Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

A glimpse from the journal on the journey today <3

I am on Day 24 of the Redeemed study by Angela Thomas-Pharr and I am feeling like the little exercise I just did might bless someone else today so…here you go <3

On page 117 she has a list of “You Are’s”…promises of God for those who are Redeemed….those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD of their lives.

The assignment was to read through the list and then select four passages that stood out and expand them to hear what God might be showing me.

Since I have a tendency to chase rabbit trails and get distracted in my distractions, I wrote out a prayer first and just asked God to use a Holy Highlighter for me to key in on the four He would like to talk about this morning.

I love how He knows me…cause He let me have five…but one of them we were able to combine.

I prayed for the working through of the Scriptures to transform me. I hope it works.

Here are my 4/5:

God’s promise: I am promised abundant life

The passage:  While the enemy of my soul comes only to kill, and to destroy and to steal…Jesus Christ has come to me to give me life and to redeem and to restore               John 10:10

My assignment: To realize that everything the enemy has attempted to do to take away God’s blessings and anointing in my life, Jesus Christ has given me super-over-the-top-excessively-more-than-enough-plus-beyond-that. And to live like I believe it. **and let me add here…the struggle is real and the journey has it’s ups and downs. Honestly addressing those struggles is part of our refining! So when we have to work out that refining…we have NOT failed!!!! God is with us through it all! Just because we share honestly about those days when this is a hard truth to apply, we are not being hypocrites and we have not backtracked…we are just a work in progress…praise God!

God’s promise: I am chosen to bear fruit for God

The passage: I am a believer because Jesus chose me. I bear fruit for Him because He chose me to bear fruit. And the fruit I bear because of this, will last. It will have meaning and purpose because of Him.  John 15:16

My assignment: Steward faithfully the Word that I am His because He chose me – chose me to belong to Him and to bring about much good for Him and to know and believe that whatever I do in His name and for His glory will last and it will matter.

God’s promise: I am being helped in my weakness

The passage: I have no idea what I am doing most of the time, even though my heart’s desire is to bring God into every setting. So His Spirit in me prays through me, comes alongside me and those deeper prayers that provide the current for my feeble and often ill-informed, emotion driven ramblings …. that’s God’s Holy Spirit…God’s very mind and heart…wrapping itself around my child-like thoughts and prayers and forming perfect prayers that bring about God’s will in me and for others. Romans 8:26-27

My assignment: I have help constantly in my weakness and humanity. I seriously don’t know how to pray rightly on my own – but the Spirit comes along and helps me – prays through me. He knows the mind of God and He knows my limitations and He prays and works through me <3

God’s promise: I am filled with a spirit of love, power and self-control and I am supported by my Advocate, Jesus Christ

The passage: God has not given me a spirit of fear and doubt that marked my unsaved self, but He has given me His Spirit. Thus the spirit that rules in me is

Love..His kind of Love…not my kind of preferences

Power…His kind of dynamite power that raised Christ from the dead…that kind of power;

Self-control, so that I am not a slave to my wants, needs, thoughts and feelings….

and all of this is bolstered by Him who sits at the right hand of God on my behalf and speaks up for me to Him. 2 Timothy 1:7 and 1 John 2:1

My assignment: When I am filled with fear, doubt, anxiety, ineffective and negative thoughts…those times are NOT from God.

The Spirit that dwells in me and sealed me and guarantees Christ’s redemptive work for me and in me and through me….also FILLS me with the ability to love in ways that I can’t. He gives me power that isn’t mine and He enables me to have control over my wandering thoughts and self-indulgent tendencies and old patterns of thinking and reacting. And when I mess up, and forget, and take more steps backward than forward… which I do and I will continue to do until I am called Home, I have One who stands in the gap for me and speaks assurance and forgiveness and reminds the Father….

this one…belongs to Me.

I hope you are blessed today by the Word of God and His promises to YOU…

We can’t know them if we don’t read about them in His Word.

He has given us everything we need to live fully in the gifts and blessings of His inheritance through Christ.

Bless Him by believing the promise of His blessings on your life <3

That Essential Oil Thing…

I have to admit when so many people were jumping on the Essential Oil bandwagon, I kind of rolled my skeptical eyes and thought it was a gimmick.

But in desperation to somehow relieve my husband of having to listen to my incessant propensity to snore…which I still don’t believe I do…because, seriously…I never hear me snore…

I purchased a diffuser.

I mix a concoction of water, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender and plug it in before bed.

Inside the gizmo, something makes the water get all vapory forcing a thin smoky looking wisp of scented cloudiness to rise up out of the hole on top.

Am I getting too technical?

The end result is, we have a faint smell of herbally stuff going on and Russ says my snoring has been minimized to just an occasional snort…

So yay!

Did you know you and I are diffusers too?

We are.

It says so right there in 2 Corinthians 2:14…

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…

and through us…

diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place…

Imagine that for a minute.

Picture your little self, all filled up with Jesus today…going around your office and your home, the school…the grocery…wherever…

and this heavenly-scented vapor of King Jesus and His Glory just rising up out of  you.

Precious, right?

And it is…except I need to remind you that not everyone will love the smell of Jesus coming off of you.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson gives us the full impact of the rest of this passage….

 In the Messiah, in Christ,

God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.

Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.

Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.

Because of Christ,

we give off a sweet scent rising to God,

which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.

Because, while that fragrance of Him that I smell on you reminds me of His amazing Grace extended to me and brings me great joy, it is a reminder to the spirit of those not in Him that they are still separated from His Mercy.

Oh child of God…

follower of Jesus Christ your LORD…

you cannot adjust how the aroma of your Savior will be received by those around you.

But know in your heart today…

if He lives in you…

if you abide in Him…

you ARE…

spreading the essence of the most Essential Oil this world needs <3

And let me just tell you…

you smell…

wonderful….

to Him <3

Of health and wealth and Jesus <3

I finally went to the doctor to see about these ears that have been plugged up since late February.

Thankfully there was no chastisement for waiting too long. Basically he told me the ear problem is a by-product of some less-than stellar configurations of my sinuses and septum and eustachian mechanics and all kinds of fancy words.

While a nurse typed frantically into a laptop computer, he studied his iPad and plotted a rigorous program of sprays and pills and the use of a Neti Pot.

As he described how to use it, I felt certain he was planning to drown me and collect my life insurance.

Because, seriously…pouring a teapot of water through my head does not seem like a healthy idea.

But I dutifully went to Walgreen’s and stocked up on $30 plus of paraphernalia and headed home to begin the process of treatment that should eventually help me to unclog.

And it’s stuff like this that always makes me think of Kenya.

Because while I am carefully swirling a saline packet in distilled water…

NOT TAP WATER, as the directions urgently warned me not to do…

and setting out my medications so I can remember when to take what…

I picture the Maasai lined up for miles waiting to be seen by our pop-up clinics.

I picture them coughing up TB laden stuff on volunteers in white lab coats.

I picture people I go to church with every Sunday dispensing little packets of Tylenol to women who have chronic headaches and backaches…from dehydration and staring into the burning sun as they carry buckets of river water back to their families every day.

I picture how this medical team will put a bandaid on a gushing artery for a few days once a year.

And I always wonder why God put me here…and them there.

One of the passages I focused on the first time I went to Kenya was Acts 17:26 – 27:

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.

From this I learn that God has strategically placed each one of us, in both our time and location, for the purpose of relationship with Him.

This is the purpose for each of us.

Missions and outreach flow from this relationship.

Our connections with serving and giving and being His hands and feet in our sphere of influence are simply the fruit of our own personal reaching out and finding God through His Son Jesus Christ.

While the things of this earth seem to be unequally dispersed, and so few have so much and so many have so little, we all…

each and every single human being…

come to the foot of the Cross…

as the poorest of the poor…

in need of a Savior.

The foot of the Cross is a level playing field.

All who come and take, will receive.

Look around today where God has placed you.

If you have sought Him and found Him, prayerfully consider how God is calling you to share Him with others today <3

Remember this?

Earlier this year I shared some posts based on a 40 day prayer series by Angela Thomas-Pharr.

Her short prayers that accompanied each day’s reading were so sweet and soul-healing that I went through the whole series again for Lent.

So when Lifeway offered to post the videos for the REDEEMED study that this is based on, I ordered the study guide and have been thrice blessed and more.

I feel like I am giving a book report here…which trust me I do not mind doing in the least because…imagine this…another favorite part of my elementary school years was BOOK REPORTS!!

And all the more if you got to make a theme project to go with it…I still get giddy thinking about my Henry and the Donut Machine mobile made from two hangers with hand drawn pictures dangling from yarn….but I digress….

OK…

Back to the Bible Study Report…and I will throw some pictures in randomly to keep you entertained but they are not theme related…sorry…

I am finding the study guide to be just the right amount of solidifying basic information, adding new information and encouraging me in my faith.

It is truly a 40 day study…as in…you do a study and prayer time for each of the 40 days, watching the video after each 7 day section.

At the end of each day is a portion of Psalms to read and then those beautiful prayers from Angela and a place for me to write out my own Psalm-inspired prayer.

The videos fill in more information. Spoiler alert…Angela has a thick North Carolina accent that may be a distraction for you if you haven’t had the blessing of actually knowing some super fun people from that area of the U.S. of A.

I have been and I can assure you…they are the best and they really do talk that way so just go with it.

I did Session 3 this past week and for the first time in my sanctification process, I heard a testimony I could actually relate to.

Angela shares that she grew up in a Christian home, she went to church all the time, she loved God and loved Jesus…and she gave her life to Christ so many times she lost count.

Because with all of her time in the church and at the church, she says she must have missed something because she just wasn’t sure she had done enough or done it in the right way so just to be sure, every time someone offered the opportunity to receive salvation…she would raise her hand.

I love that she doesn’t blame anyone. Not her church. Not her family. Not God.

She simply says for some reason, she just had never understood how Redemption worked and so she kept taking every opportunity to be redeemed until she heard Jesus whisper to her one day…

Angela, I had you the first time. 

I love love love that she follows this with the admission that she had given her life to Him so many times, she can’t even remember when the first time was.

I can so relate.

I did the same thing until our pastor and friend Wayne asked us at church one night to bow our heads and raise our hands if we were not certain we would go to heaven if we were to die right now.

Like I had every other time in similar situations, I raised my hand…hoping this time would be the one that sealed the deal.

After service, he found me and asked…basically…

What in the world???????? Why do you think you are not saved???

To which I responded…

I just don’t think I have done enough good to make up for the bad.

While I don’t remember the details of the first time I gave my life to Jesus, I vividly remember standing in the musty smelling hall of that old church building on … of all things…Church Street.

Surrounded by the most outdated carpeting, original wood trim and yucky plaster walls…

this man put his hands on my shoulder and said the words that opened my eyes to a deception that had held me captive for so much of my life…

with great conviction and confidence and compassion he said…

Oh Laura…You don’t understand GRACE. You are right. You haven’t done enough good. You never could. Even if you did your very best every single day, it’s never going to be enough. That’s what grace is about. Jesus did what you can’t. 

It wasn’t condemnation.

It was freedom.

It was life-changing, life-giving TRUTH.

I would love to say I walked away that night completely understanding but it took some sinking in.

And praise God…it’s supposed to be that way…I will never fully understand it all until I stand before Him…made perfect…finally by the same GRACE that has brought thus far <3

It was a milestone on the journey that marked a desire to know and understand and live…

drenched and soaked and spilling over from the fullness of …

this Amazing Grace.

I don’t think Angela would mind at all if I close with yesterday’s prayer from Day 13 of the study:

*I am adding the male pronouns because I know some of you are actually men who read what I write…God bless you for that <3

Oh Father, teach us about redeemed so we can tell others. Teach us about redeemed so we can live as the redeemed. Help this dear one lean in toward Your voice, unclench her fists/his fists, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Will you bless her/bless him , Lord? Bless her studies/his studies, her prayers/his prayers, her honesty/his honesty, and her heart/his heart? Tell her/tell him that you are with her/with him always – always and always, even to the end of the age. Oh thank you, Jesus, amen.

 

 

 

 

The hidden value of hiding the Word in your heart <3

At the Saturday evening service our pastor shared a bookmark style paper that was in our bulletins.

It had a variety of keywords in various fonts and then a Scripture passage noted under each theme word.

He shared that these were some of the portions of God’s Word that he had memorized long ago and were go-to’s for him in navigating life over the years.

As often happens for those of us who stand up in front of a group of people with prepared teachings…God did what He loves to do to expose us as a the real deal in front of the people we are trying to reach.

The Holy Spirit decided to stretch this dear man in front of multiple pairs of eyes and push him out on a limb where all pretense must fall away and the rubber meets the road…and Wayne decided to recite the verses.

And I loved it.

Because he didn’t say them word for word from any known version or translation of the Bible.

He said them from his heart.

The gist and meat of them.

The heart of the Word of God that was written on his own human heart.

Oh, the original and nicely ordered words had been impressed on his brain and recorded in his memory over the years.

But the Spirit of God breathed into those words has marked and changed and shaped who he is…

and that is what flowed out to us.

And that is why, my friends…

we must read…

meditate…

memorize…

God’s Word.

So that it is etched into the fiber of our being.

Molding us…

shaping us…

transforming us.

We do not have to worry that we can spout off to perfection the written word of God.

If we will do the discipline of study and memorization, God will take His finger and He will engrave His truth on our very being.

And the life we live will provide an authentic background for the Word-shaped words that we speak.

God bless you all today.

Get in the Word and get the Word into your heart  <3