Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are You Stuck In Life's Riptide?

"C'mon! Get in here!" We stood at the waters edge yelling, waving our arms. My son and nephew were deep in the big waves...too far out for inexperienced 12 & 14 year old boys. Worry began to flood. I noticed with each crashing wave, every paddle and kick, they still seemed to be heading deeper and deeper out into the ocean. They were caught in a riptide. The rules of escape need to be taught. I'd told my son but maybe not enough. My young nephew had no idea being from Utah and not familiar with ocean dangers. 

My brother & I continued to yell. I motioned for them to paddle horizontal to the shoreline to help them get out of the riptide and come in. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be getting through  to them, they continued trying to swim against the ocean force. I knew that we may have to both jump in and save them.


Finally, a large wave broke through pushing them close enough to touch. 

The spray of the ocean across my face matched the refreshing relief in my heart. Sigh. 

That quick!


In a moment things can turn from fun to danger.


When life choices take us out into deep water; when you seem to be swimming and getting nowhere, heading deeper and deeper into a dangerous place...grab hold of your safety net. Reach out for the Lord's outstretched hand. He's yelling, "C'mon! Get in here! Let Me help you. Let me save you from drowning. Take my hand and walk with me."


Like the escape route of a riptide requires following the shoreline until you're safely out of harms way; our walk with Jesus is the same. When we choose to look to Him, to follow Him, we find ourselves safely out of the danger of our poor decisions. Washed clean. Restored. Made brand new in Christ's image, through His sacrifice.


Don't think you're too far gone. He has come to save YOU. He loves YOU. He wants to help YOU. He wants to guide you back to a safe and secure place...HIS LOVE.


Don't continue to swim against life's riptides hoping you'll eventually reach the shore. You're not designed to go this journey alone. That emptiness...that thing in your life that you're constantly trying to fill with (FILL IN THE BLANK) (drugs, alcohol, sex, lying, cheating, pride, stealing, hurting, unforgiveness)...whatever your space is, it can only be filled with the love of Jesus. Look to your Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the lifeguard of your life. Call to Him...HE WILL RESCUE YOU!  


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

"The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." 
Jeremiah 31:3

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." 
John 15:10-11

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." 
Psalm 16:11

Thursday, October 23, 2014

IN THE WAITING...


It only takes "Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed"
I can't see it. I continue to hope. It doesn't look hopeful. I stand on promises. In the waiting I'm required to have faith. This faith doesn’t feel like much some days. I grip, grasp, cling…the small window appears as I press my face tightly against it. I try to see in, looking for that glimmer of change…a different view than the present. The curtain closes and I'm back in the waiting. Doubt threatens to steal. I'm sinking. What can I do?

It's in that moment of darkness; when I'm ready to give up, in the waiting, that I'm reminded of the Lord’s unending promises. "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalms 27:14.

His timing is always perfect, maybe not perfect by my standards or limited view, but He knows exactly what I need in this situation, at this time. When the Lord moves, no one can stop Him. The doors fling open at the sound of His Voice. The way of impossible becomes possible. The path is cleared…the miracles abound. The prayer once a whisper, a cry, a plea, it’s answered…His answers.

In the waiting you are taught to persevere, never lose sight of Jesus, pray even if you only have faith the size of a mustard seed. So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Don't shrink back in the dry seasons. Don't give up before the miracle. Wait on the Lord. 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 40:31

In the waiting know that Jesus is holding you, teaching you to lean on Him in all things. Grab hold of his outstretched hand…in the waiting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Struggle

I tried to hold them in. I struggled to put on my~everything's fine, no problems, no worries, just fine~face. But the moisture filled. The lids spilled. I'm not a crier. I've always tried to be tough.  In my mind the only thing crying accomplishes is making me feel worse, weak, emotionally unstable. 

Hold it together.

You can do this.

Things will get better.

Truth is, sometimes, the problems mount up. Problems that seem unending. Issues that seem impossible. I'm in the dark tunnel; walking, jogging, running...trying to see the light. I get tired. I busy myself in mindless things. I try not to look at it. But it's there. It's big; looming above, in front, beside and behind. There's no escaping it. Not tears, not tasks, not the fake smile. No...it's right here. 

So what do I do? I need help. 

I open my notebook. I read. It's my safe place, this $1.00 notebook. I hide my heart treasures within its covers; words, prayers, answered prayers, Scripture verses...they're all there. Words...some shared on this blog, others~things God has whispered to my soul during quiet time with Him. It's priceless. 

The first letters pop~"Faith Walk" This is no accident...no coincidence. The Scripture I wrote down months ago:
"Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." John 9:3

I continued to read...my writing about faith. It was before this trial, perhaps during another one...this life, full of them. Faith writing, faith in trials, faith in impossible: 
"Trials push us beyond our own strength. It asks us to look to God when we cannot bare the burden and weight. We are deceived in thinking we're sufficient in ourselves. We need to recognize our deficiency and seek Jesus' sufficiency DAILY, asking, "What would Jesus do in our situation?" 

He is our example. He always spent time with His Father. During His greatest trials, in the garden of Gethsemane, in heading to the Cross, He went and spent time alone, praying. The faith, trust, strength and endurance needed from God. He knew what was ahead. Jesus sat with His Father, it is there that He was filled.

I need filling. I need to be held. I need to know that this will work out for His good and perfect will.  

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

So I make a choice. I choose to sit and spend time with the Lord. I choose to be still. I find all things that I need for this moment, this day, right here with God. 
"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

HIS GRACE is sufficient for me. HIS STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness. Thank you Lord!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What Do Your Words Say About You?

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:38
My words come quickly. My tongue unleashes with a biting sting. This has been my struggle. This is my daily prayer. "Your Words not mine, Lord." Use what I say to uplift, not tear down. My ever constant plea.

When I was younger, I learned the importance of words and the effect they had on people. It was my defense mechanism. A sure fire way to keep people at a distance. I honed my skill through life struggles of raising three boys alone for several years. I was always standing guard. My mouth a willing sword.

Due to years of practice, my mouth seemed to take on a mind of it's own. Where once I'd only lash out at someone I felt was attacking me or my family, soon became anyone or anything that made me upset or angry. This weapon was hurtful. 

As my life continued to spiral out of control, one hurt and disappointment after another, I knew I needed a drastic change. My life and my family's had become unmanageable, chaotic, I knew the answer. I'd been running from the truth for years. I couldn't understand how my life had traveled so far off track. I needed more of Jesus and less of me.

We started going back to church. I prayed for help in all areas of my life, especially my mouth. I started reading scriptures first thing in the morning before getting out of bed; before the hectic day sucked every last minute away.  I turned my radio to a Christian station while driving. The upbeat worship music calmed my aggressive mind and mouth. I began to speak kinder. I had more control over what I said. I felt a need to encourage others with words instead of tearing down. Jesus was filling me up with His love and truth; mending old habits and scars.

My words...my lifelong struggle...they were being used for good. For the purpose and will of God. Words that brought hope, pointing people to the Healer, Jesus Christ. My scripture and prayer time  was actually the most healing gift I'd ever been given. I laid my struggles, hurt and weakness at the foot of the cross each morning. Jesus met me in that place. He carried my pain. He encouraged me, "Write and speak My words; words that edify and lift up, leading the lost hurting and broken to their Healer, Jesus Christ."

Today, lay your troubles at the feet of Jesus. Let Him heal you and use you. He has a great and glorious plan for your life. He makes ALL things new; turning even weaknesses into your greatest strengths. Call out to Him. He is near to the downcast and broken-hearted.

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10


"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Thursday, September 25, 2014

URGENT PRAYER VIGIL-SAVE SAEED

I wanted to share and ask for your prayers for Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been held captive in an Iranian prison for his faith in Jesus Christ. Please join us in prayer (several sites worldwide-see link below) or if you're unable to attend an event, please remember to still pray for him tomorrow. 

BE HEARD! IT'S HAPPENING TOMORROW...BE SURE TO JOIN US!
WHAT: WORLDWIDE PASTOR SAEED ABEDINI PRAYER VIGIL ‪#‎SAVESAEED‬
WHEN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
PLACE: NEWPORT BEACH CITY HALL
100 CIVIC CENTER DR.
NEWPORT BEACH
TIME: 12:00-12:35 p.m.
***If you are not in the Orange County, CA area please find a WORLDWIDE Prayer Vigil site near you:
http://beheardproject.com/prayer-vigil/saeed

FROM ACLJ: 
"Tomorrow marks two years of wrongful imprisonment for American Pastor Saeed Abedini. For two years, this U.S. citizen has undergone beatings, faced death threats, and been withheld medical care. For two years, he’s stood steadfast in his Christian faith. But right now is a critical moment. Iran’s President is headed to America to speak to the United Nations. Now's the time to send a clear message. Now's the time to bring Pastor Saeed home. We just once again raised his case at the U.N. and are fighting around the clock for his freedom. As thousands around the world gather – starting tonight in Washington, DC, and throughout the day tomorrow – to pray for this persecuted pastor’s freedom, join with them.
Pray and make your voice heard for Pastor Saeed. Take action with us and demand Iran release him today."
Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sitting at the Waters Edge of Life...



The wind whipped the sand. I turned my back to keep it from my eyes. I could scoot back, away from the oceans edge, but getting closer to God’s amazing beauty is why I came to the beach. The same can often be true in life, it may not always be easy or the ideal conditions to seek God. Some day’s you’re weary; soul parched. The last thing on your mind is getting closer to God; the day’s drag on, one blurring into another. But the Lord patiently calls out…"Draw near to Me. Let Me fill you up."
The sand continues to pelt my back. I sit. I write. I listen. The waves crash up to the edge of the shoreline, all power and strength, only to recede from whence it came. My leg dangling, the ledge recently created by the recent swell of hurricanes far off. I cannot see what’s happening underneath to raise the water up. But I know the water is hitting sand bars deep below, forming incredible, glorious, sometimes monstrous waves.
Most of us try to avoid life’s storms, crumbling as they relentlessly pound despite our best efforts…no visible end in sight. During these times it’s important to not lose sight of the ALWAYS PRESENT STRENGTH OF THE LORD.
“The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.” Psalm 29:8

He can raise up great and majestic beauty in your life if you will call on Him. Cling to Him as a lifeline. Learn to trust fully in Him. As each wave hits the sandbar of your heart, call on Jesus. Ask for wisdom and guidance. He will not let you drowned. Don’t turn your back on Him any longer. It’s time to go deeper. Let Him bring beauty out of the storm, carrying you safely into the light…a rainbow shining brightly where once there was only darkness.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

I turn, I face the wind. The sand no longer hits my face. Nothing has changed other than I chose to face it head on.  The water closes in, spraying my face, and glasses. Refreshing salt mist has replaced hard sand pelts.

Things do not always stay the same. You may be in a difficult season right now. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Don’t lose faith.
“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17


Turn your face to Jesus. He is waiting for you; interceding for you. He loves you. You are never alone. Look to Him!
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail;” Luke 22:31-32


Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do You Feel Trapped?


I walked up to get a closer look and see if I could save it. The brilliant colors drew me in. A half circle around it was all I needed to know it couldn't be saved. I was too late. The allure of false light had trapped him. The candle was encased in a trap. This beauty who had known the crawl, endured the transformation, to finally soar, had been sucked in. Drawn to the light, it's warmth and comfort a facade. It's outward appearance still looked the same, however the life was gone. I sat back down as the music played, filling the air, my eyes drawn back to the encased, lifeless butterfly. Now a beautiful decoration.

I know in my own life, too often I've been drawn to the allure of false light. Chasing after things that I thought would bring me happiness, only to get trapped and encased in the lie.

The light of the candle was false...not the comforting warmth of the sun. The false allure of this world and the things in it are not the one true, life-giving, life-sustaining, and life-transforming light of Jesus Christ. Everything you're chasing after will never fill the one true void in your heart. You need Jesus. He fills up, transforms, renews and makes ALL things new.

Do not continue down the empty road you've been on for far too long. The true Light that has come into the world, Jesus Christ, is easy to find. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior over every area of your life, even those deep, hidden, dark places. He will bring life back in...no matter how far you've wandered or how deep you've fallen. He is the Life-Giver, Restorer, and Healer. The Savior of the world that makes all things new. Call out to Him today. His Light is life!

"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


"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10


"I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind." Ecclesiastes 1:14

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7