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Bravery means being alert in all circumstances. The enemy the Devil prowls around like a hangry lion. Yes, a hangry lion. He is stealthy. His mouth drips salavia hoping to find me and use the weakness I have to bring me down by the neck.

One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to alert me to situations, people within the enemy’s pride to influence me in the ways of the world. Or emotions which the enemy can smell in a weakened moment.

Since the Holy Spirit can and will alert me if I am willing, I have the ability to stand my ground and the enemy will fail. Unfortunately, a injured animal can be more dangerous. The second round may cause me to be so full of fear it paralyzes me to do anything or to give up because it’s hard and lay down in surrender.

Pin on words
Be Alert! Stand firm!

The enemy is not just the spiritual one, but we can do enough damage to ourselves, through choices, negative self talk, etc. It’s why it’s important that we are in the word everyday and being in touch with our Heavenly Father through prayer.

Through the word we learn what He is capable of. What we are capable of in Christ. We are capable of standing firm and having love in all that we do whether it be a hard situation within the home, work, school or in the community. We have a Heavenly father who cares for us. That He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort and alert to the tactics of the world both earthly and spiritually.

Today I chose to stand firm and be alert. Will you join me?

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men be strong. Le all that you do be done in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NASB)

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He Hears

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord. And cried to my God for help: He heard my voice out of His temple and my cry for help before came into his ears.” Psalm 18:6

Who better to pray to than the LORD? It’s so hard though. Why? My typical excuse is I need the flesh and blood to talk to.

This verse promises that He hears me when I cry out to  Him. What it doesn’t say is there may be silence in the waiting.

Why silence?

Maybe to teach me more about being dependent on Him. Maybe to challenge my faith and trust.

Sometimes the answer will be no.

Why no?

Some of the same reasons for the possible silence. Paul called out for help in his distress and God said no, “My grace is sufficient. So no’s maybe a way to keep me humble.

How comforting is that? The God of the universe has an awesome plan and He is working it through the hard times. Take heart my friend. Be assured He hears, He knows, He sees and there is a wonderful plan at the end of the darkness that will be more glorious than we can imagine. God doesn’t waste a single incident, or silence or no.

Psalm 18:6 | Quotes to Inspire | Pinterest

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Urgent- S.O.S

I’m ready! But then I ask myself why am I ready? Oh, you may be asking what am I ready for? I’ll tell you. I’m ready to go to a heavenly home. Strange one huh?

For me, I am tired of this world. The past ten years have gotten worse. Hate is the order of the day, bickering, disobedience to authority, lack of respect and persecutions. It seems sudden but reality says it has been progressing. For a child of God there is strength in the waiting. But there is purpose for me here.

What about this idea of going home? Aren’t you afraid of dying? No, not really, it’s the method of it that makes me nervous. But dying itself no. My pastor makes this comment often, and I will paraphrase, “If you have an answer to death, then nothing else matters.”

This is an urgent matter. Nothing, absolutely nothing needs to be accomplished for Christ to return and take His children home. It’s why it’s an urgent message I am bringing to you today. Christ is the answer. He died in the cruelest way to die just to pay a debt that we couldn’t. That’s GRACE (God’s riches at Christ’s Expence.”

Let me put it in these terms. There have been times when something has gotten broken. The reactions are varied. Some offer to pay for the broken object. Others, out of fear and shame, hide it or try to. Some could care less about it and crush the item even more. In the first scenario, we tell the customer don’t worry about it’s okay it happens.  The second, I wish they would come to us because we have extended the same towards them. The third I wish I could make them pay for it just because of the attitude, but we wouldn’t. It costs us something, loss in profit, and item that could have been sold, etc. They don’t deserve it but we extend grace.

The question I have for you, are you ready if Christ comes. He can come at any time. It doesn’t matter what you have done, He offers you grace and salvation. If you would like more click on the Invitation tab above. The urgency is Christ may come back today tomorrow or 100 years. But we don’t know. The time is now for salvation. Will you accept the invitation, shrink back in fear and shame which Chris has paid for, or totally reject Him? The choice is yours.

You too be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the LORD is at hand.”

James 5:8 (NASB)

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Waiting on the Lord

Let me tell you a little secret about myself. Ready? I hate waiting, especially when it concerns spiritual growth or purpose, for myself and others.

I feel like a child at Christmas and the expectation of what was to come, boiled over. I couldn’t wait for my parents to get up. The only problem was I had to wait for seven o-clock, have breakfast, read the Christmas story then.. it was present time. It was hard. Really hard. Not much has changed with my own children. I can’t wait for them to get up so we can open the presents. I want to see the smiling faces as the open them up.

I think it takes more strength and courage to wait for the Lord to move and give the next step than to do what He asks. This is especially the case when it comes to the fact I know what He wants me to do, however, other things have to happen first in preparation, that I don’t even know about. I’m in that stage now.

I want the prep work done NOW!. I want my prayers answered NOW! I want the next step NOW! I forget that the preparation to do the job is just as important as the job itself.

In the end, God’s timing is perfect. For our part waiting on the Lord takes courage. How? Because we have to learn to pull back and be content in the waiting. Continually praying for the next step. It takes more courage then I have at times. But then again the courage comes, knowing He is in control of it all.

So here I am, determined to wait on Him, with courage, steadfastness and strength. I will also rejoice when I see the little workings of Him who gave me the purpose in the first place..

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage, Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (NASB)

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WayMaker

Deuteronomy 31:6,8 (NASB) states, “Be strong and courageous do not be afraid or tremble, at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

2020 will not be a year forgotten any time soon. If I could describe it with one word I couldn’t. There have been deaths, devastation, sickness, anxiety, isolation (in more ways then just COVID-19), fear, doubt, loss of dreams. Yet, Deuteronomy says the Lord will go ahead of you, be with you not fail or forsake you. That’s hard to see when everything around me seems to be going down hill faster and faster with no bottom in site.

This verse reminds me of the song that came out recently “Waymaker: “Even when I don’t feel you working, you never stop working.” (Michael W. Smith) For years I have felt God has given dreams and pulled them out from underneath like a magician who pulls the tablecloth out from under the dishes. Except in this case all the dishes came with it crashing to the ground.

As I’ve gone through years of healing I am realizing that all the hurts, new skills, and growth are just dots connecting to make one beautiful dream, God has already purposed for me.

God makes ways where there weren’t any. He is always walking the path with me. Even now as I have started a new path of healing. He has a purpose.

He is the light in the darkness. He will bring the next right step into the light. Not only for the moment but it will work toward that purpose.

I don’t have to be discouraged or disheartened. I don’t even have to be terrified about the next part of the journey. He is walking with me through this life. Why? Because He is at the end of it. He knows how to get through the maze. He promises it will be beyond all I could think or dream of.

How about you? Are you experiencing hopelessness, purposelessness, joylessness, loneliness, or feeling like God has failed and abandoned you? Take heart dear friend, He has a purpose for you, and He will not abandon the work of His hands.

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I asked my husband if I could share a devotional with his ministry Caregiver Community based on the prior month’s topic of emotions. He was gracious enough to okay it. I would like to encourage you with it as we start a brand new year.

 

I know emotions. I suffer from depression and anxiety issues. With that comes a tsunami of emotions anger, frustration, sadness, and dread. You name it I have experienced it. It also comes with the physical symptoms, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of breath, hyperventilation, heart racing and pounding, crushing chest pain and uncontrollable crying, and withdrawal.

 

For those of us who are Christians, we tend to put on our good Christian face. We are strong, we have it all together, we are the good Christian. Our faith is strong. Like these cylinders (vases) this is how we want others to see us. We try to come across okay, usable, colorful and beautiful.

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But reality feels like this failed thrown cylinder. It’s twisted, crushed, cut into. We feel ugly, of no value, no use, etc. I can fake it at times.  My quiet times can be non-existent at these periods. It’s not that I don’t want to, I can’t. The words on the pages of my Bible are like a blurred word search puzzle. I can’t focus It’s not right; it’s not wrong. It just is. Praise music becomes very important. The guilt that is added because of this is overbearing at times. The weight crushes me even more.

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Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry (workmanship)^ etched in lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus to accomplish the good works, God arranged long ago.” (The Voice)

 

Workmanship in the original language means poem, a work of art, a masterpiece. If you talk to an artist, they may tell you that their piece is an act of love, that comes from deep within them. It’s the same with us humans. I am, you are, created with a love that comes from the deepest part of God, His essence. I am, you are created after His image. (Genesis 1:7) This what makes us special than any other species.

 

The world defines a masterpiece in these terms

  1. Artistry – beauty
  2. Suggestive and imaginative
  3. Intellectual value – fundamental truth about life
  4. Permanence – endures through the ages
  5. Universality- appeals to a great number of people
  6. Style- an author’s unique way of expressing his thought.
  7. Spiritual – motivates and inspires.*

 

So how do the hardships of life, depression, sickness and all that comes with this, figure into us as a masterpiece?

 

Greg Laurie made this statement which I think explains it the best.

“masterpiece…it is a word that speaks of something that is perfect. It carries the idea of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty…I don’t necessarily see rhythm, orderliness or beauty… But God says “You are MY work of art. You are my poem. You are my masterwork. God is not like a doting father who’s oblivious to his child’s faults (hardships)** Rather He is your all-knowing, yet all-powerful Father in Heaven who can envision what you will become when its all said and done. He uses the hardships, failures. He doesn’t shy away from collapse, due to anger, frustration, depression or anxiety, He uses it to make the masterpiece full of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty.”

 

A friend once said to me “Those who never see hardship or have been given everything (doting parent) are the most shallow people.” A masterpiece is made from sweat and tears and the seven characteristics the world deems a masterpiece. So How does God see you?

 

You are loved, you are God’s consummate wealth and treasure, YOU ARE HIS MASTERPIECE, His poem.

  1. Beautifully made,
  2. An example of His imagination and artistry,
  3. With intellectual value (the truth of the Word about life),
  4. You are eternally permanent,
  5. Your example is universality (appeals to a great number of people),
  6. God’s unique way of expressing Himself,
  7. One who will motivate and inspire others in service.

 

YOU ARE HIS Masterpiece. He pours the glaze of His love, mercy and grace over you to make you beautiful and usable.IMG_6115

No matter how you feel or what struggle you are going through.

The journey is hard and long, but He is with you always. You’ve got this.

IMG_6116

 

^ my emphasis

* https://quizlet.com/128053053/7-qualities-of-a-masterpiece-flash-cards/

** my emphasis

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Dear Daughters,

 

The famous painter Bob Ross said, “Anything we don’t like, we’ll turn into a happy little tree or something, because as you know, we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents.”

 

Through my second semester of ceramics, I found this to be true, however, on a deeper level. I took this class because it was something I always wanted to learn. There was something fascinating about making something on a wheel that turns at a high rate of speed and made with one’s hands. The second reason was that in scripture, (Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:1-6) God is compared to a potter and I am His clay, and I wanted to understand this concept in a deeper way.

 

I can’t tell you how much I have learned concerning the relationship between God and us through this class. But the one I do want to share is in your hand. God doesn’t waste anything. What you may find as unfair, failures, mistakes, hardships, aggravating, or even downright a waste of time or energy, God pulls, stretches, smooths, bakes and glazes to make you beautiful.

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Collapsed Bowl

 

This item in your hand was intended to be a bowl. Because it didn’t get centered properly it collapsed. I suddenly saw beauty in it, of what it could be. I placed a rose in the center. At first, I didn’t know why and interestingly enough as I write this, it came to me. It’s important, especially Florida, to have intentional burns. The purpose is to kill invading foliage as well as protect the area around it from devastating fires. But what it also does is clears the way for new growth of certain plants and trees that are getting choked out. The rose is a representation of new growth that comes out of the hard times, mistakes and the past years of your life.

 

Glazing is the cherry on the cake.

 

To me, the bowl is one of the those “happy little accidents.” The reality, on the other hand, is altogether different. God knew your life before you were conceived (Psalm 139). Yes, He could have changed things but then you wouldn’t be who you are today.

 

You are unique. There is no one like you in the world. God molds and shapes you through the hard times, failures, mistakes and what you may feel like an unfair past or struggles. God wastes nothing. He uses every situation, activity, a person you meet to turn the ugliness of life to mold you into the beautiful treasure you are. The hard part is allowing God to push, pull, smooth and place you into the fire. You must be willing for Him to do it, because He is a gentleman He won’t force the beautification process on you. Yes, it hurts at times and fear may creep up along with all the excuses you throw at Him for not wanting to walk the path.  It’s messy. The question is are you willing?

 

Isaiah 61:3 states:

 “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planning of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

 

He takes the ashes and turns into beauty to show the world of His splendor. You are molded into His likeness to show the glory of what He can do in someone’s life. Isn’t that awesome?

 

Love,

Mom

 

I wish I could give each reader one of the “happy accidents” as a reminder to you that 1. you are not an accident 2. beauty will made out of your hard times, and 3. God will get the glory for it all.

 

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and see you in the new year.

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The Potter’s Hand

Finally, it was time to learn the throwing wheel (potter’s wheel) in class.  Let me just say up front – it’s not as easy as it looks.

 

As the professor showed us a demonstration, he made an interesting comment.  “The hands are strong, but it requires a gentle touch. Let your body guide the hands, in what they‘re doing.”  He went on to say “That one’s arms rest on the knees and the body is the one that leans into the clay.”

 

Image result for Potter's Hand

 

God is mentioned as the potter in Scripture. (Isaiah  64:8) He has all-surpassing power, yet when he molds me, His touch is gentle.

 

My life can turn at a dizzying pace like the throwing wheel.  I don’t even know which end is up, half the time.  There are times when I feel like the Potter is crushing me yet never once does He take me down to my original state.

 

What feels like crushing pressure is His body moving toward me to grow me.  There has to be some pressure to change the clay. It’s my faith and trust that is being pulled and stretched.

 

There are times when I made a bad decision, and I become wobbly and off center.  The Potter then pushes down ever so slightly to get me centered again.  Never so much as to become flat and unworkable or in a sense of losing salvation, but enough for me to get back on track, in order to be molded.

 

I noticed over the past year there were times if He pressed any more I felt would be flattened. I’ve said, “I can’t take anymore.”  However, the pressure continued.  His hands are always in contact with the clay.  Every so often, He uses His Spirit (water) to soften me up a little, because I’m too dry to work with. Then suddenly I find myself being pulled up straight, sensing the growth that was occurring.  A vessel was emerging, a beautiful vessel.

 

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

   2 Corinthians  4:7-10 (NIV 84)

 

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Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a hugger.  I love to give hugs. If you know me well and see me coming if you don’t want a hug you might want to run, because you’ll get one.  It’s almost second nature to me.  I love to receive them too. It puts a smile on my face. Many times, the person giving them doesn’t know I needed it at that time.

 

It was one of those days in which I was sat and looked out over a pond at a local park. Birds bobbed on the water, and a fountain bubbled, gurgled, and struggled to rise out of the water.  It was a particular hard day; the tears began welled up.

 

“Daddy, just once I would love to feel your arm around me like a father does his child.”

 

Later when I described my day to a friend they said “Have you ever felt a warm breeze on your face? Or sat and listened to the birds chirping away or smelled your favorite flower? Have you enjoyed fellowship with others?  These may seem like small things, but God’s hugs are in the small things, not always the big wonders.”

 

That reminded me of another park visit where I walked the boardwalk, worship music played in my ear. I climbed the tower sat down on the recycled bench pulled a pen and notebook out and closed my eyes. What happened next came as a surprise. A breeze picked up, birds chirped and the words which flowed in my ear became clearer. The world was disappeared around me like the movies when a character is deep in thought everything around them move in slow motion and blurry.

 

If anyone had come to the top of the tower, I wouldn’t have known it.  There was peace, joy and the presence of God was felt without a doubt.  I’ve learned to relish these times.

 

In another blog, I wrote that sometimes solitude moments with God are about being still and letting Him love on me.  It’s being and listening and feeling using the senses to experience God’s love and His creative side, by being in His creation.

 

Lately though I have left the music behind and have taken my little word processor to the park to observe God’s creativity.   Through it, I’ve seen illustrations of how to express myself to Him. He allows me to experience things that are new, like a huge duck flying not more than three feet away whose wings just made the loudest most awesome “whoosh” with every flap. It was incredible almost like a rhythm of a drum. The breeze rusted the leaves and ducks quacked and bird chirped even the annoying seagulls squawked musically.  I heard God’s orchestra play just for me.

 

Have you ever scheduled time to just be still at the park or at the beach in the evening to watch a sunset? I would encourage you to just take in nature and allow God to wrap His arms around you.

 

 

“The Mighty One, God, the LORD speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty God shines forth.”

Psalm 50:1-2

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“Change is mandatory for extraordinary results.”

 

I noticed this quote on an electronic information board. That day the words cut like a knife, not just because the words were truth, but the changes I have been going through have been less than easy.

 

In fact, I would relate it to a wrestling match, except I was getting body slammed by my past which has influenced my present.

 

I was angry. Angry at people and yes, even God. I questioned why would He wait so long to have me deal with these things? Because it didn’t just affect how I see myself, but how I view God and the way He sees me.

 

This particular wrestling match lasted a month. Tears, fatigue, and anger were constant companions.  I felt black and blue, emotionally and mentally.

 

What I’m beginning to realize is that through the brawling, even when the fear is overwhelming, that’s where hope is.

 

In the messiness and wrestling, with each blow I’m breaking through the cement of my heart so that I’m able to receive and accept God’s love, and healing.

 

These struggles are not only the gateway to healing but also to sanctification which is a fancy word for the process of purifying, to make me holy, to make me clean.

 

I guess another way to look at it is restoring of a home.  An old house has to go through some tremendous breakage, sledge hammering, pulling up and tearing down in order for the new to be put up.

 

Wrestling things out can be part of that process in our lives. God is the master renovator and He will take His time to do things right. He will contract the work through His Spirit and even through other people, if He sees fit.

 

The change is mandatory in order for me to move forward.  It’s hard. Oh, my is it hard, and terrifying at times. However, the results He gives will be extraordinary and for my beautification. That is something I am anticipating with excitement.

 

Oh, and don’t think this is a one – time deal.  He is wrestling and renovating along with us until we are called home.

 

 “I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6  (NASB)

 

 

 

 

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