Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Call You Friend

"I no longer call you servants...Instead, I call you friends... You did not choose me, but I chose you..." (John 15:15-16 NIV)

Simple prayer from our deepest longing brings the quickest answers from God. He continually answers those prayers in the most unexpected ways.

Several months ago, I asked God to bless me with new Christian friends since I had just moved to a different city. Funny how I can't have a women's ministry that edifies and encourages women without friends! He answered my prayer in such a way that I am in awe. A women's Bible study at church led to a wonderful small group fellowship to a blog which draws new friends from as far as Singapore (check out the comment to "Tell Your Story.")! I discovered this morning that each of us affects others in ways that we are not aware of and that we really do need each other.

In yesterday's message, "Tell Your Story," I mentioned that I am usually a loner. Even though I enjoy my private time, God is showing me what a wonderful blessing friendship is. It is a gift when you are blessed with people who love you and stand with you. I usually shy away from large displays of affection from friends because I have always believed that I was unworthy of their love. This morning I realized that God has moved through me to touch others in some way and I have no right to isolate myself (thanks Joanne!). I am not my own. I know I keep saying that, but that is what God keeps telling me.

God's call on my life is that of an encouraging mentor to women. My life, my gifts of discernment and compassion, and this blog are some of the tools He has given me to serve His children. Sweet Jesus, I am already living my calling!

To my friends Susie W, Dell R, Joanne R, Leah G, Debbie H, Donna B, Donna D, Norma P, Crystal M, Jennifer B, Nancy K, Lori C, Kimberly DQ, Marsha P, Adrienne V, Patti L, Juliann A and Karen R, I thank you for your friendship and love. To my new friends, Lysa Terkheurst, Shari Braendel and the P31 Beauty Team, Jing Er and others who have visited this blog, thank you for your encouragement and faith.

Jesus, thank you for calling us Your friends. Keep us surrendered, vulnerable and open so that others may draw near to You and Your love. You have chosen us to will and to do for Your good pleasure. May Your will be done. In Your sweet, holy Name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tell Your Story

"Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it." (Habakkuk 2:2, NIV)

"You cannot not tell your story!" -church sign

Bam! Right between the eyes! Don't you just love when God speaks to you so clearly? I was driving down a busy road last week, feeling discouraged because I didn't feel that the messages for this blog were as rich as God was making them to me. I sent up a prayer asking if I heard His calling correctly or if I should just let it go. I knew what He had laid on my heart and that my sole purpose was to always give others hope. As I passed by a small church, I caught the message on its sign that read, "You cannot not tell your story!" Do you think God knows what we need?!

"Yes!" I told God, "I hear You loud and clear." Our sole purpose in life is to share our testimony. Our trials and tribulations are not for us, but for God's glory and hope for His children. I may not get to write and publish a bestselling novel, but I can and must share my story with others somehow, someway.

Those who know me well know that I am pretty much a loner. I love people and enjoy being around them, but I also need a lot of quiet time to renew. I spent twenty-four years in the retail industry where you are required to be "on" all day with a day lasting eight to twelve hours. That takes a lot of energy and honestly, the grace of God. Now that I am no longer in the industry, I still find that I need a lot of quiet time, but this time is now spent in the Lord's Presence. I can tell you that this has been the sweetest time of my life. Even though I am waiting for the Lord to make His plans clear for my calling, I have the pleasure of drawing near to Him and He drawing near to me.

Bruce Wilkinson, the author of The Dream Giver, calls this time of restoration and transformation Sanctuary. It's a place where God washes away the residue from our time in the Wasteland where we have struggled in our journey and worn ourselves out. God restores us and ambushes us with His Presence. We get to soak in all that He is and all that He has for us. We get Him. What a Gift! In this Gift I have found blessings, love like I have never known and joy for the first time in my life. My Lord is teaching me that every day of my life is preparation for His call.

"You cannot not tell your story," is the confirmation I need. I have to step out of my comfort zone, reach out to others and allow them to reach out to me. I have to write. I have to speak. I have to tell my story so that others may know the goodness of the Lord. The world has to know His love. The world has to know His joy. The world just has to know Him.

You, too have to tell your story. You may not think that you have much to share or say, but your purpose on this earth is to give someone hope. At one point in my life, I went through a deep, dark depression, but my friend Mary Ellen helped me through. When the dark time had passed I told her that I owed her so much for helping me. She said I didn't owe her anything. I just had to turn around and help the next woman along.

I encourage you to take time today to extend a hand to someone, even if it takes you away from what is most important in your life. Your moment of selflessness may be the Jesus someone finally gets to see. You may be their hope for the day. You may even save their life. We are not our own and have been commanded by Jesus to be witnesses to Him.

Sweet Jesus, help us to take our eyes off ourselves as people who are not worthy or qualified to help. Move us to will and to do for Your good pleasure. May You receive all the glory, honor and praise. In Your sweet holy Name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:4, KJV)

"Endure until your testing is over. Then you will be mature and complete, and you won't need anything." (James 1:4, GWT)

I hate waiting, especially when I know what is supposed to happen in a situation. I just want it to happen already! Obviously patience is a virtue that the Lord really needs to make complete in me. He has given me visions of what He wants me to do and be and this time in the waiting room is driving me nuts! I just want to be who He created me to be and get on with it. I'm chomping at the bit, wanting to serve the Lord right now in the gifts He has given me.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. How much longer Lord?! What else do I need to do? Have I done something wrong? Did I really hear Your call on my life? You know God is in control when you can't seem to move in the direction you believe you should go and doors seem to be shut really tight. Then you hear the words, "Be still and know that I am God." Ooops, that's right. This dream is not about me, but all about God. If I am not patient enough to wait on Him, then I am not ready for His vision.

This time of waiting is a time of preparation. It is a time to be still and know Who God is. It is a time of restoration and transformation, surrender and humility. It is God's time to bend, mold and shape us into the visions He has given us. We have no control over the length of our prep time, but must trust in the Lord. His work in us creates a pliable, available and willing servant, one who wills to do for His good pleasure. He chose us and we are not our own. Our lives and all that we have are His for the using.

Even though this time in the waiting room seems to be taking way too long, My Lord is closer than ever. He meets me even when I don't call on Him. He leaves little surprises every day; generous unexpected blessings. Everyday He teaches me something new about Himself and the desires of His heart. I have fallen madly, deeply in love with Him and eagerly look forward to His Presence. What will He bring today? What is in store for tomorrow? His Presence is my hope in the waiting room.

If you are "stuck" in your waiting room, trust that the Lord really has something great He wants you to accomplish. He will bring it to pass. Stop fighting what you don't want and be still before Him. Be teachable. Lean on Him for patience, wisdom and discernment. Ask Him for the grace and joy to live each day His way. "Let patience have her perfect work...," and discover the greatest gift in your waiting - the Lord Himself.

Monday, January 28, 2008

God's Way

"For I know the plans I have for you..." (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV)

" But when it pleased God..." (Galatians 1:15, NIV)

Surprise! That's what God says to me sometimes when an unexpected blessing or opportunity comes my way. I love that He's like that. He keeps our relationship fresh and exciting. But it also drives me crazy when He does that because that's not what I prayed for.

God has a way of giving us amazing visions of what He wants us to do in our lives and as humans we try to figure out the how in accomplishing those visions. So we pray and plan and pray and plan and cry out in frustration, repent and pray and plan some more. That thing called control (or is it impatience?) keeps getting in the way and we waste time struggling to make the visions happen.

One lesson I am learning is the daily process of surrender to His way of living. I must lay down my plans, ideas and the world's influence to watch, wait and listen for Him. I so want to run and create the vision in the ways that I know how, but this time God's vision is greater than anything I could ever do on my own. This time, I can't even figure out the how! If you read the first chapter of Galatians, the Apostle Paul talks about His transformation into a bond servant for Jesus. He simply states, "When it pleased God...," making it clear that God is in control. At His appointed time, visions will become reality. He will give us the how to our dreams and visions. How else could He get the glory?!

Lord, help me! Help me be patient. Help me watch, wait and listen. Help me stay surrendered, resting in Your promises, remembering that You are always faithful. I know You don't give visions and then take them away. Sit with me and show me what You want me to do, what You want me to know. My desire is for Your glory. In Jesus' sweet and holy Name. Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oh Tell Me, Tell Me

"Humble yourselves before the Lord..." (James 4:10, NIV)

God, sit with me today and tell me what You want.
Sit with me today and tell me what You need.
Sit with me today and tell me what can I do for You.
Sit with me today and tell me what brings You joy.
Sit with me today and tell me what grieves Your heart.
Sit with me today and show me what to fix.
Sit with me today and tell me Your plans.

Tell me, could I ever wash Your feet?
Tell me, could I wipe away Your tears?
Tell me, could I touch Your face and give You hope?
Tell me, could I fulfill Your commands and warm Your heart?
Tell me, could I ever wrap my arms around You and love You so?

Lord, could I ever bless You in the ways You have blessed me?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dreams and Visions

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last." (John 15:16, NIV)

"I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of Me and what I will show you." (Acts 26:16, NIV)

That's it! I have decided to answer His call and believe the visions the Lord has given me! I am receiving His call to be a full-fledged image and life coach, speaker and writer on these topics, an event planner and Mary Kay Director. Whew! Speaking out loud is scary, because you can't take the words back. When you know the Lord has a hold on your life to educate, edify and encourage women to be who He created them to be, you don't have a choice but to speak out and do.

I am reading the wonderful book The Dream Giver for the fifth or sixth time and this time every word is bouncing off the pages and speaking to me. When this happens I know it is because the Lord has taken me farther on my journey with Him. Just like Ordinary in The Dream Giver, now is the time for me to live my dream which is really God's dream.

Each one of us has been given a dream or dreams that we wish we could fulfill or are in the midst of fulfilling. For those of you who are just getting started or have not discovered exactly what your dream is, don't lose hope. My journey has taken many years with lots of lessons on life, surrender and living for the Lord and allowing Him to be in control. Some of the lessons have been really difficult and the waiting seems to take forever! We have to trust God's promises and we have to wait on Him or the visions will not turn out right. We are not our own and the visions are not exclusively ours. What is in our hearts was put there by the Lord.

I know this is hard to do, but wait on the Lord and trust Him. He chose you for those dreams and He will bring everything to pass. In the meantime, study and prepare. Learn all that you can about the dream He has laid on your heart. Write the vision on paper as often as you can. You will be surprised at how clear it becomes as He molds and shapes you into the vision He has given you. Study His Word daily, worship and praise Him. Sit with Him and listen to Him. What He teaches you will be needed throughout your journey and in the midst of your dream. Your dream cannot be accomplished without Him because it really is His dream. The joy is that He wants you along for the ride.

Father, I want to encourage those who have dreams in their hearts; dreams that You have given them. Lift them up, teach them in the way they must go. Strengthen them. Open their eyes and their minds to what You need them to know. Teach us all to trust You Lord with everything. In Jesus' sweet and holy Name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cost of Discipleship

"If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve...As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15, NIV)

What a huge decision to make. What boldness comes with that decision. What fear follows the boldness! God told Joshua to be strong and courageous when leading His people to the Promise Land. I want to live in my Promise Land and have come to a fork in the road where I must choose whom I will serve. I am scared because I know that choosing God will cause disappointment and pain to some family members. I have made decisions like this before and have suffered wrath like I have never seen. It is amazing what the enemy can do through a human being. But our God is a mighty God and He encourages, strengthens and comforts us in every step we take for Him. The Bible says we should not be surprised by trials and tribulations as they are part of the disciple's life.

I am reminded of Ordinary, a precious character in the book, The Dream Giver. I love this book because its main character is me and every single one of us who has a dream that they know they are called to fulfill. Ordinary takes up the courage that the Dream Giver (God) tells him he will need for his journey. Ordinary encounters bullies and giants who try to keep him from fulfilling his Dream Giver/God-given dream. The enemy has a way of doing that in our lives through friends, family and people we don't even know. As it is written in Joshua 24:15, we have to decide who we will serve in our lives. Choosing the Lord requires so much of us, actually all of what we are and with it will come uncertainty, heartache, disappointment, fear, humiliation, and great sorrow. Some may ask why anyone would want to serve the Lord if pain comes with it. The only answer I can give is that like Ordinary, I love the Lord so much, I would risk it all for Him. How startling and frightening those words are. If I choose to do exactly what the Lord wants, there will be many times where I will have nothing and no one to fall back on. But I know that one moment of joy with the Lord is worth more than all other moments put together!

Several years ago, my sister and I packed up her three-bedroom house and moved to Dallas so that she could attend a two-year graduate program. We did this in three weeks time and did not realize what we had done until the plane took off. We looked at each other and said, "What have we done?!" We laughed and cried and realized that it was too late; we were in the air. What I realize today is that God had someone for each of us while we were in Dallas to guide us, love us and strengthen us. My sister's best friend lived in Dallas and was my sister's rock. My nephew who has special needs, was blessed with teachers who adored him and were always prepared for his every need. And God just blessed me with an amazing friend who reflected the Holy Spirit. God showed me that even though we can't see Him, He will always be there for us.

We do not know what lies ahead when we choose to serve the Lord, but if we want to please Him, we have to choose Him. I read a quote by an unknown writer that said it does cost to follow Jesus, but it costs even more not to follow Him.

Lord, I know I am not my own and that Jesus paid a high price for me. Thank you for choosing me. I am fearful of what my choice will cost others, but I know that if I don't follow You, I will hinder Your work in me and in them. Forgive me for my fear and increase my faith. Joshua 1:9 commands us to be strong and courageous and not be terrified. You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Help us all to hold fast to Your promises. In Jesus' sweet, holy Name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged...For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

How comforting it is to know that God will be with us wherever we go. How comforting it is when He tells us not to be terrified or discouraged. God gives us big dreams and huge visions that we know we are not capable of attaining on our own. His sole purpose for doing that is so that we and others may know Him and His full glory.

I made a decision on Sunday evening that I had spent long enough in the wilderness and that I no longer wanted to live in a world of heavy oppression. Our pastor has been teaching about healing and I have to say that when it comes to healing, I usually think of physical healing not spiritual healing. I came across the story of the woman with the issue of blood who had enough faith to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. She knew that if she touched it, she would be healed. Jesus' response to her answered a prayer that I had been praying for so long. He told the woman, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Luke 8:48, NIV) In order for us to be who God created us to be and in order for us to walk in the visions He has given us, we must take our mustard seed of faith and reach out to Him. Success, prosperity, peace and the promises of God, as well as God Himself will only come through faith. The Apostle of Faith, Smith Wigglesworth said, "Faith is an action." We must follow God in faith, by believing Him and His promises.

Faith can be a hard thing to fathom when we have no idea where following Jesus will lead. We have to decide how badly we want to please Him and if that means more than anything in the world, then we must be strong and courageous. We are not given visions for a "someday" down the road. We are given visions in order to help others right where we are. I have a wonderful friend who helped me through a deep, dark depression many years ago. I told her that I owed her so much for helping me through. Her response was that I did not owe her anything, but that I was to turn around and help the next woman with her dreams and struggles. This is my assignment, to encourage and edify women God brings into my life and I am to use the gifts, abilities and power He provides to help them. Just as He helped Moses, He is willing to help me spread the Good News through love and grace.

I am so grateful that I am not my own and that He has chosen me to be a voice for Him. I pray that you will ask God what He wants you to do and that you will trust Him to show you His way. Be strong and courageous! The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Simplicity of God

"They will be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 37:23, NIV)

Just the other day I read a beautiful blog message that was so honest, humble and sweet. The writer's message was about taking hold of God's hand and letting Him bless us, not because we have done something, but because He simply loves us. I loved the writer's words because of their simplicity and because I too have learned that God is simple.

Most of us believe we have to be at a certain level in our faith or that we have to do something in order to have God in our lives and to justify His blessings. That is not so. It is a huge day for celebration when one of His children realizes that all God wants is us. He's not looking for specific rituals or accomplishments; He's looking for us. The One who spells His name with three letters, G-O-D, simply wants Y-O-U and M-E to L-O-V-E. That's our call and He extends a simple invitation that says, "Come, and I will give you rest."

I do not know how to encourage you or myself enough to let go of our striving and straining in order to measure up to our beliefs. I am learning through study and prayer that faith is all that is required of us and it can be as small as a mustard seed. Some days that is all I have and yet, He is still before me, beside me and within me. I have to love Him. I have to believe Him. How can I not trust in Someone Who promises so much and never fails? How can I not believe in Him Who has brought me through some of the ugliest times of my life and still blesses me? How can I not be grateful to the One Who continually opens doors to my heart's desires?

There are times when God loves me so much I am left speechless. Omnipotent, Mighty, Glorious, and Wonderful, don't even come close to describing Him. There are no words in any language that can truly express the glory of God and His love. I hope that you will take time out today to be simple before the Lord. Be who you are and let Him be Who He is. Enjoy the sweet, simple communion because that is all He wants.

Be blessed!

P.S. For those of you who are oppressed and seem to be continually bombarded by the enemy, let me give you a bit of encouragement today. My computer "crashed" as I was writing today's message. Note that it has been posted! Our God can and will always make a way for His words to be known! Praise God!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tell Them

"As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
'A voice of one calling in the desert,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for Him...And all mankind will see God's salvation.'" (Luke 3:4-6)

Whether I am ever published or considered a good speaker does not compare to the compelling call Jesus has on my life. The burden to be a witness to Him and to love for Him is oftentimes so great that I am left speechless. At this point in my life, I don't know what my next career is going to be or what accomplishments I will attain to. All I do know is that Jesus has got a hold on me and I am compelled to write, listen, believe and watch in awe and wonder. I know for sure that He has called me to be His witness. I know for sure that the more time I spend with Him, the more of Him I want and the more of Him I will tell.

I have never been so madly, deeply in love with anyone in my life and no one has ever given me the amount of love that Jesus has. There are times when I can't even fathom how wide, deep, high and long the Lord's love is. It is of such great magnitude that I know I could never do anything or enough of anything to get it.

Most of us have a hard time with simplicity because it is too simple! Yet God, Who only spells His Name with three letters, is simple. All He wants from us is us. I get to come as I am with all that I have and sit with Him. He sits with me, the one who has made many mistakes, has been called a failure and other hurtful names by loved ones and strangers, the one who has been ridiculed and rejected. He loves me enough to tell me, "Everything is going to be alright."

I had a wonderful Bible teacher who knew the Word so well. She is an amazing instructor, so full of history and wisdom. One night, she was teaching on the Song of Solomon and it was a night that I was in deep, dark despair. This night my soul ached and my teacher in her soft sweet voice said she was going to read the last three verses of Song of Solomon and give us her interpretation. She said she might get in trouble for sharing it, but she was willing to take the chance. After reading the verses, she said, "I believe God is saying, 'Oh, don't look at me with those big beautiful brown eyes of yours. For when you look up at me, my heart just melts. I love you so much; I just want to give you the world!'" At that moment, God filled every void and longing in my life. My soul was restored and I discovered my Heavenly Father was all I ever needed. He became my all in all and He wants to be your all in all. So much so, He sacrificed His Son for you and me. Jesus allowed humans, His brothers and sisters, to hammer nails into His hands and feet out of love for the Father and us. We are worth saving! We are worth blessing! We are worth loving!

No matter what you have ever said or done, there is no greater love than the love of Jesus. He commanded us to love the Father and each other. I may not always be able to speak eloquently and my grammar and punctuation may not be perfect, but I pray that I will always speak boldly the words He gives me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My Name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:5-6, NIV)

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14, NIV)

God showed me myself last night through someone else. I watched a leader in my church ask someone who had approached him to wait while the leader went to speak to someone else. I realized that I had seen this happen several times before, but last night's scene broke my heart. The person who was asked to wait went and sat at the altar and waited with a look of disappointment, discouragement and unworthiness.

I was reminded of a time when I had done something similar. I believed that I was not responsible for this person's situation because I was not God. The Lord brought me to tears and repentance last night. I wept not because of poor pitiful me, but because my sin grieved my Lord and Savior and probably someone else. Jesus told us not to turn away even the little children. It doesn't matter what my brother or sister has, doesn't have, does or doesn't do. I have been commanded by Jesus Christ to love them as I love myself. When I turn them away, I turn away Jesus.

Now, I understand that I am God's vessel and by choosing to be annoyed or unavailable to any person, I become unavailable to God. He cannot use me in my self-centeredness and I hinder Him from moving in the lives of others. What we do or don't do affects so many lives. We do not know how God plans to use us nor do we know who is watching how we live. Times will come when people will tell us how our actions have affected their lives.

I know for myself that I am always asking God to help me do great things in serving Him and others. I get caught up in my grand visions and often miss God's simple vision for those directly in front of me. I always root for the underdog and last night I realized that I don't get to choose who the underdog is. That is God's job and He gives us the gifts, talents and passion to serve those He places in front of us. How long that service is to last is His call and His alone. All the strength, patience and love we need for service comes from Him. We will not be able to handle the grand visions in our future if we are not available or willing to serve those who are given to us in the present. "When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." (Luke 12:48, NIV)

When serving the Lord, we do not get to pick and choose whom we serve. As Jesus said, "The servant is no greater than his Lord." (John 15:20, KJV) As God's child, I really am my brother's keeper.

Sweet Jesus, please forgive me for turning away those whom You love. Help me to see all who cross my path as You see them and help me love them, edify and encourage them as You do. In Your sweet and holy Name. Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Simple Obedience

"Come to me...for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV)

As I was driving to work today, I encountered one of my travelling pet peeves (yes, a Christian with pet peeves. Thank goodness for God!) - people who cannot merge onto the highway into oncoming traffic. Now I know that it is important to be careful and respectful of other drivers, but merging smoothly and swiftly is probably the best way to be respectful to others on the road, especially if they are moving at a high rate of speed! Attempting to pick up speed or waiting until the roadway is clear are the best ways to be safe and respectful. Slowly merging or stopping and starting are dangerous and can cause serious accidents. Obedience to the flow of traffic and the rules of the road is so important for all those who are travelling.

As I slowed down for the van merging onto the highway this morning, I thought about my obedience to the Lord, especially over the last few months. I decided to surrender my life completely to the Lord a few months ago and consistently reminded myself that surrender takes both Him and me. I let Him work on me - more of Him and less of me. I disconnected the cable TV service in my home and began to spend more time with Him in prayer, Bible study and worship. I went through the wonderful process of water baptism, attended Bible study and women's fellowship at church and began to tithe consistently. The changes that have occurred in my life have been spiritual as well as physical and I am amazed and awed at what simple obedience can do! Duh!

Oh, how I have grieved Him! There must have been (and probably still are!) times when He just bopped Himself on the head because I just couldn't or wouldn't get Him. Bless Him though! He still loves me so and is not holding anything back! How sweet He is! Just as safely merging into traffic requires obedience and respect, so living life requires us to be obedient and respectful to our Lord. He created us just for that and eagerly waits for us to come to Him.

I can tell you that since I made the decisions and changes mentioned above, my life has been smoother and sweeter. There have been great changes in my mindset, my unbelief is turning into full belief and relationships that were truly difficult to be a part of are now better than they have ever been. While He still needs to work greater patience into my life (especially behind the wheel of a moving vehicle!), I can vouch for what simple obedience can bring - blessings big and small and a sweet relationship with the Lord!

Surrender and obedience are not as difficult as we make them to be. We just need to remember that life with God is life with Him, a partnership and that we do not have to live it alone.

May you be blessed!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Humbled Servant

"He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that, He poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." (John 13:4-5, KJV)

Having spent twenty-four years in the retail and fashion industry, I have found that there are certain jobs and tasks that just require the most amazing amount of humility. I have always admired those who have worked in the shoe department for what I would call their bravery because, let's face it, feet are not always the prettiest or sweetest parts of our bodies! To sit at some one's feet and help them find shoes that are pretty or comfortable (or in some rare cases, both!) is not an easy task. The position of "shoe servant" requires strength, patience and sometimes the ability to hold your breath for a good length of time!

Now, back when Jesus washed the disciples' feet, they were probably really dusty and dirty and what Jesus did was normally left for a slave or servant to do. In John, chapter 13, we have Jesus, our Lord and King kneeling to wash the disciples' feet. Jesus, the King, knelt to do a servant's job. What are you willing to kneel and do?

Serving the public can be a daunting task and it really does take all the grace of God to be humble in serving others. The world's quotas, deadlines, goals and shoulda, woulda, coulda's require us to be humans "moving faster than the speed of light." Why? Once we have achieved the quotas, deadlines and goals, there are only more waiting. There is no rest at the end; only more expectations that make us believe we are not good enough and that what we have is the best we will ever get or be.

Ten months ago, I left the retail industry worn out, beat down and ragged. I loved the industry and the people, but I was exhausted and burned out. I am still weary. As my pastor taught this past Sunday, some of us have so much oppression heaped on us in our lives that we wouldn't know rest or good health if we saw it. In ten months I have discovered true surrender, rest in the Lord and for the first time in my life, joy. God is renewing me to serve, but this time it is His way. His way is with gratitude, adoration and devotion to Him. His way is based on real rest, real trust, and being exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to the point that surrender to God is the only way to survive.

The rest that I have found through my Lord and Savior gives me hope and comfort. I now know that the goals, quotas and expectations no longer need to be met at the speed of light, but can now be accomplished by His power and His might. I don't have to be superhuman and I don't have to strive anymore. I can serve the way I know I was always meant to serve - with love and sincerity. I know there will still be persecution, humiliation and discouragement, but this time, my purpose is different. I work, I serve, I live and I kneel for the Lord. If the King can do it, so can I.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Taste and See!

"O taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Psalm 34:8, NASB)

Every day, I read a wonderful devotional called My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. My copy of this book was purchased in 1994 with the last $14.00 I had in my wallet. My best friend and I were unemployed and had just landed jobs when we found this precious book. Back then, I was just learning how to really read and understand the Bible and I thought My Utmost would be a perfect guide. It was the toughest book I had ever read and most of what Oswald Chambers said went right over my head! I kept reading it though, because I knew that I wanted to know who God was and what He expected of me. I am a firm believer that God knows who and what we need in our lives right when we need them.

Today, the middle section of my devotional is coming apart and every page is highligted and starred. I am so grateful that the Lord brought this book into my life because it set a standard for me to attain. This does not mean that I don't read the Bible. It means that this book was for a time, motivation for me to get more of God by studying His Word. Oswald Chambers taught in such a way that I wanted to know God as he knew Him. I wanted to be that close to God. Fourteen years later, I can say that I have a close relationship with my heavenly Father and one that continues to grow.

What I didn't expect from this journey and relationship was a greater hunger for the Lord. It's worse than any food craving! My greatest desire is to sit in His Presence all day long and even that isn't enough! There isn't enough chocolate or fried food in the world to help with this! All I can do is sit with Him, seek Him even more and love Him with all I have.

When I look at what He has done for me, I know that even seeking Him doesn't come close to giving away His Son for death on a cross. My prayers, praise and worship don't compare to ridicule, humiliation, persecution and being nailed to a cross left to die a slow death. Why should I seek Him if what I do isn't enough? Because, there is no greater love than the love the Lord has for me. Once you get a taste of Him, there is nothing in the world, not even chocolate that could satify your hunger. Once you have Him in your life, nothing and no one can take His place. God is the only way you can have your cake and eat it too!

Be blessed!

Friday, January 11, 2008

No Greater Love

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13, NIV)

No greater love = adoration, devotion, humility and sacrifice. Would you be able to handle such a call on your life? Could you live your life knowing that your purpose for living was to die for all people? Throughout our lives, God brings us people to love deeply. Could you and would you die for them? Could you die for people you don't even know? Could you even let someone die for you?

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ came with one purpose, to die for us so that our sins would be forgiven, forever. He lived for thirty-three years knowing that His entire life was only for death. What faith and devotion to our Father! What an example to follow!

As I write this, I am asking myself these same questions. Could I die for people I love and people I don't know? For what the Lord has done for me? Yes! For how He has changed me? Yes! I know that's huge, but I accepted Jesus into my life and my entire being. Living for His plans and purpose are all that matters. Yes, it is frightening because I have no idea what this truly means nor do I know where He will lead. But He doesn't give us anything we can't bear for He is with us and within us. He has shown me His great love and it rests within my soul. It is a great love that no human could possibly give or take for it is all consuming.

God so wants us all to receive His Son, Jesus Christ, not for title or recognition but for repentance. Our sole purpose must be Him and His will. This is big. It requires a change of plans; a giving up of one's own desires, needs and agendas for a life of unknowns, but also a life full of Him and His blessings. Having accepted Jesus, my life has been a glory of unknowns that leave me in awe and wonder. I have no idea what is next, but I do know that I will do my best and trust Him with the rest of me in order to see what comes each day. I actually long for Him because He brings a power, a presence and a love that is indescribably delicious! Just watching and waiting for Him is exciting. When He sits with you, you become truly aware of a power greater than you and a love like no other.

If there are holes in your life or your life does not feel right, something is missing and you can't put your finger on it, talk to Jesus. You don't have to be fancy or extra polite. I'm not. I just talk to Him as I would a loved one or friend, because that is exactly what He is. He is not looking for perfect people, but people who are honest and real. He made you and already knows all your stuff anyway, so just lay everything at His feet. He can and will take it all and He will sit with you, walk with you, cry and laugh with you if you will let Him. He doesn't care what you have done or haven't done. He just wants you to come so He can love on you and bless you. Won't you come to Him? He is waiting with open arms just for you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Madly, Deeply

I read a blog the other day by Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. In it, she describes herself as an ordinary woman who is madly in love with Jesus. For several months I have been trying to find a way to describe my feelings for my Lord and Savior. Madly, deeply in love could not describe it any better! I just love Him so! When I think of Him, I get such a big silly grin on my face. All I can think of is Snoopy from Charley Brown when he dances with such joy. If my feet could spin like his as he glides across the floor, I would be doing some serious dancing for my Lord! Since I trained as a dancer, I know it is not humanly possible to spin my feet like Snoopy, but I do know with God, all things really are possible!

This reminds me of the lyrics,
"I am free to run.
I am free to dance.
I am free to live for You.
I am free!"

In all my life, I have never felt free until now. No, my circumstances are still by my side, but now they have to keep pace if they want to stick around. They can stay or they can go. Either way, I am still madly, deeply in love with Jesus and I have every intention of being with the One I love!

Do you know Jesus? If you do, are you madly, deeply in love with Him? Know that He wants you. Yes, you! He wants to fill you with His love, heal you of a broken heart, wipe away all of your sins and fill you with His Holy Spirit, the power you need to really live.

If you don't know Him or have not been close to Him for some time, accept His invitation. Ask Him to come into your life, your heart, your soul. Ask Him to help you see who and what He sees in you. Ask Him for forgiveness and watch in awe and wonder as He changes you and your life. He's always near. He always loves and He always answers prayer.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity.'" (Jeremiah 29:11-14, NIV)

I pray that you will seek Him and seek Him with your whole heart. When you do, I promise you too, will fall madly, deeply in love.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Believe Big, Believe Him

"'If you can?' said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!'" (Mark 9:23-24 NIV)

"'Have faith in God,' Jesus answered. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:22-24 NIV)

"Only believe, only believe. All things are possible; only believe." The Power of Faith, Smith Wigglesworth

I woke up at 4:30 this morning after another nightmare. I've been having them for over a month now, actually from the day my beloved cat, PC died. I have had horrible dreams that start out sweet and end up horribly. I have prayed to God to inhabit my dreams and as He always does, He answered my prayers.

My church began the Daniel Fast this week and I decided I wanted breakthrough in many areas of my life. As always, God has other plans as to what He wants us to learn when we choose obedience! Today is only the fourth day of the fast, but God has so spoken to my heart about my unbelief. During my prayer time, He showed me all of the dreams and desires I had prayed for as I was writing in my prayer journal. I was listing what I hoped to receive from Him in fasting and now realize that we don't always get what we want out of a fast or any type of obedience. If we are faithful and pray, we will get what God wants. What's so wonderful about my journey with Him is that I learn what He wants of me. In the past four days I have learned that He wants me to believe big which means I must really believe Him!

I look back over my attempts at success and yes, there are some successes, but they are not long lived and boy, are there some mistakes! I don't like the word "failure" because it means we have quit, but I can now see why my successes didn't last long and my mistakes were so big and painful - because I didn't believe that I could have what I dreamed of having. Even though I have quoted Scripture and recited affirmations, deep down inside I didn't believe that I could achieve my dreams and desires. I believed and still do that I will sabotage them or that they will be taken from me. I have lost loved ones in the past and I believe that through my dreams, the enemy is trying to tell me that he will take away everything that I love and want. Oh, but God loves me! He has shown me His Word,

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust...
He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday." (Psalm 91:1-2,4-6 NIV)

With God, life is a partnership and all that I do and must do for Him comes by His power not mine. That takes all the pressure off if you let it! God has given me great visions for my future, visions that are huge, overwhelming and in some cases frightening. But I must believe Him and in Him, not just to receive from Him, but also to live each day. I must believe His Word and His promises. The only way I know how to do that is to ask Him for help just as the father did in Mark 9:23-24.

Believing in God takes trust and courage. That too, comes from Him. What's great for us is that He has all that we need; we just have to believe. How do we believe? I am learning that it is through prayer, asking God for help and stepping out despite my fear. Studying His Word has given me confidence and I find that all my confidence really must be in Him because I am human and am afraid I will sabotage His blessings. The enemy does not want us to succeed and I must be so close to or already standing in my promised land for him to keep messing with my dreams. Through belief in God, I know I need not be afraid. My desire is for me to have the greatest faith possible and for God's children to have the same.

Lord, I ask you to help me overcome my unbelief. Please comfort all of Your children and remove their unbelief as well. We are Your called and predestined children. In order for us to be who You created us to be, we must believe. Help our unbelief!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Let Go!

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

For the past few years, I have been struggling and trying to make the visions that God has given me work in my life. I have planned and implemented and done bits of service here and there, but never enough it seemed to make the visions stick. Nine months ago, I moved to be closer to my family and help out with the family business. Little did I know that this would be a time of rest, not just physically, but also spiritually. Little did I know that I would get to meet my Maker in such a way, that He is now my best Friend! I can't imagine my life without Him and I can truly say that, "I am in love with You, my Lord!"

You may ask how I got to this point and how could any human being be in love with Something, Someone sooo big. When God calls His children, at some point they will draw near to Him and become exactly who they were created to be. I had the pleasure of chatting on the phone with my sister last night and we talked about what God is doing in our lives and how we are both embarking on something so big, that God has to come in. What He has shown us is bigger than ourselves and we have to just jump in and run! Why not run?! Neither one of us knows where He will take us, but that is the beauty of the journey.

I am excited about where God is leading. My path seems to be going in a different way than I had planned, which is good since it really wasn't working! What I have learned so clearly from Him, is that all of us must let go of all that we hope for, all that we dream of, all whom we love, and all that we don't want in our lives. If we don't let go, we hinder Him from blessing us and others. When we hold on tightly to those we love because we are believing God for blessing, healing, saving or whatever our desire is, we hinder Him from moving in their lives. He can't work when our hands are shut tight. He can only bless when our hands are open wide.

So since I have moved, I have found the peace that surpasses all understanding. It is in Him. I have found that no matter what my dreams are, He is in control. I have found that as I let go, He just blesses me like I have never been blessed before!

Our God is an awesome God, who has made promises that He intends to keep. The prayers we have sent up, He has heard. The tears we have cried, He has caught. Life with God is a partnership. He is waiting for us to let go so He can move and do only what He can do.

How badly do you want Him to move in your life? Let go so He can move!

Monday, January 7, 2008

If I Sat With You Today

"Lord, if I sat with You today, would You fix all of my problems?
- make my kids behave?
- stop the dog from chewing on all four legs of my new end table?
- keep the cat off the dog?!
- keep my cranky neighbor from complaining about her ailments?
- make my husband pick his clothes up off the floor and take out the trash before I ask him?
- have my family clean, do the laundry, cook dinner and put themselves to bed tonight?
- help me lose the 20 (or is it 30!) pounds I put on, without diet and exercise?
- finish the project at work that keeps getting revised just as I finish it?
- give me more time to live each day?
- give us more money to pay our bills instead of more month to wrack up bills?!
- give me a vacation?
- and, oh yeah, more time to sit with You?"

"My child, if you sat with Me today, I would have you cast all your cares upon Me.
- I would have you come to Me that I may give you rest.
- supply all of your need according to My riches in glory.
- help you love your neighbor as yourself.
- encourage you to present yourself as a living sacrifice.
- remind you that you have the mind of Christ, a renewed mind.
- that you can do all things through My Son, Jesus Christ Who strengthens you.
- tell you that when you are weak, then you are strong.
- remember that I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and to give you a hope and a future.
- remind you that you were created in My image and likeness.
- gently remove the plank from your eye.
- encourage you to stop fretting and seek My kingdom and its righteousness.
- told you that I would pour out blessings that there shall not be room enough to receive
- and remind you that I am with you always and that I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Oh My child, if only you had sat with Me today..." mts

Friday, January 4, 2008

Dare to Believe!

"And Jesus said to him, 'If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.'" (Mark 9:23, NASB)

Just the other day I was sitting at a red light thinking about my circumstances and wishing that they would be resolved for the new year. I was thinking how nice it would be to start 2008 with a clean slate and was envisioning what it would be like. As I turned my gaze back to the traffic light I noticed the license plate on the car in front of me. It read, "God Knus." I had to laugh because I find that since I chose to surrender my life to Him, He has answered prayer even before the thought has left my mind or my lips. I was reminded and assured that any and all things are possible to those who believe Him.

Many of us have made resolutions and set goals for this new year. Some of us are not sure how they are going to come about and some of us have detailed plans. I for one, have huge dreams in my heart and on paper and I can tell you that even though this is only the fourth day of the new year, God has answered and blessed me in unexpected and glorious ways.

One of the greatest apostles of our time, Smith Wigglesworth, had an unshakable faith in what God can do. He emphatically stated, "Dare to believe!" He said that God is just waiting for us to take Him at His Word and expect Him to fulfill His promises. All we have to do is ask and believe in prayer.

So, as you look at your goals today and everyday, dare to believe. As a matter of fact, I double dog dare you to believe that with God all things are possible! Ask Him!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Getting to God

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV)

As stated on the side panel of this blog, my sole purpose for writing is to share what God wants His children to know. He's desperate for us! He looks at us with such love and such heartache because we are attempting to live our lives by our own strength, abilities and stuff, forgetting (or not knowing) that all we have and all we are is because of Him.

So, how do we get to Him and Him to us? The answer is really simple - surrender. It's a tough word and an even tougher act, but it can be done. The wonderful thing about surrender is that it is a partnership with God not a sole proprietorship. We take the first step and actually come to Jesus and drop all of our cares at His feet. Staying surrendered is where our Lord and Savior comes in. He does the hard part, not us. This is when we get to rest and I don't mean sit down and strive, but actually rest. Resting really is being still and knowing that God is Who He says He is. Rest is reading His Word and meditating on it. Rest is learning from and listening to Him. Rest is believing what His Word says and being courageous and confident enough to trust Him. Rest is taking small steps in obedience every single day. Rest is getting to a point where you can't wait to be in His Presence and choose to seek Him throughout your day as much as possible. Rest becomes pure delight in the Lord. Rest is knowing that with God all things really are possible.

Come to Him. Ask Him to help you know Him and live your life well. God just wants His children back and that does include you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Beginnings

"For I know the plans I have for you..." (Jeremiah 29:11)

It's a new year, a new beginning and God is the only One who knows what is in store for 2008. I can't wait to see what He has planned! Even though I have written out goals and plans on how to achieve them, I know that I still must surrender them to God and believe that He will bring to pass what is best for me.

I pray that 2008 will be a year of blessings for each of you who visits "His Invitation" and that you will draw near to Him without ceasing to know His will for your life. His plans are for our good and may take us in directions that we are not comfortable with. But this I have learned from Him, no matter what we do or not do, what He unfolds is greater and more wonderful than anything we could ever imagine. For His Word says, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)

Surrender your plans to Him and watch with awe and wonder as He takes you on a journey that will be sweeter than anything you may ever know.