Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Tongue’s Tale


“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

I was having an ordinary moment with a family member the other day when he alerted me I’d crossed a line. The rebuke was so gentle that the sting mirrored it. I hadn’t meant to hurt or offend, and I rushed to say so. “I know you didn’t,” was the loving reply. I offered an apology, and his gracious acceptance gave the incident a peaceful burial. 

 Upon reflection, two thoughts have sprung from those few uncomfortable moments. 

First, sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it that’s wrong. Frustration or anger have a way of turning the most benign words into weapons. I thought back to a few other things I’d said in recent days that I could have delivered with more sensitivity. (Forgive me, Lord.) 

Second, oftentimes people don’t tell us that we’ve hurt them, but it doesn’t mean we’re not guilty. Sometimes only the Holy Spirit makes us aware of what we’ve done. I’ve tried to duck the conviction because no one actually said anything, but no, I can’t use that as an excuse. If ever my words could have had a gentler expression, to that degree I am guilty of harshness to the delicate and unseen part of the recipient’s emotions. It is not the way of Christ, and I want to be like Him. 

If this is your heart’s desire too, may we pray this together: 

Dear God,  make my mouth an instrument of love, not of hurt. I ask that your spirit change my heart so that gentleness flows from my lips. Let meekness control my tongue so that it takes the time to construct the best words to say in the best way. Amen! 



Thursday, October 5, 2017

On-Time God

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.“ Psalm 18:30

The day started early. I rolled over and picked up my phone just to piddle like I do when I’m relaxed. Then I saw that someone I love had called at an hour that could only mean something was wrong. Bolting upright, I scurried to a part of the house where I could be free to talk with the volume distress always provokes in me, and dialed this one I love. The words I heard concocted a strange soup of desperation, frustration, and deep concern in my heart. I was in rescue mode. I threw out the lifeline of hope, but my loved one was hard-pressed to take hold of it. The tears of my loved one tears shook me internally while my own failed to come until the lengthy call was over.

I  texted several friends for prayer. “I can’t bear this alone,” I thought, “but who will stand with me, kneel with me at this intruding hour?”  A few who came to mind were having their own crises, but I didn't remember that until after pressing “send”.

Before the dings and chimes indicated replies from folks whose sleep I may have interrupted, God was my only audience. A prayer with three words was all I could choke out over and over. A rebuke about "vain repetition" made a rude appearance in my mind. The love of Jesus kicked it out and reminded me that His Spirit could decipher the paragraphs my heart was praying in those three words.

Friends texted their support and I replied with gratitude.

I retired back to bed with my Bible, thumbing through the psalms for comfort. At first, the songs weren’t appropriate, happy beats on a heart that felt beaten. Then my eyes landed on a psalm that thundered with the anger I was feeling toward my loved one’s oppressors. Thank you, King David, for keeping it real and writing it down just like you felt it! Our God’s ears don’t have to be coddled. He’s the author of those emotions that won’t perch right in a pew, as well as those that feel holier.

I checked my email to avoid my distress’s cold stare and found a new email from an old friend. Pregnant with the kind of encouragement that destined it to be printed and posted on my bathroom mirror,  the letter felt like a kiss from God. It had nothing to do with my sore spot, but it helped with the sting all the same.

Thank you, Lord, for caring friends. Thank You for hearing what I can’t say. I bless You for your Word that comforts me, and  I thank you for timing that letter to arrive just when I needed a reminder that You care. You seemed far away in my distress but in reality, You showed up in each of those encounters. You truly are my on-time God.

Friday, September 22, 2017

While You Are Hurting

 "I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live."  Psalm 116:1-2

It had been lurking in the shadows of my heart: a hurt I had incurred about a week prior. Busyness made it shy, but when the quiet came, the hurt limped back  to center stage. 
Then one night, I was in a noisy place, a place of worship. Most of the songs were unfamiliar; therefore singing while gleaning the truth made an awkward dance. 

Enter the beautiful blindsiding. 

The Spirit prompted the worship leader to break the cadence of the service with an invitation to lift up a burden. Without my permission, my hurt came to the forefront. I tried to stifle it's bruised hand reaching for the altar. It complied, but manifested itself in tears instead. No! No! I didn't want to cry in this unfamiliar place, but the woo to lay that burden down had an irresistible seduction. It was as though Jesus came to me, held my uplifted face between His hands and said, "Tell me all about it." Everything and everyone around me seemed excused from this private time with my Saviour.  I didn't say anything I hadn't said to Him before about this matter, and I knew this hurt wasn't going to heal overnight, but this time my keen awareness of His tender listening was enough. 

Sometimes listening to someone is the most Christ-like thing you can do. No solutions...no rescue...just the loan of your time, attention, and ears. Though you say no words, a healing exchange transacts. A burden is cut in half, and it's weight redistributes. A lightness blows the fragrance of hope through the place once packed with heaviness. What a beautiful gift!


Know this! Jesus is an ever-present help in time of trouble. Sometimes His presence speaks and dead hopes arise. Sometimes He answers before You even ask. Other times His still, small voice says nothing, but the comfort comes in knowing He cares enough to listen while you are hurting. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Comfort in Your Waiting Place

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3


Have you ever started out on a venture that took longer and was much harder than you anticipated? Maybe you've thought of quitting and writing it all off as a big mistake. You know you can't do that, but it feels good to talk about it for a moment, right? 

Perhaps you've been forging ahead so long you've forgotten what your initial goal was. That's OK. This happens when doing something bigger than yourself. 

You are in a prime place that I believe God finds irresistible. You are so dependent and vulnerable that if God does not step in, it's all over with anyway. You've run out of ideas, strength, and any other resource. Good! This may mean you've given your all for Him and He has to take it from here. He can and He will, My Friend. 


May I encourage you to find comfort in this place prickly with uncertainty? Lay your head on the stone of stuck and look toward Heaven. Rest your back in this corner you feel painted, pushed, and backed into and watch what happens next.  God has set the stage for His grand entrance.  (I've learned sometimes God doesn't make His appearance right away. His silence allows time for rest and contemplation.) Then, at the proper time, He steps in. It looks different for each of us, but it's always like a ray of light after a dark season; a word of hope or direction after a long silence. Before you know it, you're back on track. You're more certain, you're revived and full of purpose again. If you think back, you'll see you've been here before, the stakes just seem higher, but the Most High was still there! You didn't come this far to miss out on what's next. Each challenge is a muscle-builder against the next giant. Get rested, get realigned, and then get ready to rise to applaud the King because He IS coming! His shadow will fall on your circumstance and bring joy to your heart and glory to Himself. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

God in the Dark

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89:1

When you're going through a trial, God's faithfulness can get fuzzy sometimes. It's not that He has fallen short; your perspective has. When stress gets thick, it can clog the artery that once flowed full and strong with remembrance of Who God is, what He has done, and what He promised.

When everything is going well, His goodness is easy to believe, but what about when life sucker-punches you and presses on the windpipe of your faith? Without a rescue, your hope can blackout.

 I have discovered that the Holy Spirit of God is the best  at invading the night spaces when anxiety has burglarized my peace. Sometimes, even before I'm fully awake, He gives my Spirit a word from His Word that turns a sharp and sudden light on the the shadows of fear that crept in. They run, and my heart decompresses. His peace rushes in like a flood.
Other times, I must go out and glean the peace I'm hungry for; but the True Vine is always my faithful Supplier. I  leave His presence full of encouragement and hope till the next feeding.

May the Lord sustain you in your time of trouble. May You find Him to be the positive to your every negative. May your heart be filled with joy by faith until the clouds clear and sight mirrors what your heart trusted would be there. Hang in there, My Friend! Your song of deliverance will make it to your lips in His perfect time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Prayer of Faith When Life is Hard

Oh, God, I'm hurting. I know You are the Great Healer of hurts. Please heal me. Dry my tears and hold me. You've done it many times before. Do it again, Lord!

I wish for relief today. I desire an end to all that's uncertain, for the light to be turned on in those places dark with uncertainty. I know you can do it, Lord, all power is in Your mighty hand.

But...

I also know Your ways are higher than mine, and You want me to trust You. I understand You are at work when I don't understand. Your power doesn't just work to fulfill my desire; it fulfills Your divine purpose, and I bow my heart and will to Your desire above my own.

I choose to trust Your timing, Your agenda,  Your love. As hard as my current hurt is, I submit to Your schedule for its relief. You are a Healer, no doubt, but You are also a Vinedresser, a Cultivator of character.( John 15:1) Cut, snip, prune, and take away according to Your wisdom. Only preserve my mind. Don't let me lose heart or sight of what is important since trouble tends to be a great liar when I'm hurting.

Thank You that You care enough for me to give me what I need instead of what I want. Take my hand and lead me on into the uncertainty that lies ahead. Whisper words of love and hope to me in the dark. Thank you in advance for what I will become and the heightened beauty I will see in You when we both come out on the other side.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Painful Places on Your Journey?

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." Psalm 119:28

How are you these days, My Friend? Are you weary? Stressed? Anxious or uncertain? All of the above?

Sometimes our spirit droops from the hot sun of adversity, and we need a cool drink of hope, don't we? This has been my story daily for the past few weeks. Certain times of the day seem to be peak droop times. I told myself loudly enough for God to hear that I am sick to death of these daily attacks. I asked Him to give me strength to fight my bully so he will either go away with a sore butt or  just plain go away. (Sometimes I don't want to grow strong as much as I want to just be left alone.)

I have a feeling God is up to something good through this season. He always is.

What do you do in those intense moments when all your worst and most unreasonable fears gang up on you? Where do you go when your most vulnerable places are black and blue from sucker punches?

I have found two places: His Word and His people.

Each morning, God has been faithful to give me a word of reassurance. My spirit rabidly searches for it as I read. Sometimes it's a direct promise on the Bible page. Sometimes it's His presence that comes near while I'm drinking at His fountain of truth. Either way, it's wonderful. He'll do the same for you.

Sometimes a friend of His and mine will speak a word of encouragement. Some don't even realize they were His carrier.

If you are a fellow traveler in a painful season, be encouraged, My Friend. God has planted rest stops on your journey to get you through. I'd love to hear how He has shown up on your road. Maybe we can be each other's encouragers till we each make it to the glad-that's-over and let's-have-a-praise-party part of the road.



Thursday, July 6, 2017

All You'll Ever Need


"Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful." 1 Corinthians 1:27

Yeah, I know. The world keeps talking about being strong and slaying this, killing that, rocking the other. All of this high praise to be so tough, talented, and together can be intimidating, can't it? What if you're too weak or scared or insecure to be a slayer? What if you need a place to heal or to be inspired and encouraged? The world walks over people like that so we pretend "we got this" and pray nobody finds out we don't. It gets exhausting holding yourself together, doesn't it?

That's why I love being a Christian, My Friend. It's the only place I know where weakness is an asset; where not being cool and confident in yourself makes you a candidate to be used in a monumental way. Jesus welcomes the weak and infuses them with His strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9) He invites the weary one to take on His yoke that is so much lighter (Matthew11:29-30). Don't be ashamed to need that kind of mercy and grace! Jesus gets you and loves you  just the same. Knowing Him is not a disadvantage, it's the highest privilege and the surest way to live a life that's not wasted. If you follow Him, you will slay it, kill it, and rock it in His name. You can't do it on your own.

If you have it all together, my hat's off to you. But if you need a place to be vulnerable, to feel you won't be judged for being flawed, a place to expose your deepest self and still come away with dignity, look no farther than the face of the living Christ. He's more than you'll ever need!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Help for Growing Your Faith

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

As women of faith, the Word of God is as essential as air. You would agree that without it, everything is uncertain and up for debate. Thank God that guesswork need not be our work in any matter pertaining to life and godliness.

Why is it, then, that we doubt? Why do our lips profess a belief in what He says but our eyebrows furrow and our hands wring and our sleep shies away as if they did not get the memo? If our heart truly believes, why is it not flooded with peace without the bloody streams of anxiety that contaminate that clear flood?

  I had to tell the Lord I was sorry this morning. He revealed the very inconsistency I described above. It's almost as though worry has season tickets reserved in this heart of mine! I want to have so much joy in the season of not-yet that when faith becomes sight, there's hardly a noticeable shift in my demeanor. This is my prayer for myself and for you too, My Friend.

How do we work toward that? I am finding one particular exercise helpful: reading biographies of believers who trusted God and saw Him come through. These real-life stories seem to set my faith ablaze, burning off the dross of unbelief and kindling a holy jealousy to see God move in my life the same way.

The Bible is full of such stories; you can use Hebrews 11 as a reference point and look up their stories using a cross-reference tool. Autobiographies are another wonderful resource. My favorites are George Mueller, Brother Andrew, Lottie Moon, and Bruce Olson. How about you?

Here's to growing a fuller faith that goes beyond just our words and reaches your heart, hands, wee-hours, and whole demeanor. Are you with me?



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Your Eyes At, Girl?



"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

If ever your feet are going to travel the road God mapped for you, you must keep your eyes on Him. Put them on your circumstances and you'll get a jankety view of God. Circumstances judge all of Who God is by only what's happening in the moment. Not good.

Put your eyes on your fears and they paint high-definition, ghoulish pictures of all the bad that might happen. Fears make you want to stay where you are and never move forward or pack it all up and go back from where you came. We ain't goin' there!

Put your eyes on other people and you'll get confused because everybody's got an opinion about what you should do and why. Trouble is, they may be speaking to your life based on who they are and where they've been and sometimes on what's in it for them. Even well-intentioned loved ones can only go so far in directing you. Only God should have ultimate say because He is the only one with the original blueprint for your life.

So where are your eyes today? A good indicator is your emotional state. If you are experiencing anything other than peace, your eyes are not where they need to be. Resist the temptation to look everywhere but where the answers are. Fix your eyes on the One Who will counsel you with His eyes on you, for you are the apple of His eye. I suggest you get your eyes in His Word and on the back of your eyelids in prayer, My Friend. That's where the answers are when you don't know what to do.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Nobody Like Him!

" To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One." Isaiah 40:25

There's nobody like Him! To whom are you gonna compare Him? Anything you line up next to Him is ridiculous. He's in a class all. by. Himself.

He makes claims nobody else can, and He backs up every one of them. EVERY one! No one else can claim to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 11:25b) and then have the omnipresence to keep that promise. (Psalm 139:7-10)

All others say "Work your way up to me, appease me."

Our wonderful God says, " You don't have what it takes to make it to Me.  How about I come to you instead? You don't have enough good in inventory to appease Me. Let me provide that too. Let me grant the very righteousness I require so we can be together."  (Romans 8:3-4) Who does that!? Our merciful God, that's Who! Nobody like Him!

Then He has the glorious nerve to provide this to everyone. No special license, background, education, pedigree, skin color, or credit check required. Whosoever will may come. ( Romans 10:13) Nobody like Him!

Then there's the love. He's more than a God Who's bigger than you, requiring whatever tribute the King of the Universe has every right to demand. He is relational, personal, compassionate, and intimately acquainted with all your ways...not a dry, mute statue to bring incense to, but a living, concerned, and conversational God. (1John 3:1; Psalm 145:8; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 138:3) Nobody like Him.

I wouldn't dare leave out the resurrection. Nobody else has the patent on that but our God. Death was a snarling, ferocious, and carnivorous beast whose dungeon was the grave. Our Mighty God defeated that beast and turned that very dark dungeon into a doorway to Heaven.

Can anyone be silent about such a God as He? Let the idols of the earth be satisfied with incense and fearful appeasement. A God as mighty and unique as ours deserves so much better. Reserve your worship, best love, and service for Him precisely because there is nobody like Him. (Romans 12:1)






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 be 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!