Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! It's a new day, a new chance, a new start. I'm going with God.

Today I did something new to start my day. Well, first I didn't sleep. Anytime I have to get up early for a special event, such as when I sing a solo, I can't sleep. So knowing I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m., I didn't sleep. I was already awake at 4:15 ready to try something new. I ran with a running club this morning. I've run off and on for 20 years, trained for a marathon once; run a half-marathon once; just gone out on the road and run. But ever since I ran my first half-marathon two years ago, I stopped running, gained 10 pounds, and have suffered because of it. One of my goals for a long time has been to run, shower, and have my appointment with the Lord in prayer and in the Word before another soul ever wakes in my house. A tall order for someone who lately has been going to bed at 11:00 p.m. or later, sleeping until 8:00 when my kids wake up, and staying in my pjs half the day.

So this morning, despite not sleeping, I went and trained with a running team at 5:00 a.m. I was home by 6:00 and showered, with belly full and Bible read by the time my husband woke up. It gave me a whole new perspective. It gave me hope. Maybe I will lose these 10 pounds. Maybe I will train again for the Bass Pro Half-Marathon this November. Maybe I will get to know the Lord in a deeper way. I will certainly be more ready for my children to wake up. Maybe I'll accomplish more. Maybe its true; "the early bird catches the worm." I'm exhausted but hopeful.

I read Psalm 34 this morning. This is the part (verses 6-7) that stuck out the most to me: "This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers him."

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Princess...You Are Saved By Grace

Don't be so hard on yourself, My love. I see your heart filled with frustration. I know you're in a constant battle between your flesh and your spirit. Don't ever give up trying to live out your faith because of your weaknesses. Don't you know that nothing you do in your own strength will last? I give you grace when you've gone the wrong way, and I give you strength right when you need it. I am here waiting to make all your wrongs right and to heal all your hurts. The battles in your mind belong to Me, so don't waste any more time tearing yourself down. I love you no matter what you've done or said. Now give Me a chance to show you who you are when you are surrendered to Me. Let Me give you My gift of grace. Remember that you have been covered with My forgiveness since Calvary; now walk in freedom from the past and open My gift of a new start.

Your King and your Grace

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24.)

-His Princess: Love Letters from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Monday, February 13, 2012

Giving Out Of What We Don't Have

Five days ago I wrote out my prayer requests. I've done this many times before, but I've never done it like I did five days ago. This time I asked for things that are truly beyond me; things that will not come to pass without a mighty act of God. I prayed about my dreams. I prayed about things for my children and my family. Things for my church. One of the things I prayed for was that my husband and I would give out of what we don't have financially and we would see God multiply it for His purposes. This comes as my husband's job is changing from a guaranteed to a commission-only position; and with very little work coming my way. As Mark Batterson prays in his book, The Circle Maker, I started praying that God would give us "vision beyond our resources." I started praying huge things personally, financially, spiritually that God may be glorified through us. I started praying specific scriptures. Then about three days ago I felt the Holy Spirit's prompting to go prayer-walking around my church, like Joshua and his men did when they marched 7 days around Jericho. I even drove by the church, but then turned to go home, questioning what I would pray about and what people might think of me if they saw me. I thought about it again the next day; but it was cold, my family needed me, etc.... Then Sunday came. My pastor laid out his goals for meeting Remington's financial needs over the next 10 months and asked us, his congregation, to be a part of meeting those goals. Inside I smiled with joy knowing that this is the opportunity for my family to give out of what we don't have financially and to see God multiply it for His purposes. This is exactly what I was praying for. And now I know what the prayer walk is about. I'm excited to see how God is going to grow the faith of those at Ridgecrest Baptist Church; and challenge us to give out of what we don't have for His glory.

More of God's Promises and My Personal Definition of Success

In my last blog post I shared some of God's promises that God gave me in my quiet time reading the scriptures, praying, and reading the book, The Circle Maker. Some of these promises have already been confirmed to me through circumstances and through scriptures.

In the Circle Maker, Mr. Batterson talks about a familiar Bible story, the story of the blind man, Bartimaeus. Mark 10:46-52 recounts the story of Bartimaeus, who was on the roadside begging. When he heard that Jesus was coming he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" The people around him rebuked him and told him to be quiet. But he continued to shout for Jesus asking Him for mercy. Jesus stopped and called Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus jumped to his feet to meet Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Jesus in His omniscience knew that the blind man wanted to receive his sight. But Jesus wanted Bartimaeus to tell Him what he wanted. Jesus asks us the same question: "Jenny, what do you want me to do for you?" This is what I came up with:
1) Make me holy; set apart. Enable me to live a righteous life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
2) Make me consistent; enable me to live a life of integrity in my home and elsewhere.
3) Use me to bring God glory.

I believe one of the promises God has given me for the above is Psalm 25:21, "May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you."

Along with this Mr. Batterson discusses his personal definition of success. This challenged me to come up with my own. My definition is very similar to my answer above to Jesus' question of what do I want Him to do for me. Here is my personal definition of success:
1) To have an authentic faith--to live a life holy and set apart to God no matter who I'm around or what I'm doing.
2) To bring God glory by the things I do and say and in my attitudes.
3) To be a consistent, respectable, and Godly wife and mother.
4) To help others.
5) To point others to God through His Word and in prayer.

I shared the Bartimaeus story with my son, Bo. I told him that Jesus is asking him that question too: "Bo, what do you want me to do for you?" Bo immediately said, "I want Him to heal my excema." I told Bo that we will pray in faith believing that God will do it. I am praying for this that Bo's faith might increase. I'm believing my children will serve God, they will love Him first, they will obey Him, and they will testify and bring Him glory.

The question I ask myself is (harsh though it may be), "If I'm not doing anything to expand God's kingdom in my home, then what good am I as a mother and wife?" Part of fulfilling my personal definition of success and/or my calling is to do it first in my home. This morning I prayed through Proverbs 31--the perfect prayer to accomplish all of the above:)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God's promises

What I'm going to share today is very personal and extremely intimate. (Not a lot of people read my blog and I haven't written for awhile, so sharing it here on FB isn't too scary:) It involves a private conversation between the Lord and me that I'm trusting will be encouraging to whoever reads it. My quiet time with the Lord is so precious and sweet to me. I look forward to it with anticipation. Not to say that fireworks of revelation go off every time I get alone with God in prayer and in the Word. But sometimes His voice and His promptings are very clear. At times I've been leery of people who say they've heard something from the Lord or God spoke to them. So I understand if you feel that way too.

God has been telling me for some time that He has called me to be set apart. To be holy, consecrated, to live a life of righteousness for His name's sake. At times, I have resisted. I have chosen TV, FB, email, people, sleep, the opinions of others, food, and my own selfish lusts over Him and being set apart. Lately, He has confirmed in me that He is bringing me out of this winter season I've been in, to a new season of prayer. He has shown me that my prayer focus is not on what I will get from God through prayer, but that I will get Him--that He is what I'm after, not just answers. As Mark Batterson says in his book, The Circle Maker, "we shouldn't seek answers as much as we should seek God. If you seek answers, you won't find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you." God has also been showing me over the last few months that revival comes as a result of repentance--confession of and turning from sin. In other words, you got to get down to the ugly to come forth as gold.

In my prayer time this week, I asked God to show me what I could start praising Him for-promises He has given me--praising Him in advance for something instead of just praying about it. He reminded me of visions and dreams I've had of speaking to people about Jesus--encouraging them, exhorting them. It is a promise I can praise Him for--it will be. He promised that I will point others to Him through speaking and singing, using my words and my voice--it is in part what I am created for and how I will bring Him glory. He gave me other promises too--for my husband and for my children.

Here is what God said (I cannot write this without tears): "You will stand and testify of my greatness. You will bring me glory. You will lift your voice on my behalf. A wellspring of joy will flow from your heart. You will share in my excellent greatness. You will bring me honor. You will lift me up. You will be set apart. You will be highly favored. Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6). You will lead people to me. You will dwell with me and I with you. I will fill you fresh and anew with my Holy Spirit. It is a new season of prayer where you are going to hear from the Lord. My voice will be clear. Keep your eyes, heart, and mind focused on me. You should have no other goal but to know me and glorify me. I will open and shut doors of opportunity for you. You will walk in the ways I tell you to walk. You will go where I tell you to go. I will bless you. I will favor you. Your family will be favored. I delight in you. My hand is upon you. Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6). Your first prayer circle, Psalm 23:6. I'm always going to love you and be good to you--all your days in this life and in the life to come--eternally. Oh Jenny. I have such goodness for you. Why wouldn't I? It is My will and way. It may not look like the goodness the world sees as good but it will be My good. Trust me. Praise me even when you can't see it yet. I want you to rest in me. Trust me. Believe my promises."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

He set my feet upon a rock: Daniel Fast #2

Well, I'm back to where I started. Blogging about doing a fast. I don't want to do a fast. I am rebelling about doing a fast. But I know I'm in need of a fast. Over the course of the past year I have fallen down in some areas of my life that were my life blood. Running. I ran my first half-marathon last November. I thought I would keep it up, but I didn't. Now I can run 3 miles at the max. Bible reading. I stopped having daily Bible reading and a time of solitude with the Lord. I also stopped attending and/or leading women's Bible studies. I did the Daniel fast in February and had some times of drawing near to the Lord. I even had some speaking engagements and was truly inspired in preparation by my time with the Lord. But somehow I got busy with life and let those things go. I thought after the fast I would keep up eating only God-made foods, but I didn't and I'm back to my life-long love of eating all things food. With the lack of exercise and poor eating habits I've put on 10 pounds over the last year. The rebellious part of me is like, "I don't care. I'm so over being in shape and wearing a certain size." But then when I can't fit into my clothes, I'm not so care-free. I know fasting has nothing to do with losing weight. That's not its purpose. In fact one of the reasons I am rebelling against doing a fast is because I know I will go back to my usual way of eating, so what's the point? But fasting isn't about the food. Its about the heart. And that's where my real problem is. I've grown complacent and apathetic, like the rest of the world. I've lost my sense of motivation, sadly, even toward living a life of holiness and being set apart. There are many factors: going back to work, which has been less than satisfying; financial struggles; weariness with being the spiritual leader in my home; unrealized goals and dreams; spiritual warfare; depression; feeling I can't overcome certain things in my life, etc.
The last time I did the Daniel fast, honestly, it really wasn't that hard. I was healthy then, exercising regularly. I wasn't working, so I had a lot of free time to read and study God's Word and to pray. But now, its a whole new game. Last time I was excited to do it. Now, frankly, I dread it. Because I want to eat what I want to eat. And I remind myself again, its not about what I do or don't eat. Its my rebellious heart. Yuck--that is hard to admit. It's so easy to deceive myself into thinking that that's not what its about--that I'm not being rebellious. But I am. And it goes deeper than that. Its a trust issue. Rebellion means I don't trust God. It means I'm going to do it my way rather than trusting that God's way is better.
Do I want to do it? No. I want to eat my dark chocolate peanut butter dream on a cinnamon raisin bagel; and everything else I want to eat. Am I afraid of failing, as I seem to have a life time of? Absolutely. Am I afraid of being disappointed? Yes. Am I afraid of fasting for the wrong motives (attempting to somehow manipulate God or just to get answers from Him; weight loss; just because others are doing it?) Yes.
But fasting is a way of abstaining from certain foods for a time to honor the Lord. It is a time to devote myself to prayer and to studying God's Word; to draw near to Him and He to draw near to me. Will it bring revelation and clarity? I'm believing it will. Will it restore within me the joy of salvation and a sense of urgency for the lost? I will say yes. Will it renew a right spirit within me? Yes. Will it draw me deeper into the Living Waters of a Holy and Redeeming Father? Yes. Will it enable me to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit which I long to do? Yes and Hallelujah! I am going to fast. I'm going to turn to and live in the Truth. I'm going to be changed, restored, and as a brother in Christ put it; recalibrated, in my time with the Lord. If I fall down, and I will; I'm trusting my Counselor will be there to pick me back up, dust me off, and set me on my feet again...
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord" Psalm 40:1-3.