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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!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

FMF::Visit

Welcome to Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung and friends.  You might wonder, "What is Five Minute Friday?"  

It's a time I look forward to each week.  It's about setting a timer for five minutes (literally), and then freely writing (I pray inspired by Holy Spirit) using the word prompt from Kate's website

The rules:  no re-writes and no polishing.  Five minutes on a timer.
The word this week: VISIT.

Go!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


To visit: might just be one of my favorite pastimes.  I just really enjoy spending time with people.  In fact, I've done that already this morning - visited with two of my friends, Ruth and Jean.  We had a lovely time sipping coffee around a table while we told and listened to stories - all the latest happenings in our lives - on our journey with Jesus.

I am reminded of Jesus when I see the word "visit".  He did a lot of that during His time here on earth, and He taught His disciples how to visit well with people in & outside their cultural norm.

Jesus visited with Zacchaeus after He called him down out of a tree.  He also visited with a Samaritan woman beside Jacob's well.  Another time Jesus visited with Matthew, the tax collector, and made him an offer, "Come, follow Me."  Matthew did, and later Matthew invited all his sinner friends to come eat dinner with Jesus at his house.

Jesus visited with lepers full of faith who left His presence clean.

Jesus visited with Pharisees who sat confused by this man who would welcome a woman off the street to anoint Him with perfumed oil and wash His feet with her tears.


Jesus visited with multitudes filling their ears with truth, offering them freedom in the Kingdom of God, and food for their bellies.  Jesus visited with His disciples in the upper room, served them a Passover meal and washed their feet.

Jesus visited.  He listened.  He wept.  He answered.  
Jesus spoke truth and He loved well.

Each time I enjoy a visit with anyone, I ask Jesus to come along, and make His presence known because He is our example of how to visit well!

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rock or Sand - Lent Lessons

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
The words of Jesus - Matthew 7:24-27

On this Lent day, Holy Spirit highlighted this truth:
No matter where the house is built the rain comes down, the streams rise and the winds blow and beat against the house.


Only the outcome is different.

If my house is built on a firm rock foundation, once the storm is over,  my house will still be standing.  The firm foundation doesn't keep the storm from coming; it ensures the security of the house built upon it!

Jesus, Son of God, you are my firm foundation.
Again today, I choose to pick up my cross and carry it on... 


I'm excited to join in the Testimony Tuesday  link up.
I hope you'll take time to visit with Holly and the gang for awhile.  You'll be blessed as I have been by the beautiful testimonies of God's goodness, love and grace!!

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Seek First the Kingdom of God - Lent Lessons

But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Matthew 6:33 hcsb

Seek first...God...in His Kingdom and His righteousness.  This very familiar verse hit it's target this morning.  The target of my heart still trying to grasp the true meaning of faith.

Faith being the reality of what is hoped for.
Faith being the proof of what is unseen.
Hebrews 11:1

It's so interesting; this Lent season is meant to draw me into the gospel message.
This Lent season is meant to focus my eyes on Jesus...His finished, complete, work of the cross.  His enough for us.

Good news!
Seeking above all else...God.
How do I do that?
Faith eyes.


Faith eyes seeking for God in His Kingdom believing He is good and knows all about my need.  Believing, in this focus on truth, He and His righteousness are all I truly need.

But I see, in this very familiar Scripture, the truth; God knows me.
He knows what takes my focus from Him.
He knows what distracts.
It's the visible stuff of life.  It's "these things".

So on this 6th day of my Lent journey, I am reminded (again) to 
I am reminded to seek Him first, and His Kingdom and His righteousness.
I am reminded to seek what I truly need...Him.

And my Father, being good and faithful and righteous and loving, will provide all I need in this temporal life.  I have need, truly I do!
No worries.  He knows.
He promises He will provide.
And first of all, God provides Himself, His Kingdom and His righteousness.

For Your Glory, Jesus, I take up my cross and follow You another day.
Amen!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Five Minute Friday:Open

Today, even though it is not Friday, I am participating in five minute friday #fmfparty with Kate Motaung and a bunch of beautiful, brave women.  The idea of five minute friday is simple really; though I have a difficult time stopping at five minutes!  

Kate Motaung posts a word for the week on her website (www.katemotaung.com).  Then lots and lots of us take the challenge to set a timer for five minutes and write as we are inspired regarding the word.  There are to be no re-writes or edits.... simply type out our five minute thoughts, post and share.

This week the word is OPEN.

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

Revelation 3:20
Listen!  I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

Hospitality is the theme of just about everything the Holy Spirit points out to me along this particular portion of my faith journey.

As I pondered the word OPEN, Revelation 3:20 popped right to forefront of my thinking.  I've read this verse so many times.  

I've prayed it over many people I care about.  I've asked, "LORD Jesus, will you call this name out loud as You knock?  Will You unplug their ears so they will hear You knocking?  LORD, will they not turn a deaf ear, open the door and invite You in?

Hospitality - Jesus is all about it!  He stands at the door and knocks.  Jesus is a gentleman.  He knocks.  He waits for an invitation.

And then He doesn't just give up so easily and walk away.  He calls out, "Listen!  I'm out here.  I'm knocking.  Do you hear my voice?"

Jesus asks to be invited in.  He says right up front, "I want to be with you.  If you'll only open the door...I want to come in and have communion with you."

Jesus.  Gentleman.  He won't break down the door or force His way inside.  
Jesus.  Friend of sinners.  He greatly desires to be invited in to dinner.  
Jesus.  Savior.  He wants to be with us forever.

What do ya think?  Won't you let Him in?
Open the door of your heart.

And if you have already done so, isn't it wonderful to accept the hospitality of Jesus?  
Isn't it wonderful to host His presence?

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wake Up, Wake Up....Take up your cross and carry on...

Wake Up by All Sons & Daughters

Lent - Day 3

Today I listened to this song, Wake Up (by All Sons & Daughters).  I've counted this as one of my favorites lately.  However, listening today, the words of the chorus clung to my ears until my focus was on the meaning.

I listened to this song three times consecutively this afternoon.  And on this third day of Lent, I decided these words will be my anthem as I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and journey toward Resurrection Day.

So Wake up
Wake up, wake up
All you sleepers
Stand up
Stand up, stand up
All you dreamers
Hands up
Hands up, hands up
All believers
Take up your cross
And carry it on.

Here we stand our hearts are Yours
Not our will but Yours be done.

And Jesus called (to Him) the throng with His disciples and said to them, 
"If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself
(forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests)
and take up his cross, and 
(joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party)
follow with Me (continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me).
Mark 8:34 AMP



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ash Wednesday*Beauty from Ashes*

Several days have gone by now and I can't get the images out of my head.  The bright orange against the black shroud of evil.  I continually see them...21 men kneeling on the beach about to be murdered because they are people of the cross.  None of it makes sense, and I want to erase it from the video reel of my brain.

I did not expose myself beyond the still pictures of the 21 paraded across the beach.  The power of my imagination is enough to turn my stomach inside out and cause nightmares.

I need to remember.  We need to remember.  There is real evil in this world.

The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy.  It is Jesus, Good Shepherd, who came to bring life abundant and full.  Paraphrase of John 10:10 

For several years, I've heard Holy Spirit whispering, "Wake up, Church. Wake up!"  He's whispering into my heart so I will repeat.  His words back to Him.

And so it has been, as I have talked with Jesus, many of my prayers for the Church, the Body of Christ, have been centered around this awareness.  Especially in America, we (the Church) have been asleep, complacent, and apathetic.


In the last few years, Holy Spirit has been whispering, "Get back to the basics. God's Word and His Spirit...in balance."  He's whispering into my heart so I will repeat His words back to Him.  And so it has been, as I have talked with Jesus, He's been leading me back to the gospel...the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ.

The Church has been asleep leading up to these pivotal times, and yet our Sovereign God has been faithfully fulfilling His plans.  He doesn't need our participation.  God has not been hampered by the state of His Church.  Amazingly, He just doesn't want us to miss out.  As the best Father, He really wants our participation in what He is doing at this great mile marker in history.

Just like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus' friends were in the garden with Him as He asked the Father to remove the cup from Him.  Jesus knew the gravity of the moment and asked His friends to pray with Him.  They were sleepy, apathetic, and uninvolved; completely unaware of their place in history.

While Jesus struggled before His Father to the point of sweating blood drops from His brow, Jesus' disciples slept.  The disciples' participation in prayer wasn't necessary for Jesus to succeed in the task for which the Father sent Him.  Jesus alone submitted His will to the will of Father God, but He desired for His friends to have the opportunity to participate for the building of their faith.

In the dramatic moment of Jesus' betrayal, suddenly everyone was awake and taking action.  Chaos, confusion, and fear overwhelmed the unsuspecting friends of Jesus.

They ran.  They scattered.  Everything had suddenly gone all wrong.  Surely evil was taking over. Nothing made any sense.

And yet, God was not caught off guard.  He was fulfilling His perfect plan to bring redemption to His rebellious creation.  The ashes of evil and death were breathed upon by the life giving Spirit of God, and in there place rose beauty.  Our Savior, resurrected, championed men and women who would lay down their lives for His name and because of His finished work on the cross.

On this first day of Lent, this Ash Wednesday, I am spurred on in faith to take up my cross and follow Jesus.  The 21 martyrs for the cross remind me to wake up and stay alert, know God's Word and pray in the Spirit on all occasions.

Be ready!  Decide now!  Pray for boldness.  Speak truth in love.  Love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and then love my neighbor as myself.

My first conscious thought this morning was of a tiny cross and fish tattoo on my wrist.  I don't have any tattoos.  I've never really thought about getting one, and this isn't a commentary on tattoos.  Perhaps I was dreaming.  It doesn't matter, I understood the significance.

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13 hcsb

When our youngest son was in elementary school he told me he wanted to get a tattoo.
 I responded, "OK, when you are 18 we'll talk about it."  This son enjoyed provoking his mama.  I continued to respond undaunted.

Finally, he asked me, "Mom, would you ever get a tattoo?"  I told him I had no plans for one, which began the process all over again.  This son was relentless, "What if it was the law? What if someone was holding a gun to your head?"

That was it.  I had an answer.  If I were to live to see the day when a life or death decision for Christ would be required of me, I would have a small cross and fish tattooed on my wrist.  It would be visible marker of my stand for Christ should my flesh falter.


On this first day of Lent, 2015, whether physically with ink etched into skin or a seal visible only in the spirit realm, I ask Jesus to place His mark of the cross upon me as constant reminder to me of my commitment to follow Him.

I will ponder through these days of Lent, the cost of following Jesus, and I will pray for strength, for boldness, for an awakening in me and in the Church, and for the Bride to be revived - eager to be made ready for our coming Bridegroom!

Blessings of GREAT JOY, Church, on your amazing journey following Jesus!

The  Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion - 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness 
instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
a planting of the LORD
for the display of His splendor.
I delight greatly in the LORD; 
my soul rejoices in my God.
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe righteousness, 
as a Bridegroom adorns His head like a priest, 
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow, 
so the Sovereign LORD will make 
righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11 niv

Sunday, February 15, 2015

FMF:When

I'm writing today using the word prompt "when" in participation with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday link up party.  FMF is an opportunity to take the word prompt, set a timer for five minutes and then just let the words flow through my fingers.  There will be no corrections, edit, or re-writes.

I am praying before I set the timer, Holy Spirit will take over to inspire my thoughts with truth from God's word; to bring encouragement to all who read.  I pray these five minutes of words forming a thought will become a cup of cool, refreshing water to many parched souls...including my own.

Ready, set, GO....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When.

Jesus was traveling from Judea to Galilee.  On His way, he became tired and stopped to rest at Jacob's well in Sychar of Samaria.  It was around noon..."When a Samaritan woman came to draw water."
Jesus seeing the woman about to draw water asked her for a drink, "Will you give Me a drink?"

The woman at first refused Jesus the hospitality he asked for.  She was a Samaritan woman, considered unclean by the Jews.  Even though she might have thought the prejudice unkind and unfair, she refused Jesus' request for a cup of cold water based on the social norm of her day.

And yet, Jesus pursued the conversation with the woman.  He broke down the barriers of social norms and cultural prejudice because He walked into her life, her circumstances and instead offered her the hospitality.

When Jesus came to town, He opened the door of hospitality and offered a cup of refreshing Living Water...

John 4

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Guest Post: Persevering Through...A Journey to Finding the Treasure of Joy

Today I have the privilege of guest posting with Creative Home Keeper.  Thank you, Victoria, for this wonderful opportunity to share my journey with your lovely audience.
Also, I want to thank my good friend, Mallory Staggs, for holding my hand through the technology pieces, and for bravely speaking her younger voice of experience into my writing.

Blessings of GREAT JOY, new and old friends, on your amazing adventure journey with Jesus!

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

"I'll be happy when..."

It's a lie!  Subtly promoted by our culture, and yes, it is a lie.  We, as a society, value goal setting, achievement and self-sufficiency.  And truth be told, goal setting is not the problem.

In our quest for success (aka happiness)our focus can become so narrow we miss the beauty and value of the journey.  Furthermore, once arriving at the desired destination, we many times feel hollow, disappointed and quickly set out to achieve the next goal.  


Among my girlfriends, we catch ourselves in these sprints for happiness...(continue over at Creative Home Keeper...)



Saturday, February 7, 2015

FiveMinuteFriday::Keep

www.katemotaung.com

With this post I am participating in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung.  This is a wonderfully creative writing exercise, which has become a writing highlight of my week.  On Thursday night, when I realized I missed the deadline for the previous FMF because I waited too long (word prompt last week was "wait"), I saw the new prompt is the word "keep".

Five Minute Friday is an opportunity to take the word prompt, set a timer for five minutes and then just write - no editing, no re-writes, no re-dos.  So, let me tarry no longer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Keep

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace" 
I chose to memorize this wonderful promise of God a couple years ago because I needed peace.  I wanted peace in my life.  I wanted my life to be governed, defined, filled with a peace beyond understanding.

This is a conditional promise of God.  He will keep in perfect peace the one (me) whose mind is steadfastly focused on trusting Him.  So, my part is to focus with my mind on God and when I focus my mind on Him, I am able to trust Him.  And then as I do my part of focusing and trusting, God is faithful to KEEP me in perfect peace!

Immediately my memory zooms in on a night almost 22 years ago...March 13, 1993.  I was in a birthing room with my husband by my side, and it was wonderful.  We were about to meet our second child.  

Yet everything was strange and unfamiliar.  We were in a different hospital.  And the doctor, well, I was meeting him for the first time while I was being made ready for delivery.

This doctor I just met, bent down and got eye to eye, nose to nose with me so that I could focus on his question.  "Do you want a natural childbirth?"  I told him yes.  He took off, and I got busy with contractions.

My dear husband was there sitting next to the bed holding my hand.  He was there, but I was struggling to persevere as each contraction grew in intensity.

Suddenly, the doctor came from out of nowhere.  He grabbed my unsuspecting husband and pushed his face toward me until he and I were nose to nose.  This wonderful wise doctor told my husband...

"Get in there where she can focus only on you, and tell her over and over and over, 'you can do this'.  That's your job tonight.  She'll do the rest."

I've never forgotten that picture of focus.
I will focus my mind on God and trust Him to lead me through...and He is faithful to KEEP me in perfect peace!


Blessings of GREATEST JOY on your amazing journey with Jesus!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Five Minute Friday::Wait

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday today.

Funny, the word prompt this week is "wait", and I have actually waited until the last day to take this five minute writing challenge!  So, wait no longer....here I go....

Wait...

I'm good at waiting, and then I'm not.

Waiting is ok with me when...
I'm standing in line.
    Christmas is coming.
          A wonderful book is coming out in a movie.
                 A fine dining experience will be my reward.

Oh, but these are waiting moments in which I have confidence of the end result.
Overall, in every day life, I'm a patient soul.

But then again, there are those moments of waiting which seem to last forever, and the outcome is anything, but certain.

Waiting in the dark.  Now that's a challenge, and it has nothing to do with patience!

Just these brief thoughts (of waiting anxiously) immediately transport me back to my youth.  My brother and I frequently traveled by airplane, on stand-by passes, to visit our grandparents out of town.  Dad was an airline mechanic.

Each trip was marked by the anxiety of waiting for our names to be called.  Our bags were packed. We were dressed in our Sunday best.  And we were set to go...but would we get to go?
We waited, and waited, and most of the time our names were called; off we went.

One particular February, we were excited to spend a long weekend playing in the deep snow of Buffalo, New York.  At the end of the long weekend, our grandparents packed us up and took us to the airport to wait for our flight home to sunny Florida.

Our names were not called.  In fact, most of the flights out of Buffalo had been cancelled.  We stayed another night, and the next day tried again.  We waited on each available flight for just two seats to be open.  Again, our names were not called and we were to wait yet another night.

Looking back now it seems kind of silly.  At the time, though, I was just a child and I only wanted to go home.  The waiting seemed endless, and I remember feeling despair; wondering if we would ever make it back home to our parents.

If I remember correctly, it was the third day before we finally heard our names called.  No more waiting.  We hugged our grandparents, waved goodbye, and secured ourselves in our seats - excited.  We were going home...the waiting was over...at last!

 Sitting in the airport, bags packed and my heart pounding with the desire to return home to mom and dad, I fervently prayed.  They were immature prayers of a fearful child, but I believe in those anxious moments I learned to turn to Jesus for help.  He met me there, and began the process of  teaching me to trust...His timing and not my own.

I think even now, all these years later, in times of waiting in the shadowy uncertain, I pray immature prayers of a fearful child, and Jesus is there.  He continues to teach me to trust, to reach for His Hand, and believe He is good...that He is for me and will never leave me.

Sometimes waiting is no big deal.  And then sometimes it is.

My Prayer For You*February 4, 2015*




My prayer for you and me this week…from Psalm 111

Praise You, Jehovah, Lord!

Oh Yes, I will thank You with all my heart
    as I meet with Your godly people.
How amazing are Your deeds, Oh Lord!
 
May we, who take delight in You, ponder Your mighty deeds.
Everything You accomplish, Jehovah, reveals Your glory and majesty.
    Jesus, Your righteousness never fails.
You cause us to remember Your wonderful works, and we want to remember.  Remembering increases our faith!
    
How gracious and merciful are You, Oh Lord!
You provide food to those who revere and respect Your Name;
You will never forget Your covenant with Your people.
Lord, You have shown Your great power to all
    by giving the Promised lands to Your people, Israel.
All Your deeds are just and good,
    and we know all Your commandments are trustworthy.
You, my Lord, are forever true, and 

   You are to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
You, Lord Jesus, have paid a full ransom for Your Father’s people.
    Father, You have guaranteed Your covenant with them forever.
    What a holy, awe-inspiring name is Yours, my God!
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
    All who obey Your commandments, Father, will grow in wisdom.
I want to be wise in my daily living, and so I choose to respect Your authority in my life.
I want to be wise, and so I choose to obey Your commands.
This is the desire of my heart, my God and King, to pledge my allegiance      with my whole life forever and ever…
Praise You, Jehovah, forever!
Amen!