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the past few days have been quite interesting with the Lord.  sunday’s sermon was about the Nearness of God and my pastor made one point that has been sticking out in my head A LOT: the nearness of God is SAFETY. and he said when we begin to experience fear we tend to go into plan mode. we plan what to do and how to do it to rid ourselves of the fear. when in fact, what we should do is pause, stop and draw near to God. yesterday the Lord took me to psalm 27. when i got to the end of the psalm, it was as if the final verse screamed at me:

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

then this morning i read from good old oswald chambers’ devotional my utmost for His highest and this really stood out to me:

Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence.

as i’ve been waiting on the Lord, feeling quite challenged to be still, trust, and know He is near, i began to wonder: if more people knew they could access the power of the Almighty, would they then believe? if people understood that the most amazing mystery of Christianity is that the Almighty, All-Powerful God of the Universe really does want to talk to them, to engage with them and give them the ultimate freedom for life that can only come from Him. if people knew that as mere human beings we can access that power and His infinite wisdom, would they want it? would they consider knowing Jesus?


Somewhere in the midst of the busyness I took back the burden the Lord gave me. It’s heavy, it’s suffocating—it’s downright immobilizing. And then, just as He always does, He reminded this silly girl that she’s not supposed to carry it.

Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Oswald Chambers wrote (taken from My Utmost for His Highest):

We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him— to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord . . . .” If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.

Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives. Others will see this and say, “What a sad end to something that had such a great beginning!”

“Cast your burden on the Lord . . . .” You have been bearing it all, but you need to deliberately place one end on God’s shoulder. “. . . the government will be upon His shoulder” ( Isaiah 9:6 ). Commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don’t just cast it aside, but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it. You will see that your burden is then lightened by the sense of companionship. But you should never try to separate yourself from your burden.

yep, this week was sooo crazy i forgot to post about choosing JOY on monday, so i’m choosing JOY on friday this week :-)

frankly, i’m trusting the Lord wanted it this way as today is good friday and it makes sense to me that on good friday, as a follower of jesus, i would choose JOY.

i’ve heard this many times before, but feel it’s most appropriate to quote today:

“you cannot have a resurrection until you have a death. there is no empty tomb unless there is first a figure on a cross.”

thank you God for the ultimate sacrifice you paid on this day 2,000 years ago that we might have life everlasting.

i still can’t get my head and heart totally around the fact that the perfect God of all the universe would send His Son for me. but none-the-less, i am eternally grateful. i choose JOY today because my Savior died for me on this day.


i read this devotional from my utmost for His highesttoday and had to share. it is sooo good. while reading this i could just feel the love of the Lord and hope you do too when you read it. i find i often pray for myself and for others to run the race with perseverance, but have i really considered ALL aspects of what that means? to run with perseverance is to keep going, head up, believing God is there and to trust that He is in the process. no matter what comes our way in the run, we must keep going forward and while yes we want to finish and finish well, most often the victory is in the run-not the finish line. the process, the refining is what He is most concerned with.

The Faith to Persevere

Because you have kept My command to persevere . . . —Revelation 3:10

Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” ( Job 13:15 ).

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You . . .” ( John 17:3 ). The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.

Women are beautiful, and God intentionally made us that way. But there is something that happens to a woman when she is finally set free. When she relinquishes control to her Savior, her Abba Father, her King, she glows in such a way that only He can make her glow. She has a peace and grace that leave you wanting what she has. It spurs you on to seek your God to know Him intimately, to desire to be like Him. You wonder, what does she have that I don’t have?What she has is the assurance that she is loved, she is delighted in and she was created for a purpose. Most likely she has fought the battle and fought hard, knowing the war was won on the Cross. She has cried, prayed and begged her way through the valley, clutching at every Word her Father gave her along the way. Even when she didn’t feel His presence she trusted He was there. She learned how to take her thoughts captive and how to cling to what was true no matter how she was feeling, no matter how dark and lonely the valley may have seemed. She fell in love with her Lord more and more as she trusted His Word and He came through every time.

No matter how she felt at any given moment, she went back to the Truth and it did indeed set her free. And now, she stands in the victory that was hers along. She walks with grace and dignity and has put shame and despair behind her. And she will comfort those who need comfort in the same way she has been comforted by her Father. She will use her victory to bring her sister to victory. She will not be ashamed of her past, or the scars she may bear because of it, but rather walk alongside others, bringing them to their victory. And one day she will see, even her scars have been healed.

That is why I love women’s ministry. To come alongside and watch a woman as she goes through this experience is one of the greatest joys on this earth. Women are beautiful, but when they meet with the Loving God, when they fight the battle that has been won for them, and they don’t give up, there is an unexplainable beauty and grace that comes upon them.

I had a different blog in 2007 that was to serve as the place where I posted a pic a day for the entire year. Today I went back to it and saw this post (a teaching from nancy leigh demoss) and I thought I’d share as it is very powerful.Posted in October 2007:

Now, I want to talk for a few moments about the process of seeking God, the process of revival. Hosea chapter 10, verse 12 is a verse that will be familiar to many of you, but it speaks of the process of revival.

Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness.” S-O-W, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed” or your fallow “ground.” It’s a farming analogy here-sowing, reaping, and breaking up, plowing up, the unplowed ground. “For it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you” (NIV).

You say, “How long are we supposed to seek? This week, next week, twelve weeks? That seems like a long time in today’s way of thinking. “Seek the LORD until he comes and showers” or rains “righteousness on you.”

Obviously, it takes time to get a harvest. A process is required. You can’t just throw seed on the ground and expect to wake up the next morning and have a harvest. There’s a process involved. You can’t bypass any step and expect to have the end result that you’re looking for, and what’s the first part of the process?

Now, they’re not listed in order in this verse. The first part of the process is that breaking up your unplowed ground-the plowing process, the most time-consuming part of the process.

You don’t see the fruit, you don’t see the reward while you’re plowing, but you’ve got to do it. You can’t miss this step. What is the process of plowing? It’s the process of preparing the soil to receive the seed, a picture of preparing our hearts.

Plowing-preparing the soil of our hearts. Our hearts get so hardened by just living out in this world as we do, pursuing everything we pursue other than the Lord, that we need time, and it takes time to prepare our hearts, the soil of our hearts, to seek the Lord.

There are two stages of preparing the soil for the seed before the seed can be sown. The plowing-the first part of the process is the actual plowing, and that’s when they’re turning over the soil. They bring this tractor out with this big plow attached to it, and the plow goes down into the ground. This is the deepest part of the work. The plow has to go eight to ten inches down into the soil.

Now, if that soil’s been packed down, it’s tough work, and it takes a hard, strong instrument. You can feel the tractor pulling this plow as it’s getting deep enough down into the soil to turn over the soil. All that hard soil on the top is turned over, and that good, fresh soil that’s underneath the surface is brought up to the top.

The plowing time of year feels like you get a fresh start-fresh soil. Wouldn’t you like to have fresh soil in your heart, a heart that’s receptive and tender toward the Lord? That requires plowing up the soil, and it’s so important that the plow go deep enough into the earth. If it just skims across the surface, you’re not going to get the best soil.

We tend to want God to revive us, but do it quick. Get this over with. Get the hard part over with quickly. We don’t want God to go down to deep into our hearts. What might He uncover there? Yuck!

What might come to the surface? That can be scary, and can’t you imagine that if the soil eight to ten inches deep there had feelings, it could say, “Ow! This hurts! Why don’t you leave me alone? I was comfortable down here. Things were just fine till this plow came along and turned everything upside down in my life.”

There will be times in the process of revival when you will think, “Why did I ever get into this? Why don’t we just leave well enough alone? Why do we have to dig all this up? Why this plowing process? This hurts!”

You want a harvest of righteousness? You want to experience the joy of personal revival? You’ve got to let the plow do its work.

Now, that’s just the first part of breaking up the fallow or the unplowed ground. The second part is the harrowing process, and that’s where they come back with another instrument that goes across the newly plowed up soil and breaks up all the clods. It’s the refining part of the process and breaks that soil up into fine particles so that it will be just ready for the seed to come into it. It makes the soil smooth, and again, this process can be painful.

You’ve got those clods that are being broken up, and there are clods in our lives. There are tough places. There are hard places. There are thorny places.

There are stony places that need to be broken up, and I’ll just tell you, it hurts when the Spirit of God starts to do His plowing and harrowing work in our lives. We feel exposed. We’re not sure we want to go through this, but if you resist the plowing process, you’ll never reach a harvest of righteousness.

Now this process requires patience-plowing, then planting, then waiting, cultivating, keeping the weeds out, the whole process of waiting for a harvest. There’s a whole season, most of a year involved. You have to wait, and at times, it seems like nothing’s happening. There’ll be times that you’re seeking the Lord when you’ll say, “I tried it. It just doesn’t work.”

Wait. The plowing part’s going to be long, and at times, it will be hard. I’m just warning you, not so that you’ll get scared away, but so that you can anticipate-this is normal. This is okay. This is a good part of the process. It’s a necessary part of the process.

Let me ask if you would just be willing to trust God with your life. Say, “Lord, I trust that You know what You’re doing, that Your Spirit knows how deep to go and how refined those clods need to be and what needs to be brought to the surface,” and say, “Lord, I will let you do whatever You know is needed in my life.”

I want to tell you, if you will be patient, if you’ll wait on the Lord, if you’ll let Him do that work-and by the way, you can’t do it yourself. It’s God who has to do this. The farmer can do everything right, but ultimately it’s dependent on God to send the rain and the sun and to bring about the harvest. It’s supernatural, but as you wait on the Lord, as you let Him plow up the unplowed places of your heart and sow the seed of His Word in the soil of your heart, you have the promise that there will be a harvest of righteousness.

i’m torn as to which part of the process i am in right now… hmm… i think the soils been turned multiple times and now i’m letting the roots take hold, it’s the cultivating point, i think? or maybe refining the clods? hmm… not sure, but i do know that when this harvest is complete it will look awesome :)

Less than two years later, I can say with confidence that the when the harvest is complete it does look awesome :-) but man, does the process hurt! But I can also say with confidence, it is WELL WORTH THE FIGHT!

This week in our study Walking by Faith, the last two days focused on fear vs. feelings. Which lead me to think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. A little less than a year ago, her story really hit hard with me for some reason. And it does again today.

In Luke chapter 1 we are introduced to her. We all know the story, I don’t need to recount it for you… I went back to read her story and the scripture started to jump off the pages yet again.

After the angel has told Mary she will conceive and have a child she asks how this will happen. The angel answers her in verses 35-37. But I want to focus on verses 36-37, where the angel says, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she is who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

I love this! God knew that this news would scare Mary, who wouldn’t be scared, overwhelmed, etc. None of it makes sense to our human brains, in fact it seems rather bizarre and highly unlikely. But that’s just the beauty of it, God knew that’s how the news would appear so the angel testified to another miracle taking place right at that time: Elizabeth’s pregnancy. I love it, God used His angel to testify to His servant about His power.

Such a picture of the Lord meeting us right where we are, knowing what we need right when we need it and providing it. He met with the mother of our Savior right when she needed it. And Mary’s response:

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Perhaps Mary is just all that much holier than I am, but I can’t help but believe, reading this passage again, that it was a little easier for her to choose to trust her God because of the angel’s testimony to the impossible taking place in her cousin’s womb at that very moment.

I’m sure questions and uncertainties were raging through Mary’s head at that time, and I can’t imagine it was easy for her to say what she said – to immediately commit herself to the Lord like that. But reflecting back on my own journey, where I have been and what I have been through, hearing stories of God’s people persevering, stories of God’s people receiving blessings, experiencing the miraculous, I know those stories have helped me face the task at hand with much greater ease. To believe God for what might have seemed like the impossible to my feeble mind. And I think that was the case here, the Angel of the Lord knew, from His master that this servant needed to hear the testimony of a miracle.

Thank you Lord for stories like this, real encounters with the Living God that encourage me to move forward in you. To trust you more, to choose to trust you and not my feelings of fear, inadequacy, helplessness. You are a mighty God who meets me right where I am, indescribably incredible!

i’ve gotten used to the fact that i have to be very creative with my “free” time (free time to me is any time i’m not at work). training takes a lot of time, preparation for the bible study takes some time, preparing meals for the week, keeping my house in order (this has seriously fallen by the way side, not to mention it is soooo hot since my AC isn’t working, go figure), oh right, and trying to maintain some kind of social life…

one thing i have really come to truly appreciate though, is my time with the Lord. prior to training i would get up saturday mornings, grab a cup of coffee and curl up on my couch (which is like a little slice of heaven for those of you have not been to my house) grab my bible, my journal and my devotional. it was my most favorite time of the week! there truly is nothing more refreshing, rejuvenating, invigorating, than spending long periods of time in the Lord’s presence.

as you have probably assumed, that time has been much harder to come by. and just as i was beginning to get super discouraged, the Lord reminded me of a time last summer when He and i would have lunch dates. sure, that might sound cheesy, but whatever, clearly i’m not afraid of sharing things here, remember the hip hop class this pearl-wearing girl from CT took? anyway, so that’s what i did today and will keep doing. i had a date with God at lunch and it was wonderful. there is a little park down the street from moody so i headed there with my blanket (that never leaves my office, just for this reason) and opened my bible, my journal and my devotional. such a sweet time : ) this, i know, is what will sustain me through the craziness of life!

the fountain at the park

deuteronomy 6:5: love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

the most incredible thing happened the other day. God gave me a personal revelation and i wasn’t even asking for it!

i have been reading the same devotional for years and i love it (my utmost for his highest by oswald chambers – it’s a classic!). but it wasn’t until last year that i began to write in it and underline stuff.

on may 31, 2007 i was in a rough place, learning how to deal with life and my present circumstances. i was so sick of me, the person that was so far from what God had created her to be. i wanted to be emptied of myself and filled with Jesus, to be like Him, to be completely surrendered to His will for my life, because clearly, i didn’t know what i was doing.

so on that day last year i read my devotional and underlined the part where chambers wrote, “… we must first make sure that God’s ‘needs’ and His will in us personally are being met. Jesus said, ‘… tarry… until you are endued with power from on high.'” 

the past year was the most incredible year of spiritual and emotional growth i have experienced to date. it has been filled with ups and downs, days of not wanting to get out of bed and days of wanting to dance with joy. the most recent few months have been the most incredible of all, as i seek the Lord, His will for my life, i’m struck with amazement at how incredible He really is.

on may 31, 2008 i was in a place of peace, a place of contentment. a place where i know that my God has brought me through to victory, a place of incredible trust in my Savior, of belief in the humanely impossible. my God has me in His huge, all-knowing, all-loving, ever present hands. so on may 31 i underlined the line that said:

“once God’s ‘needs’ in us have been met, He will open the way for us to accomplish His will, meeting His ‘needs’ elsewhere.”

i read those lines and my heart filled with unexplainable joy. God has decided to use me for the women’s ministry at my church in a way i never imagined. i’m organizing and implementing out first real bible study. after i read that and the ministry came to mind, i couldn’t help but smile at my God and exclaim thanksgiving! it was as if the Lord was telling me, “see my child, i have done it! i have filled my needs in you and NOW i want to use you to help fill the needs i have for others.”

we begin the bible study on june 2 and i have such a spirit of anticipation for us and can’t wait to see how the Lord moves. all the heartache and turmoil of the last year has taught me so much about my faith and the God that loves me. and i know, that had i not been through that year, i would not be in this role now. i praise God for healing and restoration, redemption and victory that only comes from knowing the Most High God!

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