not the right way to fight, My Friend, because you are agreeing with those lies. No, you must dig out this poisonous core or your spirit will remain sick and weak and hinder you from flying. Yes, I said flying. What better way to combat a fist than to fly above it?

How do you dig out the core? With a sword--the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! How does this work? All three of those lies I mentioned can be knocked out by today's verse. People often quote the first part but miss the second. You are complete in Christ, yes, but it's because of Who He is: the head over all rule and authority. His most powerful position makes whatever He says the final word on your worth, My Friend. You don't have to makeshift your worth through your bank account, your bra size, your zip code, career, comparison, or credentials. If Christ says you have value, you can't add anything else to that to make it more true. Know this! Believe this!

When the enemy corners you with those self-defeating thoughts, fight like a girl--a girl who knows who she is because her Daddy told her. This means that, um, you gotta know what your Daddy told you. You won't know if Facebook gets more of your time than His book. Am I right? Invest the time each day getting in His Word because it informs you of your worth, and because of Who He is. He. Is. Worthy!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Are You Afraid of Failure?

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Are you afraid of failure? Do you find yourself hedging on stepping out because you think you might fall?

There is an element of risk in every venture, but may I suggest that fear of failure needs to be defanged so you can move forward? See, when you know Someone Who will love you even if you fail, you can have courage to try in spite of your fear. Relax, My Friend, His opinion of you is not riding on whether you get this next  thing "right"or not. 

Maybe how God will view you is not why you fear failure. Maybe it's that you have so much to lose if you fail. Your finances, your health, the faith others have invested in you may be what's at stake. I understand. You want to do the right thing, and you have every good intention, but still, what if you slip? How do you fail-proof your life? Can you?

 I think your focus has to change. 

See, in the life of faith, failure is measured differently than in the world. Failure with God is measured in how we respond to Him in our hearts. Failure to God looks like disobedience or unbelief. Failure to the world is about performance and how close to perfection you can get. Have you noticed that if and when you reach that standard, they erect a new one that's even higher? How exhausting! 

God offers a better way, My Friend. If you are in Christ, perfection was already achieved for you. Now you get to aim for something far better: holiness. You're not even doing it by yourself, you have a Guide Who lives in you, speaks to you, loves you, and grows you. He is called the Holy Spirit and holiness is what He does with your cooperation. 

Now, back to our original question: Are you afraid of failure? Have you caught on that it's possible to not get it right, but still succeed where it counts?  Is it clicking that failure has to be more intentional when God's Spirit lives in you to keep you from falling? I am not suggesting you can reach perfection this side of Heaven. I am suggesting the Spirit can make your life fertile because failures become opportunities to learn more of Jesus. They are not permanent marks that flog your spirit and brand ugly names on your identity. Failure is a pencil mark that can be erased by the grace of God and the residue is recycled as learning and progress. That even feels good to think about, doesn't it? 
Breathe it in. It's the fragrance of the abundant life and it relaxes all those tense and harsh "should's", turning them into, sweet "by the power of Christ, I can's."

Fear of failure? No need. Freedom to try? Yes! If you fall down while trying, His grace will pick you up and strengthen you for the next try. Smile, Daughter of God. You are His Girl, and your Daddy is inviting you to step out and try new things for His glory! Now go slay it and tell me about it so we can victory dance together! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

When You're Facing A New Normal


We all have an idea of what life should be like. Sometimes reality agrees with that idea, sometimes not. Most of us know better than to expect everything to go our way. We are not in control. We get that. Along the way, God allows the bitterness of the bad times to heighten the sweetness of the good ones.

Then, there are the times when life plows into your blind spot with such an impact that it twists your normal into a shape that can never be undone. At first, there is the cocoon of shock God gives to allow time to accept what's happened. Next may be a period of denial. Then the feeling starts to return and the newness is more than you think you can bear. You try any number of coping mechanisms, and you try to avoid the ones that will only create more problems. At some point, you run out of alternatives and realize that what is is what will always be. The circumstance is never going to change so either you have to change or lose your mind.

 How do you live in your new normal? Is it even possible, you wonder? Does it feel  like emotionally you're permanently going to have to do those horrible pull-ups you did in elementary school? You know, the ones where your tooth-pick arms lift your entire body weight over and over again?

There is hope for you, My Friend.

This normal may be new to you, but it's never new to God. Today's passage is a reminder He is everywhere; this includes where you are now. He's been ready for this day long before it's shadow came across your calendar. He's the Timeless One, remember? Allow Him to be what only He can be in a situation like yours. This is too much for you to handle by yourself; besides, you want to do more than survive this. Am I right? Your God, our God wants to forge a new you to match this new normal. It's called Transformation, and God specializes in it.

You don't have to have all the answers about why this happened or how you're going to make it. All you need to know is that He knows and that through Him, you'll get through this.  He Who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it if you don't call it off. It's a daily trusting even when you struggle to trust that trusting will work. Ask Him to help your unbelief.

Times like these are what faith in God is for. Go against your human reasoning and come close to Him. Yes, you may even be mad at Him for letting this happen; you can come to His throne mad. He can take it. Whatever you do, don't shut down.

This new normal may not have been where you intended to be, but you can make a home there as long as Jesus is with you-and He is! May the Lord strengthen you in this season of change as you settle in with Him Whose love for you never does.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Blessing of Easter

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory by our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

Resurrection. At first glance, it seems the stuff of fantasies and fairytales. It's one of the tenets of the faith that makes unbelievers chide us as fools.

Resurrection. If it's true, then it changes e. ver. y. thing! If resurrection can happen, it opens the door to all kinds of other mind-blowing possibilities. It means the Author of resurrection has more power than we can stretch our brains to imagine. Why, it--it means everything else He says is true too! For some, this is scary because that kind of power means they are powerless against it. For us who believe, it's not a cause to close the heart for fear of losing control. No, it's cause to gape the heart and invite Him to invade every crevice of fear, to ride on every wave of praise, and to stretch our faith till it fits  the fullness of all He reveals of Himself.

Resurrection blows a hole in hopelessness and rebuilds God-sized dreams in its place. It blueprints and lays a foundation on top of ground the devil once resided as a squatter.

Because Jesus got up from that grave, any heartache we have is only temporary. Bless His Name!

What's more, resurrection, THE Resurrection, not only guarantees Heaven for us who trust  in Him in a forever way, it also vouches for the promise of that-more-abundant-life that works in us to will and to do, and that makes our joy full in the here and now.

No other faith offers this!

No other name packs that kind of power!

No other grave was ever borrowed and then returned.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Happy Easter, My Friends!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Let's Reflect on Easter Together

Just like at Christmas, we can be so busy celebrating the Easter season that we neglect reflecting on it. At least I fall into this category sometimes. So, how about we reflect together?

I came across 1 John 2:2 which says, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."

Atoning sacrifice? What does it mean? To atone is to satisfy an offense. For example if you got a speeding ticket, you offended, if you will, the law to drive only up to a certain speed. The price of the ticket satisfies the offense; atoning for what you did wrong. Make sense?

So, atonement is huge for you and me and every body else, because we have majorly offended a flawless God Who demands flawlessness. We had no perfection in inventory, not even a little bit. We needed a perfect sacrifice to cover all of that sin and offense.

Enter Jesus Christ.

Can you see Him? Full of grace and truth and not a lick of offense in Him! God robed in human skin so it can be punctured and practically ripped off Him for our sake.  Doesn't it make you want to fall at those nail-pierced feet and kiss them in worship? How can there not be tears of gratitude for what He has done? Doesn't your heart make your lips say, "Thank You, Jesus," before your brain even has time to catch up? What a glorious, generous, loving, and holy Savior He is! What can He ask of us that is too much to give after such a sacrifice? What sin can we cherish more than we cherish Him after what He has done?

 The cross was never meant to be something we can get over. Easter, like the Lord's Supper, was meant to be a reminder of what's been given and of what we ought to be willing to give in return. Let's purpose never to forget Gethsemane nor be cavalier about Calvary.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Are You Afraid to Leave Where You Are?

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8 

Afraid to leave where you are?

We humans are funny the way we think, aren't we? We get stuck (be it in a relationship, a job, or a way of thinking) and we cry to God for help. He provides a way out , but it nearly always requires something risky on our part. So we spin our wheels hoping the eight hundredth time will be a charm. We get sick and tired of being sick and tired, but never sick enough to take the step God instructed us to take. Am I right?

Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we're scared, that's why! What if the new life is worse than where we are now? What if we end up so far outside our comfort zone we forget why we left what was familiar? What if we can't come back to what's familiar? Burning bridges is scary stuff!

How do you find the courage to move to a new land? What is the key to getting unstuck? I believe it's hidden under the rock called Obedience. See, obedience recognizes the authority of God and doesn't care what our fears say. We have this idea that we cannot move when God says because we subconsciously believe that fear is an excuse God will accept. He will not. We must realize that in His great wisdom, God has supplied obedience as a shield that is overlaid with courage which will give His followers enough power to trudge through the fire of fear and doubt and get to the place to which He has called us.

Believe me, you do not want Him to push you or drag you! This will bring about pain that you simply could do without.

Allow obedience to be a holy distraction that muffles the noise of the what-ifs. Be so focused on pleasing God no matter what, and watch what happens! It's what we do when we love Him; we speak His love language, and it mobilizes us with supernatural energy. God responds to obedience: It starts as an act of the will--a first step--but then He responds to that obedience, and He causes us to fly!

We're not going to get through this life successfully without stepping through the fog of the unknown. Sometimes the will to obey will be the only way we will leave our stuck places. Obedience has a conjoined twin---faith. You can't have one without the other. Trust God that these two are all you need to move forward.

May I just say that uncertainty is the stuff of wild adventures with the Almighty? Your familiar place with all of its uncomfortable comfort is a sorry substitute for what awaits you on the other side of obedience. Know that He holds your hand every second, but He won't do the stepping out for you.

Trust Him, My Friend. Go forward in obedience and send me a postcard from the land of, "I-Made-It!-He-Really-Is-Faithful-Just-Like-He-Said!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Update

Hello Friends,
This is not a devotional blog this time. I just wanted to say hello and update you on the crazy life I'm living right now. Most of you know I am on the home street with my big project.  April 10 is my deadline and part of me cannot wait til it gets here and the other part wishes it wasn't coming so quickly. You know what I mean? I have learned a lot about pushing and perseverance. They come in spurts sometimes and other times I hit a wall and have to walk away for a bit.
 Two other, no three other big things are happening right now too. One is the prayer walk I coordinate twice a year is coming up in less than two weeks. It will happen at Moriah House and is an opportunity to come saturate our facility with prayer. May I tell you that we really need it? The enemy fights dirty and lives, childhoods, and souls are at stake. Please come by if you can on April 8th between 9 and noon. Thanks!
Number two thing is a mission trip I am leading to Gallup, New Mexico. We will conduct a women's conference for Christian Navajo women to encourage them as they reach their villages and communities for Christ.
Number three thing is my hubby is taking early retirement. This is gonna be different having him home all the time. His mother, who has dementia, lives with us and he will be providing care for her.

By now you know I am all the time trying to tell God what I don't have time and energy to do. All of this seems too much for one person to take on, but I guess the word "diligent" He gave me in January meant He would be working me like a Hebrew slave, huh? I am praying He gives me fruit for my labor and time to rest once all of this is over.
What are you up to these days? I'd love to hear from you. Shoot me an email at ordinerrygirl@yahoo.com
Love,
Georgia,
Ordinary Girl serving an Extraordinary God

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When You Feel Guilty for Saying No

"You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body."( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Sometimes we try to live our life and somebody else's too. Let me explain what I mean.

Someone asks you for something and the answer should be "no," but you say "yes" instead. Then you do emotional stretching to make the yes fit your spirit, but like a size 6 shoe on on a six-and-a-half size foot, it won't fit. You limp around in discomfort wishing you had not gotten yourself in this mess. You said yes to protect from rejection you thought you'd feel if you said no. The truth is, you still experienced rejection because you rejected your true self that wanted to say "no." Your true self is someone God loves every bit as much as the person who made the request. You tried to buffer the other person feeling discomfort if you said "no." With respect, My Friend, God did not assign you the caretaker of other people's responses. That responsibility is theirs and God's. See what I mean by living someone else's life? It's too much and God desires you to stop it.

Or...

You say no and you feel guilty about it. Maybe you have an overactive guilt valve in your spirit and it hurts overmuch to deny a request. You feel selfish or mean or insensitive when you express the "no"that's in your heart. The enemy of your soul is a major guilt manufacturer. He has locations in every heart, but you can run him out of business with the truth. What is that truth? You are a servant of the King of Kings. When you say no to a request, you are not being selfish, you are following the orders of your King. Your King says you live to fulfill His agenda, not your own and not that of someone else. You spread yourself too thinly, and there's no room for your King's plan for the  time and energy He gave you.

There is a time to say yes, a time to deny yourself for the sake of someone else, but may I gently say that you are not the best judge of when those times are? Your sin-tainted heart ( mine too) has a permanent glitch in it that either wants to please everybody all the time or that only cares for its own interests. Neither one is what the King wants.

So how do you know when to say yes or no? Consult your King. Sometimes a tired body is His way of saying you need to say no to a request and get some rest. Sometimes He frees your schedule unexpectedly because He has assigned you to meet a need. Other times He may speak to you in your quiet time that you are to do thus-and-so. You won't know unless you ask Him. It's about having a relationship that is in tune with the Father's heartbeat. It's not a science, it's more like an art, and definitely is a relationship.

So no more living other people's lives. God has given you plenty to do in your own. Trust Him to help them handle your no and you'll always be saying yes to whatever your King wants you to do.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How to Wait on God Well



Psalm 40::1-3 1
I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
3
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Waiting on God is not always easy, is it? Sometimes it feels as if He's forgotten you're standing there in His waiting room. My Friend, be confident that He knows exactly where you are. He will not keep you there any longer than necessary. You are not forgotten. Do you trust Him?
How do you wait well in your holding place? Today's passage gives some insight. Come with me and let's explore it.


I waited patiently for the Lord-- you and I are to wait patiently. That means not trying to rush things. Remember when Sara came up with the impatient idea to have her husband Abraham conceive a son with Hagar instead of waiting on God? Enough said.

 he turned to me and heard my cry- waiting well is possible when you remind yourself that God's ear turned in your direction the moment you called on Him. Just because He has not answered in your timing doesn't mean He didn't hear and doesn't care. Remember when Lazarus died and his two sisters called for Jesus? Did He come right away? No. Would they have traded their experience of witnessing  their brother resurrected? I don't think so. Waiting on God is an opportunity to see some amazing things. You really don't want to miss what God wants to show you, My Friend.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand- did you notice all of those verbs are in the past tense? Yours will change tenses too. Whatever you are asking God to do now will turn tenses and transform into a testimony. Do you believe this? Waiting well means waiting in faith.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.: oh, a new song is a beautiful thing! It sings about something God has done that He hasn't done in your life before! It's a new entry on God's resume in your story. It's notes birth a strapping stronger faith that looks like Jesus. Waiting well can mean singing about what He will do as if He's already done it. Try it!

Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.-your time of waiting is about more than getting what you want. It is divinely orchestrated for those around you too. They see your distress, your longing,  and sometimes your tears. They are waiting on God with you and for their own requests as well. When God comes through, your story will boost and encourage THEIR faith. It's a sometimes uncomfortable way to be used by God, but why not set a good example of waiting well while they watch? It makes the answer so much sweeter!

 Wait for God patiently, knowing He's heard you and has not forgotten your request. Wait for God believing He will do just what He said He will. Wait valiantly, My friend, not complaining or pouting but soberly, knowing you are setting an example for others who are watching and waiting too.

One more thing: A good waiting room always has good magazines to occupy you while you wait. May I suggest you pick up a copy of His Word and read what God did for others while they waited on Him? Hebrews 11 is a good place to start. Perhaps a good Christian biography can while away the time and remind you of His faithfulness in the lives of others who have been in the waiting room just like you! Please let me know what YOU'VE learned about waiting on God!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Nuggets God Dropped Into My Lap

Hello Friends,

This blog entry needs polishing, but there's  no time. So please be encouraged in spite of the lack of polishing.

Yes! Victory!! The day is done and I accomplished today's goal on a big project I'm working on. How did I do it?

Let me first say that every fiber of me didn't want to do it. Last night, anxiety tried to keep me awake as it raced like rabid horses through every nerve in my body. "Lord," I cried through groggy eyes and racing heart, "help me!" I had responsibilities that pulled me out of bed and to the doors of a church not my own. The temptation was there to just go home afterwards to work on my project. I'd done that before and wanted that to be the old me. Friends, if you want there to be an old you, you gotta start being the new you! Amen? We get upset when people don't expect us to change, but sometimes it's because, um, we haven't changed! 
Back to my story. The Lord impressed on my heart that worship is just as healthy for my spirit as a balanced meal. You and I were created to worship Him and important nutrients go missing when we don't. No, worship is not all about us, but it does affect us. I realize that I have too much to do NOT to worship. Yes, I did consider going home and attending Armchair Baptist, but I would have to drive right past my church to get there. Let me just say that attending church in person is so much better than watching it on TV. I can't explain it, but it is. We have to trust that God is smarter than we are and decide to do things His way even when we think we know a shortcut. Remember when God told the Israelites not to save any manna for the next day because He would provide what they needed? There's always at least one hardheaded nut in the bunch, and this one saved some anyway. Remember what happened? The manna had maggots in it. Friends, it just doesn't pay to do it our way! 

  Back to my story. I got home, ate, piddled around to avoid getting started. You ever do that? Eventually, I told myself I'd do just a little. Once I got started, I was in the zone. Then I got cold. Then I got sleepy. My mind was screaming, "Don't be a lazy bum!" My body wasn't listening. I took a nap. You know what? I needed that nap and I woke up and got back in the zone with more vigor. Know what I learned ? God will keep things on track while I rest. When I woke up, there was still some day left. We talked about this before, remember? 

Another thing the Lord taught me is that when I dread doing something, try doing it a different way to take the edge off. 
What's more, I set a timer to go at it for just an hour. The time flew by, and I was able to go a little longer. 

 For real, though, that last leg was hard. Not hard as in difficult to do, hard as in needing to push through when it's monotonous. I did another cry to the Lord, this time with more whine in my voice, "God (more like ga-ha-hod!) please help me finish this last bit! If You don't help me, it won't get done!" I remembered Jesus's words in John 15:5, "Without me, you can do nothing." Yes, that includes big projects too! 

So here I sit with a big grin in my heart because I reached my goal. Tomorrow there's a new goal, and I know God already has strength stored up for me just like today. It comes in installments sometimes because this is about growth, discipline, and perseverance.
May the Lord bless you in whatever you are trying to get through, My Friend. Determine to do it His way and share what you learned along the way. Got any tips for me in my Big Project journey? I'm all ears! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Re-sending: When Your Faith Is Fading

Is your faith in God fading? Has what you were once so sure about become like a bridge made of rope with rotted slippery planks, swaying in a thunderstorm? Do you find yourself tempted to "call the whole thing off"? 

I've been there. 

How do you get back to center? 

I have found that when faith wavers, focus has become misdirected. Remember Peter walking on the water? (Matthew 14:29-30) He did fine until he changed focus, right? Same with you and me. So ask yourself how your focus used to be when your faith was strong.  No doubt you'll see a contrast in where it is now.  Have you been dwelling on the obstacles? Have you been composing a lengthy mental list of all that might go wrong? Believe me, I know how easy it is to do. The important thing is that you get back where you used to be.

 How?

As I've been reading through Joshua, I realize keeping focused was one of his strengths, and he kept it by being in regular contact with his original instructions. From the get-go, God instructed Joshua not to  let "this book of the law" depart out of his mouth. How do you keep God's Word in your mouth? Well, you can't keep a thing in your mouth without your mind's cooperation. This is why God said Joshua was to meditate on His Word day and night. What the mind meditates on is what the mouth will speak, My Friend.

So what does that look like in real life? It looks like a biblical hymn your mind chews on throughout the day. It looks like a verse of Scripture you try to memorize. (Don't tell me you can't memorize. If you were promised a million dollars for it, you'd find a way to get it done. It's a matter of determination, not ability.) It looks like a verse on a post-it note on your computer or bathroom window. It can also sound like a gleaning you share with a friend. Have you been as amazed as I have at the opportunities God presents to share when you are trying to memorize a gem from His Word? It looks like a consistent exposure to the Scriptures both personally and corporately. It's like eating, every meal won't make your tongue dance, but each one keeps important things alive. 

This kind of focus is  kerosene to a fiery faith. It's not an exhausting endeavor, it's a daily hangout your mind and spirit get to have with the living God. It's refreshing and intimate and fortifying. Mmmm!

Do you now see where you veered off the path of faith? Do you have a clearer picture of how to get back? I hope so, Dear Friend. Perhaps you want to share how you intend to get back to the vibrant faith you once knew? It would be my delight to pray for you and cheer you on. Kindly share in comments or shoot me an email at 
ordinerrygirl@yahoo.com. 

Until then, I'll see you at the hangout! 




Saturday, March 4, 2017

When Your Faith Is Fading

Is your faith in God fading? Has what you were once so sure about become like a bridge made of rope with rotted slippery planks, swaying in a thunderstorm? Do you find yourself tempted to "call the whole thing off"? 

I've been there. 

How do you get back to center? 

I have found that when faith wavers, focus has become misdirected. Remember Peter walking on the water? (Matthew 14:29-30) He did fine until he changed focus, right? Same with you and me. So ask yourself how your focus used to be when your faith was strong.  No doubt you'll see a contrast in where it is now.  Have you been dwelling on the obstacles? Have you been composing a lengthy mental list of all that might go wrong? Believe me, I know how easy it is to do. The important thing is that you get back where you used to be.

 How?

As I've been reading through Joshua, I realize keeping focused was one of his strengths, and he kept it by being in regular contact with his original instructions. From the get-go, God instructed Joshua not to  let "this book of the law" depart out of his mouth. How do you keep God's Word in your mouth? Well, you can't keep a thing in your mouth without your mind's cooperation. This is why God said Joshua was to meditate on His Word day and night. What the mind meditates on is what the mouth will speak, My Friend.

So what does that look like in real life? It looks like a biblical hymn your mind chews on throughout the day. It looks like a verse of Scripture you try to memorize. (Don't tell me you can't memorize. If you were promised a million dollars for it, you'd find a way to get it done. It's a matter of determination, not ability.) It looks like a verse on a post-it note on your computer or bathroom window. It can also sound like a gleaning you share with a friend. Have you been as amazed as I have at the opportunities God presents to share when you are trying to memorize a gem from His Word? It looks like a consistent exposure to the Scriptures both personally and corporately. It's like eating, every meal won't make your tongue dance, but each one keeps important things alive. 

This kind of focus is  kerosene to a fiery faith. It's not an exhausting endeavor, it's a daily hangout your mind and spirit get to have with the living God. It's refreshing and intimate and fortifying. Mmmm!

Do you now see where you veered off the path of faith? Do you have a clearer picture of how to get back? I hope so, Dear Friend. Perhaps you want to share how you intend to get back to the vibrant faith you once knew? It would be my delight to pray for you and cheer you on. Kindly share in comments or shoot me an email at 
ordinerrygirl@yahoo.com. 

Until then, I'll see you at the hangout! 



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Promises of God


I've been reading through the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. I love Joshua the man! He had spunk and faith and energy and a heart of gold for God. His story blows across the embers of my own faith and makes my fire grow. I want a faith that remains in the face of the odds and the people who like to talk about them. I need a long-haul faith that will cook a roast and not just wieners. Know what I mean?

Anyway,  my eyes began to glaze over as they perused chapter after chapter of cities they conquered and divided up among name after name and tribe after tribe. Then my eyebrows went up as I landed on the last verse in chapter 21:

"Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."

My heart dances a jig when I read it. My feet of faith do a different dance across the hot coals of unbelief, knowing I have no business being there but still I step, blister, and try to get out as quickly as possible. Then those feet land on the cool pavement of a verse like this. Ahhh! A reminder that God does everything He says He will. He cannot lie. It's impossible. Airtight.

Another step takes me to the cooling comfort of 2 Corinthians 1:20:

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God." Mmmm!

The mind naturally asks, "What promises has God made me?" I believe God makes some specific promises to us individually, but they all fall in the framework of the general promises He makes in His Word. Some are conditional but all are kept.

What is YOUR favorite promise?

Please share.

I'll start.

Philippians 4:19 - "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

Hebrews 13:5b - "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Matthew 6:33 - "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."


Those promises are like a spa day for the spirit, soaking away doubt, exfoliating fear,  and replenishing trust in Him. Oooo!

 May you be refreshed by the Lord as you reflect on His great and precious promises today, My Friend.






Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Fear & Faith Journey, Continued

The scholarship money ran out, but God already knew that was coming. A fellow student had a cleaning job at a church and asked me to sub for her whenever she had to be away. One day she handed the whole job over to me. Toward the end, I was working at the church bookstore and taking in sewing in addition to the cleaning job to pay for school. That's just as much God's provision as the checks falling from the sky. I think it was Beth Moore who talked about being a "wonders junky" --someone who wants to binge on miracles. Let God decide when He wants to show off. You and I need to be ready to accept whatever way He chooses to provide. Amen?

Life got hard sometimes. I can't recall every intricate detail, but we needed a second car. Hubby had a car to get to work, but it was too hard to share it.  People would donate cars to the seminary so I applied for one. I didn't get it because we lived in seminary housing and they reasoned that because I could walk to class, applicants living farther away had dibs. That's understandable, but I was discouraged all the same.

 I will never forget what God did next. 

He let things get worse. He let my husband's car break down. The repairs were expensive and we didn't have enough to get it out of the shop. I went into a depression. 
One Wednesday night I was working behind the bookstore counter. Two ministers I knew walked in.

"Heyyyy! How are you tonight," one of them said.
I mustered as much of a smile as I could and answered, "I'm ok."
One replied, "What would it take to make things better than ok?"
I don't tell my personal business to acquaintances, but my mouth took on a life of it's own and said, "Getting our car out of the shop."

He asked for more details and then huddled in a corner with the other minister.  When he came back, he said he would get me a check  for the rest of the amount we needed. 

But wait, God still was  not through!

Before the two-angels-in plain-clothes incident, another car came available at the seminary. I was gun shy from the last rejection and wasn't going to apply for another car. A friend said I should try again. I did, and BECAUSE OUR FAMILY HAD NO CAR, they awarded us the free car. THEN the angels came to the bookstore and God gave us our old car back! In other words, God let our only car break down so He could give us two cars. 

Ladies, sometimes when we feel God is picking on us, He's actually positioning us for a greater blessing than the one we lost. When Moses first started with that, "let my people go" stuff, things got worse. Pharaoh reasoned that those Israelites must have too much time on their hands and he required they find their own straw and still reach their original daily brick quota. (Exodus 5:6-9) The Israelites were angry with Moses because it appeared he was making things worse for them; however, God was just setting everyone up for His big appearance on the stage of ten plagues and then deliverance.
Fear takes every opportunity to say, "See, I told you!" She did it for me many times. I recall having many meetings with God to see if I really heard Him right.
I would have missed seven years of God's amazing provision had I allowed fear to keep me on the porch. 

I have one more story to share from those amazing years. Let's bring this thing in for a landing tomorrow! 

When You're Frustrated With Yourself...

Do you get frustrated with yourself because you keep making the same mistake over and over? Have you ever rolled your eyes at yourself  or rebuked yourself with a stern tone for not doing better?

I, too, wish I could get it together already, but let me encourage you to remember two things.

One, the fact that you even care enough to want to get it right is a good sign. Those with a sloppy walk with Jesus are all the time jumping on the net of grace instead of falling on it while trying to please God. Lazy Christianity that rolls around on the bed of "Oh, it's ok, God will forgive me anyway," get fat on backslidden bites of grace but reap the tragic diagnosis of what the Psalmist calls a leanness of soul (Psalm 106:15). See? Didn't that make a chill go through you? It's because you care about pleasing God! This is a good sign.

Two, you wouldn't fault a child falling a hundred times while learning to walk, would you? "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14) You may be rolling your eyes at yourself, but it doesn't mean God is doing the same. God reserves His stern voice for those who either act like they have it all together or those in active rebellion. If this is you, repentance is the way back, not self-flogging.

So, My Friend, be encouraged. Be patient with yourself. By all means press on and press in. Allow God to continue the work He began in you, but please stop the eye-rolling and tongue-lashing. Ask forgiveness quickly when you fall, forgive yourself, and get back in the race. None of us will reach the finish line failure-or-trip-up-free, but we can choose to arrive there with no more self-inflicted wounds.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blogkeeping Matters

Hello Dear Readers,
Did I mention that I am taking an online writing course? Today I learned I need to publish at a pace I can sustain. Soooo, here is my new blogging plan. I want to commit to publishing a blog post at least twice a  week. My teacher says I can produce higher quality work when I give things time to percolate in my mind before I hit the "publish" button. I think this pace will also give some of you time to catch up on some posts you didn't have time to read. I have gone back through the Free Writing Posts and given most of them proper names to make them easier to find if you wish to read again or share with a friend. I love that you allow me the privilege to minister to someone you know by sharing my posts. Encouraging is my favorite thing to do, and your sharing helps me do just that. Thank you!

One final housekeeping matter: if you have had trouble leaving a comment on the blog site, it may be because you have not subscribed or because you did not confirm your subscription. Please check your spam folder for the confirmation email you must reply to. You may also email me at ordinerrygirl@yahoo.com anytime! I enjoy hearing from you!
Bye for now!
Georgia

Monday, February 20, 2017

Do You Do It?

Joshua's boots had gotten dirty in chapter 10. He received a call from the Gibeonites to come save them from the Amorite kings and he answered. The Lord assured that He would give Joshua victory. I love the verses where God shows off- throwing large hailstones from heaven and killing more enemies than Joshua and his fellow soldiers did with the sword. Then, at Joshua's request, God made the sun stand still for about a whole day's time.  When the fighting work was done, the sun went down and they all went back to base camp at Gilgal.

Then Joshua got great news. All five kings were hiding together in a cave. Sweet! I was struck by what Joshua did next in verse 18 -19:
 "And Joshua said, 'Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them....' "

Did you see it? It's called delegation. Do you struggle to do it like I do? We perfectionists try to do it all ourselves because we fear someone else won't do it as we would. Or we just want the pleasure of doing it all. We fail to realize that the pleasure is cut in half because we spread ourselves too thinly and we become  stressed and grouchy. What's more, we miss out on the beauty of community. We forget that although people won't do it exactly the way we would, the outcome is better because many hands make light work, and fellowship is more important than having things turn out our way.
Besides, if we are busy trying to do everything on our list, chances are we are neglecting the very assignments on God's list for us. Ouch.

So how can you delegate today?




Saturday, February 18, 2017

What We Can Learn from Jacob in the Bible


I love that when I read the Bible, God causes me to see things I didn’t notice the last fifty times I read the same passage. This time He caused me to notice a few things about Jacob in his dealings with his father-in-law, Laban.

First, Jacob learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of deception. He had swindled his brother Esau out of his birthright and his blessing. Laban was his even change when he did the big switch with Leah for her sister Rachel (Genesis 29:21-30). He could have given Rachel and not required the additional seven years since Jacob wasn’t working to get Leah in the first place, but Laban was an opportunist. I wonder if Jacob wondered if Esau felt the same way when he did him dirty. Funny how our sensitivities heighten where they once were dull when we find ourselves on the receiving end of the very thing we did to someone else. It’s a humbling experience. Jesus was pretty smart to tell us to treat others the way we want to be treated, huh (Matthew 7:12)?

Another thing that stood out was how Jacob kept mentioning that Laban had changed his wages ten times (Genesis 31:7,41). It seems he high-lighted that point every time Laban got on his nerves. Bitterness is like that: it keeps detailed records of wrongs.

 I am not saying Jacob didn’t have a right to be angry. It is obvious he was sick and tired of being messed over. I don’t blame him. Getting sick and tired can be a gift from God. It can give us the courage to do what we’ve been needing to do but were too afraid. 

I love that God blessed Jacob’s need to move on (Genesis 31:3) God had a covenant to fulfill in Jacob’s life. He had bigger plans for him than making Laban rich. So often we use the “not God’s will” thing as an excuse not to take that big scary step when it actually is God’s will. I know I have used it. Have you? We want everything to be perfect before we step out, but that is not the life of faith. That’s also not where the excitement and testimony of God’s faithfulness abide. God’s faithfulness loves to hang out between Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea… between “Leave your familiar spot,” and, “I will let you know when you get there.” Perhaps in one of these blogs, I will share some of my adventures with God in those very spots. I would love to hear yours too!

Resting

How was your weekend? Did you accomplish all you hoped? 
I decided to do something different this weekend: accomplish as little as possible. Well, that's not completely true. I should say I  was intentional about NOT accomplishing a particular thing. The idea of the Sabbath has lost it's appeal to our American culture. We see the weekend as a chance to get ahead. Truth is, I hear that those who rest are the ones really getting ahead. 
Have you heard the story of the two lumberjacks who had a contest? On go, they both started hacking away at their respective trees. Lumberjack A was going at a feverish pace. Lumberjack B was too, except about midway, he stopped. Lumberjack A saw his chance to get ahead so he sped up, chopping so hard and strong he nearly made himself dizzy. Imagine A's surprise when, shortly thereafter, he heard B shout "Timmmbbberrr!" 
A: "H-h-how did you...?"
B: "Well, my friend, while you were wearing yourself out a-choppin'' I got ahead by pausin' to sharpen my axe!"

I decided to give that a try. I had chores to do on Saturday that wore me out, but after church Sunday,  I went to visit a relative- something I rarely do. The visit was not a long one, but I got some valuable info about a small problem I had. I was just making conversation and the issue came out. Something else was said that God used as food for thought. 
I had a big project that was calling my name, but I chose not to answer. No, today was gonna be a time away. I didn't know what to do with myself in some of those moments--I asked the Lord to help me to just... be. 

I heard a book subtitle the other day that says something like, "Stop spending 100% of your time on 10% of your life!" It spoke of how we can be so consumed with reaching a goal that other important things get pushed aside. At some point, we have to trust God will help us get done what He wants done. I am trying to live that way. It's been so refreshing!  I find I have more time for relationships. Also, I'm discovering that creating margin in my life leaves a place for God to fill. He reminded me that my neighbor had an ambulance outside her house the day before and that I should call to check on her. Racing thoughts and running around drowns out those opportunities for God to speak.

So now let's see how well I do once the work week starts. Will I look at my project with fresh eyes? 
What about you? Will you allow time to pause during the week so you're not frazzled. Hope so. 
Good night.

Run Your Own Race, Girl!


When the wind turned just the right way, the smell of grilled fish made their stomachs growl. They had gone fishing but caught not a one. Someone was cooking fish as they were heading back to shore. It had been a rough few days for all of them. Perhaps their appetites waned with the flashbacks of the brutal murder of their Friend. Maybe their thoughts were a-swirl with having seen Him alive twice since the murder. How could it be? Had they hallucinated? The Fish Cooker interrupted their thoughts while standing on the shore shouting through hands forming parentheses around His mouth, “Did you catch any fish?” The gang of fisherman shook their heads and verbalized in the negative.

What happened next was a de ja vu: The Bystander asked them to throw their nets on the right side of the boat for a catch. The amazing number of fish they caught illumined them that this was no stranger. They had experienced this miracle before and there was only One Who could perform it.

 Their seaside Host invited them to a breakfast picnic. There were awkward silences as nobody verbally acknowledged that this was Jesus. Peter had the least to say. He avoided eye contact with the Savior he’d denied after such a bold declaration of loyalty. Perhaps this was the closest proximity he’d had since that awful day that ended in his life’s bitterest tears. Jesus broke the ice when He addressed Peter directly. A dialogue ensued of questions about Peter’s love and answers that the love was indeed there. Love warmed Peter’s heart as he heard Jesus give him a life assignment that showed Peter had not been thrown away. Jesus hasn’t put you on the trash heap either if you’ve blown it and are repentant.

The next words from Jesus’ mouth I find chilling. The message is so hard to swallow that He cushions it in a metaphor. I’m glad the author interpreted it or I would have missed it. It was a hard message about the sort of death Peter would die. Ouch. True to human nature, Peter looks around to see if anybody else was going to get tough news too. John was in his line of sight so he asks, “Lord, what about him?” Can you see Jesus stop in His tracks and turn around to look Peter in the eye—like, “Oh no you didn’t just ask me that”?

He said, “If I want to let him stay alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:22). Jesus did a “nunyo” with Peter! We all need one of those from time to time. We tend to forget that God is not obligated to do anything on the group rate. What He gives any one of us to do or have or be is His prerogative. I see people doing something amazing for God and I wonder why He didn’t choose me to do that. I would have loved to have done what she is doing! If I had what she has, I could do ______. None of that matters.

The same is true on the flip-side. We have a hard row to work- a difficult marriage, a wayward child, a worrisome health issue, financial distress, an addiction, a coworker from Hell, whatever- and we wonder why others we know don’t seem to have those problems. We must remember that it is a comparison of apples and doorknobs -no comparison. God is doing what He is doing and it’s none of our business why He allows or doesn’t allow. It’s a hard word, but one that will save a lot of unnecessary headache. Run your own race and you will be plenty busy.

Even the hard words God gives us are couched in love. Self-condemnation is never the proper response to a holy rebuke-repentance is (Psalm 139:23). 
 So, let’s end with a question: What territory are you treading on that God says is not yours?  Leave that jurisdiction today and humbly get back to the business He has given your hands to do. It is enough, it is wonderful, and it is His best plan for you.

What Would You Do With Another You?

If God would give me a second life to live, I would be a missionary. I'd go to school to learn how to relate cross-culturally. I'd learn a new language, and I'd go to a foreign land where there are women who dress, speak, and eat differently than me. I would  meet a need and win them over as friends. Then one day, while sitting around the cooking fire or washing clothes in the creek, the Spirit would put the words in my mouth to tell them about Jesus. Some would immediately recognize Him as Someone they'd seen in their dreams and decide to trust Him as Savior. Others would need to ask more questions. (Squeal of delight inserted here)

The missionary life in the traditional sense has not been my life, but an equally important thing has been. I have the privilege to give so others can go. I love that God let's me do eternal work with my checkbook and my prayers. A friend quoted her pastor to me the other day with regards to missions: "There are the senders, there are the goers, and there are the disobedient!" In my college years, my heart was open to going if God wanted. I have learned that it is up to us to offer ourselves for a certain work, but it is up to God to take us up on our offer or not. It is also up to Him how long we do a work for Him. To everything there is a season. What season are you in?  Waiting is a season too. I seem to have lifetime tickets to that season. Anybody else? 

What about you? What do you wish you could do if you weren't doing what you are now?  Can you think of a way to do it even if it's not exactly as you dreamed? I challenge you to pray about this. You may be delightfully surprised how God may answer that desire if your heart. 

I have the privilege of ministering to women full time who have a struggle I have never experienced. I know what you're thinking. I tried to tell God He had the wrong girl, too, but He wasn't hearing it. Something about His grace being sufficient. His other favorite with me is  2 Corinthians 3:5 "It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God." For nearly six years my qualification has come from God.  Every day my heart's prayer is that God will let me be of some use for Him and to someone there. 
What are you doing on grace fumes alone? What have you learned because of it? I would love to hear about it!

By the way, thank you all for hanging with me through these 31 days. Only a few more to go! It's been wild. Some days I can't get my  editing mind to work. Thanks for scrambling through the typos and rambling thoughts. Thanks for taking time to comment. You guys rock and I love you! 

Hope for Helplessness

One of the worst feelings in the world is helplessness. I had that feeling today. I had a big dilemma and was at a loss on what to do. At first I told myself not to panic, that the situation might not be as bad as it seemed. Have you done this? Tried to keep the problem from ballooning in your head and taking up the space for rational thought?

I finally got to the place where I could pray, "God, show us what to do." In those moments I wish the answer came right away, but it doesn't always. Sometimes it does, but often God allows the fog of our emotions to clear first. When we have calmed, solutions come like  suggesting whispers.

God does not always speak the solution outright. No, He allows our minds to be a part of the process. We try this or that to see if it will work. All the while God is guiding us to the right answer.

 The scenic route to His answer may seem like a waste of time unless you remember God wastes nothing. Have you ever been searching for something only to find something else you had been looking for? In the same way, we discover something about God and how He works when we find ourselves in a helpless position. If you are like me, you just want to solve the problem already, but God's ways are higher. His agenda is always a good one, and He calmly operates it in the midst of our frantic helplessness. Did you catch that? God is not wringing His hands while we wring ours. This should bring us confidence even if our frantic heartbeat hasn't caught on yet. If you are a child of God, helplessness is an emotion, not a fact.

Warm your heart by the fire of this truth:

 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; ... The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." Psalm 46:1

I still have not arrived at a solution yet, but God has been faithful to comfort and assure me that He knew this big thing would happen before I did, that He loves me, and that He'll fix this. He took me down memory lane of other times He fixed my biggies. He caused me to happen upon a friend who shared how God has done amazing fixes in her life, and I was encouraged. God is up to more than solving our problems. He's befriending our hearts toward Him on the vehicle of our troubles. It's a beautiful trip even if it's sometimes a bumpy one.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How to Break a Bad Habit

1 Corinthians 4:2 says that it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. I have one area where I've been struggling with good stewardship. Here is my story and how I got victory.

Do you feel as guilty as I do when you waste food? I opened my fridge the other day and a foul odor assaulted my nose. Each week I go to the grocery store with good intentions, but I often end up not making good on a promise I made to myself to prepare a marvelous meal. I end up eating a simplified version of what I planned. Sometimes I just forget what I have in there until the molded version reminds me.  So, I sigh a prayer of apology to the Lord like I've done too many before; however, this time I did something more than just say I was sorry. I decided to change. Isn't that the first step if we want to do and be better?

What do you want to change in your life? Your weight? Your negative thought patterns? Letting fear win? Being on time for work or church? Overcome an addiction? It doesn't matter what the habit is, desire to change is not enough, is it? We must decide we don't want to live like this anymore. It's got to be strong enough to move us from desiring to deciding to doing.

Ask yourself some questions: How do I keep falling into this habit? Is there a constant that accompanies this habit? What can I do to be proactive in arriving at a better outcome?

Take my food decay dilemma for example.
I asked how I kept falling into the habit of throwing out spoiled food?

Answer: I don't pay close enough attention to what's in the fridge. I lose track of how long certain items have been there.

Question: Is there a constant that accompanies this habit?

Answer: Yes. I am too tired to cook what I planned so I put it off until the food spoils.

Question: What can I do to be proactive in arriving at a better outcome?

I can be realistic about the amount of cooking I will do during the week and buy accordingly. I read an article years ago that said we need to grocery shop according to who we really are and not how we think we should be. So no more planning three course meals unless I have days off to actually prepare them.
One more proactive thing I did was buy freezer bags to put prepared food on ice before it was too late. Freezer bags was one of those things I didn't think I needed so I never had them on hand when I did need them. I needed to change my thinking, didn't I?

As the mind goes the body follows. My body and mind are much happier now that they are are not engaging in the unlawful neglect of food and the consequent guilt that followed.

Will you join me in the dance of desiring, deciding and doing? Please share, if you are so inclined, how you answered those questions I shared today.

Know of a friend who would benefit from this post? Please feel free to share.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Encouraging Words on God Speaking to You

Isn't it amazing that God speaks to us? I mean, pause a moment and let that sink in. God, Who created the earth and the planets and the galaxies speaks to YOU! No dropped calls (though some go unanswered by us) and no misdirected messages (though at times I feel a message for me would be better carried out by the girl next to me). This idea of God speaking is an exciting one. How can you help but be curious about what He wants to say to you?

I think we are all afraid we will misinterpret what He's saying. May I offer you encouragement about that fear? Remember when God told Abram to go to a land He would show him? (Genesis 12:2) Do you think Abram might have been a little frightened that he might go in the wrong direction? I do too, but then we must remember that Abram started in A DIRECTION. The Bible doesn't tell us that he started in the wrong direction and God had to say, "No, go here instead," but this very well could have happened. Perhaps he ran across a battle going on between two armies and had to re-route. I am not big on Bible maps but if there was a sea in one direction and he had no boat, it was a safe bet that God was not leading him across the sea. Are you following me? You don't have to be afraid of getting your signals crossed and scrambling up His message to you. If your heart's intent is to obey Him, no way will He let you get too far down the wrong path before He lets you know to turn a different way. So loosen your grip on the steering wheel, Girl! Let some blood flow back into those knuckles that are white from being choked of blood supply. You are not big enough to screw up God's plan and He loves You too much to let you. Don't forget, this is a relationship and not a robotic system that can malfunction. Half the fun is the interaction you get to do with God in figuring out what He's up to. Ask Him, "Lord, did You mean for me to go this way?  No?  Lead me, Father. I want to follow You." It's wonderful!

This leads me to the idea of our fear of failure. I liken it to a door we need to walk through, but our fears are on the other side roaring and snarling like a lion and pit bull rolled together. When we open the door, we discover a kitten with a snarl and roar recording. Your fears are designed to play mind games that keep you stuck. What's really waiting in the other side of your fear-of-failure door is growth and a testimony for God's glory. Guess who has NO interest in either of those happening?

You and I must develop a Queen Esther mentality: "If I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16) Staying where you are is not an option because disobedience is a hot seat a child of God finds torturous. Besides, aren't you tired of the same old same old? Yes? Adventure lives on the other side of that door. Say a prayer, swallow hard, and twist that knob. I would absolutely love to hear what you find on the other side.
P. S. If you found this blog encouraging, why not share it with someone you want to encourage?
Blessings,
Georgia

How to Love Someone You Hate

How do you love someone you hate? Too shy to use the word "hate"? Let's just say you strongly dislike their guts, shall we? The bottom line is they have ways and means that always rub against your grain. Perhaps they did something or are daily doing something that squeezes the ugly out of you. Love is the last thing you want to mention in a sentence with their name unless it's, "I would love to see___________ get <<insert painful thing here.>>As children of God, we feel the tug of the Holy Spirit rebuking us about those feelings and yet the fire won't go out, not for long anyway.

What to do?

First, find comfort that the commandment to love your enemy is not a call to a feeling. Emotions are merely the smoke that belongs to a fire. Douse the fire of not loving and the smoke will be gone too. So, what is love if it's not a feeling? It is a choice. Yes it is. It is a deliberate act of your will to behave lovingly toward your enemy.  If you're like me, you may act lovingly toward them but your facial expression will give you away.

This  brings me to the second truth: loving an unlovely is a supernatural act. Love is a fruit of the Spirit so if the Spirit in you doesn't do the loving then it won't get done. Yes, you must be willing, but the real work is done by God through you. Ask Him to help you rearrange your facial expression as well as empower you to be loving.

Third, loving an enemy or a nerves-grater is like forgiveness. It has little to do with their deserving to be loved and everything to do with the love you have received from God. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). God is not asking you to concoct love in your heart for them but to pass on the love He placed there.

Finally, if you struggle with hardness in loving the difficult to love, prayer is a great softener. What do you pray? Besides asking God to change their ways, ask for the same you are praying for yourself. I don't understand how it works, but Jesus was sure it would! "Pray for your enemies," He said (Matthew 5:43-48).  A closer look at the text implies that something happens to the one praying: a maturing. That's what I love about God! He has benefit installed in even the most difficult of His commands.

There you have it--how to love your enemies. It's a practice none of us embraces, but one that will hug us back when we do.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Our Little Hearts Can Love Big God

What do you love about the love of God?
As a young Christian I remember being told I should love God. I struggled with the idea of loving Someone so big. Why, I couldn't even put my arms around Him! How could I love Him when I couldn't see His face with eyes by which I could gauge His feelings for me? Besides, human love seemed it would dwarf in the presence of a huge, majestic, all-knowing God. Reverencing God seemed easier to do. He was my Creator and therefore the Boss of me. I had received Him as Savior and Lord; therefore, it was understood I owed all my allegiance to Him. That I could do. The obedience thing was a struggle at times but understanding that I should do it was not. But love Him? There seemed to be some ingredients missing for love to be what I thought He wanted of me.  Then someone told me that loving God is different from the love we have for people.

I wrestled with this loving God thing for a long time. I didn't understand it so I stuck with what I did know: obedience and worship of Him. I wanted to please Him. I wasn't afraid of going to Hell. I knew that was settled. I just didn't want to make Him angry. I'd heard about sin making God sad. That  idea was odd to me too. Anyway, I didn't want to do that to Him either. For years and years I went on obeying and worshipping. Then something happened. I can't recall what the catalyst was, but something began to awaken in me. Was something missing? Yes. It was passion for Him. I was afraid of having those experiences that made people jump pews and say stuff nobody could understand. I didn't crave that. I did want the kind of ... of... love, yes, that was it... I wanted the kind of love I'd seen in other people. They'd hold their arms crisscross over their chest and talk about loving Him. I recall journaling that whatever that was I didn't have, but I wanted it. I wrote God that I obeyed Him because I didn't want the consequences of not doing it, but I didn't know how to love Him.

Oh!  It's coming back to me now. The catalyst was a devastation that occurred. I became disillusioned with heroes falling off pedestals. My heart ran to God for a place I couldn't name. My insecurities were floating in the air like dust too thick to breathe in. So much of what I'd depended on was no longer there, and I was lost. God seemed the logical place to go. I am so thankful for the volcanic blast of trouble that blew me into His arms. The blast also uncovered sin I'd buried but never gave a proper funeral.  I was driven to dig into His word for answers to questions I never had before. The God I knew mainly as Judge, and Ruler, and Master slowly became the Wooer and Lover of my soul.  Had I not witnessed it in a few key people, I would have been afraid of it. It was like a burning. A deep yearning to reach up to the sky and cup His holy face in my hand. It didn't matter anymore that it was too big, my passion would not let that detail matter. Why? Because I'd caught glimpses of Jesus in man-size loving me and in God sized proportions. I was ruined for reverence only. He was so much more than a God to be respected- He was One Who touched parts of my soul nobody else could. Those parts were reserved for Him alone and the intimacy was a holy and yet all-consuming one. This love birthed a courage I never had before. Fear had been my title, first, and last name, but His love called me out. I recall feeling like the ugly girl being picked by the captain of the football team.

Just when I think I love Him all I can, He knocks out another wall and expands it again. It makes me want others to see what they're missing. It makes me want to trust Him to do more through me. Is that what the Apostle John meant when he said  in 1John 4:18, "perfect love casts out fear"? If you are going around fearing that God is mad at you, then you can't fully absorb His love. You are uncertain of it and you can't let your hair down with Him. You won't worship Him with passion and abandon because all you see is your Judge. Your salvation will feel like a legal contract, but God offers so much more!  His love makes the obedience something you embrace instead of the unfortunate price you pay in exchange for accepting that thing He did on the cross for you.

  So let me ask again. What do you love about the love of God?  Where do you believe He's calling you to experience something deeper?  Did you once love Him more than you do now? Is there an elephant in the room it's time to talk to Him about? This is the perfect time for a love that's always in the air. Take hold of it, My Friend, and let it take you to places you never thought possible!