Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE FIGHT

I sat in front of the pier, a group of homeless men of varying ages...early 20's to late 60's sat to my left. I silently prayed over them as my worship music loudly played. Another older homeless man with long gray, straggly hair pulled up on his bike, a worn cart attached to the back with a dog inside. He began screaming at a one of the younger homeless men...who in turn responded by yelling and charging towards him. They seemed to know each other and have some kind of long standing rift. Their anger began to escalate as they stood face to face just a few inches apart, taunting each other to throw the first punch while name calling.

I've never been one to just sit back and let things happen around me without trying to intervene. I quickly turned my bike around and pulled up next to them and shouted, " Stop it! Knock it off!" I repeated it several times, my music continue to blare, as I prayed that it would not escalate. They were oblivious to me or anything I was saying to them. But I continued to try, "Stop it! Calm down...don't do this!"

Finally a friend of the younger homeless man stepped in and pulled him away before either man threw a punch.

ANGER.

It can grip so hard and drag us in past the point of reason.

As I road away I thought about all the times in my life I've let anger get me to a point of really hurting people. I've said terrible things. I've lashed out trying to hurt people who I felt wronged me or my family. But then JESUS stepped into my life and filled my heart.

Don't get me wrong, I still get angry, but my reactions are much more controlled than before. I know how to diffuse it by running to The LORD. The enemy can use anger to control people. He hardens hearts and blinds eyes. He breaks up families and friendships.

Today if you find yourself held in angers grip, steal away to a quiet place, pray, ask The LORD to reveal truth, peace and His love over the situation. Never forget that JESUS makes ALL things new. Don't be deceived, don't stay captive in anger. JESUS has called you and I for more. Let His love seep into those hardened, hurting places. Let go. 
"Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry,
for anger rests in the bosom of fools."~Ecclesiastes 7:9


"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."~James 1:19-20

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." Romans 12:3

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Meet Mo...A Man Searching For Inspiration

I captured the above shot after "Mo" (in the turquoise shirt) had walked away & met up w/his friends.
I hope he's sharing JESUS w/them now!
Yesterday I met a man named "Mo" on the pier. He approached me and asked what I was writing? I told him, "An inspirational Christian story for my blog." He said he was a writer, (historical history) and it peaked his interest to know what I was writing about. Then he said, "Inspire me!"

Woah, that caught me off guard...spur of the moment inspiration?

The first thing that came to mind is how JESUS changed, softened, guided and directed our hearts to bring lil' Josh (our foster son/soon to be adopted son) into our family. So I shared our story...which all started with a simple decision to spend time with THE LORD *daily* in prayer and scripture study. It changed everything about our old selfish lives...replacing it with HIS Heart, Love, and Will. A transformation that only happened as we *chose* to seek JESUS daily. 

He listened intently. And at the end said, "Thank you for inspiring me today! What parting words would you leave me with? 

I said, "SEEK JESUS."

He smiled, leaned in to give me a hug and said, "Thank you!"

Today I'm thankful for *appointments* GOD has for us. Each day is a new adventure. We need to make sure we're always available and ready to make time for HIS plans in our day!

Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared."~Exodus 23:20

"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near."~Isaiah 55:6

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."~John 15:1-5

Monday, June 22, 2015

Help...I'm Stuck!

I went outside to take my picture for my morning devotional post and thought the cactus shot was perfect. But truly, one small detail was even better...a single tree fruit had fallen from above. It landed directly onto a cactus prong poking right through while other fruit made it safely to the ground below.

Somedays I can feel like this...landing in the wrong place at the wrong time. But here's what I've learned. Every seemingly "wrong" place in my life has a purpose. Whether it's a lesson/learning experience/growth opportunity, a chance to ask/receive forgiveness, a detour because there's people I need to meet down this path, or just a difficult road teaching me perseverance, faith and trust...I'm never alone in the midst of it. The Lord is right there with me when I *choose* to stop feeling sorry for myself and say, "Okay, I don't understand what You're doing here right now Lord, but Thank You for what YOU ARE doing. Help me to seek You in the midst of this. 

That one small thankful prayer re-adjusts everything. I'm flooded with a feeling of love and peace...EVERY SINGLE TIME! Now the trick is to pray before I complain!
I'm a work in progress but I'm thankful the key word is *progress*! Today I'm thankful for difficulties that produce growth! Thank You JESUS!

"Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day."~Psalm 25:4-5

"Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate."~Hebrews 13:12

"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."~Hebrews 13:15

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SHOULD I JUMP? OVERCOMING FEAR

I have always been afraid of heights. For years I'd have dreams of falling. As a young girl I tried to overcome it by climbing the ladder to the high dive at the Elk's Lodge on summer vacation. Slowly I inched my way up behind the line of brave kids in front of me. My hands gripping tightly to the sides of the ladder, one shaky step at a time, glancing every so often behind me to see how high I was. 

One by one they reached the top walking boldly out onto the ledge, fearlessly jumping or diving. As my turn approached, I looked down for an escape route but was met by the tops of black, brown, blonde, and red hair...a road block. Kids were lined up on every step below me, the line extending from the ladder to the ground and around the pool. I could only move forward. My heart was pounding. I carefully walked out onto the shaky ledge, leaning slowly over to look at the water far below.

"GO! JUMP! HURRY UP!" The kids behind me were growing impatient.

I backed up, hoping to run and just do it. But I froze. The fear kept me firmly planted, unable to move forward or jump. Peer pressure behind me, the unknown in front of me. So what did I do?

I walked straight at the kids and yelled..."Everyone's going to have to climb down because I'm not going to jump!"

I was met with anger and yelling. I sat down on the diving board, letting them know I was serious. One by one they began to yell at the kids behind them to climb down. 

Fear had won that day.

It was a lesson I've never forgotten. Fear can lead you backwards. It can keep you from all that God has for your life. There's all kinds of fear: fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of decisions, fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgement...it's never ending. 

As I CHOOSE to seek THE LORD daily, allowing HIS truth to permeate into every fiber of my being, fear gives way to trust. I'm able to take steps forward down the path HE'S leading, calling, guiding, clearing, opening...for me. Each day as I CHOOSE to spend time not only praying and reading the Scriptures, but actually sitting QUIETLY to LISTEN, THE LORD meets me and fills my emptiness in the quiet. HE reveals HIS LOVE. HE restores all that this world has tried to weigh me down with. TRUTH. JESUS CHRIST has come to set captives free. Once feeble steps in HIS direction give way to bolder, stronger, fearless steps of Faith. HE has come to give me/you more!

Today, stop talking, slow down, listen. In the quiet HE will meet you. Dispelling all your worry and fear. Today, choose more of HIM and less of the noise and lies of this world. JESUS has a good and perfect plan for you. Seek HIM in the quiet, HE'S waiting. 

"Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"~ Psalm 27:17


"Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lordbut the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, butthe Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."~1 Kings 19:11-12

JESUS SETS AN EXAMPLE
"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”~Mark 1:35-36

Monday, May 18, 2015

Are You Running in Circles?



Her tail began to wag furiously in anticipation; treats...her favorite highlight of the day. I opened the back door. She ran out thinking I was going to give it to her out there. But I quickly shut the door.

You see...I have a problem, I love to play jokes, whether it's on my hubby, kids, friends and yes even my piercing blue eyed, beautiful Siberian Husky, Allie.

She sat outside for a minute staring at me through the window and then quickly ran through the doggy door, into the living room and back into the kitchen. I promptly had the door open for her again. She ran right out. I closed the door. Back through the doggy door she came, circling back in to the all too familiar open back door. Slam. I was seriously curious to see how many times it would take her to catch on. We were all standing in the kitchen laughing. She ran back in and as I opened the door she stopped and stood next to me, waiting this time for me to go out first. The third time was the charm. She wasn't going to fall for it anymore.

How many times does it take you to learn a lesson? Are you continuing to run through the same door that's led you down the wrong path time and time again? As you crawl your way back through the small "doggy door" trying to start over again...do you find yourself running straight at the door you know will close on you? Without changing habits, you will never see different results. The Lord is always calling you to Him. He has given you an escape. He wants you to learn to seek Him before you go running in the wrong direction again. He wants to teach you to "wait on Him." He will open a door that no man can shut when you "allow" Him to go before you preparing the way.

Pray, seeking Him for the right path. Learn from your past mistakes. Don't continue to run in circles, never getting anywhere. Jesus wants to guide you to your true purpose, away from past sins that so easily entangle, attempting to drag you back in...a constant trick...a joke. You know the door will slam shut on that empty way of life. The Lord has sacrificed everything to show you a better way...a way out!

Today, call out to Him. Ask Jesus to guide you, heal you, forgive you. Ask Him to make ALL THINGS new; setting you free from the chains of bondage which have held you captive for far too long. Lay it all down. Ask Jesus into your life, your heart...setting you free. Ask Him to take you deeper in His love. He is your Savior. He stands with outstretched arms, waiting to embrace you and go before you on the journey He has prepared for you. A safe passage.

It's time to stop running in the wrong direction. You are loved! You were called for more!

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."~Romans 8:37


 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."~Revelation 3:7-8

AND AGAIN...

"The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut;
And he shall shut, and no one shall open."~Isaiah 22:22 


 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."~Jeremiah 29:13

Thursday, May 14, 2015

HOW DEEP ARE YOUR SCARS?

I focused on the cracks in the wood floor; the deep scrapes and scarring. They've been there every single time I've sat close to stretch, but today I noticed. They seemed more obvious...battle wounds; class after class, weight bearing down. It's old and worn now. It's taken much. As I continue to stare, my battle wounds come to light. A struggle in the waiting currently engulfs me. 

Is that why I noticed?

Is it cancer? How bad? What am I going to have to face?

Old scars from the last time I went down this road a year ago...re-opening, tearing deep.

But I received a miracle. It was gone and I required no further treatment. 

Scars leave a mark. A reminder left behind.

Jesus shared His scars of sacrifice with a doubting Thomas~(John 20:24-27). A reminder of the truth of His love, words and actions. The scars remained but the truth prevailed. Hope to the hopeless. Love for the unloved. Forgiveness to the lost. Healing's for the sick. Resurrection from death. Promises of a new way of life, above all we face; above all we're dealing with.

Jesus Christ bears the truth and love. As we look to Him in the middle of a crises...we are healed.

As I focus on Jesus in the waiting, my worry gives way to peace. My fear gives way to trust. 

We are all scarred. We all have a choice. Are you...am I...going to continue to look at the scars too long? Or are we going to focus on the Healer, Jesus Christ? It's a moment by moment, minute by minute choice. What are you choosing? Today I choose healing. My Lord and Savior meets me as I seek Him. Today Lift your eyes up...your Savior, Jesus Christ is holding out His love scarred hands toward you. Grab Hold. Be healed.


Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.~Zechariah 1:3

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”~John 8:12

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Are You Running Fast Enough?

The boy, no older than 2 years old ran as fast as his short legs could carry him. Laughter filled the air as he glanced several times over his shoulder to see if his dad was getting closer. In just a few short steps he closed the gap, stooping down, he scooped his child into his arms swinging him around and around. He gently set him down and began to walk away. The young toddler, realizing it was his turn to chase his dad, set his legs in motion, awkwardly trying to maintain his balance while increasing his speed. Faster and faster he went, until the pace was too much for his tired little legs. He launched forward, falling to his knees; his father immediately coming to his rescue.

I want to be just like this young child. I want to be running after Jesus so fast that my feet give out and I'm constantly falling to my knees.
"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall, 
But those who wait on the Lord 
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint."~Isaiah 40:28-31

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."~Isaiah 40:28-31