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Thank YOU!

Thank you for the gift of your time today. My prayer is each time you stop to visit you are blessed with truth, and encouraged to keep going ~ one foot in front of the other, chin up ~ simply because you've been reminded you are on the road to VICTORY!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Prayer For You*November 30, 2014*

My prayer for you and me this week...

this beginning of Advent week...

Look...with Hope.  
Anticipate...with Hope.  
Desire to see...with Hope!

The King is coming!


Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors, 
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, 
the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; 
lift them up, you ancient doors, 
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is He, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty - 
He is the KING of Glory!
Psalm 24:7-10 

My prayer for us this week...we are waiting for our blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ... Titus 2:13
King Jesus, we are looking, anticipating, standing on tiptoes desiring to see You coming very soon.
For Your Glory, Amen!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Who Doesn't Love a Parade?

Thanksgiving morning, as a child, I looked forward to watching the grand Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  I would lounge in the floor in front of our big console television anticipating the floats and balloons while enjoying the aroma of turkey and stuffing cooking. I imagined what it would be like to be standing along the path of the parade in New York City.



While I don't lounge about watching the parade anymore, I do like to have it playing in the background so I can hear the sounds of the parade as I cook and prepare for the Thanksgiving meal.  I still wonder what it would be like to experience the parade live.  Maybe, one day.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade culminates with the arrival of Santa in a sleigh. Children wait and watch through the entire parade anticipating the arrival of Santa. He's the Grand Finale, and the countdown to Christmas begins!


Today I read Psalm 68, and my mind imagined the scene - the most majestic parade of all.   I wonder if you will invite Holy Spirit and the Word to paint a vivid picture in your imagination.

What would it be like to be standing along this parade route witnessing this scene live and in person?  Can you imagine the excitement...waiting...standing on tiptoes trying to catch a glimpse of Him...The King?

Your procession has come into view, O God,
the procession of my God and King into the Sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians; 
with them are the maidens playing tambourines.
Praise God in the great congregation; 
praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, 
sing praise to the Lord, 
to Him who rides the ancient skies above, 
who thunders with mighty voice.
Proclaim the power of God, 
whose majesty is over Israel, 
whose power is in the skies.

You are awesome, O God, in Your sanctuary; 
the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. 

Praise be to God!

Psalm 68:24-26 & 32-35 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Singing in the Middle...Ruth Snell

Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  
Ephesians 5:19-20


This is my favorite picture of my friend, Ruth Snell.  I think it captures her child-like JOY, which bubbles up and out of her from a deep trusting relationship she shares with Jesus!

We've known each other for a few years now.  Father crossed our paths in leadership with Community Bible Study right here in our little town.  However, serving together was just the beginning of a sister friendship we now share.  

Our friendship has been forged and bonded in prayer and sharing our testimonies of God's faithfulness in our lives all the way back then until now.  Raw vulnerability - that's what we share - walking hand in hand to Jesus!

Ruth has kindly given me the privilege to share her story.  This is God's powerful story of grace and faithfulness; teaching His daughter to sing praises in the middle...in the dark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ruth Taylor was born and raised in Canton, IL, near a corn field.  She recalls of God, "I remember sensing and knowing God's love as a child."

" You were my friend before I knew You."

It was in her college years at Eastern Illinois University, Ruth was confronted with the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus.  She was participating in a Bible study on campus.  Ruth describes her experience as "feeling the rub" between her heart and her head.  There was a friction between God's love, of which she felt secure, and what God would ask of her, if she were to commit to follow Him.

"You looked from afar and called my name.
You knew and lovingly have drawn me 
to Your side to walk this way."

Later, married to John Snell, they moved their family of five to Stone Mountain, Georgia.  Ruth is the loving and devoted mother of three; Ellen, Andy and Michael.  Ellen and Michael await their family in Heaven.

It happened in this season of life, John and Ruth received the hard truth; two of their three precious children, Ellen and Michael, were diagnosed with  a neuro-muscular disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

"Oh, how I'm grateful for Your presence;
how I'm grateful You have called."

As life continued in the Snell family with a 'new normal', the needs of Ellen and Michael became overwhelming as Ruth and John became increasingly responsible for every aspect of their children's daily living.  The couple wisely made an agreement to take turns getting up in the night, giving each a full night's sleep every other night.  

Ruth recalls grumbling and complaining as she was called out of sleep on her nights to care for her children.  They were long hours on duty, sleepless nights; however, complaining came to an end as Ruth read the book, The Power of Praise and Worship by Terry Law.  Terry's real life story of learning to praise God in his difficulty challenged Ruth to turn grumbling into praise.

"Oh, how I'm grateful You have called me
 to Your side to walk this way."

In Ruth's own words from October 13, 2014:
 "I was convicted of my grumbling and complaining.  I asked God to help me practice this truth on my night to get up with the children.  When one of the kids would call, I'd immediately choose an attribute of God to praise.  He has so many; it wasn't difficult to think of just one: Love, Forgiveness, Strength, Hope, Joy, Peace, All Powerful, All Knowing, Wonderful Counselor.  I chose with my will to turn my focus from my circumstances to my wonderful Savior and praise Him.  This choice totally and forever changed my experience of this difficult place.  I look at this memory now as a sweet time where God met me in the middle (of the difficult place) with His presence.  It did not change my circumstances.  It changed me because I experienced God's presence."

"You knew my need and saw me struggling,
You knew my sorrow and my pain.
You knew and lovingly have drawn me to Your side to walk this way."

All praise to God, for He is good and His love endures forever.
Currently, Ruth enjoys being a Nana to Isabel and Caleb, fruit of her son, Andy and his wife Kristin.  Ruth has entered a new season of hearing God's call, and He is daily equipping her to be the Assistant Teaching Director for the women's evening Community Bible Study (CBS) class in Lilburn, GA.

Click here for more information on this Gwinnett Women's Evening CBS class 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The words enclosed above from Ruth's Song are a gift to Ruth from the Lord during her study of Deborah in the book of Judges through Community Bible Study.

Ruth's Song~
You were my friend before I knew You, 
Looked from afar and called my name.
You knew and lovingly have drawn me, to Your side to walk this way.

Oh, how I'm grateful for Your presence!
Oh, how I'm grateful You have called!
Oh, how I'm grateful You have drawn me, to Your side to walk this way.

You knew my need and saw me struggling,
You knew my sorrow and my pain.
You knew and lovingly have drawn me to Your side to walk this way.

Oh, how I'm grateful for Your presence!
Oh, how I'm grateful You have called!
Oh, how I'm grateful You have drawn me, to Your side to walk this way.

I praise Your name for You are worthy.
I praise Your name for You are good.
I praise Your name for You have drawn me to Your side to walk this way.
To Your side to walk this way.


Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa



Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Prayer for You*November 23, 2014*

My prayer for you and me this Thanksgiving week...

Father, I pray we will seek JOY this week and not confuse it with happiness.  Holy Spirit fill us with understanding.  JOY comes from You and is not a result of our circumstances.

May the God of hope fill you (and me) with all joy and peace as (we) trust in Him so that (we) might  overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Jesus, we agree with You, in this world there is trouble.  We individually face all manner of tribulation, sadness, pain and loss; the daily realization our broken world was not Father's original design for His creation.
And hallelujah, Jesus, we REJOICE in the GOOD NEWS ~
(Jesus, You) have overcome the world!  John 16:33


So, it is in Your victory over sin and death, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we find JOY.  Through the Scripture words of Hebrews 12:2 we shift our definition of JOY...

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God.

Holy Spirit, begin with me, and change my perspective on JOY, gratitude, and giving thanks.  I'm asking You to illuminate my understanding of the JOY set before JESUS that He would choose the cross.  I'm asking You Holy Spirit to empower my life with that kind of love, faithfulness and devotion to my Lord.

Through faith, trusting in Your Goodness, no matter the troubles of this life, we are able to live in victory this way...

  • (being continually) filled with Holy Spirit
  • speak to one another (as the family of God) in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (edifying)
  • sing and make music in our hearts to the LORD (at times an overflow and others a sacrifice)
  • always giving thanks to You, God, our Father, for EVERYTHING
  • in the name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. 
Ephesians 5:18-20

My prayer for you and me this week is to receive the true meaning of JOY through the only One who can give true JOY...Amen!

Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa

Thursday, November 20, 2014

7 Ways to Say, "I'm Thankful For You!"

Thanksgiving is truly one of my very favorite holidays!  

Simply because Thanksgiving is a bit understated, I think.  Other than craft and grocery stores, there's not a push to shop til you drop.  Gifts are not an expectation, and decorating is fairly minimal.

With far less stress and expectation surrounding the Thanksgiving Day festivities, I feel free to actually celebrate my many blessings - counting them one by one.  Over the years, I've prayed for opportunities and creative expressions through which to Give Thanks, and so I thought I would share a few.

1. Send handwritten notes.  
I buy note cards (blank on the inside) and make a list of people who have been involved in my life over the past year.  I write each one a personal note thanking them for the specific (positive) impact they've had on my life.

My list purposely includes people who are friends as well as those with whom I may not have the best relationship.  I've learned, through obedience in this practice, there is at least one thing each and every person has contributed to my life in a positive way...friend or not.

Jesus taught~
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?  
Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
(Matthew 5:44-47)

2. Thankful Business Cards
Select a "thankful" Scripture, type it in an attractive font and print on business cards.  Hand "thankful" cards out to anyone, anywhere.  I've handed them out to co-workers and neighbors in the past.  I'll be expanding distribution this year by having them available in my car or purse to hand out in stores, at the gas station, dry cleaners, etc...
The sky's the limit...be creative!

3. Treat Someone to Lunch

Invite someone to share a meal out or in your own home.  Ask the LORD to highlight someone for whom you might show appreciation by breaking bread together.  Perhaps a new friendship will be birthed!


4.  Provide Treats to Service Providers
This is one of my favorites.  Leave a bottled drink and some cookies or a candy on top of your trash dumpster on trash pick up day with a little note - "Thank you for hauling my trash away every week!"  Leave a treat in your mailbox with a note for the mail carrier.

I love to peek out the window and catch the surprised expression on the person's face when they find their treat and read a "thank you!".  Priceless!!

5.  Send a "Thankful for You" Card From Your Pet

We typically send a Thank You card to our vet's office from our two terriers - Liberty and Nole.  Usually a picture is included with words of appreciation for their tremendous care and patience!  

A card could also be sent to your pet's groomer.

6. Add a Little Extra
During the month of November, I add a little extra tip for service providers, such as waiters/waitresses, my hair stylist and nail technician.  The additional "I'm thankful for you!" is very well received by all.
Perhaps an extra tip is not possible within your budget.  Handwritten notes cost very little and mean a great deal!

7. Random Acts of Kindness
Look for opportunities to bless someone with random acts of kindness, especially the elderly, military personnel and clergy.  Put a neighbor's trash dumpster away one day, pick up trash in your neighborhood while walking your dog, mow the pastor's grass or trim bushes (with permission of course).  Be on the look out and pray for opportunity...be a blessing!

I've always been one to cheer the underdog, and it seems this national day (set aside for counting our blessings) has become somewhat of a Charlie Brown of the holiday season; which makes me appreciate it all the more!

In what ways have you expressed your thanks?  Would you share your ideas?  I'd love it if you would.

And I pray you feel inspired to say "Thank You" with creativity and heart all the way through Thanksgiving Day and beyond...

Blessings of GREATEST JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Prayer For You*November 16, 2014*

My prayer for you and me this week...

Psalm 61:1-4

Hear my cry, O God;  
listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to You, 
I call as my heart grows faint; 
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been my refuge, 
a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell  in Your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.


Oh, Father, thank You for hearing the cries of Your children.  Thank You for seeing every tear, every set of wringing hands, and every shattered piece of every heart broken right now.

Thank You for knowing the reason for every fear and doubt....for knowing why the stray sheep wander and are lost.  Thank You, Father, no one is lost from Your view.  Thank You for hearing the very first thought whispering from deep within, "I want to go home..."

How I thank You Jesus, Your Shepherd song is tender and captivating; open the ears of Your sheep to hear our names whispered out in love, beckoning, "Come to Me, and I will carry You to safe pasture."


Holy Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts to recognize Your constant presence and power within us.  As Jesus promised, You've never once left us all alone.  

SAVIOR, LORD and KING, we bow before You with grateful hearts in allegiance to Your Majesty...Amen!

Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Minutes on Relationship





Relationships are important to me.  I like people.  One of my favorite pastimes is to gather with friends over coffee and conversation, and somewhere along the way (knowing Jesus is a welcome guest in our midst) to wind up in prayer and praise.

As a child I often weaseled my way into my mom's coffee clutch.  Women around a table sharing coffee and a pastry and warm conversation was a norm at our house, and sometimes in the evening the men joined in as well.  Many summer nights in South Florida were spent with dinner around the pool and dessert and conversation late into the night.

Neighbors...we knew our neighbors.  Our neighbors were our friends...and in a way, family, as we lived far from any of our blood relatives.

As an adult, it's been important to me to know our neighbors by name. We've been fairly successful.  It's taken great effort though.  Our neighbors are for the majority open and caring, friendly and agreeable.  Many of our neighbors are retired, which is a wonderful comfort; not much goes on in our neighborhood without notice!

In the last couple of years, I've been excited to welcome some younger families; young marrieds, some with young children and some new babies too!  A breath of fresh air this younger generation.

My husband and I, well, we are comfortably right here in the middle.  We strive to be mindful of our elders ~ checking on those we haven't seen out and about lately.  And we hope to be helpful (maybe even mentors of sorts) to the youngers.


Relationship is so very important to me.  How will I ever have opportunity to share the LOVE of JESUS if I don't know a name, say hello on a regular basis and offer care as circumstances arise.  I love to be the giver...the helper.

But oh the lesson I learned this week!

I suddenly became ill at work.  Once I arrived home, I went directly to bed.  My husband was out of town.  Though hours of sleep were my friend, I awoke intermittently in a fever fog, achy all over. Around 4 in the afternoon, I had an awareness...a moment of clarity...my pups, they were in their crate and I needed to get them out.  They needed to go outside.  Help...I needed help...I was too weak.


Even the idea of typing out a text was exhausting, but I managed an SOS text to a couple of neighbors.  Before I knew it two neighbor girls arrived and took the pups out for a nice walk and brought them back.  I was so grateful for the help.  The pups and I went to bed and I slept for more hours.

Fortunately, I thought to myself, I knew my neighbors by name.  I had phone numbers.  And we have relationship.  The people living around me are not just neighbors; they are friends.


The word was out.  I was sick and might need some help.  Friends offered soup.  My parents would come and bring me medicine or take care of the pups.  Prayers were spoken on my behalf.  Some sweet neighbor came by and put our trash dumpster and recycle bin away. Co-workers. as well, called to check on me.  My husband came home early from his business trip.

It is a great blessing to know....and to be known.  A great blessing to love and give...and to be loved and to receive!  With a thankful heart for relationships...and restored health...



Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa   

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lightbulb Moment*November 13, 2014*

You shouldn't talk like that!  I mean to yourself; you shouldn't call yourself those bad names.

Yes, I hear you.  You say it right out loud, "idiot, dummy, fat, ugly, stupid, not creative, not good at anything, unwanted, failure..."  
I do it too.  But we shouldn't.  Those are lies of the enemy, with whom we've wrongly made agreement.

As daughters of the King, our true identity is in Christ.  
In Christ, we are chosen, holy, blameless; we are loved, adopted, forgiven and redeemed.  Additionally, He lavished on us wisdom and understanding.(Ephesians 1:4-8)

Don't be too hard on yourself.  As far back as the womb, voices (both lies and truth) have been spoken into our being.  As we grow  & develop, particular circumstances seem to reinforce the voices, for better and for worse.

As a child I was a daydreamer (yes, even still) which meant I often walked with my head toward the sky making pictures in the clouds (still do).  Other times I walked with my eyes on my feet, skipping about trying not to step on a crack.  I often ran into things (yes, still), and often heard that I needed to pay better attention, which was true.

However, I believed because I was being scolded, I was clumsy, uncoordinated, and accident prone.  I took these words in as a part of my identity.  As I claimed these words over myself it seemed my actions more often than not validated my belief.

That is until I allowed Jesus to begin to redeem my thinking and renew my mind.  Jesus doesn't call me clumsy or accident prone.  He sees me as I was created ~ day dreamer, deep thinker, lost in my thoughts, and creative.  In His eyes, I'm a girl full of whimsy and playfulness.

So, it's been a process of retraining my thinking.  For several years now, I've been asking Holy Spirit to make me aware of the lies, to prick my conscience when I am ready to call myself bad names.  My desire is to be quick at recognizing the lies and take them captive before they fall from my lips.  

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Just this week, feeling overwhelmed with circumstances, I was having a tug of war with myself.  I wanted to stay home and hide with Jesus, wrapped in a blanket and His Love for me.  And yet, I needed to get in my car and go to work.

As I struggled with my want and my have to, a picture flashed through my mind...
I was walking a pathway through a wooded area.  The pathway was clear, but the wooded area was dark with shadows on both sides.  As I walked, rocks flew out of the shadows from gnarled hands pelting me from every direction.  As I looked each rock had a name on it...failure, clumsy, alone, fearful, weak, not good enough, and ....on and on...

Just as I realized I was being attacked with lies, Jesus was instantly beside me with His arm around my shoulder and His other hand commanding the rock throwers away.  They all scurried off deeper into the woods and there were no more lies hurled in my direction.

Jesus reminded me that I am never alone.  I don't have to make a choice to stay with Him in my quiet time place or go to work without Him.

God has said, "Never will I leave you; 
never will I forsake you."
So we say with confidence, 
"The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid..."
Hebrews 13:5-6

I don't have to walk defenseless through the rock throwers, the name hurlers, and neither do you.

I wonder if you're aware you call yourself bad names.  Would you ask Holy Spirit to prick you with awareness and help you to quickly recognize the lies with which you've made agreement?  I pray you will choose to see Jesus is by your side, and in Him is your true identity.

Reject the lies, and receive truth.
Daughter of the King, you are chosen, holy, blameless, loved, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven!

Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa




Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Prayer for You*and me too*November 9, 2014

My prayer for you and me this week…

On the storm-tossed sea, in the dark, watch for the constant beacon of Hope ~ the Lighthouse.


With waves crashing & wind beating, the darkness overwhelming, it is nearly impossible to safely approach safe harbor.  Wisdom says ride out the storm keeping an eye on the consistent, brilliant light shining beams of hope.  Land, safety, and rest are near; just not yet reachable.



And then at the breaking of dawn, waters calm, winds subside and peace returns.  Our sight is restored and it’s possible now to safely move toward land.  Home…waiting arms of love and welcome…relief.  

We made it through!

Thank You, Jesus, You are our Lighthouse.  You beckon us through the storms of life to trust Your presence, which strengthens us to ride through the rough seas.  You are there with us in the storm.  You never leave Your own.   Jesus, You are our consistent Light.  You are our security; our safe harbor.   Thank You for welcoming us, wrapping Your arms of love around, and rejoicing with us – we made it safely home!

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
The waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,
And He guided them to their desired haven.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love
And His wonderful deeds for men.

Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
And praise Him in the council of the elders

Psalm 107:28-32


Blessings of GREATEST JOY on your amazing adventure through your storm with Jesus lighting the way!


Lisa

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lightbulb Moment - What's Your Name?

Normally on Thursdays (except the month of October) I post what I call a Lightbulb Moment.  It’s a short little story about something that’s recently caused me to throw my hands in the air, exclaiming, “Aha!  Wow, Jesus, that’s pretty cool!”

Through October, I posted various aspects of my testimony – my journey with Jesus, which I most affectionately refer to as an adventure.  Yesterday I shared a pivotal moment on my journey; I received a new name.  Pioneer!

As I share this interesting testimony with people, I generally receive one of two responses - excitement or skepticism.  Initially, I thrived on the excitement while my feelings were hurt by the skeptics. 

Actually I'm learning to be grateful for both; learning to share my testimony of God’s heart altering work in me regardless of the response.  You see, this is just another area in which Holy Spirit is highlighting my people-pleasing, perfectionist tendencies. 

                            Sharing my testimony is not 
                           about getting a right response; 
                           it’s about glorifying my Savior!

For those who get excited about the possibility of receiving a new name, it is my delight and pleasure to share Scripture (Revelation 2:17, Isaiah 62:2, and 43:1 & 7) encouraging them to ask and receive from the LORD.  On occasion, I’ve had opportunity to pray with a dear child of God as they have heard for themselves Father calling them by their own new name.  What a thrill!

Perhaps, though, I am most thankful for the skeptics, the kind-hearted questioners.  Those who ask great questions in love and gentleness ( the Bereans), in turn challenge me to search Scripture, to pray and seek Father in His Throne Room.

More than thrills (though I whole-heartedly admit I love the excitement) I want to "no longer be (a child), tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."
(Ephesians 4:14)

I have no desire to be influenced by the latest spiritual craze.  Truthfully, the reverence I have for Father, His Majesty and Kingship, causes me to tremble at the idea of straying down a deceptive trail should anyone follow me and stumble.

Aha!  

A big part of the adventure journey with Jesus is exploration and discovery, which is exciting; however, it also requires study, and some tenacity to follow Jesus Christ.

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, (I am)we are to grow up in every way into Him Who is the head, into Christ, from Whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, make the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."  (Ephesians 4:15-16)

So, I have asked Father for His truth regarding names and I have been digging through His Word of truth.    Holy Spirit has illuminated for me examples of people historically recorded in the Old and the New Testaments; people who received a new name from God.

Aha!

Here are just a few.  I wonder if you will find others as you ask Father and search His Word.  So exciting...and foundational!

Abram was called Abraham, father of nations.  
No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob was called Israel.  
Then He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."  (Genesis 32:28)

Gideon was called Man of Valor or Mighty Warrior.  
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor."  (Judges 6:12)

Simon Bar-Jonah was called Peter, the Rock.  
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah!  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:17-18)

John was called Loved.  
One of his disciples, who Jesus loved, was reclining at the table at Jesus' side, (John 13:23)

Who do you know who has been called by a new name?  

How are encouraged by the truth God calls His children by His name?
  
What happens to your faith to think Father has His own name of love for you?

Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa

Thursday, November 6, 2014

You're A Pioneer!



We often speak, as Christians, of a relationship with the LORD.  I've spent most of my adult life trying to understand that phrase.  For so many years I tried to make my relationship with Jesus something earned.  Daily striving to be good enough; trying to catch Jesus' eye and obtain His favor with something I was accomplishing.  This was my norm.

As a child in school, my goal was to be teacher's pet.  I craved the acceptance and love of people. This was my definition of relationship.  Do everything possible to make people happy, cater to their needs and desires, give and serve and promote, and in turn, I will receive love.


So I guess I spent many years wanting to be Jesus' pet disciplee, but never feeling I could quite measure up.  "Probably pet status had already been conferred upon some of my spiritually superior girlfriends," I wrongly told myself with slumping shoulders.


What I've only begun to understood this last decade, Jesus has always loved me as much as He could ever love me - 100%.  His love is perfect and is based on His character, and nothing of myself.


It's taken some pretty significant shake ups involving family relationships, life choices, health and jobs/finances for me to come to the end of myself - my thinking that somehow I can hold everything together and achieve all the right answers by doing all the right things.  


God, my Father, who loves me best has allowed me to bounce through the sifter, and He's allowed some pretty significant pruning to rid me of harmful dead branches.


In this most recent season, I've had a major growth spurt; similar to the physical six inch growth spurt I experienced during my junior high years, this one spiritual in nature.  My insufficiency highlighted by trials and failure, I finally collapsed at the feet of Jesus stating the obvious, "I can't do it!  It's all too hard for me."  


I didn't have any answers.  I had no more great ideas or advice to offer God about every aspect of my life and how He could fix it all.  No more did I have the energy to run and hide or even stay and ask for help.  And so I sat, and for the first time in a long time, I just listened in the silence.



I listened for evidence of God.  Had He walked away, shaking His head in disgust?  Would He be silent now for a long time?  No, not at all.  In this season Father spoke clearly to my broken heart; He is not like us.  


Rather than the silent treatment, He spoke in tender tones - not condemning, not sarcastic.  Gently, Father invited me to allow Him to do heart surgery.  It was my choice, of course.  I knew my heart was hardened and damaged, but this type of spiritual transplant surgery would be painful, wouldn't it?


Father was honest, "Yes, it will be painful, however, with a renewed heart you'll be able to understand and enjoy true relationship with Me."  As much as I didn't want to go through the painful process of spiritual heart surgery, more than anything I wanted a new heart.  I wanted real relationship with the One who gave me life!  So, I submitted myself, choosing to "do it scared".

Revelation 2:17, And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. 

One day pondering this Scripture, I asked Father, "What will be written on my white stone?  What new name do You have for me?"  In the stillness, not really expecting to hear a name, I heard, "Pioneer, Passionate, Peace.  I call you Passionate Pioneer of Peace."


This name is precious to me.  It makes me laugh with an enjoyment of Father's humor.  Pioneers are not afraid, and I had been afraid of pretty much everything for as long as I could remember.  However, fear is of the devil himself, for I was not given a spirit of fear by my Father.  Father calls me up into my true identity in Christ, a pioneer, and I have embraced and received the call.


So, when I heard the song, Pioneer by Beckah Shae, my heart sang as if it were specifically written for me.  It's my theme song.  "Don't ever be afraid to go where you know that you should be....Go to the unknown, you're a pioneer, you're a PIONEER!"


Thank You, Father, my feet are dancing and my heart is singing!  I wonder what trails we'll blaze together...I'm ready!

I wonder...have you asked Father for your new name?  I wonder...the name by which your Father calls to you...what is it?  Will you share?


Blessings of GREAT JOY on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Lisa