laughter is still the best medicine....

My Mom and I internally jogging!!
Just recently I took a personality test (bad idea).  In all seriousness it is helpful but dang it did a number on me.  Personality is fluid, changing and evolving but our basic default seems to remain the same.  My personality is perfect melancholy mixed with strong Choloric.  Basically perfect melancholy is "perfectionist" and Choloric is "do it my way".  Sounds like a pretty crappy genetic twist of fate....not only do I want to do it perfect but I want everyone else to do it perfect!  Talk about some bad expectations (by the way...sorry for that). In reality there are some great things about that mix but still....

My perfectionist side is creative, sensitive, analytical, organized and well negative and insecure.  WHAT??? 
But I thought I was fun and the life of the party???  How could this be?  I love to laugh and be the clown, so much so that I was in trouble alot in school.  And by alot, I mean alot, just ask my Mother. 
So sense my personality type is easily prone to bouts of depression, I sank slowly into disappointment and depression with this news.  I spent time talking to God and asking Him questions like, "How can my light shine if it's just a big black cloud?" or "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?  How can this be, my husband is funner than me, how is that possible?"  Apparently dramatic is another of my personality traits.  I mean come on, I knew I was all over the map emotionally but this just seemed highly insulting to my sense of self.  I became maddeningly insecure, over-thinking everything.  Oh my God, maybe I'm not even funny at all and people just laugh because it's awkward and they don't know what else to do.  Maybe no one likes to be around me they just have no choice (you can see the dark descent into the rabbit hole here).

And then it hit me.  I am funny, quirky, dark and light, silly, serious and everything in between.  God designed me to be me(all over the map).  No personality test can quantify who I am( though gotta admit it does help to understand why even I can't understand me). After all I am who God designed me to be.  I can understand how people feel because I am lucky enough to often feel it all myself! Happy one moment in the pits the next.  I always knew what my weaknesses were even as a small girl I was wildly insecure.  Always wanting everyone to like me. So I became funny, not faking it but just protecting myself with laughter.  Making people laugh felt good and since I was a little melancholy I liked feeling better!  Laughing, after all releases endorphins that literally make us feel better as do tears but tears mess my makeup up and so therefore I laugh!!  Laughter is internal jogging, which is good because I don't want to do the external kind. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

There is enough of me drying up already with the decline of hormones and all, so I think I will stick to internal jogging so that my bones don't dry up too.  So yes, I have weaknesses but thank you Jesus they don't rule my life anymore.   I still have to struggle out of the blues every once in a while when life seems to heavy.  I never have to stay there unless I choose to.  I have learned to put on worship music or fun music and dance around.  To write in my thankful journal and remember all the good things not bad.  I will watch something funny or look at the humor on pinterest.  I try to surround myself with funny people and remember to laugh at every opportunity, even when it is inappropriate (so sorry about that). 

 Laughter is the best medicine and I am who God designed me to be melancholy/choloric or whatever the test shows.   I am still working at being the best version of me I can be.  And so, I laugh at myself because that is a much better choice than tears.  In the book of Luke in the parable of the prodigal son the father says it is good to make "merry" and rejoice because what was once lost is found!  I once was lost and now I am found.  So I am going to make merry and laugh as much as possible.  I hope you do too!!!

The Blessing.

So....Pastor Gary, my husband has rolled out the vision God gave him to unite the body of Christ and win our cities.  One voice, speaking one thing, "BLESSING".  I AM is the great blesser.  The one who pronounced blessing over the Israelites and the one who gave the biggest blessing of all, Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:11 (NKJV)
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

As I was studying this morning I ran across something I found very interesting.  In Israel there is a Valley of Blessing.  Valley of Beracah, which means valley of blessing.  It was here that
after the victory of Jehoshaphat and his people over their enemies they went to the Valley of Blessing.  "On the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Beracah; for there they blessed Yahweh."   2 Chron 20:26
It made me think about this valley that we live in.  The Inland Empire is what  I most often hear it called, though I know it is called many other things (not nice I might add).  Crime is through the roof here, it is in a depression if you gauge that by the unemployment numbers, cities are bankrupt, people are desperate, food lines long, hope is low and morality is even lower.  Our cities, our valley needs to be exalted and it will only happen in the supernatural realm.  The wicked have a loud voice but the voice of the Lord is within each of us.  United our voice sings out over the battlefield and the victory is taken. 
Joel 2:11 (NKJV) 11 The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?
Aren't we His army?  If we are blessing others than aren't we executing His Word? 
Joel 3:16 (ASV) 16 And Jehovah will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Jehovah will be a refuge unto his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel.
When we become a roaring mighty voice in unison, the heavens and the earth will shake for Jesus. Then we will see many run into the refuge of the Allmighty!
Revelation 19:1 (ASV) 1 After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God:
One voice came from the great multitude...Jesus prayed, on earth as it is in heaven, we can be that one voice coming from a great multitude!
What if we truly all take the call to heart, to be the blessing.   With one voice we begin blessing not just our city, cities and our valley but what if in the midst of that we blessed Yahweh, proclaiming what we cannot see in faith as if it is already done.  After all, it is already done. 
This is our city, our valley and it is a Valley of Blessing

I just want you to mess me up Lord.

So the past few weeks have been very interesting.  After a week of Worship, preaching, taking a personality test and then having Kevin Weaver come and re-orient my mind.  I decided that the Lord has taken my prayer seriously.  He is messing me up.  It is so easy to settle for being put back together but the Lord longs to create a masterpiece.  Being restored from broken is good, but being made even beter is upgrade.  So I give the Lord free reign to do the hard stuff.  I don't like being broken again so I can be put back together in His likeness.  But I see the value. It wasn't like I was soooo bad or anything, it just that I am still not the best me I can be.  I don't have to work and strive at it (that's works) I just need to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal those things and then let the Holy Spirit change me.  I am looking forward to God's best possible outcome for my life but in the meantime I think I will just allow Him to mess me up and maybe He will mess a few other people up too! 

This week I learned:
  • That imagination is just low level visions.  Think on that for a bit.
  • That I don't want to settle for inferior pleasure but instead I want the HOLY BEST.
  • That if I am missing the mark...I need to move closer...duh!
  • That who I am is just as confusing for myself as it is for others...bahahaha
  • That I want the best possible outcome for everyone in my life. 

I am a thief!

Yesterday at work I heard the girls in the office bickering about pens disappearing.  I laughed as I worked, thinking to myself how silly it is that people take our pens.  A bit later one of them came in my office to show me something and as we are talking I looked down at my desk and saw four pens! Pens are covering what little surface area is available on my desk.  I look at my friend to see if she has noticed, she hasn't.  I debate keeping my mouth shut, but then break into laughter unable to contain myself.  I confess to her that I seem to have collected an assortment of pens from her office.  We laugh and laugh, call the other girl in and laugh some more.  I am a pen thief and I didn't even know it!  It was comical often am I a sinner and don't even know it?
Sin in our lives, that's right we all have sin in our lives.  Big sin, little sin, it doesn't matter it is still sin.
Just like those pens on the desk, it can just show up without us even noticing.  A small lie, gossip, envy, a cruel word, an evil thought, sins like these accumulate and before you even notice they are covering the surface of your life.  The good news, sin points us straight to our Savior.  Reminds us why we need Him.  Makes us love Him even more.  Those who are forgiven much love much, sometimes we just forget how much we are forgiven each day!  He even forgives a thief like me.

Charlotte's Legacy

I wrote this short story last year.  It was my first and only venture thus far into writing a story.  The writing prompt was a picture of Earl.  The characters easy to develop and I felt a kinship to them as I wrote.  Sometimes even pretend stories are based in reality.  Grief has many faces and hope in my mind looks like Grandma Charlotte. My Grandma Charlotte gave me my first Bible and took me to VBS one summer and that planted the seed of God in my heart that has brought me on this journey of love, that I call my crazy life.  
 I hope you enjoy my Earl story, I enjoyed writing it. 

Charlotte's Legacy

Earl sits out on the porch of his old, grimy potato farm.  His kids have all grown and left.  They’ve begged him to move into the city with them since his wife Charlotte passed away but, Earl is a stubborn man.  So stubborn that when his teeth started falling out and everyone said he should get dentures Earl just flat out refused.  As a matter of fact, he told the dentist to just pull’em all out to speed up the process.  He didn’t care, he would just gum his food…after all, and he said,nothing tasted good since Charlotte died.”  He just ate because it’s what you’re supposed to do. 

So there Earl was on his small potato farm plot that he had worked his whole life and now he was sure he would die there, at least that’s what he was hoping for.  This was where his kids had been born and where his precious Charlotte had died.  His stubborn mule self was not leaving until they drug him out in an old pine box.  So day after day he sat alone rocking on that old front porch, birds chirping, bugs jumping and Earl spitting his tobacco through his old wrinkled, stained toothless mouth in the hot sun with the fly’s buzzing all around. 

“Die already”, he was thinking one of those hot days when all of the sudden in the distance he saw a figure.  It was a small figure in the distance with a stick.  Earl remembered for a brief moment seeing one of his boys walking up to the house like that.  Only that time his precious Charlotte had run out to greet their son, Tom.  She was mad as hell and screaming all the way about how he had scared her to death, disappearing like that, but mad as she was, she had thrown her arms around him and showered kisses on the boy until he begged her to stop.  For a slight moment, Earl could hear the laughter between them, but then, suddenly, the laughter grew faint and slowly faded away, as did Earl’s moment of peace.  No more Charlotte, no more farming and no more children.  Oh sure, they came to visit every few months but now they too were old and had their own children and grandchildren.  His eyes misted over as he yearned to go back in time, but suddenly the boy was closer, a lanky tow-headed boy wearing overalls and a crooked grin. 

Who is this boy and what is he doing on my property,  thought Earl.  He pushed himself wobbly out of his rocking chair and yelled at the boy, “Whatcha doin here boy?” The boy with the crooked grin answered back, “Whatcha doin here?”  Earl, exasperated already, spit right at the boy’s feet and said, “Well I live here boy, now answer my question, Whatcha doin here?”   “Well, I reckon I’ll answer your question then sir, seeing how this is your place and all.  My names’ John and my grandparents live down the road aways,  maybe  you know them, the McDaniel’s…the corn farmers bout a mile or so down the road.” The boy paused waiting for a response but Earl just stared at him.

Truth be told Earl was deep in thought.  He was thinking about how long ago, that was the Cummings farm and he and Charlotte would go play bridge on Saturday nights with them while their children played together in the yard and chased fireflies.  The boy cleared his throat as if he understood the man had somehow gotten lost in thought and he wanted to bring him back.  “Hhhmm, hmmm..sir?”

Earl snapped back to the present time and appeared visibly shaken.  He looked backward at his rocking chair longingly then looked at the boy and decided he didn’t need to keep standing.  He settled himself back into his chair, turned his head a bit sideways and took a good long look at the boy.  “Kid”, he said “you sure are young to be out by yourself.”  The boy quickly replied, “I’m not young, I’m a whole lot older than my sister, she’s only three!”  Earl feeling a bit crabby about having his day interrupted even though he knew each day was just a series of wake up and go to sleep with a whole lot of nothing in between, but still this boy was reminding him of his own son and he didn’t much like it.  He didn’t like it at all!  Just like he didn’t like it when the lady from the Baptist church brought him his Meals on Wheels and wanted to talk about Jesus.  Talk about Jesus, he didn’t wanted to talk about anything and certainly not about Jesus.  He didn’t want to talk, he didn’t want to feel, he just wanted to be left alone in his chair, put food in the birdfeeder, watch the news, call his kids on Sundays and hurry up and die. 

But now this scrawny, tow headed, freckled face boy was messing everything up.  “What’s your name kid?”  Earl asked.  The boy answered, “ I already told you, my name’s John.”   “Ahhh, that’s’ right kid, John that’s your name.  So again, whatcha doin here? “  “ Well, I’m looking for my dog”,  the boy replied.  Earl raised his voice and and said, “He ain’t here kid…I ain’t seen a dog all day.  So go on and get on your way.”  Right about then the clouds seemed to roll in thick with rain.  Earl looked at the boy. The boy looked at Earl with big saucer like eyes.  Thunder split the air, the boy jumped half out of his skin.  Earl snapped at him, “Get on back to your grandpappys house kid a storms a comin.” 

Just then the rain began to fall, big giant drops, soaking the boy almost immediately.   Standing there drenched, with thunder and lightning going, the boy’s face went through a series of strange expressions.  First shock that it began to rain so quickly, then fear that it was so loud, then he screwed his face up real tight trying to control his emotions.  Then, just as suddenly as the rain had begun, the tow headed, freckled face boy began to cry big crocodile tears. 

Earl watched the boy’s face with amusement but his hard heart was having no part of helping this boy out.  “Run boy” he said to the kid, but something had happened to the boy, something Earl didn’t understand.  The boy had gone from being scared to suddenly just sobbing uncontrollably with his shoulders hunched over and his head just hanging there with no pretence of trying to get out of the rain.  Earl thought to himself, this is sure something…what on earth is wrong with this boy?  Then  he thought well maybe if I ignore him he’ll turn home and run. 

Earl kept staring at the boy as he rocked in his chair but the boy just kept standing in the rain sobbing.  Ah hell, thought Earl this kid ain’t leaving.  “C’mon kid, come up on the porch out of the rain.”  The boy lifted his head and looked at Earl, something in his eyes looked familiar to Earl.  A  loneliness, a sorrow too great to bear seemed to stare at Earl from the boy’s eyes.  For just a moment Earl related to the boy then he shook his head and yelled at the boy again, “C’mon kid, ya fool!  Get outta the rain.”

The boy moved slowly at first like he just wasn’t sure how to make his legs work, then with a couple of quick steps, he was up on the porch, collapsing in a heap into Charlotte’s rocking chair.  Earl just stared.  The boy was sitting in Charlotte’s chair; even his own grown children didn’t sit in Charlotte’s chair.  Earl hated the boy in that moment, he wanted to muster up all his strength and pull the boy out of the chair, but he was tired and honestly not sure if all his strength would be enough.  And now the boy who Earl decided must be about seven or eight years old was not just crying but howling.  Earl was getting madder and madder.  He didn’t want to watch this kid cry and scream, but he wasn’t quite sure what to do.  He’d never been the type to coddle a kid, that was Charlotte’s job.  She was the one who would smother a crying child into her chest and whisper, “Hush child…now now everything is gonna be all right, hush child.”   Charlotte would have known what to do right now, Earl thought. 

So Earl just sat there a little mad that the boy wouldn’t stop and a little mad that he didn’t know what to do about it.  He fidgeted and rocked as the rain beat against the hard dry ground and he wondered what could  this kid possibly have to cry and make such a fuss about.  Suddenly his mind went to thoughts of Charlotte.  Charlotte laughing as she washed potatoes outside in a big wash basin, Charlotte too old to stand and pull potatoes so she would sit on an upside down bucket and as Earl turned the ground over she would loosen and pull the potatoes out and chuckle and say she loved doing it.  He knew she didn’t but she want the workers to know she was willing to work right alongside them.  Then just as suddenly he saw Charlotte in that box, cold and lifeless.  Not looking at all like the Charlotte he loved.  He felt a stab in his hear that made him never want to love anyone or anything again.  A cold feeling crept over him that made him feel like he was dead already.  Hard was how he looked and hard was how he felt, just hard. 

Finally the boy lifted his head, grimy tear streaks down his face and mumbled something that Earl couldn’t quite make out and he didn’t really care about and so they just sat there a bit in silence watching the rain.  Before too long the boy whispers something quietly to Earl.  Earl looks at the boy and wonders why on earth this boy would have ended up on his porch and would be trying to whisper to an old man who can barely hear a regular voice, let alone a whisper.   “Speak up boy!” snapped Earl.  The boy’s eyes pooled up with tears again and Earl thought he was going to start up all over again.  Earl quickly tried to do something, anything to keep the kid from crying.  Something to drink maybe, “Kid, you want a soda?”  The boy nodded yes and Earl shuffled off to the kitchen hoping there was an old soda stashed somewhere in his fridge.  Soda left over from Charlotte.  Charlotte, who liked to have soda in the house for the grandkids, but wouldn’t drink it herself.  Charlotte, who could have made this boy cookies and probably knew his grandparents. 

Charlotte had kept up with the neighbors when Earl had decided he was sick of people and didn’t see any point in making new friends at their age.  Charlotte had just laughed and called him an old fool.  “Earl”, she had said,  “We all need each other and someday you’ll be gone and I’m gonna need some friends.”  So then what did she do?  She went and died first and Earl felt sure he prove her wrong, he didn’t need anyone. 

He found the soda stashed in the back of the fridge grabbed it and headed back for the porch, half expecting the boy to be gone.  The boy however was not gone and the rain had not let up, it was still raining cats and dogs.  He sat down by the boy sitting in Charlotte’s chair and handed him the soda and put more chew in his lip.  The boy began to rock in Charlotte’s chair and Earl felt his anger rise up against the boy again but before he could grump at the boy, the boy started talking.  The freckle face, tow headed boy had a story to tell and it came tumbling out faster than Earl could understand it and his hard heart could not let it in until suddenly Earl caught up to one simple word.  Dead.  Dead, Earl tried to really understand what the boy was saying, something about his dog, somebody being dead and having to move here to his grandparent’s farm.  So when the boy paused, to take a breath Earl took the opportunity to speak up.  “Listen kid, you’re gonna have to slow down so I can keep up.  What’s this you’re saying about somebody being dead?”  The minute he said it, he knew it was all wrong.  Charlotte would have never said it like that.  The boy’s eyes filled up again and spilled over but this time he held onto his emotions a bit better and he simply said, “My parents are dead.”  “Dead”, said Earl, “Both of them?”  “Yes”, answered the boy with a deep sadness in his voice.  Earl thought to himself, well don’t that beat all…poor kid. 

Earl looked at the boy and suddenly Earl with his toothless mouth began to tell his story about Charlotte, bit by bit he mumbled about finding Charlotte in the field, sitting by her bed for three days until finally she left him and suddenly Earl realized he was crying big crocodile tears were rolling down his and the boy with the freckles was standing beside him and whispering, “Hush now..hush now everything’s gonna be all right, hush now mister everything’s  gonna be all right.”

Suddenly Earl felt a dam burst in his heart and he gathered the boy to his chest and stroked the boy’s hair and said right back to him, “Yes kid everything’s gonna be all right.  You and I kid, we’re gonna be all right.”  Earl looked up to the sky and remembered all the times Charlotte had looked up at the sky in a moment like this and said, “Thank You Lord!”  He couldn’t quite bring himself to say it but he thought it.  Then he thought, maybe just maybe there was still a little bit more life to be lived. 

Turning Vision into Destiny

My latest piece of artwork.
I had several people ask me for the message from Sunday....So here is most of it....

3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. 4 "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

In your bible underline…. wait for it and live by faith

These two work together.  Patience and faith

Look at verse 3 the vision is for the appointed time….wait for it, it will surely come….

Habakkuk complained vigorously to God about the situation. God's answer to Habakkuk is the same answer he would give us, "If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, watch for it…the promise is coming."

It isn’t easy being patient.
 It is actually downright hard to “wait for it”, being patient is actually an exercise in trusting God Now the truth is the more practice the more patience you develop!! 
Patience is a fruit of the spirit which we all have hidden in our God given DNA but it must be cultivated. 
As God told Habakkuk, "Wait patiently." We must trust God even when we don't understand the why…..  Who can understand God???

Jesus HAD THIS TO SAY about patience…..
Luke 8:15 (NKJV)

15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

If bearing good fruit didn’t take patience than everyone would be doing it!  God’s way is not the easy way….to bear fruit…to walk in His will and ways, takes patience.

WE all want things to move quickly, but God wants to see patient, believing hearts that hold steady when things aren’t moving quickly. When you seek God first, you get the vision and then you don’t give up… are following the “no-failure” way.
And I think you would agree that it’s much more desirable to be patient and hold out for God’s best than to move quickly and wind up out of His will.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

God’s will is not just a good plan, it’s the best plan. It’s a plan worth waiting for.
That is why Hebrews 10:36 says,

 "For ye have need of patience , that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."

Other versions use the word endurance but they all start with the same greek word….HUPOMENE
The word hupomene, a compound of the words hupo and meno. The word meno is the primary root of the word, and it means to stay, to remain, to continue, or to permanently abide in one place.
It is the same word that Jesus used in John 15:7, when he said, John 15:-7 (NKJV)

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  
The word hupo means under, as to be underneath something that is very heavy.
But when it is connected to the word meno—becoming the word hupomene—

This is the word patience and it implies… completely committed to maintaining the position, you will stay under that heavy load…..a vision is a heavy load….hard work…you will stay under it as long as it is necessary to achieve victory.

 Now this doesn’t mean wait idly by… Listen even if you are on the right track following the vision, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

No, this means unwavering, doing your part, sticking to the plan, walking it out with determination…

Nothing can sway or move you to change your mind. You are not going to relinquish the vision God has called you to no matter how long it takes!  
No devil in hell is going to take you off course!  You will keep moving forward no matter what. 

It is a faith that manifests as a tough, resistant, persistent, obstinate, stubborn, tenacious spirit that refuses to let go of what it wants or believes.
You must have patience if you intend to beat the devil at his game and successfully do what God has called you to do

WE must Wait without wavering…persevere for the appointed time….(Joseph)

Joseph had a vision for his future, called to be a great ruler…. but it didn’t just happen it was a He started out a young, punk kid that had to walk through a series of unfortunate events that would teach him and grow him and then at the appointed time lead him to his destiny.  He traveled from the pit to the palace but it was no easy journey…without a vision he would have given up.

Moses had a vision to set his people free then spent forty years in the desert and wilderness…he had to go from pampered prince to hard working shepherd.  He needed that time of solitude and work to learn spiritual wisdom, it wasn’t enough that he had the world’s wisdom but combined with seasoned spiritual wisdom it would be just what God would use to deliver His people.   Moses had a vision and he held unto it and learned and grew under the guidance of the holy spirit until the appointed time!

So in verse 3 we see an important key to victory, patience and then we move to Verse 4

 4 "Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

Live by faith…not by self-sufficiency….
The proud his soul is not upright, meaning he is not saved…Here is a paradigm given…the lost and the found…the damned and the saved…

Live in your own strength or live in faith!! Anything that is going to require faith is going to require vision and vice versa any vision given is going to require faith.  It motivates us, empowers us to move forward into our destiny!!  WE must choose to live in faith!

The just shall live by faith …key verse throughout scripture…we see it repeated again and again
Hebrews 10:38-39 (NKJV)

38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Galatians 3:11 (NKJV)
11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

God is a faith being.  WE are born of HIM.  WE are faith beings. The measure of faith that was imparted to us at when we became born again is powerful. .. but it must be nurtured and cultivated by God's Word.As we grow in our knowledge of God, we are developing our faith; Making ourselves stronger in the Word of God.

Releasing our faith in the promises of God and activating them in our lives.

·         Then we will see the vision come to pass. It is a fact.  God's Word will work for us, but we must be in Faith. 

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

·        WE must live in the faith and confidence that God has called us to the vision, is equipping us for the vision and that as we put our faith into action He will accomplish His purposes.

Now, here is the really cool part about faith and patience….

Almost everywhere you find faith mentioned in the Bible, you will also find patience.  Why you may ask??

·        Without faith, patience has no power to call into reality the thing desired.

·        Without patience, faith many times will fail to stand firm on God's Word and see the vision become REALITY.
How many people have you met with great vision, great faith but when suddenly something doesn’t seem to be happening the way they thought it should, they hit obstacles, etc…instead of persevering and waiting for the Lord to bring it to fulfillment they give up….fits and starts…

You know what I am talking about right?  God tells someone to do something they tell everyone all about it (like Joseph)….then because they have to work at it….because God is working something out in them….because they aren’t promoted right when they think they should be, used when they think they should be, successful when they first start, they quit…they abort the vision…

If God gave me a vision to be a great musician but I didn’t have the patience and endurance to study and practice would the vision come to pass? 

I have had people tell me I have a vision to start a church but they are not willing to serve in a church right now….That vision will die because they are not willing to persevere through the process to get to the destiny! Are you getting this???

God gave Pastor and I a vision that we would write a book…20 years ago.  Have we written a book?  No.  Have we been faithful to that vision, yes.  We write, we practice writing every week.  WE share our stories with you and at the appointed time we will see it come to pass.  We have the faith and the patience to see it happen. 

Don’t abort the vision and move onto something else….the vision is the preview to get you to your destiny the journey along the way is the equipping to prepare you for the promise delivered!

Hebrews 10:35-36 (NKJV)
35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise!        

You can have the faith to believe for the vision but then you must have the patience to see it come to pass…. You have to give faith time to work!

 Faith and patience are partners for the promise!
 I want to give you an example….so that you are really getting it…

 if you need healing, you go to God's Word and find out that it is His will for you to be healed. Then you follow Jesus' instructions in Mark 11:22-24:

            1. You speak to the sickness and command it in Jesus' Name to leave your body.

            2. You have faith and believe it will come to pass.

             3. You receive your healing by faith

Now, you have put your faith in action and it is time for patience to get involved. Patience will cause you to stand on God's Word until the healing comes.  Waiting to see it come to pass at the appointed time!! 

·        Patience is the force that keeps you operating in faith, standing strong until the manifestation comes, without acting or speaking in doubt or unbelief. (Watch your confession)

WE must learn to act the same way in every circumstance of life.That comes only as a result of being single-minded on God's Word—doing what the Word says, not what feelings or circumstances tell you.

 Jesus always responded in faith, giving no thought to feelings or the things around Him.    Practice responding in faith statements…God said it, I believe it and that settles it!!                 

Faith and patience turn vision into destiny!!

By having the fruit of patience, we will be able to stand against every doubt or fear that may come, regardless of how we feel or what we see.  Understanding that we are waiting for the appointed time will enable us  to say ….
My Father's Word is true. No matter what storm comes my way, I stand stable and fixed on the Word of God. Nothing Satan brings against me will be successful.

By operating in that level of patience, your faith will be able to stand.  No matter what the circumstances are telling you! 
 Patience and faith are two keys to having victory…. Faith to believe the Vision and Patience to see it come to pass….

 If patience is working in your life, it's just a matter of time until your victory comes to you.
 It's not a question of if your victory will come—it's only a question of when it will come.

But for us to reach that glorious and long-awaited place of victory, it is essential that we have hupomene (patience and endurance) in our lives!                 

Somewhere between....

Somewhere between fear and faith,
somewhere between hope and despair.
You'll find me there, somewhere.
I wrote these words in the one of the darkest moments of my life.  Fearing my son was dead and clinging to my faith with every once of strength I had.  I turned to worship to soothe my soul as we awaited the news.  Lost in a storm of emotions and questions my heart echoed the word.  The son that was sent to die, the blood that was poured out, the pain the Father must have felt at watching His son endure such agony.  His plan for redemption was clothed in pain and death.  My heart is full of fear and doubt, as I am begging for my son's life.  Seeking an answer but finding none.  Hours passed by, worship continued and I kicked into what I know.  I know God is good, no matter what it looks like.  I know God is working all things to the good.  His word echoes through my mind and in my heart I cry out to the Lord in surrender, no matter what Lord you are still good.  Life or death hang in the balance.  Fear and faith compete within my own heart.   My son, my man child survives.  This beautiful boy that I have cherished for eighteen years, wiped his tears, changed his diapers, helped with homework, watched as he played daredevil, snuggled with on the couch, prayed over and wept over, and now he is not lost, but found.  Somewhere between fear and faith, hope and despair God is always there.  

I am a Dr. Seuss fan!

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  Dr. Seuss

It has taken me 47 years to walk in the FREEDOM of this statement.  Dr. Seuss is brilliant in his timeless analogies, childish depictions of grown up issues. We can all learn from his insight. 

Here are a few more quotes to let sink into your soul. 

You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes you can steer yourself any direction you choose.
No excuses, we have all that we need in Christ to steer ourselves right.

Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened.
We waste so much time being sad that we forget to celebrate all the good that was and is yet to come! Scripture teaches us to think on those things that are good and lovely, noble and pure....think about the good and your emotions will follow.

Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.
The answer is always His presence.

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!
Every day is a new day to accomplish His will in our lives, to climb the mountain and live in the victory!  Today is the day.

A persons a person, no matter how small.
Jesus said....whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto me.

Will you succeed?  Yes you will indeed!  (98 and 3/4% guaranteed.)
Victory is yours. Live in it with confidence.

She held on as long as she could.....

Art journaling is one of my favorite things to do.  A creative outlet for my emotions and a way to work through the jumble of my thoughts and fears.  God created me with emotions but somewhere along the way they got a bit bent. I know the Holy Spirit can change those emotions and by journaling I am changing my "stinking thinking" into a mind and will transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Not a day goes by that I don't recognize my utter dependence upon the Lord and my need for His renewal in my life on a daily basis.  This is a journey to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.  Fear and trembling means that the work is difficult and takes determination, think about the type of working out in the gym that leaves your muscles weak and trembling.  That is the type of pushing that God is looking for.  Pushing past the easy lifestyle and fine tuning our hearts, our spiriutal muscles to the best of our ability.  Is it ever easy?  Not for me, at least not yet. However, it is a wonderful journey full of love and joy! 

Psalms 112:7
They will have no fear of bad news, their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

A Kaleidescope of Love

My heart has been broken over and over again, into tiny little pieces.
Put back together again and again by a gracious God.
I often can't see past the mosaic of imperfections,
the shards of self-criticism, the jumble of memories.
But one moment in Your presence,
and suddenly broken pieces catch the light and your Glory is revealed.
My imperfections in Your hands become a picture of a Saviors Grace.
All things working together in a much bigger, brighter picture than I could paint myself.
A glorious kaleidoscope of brokenness made whole under the beautiful light of Jesus.
Suddenly, I understand why you are the light of the world and why I must have the light to live.
Only in you can these imperfections be turned from broken into beautiful.
You take my brokenness and piece it back together into a kaleidoscope of love.
And all it takes is just one moment in Your presence.

Practicing Presence

Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and His days (seemingly) are prolonged (in his wickedness), yet surely I know that it will be well with those who (reverently) fear God, who revere and worship Him, realizing His continual presence.  Ecclesiastes 8:12 AMP

Beside this scripture in my Bible are written these words;
If we seek God only when we are desperate then He will keep us in desperate circumstances because He so deeply desires to fellowship with us. 

A powerful statement that impacted me enough to write it down.  I don't desire to stay in desperate circumstances, who does?  However, when I contemplate that statement it does make me think about how am I doing at staying in His presence.  Without a doubt I do well when desperate.  When a crisis hits, I run straight to Jesus.  In my day to day life, I long for more and yet seem so easily distracted.  I arise each day with new hope that I can walk in the victory of His continual presence and before you know it I am full of my own presence rather than His.  Worries, anxiety and busyness consume me and I forget all about the one who called me out of the dark and into His marvelous light.  I struggle with the daily chores of dishes, carpool and laundry loaded unto a pool table waiting to be folded. I forget that every breath is filled with His presence if I choose to invoke it.  Folding laundry can be my act of worship, dishes can remind me to thank God for His washing me clean and carpool can be a labor of love with opportunities to speak blessings over my carload. His presence is invoked with simply my calling out to Him, inviting Him into my everyday circumstances. 

In Ecclesiastes it gives us the formula.  It will be well with those who fear God, meaning those who recognize the Bible and live to the best of their ability according to it's words.  Fearing God involves understanding His character and power, knowing Him and following Him in obedience.  It's not about legalism but rather it's about relationship.  The more I love God the more I want to be obedient.  Then it tells us to worship Him.  Worshipping Him in our every day lives, in the small details and the big deals.  With our first cup of coffee and with our tear soaked Kleenex in the midst of a tragedy.  These two things, taking the time to know Him and worship Him have the power to place us in His presence no matter where we are or what we are doing.  Then we will have the blessing of His continual presence.  After all, His presence is where I long to be all day, every day I just can't seem to stay there. I certainly don't need desperate circumstances to make me realize how truly desperate I am for my Savior.  Just a gentle reminder to practice His presence and invite Him into my every day life.  Tomorrow is a new day, invite Him in and enjoy His fellowship.

Memorize, it makes a difference!

Seven Ways of Highly Effective Bible Memorization*

1. Old before New

Always take the old paths. Begin each day by reviewing the memorized verses first before learning the next verse. The goal is retention not accumulation.

2. Rinse and Repeat

And again. The only way to retain learned verses is to review them again and again over an extended period of time. Everyday’s memorization rhythm: Rinse and repeat.

3. Location, Location, Location

Like the mantra in real estate is location, location, location, so it is for really remembering: memorize the location of each verse. Memorize each verse number and don’t skip it. This is paramount and makes it much easier to memorize long passages and not inadvertently skip verses when reciting whole chapters. Location!

4. Take a Mental Screen Shot

Use your mental point and shoot and take a brain “photograph” of the verse. Read each new verse several times, hiding one word at a time, burning each word into your mind like light onto film.

5. Preach it

To yourself. Speak your memory verses to yourself aloud. Preach it aloud to the soul that needs it the most — our own — and say each verse with emotion and feeling. Whispering it while driving, walking, working not only is an easy way of reviewing and memorizing, it’s fulfilling God’s call to meditate on His Word day and night. And saying each verse aloud is a way to work the words deep into our memory: His Words never return void.

6. Repeat it for 100

For 100 consecutive days repeat aloud your memory work — all the verses, or the chapter, or the whole book. This is painless and demands no extra time: do it first thing every morning while getting ready for the day — in the shower, getting dressed, making the bed etc. Repeat it for 100!

7. Sabbath Sanctuary to see the weeds

After your Repeat it for 100, take the last Sunday of every month and make a sabbath sanctuary to read through your memory work. This will help you to “see the weeds” — any mistakes that have crept into your recitation of longer projects/chapters/books. Soak in His Word on a Sabbath — pluck out some weeds. Commit your heart — and mind —- to Him again.
(*Ideas adapted from Dr. Andrew Davis)
“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding… than memorizing Scripture… No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends…” ~Charles Swindoll

A Shiny New Penny

Therfore, if any persoon in (ingrafted) in  Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away.  Behold the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP

A shiny new penny starts out its journey beautiful and unmarred.  As people use it, it becomes dull and scarred by the use.  Someone may use it to turn a screw and scratch it, others drop it in the muck of the gutter, another leaves it in a jar with other damaged and dirty coins until it is needed and traded in for something of more value.  On and on this penny  travels used and discarded until it is filthy and has lost all off its shine.  Damaged and discarded, it is now covered with grime and lost in some dark place.  Until the collector finds it, then suddenly this penny has value.  The collector cleans it up, wipes all the grime off, washes it clean.  Shines it up and makes it all new.  It is valued  and treasured now as it should be.  It sparkles as its new owner shows it off and polishes it.  Protected now in a special pouch if by chance it gets a little dirty the collector immediately cleans it up again because it is of great value.

Like the penny we too can become dull and damaged from the muck and mire of life.   Jesus gives us the opportunity to come to Him and be made new.   Not just once, but minute by minute.  We live in a  sinful fallen world and before we are believers this world  leaves its mark.  The darkness stains us with scars from pain endured; from rejection, from dissapointments, from the filth of sin and Jesus picks us up and washes us clean as snow.  Then we are made new, but even then we can become easily spotted with sin again, easily damaged by misuse or bad choices. That is why we need a Savior, because every single day we need His glory to wash us clean.  We need Him to restore and renew us with His grace.  To wash over us with His love and wash away  the pain of yesterday.  He loves us and will never discard us.  We are His treasured possession and He will continue the good work He has begun in us.  Dont grow weary as you trudge through this world, simply return to the one who has the whole world  in His hands and ask Him to clean you up.  He is waiting for you, that He might  enable you to shine with His Glory daily!


So.... I love the idea of fasting but hate the truth of sacrificing. Food is an issue that has plagued me my whole life. To little, to much and never just right. A study in a lack of balance. Indulging my flesh to much and then punishing my flesh with depravation. Self loathing at my weakness and pride in my ability to refuse food. I heard it said once that sin abounds where food abounds, I think I agree. So once again I embark on a Fast. My weakness forcing me to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit and my propensity for pride forcing me to admit my weaknesses.

Starting on the 6th all across the country Christians will fast for 21 days. We will practice being content with less and hopefully grow more hungry for God in the process. We will understand what true hunger is and maybe we will grow more compassionate for those less fortunate who don't choose to be hungry and yet are. We will have the opportunity to squash the God of our stomach and not let it rule our choices but instead let the pursuit of Godliness rule our hearts.

We live in hope.

"Virtuous people avail themselves of the things of this life with the moderation of a user, not the attachment of a lover." Augustine


So I hate starting the New Year with resolutions.  I have never done good with keeping them so therefor it seems like I am setting myself up for failure if I say I have a resolution, so this is not that!
This is me looking for a creative outlet to write, post artwork, journal, share my devotionals and be well....just me. 

I'm a saint and a sinner,
a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister,
a pastor, a preacher, a teacher, a mentor.
I'm loud and I'm busy
I'm brash and I'm bossy
I'm kind and I'm careless
I love deeply and I get hurt easily
I'm transparent and hidden
I'm fun and I'm moody
I laugh uncontrollably and I cry way to easy
I sing loud and not very well
I give my best and still I fail
I love God with most of my heart and still find myself occasionally in a dark place
I have been broken and put back together by Grace
I am a saint and a sinner
You love me or you hate me
that's just me.

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My Heart is Full

I ran across this picture, just the other day.  It was painted way before my life turned upside down and inside out.  I thought my heart ...