What’s Your Identity?

dawn-190055__340I try to live my life to the best of my ability. I could sit in my room and be angry because of different situations I have had growing up. I could blame my failures on my parents. I could blame so many things on the continuous rejection and hatred I feel from my own Mother, but I don’t. I won’t allow myself to play a victim. I won’t allow my children to see me as anything but their Mother who knows her value in life.

I know so many people who have had difficult lives. I think in some ways, most of us have had difficulties in life. What kind of people do you find yourself identifying with? Our history shapes us and our culture helps shape us, but does it define us? When you open your mouth, what comes out?

summit-cross-225578__340I have so much respect and awe in people who live as overcomers. They may have been abused growing up, but they don’t live in their past. They live in the identity they know they have in Christ. When I see a man who didn’t have a father, and he chooses to live his life as a man of God who strives to be the best father he can be, I have so much respect for him. When I see somebody who is fighting such sickness or disease, yet they live their life giving Glory to God and don’t make their sickness their identity, I am in awe. These people understand their identity is not in sickness or being fatherless or being abused.

What is difficult, is listening to somebody who can only talk about their problems. There is more talk about problems than solutions today. The enemy wants us to get stuck in our own problems. We need to recognize this and we need to close our mouths. The enemy knows us so well and he knows what it takes to take our focus off God and put it right back on ourselves.

1 Peter 2:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Imagine how much we could change the world if we turned our focus away from ourselves. We are a a chosen generation; a royal priesthood. Let us live like this and help others understand that their hope is in Jesus and not in this world.

Political Manipulations

flag-1075125__180I am a hugely political person. I have chosen up to this point to not write about political things, although those who know me personally, know how I feel about so many different things in the political realm. I am clearly a very conservative woman based on all I have written about up to this point. I believe in the Bible first and foremost. I make my decisions based on the Word of God. I believe every person in this nation needs to do their own research on each candidate. We cannot merely believe that our media represents us or that manipulation is not happening all around us. Politics has become more about manipulating an audience, manipulating our emotions, and manipulating facts than about desiring to continue to build a nation on the original foundation that we once held dear.

I truly get disgusted by things that are stated by both parties. As I said before, I am conservative, but that doesn’t mean that a Republican, or Libertarian can do or say no wrong. What has made me most angry this week that has pushed me into writing this, is the statement that Madeleine Albright made with Hillary Clinton. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” [Madeleine Albright] She made this statement in a speech with Mrs. Clinton eluding to the fact that if we don’t support Hillary, we will have a special place in hell. Apparently hell is very segregated.  Over the years I have heard about special places in hell for different races, genders, and classes of people from all sorts of men and women trying to shame and manipulate.

Why do they have to attempt to shame people? What about that special place in hell for those who murder little baby girls in the womb without repentance? or boys? or black babies? white babies? every baby that is murdered in the womb? Why don’t we stop with shaming people into voting for you? We saw the same type of thing with President Obama when he was running. Many people believed you were a shame to your race if you didn’t vote for him because of the color of his skin.

I beg of you, American people, please do not vote unless you have done your research. Look candidates up and read from multiple web sites. Look at their records and history. Do not assume that what people say is the truth. Do not assume what the media tells you is the truth. I love my country and I want my children and their children’s children to live in a nation that still believes in the Constitution and that God is truly in the very foundation of this nation. This nation was birthed in order to be different from the rest of the world. Why do we want to now copy the rest of the world? Why do we allow such a small percentage of people in this nation to instill such a fear in us that we cannot speak Biblical truth any more. We have a political correct culture that dictates would we should say, what we shouldn’t say, what we have to say.

It’s time we stand up and not let this nation slide into more of a moral abyss than it already is. Revival begins inside each one of us. Let us remember that this isn’t one physical church that is going to do it all. This is a Kingdom BIG vision. Churches need to stop their elitist attitude and understand that we all have the same vision. We all want to see every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. We all want to see nations bowing down before their one true King; King Jesus. It will happen one day as God’s word states it already.

Philippians 2:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

old constitutionLet’s be smart about this. Vote what you feel is the best. Remember, nothing comes free. Everything has its cost. Always do your research and understand that our founding fathers put things into place, such as our Constitution and Bill of Rights, in order to protect us from the very things that are trying to overtake us in this time. These are truly God given rights. We are all equal and we all have a right to protect ourselves. We have a right to religious freedom and no true leader should ever even want to take these freedoms away. Don’t let guilt or shame dictate who you vote for. God is a sovereign God, but He also gave us free will to make our own choices. What choice will you make?

Prove It!

boat-962791__180I am so fascinated by the story of Peter walking on the water. There are so many angles to look at this and so many lessons to be learned. Peter was the only one that stepped out of the boat. They all doubted that this was Jesus and Peter said if it was Jesus, to command him [Peter] to come out on the water. Jesus held so much authority to Peter, than when He commanded Peter to come, Peter got out of the boat and walked out to Jesus. When Peter realized that the wind was boisterous, he began to be afraid. He knew, however, that all he had to do was cry out to Jesus, and Jesus would save him from drowning.

Looking at my life up to this point, I look at all those times I asked, “If this is You, God, then do this.” But then, I ask in multiple other ways for God to truly prove this is Him. I have become so afraid to fail at something that I don’t always trust that is is really God asking me to do it. Peter asked for one confirmation that this was Jesus, and Jesus answered him. Immediately Peter got out of the boat. This wasn’t some little thing that Jesus asked of Peter. Peter could have died. I may feel the Holy Spirit leading me to talk to this person in the aisle of the grocery store and by the time I have asked God to confirm this is truly Him for the eighth time, that person is long gone.

historical-odtworstwo-904717__180Peter gets so much flack. He cuts off the soldier’s ear. He publicly denounces knowing Jesus three times. Even knowing some of his big mistakes, Peter is the type of guy I would love to hang out with. Peter would be the first to do something every time! He must have been so much fun.

Peter had such a love and reverence for Jesus. Oh yes he made many mistakes, but Jesus saw so much in him. Jesus saw the gifts inside of Peter. Nobody else got out of the boat that night. I bet they were all thinking, “Let’s see what happens with Peter and then we’ll know if this is truly Jesus. Maybe then we will get out of this boat!” At least that is one of the things that I may have been thinking.

I want to have so much faith in my God that I am the first to get out of the boat. I want my focus to be so much on Jesus that I don’t even notice the winds and the waves around me. I want to have such faith in Jesus that if my foot stumbles and I take my eyes off of Him for a moment, and I cry out to Him to save me, that He will.

“It’s easy to say what we will do when we aren’t in the midst of a storm. It’s easy to criticize those who stumbled and fell when they were in the storm. I have to remember that at least they stepped out of the boat. They made the choice to trust God while I am challenging God over and over to prove Himself to me.”

I can’t say I’ve never stepped out of the boat. I have stepped out and been very successful in what God asked me to do. I have also stepped out and stumbled and cried out to God for help when I did. God is so good to me. He is always there even when I do stupid things thinking I know better. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, yet He still loved him and saved him from drowning in the midst of the storm. Jesus loves us with that same love that He had for Peter. He has the same grace and mercy that He had for Peter.

I think the only thing that I can see from Peter’s life that I wonder about is the whole “cutting off of the ear.” Really? The ear? I’d like to think that my aim would have been much better. Just sayin’!!

Liar Liar

desert-279862__180Lies. They are all around us. I read about little lies and completely astounding lies that shock me.

I have a family member that lies in this way. She lies about everybody around her and needless to say, she doesn’t sleep well at night. Her lies were believed for many years, but thankfully, many around her are realizing that things just don’t add up. I have my moments of frustration and tears when I can’t handle the lies any more about me. I can’t handle the lies any more about my family and other loved ones. I want to put an end to it and I have tried. The only thing it got me was cut off from them and more lies topped with more lies.

“I don’t know how you keep things straight any more. Yes, there are those that believe you, and there are those that don’t know you, and therefore don’t know any better than to believe you lie. I get calls and emails and messages telling me how they feel sorry for you because your lies didn’t bring me down. They didn’t stop my living and they didn’t stop my moving on from you. Your lies don’t own me, Jesus does. You think you have taken people from me, but you have only brought me closer to them and my God.”

eye-609987__180It can be a struggle, dealing with the never ending drama that comes with a person like this. I have my moments when I cry out to God wondering why this is happening and wondering how much longer it is going to happen. I believe I am an over comer and am praying for complete repentance for this person one day. I once asked my husband why it still hurts at times when I feel like I am totally over this betrayal. He told me that until this person either passes on, or repents, their behavior is a daily rejection of me. I have to fight lies and rejection!?

“I will continue to try to love like Jesus loves. I will pray for you and forgive you, but you have to change on your own. You have to be the person that God knows you can be. I can honestly say, I don’t really know who you are anymore. I’m not sure I ever knew you; the real you.”

Psalm 101:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.

If you have a loved one that lies and manipulates, or does worse; they hurt people including you, don’t be like them. Fight through the hurts and fight through the lies. Fight through the pain. Fight for a life free of drama, even if it means that you have to let go of this person. With God, you can do this. I truly believe that God has allowed me to live this life with this family member, so that I can help others. I want to tell you to be strong and to understand that God loves you like you can’t even imagine. His love is unfailing. We try to put God in this little box so that we can understand Him better. When you cried over people and lies and those things that hurt you so deeply you could barely breathe, God was wiping every tear. He sees you. He knows you. He understands you. He made you.

You cannot lie and love at the same time. God is not a liar, the devil is. You cannot hate somebody and love God.

1 John 4:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can[a] he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

I want to be in Your Presence, God. I want to love like You love. Help us oh God!

Smiling Through the Pain

As we are in the holiday season for 2015, there seems to be joy and happiness all around. The air is filled with excitement and we see Christmas decorations all over the town. I see smiles and laughter pretty much everywhere.

christmas-bauble-15738__180

One thing that is at times difficult to remember though, is that many hide their pain behind a smile. Too many people still fight depression and sadness that oftentimes lead to drastic thoughts and measures. This message is for those who have lost hope and feel so alone they don’t even have the strength to go on.

God will never give up on you!

I hold many secrets from my childhood. I hid my sadness and loneliness behind a smile much of the time. I struggled with a parent who, looking back, doesn’t know or understand what love is. They used control and manipulation in ways that are exhaustive even to the imagination. I longed for love and acceptance so strongly that even throughout several years of my life, perfectionism was my friend. I beat myself up if I wasn’t the best at things. No longer was this parent the only one telling me what a disappointment I was, I was telling myself. I thought in my inner most being that if I was good enough, that parent would be proud of me finally. I became my own worst critic; even beyond the criticisms of that parent. I felt so worthless and alone. Many times I considered ending it all. No child deserves to feel unwanted or unloved.

I remember I used to sit in my room crying, feeling desperate and hopeless. I knew who God was as a child, but I didn’t understand how His voice was always prompting me to hold on. I always felt something telling me not to lose all hope. I want to tell you right now, don’t lose hope. I realized that I was living out this scripture.

Psalm 39:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.

Our hope is in Jesus. He saved me not only on the cross when He died for me, but He saved me each and every time my thoughts went in that direction. I realized that there is a lot to live for. I now have a wonderful husband and five amazing sons who give me so much joy. I constantly tell them how much they are loved and how proud I am of them. I always tell them they will never be too big or old for my hugs and kisses. woman-571715__180

I began to believe that maybe one day, I could be there for other women who have lived through similar situations. My childhood was never a complete disaster, but I have overcome enough to understand what true, Godly love is and what is not. I still get surprised when someone is either sent to me or comes to me about something very similar. I can’t forget that God has brought me through to the other side. I have overcome this and you can too.

I Corinthians 13 (NKJV)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

If you know somebody or are the person who feels alone. God is with you. Even if you don’t feel like He is, He is with you. He said He will never leave us or forsake us. We have trials and tribulations in this life and some feel so difficult to overcome. We feel helpless and alone. We may feel betrayed by close friends or family. We may feel angry and hurt. We may feel even much more, but we need to give it all to God.

If you feel God tugging on you to go speak to somebody that you haven’t in a while, do it. If you see somebody on the street and feel something inside of you, let them know God loves them and they are not alone. Call up an old friend or relative and tell them not to lose hope.

I love you. Jesus loves you. Don’t let a difficult situation or life allow you to take your eyes off of Him even for a moment. The Bible tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Our enemy will never stop trying to deter you from finishing this race. Don’t give up. Reach out to somebody. Find a Pastor or a church in your area and talk with them.

Share this and add your church address to the comments if you are willing to help somebody understand that this isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning!

Impersonators

I think we have all seen impersonators at some point, whether on television or in person. We look at them and we either think they are doing well at their job, or hope they have a back up career! We may look at an Elvis impersonator and decide they definitely look similar to the man. When he speaks, we think he sounds like Elvis. When he performs, we see him acting in similar ways and he can even belt a song out so close to the real Elvis.

When the Elvis impersonator finishes his job, he goes home and become himself again. He possibly goes home to a family where they get to see the real man underneath the impersonation.

What happens to us in our walk with Christ? Are we merely impersonators who pretend to be something some of the time? Have we become quite adept at passing ourselves off to be something we, in reality, are not?

I think pretty much all of us at some point in our lives have pretended to be somebody we are not. It is sad that society has taught us to be so critical of each other that we feel we cannot be ourselves any longer. We have seen so many Christian leaders fall over the years. I think as Christians we need to stop placing our leaders on pedestals. We need to understand that everybody struggles with something. As leaders, we need to cling to humility and let go of pride. The Bible clearly tells us that prides comes before the fall. We need to always be real and accountable to those leaders next to us and above us.

1 John 1:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

 

“God does not call perfect people into the ministry.”

God wants a willing and humble heart. If God used perfect people to do His will, not one person would be eligible. God wants us to be real Sunday morning as much as Monday morning. I don’t want to be merely an impersonator of Jesus. I want to listen to the convictions of the Holy Spirit in my walk and obey His voice. I want everybody to have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t want anybody to feel like they have to put on a show and then go home to take the mask off. You may be fooling the world, but you’ll never fool God.

 

Rise Up With Hope and Finish This Race

Being wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus can be a difficult road. Well, it is a difficult road. I believe that is why God tells us to ‘finish the race’ we started. When we start a race, we are sprinting and so excited and we feel like we have the energy to go forever. I used to run long distance in High School and I have been trying to get back to running again. You would think I would remember the whole pace yourself thing from all those years running, but no, this Mama is going to sprint those first couple of blocks and then stop and wonder why I only went .15 miles on my running app! There is a maturity that comes with a seasoned runner. You understand where you need to pick up your pace and you understand when you need to conserve your energy in that moment. You don’t always know what kind of terrain is coming around the next corner and if you aren’t paying attention, you could hurt yourself.

I think you could say similar things in your Christian walk. When we first get saved, we are so excited and we are probably running like a child again. We are leaping over obstacles in our way without a care in the world. We want to tell everybody about Jesus and what He has done for us. This is not a bad thing right away. As we move along this path of life though, we gain a maturity in our walk with Christ; at least we are supposed to. The Bible talks about going through valleys and low times in our life where we may feel alone but God is always with us. Sometimes we can’t see anything through the density of the troubles that are in front of us, but as we read the Bible and spend our time with God in prayer and worship, He always guides us. Spending time with Him matures us. We eventually see that obstacle in front of us and automatically know exactly what we need to do to get past this.

If you have walked with God for any amount of time, you know what I am trying to talk about here. If you feel like you still don’t know what to do when difficulties arise, you need to search your heart and find out why you haven’t matured. We all have times when we need some help along the way. Those long races are filled with people handing out water and at times an energy bar or something to help you finish the race. The church that you are called to is filled with those people. They are ready to hand you what you need in those times of difficulty. My concern here is that you may have never been one of those people who helps others in their times of need. Are you so lacking in maturity and growth that you can barely get through the day or week without the thought of giving up? God calls us to a place of maturity. There are times we rest in Him, but we never give up. We wait with hope. Search your hearts and be honest with yourself and God. He sees your heart and we can hide nothing from Him. Maybe you just don’t want to help people. That is immaturity. Maybe you don’t know how to help people. Step out in faith! I am not always the best communicator in certain situations, but I trust God will guide me so that I can help the person I am talking to. When I spend time with Him, He gives me the endurance I need to finish the race and to help others along the way. You can do this! Don’t give up because you don’t know what is around the corner; it could be your breakthrough moment!

Isaiah 40:31

“Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.”

Where is the Fear of the LORD?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

My husband and I were talking about this just today. What has happened to the fear of the Lord? I can’t say that I have complete understanding of every scripture in the Bible, but I feel like I understand this scripture in my own way. I would love any sort of feedback from all of you if you have anything to add to this!

Now I talked about fear a couple of days ago and I pointed out that we are to no longer have fear; that Jesus took it up on the cross with Him and we are freed from it, but this ‘fear of the Lord’ is a different fear. This fear is in reference to utmost respect and love and reverence toward Him that we are in absolute awe of Him. This fear is complete abandonment of our former sinful lives and nature, and trying to live our lives Christ-like. Christ loves us; all of us, unconditionally, but He will never change His mind about sin.

When we look at the news and the world around us, the world wants us to see ‘progress’. When you read your Bible, does it say something anywhere about one day in the future, how God will throw out all His laws and commandments because society has progressed so far that we just don’t need them; we don’t need HIM? I know mine doesn’t say that!

I believe many in the church who have compromised their morals and lifestyles in the name of progress have lost that fear. I believe we live in a ‘God will forgive me’ society that lacks repentance. I can’t say that I am sinless. I struggle with things often, but I will forever bind His word to my heart. I will learn even more so, to fear my God because He is a Worthy and Holy God. I think we humanize God and try to make Him like us so we can understand Him better. I know I have found myself in the past doing this. I would ask myself, “How does God forgive so quickly and easily?” Well, because He is God!

God gave us a will so we can choose Him. I will choose Jesus over immorality in the name of progress every day. I encourage you today, get to know Him. Spend time with Him.

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come!

No More FEAR!

As I sit here listening to “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser, I find myself really listening to the words. We are no longer slaves to fear. Those words are so important. I know in my own life, I have missed out on too many things because of my own fears. I feared unusual things, and what many would consider to be ‘normal’ things. We find in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It does not say that it is okay to fear certain things! God sent His son to die on the cross for all those fears, no matter how rational you think they are. I do not like bugs or heights, but I don’t fear them.

God does not want us to live in any sort of fear. Give your fears to Him! He has given us a sound mind. I can’t tell you what that scripture means to me having lived with massive anxiety for too many years. Don’t give up this life because of your fears. Go outside and enjoy God’s creation. Look at things with new eyes. Go to the top of the Empire State Building and see what beauty you can find there. Go to the ocean and find the beauty there. Go to your mirror and find the beauty there. Go for a drive and revel in the beauty of nature.

Beauty is everywhere. You will find it more easily if you are no longer a slave to fear. You will see the beauty in others as well as this world. We have enough to overcome in this world than to let fear control us to the point we can’t leave our homes, or even our towns.

Your fear died on the cross with Jesus. It is time you left it there. When Jesus rose, all our sins and fears were washed away. His blood saved us and to this day spares us from all fear and anxiety. Let’s rise up and walk together as one body of Christ without fear. One day without fear will turn into two. Two days will turn into three and before you know it, you will be walking in complete freedom from fear and anxiety. You can do this!

The Bible

The bible. What comes to your mind when you see it or think about it? How many people think about rules and laws when they think about the bible? It is true. The bible gives us commandments to follow and laws to learn and prayers to pray. It helps us understand morals and ways to correctly behave. One quality that often gets overlooked is the love that flows like a rushing river. It weaves through each word and paragraph and many times, when you don’t expect it, it takes your breath away.

The bible is a book that I’m not sure I’ll ever completely understand. Admittedly, I struggle through parts of the Old Testament. I know each part is there for a purpose and it teaches us and fills us with more and more understanding of who God is. The New Testament shows me how God actually sent His own Son to Earth through the virgin Mary. Jesus lived and walked among us and went through struggles just like we do. Jesus lived a perfect life. God sacrificed His own Son so that we may live. That is love! It is so easy for a parent to say that they would die for their own child, but would you die for somebody that doesn’t like you, or hates you. Jesus did! He didn’t die for some of us. He died for each and every one of us. It is finished!

As imperfect beings and merely humans, we cannot always see what God sees. We see Job as a man who lost so much. God knew Job’s heart. God knew that Job would never deny Him. We look at this book of Job and see a man who lost everything. Job is a book about God’s love. Yes, Job went through difficult times; we all do. God knew that Job would not falter and Job ended up having a greater life than he did before his trials. God was showing our enemy, Satan, that Job understood that this life was not about him, it was about God. Our life is not about us. Our ministry is not about us. Everything is about God.

The bible is a love story. I don’t even like that word; story. It’s God’s whispers into our inner most being telling us how much He loves us. In the beginning, with Genesis, He loved us. In the end, in judgement and Revelation, He loves us. Our purpose in this life is to show Him how much we love Him. How much time do we spend with Him? How many people do we tell about Him? How do others see you? Do they see frustration, bitterness, envy, pride, hatred, anger, or anything not of God?

When we fill our hearts and lives with His love through our personal relationship with Him and learning to understand Him more through the bible, we are able to speak the way He speaks; with love. Love is not compromising what the world wants us to compromise. I will never believe abortion is right, or that homosexuality is right, or that divorce is okay. The world has tried to turn love into lust and instant gratification. God is love and Proverbs is filled with scriptures that help us live in this world and know which paths to take. Love is not an emotion, but I can feel it. When my husband loves me and meets my needs and desires, I can feel it. When my sons hug me and squeeze me as tight as they can, I can feel their love. Just because I cannot physically feel God’s arms around me, does not mean that I can’t indescribably feel His Spirit inside me filling my heart with His love.

His love and mercy and grace are all around us. If you want to feel His presence, all you have to do is ask. Ask Him into your heart and begin to feel His love. He loves YOU!

Romans 10:9 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.