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Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Heart is Sick

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Just when I thought I was coming out of the dark, I realized I am still here. Harassing me at every corner is doubt, fear, and disappointment. Unbelief, anger, bitterness and resentment assault me and get the best of me every time, even though I resolve to never let that happen again. Pain attempts to take control of my every waking moment, paralyze me and take me captive into isolation.

How is it possible for me to still be battling the same circumstances, even after hearing God’s voice, feeling his presence and seeing His intervention in my life? I believe the answer lies in the verse above. My heart has grown sick because the things spoken of, to me, have yet to be fulfilled. However, there is one thing that is true now that was not so a few years ago – I believe God is faithful.
While my heart is sick waiting for the manifestation of His promises, which will undoubtedly look differently from what I expect, I will hold on to His truths. I will focus on His promises and meditate on His character.

God’s Promises:

  • But the Lord is faithful. He will strengthen you and protect you from the enemy. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

  • Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
  • This vision is for a future time…and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3
  • Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3 

  • …He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

God’s Character:
  • God is good
  • God is sovereign
  • God never changes
  • God is faithful
  • God is almighty
  • God is perfect

If you are struggling and feel that the circumstances have stolen your joy, peace and contentment fight to keep your faith in God. If you have lost that too, like I did years ago, do not fear. God is still faithful. His love is greater that our fears, doubts, pain, unbelief, anger, disappointment, bitterness, resentment, failures, mistakes and sin. Do not worry if all you can say is God have mercy. He not only hears you, but will respond to that. He looks at our hearts and He “…will not reject a broken and repentant heart…” Psalm 57:17

It’s ok to go to Him and say “God I don’t believe anymore, trust anymore, and/or hope anymore.” It’s safe to acknowledge that you have no desire, will, or strength, or that you are angry, bitter and/or resentful. He knows, He’s just waiting for you to open up to Him and let Him in. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20 He loves it when we approach Him with honesty and brokenness and ask Him to give us the ability love Him and live a life of faith. He patiently, lovingly full of mercy and grace waits for the opportunity.

Do not give up…or better yet give up at Jesus’s feet. That's what I've done. I am relying on Him, His word and His promises. I can tell you that His healing, comfort, strength and peace has invaded my soul since I began writing this short blog. Proving once again that His word is alive and active and more powerful than any two-edged sword, that He watches over His word to fulfill it, and that He is my healer, comfort and strength. Once again, He has proven His faithfulness and love to me. Though I am walking in the valley of the shadow of darkness, I will not fear - for He is with me.

May His promises, truth and character fill you with His peace, hope, love, strength, contentment and Joy. 

Going Deeper:

  1. Study the Life of Jeremiah
  2. Read David's Psalms
  3. Listen to “Find You on My Knees” by Kari Jobe

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New Beginnings

Its been a while...

Life has been hectic but exciting. Lord willing, come January, I will be able to blog more often.

My unplanned sabbatical was due to an amazing opportunity the Lord has given me and that I am excited to share with you -  hopefully you guys are still out ;)

The Lord has opened doors and has allowed me to publish my first book. This captivating Christmas Story, geared towards the whole family, will take you back in time.  There you'll rediscover, fresh and anew, the beauty, majesty, wonder and awe of Jesus's birth and God's love for us, through the perspective of the Wise Men. "Journey to Faith - Through the Eyes of the Wise Men," is the never before told story of the three mysterious Wise Men, their journey and their life transforming encounter with the newborn King. Who were they and how did they know about Jesus's birth and its significance?

Find the answers to these questions by reliving their journey. Walk in their shoes to see what they saw, hear what they heard, feel what they felt and experience every moment they experienced. From the moment Melchior discovers the sacred scrolls of God's word, to the moment Gaspar finally believes, to the moment they see scriptures fulfilled with their own eyes - readers experience firsthand the joys, fears, doubts, struggles and the encounter that changed the lives of the Wise Men forever.

Their story is one of faith, friendship, and perseverance. As they face and overcome insurmountable obstacles and doubts, defy their fears and venture into the unknown, they remind us that life’s greatest rewards and experiences come to those with a tenacious spirit; they dare us to pursue God, regardless of what we face, and the dreams and/or desires he has hidden in our hearts. Reminding us, God is always worth it.

 My hope for everyone who reads this engaging story, is a renewed confidence in God's love for us and a deeper understanding of His desire to have a relationship with us. Will you be like the Wise Men? Will you take the journey to faith?

Following is my book's website and the link to There you will find reviews, interviews, an event schedule, ratings and more.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Winter Is Over

As I look out my window snow is falling once again.  Although it feels like and at first glance it looks like Winter, the reality is Spring is here.  Knowing it is Spring was not enough to keep my feelings of despair from consuming me at that moment.  I caved to thoughts like "this Winter will never end,"  "I can't do this anymore" and "I hate this place, I need to move to the south." Wallowing in these negative feelings managed to distract me enough to forget not only that Spring is here but of the signs of promise my very own eyes had seen, my ears had heard and my body had experienced declaring Winter was over and that all things are being made new.

Over the last week, I had noticed the birds chirping in the morning.  Their sweet song which had been silenced by the harshness of Winter could no longer keep them from singing God's praises that Spring was to my ears.  Temperatures began to rise and there were days when I could feel the warmth of the sun healing the scars Winter had left behind.  I had also noticed our trees were blooming, even earlier than last year.  The hope of Spring overflowed from the depths of my heart and soul bringing with it healing, joy, peace and restoration.  Finally, this winter was over!  This had been a harsh, brutal, long and isolating season.  But it's over - HALLELUJAH, it's over!

Or was it?  We had a snowstorm on the first day of Spring and now even after seeing, feeling and hearing the promise of a new beginning today's reality seems to contradict and lead me to doubt the undeniable truth that Spring is here.  My eyes could only see the falling snow which continued to feed my heart and soul with anger, despair, hopelessness and negativity.  As I surrendered to the lie  my eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of the blooming trees.  Like the lens of a camera my eyes focused on the budding blossoms and I could no longer see the snow falling.  Oh yes, it was still snowing but Winter's attempt to have me believe his reign was not over failed.  God's grace intervened and once again opened my eyes to the promise of Spring.

This is so very true in our spiritual lives as well.  The Lord has declared Winter over in your life. You begin to experience the truth of Spring in your life with your senses and hope starts to overflow.  Just as  you begin to grab hold of the promise he, the enemy of our soul, will attempt to distract us with "snow storms" in an attempt to deceive us into thinking our Spring is not here and that our spiritual winter has not ended and never will.   He does this by trying to get our eyes off the promise, the evidence of God's involvement in your life which he has opened your eyes to  - the blooming tree. Once our eyes are no longer on the promise it is easy to succumb to negative whispers of doubt, mistrust, anger and hopelessness .

Winter can not last forever.   Our promise is Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Hope. Although easier said than done, we need to keep our eyes fixed on him.  Taking our eyes off of him, even for a moment, can distract us enough to forget what even our natural senses have experienced confirming, validating and ensuring you of the reality that can not be changed - The Promise of all things being made new in Jesus.

Do not think for a minute the enemy is going to throw in the towel and accept his defeat with a good attitude.  On the contrary, his anger towards you will only fuel his desire all the more to destroy you.

One of his greatest tactics is distraction.  He will do anything and everything to get us to take our eyes off  Jesus.  Because he knows the minute we do we start to sink; remember Peter?  He walked on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm around him. Matthew 14:22-33.  Knowing this, the author of Hebrews admonishes us in chapter 12 verse 2 to keep our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.  The enemy will attempt to deceive you that the winter of your life will never end.  But The Lover of our souls beckons us with his voice to come away with him because Winter is over...

How has the enemy tried to distract you?

What have you been focusing on instead of Jesus?

What signs of Spring have you noticed in your life?

Has the enemy distracted you enough to make you forget the signs of promise God has given you?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

He Sees and Loves The Real You

Do you struggle with God's love for you?  Does it seem impossible, crazy and unrealistic that The Holy and all powerful God loves you?

I struggled with that truth for some time.  I lived a "heaven on earth" love affair with the Lover of my soul.  I had tasted and seen first hand how good he is.  He was all I wanted and all I needed.  Yet out of the blue, one day, he was just "gone."  I could not feel him like I used to, loose myself in his presence like I always had and bask in his unfailing love.  Instead I felt alone, abandoned and forsaken.

During those terrible years I fell into despair.  My pain, sorrow, brokenness and despair persuaded me into mistrusting God and doubting his faithfulness.  Thankfully God is greater and he began a healing and restoring work in my life.

However, I struggled with believing that he loved me.  I believed he had forgiven me. But love me, the way I had always known -  no way...not anymore...not after hurting him the way I did.

To the honor and glory of his name, I am living proof that he does!!!!!!

God has loved  you with an unfailing love and nothing...nothing can separate you from his love.  He draws close to the brokenhearted, to the weak and weary.  He draws close because he knows his redemptive love will transform you into the person he created you to be.  Sin, failure, circumstances and life will never distort or change God's opinion of you.  Your are his beloved, his treasured possession and the apple of his eye.  He died for you and raised again on the third day to make you his redeemed bride.  That was the greatest demonstration of his love for you.

Next time you hear the accuser of your soul whispers lies into your ears, remember He sees the real you, draws close and loves you with his unfailing, redemptive, mercy and grace filled love.

 "...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3b

The Real Me - Copyright Fogel 2012

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Basking In His Love

Over the last several months I have sought to be still in God's Love and feed on his word.  During this time I reread the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge which I feel is a must read for every woman and every man who desires to understand the treasure he has been given in her - whether you have a wife, mother, sister or daughter.

This time in his love has been healing and renewing - Oh how I have needed it.  Thanks to God's mercy, grace and patience I am seeing myself through his word and his eyes.  I'm even seeing the sun break through in glorious splendor through the remaining clouds in my life.  He has been rooting me in his truth and my confidence and trust in him grow stronger everyday.  Thank you Father for not giving up on me! You are worthy of all my praise, devotion, love and life. I bless you Lord with all that is within me!!!

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the songs he has graciously given me during this time of restoration. My prayer is that it may it be a blessing to your life.

Your Eyes of Love - Copyright Fogel 2014

Please share and repost if these blogs and/or songs have ministered to you ;)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Miracle of Resurrection

The tomb was a very dark, lonely and painful place.  The fear that comes to paralyze us during those times is something we cannot overcome in our own strength.  While in that place God’s still small voice can be difficult to hear and discern especially when the enemy is yelling lies into our ears.  For me responding to his voice to get out of the tomb meant making some very difficult decisions.  I always thought it was worshipping him through the pain.  I say that because I didn’t overflow with praise like I used to.  That led me to believe that praise was something I had allowed the enemy to steal from me.  Looking back, I now know that was not the case.  Had I lost my praise these songs would have never been written.  My praise my worship was different, it led me to wrestle with God in the same way Abraham did.  It forced me to sift through all the wrong thought patterns an ideas I had about God and me.  It required me to fight for what I knew was truth in the depths of my soul.  Fighting is never something we want to do and is not something that comes easily, hence it wouldn’t be called a fight.  Fighting means resistance, opposition and struggle.  My praise and worship during my time of battle was different because of the resistance, opposition and struggle.  But nonetheless it was still worship.

Making a difficult decision and trusting that God would take care of me even if the worst happened was me getting up and walking out of the tomb.  What happened in the hours and days after that was a miracle.  A conviction and certainty that God was with me, would take care of me and loved me immediately replaced the fear, doubt, confusion and feeling of abandonment that had been plaguing me for years.  All of a sudden I knew.  The weirdest thing is that making that decision should have brought me to despair, but it didn’t.  On the contrary, it brought me to a place of peace.  Why? Because what I actually did was choose to trust God.  It wasn’t so much about the decision (which by the way was not a decision God allowed me to follow through on) rather it was about my ability to trust God with the outcome regardless of what that meant, even if it was something I did not want.  I was ready to face whatever came my way because I decided to take him at his word.  At that moment He faithfully responded to my faith, the size of a mustard seed, and gave me the gift of faith.  I believe – I know - He loves me not despite of who I am or what I’ve done but because of it.  Is that not insane and awesome at the same time?!?!?! 

I can’t say I feel God the way I used to yet or that we commune in the same way.  I still miss that and desire that. But I no longer battle with fear, doubt, abandonment or despair because of it.  Instead I am certain He loves me, is with me, is taking care of me and fighting for me.  I know He is taking me deeper, though it may not seem like it.  I know that He won’t leave me wanting for him:

“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD’s Decree. Jeremiah 29:13-14 MSG

I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.  Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT

Here God is talking to the exiles in Babylon.  Just like He exiled His people from Israel for disobedience, we can be “exiled” as well.  Not in the same way, because we live under grace, but we do suffer the consequences of our sins and the sins of others.  Just like there was a remnant in exile, we can feel like we are in spiritual exile during those difficult times in or lives when God’s presence in our lives is not sensed or seen.  Although I am no longer “exiled” I am not home yet. He promised to bring me back!  He says he will do it because He has my best interest in mind.  He also promised not only that I will find Him but that He will restore my fortunes. Wow!!! He is my greatest treasure, He will not leave me wanting. One day (hopefully sooner than later) I will feel him, at the very least the same way I did.  But more than likely in an even deeper, more personal and more fulfilling way.  I can now wait in expectation and full of hope for that day because of what He has done in my life.

What does all this mean? It means, I am finally out of the tomb and free of my grave clothes.  His love is transforming, healing and restoring every part of my mind, soul and heart. He is leading me to his quiet and still waters.  I never thought this day would come, but because He is FAITHFUL…it did. The journey promises to be difficult, painful, dark, and lonely. Jesus said we had to lose our lives to gain it.  Losing is not easy but difficult.  Losing is not something that comes naturally rather something we learn to do by His grace.  The beauty in all this is that God promised He would be with us - that we would not be alone - and because of that regardless of how overwhelming the journey becomes, He promises to make it worth it. I for one choose to believe him after all the only one who has constantly failed is me...yet he still loves me!!!!!!!!!
You Still Love Me

Walking Dead Originally Posted November 2014

Life after death does not always come a few days later.  After letting go of everything I was challenged with a life altering question:

How do I now believe, hope and trust without getting myself in the same mess I had before?

That was a difficult question for me to answer and it kept me in my invisible tomb for almost a year.   The struggle that had led to my death had ended but the struggle to live was just beginning.

The story ends and begins at the tomb.  When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He had the stone removed before calling out to Lazarus.  Notice the stone had been rolled away and Jesus had commanded but Lazarus still had to respond.  Lazarus had to, while still bound, get up and walk out of his tomb.  Jesus did not go into the tomb, unwrap him and then speak.  Instead Jesus opened the tomb (removed the barrier – only He can do this) then He spoke (gives life – again only He can do this) and Lazarus responded (only we can do that.)

Jesus was calling me but I would not get up and get out.  I was afraid.  I heard his voice but instead of only focusing on his voice I also listened to the voice of the enemy instilling fear in my heart.   The thing was I was not fully aware of what  God had begun to do in my life  but the enemy was very aware that he had lost his hold on me the same way he did when God raised Jesus from the dead.  Satan knows firsthand what happens when the life giving power of God’s resurrection touches a life, and he will fight to the end to prevent it.  But just like he could not keep Jesus and Lazarus  in the grave he cannot keep us in the grave.  God is greater and He is sovereign:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from me,  for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.  No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

John 10:27-30 NLT

 I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

John 11:25 NLT

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—
    who can change his plans?
When his hand is raised,
    who can stop him?”

Isaiah 14:27 NLT

I wish I could say that the light bulb in my head went on.  But it didn’t.  I was afraid of believing in God’s promises for me – I was terrified of being disappointed again. One of the reasons I still struggled was that I still could not feel him.  Not feeling him still had me battling doubt.  I had a hard time believing He was with me and that He loved me.  Of Course I did, I was still bound.  Jesus did not tell Lazarus’ family to remove him from his grave clothes that had him bound until he walked out of that tomb.  God’s voice had given me life because His word is alive, active, powerful and operative (Hebrews 4:12).  Because once He purposes and speaks there is no stopping him.  But unless I got up and walked out, regardless of what I was or was not feeling, I would remain in that tomb bound.  But Praise Be To GOD who is ever faithful gracious and merciful and made sure I got out of my tomb!!!!!

If you find yourself in a pit or a dark valley it is hard to see past your circumstances…I know – I’ve been there. Sometimes it feels like Jesus does not care because He didn’t come the minute He heard the news.  I believe that is how Mary and Martha felt and that that is why Mary did not go to him when she heard he had arrived.  Remember this is the same Mary who did nothing but remain at Jesus’ feet. Yet she did not draw near.  That was me.  May I suggest that it is possible He’s waiting for you to die, just like he did with Lazarus, because the greater miracle is His resurrection power redeeming your life from the grave.

If you have died and still find yourself in the tomb Jesus is calling out to you the same way he called out to me.  Don’t stay bound, isolated and alone – that’s where the enemy wants you not God.  You won’t see, feel and know the redemption God has for your life while in the grave.  Freedom from your bondage will not happen until you are out of the tomb.  What does walking out mean to you? Is it worshiping through the pain? Believing though you cannot see? Trusting though you do not understand? Doing something you don’t want or can’t do in your own strength? Getting rid of a habit? Giving even though you don’t have? It is whatever prevents you from encountering the resurrection power of God.

Will you respond?

Will you walk out of your tomb?


This is the song The Lord gave me while I was in the tomb.  It took me months to get up and get out of the tomb in response to Jesus calling me to get out.
In The Darkness...I Will Sing