Archive | May 2013

Expiration Dates


Why is it that as human beings we seem to live as if we will always have tomorrow? We take so many things in our lives for granted; our health, our relationships, our jobs, our finances, etc. We say things like; someday we’ll go visit our friends and relatives or when this happens, I’ll be able to take better care of myself. When I am making this amount of money then I’ll be able to save some.

So many times it takes a crisis to shake us up and remind us that none of us are promised tomorrow. A loved one gets cancer, or suddenly dies and we are left to regret not taking the time to connect with them more. This is not just our elderly friends and family; tragedy can strike at any age.

We take our health for granted by making small choices each day to eat the wrong thing or not exercise or get enough rest. I’ve even said, “I know I shouldn’t be eating this, but tomorrow’s another day?” Then one day we wake up and realize that we are overweight and don’t have the energy we used to. Many of us will blame it on “getting old”, but the fact is it’s because we haven’t taken care of ourselves over a long period of time.

We take for granted that our jobs will always be there and then seemingly out of nowhere comes the day we are called into the office and told it’s over. We take for granted that we will always be able to make money and never stop to plan and prepare for that bump in the road.

We take our spouse for granted and think they will always be there; then the unthinkable happens. They suddenly pass away or get sick or leave because we’ve neglected them for so long. We always think we’ll have another chance to say those things that we should have said, and then it’s gone!

I wonder how we might choose to look at things differently if everything were labeled with expiration dates. When you clip coupons you are constantly aware of the expiration date. You want to make sure you can use it before it expires. Some places like Bed, Bath & Beyond accept expired coupons and that makes me think about the way most of us live life. We think that we will defy the odds; that stuff only happens to other people, right? We think we will always have time to make things right.


The Bible talks to us about the need to realize that we don’t have forever.

Psalms 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalms 39:4-6 4“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing
they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

Matthew 24:36-39 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

We shouldn’t spend all of our time fearing the worst, but we should take the time to enjoy the small moments in life, walk in gratitude for what we have today and make preparation for the future. When we walk through all these things in balance we will be able to enjoy our life every day.

Who can you reach out to today? What small change can you make today in your lifestyle so that tomorrow can be better?

Giving To Ourselves


Last month I was blessed by a friend with an all expense paid trip to Naples, Florida. It soon became apparent that this was not a coincidence, but God wanted to use this trip to speak to me. He had been trying to speak to me for awhile, but I was too busy trying to do all the things that I thought He wanted me to do to listen.

God had spent the last year sending people into my life who were talking to me about investing in myself. Some people gave me new clothing that I refused to buy for myself. One kind woman gave me a whole makeover. She sent me to an awesome hairdresser to have my hair done, which had not been done for a year, she sent me to a boutique to get some new clothing, and she had still another person give me a facial. I felt blessed and so grateful, but really missed the point God was trying to make. He wanted me to start investing in myself. He wanted me to start paying more attention to the temple He has given me.

When my friend and I were in Naples, God started to speak to me about the way she took care of herself. She took time for skincare, to dress up when we went out, and buy food that was good for her body. We went shopping and she bought some new clothing and a pair of beautiful shoes for herself. I remember thinking how nice it would be to be able to do that some day. Then God said, “it’s time for you to start doing that now”.

When we returned from that trip, I had a new mission from God. He wanted me to start taking time to seek Him and start taking steps to invest in my health and my appearance. How many of us talk about taking better care of ourselves someday? We think that one day we will have enough money, or enough time to take better care of ourselves, but God says we need to invest in ourselves every day.

God talks about us taking care of ourselves throughout the Bible.

I Corinthians 3:16 “ Do you not know that you
are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

3 John 1:2 “ Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

Luke 10:27 “And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ “

We can’t love others, if we don’t love ourselves. God wants us to take care of our bodies in balance. We are not to become obsessed by taking Care of our physical bodies, but we do need to pay attention to them. They are God’s temple here on earth and what He uses to do His work here.


1 Timothy 4:8 ” for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

When we focus our attention on God, He will guide us and provide what we need to take care of our body, soul and spirit in the proper balance.

What can you give to yourself today? What has God been telling you about taking care of yourself?

This entry was posted on May 22, 2013. 4 Comments

A New Thing


When God starts doing a new thing in our lives, it can be very exciting in the beginning. The adrenaline’s pumping, we see the vision so clearly and then it happens…the proverbial rug comes out from under our feet and we find ourselves asking, “Was that God I heard?”. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves becoming cynical and disillusioned with life. The enemy of our soul is there whispering in our ear, “You see, God can’t be trusted”.

It’s at this point in our lives that we need to decide who we trust, God or the enemy. This may seem simplistic, but it really is that simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy. God never said this life would be easy, in fact, He told us just the opposite.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
This verse clearly tells us that this life is not a cake walk, but it also tells us that we don’t have to buckle under the pressure because our God has given us the ultimate victory. All we have to do is hang in there, stand on the truth, trust God’s Sovereignty and wait for God to move on our behalf.

Sometimes it seems like we are surrounded by darkness, when in reality we are right on the edge of a breakthrough. That’s when the enemy will pull out all the stops and try to fake us out. This has been the case in my life recently. I’ve been focusing on my health and taking better care of myself. I made some big changes to my lifestyle and when I did all chaos broke loose in my body. Those old fears came back, as the enemy whispered in my ear that my body wasn’t going to heal and this was my lot in life. Then God reminded me of a passage of scripture in
Isaiah 40:31
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

That is the promise I choose to hold on to this week, along with

Isaiah 43:16-21

16 Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.

What new thing is God working on in your life? What old thing can you choose to forget?

Learning to be a Thermostat

thermometers

Last week I had the privilege of taking my daughter to the airport and seeing her off on her next adventure. It was bittersweet, because I knew I would miss her immensely, but at the same time it is exciting to see her live her life based on what God has called her to do. She has been able to do things that I didn’t even dream about doing when I was her age. We all want our children to have a better start in their lives than we had, and it’s such a joy to see it happen.

As I reflect back on the journey we have been on for the last four years, it is incredible that she has grown into the powerful, passionate, on-fire Christian woman that she is today. I am blessed to see that so many of the prayers that I prayed in despair have been answered. Prayers that Asia would be willing to accept change into her life, prayers that she would finally be comfortable in her own skin, prayers that God would reveal His love to her, and so many more. Those prayers were prayed when it seemed ridiculous to hold on to hope. Prayer is so very powerful; it changes things that would appear to be impossible to change. God tells us in His Word to continue to petition Him for our needs, even when they seem impossible to us. We pray and put our trust in God to give us His answers in His timing. The key is to trust Him when we don’t see or understand what He is doing.

It has been such a blessing to see that the generational curses that have plagued our family for many years have been broken. She is now free to live the abundant life that Jesus died to give us all. God was true to His word, as always, and brought us out of our Egypt and restored our lives to more than we could have hoped for. It was a journey that took longer than I expected and was also harder than I thought it was going to be. This is not to say that our life is now perfect, but we are able to be grateful for where we are and celebrate our victories instead of being angry at our circumstances. It is refreshing to be moving in a forward direction even if it seems to be at a slower pace than I would like.

The point is to remember to lay down our plan and the perception of what we think our life should look like. When we let go of our idea about how God can help us we are open to receive God’s Plan and move forward out of our wilderness much more quickly. When we do this, God can begin to develop the dreams and desires that He has placed in us. We will be able to walk in true freedom once we surrender ourselves to God’s sovereignty. When we walk in this freedom, it allows us to have a far greater impact on the world around us, rather than the world impacting us. We get to be the thermostat rather than the thermometer.

So today I encourage you to focus on what God is trying to tell you through the circumstances in your life and to trust Him to bring about the changes needed in His timing. In the meantime, hang in there and trust that He has your best interests in mind through any and all the circumstances surrounding you.

Are you willing to do what it takes to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer?

The Power of Rest

rest

A few weeks ago I attended a conference called “Unleashed”. I had hesitated attending because God has been stressing to me that I needed to learn to rest, and another conference seemed like the last thing I needed.

You see, I’m one of those people who always had big dreams and there are so many things I want to do, but somehow I haven’t been able to understand how God will give me the strength to do what He wants me to do.

Recently, I went through a period in my life where I had stopped dreaming because I didn’t know how to trust God to help me build my dreams. I would jump head long off the cliff into my dream and then inevitably crash and burn because of lack of preparation. I finally decided it wasn’t safe to dream anymore because it hurt too much.

In 2011 God awakened me through a leadership conference and told me that He wanted me to start dreaming again. Some pretty exciting things began to happen. I wrote a book, the book I had been talking about writing for over 20 years. He placed a big desire in me to begin speaking out about my childhood abuse and subsequent struggle to overcome the pain and learn to trust Him as my Father.

As was my custom, I jumped into that dream without a real plan and didn’t understand that God would give me “The Plan” if I would stop long enough to ask and then listen for Him to give me the next step. Things started to seemingly fall apart and I was starting to wonder why God had given me this dream only to abandon me in the middle of it. It was at this point that He started to talk to me about “rest”. I thought, “I don’t have time to rest, I wasted too much time already!” Since I had learned to trust Him as my Father, who loves me and has plans for my good, I set out in search of what it means to “rest”. He began to send resources my way to teach me what He wanted me to know about rest.

rest2

He gave me new eyes to see things in the scripture that I had never noticed before. The story of Nehemiah, King Jehoshaphat, Queen Esther, Abraham, and Jesus were just a few that began to show me how God prepares us to live out His dream that He places in us. He also gave me a friend who told me about a book called “For God’s Sake, Rest” by James Anderson, which gave me invaluable information about what God calls rest.

Finally He led me to the “Unleashed” conference where He put all the pieces together and I finally got the message! Resting is not about taking a nap, goofing off, how many hobbies we have, or watching TV to shut our brains down. Resting is about trusting in God to the point that we no longer strive to make things happen the way we think they should. We trust Him enough to do the things He telling us to do and we do them trusting His timing. Hebrews 4 is a wonderful passage of scripture that gives us the description of what God considers “rest”.

Rest is the beginning of great things happening not what we do at the end! We rest and then God works through us to accomplish His purpose.

Do you know how to rest? When do you hear from God most clearly?

This entry was posted on May 1, 2013. 2 Comments