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Monthly Archives: October 2014

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Constant

Today is a random pondering day for me. I’m thinking about the change and why I love to hate it. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Heraclitus of Ephesus,”The only thing that is constant is change.”

He also said, “Everything changes and nothing stands still. You could not step twice in the same river; for other waters are ever flowing onto you.”

It’s why I love photography so much. Capturing a moment in time and preserving it forever. A baby’s first smile or steps. Your childhood best friends who you swear will always be there. A flower in full bloom or that ever flowing river that will never be the same again.

The danger is holding so tight to those moments that we get stuck and refuse to move forward. I can’t ever get yesterday back. I can’t stop my nieces and nephews from getting taller than me or my grandparents from aging. There are times I want to go back and relive moments and times when I want to go back with a giant eraser. But I can’t. None of us can.

All we can do is find a balance of taking the memories with us but not letting them paralyze us from embracing the new day we are in right now.

I like the quote by W.Somerset Maugham, “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”

Embrace every day and every new season. Be all in. That’s my goal right now. To really live, not to just exist. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. He didn’t come so we could just survive.

I know I’m all over the place but it’s where I am right now. I’m in a time of serious transition. I don’t have any idea what will happen tomorrow. Hence my quoting of quotes and rambling. I feel like I’ve been in a season of constant motion. I feel like I’ve got motion sickness and the speed of which the days and weeks are rolling by are making me dizzy with a tinge of nausea. I feel like I spend so much time trying not to fall down and figure everything out that I’m wasting these precious days I should be living to their fullest. I feel like a fan, vacillating back and forth between fear of failure and fear of missing out on what my life could have been.

That being said, here’s a change quote from me…”There are two constants in this life;one is change and the other is a God who doesn’t.” -Jill Nicholson

I have to keep reminding myself that I can rely on God to constantly love me every day. He loves me whether I’m embracing life that day or I spent it sitting on the couch with my knees pulled up sobbing. I can trust that He is the same every day. He is forever faithful and keeps His word. I need those reminders daily lately, because all my safety nets are gone now. I have the words God gave me and the promises. That’s it. And it’s scarier than vampire clowns to someone who has grown accustomed to schedules and routines.

I have always trusted God in theory. I mean He’s done some spectacular things through random and ordinary people. I know he can do anything. But I also know me. I tend to be like that ever changing river that flows down the easiest path. I’m not a fan of mountains or climbing. I like the view but the risk of the fall vs the spectacular view…well I choose to purchase the photo of the view from someone who was crazy enough to climb said mountain.

Do you know what happens when you trust God only in theory? He tests your theory. When God tests your theory, He proves it beyond any doubt. I’m witnessing with my own eyes how faithful He is. I am experiencing what peace in chaos actually feels like. (FYI it’s awesome) So while I still have no idea what will happen tomorrow or how all the chaos in my life will be worked out. I know that it will be worked out for my good, because that is the God I serve and love. He does not change. He is always faithful. He is always trustworthy. He always loves and reacts in love.

This is what I am telling myself today. Change is constant. But so is God.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 NLT

“I am the Lord,and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6 NLT

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT

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Musical Monday-Crazy Kicks In

Generally when I ask people how they are they reply, “Busy.” or “Tired.”  We are a society of busy and tired.  We all have obligations competing for our attention.  I know I do!  But when I take time in the morning to focus on hearing what Holy Spirit has to say, I find it easier to prioritize.  I get more accomplished in my day than if I skip God time.

Crazy Kicks In by Francesca Battistelli is a fun reminder to keep God first.

You never know what kind of gem you’ll get in your God time.  Maybe it will be encouragement.  Maybe it will be a solution for something you’ve been unable to figure out.  Maybe it will be something that makes you laugh and keeps your day joy filled.  Maybe it will be a business strategy that changes everything for you.  Maybe it will be a verse or a word that will encourage someone you’ll encounter that day.

When you show up expecting, He’ll show up too.  No games or tricks.  Just a promise that when you seek, you’ll find.

In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:12-13 NLT

Simply Receive

While I was reading Psalm 116 this morning, verse 12 jumped out at me.  It asks “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?”  It’s a good question.  How do you repay someone who has given you something in excess of your ability to pay?  How do you repay such a good God for being who He is?

When I read the next verse it seemed like it was changing topics because it was talking about lifting the cup of salvation.  So I looked up lift, cup, and salvation in the Strong’s.  Here’s what I found:

Lift (H5375) can mean to accept, take, lift…etc…

Cup (H3583) is from a root that means to hold together.  It means container (cup).  Figuratively it refers to a portion or lot.

Salvation (H3444) is Yeshûw’âh.  It means the whole package of deliverance:  deliverance, victory, prosperity, aid, help, health, salvation and welfare.  It is everything that Jesus died to give us.

I added this all together…. Willingly accept the whole container of salvation is how you repay the Lord’s goodness.  I pondered this because it doesn’t seem good enough to me.

So, I asked Him, “How do I repay Your goodness, Lord?”

His answer,  “By accepting it.”

The truth is usually much simpler than we make it out to be.

 

Musical Monday-Dream for You

Today’s encouraging Musical Monday song is Dream for You by Casting Crowns.

Your plans for the future might be good but God’s are bigger and better.  Trust me on this.  For the past year, God has been taking my little itty bity dreams and plans and showing me His version for me.  Let me tell you, even with my stellar imagination, God’s creative powers are vastly superior to mine!

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.”  I Corinthians 2:9 MSG

This scripture has been proven again and again in my life this year as I seek to partner with Him in all He has for me.  Knowing that God believes that I am capable of achieving these dreams in partnership with Him, has not only bolstered my confidence and made me want to take risks, it’s allowed me to let go of the things that have been holding me back.

One by one I’ve been laying waste to every single back up plan I’ve ever had and moving forward in what God has for me.  Is it scary?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  I’ve never been happier or more excited in my life.

PS:  I know the details what God’s doing in my life have been vague.  Sorry, but that is on purpose.  I have a policy that I don’t share what’s going on in my life with everyone until I have victory in it.  I do share it with people who are prayer partnering with me.  Specific people the Lord has put in my life for this purpose.

With social media and such it’s easy to put every single bad day, bad mood and negative thing in your life out for the world to comment on.  I do not do this.  I will not do this.  Like David, I take my emotions and situations and vent them to the Lord and a grand total of 2 other people.  Two people who I trust to not let me get away with wallowing.  Two people who intercede for me like I intercede for them.  The information that goes out to everyone else is filtered.  It has to be.

My goal in this blog and in everything else I do is to encourage people.  Most of you know exactly what you’ve done wrong and your issues.  You don’t need me for that. What you do need is someone to remind you who God says you are, and that you are deeply loved.  It is not too late to start making good choices.  God is for you not against you.  Just like God has big plans and dreams for me, He has them for you too.  Yours will be vastly different from mine because we are two completely different people with different gifts and talents.  I want to see you be the best you that you can be!!!

And I promise you this, when victory comes in the situations and circumstances I am facing.  You and everyone else will hear what the Lord has done for me.  Until then it is encouragement all day every day!

All In

Perception is everything.  What you believe matters.  What you believe about yourself determines how you allow others to treat you and how you behave.  What you believe about yourself and God will determine your relationship with Him.  What you believe about God determines whether or not you are willing to have faith in, commit to, and trust Him.  If you don’t believe God is good and that God loves you, you will be unable to trust that He works all things out for your good.  If you are unable to fully trust Him, you’ll never commit to go all in.

It can be scary to go all in.  You may have doubts.  You may not fully understand.  Think about Mary when she was visited by the angel Gabriel.  She was confused and did not fully understand what he was telling her.  But she did believe that God was good and she trusted Him. So despite her doubt, Mary went all in.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.  For the word of God will never fail.”” Luke 1:26-37 NLT

Mary could have heard what the angel had to say, and dismissed him.  She could looked at teenage self and said, “Yeah right.”  She could have listened to her doubts and refused to believe that this was possible.  She could have missed being the mother of the Savior, the Messiah, if she chose not to believe.

But Mary did not miss what God had for her, because she chose to go all in.  No back up plan.  No rationalizations.  No strategies.  Just belief.  “Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.””  Luke 1:38

You alone choose what you believe.  No one, not even God Himself, can make that choice for you.  Mary chose to believe, and she gave birth to the Savior.  What will you be capable of if you choose to believe God and go all in?

You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”  Luke 1:45 NLT

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”” II Corinthians 2:9 NLT

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.” Hebrews 6:18 NLT

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”  Matthew 19:26 NLT (Verse also found in Mark 10:27 and Luke 18:27).

Musical Monday-Out of Hiding

The Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30.  You’ve probably heard it or read it.  Mostly it’s about stewardship of money and other things that are in your hands.  But today when I was listening to Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger I had a different perspective on it.

This “unprofitable” servant looked around and could plainly see the gifts and abilities in others.  But either could not see them in himself, or felt he was inferior to those already using talents similar to his.

Maybe he had a brilliant business idea, but had seen others around him fail.  So he hid the talent.

Maybe he was an artist and wanted to invest in a creative venture, but feared failure.  So he hid the talent rather than lose it.

Maybe he was a writer and wanted to use it to publish his book, but feared failure.  So he hid the talent.

Maybe he had failed before and didn’t want to fail again.  So he hid the talent.

Maybe no one believed in him before the master did.  So he didn’t believe in himself, and buried the talent deep.

Maybe people told him he was stupid and his ideas were stupid.  So he didn’t even try, he buried his talent.

Here’s the Parable of the Talents in the Message translation:

“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. (MSG)

Don’t be like the unprofitable servant and bury your gifts, talents, and abilities. Take a risk.  Try.  Believe in yourself. Come out of hiding!

Not Moved By Circumstances

There’s a difference between knowing in your head that God’s able to be your rock, salvation, defense, provision, refuge, strength, and etc. . . and standing firm in that knowledge no matter what your circumstances look like.  I turn to the Psalms a majority of the time when I am stressed out or my circumstances are not so hot.  David went through a lot of trials and he is a good example on how to vent your emotions and then declare what the Lord says over your circumstances.  David also shows us how not to be swayed in the wind by every single thing that happens to us and around us.  Even when the thing happening to us originated with someone close to us.

Here is the first two verses of Psalm 62:

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.” (NKJV)

The I shall not be “greatly” moved, to me, is like saying I am really bothered by this but I will not let it wreck me.  It’s the knowing in your head that God is for you.  Biblical scholars believe that King David wrote Psalm 62 during the time of his son Absalom’s rebellion (Beginning in II Samuel 15).  I can see how the first few verses could be written during the events of II Samuel 15:13-14:

Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”  So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” (NKJV)

This beginning of this Psalm is David’s way of convincing himself that God is still for him and not against him.  It’s David remembering what God had done and in his head asking, “God’s still for me, right?”

Later in II Samuel 15:25-29, David tests that theory by sending the Ark of Covenant back to Jerusalem.

Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”  The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.  See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.” (NKJV)

It is then, I believe that David chose to stand and declare “I WILL WAIT RIGHT HERE FOR THE LORD AND I WILL NOT BE MOVED BY THIS!”  It’s when his head knowledge became practical and he decided to stand no matter what.  Believing that God would defend him.  Then David wrote verses 5-7:

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.” (NKJV)

David continued on with verse 8, reminding all of us that we can fully trust God at all times.  No matter the circumstances.

“Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.” (NKJV)

God did deliver David from Absalom’s rebellion and he continued to rule the people for the rest of his life.