Do You Need a King?

I had to repost this. It was heavy on my heart today and I feel like someone needs it. I NEED THIS reminder. Who are my man-made idols? What do I put before God and His faithfulness? What is controlling me? Am I being controlled by the Spirit of God or am I allowing everything else in my life to rise above His voice and clamor for my attention? Am I loving the people in front of me? Beth Moore says it best, “Because only Christ can set us free, all other gods or idols – anything we use as a replacement for God – can only enslave.”

Coming Full Circle

kingdomMy life has consisted of a whole lot of wandering. I was blessed in my wandering because God saw fit that I saw another day, then another, then another. I attested miracles in my life to good ole luck and I never considered the actual Source of all things good. I was an Israelite, bound by the mistakes of my ancestors and destined to live a life not worth living. The manna that fell from the sky to nourish me wasn’t enough; the water in the wilderness to quench my thirst became a passing thought. The Red Sea that parted for me (more than once, I might add) became a long distant memory. The falling of the walls in my Jericho were almost expected, so that move in my life wasn’t appreciated. The years that the Lord sustained me, even though I was unsustainable, were taken for granted. My enemy would…

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My Name Is Victory

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‘My Name is Victory’ is a thorough, comprehensive look at the effects of unresolved grief through the eyes of authors Julie Keene and Lisa Daughdrill, who share from their own experiences following multiple losses in their lives. Here, these two powerful women of God tell how they each faced the heartache of pain, disappointments, and personal loss only to gain VICTORY in their lives by shattering the lies of the enemy with the Truth of God’s Word. ‘My Name is Victory’ teaches others how to recognize the lies inserted through the open wounds of a grieving heart and replace them with the Truth in order to achieve their own VICTORY!”

This book is for anyone who dares to live!

My Name is VictoryThank you to all who have endorsed, encouraged, and already purchased our book, “My Name is Victory”. It is not our intention to use this book to promote Lisa Daughdrill or Julie Keene or any Ministry in any way. This book was written to glorify One Person ONLY and that is JESUS CHRIST. HE is the only One who can heal you or save you! Anything else apart from Him, no matter how good, are merely one of many tools that He may use in the healing process.

This book is intended to shed Light on Darkness and share Truth and Hope with others in need. It discusses many dark topics that people often question alone but are afraid to ask about such as suicide, abortion, addiction & overdose, the demonic & spiritual attacks & just why the devil hates us in the first place, generational curses and even what the unpardonable sin really is.

It was written from one healed soul to another seeking, as a help tool for those who are grieving any loss or major life disappointment, but may not understand what grief really is, the stages and process of getting through it or why they feel the way they do.

This book is the result of our own losses and the destructively painful recovery that we pray others can avoid if they know the Truth, because the Truth, Jesus, is the Only One Who can set any of us FREE.

God loves you and we love you!! Keep walking!

Once you read it, we would appreciate any feedback and we welcome any questions.

We would love the opportunity to come speak at your church and/or grief group. Please contact us via email at lisa5058@gmail.com or juliekeene77@gmail.com.

This book is available on the following channels:

www.amazon.com

www.amazon.co.uk

www.amazon.de

www.amazon.fr

www.amazon.es

www.amazon.it

Now for a Sneak Peak….

CHAPTER FOUR

I lost my cat once.  My mom ran over Callie while backing out of the driveway on the way to a bridal shower.  We never made it to the bridal shower (maybe we did and I just can’t remember).  I was so overcome with that tragic loss of my little pet.  We called Daddy off the golf course that bright, sunny day, away from his beloved pastime.  I stood there in the doorway of our big home, in my frilly dress with my patent leather shoes and lace socks, with crocodile tears streaming down my face and staining the front of my smock as he packed up my friend in a small box and put her in the back of his truck to head back to the game he left behind that consumed him most weekends.  I immediately objected, “But Daddy, what about the cow birds?”  He quickly moved the box into a shed and he was off in a rush.

Late that afternoon as we stood under the clear sky, the sun barely peeking over the horizon, we buried my little friend.  The three of us, Daddy, Jessie, and myself, were huddled in the back corner of our property near the fence.  Jess and I fought back tears and prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”  Daddy rolled his eyes and headed back inside to where dinner was waiting.  As I watched his back as he walked away, I realized he was only doing his fatherly duty since mom had to deal with our sadness all day. 

Fast forward some 8+ years.  As you pass through time quickly with me, imagine a life torn; confusion, anger, and frustration all attaching themselves to us as we move through time and space.  Fear, rejection, and abandonment join in.  Doubt, worry, and self-loathing catch a ride on this crazy train.  One quick turn around a bend creates one mess after another, and BOOM…we come to a complete halt and wreck on this journey.  Beware of the whiplash as our train derails. 

It’s now August 25th, 1992, the third day of my sophomore year of high school.  Dad has come from prison only a few years before and has become a ghost of a person.  He isn’t even the same and unfortunately never will be.  We have moved from our small town and its big gossip to another town close by where a sense of freedom exists for all of us.  I’m standing outside of a new school in the pouring down rain, standing before my mom who is completely broken, the light extinguished from her once shining green eyes.  The questions immediately start inside my head as I ponder the look upon her sad face.  I seem to tower over her, being 8 inches taller than her small frame anyway, but today she looks much smaller.  She looks upon me and hesitates for a moment before speaking the words that will send a shockwave through our entire family, “There has been an accident.”  My reply, “It’s Daddy.”  She nods her head in agreement, her tears mixed with the raindrops.  I boldly say, “It wasn’t an accident, was it?  He did it himself.”  She barely nods her head as it hangs limply from her body.  My dad has just committed suicide.  Now I lay me down to sleep…

Lie #4Nothing you do can keep those you love in your life; the best grades in school, the willingness to move to a new town without complaint, good behavior, none of it matters anymore.  You are alone, left again to your own devices.

TRUTH #4 – IT IS WRITTEN: “The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed. A stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You. For You O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:9-10

Many times, especially when occurring during childhood, people will internalize traumatic events, whether the trauma came from words, deeds or situations, believing the lie implanted by the enemy through the event that it is all their fault.  They begin to think if they had only been different, better in some way, smarter, prettier, more lovable, more helpful, quieter, etc., then the event or the after-effects of it would have turned out differently and better too.  This is how many people end up obsessive/compulsive about perfectionism.

Here’s an example from a woman I met whose father and mother divorced when she was a very young child.  Not understanding, as any child doesn’t, the true scope of her parent’s personal lives or the internal workings of their relationship, she bought into the lie of the enemy that somehow in their divorce she was at fault.  The enemy set up the scene for her very well.  She loved her Daddy and craved his affection and attention. Her father, a young man at the time, perhaps struggling with his own identity, and as she described the fruit of his Spirit to me, seemed to lack a relationship with the Lord.  He was, by all accounts, preoccupied with his situation in life, his job, his unhappy marriage, and for whatever reasons the child did not know, she noticed that he stayed away from home more from where his wife and daughter were.  Then once the parents had made the decision to live separately and divorce, the father packs up, family life as she knows it is all suddenly over and he leaves the home, leaving the 5 year old child behind with her mother.  Immediately, abandonment and rejection and loneliness set up a new home in the child’s heart and mind.  The child only sees Daddy on scheduled weekend swap visits in HIS home now and then she is sent back at the appropriated time to her mom in THEIR home.  This goes on, mom has issues of her own that the child has to live in until the opportune time comes for enemy take out, when the little girl is 13 years old, an impressionable age for sure.  That enemy is a sly one – you have to watch him.  

So here she is, barely a teen, Dad is driving her to school one day and she is happy to be getting this father/daughter time together.  He looks over at her in what he perceives as a helpful way, but to her has been a mile marker event that cut and scarred her deeply, setting the wheels of destruction in full motion.  Her Dad, being physically fit himself, and having another child with a physical condition that caused excess weight gain, believes he is simply suggesting to her that she may want to increase her exercise more and watch the amount of food she is eating because she seems to be putting on a few pounds.  BAM! The enemy began to use every painful feeling of rejection, abandonment, loneliness, fear, self-worth lies to yell to her how she wasn’t in the past but could be now Daddy’s perfect little girl that he would love but only by starving, exercising, throwing up, taking diet drugs, laxatives, and diuretics right on into her adulthood.  From that day on the woman battled with eating disorder and her obsession with perfectionism. She not only demanded it in herself but also began holding others to her unreal expectations to the point of absolute misery and destruction, leading her to other addictions too as she tried to numb out the pain.  The shame, guilt, feelings of rejection and abandonment, as well as self-loathing continued. The harder we try to be perfect or to fabricate love where there is no love, and try to live up to the unrealistic expectations of perfectionism in ourselves or seek it in other humans, the worse the feelings of disgust and failure become.

Approval addiction is just as destructive and deadly as chemical addiction, it leads to a progressive agonizing death of the person that God created you to be.  Many times people trade one addiction for another in their quest for freedom from a certain dependency they perceive as their problem.  Many with approval addiction will begin to use other things, drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, and food to try to feel better about their insecurities.  The problem is not the specific addiction. The addiction is what they are trying to use as the solution to their problem. The real root problem is always a heart issue, not a behavior.  The behavior is a result of the heart issue.  Once you identify, remove and replace the heart issue with the Truth of God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit in you, then the behavior will not be an issue for you any longer.  That’s what deliverance is.  Jesus Christ is the Only Way, Truth, & Life. He is the One who can give you a heart transplant to deliver you and heal you of all unrighteousness and emotional damage.

On the opposite side from Perfectionist is the “Can’t Do Anything Right So Why Try” person.  The enemy will use the same tactics to plant a lie but they feel helpless and hopeless to the point of just giving up on themselves, others, life.  They give up on even trying – “What’s the use, I can never be good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, rich enough, popular enough so why even try?”  Fears set in and some people, many beginning at the earliest ages in childhood, won’t even try to do the simplest of things for fear of failure.  They are so afraid of being embarrassed or shamed or being exposed as the failure they feel inside themselves, that they won’t try to do or learn anything new.  They get stuck in that fear and it becomes more controlling and confining until many never find success in any area of their life, especially jobs or relationships because of it.  That just confirms the lie to them even more that they are a failure and will never amount to anything. They begin to believe that no one will ever like or love them, so it’s better not to even try because if they try and fail they will be laughed at or rejected even more.  They go through life shrinking back, hiding, peeping out from behind their wall of disappointment and fear with envy at others who have the courage to step out in faith, try something different, take the risk, grow and change their lives for the better. They truly believe that the blessings in life are for others but not for them so they stay stuck in their condition, their self-imposed bondage watching their life go by.  Folks, if you want different in your life, you have to do different.  Trust God and step out from behind the wall your hiding behind. Engage in life.

Proverbs 23:7 – For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Scripture to counter the feelings of rejection by loved ones:

Psalms 94:14

Psalm 27:10

Matthew 28:20

Isaiah 62:4

2 Corinthians 4:9

1 Peter 5:7

Psalms 37:25

Deuteronomy 4:31

Isaiah 41:17

Psalms 91:14-15

Isaiah 49:15-16

Psalms 43:5

Deuteronomy 31:6

The Lonely Pelican

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Chaos, something not created by God but something that still very much exists, sometimes at the very center of our being, mostly created out of own impatience as we hopefully anticipate long awaited desires and trudge through the days lined out for us with complaining attitudes and broken hearts, thus creating confusion, doubt, and worry in the wake of the unlimited space in our minds.

pelican1As I escaped the craziness of my own thoughts last night and chose instead to seek solitude at the waters edge, I expected to find what I always do…wave after wave pounding the beach which would have given relief to my weariness in a way that would almost justify my own pounding, relentless feelings. Instead, I was met with a water so calm and peaceful that it almost gave the illusion of a stagnant pond, the water barely lapping against the shoreline…just barely. The only real clue that I was situated by a massive gulf teaming with life was a lonely pelican, sitting with me in the darkness under the expanse of the starry host in the magnificent sky. I watched his silent form only feet from me and I prayed that God would show my why He chose to bring that solitary bird into my view. Then it hit me.

For so long, I have been running on empty, completely depleting myself, unable to say “No”, always afraid of what others would do or say if I did. For so long, I “fished” alongside people whose approval I was seeking above God’s instead of casting my own net at His command.

With every step I took toward that lonely, beautiful creation that God put before me, with only the best of intentions, the pelican moved further away until eventually he flew into the darkness. Upon further research a bit later of the pelican, I stumbled across a statement that took my breath away.

The pelican has been persecuted because of their PERCEIVED competition with commercial fishermen.”

pelican2It’s all in the MIND…perception is key.  Who am I working for? Who am I truly seeking? God wants nothing more than for me to take a step back into the solitude that He created for me. I am to give myself completely to Him and to walk side by side with Him in this season is to be in His perfect will. I have an audience of ONE and He is my Master. The pelican flew away from me because of his ingrained lack of trust in failing humans, but He flew directly into the arms of our God, going only where he was told to go. Fear breeds chaos.

Lord, guide my every step as I step out in faith and cast my net where you tell me to. Direct me, Lord, and balance my steps. Show me the way to go as I fear not the path you have chosen…for me.

Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV) – As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

1 Corinthians 3- 16 (MSG) –  I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

pelican36-10 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

10-13 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

14-16 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

Beautiful Majesty

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narrowgate7 There is but one way. And it isn’t always easy. People always talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Every time I hear that, I envision myself on a familiar piece of property, the homestead of generations. The big house sits on a piece of property, flat, and grassy. Right across the field and into the woods is the pond that is surrounded by dense forest and canopy trees. Beyond that, tucked away in the tall pines, is the home of my parents. The fog that sometimes comes up over the tree line makes the forest look like it is on fire, especially in the early morning or late afternoon as the sun sets. It’s so beautiful, but also awesome and mysterious. As I see myself standing there in the openness of the field, completely vulnerable and naked to the firmament above me, I ponder the beautiful memories of that land, I thank God for the time spent there with my family, and I think of the generations that have stood in that very spot before me and wonder if they stood in the same awe of God.

Psalm 104:1-4

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

narrowgate52 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
3     and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.

narrowgate8This morning, I had a rare opportunity to be on the road before the sun rose in the eastern sky and as it peaked over the horizon and the things I saw emerge from out of the darkness took my breath away. The fog near the ground turned the color of the earth black and white, manipulating the colors that are obviously there and turning them into a hue that seems dark and uninviting. However, to look up over the clouds that touched the ground and the sky, the beauty to behold took my breath away. As drums pounded in my ears and worship songs filled the atmosphere around me, the clouds seemed to march across in the sky, fleeing the rising sun at God’s command to the beat of the music. There were pastel colors of blue, pink, purple, and almost white ahead of me and behind me the sky was ablaze with orange, red, hot pink, and crimson. It’s all in our perception. What does the mind CHOOSE to look at? Are we seeking God in the quiet stillness of the day and reflecting on His goodness or are we focusing more on the fog that is so near we could reach out and touch it.

narrowgate6Let’s take a trip back to the field, to the pond, to the dense forest line. What is on the other side? What does it really look like if only I were able to look past the trees? There is narrow gate. It is the only way to Christ and out of the billions of people who live on the planet, a very small remnant actually decide to take that small path into the woods to follow their Savior in to uncharted territory, following the Light of Salvation into realms unseen, into the darkness, into the fog. The path can become overgrown, weeds can overtake the humbleness of it all. It can be choked off by the very life that sustains the rest of the earth. It’s up to ME to continue forward, allowing Christ to shine His Light on one step, then another. Before long, after the loss of everything, after walking alone, after countless vain attempts at taking the highway to destinations never intended for me, I chose the small path into the woods. All perspective changed in an instant and I stood before the Son of God in a beautiful meadow. Eternal life and love! Seek God above all. All you have to do, is look UP.

Psalm 121:1-8 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Common Application

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apply1Are your eyes open to the Truth? Are you keenly aware of the “God Winks” that happen on a daily basis if only you could stop for one second and see? I realized the other day that God alone knows what is best for me, even when I don’t have a clue. All the planning and dreaming and hoping are futile unless I cover everything under His Word and in prayer. A few things have really spoken to my spirit recently and I took to Proverbs to find answers this morning. As we seek the Lord, we need to know how to APPLY His Word to our lives. A bit of wisdom written down thousands of years ago just leap right from the pages into my heart and spirit this morning.

Proverbs 2:1-5 – My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.

apply2We “apply” for jobs, colleges, insurance. We “apply” makeup, salve for our wounds, coats of paint. We have “apps” on our phones, we have “applications” to make things easier in dealing with software, we fill out applications daily. But what does the word “APPLY” actually mean?

Apply – make a formal application (request to an AUTHORITY for something); putting something into operation.

Every single time we “apply” for something, we are seeking the answer from an authority…and we do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. So, WHY is it so hard to APPLY the Word of God to our lives? Is it because we don’t want to see the Truth of our sin, of our behavior, of our judgment? Is it because we are lazy in our thinking that there is always a tomorrow when there isn’t? What makes it so easy for us to wish and hope for things to happen when we won’t follow the simple commands to take the Word of God and do what it says?? When we read the Word and SEEK to gain understanding, we must request our authority (CHRIST) to fill us up so we can put it into operation in our lives so that HE CAN pour out the blessings we so seek in our earthly lives.

apply4God wants to give everyone all they ever ask for, but how are we handling what we already have? Am I wise in the decisions I make today, or am I just being selfish? That is the question of the ages. To much is given, MUCH is required. Pastor Charlie has a few golden nuggets that he shares that really rock me to my core and as I ponder these verses today, I am reminded of the things he says: “I am not the center of the universe…We can’t run from our problems if we are the problem…If someone else is playing God, then God is not playing God…I can’t clean up the mess I left behind until I clean up the mess I am in…God is not bound by my circumstances…If I want to be an anchor for others, I have to get out of the boat I am in…The consequences of my life are left to choice, not chance.”

Proverbs 4:7 – The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

apply3What are we seeking today as we try to understand and comprehend the world around us? Are we listening to the wrong reports coming from the world, or are we learning wisdom through the Word of God?

Proverbs 22:17 – Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM

SEEK GOD….Deny Self

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For so long I lived in deep denial about who I was, what I really stood for (which was nothing good), and what was really happening inside of me. Daily, I succumbed to the darkness and blamed everyone around me and expected the world to repay me and take care of me. Denial of behaviors is a dangerous trap when I refuse to look in the mirror and see who is really the problem.

self-denialSelf-Denial is something completely different. It is the denying not behaviors, but ones own interests, desires, and needs. It’s putting others above yourself. It’s not always easy in a world where the “Get them before they get me” mentality reigns free. Have you ever seen a car wreck? It’s as if everything is moving in slow motion, although your brain is functioning and you see what is happening so clearly, metal crashing into metal, smoke and tires spinning, it is wrong. But there is nothing at all that you can do to stop it. You know that it’s going to hurt either yourself or someone else. You are helpless. That’s how I feel in regards to the sin of pride.

I know exactly when pride entered my life when it began to form a deep root that spread its tentacles to the parts of my heart that I didn’t know existed. It was when my dad went to prison and everything I thought I knew about life, family, trust, love, hope, and security went out the window and pride, justification, humiliation, confusion, doubt, insecurity, rejection, fear, self-loathing, and anger flew in. All at the ripe old age of 11. The thing about pride today in my life is I recognize it, I see it, I know it is there, I can feel it sending its poison from the deep root up to the surface and forming lies in my mind but before I know it, I speak or act and then it is too late. I have a wreck. I begin to rely on my own skills and strength in whatever situation I find myself in and I begin to misjudge…everything.

Psalm 132:1-5 – Lord, remember David
and all his self-denial.

2 He swore an oath to the Lord,
he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not enter my house
or go to my bed,
4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5 till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

self-denial3All our problems can be solved with these few verses. Deny self, make room for the Lord, and all will be well. Pride is the downfall of many. It comes when we choose to value ourselves over others. It causes us to take for granted the beautiful things the Lord has blessed us with and concern ourselves with the things of the world. It is attention seeking and all about SELF. Who are you trying to prove yourself to today? Whose praise and adoration do you really covet?

In these verses, David is making a covenant with the Lord to bring back the Ark to a safe resting place, but what about our hearts? If we are in Christ, then are hearts ARE in essence, the Ark. We are the resting place for the Savior of the world and we hold his Spirit within us. So what are we doing with it? Can you make a vow today to correct whatever situation you have found yourself in by denying YOURSELF and allowing the Lord to inhabit your heart? Live close to God, cast all your burdens upon Him, and allow Christ to reign, not self.

self-denial2Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Are you TRULY committed to the Lord to the point where nothing will stand in your way of doing what is required of you to do? Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you able to let go of YOU and follow HIM?

How Bout Those Resolutions??

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back2How many of you are already feeling the effects of resolutions not met, schedules that are incredibly too tight, and a demand for things to happen right away. In the midst of all of it, are you remembering to keep God at the center of it all? On the days when exhaustion sets in, there isn’t enough daylight in the day, and the clouds always seem foreboding and cold in this winter season, are you still seeking the Lord above all? It’s a trap, a very familiar one for most. We come out of the gate of January 1st swinging, but reality sets in pretty quick. If you are like me on these days, then you, too, forget to leave yourself room for RELATIONSHIP with your Creator. I leave no time in my day to just to sit and be still.

Psalm 121:1-8 –

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Our only help should come from the Lord. He is always awake and ever watchful of His people. Anyone who puts their trust in Him knows that God preserves their soul from all evil. God knows all our comings and goings and has them under His plan and protection!

back4God didn’t say “TODAY, this will happen.” He has so many promises waiting for me but I can’t gain them unless I have my own personal relationship with Him. I can’t ride on the coat tails and relationship God has with my pastor, my friends, my loved ones, or my parents. I have to have my own relationship with God or I will not be able to be a part of God’s story!

My relationship with God must go beyond EVERYTHING else I could ever schedule for myself. It needs to affect my relationships with other people, my time, my resources, all of it!!

My study bible says there are 3 steps to a right relationship with God (NIV Life Application Study Bible Copyright by Zodervan):

1) Drop all excuses and self-defense

2) Stop trying to hide from God

3) Become convinced that God’s way is better than my way.

HELLO?!?!!?!? He sees and knows everything! He sees even into the recesses of my heart and thoughts that haven’t even formed. Who am I? God doesn’t fit into a schedule of my making.

back3It’s time to stop and listen and walk out our salvation and purpose knowing that the plans God has for us is way beyond anything we could have ever imagined for ourselves!

Do you BELIEVE that God can do for you what you cannot do for yourself?

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Weaving the Tapestry

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Have you ever knitted anything, or even been as brave to attempt to weave something together? How bout quilting? Or, for all the men in the house, putting things together that don’t look like they belong, small pieces of a project that when spread apart look like they could never amount to anything alone, but once joined, create a masterpiece.

tapestry2We take on projects, sometimes leaving God completely out of the picture. We try to put things together that don’t belong. We attempt in all our might to create a life for ourselves that may not be completely in God’s will for us. And we run ourselves RAGGED!

Exodus 36:8-18 – All the skillful men among those who were performing the work made the tabernacle with ten curtains; of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material, with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman, Bezalel made them. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits and the width of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains had the same measurements. He joined five curtains to one another and the other five curtains he joined to one another. He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set; he did likewise on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the second set. He made fifty loops in the one curtain and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set; the loops were opposite each other. He made fifty clasps of gold and joined the curtains to one another with the clasps, so the tabernacle was a unit. tapestry1Then he made curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains in all. The length of each curtain was thirty cubits and four cubits the width of each curtain; the eleven curtains had the same measurements. He joined five curtains by themselves and the other six curtains by themselves. Moreover, he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the first set, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was outermost in the second set. He made fifty clasps of bronze to join the tent together so that it would be a unit.

tapestry4So that it would be a UNIT, joined together by GOD, at HIS command, not the command of the people. Did you get that? We seek worldly pleasures, to try to satisfy the desires of our hearts, but God knows our desires and wants to weave the most beautiful tapestry there is, IF we SEEK Him first! Listen here, in the next verse, the Concordance has many meanings for the word “SEEK” but one really stood out to me… “To Hold Accountable”. We can hold God accountable to the promises for our lives, because His Word NEVER returns void! He is not a man that He should lie! So SEEK Him!

Deuteronomy 4:29 – But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Weave together your tapestry, but don’t get so hung up on the approval of others, your own perfectionism, and your frustrations that may actually halt the project altogether. Let God do HIS work, seek His face above ALL things!

Proceed With Caution

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I recently, in this new venture, have had not one, not two, but THREE different people give me the same warning…. “Proceed With Caution”. I love when God confirms things that I need to listen intently to because He knows me all too well and He knows that I don’t always pay close attention when I am wanting to do things my own way.

caution4When we are hurting, it is so easy to fall into relationships that are completely unhealthy out of the desire to be wanted and accepted. We become enamored with instant bonding. We get excited at the prospect of having someone, ANYONE, whether it be a friend or a romantic relationship, and we instantly believe, in this microwave world, that we have found a true compatible partner, which rarely turn out to be all that we hoped it would be. Intuition would have us to believe that we are on the right track, it feels good, it looks good. But the devil doesn’t come dressed in horns and a red cape. He comes in looking like everything you ever wanted. Our intuition can fool us because when we are alone and seeking, it is based on fantasy or wishful thinking. Unrealistic expectations are not met and people walk away hurt and confused. What happened? We did not PROCEED WITH CAUTION and our emotions took us on a trip that left us standing alone…again.

Proverbs 14:16 (NLT) – The wise are cautious and avoid danger;
fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.

caution3What is it that we really desire out of life? What are we truly seeking to fill the void that was left by the mistake we made? Our first word of the year in this study is SEEK. We go into the new year with resolutions that we never see through, we start off running a good race then we kick ourselves when we fall short. We begin to feel sorry for ourselves, putting ourselves down, and the cycle of bitterness begins. It’s when our hearts are empty, when we start searching for things to fill us back up.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

caution6Over this next month, we will dive deeper into the meaning of the word “seek” as we explore the things that God wants us to see in regards to our number one priorities. We are all guilty of “looking for love in all the wrong places” (I know I just sang that song out loud too as I was typing), but God wants us to find our value in HIM alone. It isn’t always easy when the tangible, touchable people are so enticing. I value your opinions, your thoughts, and your input on this subject as we move forward. Please!!! Take this to heart. When you are proceeding with caution in every relationship, you are not allowing the enemy to have a foothold and you the Lord then has an opportunity to give you an open door of escape!

1 Corinthians 10:13 –  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

caution2I am paying close attention to every single person that comes into my life. I just had someone send me a very powerful declaration as I was writing this…. “I will no longer allow someone to rule my life with negativity and emotional blackmail!” PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Not everyone is for you!! God will show you as you SEEK HIM FIRST!