Sunday, January 24, 2010

Receiving, In Faithful Expectation

Romans 8 says the earth groans in eager expectation for the sons of god to be revealed and we've seen a little bit of that earth groaning in Haiti over the last week or so. When you see an image from Haiti and how those sweet people have just been devastated, I want you to get a very clear picture in your understanding of what the enemy is after in your life. That wherever you see death and despair and depression, brokenness, pain, weeping and rejection, that is the way of the world. That's the way things go. And yet right into the middle of that devastation comes the Word of God. And the Word of God is life and health and peace and abundance and goodness and acceptance and loving-kindness.

When you and I look over the circumstances of our own lives, there's ... if your life is like mine ... they are some messes there. Some of those messes are our own doing and some of them are because of the sinful choices of other people. We tend to be very critical of our own situations and say, "Well, if someone else did it to me that's one thing, but if I did it to myself then I'm pretty much stuck here." But Jesus comes to redeem all of it. He redeems whatever we give to him.

And so I want to remind you today that Jesus Paid It All, it's not just a song. It's so much more than that. It's reality. That where there is pain, brokenness, loneliness, rejection, sickness, and bondage, Jesus steps into that mess and says, "I can make all things new. I can redeem that."

So, I would ask you today, where is the brokenness and pain in your life? What needs to be brought into the redemptive arena for the touch of Jesus in your life? You have but to bring that to him.

I love that Psalm 23 says that he sets a table before us in the presence of our enemies. Where the enemy wants to fight, Jesus says, "Sit down and let's eat. Not only will we not fight but in the midst of that there will be peace."

So, where is there a lack of peace and joy today? Let's bring that to him to today.

"Jesus, we thank you today. That you have all power and all authority and all sovereignty to make peace in the midst of chaos. So Lord, we bring you the wreckage and the chaos that is in our lives. We thank you that it's not beyond your grasp. We yield authority to you, Jesus. Touch us and make us whole in Jesus' name. Amen."

I invite you right now to let joy rise up in your heart because your future really is brighter than you know. You bring it into the authority of Jesus and he has the ability to touch that thing and make it new again. Whatever it is. So let joyful anticipation rise up in your heart, by faith, that Jesus is not finished speaking over your life yet.

"Jesus we thank you today for your blood represented by this cup. We confess today that there are things in our own lives, messes we made and messes we didn't, that we need your redemptive touch to come to right now. We receive your touch with joy and faithful anticipation. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

I watched church online today and these are words spoken by Pastor Marcus before heading into Pastor Robert's message. Since I was watching online, I was able to go back and press play and pause until I had these words down. They just touched my heart so much when I heard them that I wanted to get them down here so that I could speak them over my life [and you over yours] because I believe God speaks over my life through others many a time.

In faithful anticipation and expectation, I receive.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 11

"I resonated with this blog because change cannot take place in anyone's life until one can whole-heartedly state ... I AM READY!

This new year brought that determination that "I am ready" to make some changes ... physically, emotionally and spiritually.

God called me to a very strict fast to start the new year, one that has definitely caused a big void in me, considering my love for food and the way that I've allowed myself to eat over the past 18 months.

Instead of wincing and finding any loop hole I could in God's request, I felt excited ... even if there was a wee bit of trepidation about how my body was going to respond.

I could sense that God had a new plan for my life this year and that taking control of food--instead of allowing it continued control of me --was high on the priority list. And it's not just about food. It's about filling the void of eating just to eat with something else, with someone else ... Jesus.

I knew He wanted to show me that even though I don't have a hundred pounds to lose, the 25 that I've put on since marriage in 2007 were a sign that I'd become lazy; and that laziness didn't just show up in pounds, it showed up in my mood, my energy, my drive and my outlook on life, which impacted my life as a whole.

I know that this fast is not THE answer to everything because after this is over I will need to make very wise choices about lifestyle changes if I don't want to see the pounds creep back. But I believe God wants to show me through this fast that food - and the negative effects it can have - is not really what was controlling me ... it is the byproduct of what I was trying to cover. And THAT is the most important part of this fasting journey: allowing Him to show me those areas and then surrendering them to Him. THEN, food can go back to being yummy and necessary in proportion, but not my comfort and not my excuse.

Wow, I've rambled far too much, but I think this response to your blog is actually something God was revealing to me as I was writing."
This is a response to a blog I read today, and I had to copy and paste it here because I realized at the end of my comment that God was speaking to my heart and I wasn't even aware of it. He was showing me one purpose, albeit important, to my fast.

So, I had to record it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 7

Today I'm feeling a little bit on the tired side; like I just didn't get a full night's sleep, although I know I got at least 7 hours. Since fasting has the ups and downs as your body goes through processes of highs and releasing toxins, maybe today my body is trying to release more of the crap I've personally built up in it over the years.

But, on the brighter side, I am so excited that today IS day 7! Almost one full week behind me, and I'm crazily looking forward to the weeks to come. I feel as if this week has been about rediscovering the process of fasting, the do's and don'ts, and what's good for me and what isn't. It's almost as if it was my 'ramp up' to what's really coming. I'm even thinking about extending the fast, but that decision will come as my 21 days draws closer to its end.

This morning at church, I was sitting and reading my Bible in the lobby area [because Teighlor had to be there early for her shift]. I was reading in Isaiah 42 and came across this verse:

"I will take You by the hand and will keep You."

God spoke this to Jesus, although this is a prophetic chapter about Jesus' time to come, but its sweetness just reverberated in my soul. I think of Jesus as strong and capable and the truest leader there ever was. Yet God, His Father, was demonstrating through this one sentence that even Jesus, OUR Savior, would need to be lead by the Father and would be kept by the Father.

That is a humbling thing to think about considering I'm reading about the man who endured the cross by choice. But it brings a sweet smile to my heart because I know that my Father also says this exact thing to me...and then waits for me to take His hand.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 5

"What a difference a day makes. 24 little hours..."

That's how I feel today. The last four days have been physically demanding on my body. Between getting through the hardest days of the fast [the first 3-4], starting my period [which is never an easy go 'round] and getting sick, my body felt like it was being put through the ringer.

But, God's mercies are new every morning! And today I feel energized, alert, awake, and physically healthy. No more cramps, no more fatigue, and my head's not full of snot. It's all good!

Needless to say, I haven't spent an inordinate amount of time digging into the deeper of things of God in the past few days. I've been resting, resting, resting. And my physical state made it very hard to focus my brain.

But, God's mercies are new every day! And today I spent the better part of 2 hours getting caught up on blogs that inspire me and encourage me towards God. Some days I just need to "hear" what God is speaking through others and have those words inspire me.

"Part of the change that life propagates is the necessary death of the old, in order to give life to the new." [via Bob Hamp's blog]

This, of course, spoke directly to my heart since God has been overwhelming me with the theme that this new year is, "Out with old. In with the new."

I was also challenged, in another blog, to really think about what it means to have the mind of Christ.

"But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit, so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us .... But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ."
[1 Cor. 2:10-16]

This is inspiration for me. God's Word and his purpose are not a mystery that can't be revealed. He desires to reveal himself if I will dig deep. His Spirit and my spirit know each other. But if I'm not willing to take the time to know him, then a mystery it will all remain.

I know that God has hidden things for me to discover during this fasting period. If I do not purpose to find his treasure, than it will remain hidden.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 3

"Today I 'OFFICIALLY' crossed over into sickness = Day 1 [of sick], Day 2 [of 'this', hardest of 5] & Day 3 [of 21]. A combination for bed!" This was my morning tweet, and this is what it means:

I felt the beginning stages of a head/chest cold yesterday, but this morning I woke up with the full blown effects: a sore throat, a face full of congestion and a cough that makes my chest feel like it's burning. THIS = Day 1 [of sick]

Yesterday afternoon I started my period [yay]. THIS = Day 2 [of 'this', hardest of 5]

Today is Day 3 of my fast. I am feeling hunger finally, and my body is still in major 'toxin flush out mode', so my energy is feeling zapped. THIS = Day 3 [of 21]

Add all of this together and IT = A combination for bed! [which is where I am now typing this blog post.]

It's not that I'm trying to be melodramatic about my fast and purposely spending my day in bed so that I can look mournful to my family and they can feel sorry for me that I'm on Day 3 without food. Actually, had it not been for SICK + PERIOD, I'd be up and around like it was a normal day...I'd just have a few hunger pains.

So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, but today I am going to give my body the rest it needs...because I CAN. And for that I am truly thankful. I don't have anywhere to be and I've completed 2 1/2 hours of home school teaching and grading with the kids right here from the comfort of my own bed. I have more curriculum to go through, but right now I'm going to close off the world and take a nap...because I CAN.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A ROBUST [eeyore]?

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don't skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
[This is your last and only chance at it,]
[For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think]
[In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed.]

I was inspired this morning to look up Ecclesiates 9:9 from a tweet I read posted by Marriage Today:
"This year, resolve to live out Ecclesiastes 9:9: Enjoy life with your spouse. Don't just exist in the same house. Live joyfully together."
I read it first in the NIV and was a bit taken aback:

"Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:9

Wow! How is that supposed to be inspiring? I get the whole "enjoy your days" part but the rest made me think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. So then I pulled up The Message translation and read this verse in context with the entire passage, which is above. Definitely much more encouraging and inspiring...but I still laughed when I got to the last 3 lines, which I put in brackets. He raises his fist to enjoying life with "robust" pleasure and then follows it up with...cuz you're just gonna end up with the dead anyway.

I wonder if Solomon was bi-polar???...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 1

Today I started my 21-day fast. This is an annual Gateway fast done at the New Year, except this year we were given the freedom to start the fast on our chosen day. I pretty much knew in my gut when Pastor Robert announced the fast that God was going to call me to step out big for Him this year. I can't say how I knew it...I just did. But I still committed to seeking Him in prayer for a week and the peace of walking out a total fast was laid on my heart.

My only trepidation was the fact that I knew my body was more addicted to food now that it ever has been and that restricting myself to water and juice was not going to be like it was when I did this kind of fast back in California....when I ate far less and weighed far less than I do now. But, I had the peace of knowing that if God was calling me to this sacrifice then He had His reasons and I needed to rest in that trust.

Well, day 1 is just about behind me and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Now, I know day 2 and 3 are still in front of me, but I'm not worried. I can say tonight, especially after attending another night of the First Conference, that I am excited about these days that lie ahead of me. I'm excited to get past "the worst, first 3 days" as they're called in fasting, and move into the spiritual, emotional, and physical healings that I KNOW God has in store for me...and OTHERS than are hitching a ride on my heart with me.

I can't say I have a clue about what what these days hold, I just know "in my knower" that because my God has called me...I am excited!

VICTORY was the word God gave Pastor Robert for 2010 and that word is going before me in every thing this year. Victory will be seen in Jesus' Name!

2010: Moving Forward

Ok, I'm finally making the time to post what I'd written almost a week ago. My 2010:


Focus: PRAYER & INTERCESSION [Luke 18:1-8]

Scripture Passage: PSALM 5 [my spiritual enemies will not reign]

Scripture Verse: ROMANS 15:13 9 [posted above in my header]


I have no particular 'goals' list of things I probably won't accomplish anyway. That was not the path God lead me to this year. It's not about what I can accomplish or check off a 2010 To Do list, for the list only makes me feel better [or worse]. It's about really focusing on the few things He impressed on my heart and being diligent in those few areas. Stripping down the insignificant and finding the significance in Him.

This year is about letting go [by choice] and moving forward [by choice] into JOY.PEACE.HOPE and GLORY.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In A Few Moments

At the end of the message tonight at the First Conference - which was off the hook, by the way - we were asked to kneel and seek God for what He would like to say to us. I was on my knees but for 5 seconds and these words were poured into me [almost] faster than I could write them:

Go deeper
Walk closer
Sit next to me
Listen to me
Take my hand
Walk with me
Laugh with me
Let this journey be joy-filled
I'm your Daddy
You're my little girl
Can you feel my smile?
See the glory of my love?
I have so much waiting for you
Will you trust me to show you piece by piece?
My hand shelters you
My heart protects you
My prayers cover you
My promise goes before you
And My glory surrounds you

His words were clear. I didn't have to strain to hear Him. He just spoke...and I recorded.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For Today

Although I still have to post my 2010 stuff, I wanted to quickly record a passage of scripture I read this morning that so appropriately compliments God's vision for me this year:

10 Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?"
For it is not wise to ask such questions.

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
and benefits those who see the sun.

12 Wisdom is a shelter
as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.

13 Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten
what he has made crooked?

14 When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other.

Ecclesiates 7:10-14

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Snapshot of 2009

First Blog of 2009: Review of 2008

Last Blog of 2009: [Recorded] Prophetic Words from November 2009

Total Blogs Written in 2009: 85

First Tweet of 2009:
To My Groom... double, tall, caramel macchiato, extra hot with extra foam. Lub Lub! :)

Last Tweet of 2009:
Our family toasted the New Year/Decade w/glasses of Sparkling Apple Cider & Cheers! 2010? Feels kinda weird! Blessings & Favor to Y'all! :D

Total Tweets for 2009: 1,911

Random Tweets from Each of the 12 Months:
  1. Christmas morning so far: Nash peed on the FAKE Christmas tree & Mo SCREAMED in a high C when she opened her big gift...a Red iPod. Classic! [December]
  2. There is so much loud laughter filling our living room right now. One of the most beautiful sounds to my ears. So Thankful for Family! [November]
  3. Christmas Cheer Day, Christmas, Christmas Cheer Day. Christmas Cheer Day, CCD is Here. Do we have a holiday? YES, we have a holiday! OH... [October]
  4. Completely spontaneous but really good day w/family. Tubing w/Mom, Canasta partner w/Coli, Mi Chulas w/all family & then House watching. :) [September]
  5. Anthony starts his new job tomorrow a.m. Life is gonna change from what we've known. Very excited but questioning how it all will pan out. [August]
  6. Teaching Jason and Coli how to play canasta. Dad is Coli's coach and I am Jason's. Fun! [July]
  7. Heading off to the 1st All Star game of the summer. Excited! Alec looks good in his uniform. So Mama Proud! [June]
  8. Totally cool being here with Teighlor at Life Today Studios for Karen Kingsbury. Plus we got a copy of her newest book for free. [May]
  9. Sitting on a bench with Coli and SB in hand, watching people & just enjoying THiS moment. [April]
  10. Making HAPPY BIRTHDAY pancakes for Teighlor today... PURPLE PANCAKES. And... from scratch since I didn't have any Bisquick left. :-) [March]
  11. Here's TMI for y'all... whoever claims that exercise is the perfect antidote for cramps was lieing! Must have been a man who said that! [February]
  12. Just read an email from a friend whose life was turned upside down in a day. We so need to remember that God is never surprised by anything! [January]
Most Listened To Song in 2009:
Everyone Needs a Little by Kari Jobe

Song That Was Most Needed for Inspiration in 2009:
Faithful God by Zach Neese

Anthem Song for 2009:
Overcome by New Life Church

My Truth for 2009:
"They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."

Thought That Impacted Me the Most in 2009:
To be loving is relatively simple. To love me? Well, THIS is harder. You have to know me, pursue me, overcome my frailty, and be willing to be hurt by me. [Bob Hamp]

Favorite New Thing for 2009:
Our Family Blog and Smilebox. Ok, technically that's two things, but they go together.

These are just snapshots of last year. I chose not to record my favorite memories or those unrealized goals for 2009. I have two blogs that I can turn back to for the memories, and the unrealized goals? Well, I'll just put those behind me and look forward to what 2010 holds for me.

Last night we attended Gateway's New Year's Eve service and the one thing spoken that impacted me the most was this [paraphrased]:

The new year is an opportunity to leave the old one behind...the good, the bad and the ugly. It's impossible to look forward to new when we're still holding onto the old. It's my choice to completely let go or to hold on.

I'm choosing to let 2009 go...all of it. I won't dwell on the tough times, and I won't hold onto the good times. My slate is gonna be clean...clean for new memories of sweet times and for watching God bring good from what our enemy purposes for evil. I've lived all I can of 2009.

2010...I'm ready for all that you hold: the good, the bad, and maybe the not so pretty. Whatever it is, my prayer is that I will always remember that God holds me in His hand and that His desires for me are good.