What If?

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My son loves to throw out “what if?” statements. “Mommy, what if there was a frog that had wings and he flew over the ocean?” “What if everyone got to go to the shoe store and pick out any pair of shoes they wanted and you didn’t have to pay for them?”

So, I thought, “What if I figured out how to lean on God in all the daily details the way I lean on Him when I am writing and speaking ?” When I have the opportunity to speak, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that the only way I pull it off is with God’s presence. The Holy Spirit at my side. When I complete a book and go back and read some of the things He has placed on my heart, I am in awe at His message and know with certainty it is all God. When God says He will equip us with all we need to carry out the task He has created us for – He will! I am living proof of that. Please hear me when I say that me becoming an author and a speaker is just as incredible as Mary finding out she going to give birth to God’s only son as a virgin!

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13

The big things are easy. There is no question we need God, but how do we learn to release every aspect of our lives? The trivial. The mundane. The daily. The answer is practice! Nothing happens without work. Not losing weight, learning a new language, keeping a marriage together, cultivating a new friendship or learning a new position at work. Most everything we do takes a little time, practice and patience. Our trust and reliance on God is no different. As we read His word and learn more about Him we are able to lean in a little closer each day. As we lean closer into Him, we are able to release more and more of our lives into His hands. I promise you it won’t happen over night. Nothing good is easy or free, so be patient and extend yourself some grace as you begin to build and grow this faith muscle.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

The Lord wants to help each of us accomplish this goal. Simply ask Him to show you the way. To open the eyes of your heart to see Him more clearly and trust Him more deeply. He will answer when you call to Him, but you must be willing to listen for the answer.

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

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Recycled

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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44

After missing trash day we had no choice but to make a run of recycleables to the local drop off station. There was no way we could wait another week for trash day to come around. My daughter helped us figure the appropriate container for each category of trash we had accumulated. Thus began the talk about recycling and how great it was to have the opportunity to take our trash some place where others could turn it into something useful again.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

Recycle means to “extract useful material”. I see God in the recycling process. Not in the recycling of plastic, paper and cardboard, but the recycling of sin, disappointment, betrayal, fear, deception and heartbreak.  I thought about all of my past mistakes. The BIG ones and the little ones. I thought of all the trials that my friends and I have faced and endured. The messes and devastation sin had caused  in the lives of those I know. And I see God at work in midst of it all. Recycling the hurt, extracting the useful material, the lesson – and using it for His glory. To draw us closer to Him. To trust in Him more. Lean on His understanding more than our own and experience life more fully by doing so.

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.” Zechariah 13:9

God turns trash into treasure! He uses mistakes and trials to refine us! To purify and perfect us. When we allow God in to do His work. Past mistakes turn into testimonies that draw others to Christ. Trials break down walls around our hearts that hinder us from hearing God’s whisper. Weary and broken hearts turn into fertile ground where God is able to do His best work. Our weakness becomes God’s mighty strength.

Yes, I would say that our Lord and Savior is the ultimate recycler. For He is surly able to turn all the trash we make out of our lives into treasure if we seek Him and allow Him to penetrate our hearts.

“‘Those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example. They’ll be put to severe testing for a season: some killed, some burned, some exiled, some robbed. When the testing is intense, they’ll get some help, but not much. Many of the helpers will be halfhearted at best. The testing will refine, cleanse, and purify those who keep their heads on straight and stay true, for there is still more to come. Daniel 11:33-35 (The Message)

Hey You!

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Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:14-18 (The Message)

I heard a woman talking about her faith journey recently. She spoke of all the things, religions and directions she experimented with until she ended up back where she started. In the church. Believing in and trusting in her Heavenly Father. There was only one comment that gave my heart pause. She mentioned that she came back because it was comfortable, she felt welcome and at home. It was easy. Don’t get me wrong. We all want to feel welcome in our church, amongst other believers. And we certainly want others to feel welcome in our houses of worship. That is vital to our continued growth as Christians as we take this journey of faith. But, I wanted to stop her – to interrupt and say, “Following Christ isn’t always comfortable. It’s hard. It takes guts and sometimes it hurts. It’s tough in these sinful human bodies we walk around in, but it isn’t supposed to be easy.”

“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this. Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)

Yes, we find peace, sustenance, comfort and love through His Living word and a deep relationship with Him, but loving as Christ did when He walked this earth takes prayer, discipline, self-sacrifice.  So, comfortable and welcome is good, but I’ve found it’s in the uncomfortable that I grow the most. Grow stronger in my faith, stronger in my love for the Lord, and stronger in my trust of His laws and plan. Jesus promised trials, temptations and uncomfortable times. The question is, what will we do with them? Will we run? Pretend it isn’t happening? Buckle under the pressures of the world and follow the path most taken? Or will we praise God for the opportunity to show others the strength, peace and blessings only God can offer in the midst of our darkest hour? I don’t know. I pray that I will always go through the gate few enter. The gate to Jesus. I pray I will always have the courage and strength to stand up for God’s Word as I try to live with it as my foundation in every aspect of my life. Knowing I will sometimes fail, but praying God continues to show me mercy and grace through making the uncomfortable – comfortable. And I pray these same things for you. Blessings. 

He said to his disciples, “Hard trials and temptations are bound to come, but too bad for whoever brings them on! Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time! “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.”But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it. Luke 17:1-6 (The Message)

New Book – Revision of a Heart now available!

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This book has been in the making for several years. It’s about the lessons I learned during a time of transition and trial. It’s about what I thought I had under control in this heart: materialism, idols, pride, greed, selfishness . . . . As a Christian, these were things that should be conquered, right?! I found they weren’t so easy to conquer, but easier to ignore or overlook in myself. These are the lessons learned in an old house and a new lifestyle.

I can’t think of a better time for its release than the week our Savior took His place on the cross for the salvation of each one of us. He suffered for six hours up on that cross and then died for you and for me. It’s always humbling to consider the magnitude of this gift for such an unworthy servant as myself. His death gives each of us the opportunity for life. As Pastor Mike Lee said last weekend, “Such an extreme price paid for our salvation calls for an extreme commitment.”

As we celebrate His sacrifice and love this Easter weekend, I pray the reality of what He endured for us will penetrate your heart on a new level and you will accept His love, mercy and grace so you are able to go out and share it with others daily.

Happy Easter!

Revision of a Heart can be purchased on Amazon.com.