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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

I Died - Originally Posted January 2014

The moment I wrote my last post something happened.   I noticed a release, something changed.  But what?  The pain up to that point had been excruciating and had even manifested itself physically. What’s interesting is that in the recent months my prayer focus had changed from dying to self to pleading – “Why can’t I just die already?!?” -  as I cried out to God.    What I had not realized is that unlike Jesus, I resisted the road to Calvary.  Even as my hopes, dreams, plans and expectations were being laid on the cross, I would pull away before the nail could pierce my flesh.  Once on the cross, I still fought with all of my will not to let go, believing doing so was giving up on what God had spoken to me.  Now as I look back I can see that although I was dying to self I was not laying down my life voluntarily.  I could not commit my spirit to God like Jesus because I continued to fight - my will would not surrender.  God in his great mercy would not let me die until I could commit my spirit to him.  He is so good!!!  My last post opened up my eyes to what had actually happened.

I died. Finally!!!!  It has been a painful and excruciating death for me because my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness - an inability to give up.  I am a passionate fighter who pours her everything into the things I do.  I do not settle – I find a way.  To lay down my expectations, my dreams and my hopes meant I gave up.  To God, laying down my expectations, my dreams and hopes meant dying to self that I may live through him.  He says it very clearly:

…whoever wants to save their life will loose it, but whoever looses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25

Yes, I prayed your will be done your kingdom come, but somehow I never truly let go of what Jesus was asking me to let go of.  I did not do it intentionally, I did not realize it. When I finally let go of the expectations I had, I lost my life.  No more dreaming and hoping for the things I had envisioned. Yes they were based on promises, but I envisioned how they would come to pass or what they would like once fulfilled. Somehow I took those promises and made them into my dreams, my hopes and my vision instead of his dreams, his hopes and his vision. 

This being dead part is scary.  It is a very unfamiliar feeling. At first very overwhelming as you mourn what you have lost. There is a feeling of emptiness that leaves you dumbfounded.  I guess it’s the shock and reality of death. But as time passes this unusual feeling gradually becomes comfortable because I no longer have burdens to carry, expectations to meet and something to fail at.  I actually feel lighter, and all of sudden I recognize the feeling.

I'm Struggling - Originally Posted December 2013

When I started this blog I promised I would be real.  My intent and desire is to share the full reality of the Christian walk; in other words the good and the bad.  This desire took root in my life when I began going through some difficult situations and felt very alone.  I would hear and see how other Christians would always say how great things are going, that they are living in victory while seldom, if ever hearing – this walk hurts, it’s difficult and confusing or hearing leaders express that they too go through these experiences from the altar.  When you do hear it, you only hear from those who have been delivered, rescued or have overcome. (I feel this doesn’t always afford us the opportunity to relate because you can’t see that far ahead when you are feeling consumed by the fiery trials.)  I was also told many times that a Christian should not and could not feel like I felt and that I had to continue claiming God’s promises.  I was left feeling guilty and ashamed of my Christian walk.  I felt like I had failed God.  I would hear about how we all will one day experience what is referred to as “the dark night of the soul” but that we had to endure to the end.  I don’t know about you, but when you are in the middle of the storm feeling helpless the last thing I want or need to hear is that I have to hold on.  After all that’s what I’ve been doing for years and nothing has changed.  This, as I have mentioned before, made me feel like I should not and could not speak about what I was truly feeling.  I panicked at the thought, that in sharing:

  • I would be a stumbling block to others who are struggling
  • I would shame God’s name
  • I would provide an abundance of supporting evidence to those who already do not believe

I am repeating some of this because I want you to be aware that I am a fellow sojourner, very sinful and fallible who stands by grace alone. It has taken me a very long time to accept that it is by his grace that I can live this life; and I am still not doing it well.  I always have a tendency to focus on the greatness of my failures rather than on the greatness of God’s grace.  This is one area where I am finally gaining ground!  Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I fail less.  Rather that when I fail, I finally grasp that he doesn’t love me any less, he is not shocked and disappointed by what happened and that I can go to him in the same manner I would’ve had I obeyed and followed through perfectly.  There will be days where I will ride the wave and there will be times when the wave will take me down – but his grace abounds even more. If he chooses to use my ramblings in spite of who I am that is his concern not mine.  He has always known what I am capable and not capable of, what my failures would be and the things I would struggle with my entire human life.  That is why you must always test everything you read against God’s written word.  My perceptions, conclusions, thoughts and actions may be wrong.  His word is the only absolute!

I share this because I am struggling right now. I have been taken down by a wave and the waves keep coming. Even after all the Aha Moments, Rhema Words, Words of Knowledge and comfort spoken to me…I am struggling.  I need Jesus, my lifeguard, to rescue me, because I will drown.  I am having a very difficult time reconciling how a just God would allow something very painful in my life to continue in my life.  What I mean by that is, that if the circumstances do not change and will not change, I would expect for me to change and to feel his presence and love comforting me.  His word says that:

  • That he is close to the brokenhearted
  • That if I wait on him he will renew my strength
  • He is my shield, my stronghold, my protector and my refuge in times of trouble
  • His mercy and goodness follow me all the days of my life
  • That he is with me and that he will never leave me or forsake me
  • That I can do all things through him
  • To ask and that I would receive
  • That I would not be disappointed if I trust him
  • That he can do all things and that nothing is impossible for him

Yet, I do not feel him close, I do not feel strengthened.  I do not feel shielded, protected and I can not see his goodness and mercy follow me through my constant tears.  I do not feel he is with me, I actually feel forsaken.  I have no more strength to do all things.  I have asked and have yet to receive (I am talking years).  I am very disappointed because I have not seen him do the impossible I have so many times imagined.

Do not misunderstand, my feeling this way does not cause me to not believe in him or trust him.  I do not doubt He is God and sovereign.  My eggs are all in one basket and he’s got it!  If he doesn’t come through I’m doomed; I do not have a plan B. I very much relate to Job.  One moment he, with great humility accepts that God gives and takes away and with his next breath battles with why God is allowing this in his life.  I think my issue is I have been waiting for my happy ending.  I’ve imagined God intervene in ways that would give Hollywood a money making blockbuster.

But it seems we don’t all get the happy ending.  Joseph, Job, Ruth, Rahab, David got their happy endings. But let’s be real.  God doesn’t deliver and rescue everyone and not everyone overcomes in the natural. Moses never entered the Promised Land, Samson’s second chance led to his death, John the Baptist was beheaded, Mary the mother of Jesus suffered heartache much of her life, Stephen was stoned to death, Paul remained in jail till the end and was martyred, and John the Beloved remained in exile on the island of Patmos.  I don’t think that’s what they had imagined their lives would be like.  I’m sure they expected seasons of trial and suffering.  But I wonder if they ever thought the majority of their walk would entail so much suffering.  For me the dilemma is not so much the “unhappy ending” (though I was truly hoping for one) but the absence of God’s joy, peace and comfort and – what does it mean for me to obey in my circumstances?  This is still unclear to me.  Based on what I have read from scripture – those who did not get the happy ending indeed experienced God’s joy, peace and comfort.  Truly God’s joy was their strength.  Yet for me, the fact that he remains hidden from me is what aches the most. I don’t know how to live in his joy without him being tangible in my life.  After experiencing what I did, I can’t imagine living like this the rest of my life.  Having lived heaven on earth for so many years makes living without his presence unbearable.  Why would he let me experience him in such a way and then take it away? How can I be content with less of him after having so much of him? I know that I should be thankful for the experience and live with great hope and anticipation as to what eternity will be like.  But how that is possible, I do not know.  This reality aches and tears away at me everyday.  I feel empty, alone and abandoned.  To compound matters, some of the most painful circumstances in my life have not changed.  Life was bearable before. Yes things hurt, but God’s love was so overwhelming and fulfilling I could make it through. Was the experience I had supposed to encourage me to face anything, knowing the other side was more than worth it? I hope not, I can’t imagine living another year let alone decades without experiencing him with my five senses.  Instead, this experience has led me to battle anger, bitterness, disappointment and resentment with God.

I’ve given up on my circumstances changing.  In doing so, I feel something in me has died.  Maybe that’s what supposed to happen maybe not. I don’t know, but the cloud over me is at times overwhelming.  I know that God doesn’t want us to give up hope.  I haven’t given up hope in who he is and what he can do.  I am however struggling with how his promises apply to me. I’m tired and weary of hoping things would change because nothing is impossible for him and being disappointed.  Obviously, my hope is on the outcome and not him.  I know God does not want me to live like this.  I know that he came to give me life – abundant life.  To me the abundant life means to be full of him –  his love, joy and peace. It means to be content in him, regardless of your circumstances.  The thing is I don’t know how to be content if I can’t feel his love.  I affirm my trust in him and I’ve asked God to show me what does not allow me to feel his love for me, where I am allowing sin in my life, to open my eyes to the pain of others so that I do not remain consumed in my pain only, to show me how to live with the immense loss of his manifest presence and that his purpose would be fulfilled in me through this.  I ask him to fill me with his peace.  My only hope, my greatest desire is to come to a place where I can once again feel his love in tangible way.  His love is the only thing that can overcome all the pain and disappointments. 

Though I do not feel it (I struggle to believe it), though doing so cuts me like a knife and floods my eyes with tears – I am proclaiming his promises!  YHWH, I AM, Beginning and End my hope is in you.  Only you can be my Ezer (my help, succor, Savior, Protector and Deliverer).  For your Name’s sake, because of JESUS – come and save me! I cry out to you like David:

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
    don’t let me be disgraced.
    Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
    rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
    a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
    For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
    for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
    Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God…
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
    for you have seen my troubles,
    and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
    but have set me in a safe place.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
    Tears blur my eyes.
    My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief;
    my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
    I am wasting away from within.
I am scorned by all my enemies
    and despised by my neighbors—
    even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
    they run the other way.
I am ignored as if I were dead,
    as if I were a broken pot.
I have heard the many rumors about me,
    and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
    plotting to take my life.
But I am trusting you, O Lord,
    saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
    Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
    In your unfailing love, rescue me.
Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
    for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
    let them lie silent in the grave…
How great is the goodness
    you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
    blessing them before the watching world.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
    safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
    far from accusing tongues.
Praise the Lord,
    for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
    He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
In panic I cried out,
    “I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
    and answered my call for help.
Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
    For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
    but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
So be strong and courageous,
    all you who put your hope in the Lord! Psalm 31 NLT

When will you Come Copyright 2013 Fogel

Grace - Originally Posted November 2013

The Father: “I love (your name). (Your name) won’t be able to know me unless…”

The Son: "I know…unless I take (your name) place."

The Father: "That means…"

The Son: "Separation from you."

The Father: "It is the only way…without your blood (your name) is helpless and hopeless."

The Son: "I know…I will go and reveal ourself to (your name). I will take (your name) place and die for her/him. My blood will redeem (your name) and make (your name) my bride." 

The Father: "When I look at (your Name) I will see (your name) through your blood because (your name) put her trust in You."

G – God’s
R – Redemption
A – At
C – Christ’s
E – Expense

Learning To Live By Grace - Originally Published November 2013

I never cease to surprise myself. Sadly, I don’t mean that in a good way. Just when I think I am finally getting it together, I catch another glimpse of my heart. The ugly reality of who I am endeavors to eat away, like swarming locusts, the harvest my life was beginning to produce. The downward cycle attempts to repeat itself intending to lure me back into despair, hopelessness, guilt and condemnation every time I fall down on my face and ask for forgiveness. The feelings of guilt and remorse attempt without mercy to consume me even as I claim the truth of God’s word over my life. The voice of the enemy screams in my ear “You are not good enough…you’ve wasted your life…God is disappointed in you. You have failed him too much to ask him for that.” Have you been there? 

Yes it is true – we are not good enough, we may have wasted some or most of our lives, we may have disappointed and grieved God’s heart with our choices – but he loves us and sees us through the blood of Jesus. 

For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you. Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT

I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake
and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25 NLT

So why do we struggle? Because we forget several important truths:

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:14-15

There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:1, 33-34.

These truths do not only apply to the day of our salvation. These truths apply to our lives after salvation as well. We are being sanctified as we surrender our lives to God every day, die to self and endeavor to obey his word. However, because we are still in our fleshly bodies we will sin. But His blood already took care of that. Just like we did not have to earn his grace for salvation, we do not have to earn his grace for living the Christian life and gaining access to him. Unlimited access to the Father has been granted to us by Jesus – Our Savior!

This means that when I mess up – i.e. loose my temper, loose control of my tongue, don’t read my bible, don’t find the time to pray and so forth – I am still just as able to come to him and ask with boldness and confidence for his blessings. I know it sounds insane. If my child asks me for a blessing after disobeying me, my response would be “No…no way. Not after what you’ve just pulled.” But God the Father chooses to only see us through the Blood of Jesus. Since Jesus’ sinless life and death are applied to us as having accomplished it for ourselves – we are not guilty. Crazy right!?!?!

This doesn’t mean that our choices will not have consequences. Some will have very serious consequences. But our lives are in the hands of The Redeemer to whom nothing is impossible. He knew where we would fall short and has already determined how he will work it out for our good because we love him and have been called to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Unlike us, he is fully aware of the plans he has for us:

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. Jeremiah 29:11-12

What we need to do is exercise our faith so that when our failures come, we are not derailed again. We need to be ready, prepared. Think of faith as a muscle. When someone works a muscle that muscle is strong, firm and defined. The opposite is true of someone who doesn’t work a muscle; it is weak, flabby and undefined. If we do not “work out” our faith it will be useless to us when we fall, we will not have the strength to get up again. How do we do this? By exercising our faith, that is repeating the truth of God everyday before the moment of weakness and failure pounces on us. That way when we sin, fall or fail, we will not only have the confidence to ask and receive his forgiveness, but we will also have the confidence to know that we have not lost our access to him or his favor upon our lives. We can still ask what we need and desire of him.

Everyday I am voicing several truths into my own ears. The first five I took from Beth Moore’s Believing God:

  • God is who He says He is 
  • God can do what He says He can do 
  • I am who God says I am 
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength 
  • God’s word is operative in my life 
  • God is sovereign and in total control. If he has allowed this in my life it’s because he can do something good with it 
  • Jesus’ blood is enough 
  • Jesus’ blood is greater than my sin, shame, weakness, mistakes, failures and regrets 
  • I’m never good enough but Jesus is 
  • I will overcome by the blood of The Lamb 

I repeat these truths throughout the day. Sometimes I will do a couple of sets at time. As I do this I imagine myself shooting an arrow or plunging the Sword of the Spirit into the enemy and I see him going down. While sometimes it easy to speak these truths into my life, there are many times it is the complete opposite. There have been many times when speaking these truths has been painful and difficult. My bleeding heart and wounded soul have fought with every breath to declare them and remain grounded in them regardless of my circumstances. Sometimes only my tears can voice these truths into my heart. Yet I refuse to let go knowing that victory only comes to those who do not give up. Because Jesus has already been victorious, I know that although I may loose a few battles or suffer some injuries, I will never be a casualty of war. I also know that although some of my circumstances may not change - I ultimately will. That is a promise from God: 

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 NIV

Never forget that what Jesus accomplished on the cross has been attributed to us, as if we did it ourselves, when we put our hope in Jesus. Remember your hope is in WHO HE IS not only for salvation but for everything He has promised us!!! Approach the Throne of Grace with confidence!!!!!

Click On the Link to Listen : Who He Is

Get Up And Try Again! Originally Posted October 2013

Ever notice when a baby is attempting it’s first steps? For some their face says “I can and I will do this” others “I am going to try this but I don’t know” and yet others “I’m not ready”.  Have you noticed the parents looking on? “You can do this!” or “Come on I’ll catch you.”  and when (not if) that baby falls, the reaction of that parent? The parent comes and comforts, hugs, kisses, applauds, encourages and loves on the child, right?  What about the child?  Does (s)he go back and scold her/himself for falling? Do they give up and never try again?  Sometimes they give up for a little while if they had a big fall, but they don’t dwell on it too long before they try again. They easily forget the fall and move on.

Now regardless of how old we are, when compared to God Almighty we are like infants.  Our minds can not compare to His.  As he watches us – His children, whom He loves – He does so with even more love, passion, and attentiveness than the most loving earthly parent demonstrates. That being the case, why are we so hard on ourselves? Why don’t we get up and try again? Do we doubt:

  • God’s grace is enough?
  • That His mercy is new each day?
  • That His compassions fail?
  • That His blood can wipe away every sin?
  • That He is able to make all things new?

You may say to yourself “I do not doubt those things”.  But if you continue to dwell on your falls you indeed doubt Him.  Do you think He expected you to never fall, bump your head, get a few cuts and bruises? Do you think He expected you to get it all right the first time and never make a mistake?

He knew before He formed you how many falls, head bumps, skinned knees, broken bones, trips to the spiritual ER and spiritual surgeries you would need.  It’s no surprise to him. Still, He made you, loved you, chose you and knows you! He knew His mercy, grace, love and blood ARE ENOUGH!!! And like a loving earthly parent, when one of His children falls He is there to comfort, hug, kiss, applaud, encourage and love on His child. We like the infant, need to get up and try to take that step again.  Oh we will fall again, but His loving arms full of grace and mercy will be there to catch us.  There will be times our mistakes will land us in the spiritual ER and will lead to spiritual surgery.  But just like we are there for and with our children every moment – so is He.  Unlike us, he can fully comfort us, ease our pain, bring healing and turn what was meant for harm into something that is good for us – to His Glory!

Forgive me LORD, for dwelling on my falls, skinned knees and bruised life instead of dwelling on who you are – my loving, merciful and forgiving Father. Thank you that You are greater than any sin, mistake, flaw and weakness in my life. Thank you that although you knew the mess I would make with my life, you still loved me so much that you not only created me but also came and died for me. Today I choose not to dwell on my fall.  Today I choose to get up and try again – to your Glory and Honor. Enable me to receive the comfort, peace and grace you offer me.  In Jesus’ Holy Name I ask AMEN.

I'm Living Proof

Is It Possible To Be A Prodigal That Has Not Left His Father's House? - Originally Pooted July 2013

Most of us, if not all, are familiar with the parable of the Prodigal Son.  The most common teachings of course being:

·The prodigal representing those who turned to a life of sinfulness after having known Christ but then return with a truly repentant heart and our received by the father with open arms


·The legalistic brother representing those who have never stopped serving God to live out worldly pleasures feeling much like him – “Why haven’t you done for me what you have done for him when I have been faithful?  How can he be your son and worthy of your blessing?”

Could I suggest one more possibility?  Is it possible to be a Prodigal that has never left his father’s house?  I thinks so; please stay with me as I try to explain.

The prodigal son decided to do things his way.  He didn’t believe that living in his father’s house, serving him, doing things his father’s way and being under his protection were necessary.  Waiting on his father’s timing for his inheritance was too long.  So he decided to do something about it.  He asked his father for his inheritance.  The father knew this was not good for him and that he may loose his son.  But the father also knew that this child could not be reasoned with as he was stubborn, determined and right in his own eyes. Therefore, the genuine love and trust the father desired from his son could only come through and from the lessons, trials and sufferings the prodigal son would experience.  So in his wisdom, which no one could comprehend, he gave his son his inheritance and gave him the freedom to choose.

Now many of us have never fully strayed from God or from “the church” so to speak, which is why we haven’t realized that we may have indeed left.  However, when the great famines hit our lives, such as financial crisis’, marital problems, career failures and/or difficulties, rebellious children, sickness and death, we like the prodigal instead of turning to The Father we begin a journey to another land.  No longer under our Father’s protection we squander our spiritual inheritance and end up in the enemy’s pig pen. Unbeknownst to us, as we tend to the pigs in the pen we begin to long for the slop they eat and ultimately begin feeding on it ourselves.  How?

The enemy is the father of lies.  When disaster comes our way we have two choices:

1.      Believe God
2.      Not believe God

When we choose to entertain the doubt that begins to pour into our minds like a rushing river the minute our circumstances become difficult, is the moment we have started off to our distant land.  At first they are thoughts.  But the bible is clear “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…Proverbs 27:3 KJV.  As we continue to ponder these doubts they begin to influence our heart, mind and emotions.  Once our emotions are fueled by doubt and we begin to believe what we see and feel instead of the truth of God’s word  we are taking our inheritance and throwing it away just like the prodigal. 

God’s word is the greatest treasure in the world.  It is full of promises and hope to whomever seizes it. His word can not return to him void or empty; it must accomplish what it has been set out to do because God watches over his word. Therefore, God’s word is dependable and trustworthy.  His word IS; not has been or will be but IS.  His word is powerful, alive, active, operative, energizing and effective.  His word brings life, healing, comfort, strength, hope, wisdom, knowledge and peace.  His word is the bread of life and springs of living water. His word is a sword with which we fight and can with certainty overcome the enemy.  It’s invaluable –it is our greatest treasure!  The minute you entertain doubt confusion floods in.  You are exchanging the gems of God’s word, which is eternal, for the counterfeit.

Your mind now full of doubt, confusion and lies leads you straight into the farmer’s pig pen.  Unbelief leads you to think you have no choice but to starve and settle for the lies of the enemy – God has abandoned and forsaken me, things will never change, I can’t live through this or after this, I’m not good enough, etc.  You ultimately begin to desire and long for the slop – more of the lies you have entertained.  The reality you are living becomes your reality and for the moment, hopefully, you forget that at your father’s house there is plenty for everyone.  Meanwhile you have defiled yourself. You feel hopeless, trapped, alone, unworthy and you begin to feed off the slop.

Have you become a prodigal?  Have you tossed your pearls to the pigs?  Have you been feeding on the slop of the enemy and find yourself starving to death spiritually? Have you left your father’s house?  The Father in his great wisdom gave you the same freedom to choose.  In his great and awesome sovereignty he knew that the circumstances He has allowed to touch your life would produce in your life the genuine love and trust He desires from you.  He knew this love, devotion and complete surrender could only come through and from the lessons, trials and sufferings you would experience. 

Will you like the prodigal come to your senses, get up and return to your Father’s house?  The minute he sees you he will run to you, wrap his arms around you and kiss you!  He will dress you in the finest robes of righteousness, the ones purchased by the blood of the lamb.  He will give you his ring and celebrate with a great feast at your return!

I know.  I was that prodigal.  I never left his “house” to live for worldly pleasures but I stopped believing. Unbelief is a land that strips you of everything and leaves you destitute and broken. But now I am his child who was dead but is now alive!!!!!!!!!!  Come home beloved, The Father is waiting with great longing for your return.

Have You Buried "Lazarus"? - Originally Published June 2013

If you are not familiar with the story of Lazarus or have forgotten it, I encourage you to take a few moments and read it before continuing. Luke 10:38-41 and John 11:1-44


Lazarus was dead.  They buried him four days ago.  Jesus never came.  They were all gathered mourning Lazarus’ death when they heard that Jesus had come.  Martha went out to Jesus and shared her disappointment with him, but Mary did not.  Why didn’t Mary come and meet Jesus when he arrived? Remember this is the Mary that stood by his feet while Martha did all the work.  This is the Mary that would later anoint Jesus’ feet with perfume and use her hair to wash his feet.  What could keep her from the person whom she loved with all of her heart, soul and mind?  What could keep her away?

·        Pain
·        Disappointment
·        Despair
·        Resentment
·        Anger
·        Doubt
·        Hopelessness

What or who is your “Lazarus”?

·        The hope of marriage
·        A broken marriage
·        Prodigal children
·        No children
·        Your finances
·        Broken relationships
·        Broken or unfulfilled dreams
·        Service Ministry

Before Jesus called out to Lazarus and raised him from the dead, he called Mary.  He did not go to her.  Instead, she had to come to him in her brokenness, disappointment, pain and maybe even anger and resentment.  Maybe even doubt. After all he didn’t answer her and Martha when they sent for him before Lazarus died.  Jesus “ignored” their plea, their cry for help.  Jesus received the message that Lazarus was dying and he did nothing.  He stayed where He was and didn’t even send them word saying that He would come. He didn’t tell them to trust in him because He was in control of the situation.  He didn’t tell them I am planning something amazing for your good through and after this great ordeal - just believe in me.  He remained silent, yet Jesus loved them.

Do you feel like Mary?  Are you calling Jesus, crying to him or pleading with him for your dying  Lazarus, only to hear silence?  Only to see your “Lazarus” die?

Do you feel like your “Lazarus” is dead and Jesus never came.  Do you hear He is near but like Mary you do not go out to meet him?  You stay in your grief, wallowing in your pain.  You don’t want or have the strength to believe.  “What for?  I’ve put my hope and trust in him only to be let down.” you think or say.

Jesus called for Mary and he is calling you. Do you hear him calling?  Are you going to get up and meet him? It doesn’t matter that you feel abandoned, disappointed, betrayed, let down.  It doesn’t matter if you are angry, hurt, resentful and in pain.  It doesn’t matter if you doubt his ability, faithfulness, love, mercy or promises.  Scripture doesn’t say that He spoke to Mary, only that he called her.  It doesn’t say that he comforted or consoled or revealed to her what he would do.  It just says that he called her and she came.  Jesus then prayed and called out to Lazarus.  You know the story – He raised him from the dead!!!

Jesus had to let Lazarus die in order to show that He was the Resurrection and The Life.  Without death there would not have been a miracle!  Sometimes the miracle does not come in God intervening and fixing our situations.  Sometimes the miracle is Resurrection instead of healing.  But remember that resurrection ultimately brought healing and so much more!

Jesus is calling. He is near.  His word says that He is close to the brokenhearted.  Can you hear him? Will you hear him? He may not answer you or even minister to you the way you thought he would. Your Lazarus is dead and buried but He is asking you to come.  What will you hear when you come? What will you see when you respond?  What will He raise from the dead in your life for his glory and honor?

I See

The Enemy Does Not Take "No" For An Answer- Originally Posted May 2013

So sorry it’s been a while :(

My computer was fried by a virus, Becky went to work full time and I began doubting I had heard God correctly about starting this blog.  But something deep in my soul says “no, you did hear correctly and this is what you are supposed to do, foolish as it may seem.”  So I am back.  May God be glorified through this! Amen!

So where were we?  You may need an extra a couple of minutes today ;)

The enemy does not take no for an answer.  He will come at you again with all he’s got, especially when his control and influence over your life has been broken by God’s truth and you resolve to walk by faith and not by sight.  The enemy is the father of lies.  He takes bits and pieces of truth and distorts them in such a way that only those who know The Word can recognize it is a lie; even those who “know” The Word can and have been deceived, take me for example.

As the Lord began to restore me, the enemy decided to remind me of certain facts.  He reminded me of:

  • My unbelief
  • My doubt
  • My denial
  • My mistrust
  • My failures
  • The depravity of my heart
  • The wasted time
  • My rebellious attitude
  • My weaknesses
  • My failures
  • My sins

At first this didn’t bother me too much, because I now knew how much I need God and how great his mercy is.  However, when the burning in the depths of my soul began to burn once again in conjunction to The Lord speaking to me through His Word that he has a purpose for me in addition to being a wife and mother, the enemy began to gain the upper hand.

I was able to accept that His blood is enough to cleanse me and make me whole (though I am still a work in process.) But why, oh why, would he want to use me?  The enemy had a field day with me on this one.  I had messed up too much to be usable, I was sooooo unqualified – for goodness sake I am still a piece of coal! 

Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that, in the natural, every door had been closed.  Doors would open for a short time and then they would be slammed shut.  Challenges and difficulties surrounded me and prevented me from doing that which had been laid in my heart.  I began to use those hardships as evidence or proof that I had erred.  I attempted to convince myself many times I did not hear God - that I am not called into service ministry.

Let me stop here and clarify, we have all been called to minister and into ministry.  We are all to spread the gospel, love the unlovable, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, protect the vulnerable, forgive, freely give what we have received – we are ALL TO BE JESUS’ HANDS AND FEET to a needy and dying world.  Some of us have been called to do that in the secular world as doctors, lawyers, teachers, business men and women, nurses, maintenance workers, builders, in the fields of retail, politics, sports, etc. (which our world so desperately needs – a people of integrity and honor shining brightly the truth of Jesus.)  While others have been called into full or part time (what I call) Service Ministry as bible teachers, evangelists, preachers, pastors and the like (their job being to equip and strengthen the body to be the hands and feet of Jesus.)

To back track and hopefully shed some light on my dilemma, I have never wanted to work in any form of “service ministry”. I loved not being involved.  I enjoyed the freedom of coming and going without responsibility.  I have been a member at 3 churches over the last 25 years (the two churches I left, I left because I moved) and had never been involved.  I have to admit sometimes I felt guilty, but for the most part I didn’t. Then about 7 – 8 years ago the Lord instilled a desire that turned into a passion which then morphed into a burden. 

So now I feel this tugging in my heart. There is a sense that I have another purpose to fulfill or that I have work to do…or in my case had a purpose to fulfill.  That’s where Satan got the upper hand. I know I am forgiven.  But I let God down so much and shamed his name in such a way that I missed my chance to fulfill his original purpose for me.  I battled with guilt, shame and condemnation while at the same time desiring to do more for him.  I knew God’s word:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1NLT
God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone.

Romans 11:29 GWT

But I hated the fact that I let him down. Why would he want to still use such a broken vessel?  But did I actually let him down?  Or is possible that he allowed those circumstances in my life so that His purpose could be accomplished in me? See, I have learned many invaluable lessons through these experiences

  • I needed to know what it feels like to be abandoned, forsaken, alone and let down just like Jesus (though I was never actually abandoned, forsaken or alone because he never left)
  • I needed to be broken, stripped away of my confidence and security so that I may know what it means to be secure, confident and be made new in him (still learning to live this one
  • I needed to be humbled
  • If I really want to be like Jesus I needed the opportunity to forgive like he forgives, suffer like he suffered and endure like he endured (thankfully He does it perfectly)
  • I needed to experience the amazing grace I had always talked about but that only few truly experience and bask in – previous to my fall – I had been a “good girl” yes I sinned like everyone but I never…you fill in the blanks. I fell so low, I have truly experienced and know what Grace is
  • I needed to see the depravity of my heart - how unworthy I really am, how sinful I truly am and how under the right circumstances we are all capable of the unimaginable
  • I needed to trust his anointing is over my life whether I feel it or not (still learning to live this one out too)
  • Who I am is based on who HE IS and what He Has Done
  • My talents, giftings, strengths or lack of don’t qualify or disqualify me.  He does, based on the response of my heart to him.

By God accomplishing His purposes in me He could now accomplish His purposes through me.  And although I still don’t quite know the details of how His plan will unfold in my life, I am confident that His way and Word always prevails.  In all this I have seen his faithfulness unfold in my life – even though I was unfaithful to him.  Thank you Jesus! Thank you for your faithfulness Mighty God…I love you.

You'll Prove To Be So Faithful

I will See