Saturday, July 8, 2017

Spiritual Cleansing: A Journey that Never Ends

Within the Garden of my Heart

Good morning Abba, Good morning Jesus, Good morning Holy Spirit,

Thank you Lord for loving me so! Thank you Lord for your provision of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the desire to know you more. With every season of my life, you have guarded and guided me in your ways for your glory, there are no words to express my love for you. With humility I have fallen to my knees, with faith I have sought you, with love I have cried unto you, and with joy I have worshiped your creations. Keep me on your path of truth... show me the way... strengthen my walk for your glory, my Lord and Savior.

There are seasons meant for growing in our understanding. Forgive me for being quiet during this time of growth. I have been on a journey which included pruning the old growth and fertilizing with new understanding. As with any season of growth, learning to shut the door to our past is not necessarily easy but so blessed. Becoming "unchained" from past deceptions, hurts, and oppression's has created openings within my mind... heart... and soul. Areas prepared for new inspirations and stronger "rooting" in God's Will for my life.

Although my journey is not unique, there are so many facets in which our Lord has reached down and ministered to me that I'm overflowing with joy about some of the resources I've used. So here is a few of those that might bless you:

Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman: ISBN: 9780310339649. Okay, this book is all about learning how to have a gracious and kind mouth. A tongue that speaks truth, yet doesn't destroy others. A manual for being unchained from "victim-hood" without being less than Christ like. Have you ever read a book that you have marked up? This book is one of those that you will return to time after time.

To Know Him by Gloria Copeland: ISBN: 9780446511247. As with any resource that is designed to bring you closer to our Lord, Gloria's straight forwarded faith inspires you to put God's words in front of you every morning, evening, and those in-between times. Yet, there is so much more to a relationship with our Lord! It also means rebuking the deceiver; speaking/praying scripture into your heart; learning to obedient to God's word; and listening to His will for every decision in your life. With pen in hand I found my journal filling up with scriptural passages, God's promises, and prayer-filled pronouncements. One section a night blessed my evening prayer.

66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild: ISBN: 9780718087708. Beautifully crafted. Perfected for me, yep, this book is designed and formatted as a quick touch of joy. Just like a pick-me-up snack during your day (if only it replaced food cravings), these two page love reminders will keep you walking in His Love. How would you measure an overflow of loving reminders from our Lord? Beginning with God's first love-promise in Genesis, you will discover the joy of embracing His promises with renewed determination. Every promise comes with an open invitation to embrace, stand on, and re-read these proclamations of His love. A must have for every moment that arises in which you need to hear that you are loved beyond measure.

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly: ISBN: 9781942611929. Choosing happiness and God's Will for your life. Why is such a simple, Yes... Here I am Lord, so daunting? Feeling overwhelmed is never a good or healthy avenue for me. It leads to a spiral that I just will not accept. I wasn't always that bold, but now there is only one choice when those feelings try to deceive me. That choice is to go back into this book and get re-fueled before I take my next step. Once again this is a book I have marked up with hi-lights, notes, earmarked, and underlined. It has become my "go-to" when I need step-by-step redirection. My favorite "booster-shot" came during Matthew's description about his "Greatest Books" book shelf (thirty-seven books hand chosen for his moments of need). He has placed upon this shelf, books that have had an enormous impact on his life. Books of various formats and areas of study, yet, all of them have been hand chosen and placed "eye-level" on this self because they have provided the greatest spiritual and inspirational guidance during his life's journey. Wow, I know I have those books all over my home and in my classroom, and yet, his decision to have them "at the ready" reminded me that I am not walking through this season on my own. So... guess who is creating that eye level shelf!

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst: ISBN: 9781400205875. Living loved, what does that look like? The journey within these pages is a "power-walk" in which you become revealed, exposed, and unchained. Only Proverbs has had such an impact upon the "who" God sees in me. Feeling less than and left out has haunted me since forever. Once upon a time I would declare that I was that person who could feel left out in a room full of friends and family (empty church pews and book stores excluded). This book was given to me, hand chosen, for this journey. Becoming free from past hurts, trusting in God's fullness and plans, and seeking His mercy while being pressed, transformed, and messy is uncomfortable... and yet, it is the season of His unending desire to "grow" us up into a newer relationship with Him. This is one of my 37 books upon my book shelf!

31 Verses to Write Upon Your Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs: ISBN: 9781601428912. Transformation begins with the graphing of a new attitude. For me the journey with these verses became my nightly appointment with God. Within my prayer closet, I would re-read the previous learning from my journal. Thanking Him for the ways in which I was strengthened throughout the day. Then came the verse for the day, I would read and hi-light its teaching and begin entering the teaching into my journal, allowing the teachings to take "root" within me as my pencil noted God's passages. Finishing the entry, I found that I needed to write a prayer-filled declaration to our Lord. Wow, insightful and inspiring. This book became a "pass-it-forward" experience to a precious co-worker.

Study Gateway. Link We have a "smart TV" so we have access over our ROKU connection. I have spent every weekend morning in a bible study from this sight (anything Max Lucado inspires me). I have revisited their Women of Faith sessions. Anne Graham Lotz has introduced God's word at a deeper level. Plus those women from Proverbs 31 Ministries have book sessions that will take you beyond their daily posts.

Yes, this is a season for change... Yes, it takes time to be changed, improved, and guided... Yes, our Lord is worth even more of my day!
I hope you have discovered a resource....
Blessings,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Walking in Love

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us,
 an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."
Ephesians 5:1-2

Good morning Abba, Good morning Jesus, Good morning Holy Spirit,
This is the day that you have made, I will rejoice and be glad. I can only wonder how this day will unfold. I accept Your will for I know that you will see it through to completion far better than I could. I thank you for all of the ways in which You are guiding me. My heart sings praise unto You for Your loving mercy and grace. I stand on Your promises, upon Your blessings, and with much gratitude I accept all of Your tender pruning.

Walking in love is one area in which I once thought I was doing well. During my absence from this blog, our Lord has been tenderly instructing me in what His love is, how to be humbled by His gracious obedience (guarding my tongue), and in ways of intercessory prayer. 

While my faith walk is forever an opportunity to grow, there are times when our Lord calls and all we can do is hold on to His promises. It is a season of learning, a season in which we tuck ourselves under the shadow of his wings and we listen and learn from His word. Thankfully, we live in an age in which there are some amazing resources for our walk. When this season began I was learning how to walk away from shame (Unashamed by Christine Cain). At the same time, I was watching a series about the women in the bible (Twelve More Women of the Bible). With much joy, I had spent some time gaining strength from a woman of faith (The Longing in Me by Shelia Walsh). And then came the revisiting calling to guard my tongue and stand in humility, which leaves one opened to those in control viewing you in what ever judgement they choose (A Lesson a Day and Keep it Shut).

Graciously, our Lord is always merciful. His strength is always available. And, His manifestation of peace and comfort through the Holy Spirit is... always... at the ready! Today is the day that joy overflows. It's a moment in which you sense the seasons changing. They say that a praying warrior (an intercessor) never ceases until the Holy Spirit confirms the break through. Well breakthrough is just one moment away. With much gratitude, those whom have been on this journey with me have been an unbelievably gracious, kind, supportive, and strong. Being a phone call away, gathering for a house church filled to overflowing with hope, and joyfully sharing supporting words of wisdom (God is good... all of the time... and all of the time... God is Good!).

My today is filled with learning about walking in love (Copeland Ministries;  Matthew Kelly; Lysa Terkeurst; Liz Curtis Higgs; and leading into 66 Ways that God Loves You.

Blessings for each of you as you walk in love,

Sunday, November 27, 2016

God has a face... Jn 1:14

Image result for nativity scene
The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14 NIV

This season isn't just about Him... it isn't a few short weeks and then time moves forward. It is season to renew and refresh that amazing moment in which Mary and Joseph saw the face of God. That sweet moment when little fingers touched their hearts.

Consider joining me in this book study...

Let's open our "seasonal" home to the hope and joy together...
Get started with me for this our season of hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Gratitude, Compassion, Love
Prosperity, Favor, Mercy
Family, Home, Work
Grace
Fall, a season for cleansing.
Such is a time to prepare for the blessings of new life.
A time to rejuvenate and clear out the overflow.
Moments to gather the blessings of love, laughter, and hope.
Moments to remember the blessings of those who have gone before us.
A season in which life unfolds with memories like snapshots in a photo album.

What have we be given?
What is woven within the folds of our hearts?
What is our comforting warmth?

It is written in Psalm 91 that we are sheltered under the wings of our God. That is love and tender keeping is continuous. That He has placed our charge and keeping with His angels whom will go before us to keep us from temptations and clear our paths unto eternal salvation.

Thanksgiving overflows when we look at all the signs that He is the same today, as He was yesterday, and as He will be in our tomorrows. Gratitude can be breathtaking when we recall the faithful "yes" of obedience that gave us our Savior. Humble strength can be renewed when we look deeply into the eyes of an infant. Joy springs up within our spirit when a little one's laughter of discovery is heard. Comfort is wrapped around us as we light a candle in the darkness, as we snuggle under a quilt, as we feel the warmth of a fire, or as we listen to music in which our souls sense peace.

This is our season...
to take the time...
to be renewed!  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Checking Your Roots: Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

This season has been such a time of peace and joy. The loving comfort of knowing that all truths about the health of my roots has been lovingly revealed, nurtured, and given a revitalizing renewal. There has been a wealth of joy once His pruning began. The elimination of the branches which were creating diseased thoughts (shame is a deceptive evil spirit). His tender attention and life giving words refreshed my mind, spirit, and soul. Oh what joy is found under His watch!

Being taught "how-to" nourish my foundational roots is giving such energy. An energy in which the Holy Spirit is guiding the works of my hands. This summer has been the least busy, yet the most focused. Spending my days in scripture, slowing down and relishing the ever changing moments of Gabriel Michael, and just letting my days unfold has provided an overflow of peace and... oh, such delight.

As this season comes to a close, I can only hope for His continued nourishment. Allowing me to continue to grow stronger, more gracious, gentler in what I say and do.

Dear Abba, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit... guide me and strengthen me so I bring glory to You! For I trust in you. For it is written in your promises:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD,
He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side,
and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the LORD,
which is my refuge,
even the most High, thy habitation;

There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me,
therefore will I deliver him:
I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me,
and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Psalm 91

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gratitude: Hebrews 12:28

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us show gratitude,
by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe..."
Hebrews 12:28

He is faithful forever! Open my eyes my Lord. With these last few weeks, I find that my walk is blessed beyond my expectations. Worry and anxiety is bound. Moments in His loving presence nourishes beyond my expectations. Gratitude that I walk as His, ever under His watch.

This year is the time to learn how to walk with gracious dignity. It all begins with living free from the deception of shame. What a truly ugly spirit shame is. What a perfected blessing is His blood covering. His gracious gift of forgiveness brings joy. Yet, His amazing and precious blood covers us in such a way that we are allowed to live free from ugly deceptions like shame.

Gratitude is a reflective heart and mind set that is leading beyond my yesterdays and into my todays.
If you are looking to live free from the ugly deception of shame, join us as we learn how to walk without the cloak of shame.


Unashamed Study Guide: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny
Shame has no place in the purpose, plan, and destiny God has for us because shame lies to us, robs us of the freedom we long for,
and shackles us in the prison of our past.
In this five-session video Bible study, author and teacher, Christine Caine, weaves examples from her life with those of biblical characters who failed but overcame their shame to show how God heals us and redeems us. In her passionate style, she explains that if we want to change our futures, we have to believe God is bigger than our mistakes, our inadequacies, our pasts, and our limitations. We have to believe God created us for a unique purpose, has a specific plan for us, and has a powerful destiny he wants us to fulfill. God has already won the victory over sin and its shame, and we do need to spend our lives believing the lies of the deceiver. Instead, we can allow ourselves to be defined by God’s truth and choose to see ourselves the way God does—through the lens of his eternal perspective. So join the journey. Stop merely existing and start thriving. Lay hold of the power of Jesus Christ today and step into his future—a beautiful, full, life-giving future filled with purpose. You can live unashamed! Session titles include: Session1: Run, Don’t Hide Session 2: Today is the Day Session 3: Posses Your Inheritance Session 4: God Never Wastes a Hurt Session 5: Highly Unlikely. Join the book study at: http://www.faithgateway.com/unashamed-study-registration

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gracious Living


Today's readings led me to a pondering about what gracious living looks like. How do we recognize when someone is extending their grace towards us? How do our words or actions extend His grace to those we encounter every day? Would anyone consider my legacy as gracious and kind?

Oh Abba, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit... lead me along this path with gracious dignity...


" To be saved by grace is to be saved by Jesus not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus Himself, who will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives Him the nod.
If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. - 1 John 1:7
God didn’t overlook your sins, lest He endorse them. He didn’t punish you, lest He destroy you. He instead found a way to punish the sin and preserve the sinner.
Jesus took your punishment, and God gave you credit for Jesus’ perfection."
Max Lucado
Excerpted with permission Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado. 
Copyright Max Lucado.
Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado 
 In Grace Happens Here, Max Lucado looks at grace from all directions and reveals that no matter which way you look at it, God’s grace is always there, ready to do wonders in your life. This beautiful gift book is filled with powerful quotes, Scripture, and stories that will transform your heart and mind with a deeper understanding of God’s healing grace. The message gently and eloquently encourages you to accept completely His grace and forgiveness as well as extend the same blessing toward others.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Just a whisper of His name...


"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips."

Just a whisper of His name, Jesus... Yeshua... my Shephard! With a gentleness that is so tender it causes your heart to "ker-thunk" into a natural rhythm. The sweetness of His presence is swift. As I was rocking our littlest grandbaby, I sensed the moment he drifted off to sleep. That complete surrender into a place of secured sleep. Gazing upon his "peace-filled" face I thought about how often our Lord will gaze upon us. Touching the dimples in our little one's hands and seeing a tiny smile grace his darling face, I pondered how quickly my entire being changes when I whisper our Lord's name. No other words are needed. The child-like peace is instantaneous. Secured in His presence is so soothing, beautiful, and renewing.

Then... as that moment lingers, the rushing of the life gets back into the "swing" of daily "doings." Before I know it, my thoughts... my actions... my tongue begins the exhausting push in getting things done. Praising our Lord is easy... keeping the "old tongue" in control is a thorn that pierces my peace, my infects my thoughts, and zaps my energy. With the help of the Holy Spirit, self-control can tame my tongue. There is no open door for "grumblings" to enter my day. Or anyone's day who happens by!

Therefore, for today I am on watch over my thoughts and my tongue. I surrender every word to Him! 

"Lord Jesus, take control of my mouth today.
Forgive me for careless, thoughtless, and angry words.
Let my words bless You and others." 
Keila Ochoa

Friday, July 8, 2016

Out of the Net: PS 25

"I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause."

Great is His ways! What comfort can come from those words, a comfort so deep that hope begins to bubble within and renews a strength that creates a path.

Today began with a few inspirations. Out of the Net is a new bible study with Beth Moore. As always, just those words resonated with the longing in me to be free from the snares and "nets" that have me caught in my daily walk. You know those snares, the type that keep your mind occupied with conversations that "could have" or "should have" happened vs. the way things really went down. Snares in which someone or some situation is threatening your every move... taking up way too much energy and/or time. Yep, that's entrapment and I want out!

Then there is the book study, The Longing in Me by Sheila Walsh, that is nourishing my spirit and mind. I'm conversing with our Lord about the many times my words and/or actions have impacted the life of someone else in a not so Christian way. Check out this provoking word:
"Don't be misled...
you cannot mock the justice of God.
You will always harvest what you plant."

What do I wish my harvest to look like from His Heavenly view? I know, that I know, that He has ministering angels and the Holy Spirit made willing to help see me through to completion. Accepting and allowing them to "weed" my inner most harvest will provide a joyous freedom that will remove every snare, every net, and "squelch" those monotonous conversations.

"Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way."
  
Dear Abba, my Lord and Savior Yeshua, and Holy Spirit the breath of Heaven...
Thank you for seeing me through to completion. Let your words guide me, refresh my mind, restore my spiritual focus, and minister to my needs.
Your name I pray...
Amen, Amen, and Alleluia  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Never empty and alone...

"He restores my soul;
            He guides me in the paths of righteousness
            For His name’s sake."
Psalm 23: 3

Today is the day that our Lord has made. There are numerous moments in each day in which we have the amazing opportunity to see God's hand at work. With the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, we are blessed with the sense of "seeing" and "knowing" the hand of our Lord at work. Oh, how deeply we can sense His work being done within us. His beautifully, gentle, and loving touch. The longing within wants to stay in His presence... and never depart. And yet, life clicks us in and out of His presence like someone surfing channels.

"...when our longing is directed toward God,
we'll never be left empty and alone."
Sheila Walsh
Longing for direction... crying out for His direction... thirsting for His tender touch. Closing my eyes and shutting out the world. Sensing His love as He walks through His flock.  With pure joy you just know His path leads straight to you. As He bends down and extends His hand, His loving voice soothes the longing. Flooding you with love, strength, and delight in Him.

Then you open your eyes... and you ponder... 
Good morning Abba, Good morning Jesus, Good morning Holy Spirit...