Thursday, December 4, 2014


Thanksgiving has come and gone before I could even get a chance to blog about it.  Well...not really, because in my mind, Thanksgiving is one of those true character traits that we as Christians should walk in daily. This year I was privileged to have been asked to speak at my brother-in-law's church the Sunday after Thanksgiving. As I prayed about what to speak, the Lord started showing me what I call stepping stones to freedom.

Imagine with me, if you will, a stream with water swiftly flowing over rocks. The stream represents life. On the other side of the stream is a place of freedom.

Think of a time when something good happened to you in this journey we call life.  Were you glad? That's probably like asking if the grass is green! Of course you were glad! So, now something good has happened, and you have taken a step on one of the rocks called "glad"in the stream of life. If you are just glad, that is as far as you are going.  How do you get to the next step? By being thankful. 

When you go beyond just being glad something good happened to you, you will then be thankful to someone for that blessing and acknowledge your appreciation to him/her for the blessing you. Even if a person blessed you, ultimately God is the source of every good thing (See James 1:17). Thank God that He has prompted someone to help you and that they obeyed the leading of the Lord!  So now you are in the middle of the stream of life on the stone called "thankful". Actually, this step was a big step! Let's say you are almost to the other side to reach freedom.

You are almost to the other side, but you are still in the stream.  What is the next step that will get us in reaching distance of the shore? I believe it is a stone called "grateful".  "Grateful" is an adjective describing one who has "gratitude". When I looked up gratitude on my computer's dictionary, it said, "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness" (© 2005–2009 Apple Inc.).  When you get to this stone, you will then experience a desire to return kindness, not just to whomever blessed you, but to others as well. You will thank God for the blessings and seek Him for ways in which you can bless others. You will then find out that it is truly "more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). That brings you to the other side where you can walk in freedom as you forget about focusing on your own needs and allow God to work through you to meet the needs of others.

Oh yes! Lord, thank You for the good things in my life! Thank you that even when trials come, there is good, because You are with me to see me through! Remind me to take the step beyond being thankful to being grateful. Thank You in advance for the opportunities you will give me to be a conduit of your unconditional love to others. What a joy to see them start the journey to freedom with me!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Remember...You Love God!

We are often reminded that God loves us, but sometimes we need to be reminded that we love God!

Two thoughts why we would forget that:

1.     Sometimes doubts and fears within us, and even accusations toward God, rise to the surface.
These are times when some Christians even doubt God’s faithfulness.  The question they need to ask themselves is, “In my heart of hearts, how do I feel about God?”  The answer would be, “I love Him!  I want to trust Him!”  God knows that.  He allows all the clutter in us (that is there because of wounds) to be revealed so we can be healed!  He is not intimidated by our accusations, though I’m sure it grieves His Holy Spirit.  He will let us go through times of shaking so all that can be shaken will fall away until all that is left is that that cannot be shaken.  (Hebrews 12:27)  If in our heart of hearts we know God is God, then we are on a solid foundation that will stand.

Sometimes this clutter keeps us from receiving all that God has for us--whether it be a physical healing, inner healing, financial provision, peace and joy, etc.  It is not a question of God’s ability or willingness to bless us.  The question is, “What is the clutter that keeps me from allowing my love for God that is in my heart of hearts to flow out of me and allowing God’s love for me to flow into me?”  Testing will come.  The quicker we can get an eternal perspective about what is happening, instead of just seeing the trial right before our eyes, the quicker those distractions will be shaken off!  We will start to become a conduit whereby His Love can flow from Him to us and from us to Him!

2.     Sometimes distractions from the outside take our focus away.
2 Cor. 7:5-7 (NKJV) -
"For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  [6]  Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, [7] and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more."

The passage of scripture lets us know that even Paul had distractions from the outside and fears on the inside.  Nevertheless God!  God brought him into focus by sending Titus and by raising up an army of intercessors on his behalf!

When the storms of life hit us, we need to not forget of our love for God. We need to run to Him and learn how to dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Ps. 91:1)  While there, we need to pray for Him to help us keep our focus!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Closer Look at Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

This verse is one of the most known and quoted verses in the Bible.  It has been used many times to bring encouragement to people facing difficult times...and rightly so!  It shows the heart of our Father God who takes pleasure in blessing His children!  I recently came upon this verse because God laid another verse a few verses later on my mind, and I was on a quest to find out where that verse was in the Bible.

One recent morning before the sun rose, God woke me up to pray and intercede for someone. When I asked God how I was to pray for this person, I heard in my spirit, "That he would seek Me and find Me when he seeks for Me with His whole heart." I did not remember where that verse was found, so I got up and looked for it. I found it in Jeremiah 29:13.  I immediately recognized that it was just past Jeremiah 29:11 that everyone quotes for encouragement.  I thought about how so many people quote what God does for us, giving us a hope for a great future, but how often do we emphasize what He asks us to do?  Let's look at the two verses immediately following Jeremiah 29:11:
12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Many quote Jeremiah 29:11 when they are going through hard times, but how many quote the next two verses? How many make a decision to call on the Lord in prayer, knowing He will listen? How many seek Him with their whole heart during a time when their hearts are so broken?  That's what God is calling us to do! In fact, it is during those times of "captivity" that He asks us to do just that.

I went back and read the beginning of the chapter and found out that this was a letter written by Jeremiah in Jerusalem to those Jews who were in Babylon--away from their home land and in captivity No matter why they were in captivity, God tells them in verse seven to pray for peace in the place where they were:

And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

I find it interesting that God said He was the one who caused them to be taken captive. That messes with a lot of people's theology, so we'll just let it sit! At any rate, God tells them to pray for the peace of the place where they are in bondage and they will have peace there.  How many of us complain about the people around us that seem to be holding us captive instead of praying for them?  This is a different perspective: Pray for those who do you harm to have peace, and then you, too, will have peace! It makes sense if you think about it, but it sure does not come naturally when someone hurts you.  That's why we have to seek God and let Him do it through us. Like another verse says, "He is our peace, who has broken down every wall!" (See Ephesians 2:14).

It is not until the next chapter that God promises to bring His children in Babylon to their promised land.  Praise God for the hope He gives us during the midst of our trials! Thanks be to the Lord for hearing us when we cry out to Him and drawing us to seek Him when we are faced with adversities in life! His gift of peace in our land of captivity never ceases to amaze me! What a joy to know that He promises to bring us through these times to our "promised land"....that being the calling on our life for ministry on earth AND the ultimate gift of eternal life in Heaven!  Enjoy the journey, friends!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Back!

It's been a while, but I am ready to return to blogging! I stopped for a while while I was back in school (after 27 years) to get my Masters Degree. I am happy to say that I now have graduated from Liberty University with my degree in Professional Counseling! I remember reading in Henry Blackaby's book, Experiencing God, that when you see God at work it is your invitation to join Him. For years people would come to me for counsel, so I decided to be professionally trained.

It was not easy getting my nose back in college texts, studying for tests, and writing many long graduate-level papers.  I would much rather write posts on this blog! However, I am so glad I followed through. I learned so much, especially during my year as an intern. Here are some of my lessons:
  • You know that saying, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."? Well, that is true! Successful therapeutic relationships are built on rapport between client and counselor. 
  • Counseling is NOT giving advice! It's more about coming along side someone and encouraging them in their journey to their own revelation.
  • It is important to listen and ponder what you hear before responding. Reflective listening is the best. People appreciate when you listen and reflect back showing you care about them and what they just said. Too many people spend the time the other one speaks to think about what they want to say instead of truly listening.
  • Stop and think about what you are thinking about. (You are probably doing that right now!)
  • Self-care for the helper is a needed priority. You will not be help to anyone if you are burned out.
  • Let go of stereotypes! If you don't, you might miss out on a rather fulfilling relationship.
  • Prayer is imperative! Even if the client is not open to prayer, silent prayers can still happen. I've had many instances in a session when I did not know what to do. God answered my silent prayers and guided as only He can do! Sometimes those prayers answered were about giving me guidance, and sometimes they were about softening the client's heart to be able to receive.
I thank God for teaching me these lessons. I also thank God for all that has taken place these three years. I am experiencing the start of the next season of my life leading to an empty nest as my oldest daughter graduated from high school and is now in her second year of college as a Music Ed. major. Another mile marker in my life is that I had my ordination transferred to Harvest Network at their annual conference in Minnesota this past June. I felt right at home as soon as I walked in the door! It is such a great feeling to know you are walking in God's will for your life!