Friday, January 27, 2017

Her Name is Joy

As a teenager her life was reckless and her heart rebellious.

One wrong decision gave birth to more wrong decisions and eventually she became a statistic. She was pregnant, not married and still in High school.  And then she became another statistic when she saw no other way out and had an abortion. This was nothing she planned or wanted for her life.  But she saw no other way.

The shame she carried was like an over stuffed suitcase, carrying it everywhere she went wondering if others could see it too.

Her life took a turn in the right direction when she met a man who was like none of the others in her past.  She told him her secret and instead of turning away from her he turned toward her and loved her. It was a love she had never experienced before, a love that was full of mercy and grace. His love for her was healing and together they learned the important gift of God's forgiveness.

They married and had 3 children.  Even though she knew she was forgiven for aborting her baby, the pain remained and she rarely spoke of her past.

Years later when her children were grown an opportunity arose to help young women at a local crisis pregnancy center.  Her intentions were to only volunteer at the Center to help keep shelves stocked and to do the jobs no one see's.  She had become very good at doing little things that matter greatly but no one ever saw. Thankfully, the Lord had other plans for her.  Eventually she told her director about her past and offered herself to help young women considering abortion. This was a huge step for her.

Over the span of a few weeks as she worked through a Bible study in preparation to lead others through it she came to find complete healing and freedom from her past.  This freedom she experienced produced a joy in her heart that she could not describe. This joy brought healing from her past. This joy represented the forgiveness she lived in and the grace that covered her.

As she came to the end of the study she was to name the baby she had aborted. She knew exactly what name to choose.

She named her Joy.

How fitting to name this baby in such a beautiful way as if to say, "Through my sorrow, you have brought me joy".

Joy would have been my big sister.  How appropriate is it that as my own mother is walking this spiritual journey with the Lord, I am walking through my own and we are both, though walking separate paths, walking in joy.

Though our paths are different what is the same is the joy of the Lord that comes after the mourning, suffering and trials.  Sometimes it comes while still in the midst of the trials, like I have experienced.  But joy is there for us!

His joy.

This joy that brings healing, protection, causes our heart to sing and our soul to worship.

This joy is ours!

I pray as you walk the path the Lord has laid out for you, whether it is one of difficulty, heartache or ease you will choose his joy to carry you through.

If abortion is part of your past and you still struggle with healing from it, please seek help.  There are many ministries available to counsel and encourage women who once chose abortion. Many towns have Crisis Pregnancy Centers who offer counseling and most churches have resources to share.

Below are a few ministries who offer help to women.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Be Transformed: Keeping our Mind on Jesus

This past week, Romans 12:2 was my verse that I was to pray everyday. And I want to be honest, I didn't do it everyday like I wanted to. I allowed my mornings to be hijacked by other things I lost my quiet mornings. But as soon as I could, I was drawing away for prayer and meditation on this verse.

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

There are several key words that continued to stand out to me, but the phrase, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" played over and over in my mind all week.

I had to evaluate what I spent my time thinking about, what did I fill my mind with (images, words, etc.) and what did I spend my time worrying about. It all boiled down to my mind and what it is in it.

There are several scriptures where God is telling us what to do with our mind.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Matthew 22:37, And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

There are so many more, I'll let you look them up. 

So, what is the big deal with our mind? Why does our mind need to be renewed in order for us to be transformed? I'm so glad you asked!

The  mind is the core of our being. What our mind is filled with, determines what we do, what we say, how we feel, how we respond. Nothing in us can change until our mind is changed.

I love when I find a science connection to Scripture. I did a simple search on YouTube on the science of the mind and found a short, but fascinating video that explains how our brain works. 

Now I understand why I must fill my mind with the truths of scripture.  Now I see why scripture tells us to love the Lord with all of our mind. It matters so much! This is how I can know and discern the Lord's way for me. There is so much of the world blasting untruth that if I do not prepare my mind, I may begin to believe it.

So, what happens when we are transformed by the renewing of our mind.

We can know the will of God.
We know what is right and acceptable in his eyes.
We know God!
We are transformed!

Oh Lord, I know that on this side of Heaven I will never get it right. But help me to fill my mind with the truth that you are faithful, trustworthy and worth of all praise and honor. May I experience the mind of Christ through your promises and be transformed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trusting Him through the Fog

It is part of our human nature. The fear of the unknown. We don't walk in the dark without a flashlight.  Faith does not come natural for us. We struggle with it. We often push it aside because it seems easier to fear than have faith, even though the fears we allow to creep in can initiate a chain reaction of fear based actions. And then we have a whole new set of problems.

In my last post I shared how I am Praying with Anticipation in 2017.  Prayer is one of those ways we prepare ourselves to be ready for what could cause fear in us, but instead we choose to trust God. Prayer brings us into the presence of God in a way that nothing else can.

January 1st I was walking our dog Ruby early in the morning. It was very foggy. Visibility was just about zero.  As Ruby & I were walking, I began talking to the Lord, not expecting him to talk back.  I know...I'm still learning what this "praying with anticipation" thing is all about.

I was basically complaining about the fog.
Lord, this is a crummy way to start the new year off. Fog so thick we can't see where we are going.
And then He began to whisper to my spirit...

Look at that fog, he said. Let that fog serve as a reminder to you that I can be trusted, especially when you can't see what is in front of you. When you don't know what direction I am taking you, trust me anyway, because I am taking you in a direction that others can't see. They don't have to trust in what I'm doing, only you do. My ways can be trusted.


My head knows I can trust God. I know his ways are perfect.  I know he loves doing new and exciting things. But my heart often has a more difficult time believing it. And I am pretty sure that is why He has me praying Deuteronomy 6:5 this week.

Until my heart is completely consumed with the agape love for the Lord, trusting him will always be a struggle.  I don't know about you, but I'm so done with struggling!

Fill me with your love oh God. Make my heart so consumed with your love that trusting you is second nature, something I don't have to consciously think about because I just do it. Help me to not fear the foggy days, but to face them with courage, knowing that you are leading me and will make my steps firm. A-men

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Praying with Anticipation in 2017

Several weeks ago I began asking the Lord to show me a direction for 2017.  I was surprised at what he showed me.

I would not say that 2016 was a great year. Sure, there were plenty of blessings and great things that happened. There were many times I could see the Lord at work.  But when I think back on the year as a whole, it was a struggle. Not because we had so many trials, but because I struggled.
I struggled with God.
I struggled with our current living situation.
I struggled with my business.
I struggled all of 2016 and I shouldn't have.

It was not a year of submission or surrender. It was a year of struggle.

So, when I asked the Lord for a word for 2017 and he said, "Pray with Anticipation", I was a bit surprised.
Pray? That is what you want me to do? Don't get me wrong, I know how important praying is. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I realized that most of my struggle last year was mostly because of my lack of true prayer.

True prayer is not..."God! Why? Why? Why?" which is what most of my prayers were.
True prayer is pausing, praising and then petitioning.

So, then I asked, "What do I pray?" and he gave me 12 verses to pray.

I have decided that I am praying these verses, one verse a week three times a day. At the end of the 12 weeks either I will just start all over with the same set of verses or He will give me a new set of verses.

Can I just tell you that I already see a huge difference in my spirit. I am not struggling. I am resting. I am full of His peace & joy. I am excited about this new year. I don't know why, except that God has placed within me an anticipation and it is energizing.

Will you join me? Will you pray with me these scriptures? Or maybe the Lord has different scriptures He wants you to pray.  I know that when we pray his words back to him, He is free to do remarkable things through us!

He is ready to do something new! Are you ready?