Today Is A Good Day For: A God-Story * A Friend’s Podcast * And A House

Hi friends! I promised you a post about the house we flipped last year, and started this in December. I apologize for the delay, and as it works out, my friend Amy Bennett is starting a new podcast about faith stories and asked me if I had one. (You can click on her name to find out more).

Right away I thought of this little story, and so it works perfectly to finally blog about it and publish my post on the same day as the podcast goes live.

TODAY you can go online and listen to me tell the story!

You can find the podcast by clicking here: FEATHERS and then come back and read the post for a few more details and our “Before & After” photos! EnJOY!!! (The other two stories go live today as well! #000 is Amy’s story, #001 is Jessie’s story, and mine is #002) FullSizeRender (4)

Once upon a time, this crazy couple decided to flip a house.

It all started when we were still waiting for our farm to sell. I met our WI realtor at a little house in our little town that was listed for $29,000.

I was emailing photos to my husband who was working in another state. As we were deciding over phone conversations that it would be a good investment, the realtor hollered from the back steps where she’d been talking on the phone, “They just got an accepted offer!!!”

Really!? After all that – it was not happening for us there that day.

But the light was lit.

And after we closed on the sale of our farm, we decided God had been working this dream into our hearts.

So after a few months and a dozen showings during #snowmageddon2014 (our poor realtor!) we found a little house.

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It’s not that the couple are really crazy, really.

They had fixed up each of the former five homes they’d owned, and made their sweat and bloody-knuckles into equity.

They enjoyed the product, and endured the process.

There is satisfaction on the other side of every hard endeavor. Plus, they are gifted. She in decorating and color-coordinating, and he’s . . . I guess they call guys like him “Jack of all trades.” He’s been a farmer, a mechanic, a cabinet-maker, a concrete dude, a builder, a foreman, a supervisor.

He’s says, “I built the Excel Energy Center.”  And they tease him at church sometimes that he single-handedly built the Excel Energy Center.  And then we all laugh. :)

He’s always told his wife, “I can do anything.” And has proven it a thousand times. [And it is true! There’s nothing he hasn’t set out to do and not followed through!]

So . . . with an electrician friend, updates were made on the electrical, and the furnace was updated from fuel oil to natural gas, and the chimney was lined, and a bathrooms fixed up and a kitchen remodeled. Closets were added to bedrooms and the entryway. Gravel to the driveway, yard weeded, shrubs planted, sawdust and sheetrock dust created daily – then vacuumed again, and [for yours truly] paint, paint, and more pain (t).

We saved a ton of money by purchasing used items on Craig’s List (we purchased cabinets and removed them ourselves, out of the servant’s quarters on the third floor of a mansion on Summit Ave in St. Paul, MN) and we found many fixtures and furniture pieces for staging at Habitat For Humanity’s Restore shop.

It was a wild journey led by God and you can listen to the podcast about it here: FEATHERS and FLIPPING A HOUSE
PHOTO JOURNEY:
[The Mess]

The Bathroom before:
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flip house 3

The Kitchen before: Flip house 2

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The Porch before: image (70) image (71) image (69)

Stairway and Landing before:

flip house 4 image (75) In the craziness of the journey, I’ve lost some of the “before” photos of the bedrooms, but I have some ‘in process’ here:

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flip house 5 The Landing upstairs in progress: Flip House1 I found this (below) decal for around a dollar at Walmart one day, and put it on the wall in the entrance to the stairs, so one would see it coming down for coffee in the morning. :) We found out THIS caught the buyers eye. And I’d had a feeling about it when I bought it . . .  2014-10-17 12.02.57 [The Masterpiece]
WELCOME!

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 The entryway and laundry area: 2014-10-17 12.07.39 2014-10-17 12.07.26 The Kitchen: 2014-10-17 12.03.12 2014-10-17 12.03.18 2014-10-17 12.03.40 kitchen8 kitchen 2014-10-17 12.06.38 2014-10-17 12.07.54 The Bathroom: 2014-10-17 12.08.16 2014-10-17 12.08.21 2014-10-17 12.08.26 The Front entryway and porch: 2014-10-17 12.06.00 2014-10-17 12.05.26 The Living Room:
The only thing we did in here was new trim, switch lights, spiffy up the floor and paint the walls. livingroom2 livingroom 2014-10-17 12.13.18 The Bedrooms and Upstairs Bath: bedroom 3 fliphouse2 fliphouse1 bedroom bedroom2 bathroom copy Thank you for visiting! 
fliphouse 6 fliphouse bye

When God Speaks {How He Longs That We Hear So He Can Bless Us} But Will We Listen?

How easy it is to hear and not listen.

It happens. So often I’m telling the four  year old, “Look at me” when I’m trying to get him to actually hear what I’m saying. “Throw that in the garbage please! Honey, look at me . . .”

IMG_1848 Isn’t he cute!?

How easy it is to hear and not listen.

It happens when I’m driving and a song comes on that I’ve heard 10,000 times, and suddenly I really hear it for the first time. “Why didn’t I ever catch that before?”

In the book of Jeremiah, God gives Jeremiah, the prophet His messages to warn Israel of impending disaster if they don’t repent. And no one listens. As far as I know, not one person turned to God through Jeremiah’s message.

Can you imagine having a hard message to deliver, one that made people angry and hateful, and no one, not even one listens?

To tell you the truth, that is why I wanted to study this book, I am amazed by Jeremiah’s relentless obedience, composure and endurance. I want that. I pray for that.

Often I feel anger if someone doesn’t believe the truth, or I begin to doubt that I am in the truth when it seems many others are going a different way in their thinking. This causes me to return to God in His Word and thankfully, He clarifies truth.

If only we would turn there, to Him, we would find the good way. Oppression would cease. Bondages would be broken . . . 

I remember a couple of years ago, landing on a blog where the man was making a biblical case for polygamy. His arguments were so convincing using scripture that I was shaken. So I closed my computer, and as I prayed and began to listen for the God’s voice, I heard His familiar words, “Keep the marriage bed pure.” Hebrews 13:4 and “A man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

He settled my soul into the truth, but I left that experience amazed at how quickly my mind could go in a direction based on human logic and reasoning. And what is even weirder, is that logically, polygamy makes no sense. It only leads to competition, and pain. The things God’s loving boundaries are meant to protect us against. Duh. 

I remembered Eve being hooked by the deceiver when he appealed to her logic and she, reasoning with him, stretched God’s word to make it sound as if He was holding out on her instead of protecting her by the limit he instituted in the garden. Genesis 3:2-3 (God never said she shouldn’t touch the fruit.)

In the book of Jeremiah, I don’t think I could accurately count the times that God said something to the effect of,

But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.  . . .And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished;  it is cut off from their lips.” Jeremiah 7:24, 28

My heart broke reading, “truth has perished.” What a tragic place to be. Living without truth is living in bondage. John 8:32

Honestly, as I read through this rather depressing book, (It’s depressing if you don’t know God and that He is passionate about people coming to repentance and that is the whole reason for His message.) my heart ached at the condition of our land. And so I pray that we will HEAR GOD today. That we will not stiffen our necks and harden our hearts because He longs to show mercy  (Isaiah 30:18) and His mercy triumphs over his judgement. (James 2:13) But only if there is repentance and humble honoring of Him and His ways. ( Jeremiah 7:5-7)

Dear Lord, help us humble ourselves before You, stop our word wars, and our prideful name-calling, and get on our knees to seek your good favor upon us. O Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people who listen to you pleading for repentance in our land in our day. 

 

Reconciliation: The Place of Grace

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

{How do you tell yourself the good news when you are under fire?}

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively apply it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel. ~Arabah Joy

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you need a healthy dose of good news!

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

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Reconciliation:

  • Former enemies agree.
  • One resigning to something not desired in order to be reconciled.
  • The process of making compatible.

It happens every time I speak a harsh word to my husband. Or when his words don’t land gently on my heart. There is this invisible weight pressing down my eyes. I avoid his. I can. Not. Look.

I know this force is the presence of my pride. My pride must yield, must actually die in order to restore our relationship. Whether it’s his offense or mine. There is no relationship without reconciliation. And no reconciliation without death. In the case with my husband, death to my pride.

“Reconciliation, by definition, assumes a previous state of alienation and hostility caused by the offensive action of one or both parties.” Jerry Bridges; The Gospel For Real Life

Isaiah 59:2  states the condition of our souls in relationship to God: “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Our sin separates us from God and He turns his face away and will not listen to us.

There is so much about this in scripture. We face our condition daily. Even if no one else sees, even if we keep from acting it out, we harbor thoughts. Anger, jealousy, cursing, lies in our discomfort, and fears.

It’s all there inside of us pointing to our desperate condition.  We feel it. We hide behind our unsteady structures: accomplishments, good deeds, popularity . . . until our business fails to fulfill us. Until we realize that we are giving to the poor for the reason of satisfying our guilt. Until we face rejection or disagreement. Then we find we’ve built on sinking sand.

So familiar are we with our mucky hearts, we often take little notice of the mud. We think, “I’m not as bad as So-and-So” We find false-justification by comparing ourselves to others who are ‘worse’.

We do need God to show us how offensive our ‘goodness’ is in light of His holiness.

When we read what God has to say about our sin, it’s a stark and piercing reality.

The sinful mind is hostile to God. Romans 8:7
Because of sin, we were enemies of God. Romans 5:10

His Holy love sent Jesus. His Holy love submitted in innocence to death by crucifixion. Jesus submitted his body to angry, hate-filled men when he could have called down a host of angels. Matthew 26:53

Reconciliation results from a change of heart. Death to my way.

In the case of my relationship with my husband, one or both of us needs to humble ourselves to restore relationship. Pride dies, or relationship dies. There is no getting around it.

In the case of our relationship with God, we are the ones that need to change. But we can’t. As hard as we try to keep ourselves from lying, cursing, seeking to make ourselves look good, gossiping, slandering, complaining, we inevitably find we can not.

So, come to the Cross. The place of grace.

“Its tragedy summons all sufferers. Its absurdity attracts all cynics. Its hope lures all searchers. . . . Its bottom line is sobering: if the account is true, it is history’s hinge. Period. If not, the cross is history’s hoax.” Max Lucado; “The Cross”

The Cross of Christ is where EVERYTHING changes. Blind see. Deaf hear. Dead are raised. Broken are made whole. Sinners are reconciled to God. This IS the GOSPEL good news!

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.The good news of the gospel is that God sent Jesus, His only Son to suffer the wrath that our sin deserved, that we might be reconciled to God.
Colossians 1:22

When once we have received this gift of salvation through repentance, we ARE reconciled. We are new creatures. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Our identities are changed. We ARE declared to be holy and blameless. We DO stand before him without a single fault.

It is by grace through faith that  we are saved. This gift. Ephesians 2:8

So often we forget our new identity. Especially when we sin or when things are not going well.

When we sin, or life is hard, our natural reaction is to hide or strive. But because of Jesus, we don’t have to do either. Instead of hiding or striving, we can trust God’s mercy. Often we have to fight our way there, to trust.

In those times, we must remind ourselves of the gospel truth: “I am a child of God. He loves me. He shows me His amazing love through the cross where He reconciled me to Himself. He came after me to rescue me. I am saved.”

Then thank Him yet again for this indescribable Gift!

More glorious Gospel words:

Justification by Arabah Joy

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

consecration by Kimberly

 

And If The Day’s Rays Are Shadowed Gray, May You Recall & Anticipate The Return Of Light’s Glory . . .

It’s been dark around these parts. The days have been shadowy with a side of sun. (photos of Stillwater, MN last Friday) IMG_1737 IMG_1734

And my inner world. It’s been a bit tricky navigating life in ministry with no ‘regular office hours’ and many needs. I’ve always been allergic to saying the word, “no.”

That isn’t a good thing when your work is as vague as writing and studying. (I’ve never taken a college course, so bear with me)

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(The sun broke through!)

I’m writing a short, six week Bible study for Personal Prayer Revival that I am teaching to my Sunday Bible class.

How much time does it take to write a Bible Study? How much time do I expect it takes to prepare a message? Do I have a ‘right’ to decline when someone needs me and it looks like I am free?

How do I say ‘no’ when I don’t have time frames and boundaries? “Um, I’m not available, I’m sitting at home writing.” (Does that sound like a lame excuse to you?)

I’m learning. Slowly. If I say ‘yes’ to everyone, I won’t get to what God has called me to. I will steal from my family and from His glory because I would be serving out of duty. I’d be as a slave. 

But I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.

It’s so much easier to know what to do in a day when you have children in the house, a shop with posted hours, a house to flip,  to know which steps to take next. Many days I feel lost. Many days I feel like I’ve accomplished very little and I’ve worked most of the day.

I know all of this mind-mayhem and indecisiveness is serving me, pressing me to lean in and listen more intently to the voice of God. He whispers . . . And He does promise to direct my steps. (Psalm 37:23NLT) I have to remember, and believe it. And keep taking the next step.

In all of this, my path ahead is becoming more clear and more focused. Because the hard things keep ‘bumping me back’ in to search His heart and tune my heart to His voice.

It’s like hard things are bumpers and I am a bowling ball aimed at the pins. 

I’ve just finished creating new brochures for the bags that will be handed out to attenders at the Set Apart Conference (and added them to my speaker page.) It’s an exciting opportunity to launch God’s message into 1500 bags.

After all these years of preparing, and this past week I finally received confirmation of my core message, I am so ready!

I wanted to tell you about the idea of having a “core message.” I’ve heard many times that we all have one. I’ve heard this: Ministry is where passion meets need. And I’ve been leaning in and listening for a long time for more clarity on my core message.

I listened to my friend Susie, host of Live The Promise interview Tullian Tchividijian and I heard him say it too, “I’ve been given one message, and a million different ways to say it.” (I think he said a million, it may have been thousands . . . but give a listen, it’s so worth it!)

And then I heard this new song. It is the ‘back side’ (as in the tail of the coin) of my message which is this: ~We Are Daughters (and Sons) Of The King~ Our lives are precious and valuable ~For Heaven’s Sake~

Here’s the song: No Longer Slaves

What does it mean to you that you are no longer a slave to fear, but are a royal heir of Heaven?  (Peek at Romans 8:17) Do you have a core message?

How I Can Be A Loyal Packer-Fan & Celebrate A Seahawks Win & What Does That Have To Do With MLK Day

I held my breath.

I sat on the edge of my seat.

I jumped up and down and clapped and hollered more than once yesterday. My heart was in this game. I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past, and I physically felt a similar tension. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s true. I love our Packers.

I knew Russell Wilson, Seahawks QB had played football in Madison, WI. The very state where I live, and the state hosting Green Bay, Lambeau Field and our beloved Packers. (One must be willing to bow their head under a large foam triangle that looks like cheese and paint a large G on the side of your house, your truck or your fence and to sit in a stadium outside when it’s 20 degrees below zero to truly understand what I mean.)

I also want to tell you, I prayed for the Packers on my way home from church. I prayed for them during the game. I hollered, “Thank you Jesus!” when they scored, or played well. And admittedly when the other team did not. (Forgive me Jesus!)

But I also knew going in, that Seahawks fans were praying too. And I knew some of the Seahawks players were live-out-loud believers in Jesus. I had seen a video of their celebration of His salvation.

And I had this feeling as the game progressed, because I know how God likes to show up and turn things around, that even though our Pack led the whole way, that something could -and maybe even likely would- turn around. I just had that feeling. Maybe that’s why my heart was so tense . . .

Let me stop here and just say, I believe God loves the Packers and the Seahawks equally. And their fans. And I absolutely believe He has a hand in these things. Because He created us all for a purpose, and whether a person has accepted that or not, we can’t help showing our Creator though the gifts He’s given us.

And for those of us who do know we are created by Him and for Him, we understand that if we win it is for His glory (to magnify His goodness) and if we lose, that too is for His glory (to magnify His goodness by showing we do not trust in our ability but in His goodness and can be good sports, celebrating with the winner)

So, if you watched the game, you couldn’t miss it. It was like the end-zone angels actually really did swoop in (Or the Spirit that helped Elijah outrun chariots in 1 Kings 18:46) and WHAM! It was a profound turnaround, the Seahawks won the game in about three minute’s time.

I was so glad it was over! I began to breathe again, and sought to settle my mind.  (I may or may not need counseling)

Minutes later as I finally had the energy to look at my phone (I literally couldn’t even engage in any dialog on social media as I have during other games, I was so tense!) I opened my email, and saw that my friend had sent the very video I’d seen before: (email readers, click on my blog title to view the 15 minute video)

As I watched this again today, on MLK day, and I looked at Russell Wilson, and I considered the current tension in our country and how it’s almost as if the ground we’d gained (or some of us maybe blindly had believed we’d gained) in civility in our land, had been obliterated since the great turning of the tide in Martin Luther King’s day.

And the  sermon he wrote in September 1965, about “living under the tensions of this modern life”- how his words could have been written today.

I could be wrong, I could. But maybe God, in His wisdom is using the game to tell us some things. To tell us, He sees what is going on. He is in control. And He will honor those who honor Him. Whether in winning or losing. 1 Samuel 2:30

And I think our Packers have done that too. Perhaps unknowingly, or perhaps in acknowledgement of God, they’ve given Him glory (celebrating His goodness) in being thankful.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

How Noah Got In The Ark

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Kneeling on cold concrete, Sharpie in hand, I was scrawling Isaiah 61:1-2 on the floor of the new Pulse Movement office. The potent scent of permanent marker filled the open space as several of us penned promises for staff to stand upon before the installation of new flooring.

We would dedicate the office to the Savior we love, for the proclamation of the gospel we love. Ultimately this is a launching pad for salvation of  college students that He loves, as Pulse founder Nick Hall has been sent out by God with His good news.

I write verse 2:
“To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor . . .” I smile at this as I press hard on the felt tip, drawing letters. How I cherish His favor, His grace, His protection and provision.

Then, as suddenly as joy forced the smile, I paused at the unpleasant part to come. I rehearse the meaning of the words.

Without understanding this part, the gospel has no value. So I write the next words, considering their importance.

“and the day of vengeance of our God.” IMG_0519

If there is nothing to be saved from, who needs a Savior?

Today I read in Genesis 7: The LORD then said to Noah, (after grieving that the whole earth and all of it’s inhabitants had become corrupt Genesis 6:11-12) “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”

The whole earth was corrupt, except for one man.

Noah was righteous, and God saved him and his family.

I remembered a quote I’d read a few weeks back: “One basic ingredient in the Old Testament idea of righteousness is relationship, both between God and man and between man and man.” ~New Bible Dictionary; 3rd edition.

How that resonated.

When I act rightly with kindness, integrity, and humility, I build relationships. If I act corruptly in selfishness, arrogance and deception, I destroy relationships. It’s especially true of my relationship with God.

I seek the definition of righteousness: Conforming to a standard of right behavior. Conforming to what is right and fair.

God is right and fair. Righteousness then, is really conforming to God.

I recall words from James 2:13, “. . .mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Notice how mercy held out as God waited long for the corrupt ones to repent. Jeff Kinley, in his book, “As It Was In The Days Of Noah” says this: “With every hammer blow, a call to repentance and faith echoed throughout the land.”

I imagine when God shut the door that day; His tears flooded the earth; I know how rejection feels.

Noah was the only man on the earth who trusted our God of love. The only one who listened to and honored Him. It’s clear to see the reason Noah and his family were saved.

Noah loved God. Love always trusts. 

If you are reading the Bible along with #Team365 at Deeper Waters, you can find the Bible Reading Plan here and daily meditations here.

God’s Side and Man’s Side

I don’t know why it seemed so crucial to know if it was something I did that caused my spiraling into the pit anxiety or if it was God who’d led me into the wilderness. I’d always hoped it was His doing.

Anxiety: Fearful concern, worries: strangle or choke

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I’d been spinning many heavy plates at once.

It was my fourth grade daughter’s first year of public school and I continued teaching my 2nd grader at home. My husband, mostly absent from home; working seven days a week constructing big buildings, and with over an hour’s commute one way, was often not a happy commuter.

Guilt was boring a hole in my soul for spending money – me, responsible for the groceries. Groceries, the expense always blamed for depleting our account. And then there was the ‘bailing-out’ of homeschooling. Even though we’d prayed and agreed, there were the disappointed words of others, atop the inner voice: “failure”. . .

Click on over to Deeper Waters where we are reading the classic book by Hannah Whitall Smith, “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” together. Today I highlight chapter 2

How To Be Blessed

Words.

Four year old Boy is communicating quite well. Two year old is still grunting or whimpering, but is slowly acquiring more words.

“heh’Met,”  he says. The name of his favorite Lego guy, Emmet. FullSizeRender (1)

Until Christmas, when he wanted something, we’d tell him, “Say please!” and he’d raise his hands to the heavens and mutter or squeak something to the effect of, “eeeeeehhh”. But we noticed at Christmas that he’s abandoned the hand-raising and actually said, “Please.”

It was a bit sad to note later that he’d moved on because it was so adorable, but we also celebrated his growth in learning to communicate.

Eugene Peterson says, “Language is spoken into us, we learn language only as we are spoken to. We are plunged at birth into a sea of language.” . . . “All speech is answering speech. We were all spoken to before we spoke.” {Working the Angles}

Timothy Keller, in his book “Prayer” says in response, “Our prayers should arise out of immersion in the Scripture. We should plunge ourselves into the sea of God’s language, the Bible. We should listen, study, think, reflect, and ponder the Scriptures until there is an answering response in our hearts and minds.”

Babies begin with cries, and learn to communicate through communion with their parents.

We begin our relationship with God and we must learn His heart through communing with Him. Through being immersed in His words.

In the beginning God spoke and His word created.  Earth’s beginning. And ours.

The dictionary tells us that being blessed means to be consecrated, sacred, holy, divinely or supremely favored, blissfully happy or contented.

The first {In the beginning} prayer in God’s book of prayers, the Psalms, tells us how to be blessed.

1. Don’t hang out with people who are going the wrong way. (Psalm 1:1)
2. Hang out with God and love His word. (Psalm 1:2)
3. Meditate on His word day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

Another first comes to mind: The first commandment. Matthew 22:37-38

First in the Bible. First in the Psalms. First on the stone Tablets. First in your heart.

Keeping God always first is the way to being blessed.

And there in that first Psalm is the guarantee of prosperity. The kind that truly blesses. Psalm 1:3 Image-1 (7)

Dear friends, may you begin your day, your week, your year always enjoying God, listening to Him, and  responding. This is essentially prayer.

And may you prosper greatly in this new year!

Psalm 1 (highlights mine)
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Team 365 Bible Reading Plan

For more insight, go to Deeper Waters

A New Word For A New Year

So many women I love yearn for their children or husbands or family members to follow Jesus. I have my own long list that I pray over weekly. People who are either AWOL from their faith, living with their backs to God, having turned away from following, or others who have never really dedicated their lives to Him.

My mind was mulling on these souls and talking to God while driving one day, asking Him, “Why? Why can’t they see Your goodness? How can they not see You are worth giving everything up for?” God speaks to me often on my road trips, and I heard Him say it,

“Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12

And I remembered what I often forget to remember, Satan blinds people with lies. Thoughts are walled in behind thick fortresses. Souls are shackled.

And then I heard God remind me of this:

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, an we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

War weaponry for the Christian consists of one sword: the Word of God. And one shield: Faith. And faith is really our belief in His word. Belief that He means what He says and stands behind it. {What accusation do we bring against God when we don’t believe Him?!}

We must know what God says, and then we must believe it and pray it. And we also must speak it.

I kept meditating: Divine Power. God’s power. The power that said, “Let there be light” -and there it was!

God’s Word has power.

Demolish strongholds. I knew what strongholds were –  I’d had a few demolished myself up there in my own darkened mind. It was as if my thoughts were walled in.  For a long season that I never want to repeat, I could not believe God loved me.

It’s extremely humbling to tell you that now. But it’s true.

My mind was walled off from truth. Reality wasn’t real.

Eventually, God’s word broke through as a result of prayer. Not just a little prayer, but years of prayer. Both mine and my mentor’s.

Because I’ve studied and taught in the past on spiritual warfare, the Lord began circling me back to lead women in prayer again. To teach these truths.

Suddenly, a few weeks back, my word for 2015 came like a lightening bolt, sharp and bright:

Victory! image

And I heard Him speak again. “Through Me, you have Victory, and you will lead them in triumph.”

Are you needing God to break some people free to surrender to Him? Maybe it’s you that needs a stronghold broken so you can live freely in His love. Or you have some other pressure in your life that you’d love Jesus to free you from.

Then join me in this march of Victory in 2015. Let’s believe God and pray together! If you’d like to leave a prayer request in the comments I will pray for you in the coming weeks.

And if you’d have grace to pray for me as I write this study guide(?)

May God’s richest blessings flood your 2015!!!

Linking up here:

 

Linking up here: #TheLoft

In The Beginning . . .

It’s always good to begin at the beginning. IMG_1513

Last night I asked D if he’d seen the movie he was watching on TV before. He said, “Bits and pieces of it.” To which I replied, “I can’t stand starting in the middle of a movie.”

Because when I don’t have the back-story, I can’t follow it, and therefore, I can’t get into the story.

To start the year reading “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Genesis 1:1 lays the foundation for my year. And actually, for my entire worldview. It lays the foundation for my understanding of history, of the present and of the future.

I’ve always believed the literal account of the beginning and acknowledge it as a great gift of God.

I believe God can do unbelievable things, and it’s futile to try to completely wrap my mind around Him. Isaiah 55:8

Though it’s His great pleasure when we seek to increasingly know Him, which I delight in doing. Isaiah 43:10

For a brief recap of this stunning beginning,  God . . . Father, Word, and Spirit – One God birthing earth:
Day 1: God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The Author of Life authors light. With a word, it becomes. Colossians 1:16

Day 2: God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So it happened and He named the expanse “sky”.

Day 3: God said, “Let the waters below the sky separate and let dry ground appear.” “Let the land produce vegetation that will reproduce. . . according to their kinds.” And God saw that it was good.

Day 4: God said, “Let there be lights {to govern}. . . the greater “sun” to govern day and “moon and stars” to govern night . . . and separate light from darkness.” and God saw that it was good.

Day 5: God said, “Let the water fill with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created fish and birds according to their kinds . . . and blessed them and told them to multiply.

Day 6: God said, “Let the land produce living creatures . . .” and He made the animals and saw that it was good.
Day 6: God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image. in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

And then God gives Man and Woman the charge to multiply and fill the earth, and rule over all of His creation. Of man, He said that it was very good.

His children are given charge over His world – that reminds me of my growing up years. As a reflection of both of my parents in ways of personality and image, and as a farm-girl, I was given responsibilities in our family business. It brought much joy to me and to my dad when I would follow his directives and oversee the jobs I was given, trusting that he would give me the tools and training I needed to accomplish his will.

Genesis 1, evokes images of life unfolding, always splitting and multiplying, this blooming and creating. Creating, creating, creating . . . life always unfurling . . . and we, God’s children, have the honor of participating, seeing, hearing, learning, and us bearing His image, creating, creating, creating!

Add the dark, and add the light, and add the water . . .  the process . . . a ruler holds the brush, takes dominion over the canvas, create, create, create.

In the beginning, God created. He is our beginning. Creator of me. Creator of you. How do you reflect Him? What does He create through your unique life?