Praise Hands

Psalms 145:1-5

The Lord has been weed-eating in His church…Pulling up what was choking out His Spirit. Correcting wrong motives, realigning focus to His purposes..to what really matters- worshipping God in Spirit and Truth. Not worshipping him for what He is able to do, but worshipping Him for who He is: The Alpha, The Omega; The Beginning; The End; El Shaddai (God Almighty), El Elyon (The Lord of Heaven and Earth); Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), Jehovah Rapha (The God who Heals), Jehovah Nissi (The Lord, our Banner); The Lord; The Most High; The One True God who lives and reigns forever and ever!

Will you praise Him for His holiness? Will you praise Him for His righteousness? Magnify the Lord with me! Let us gaze upon his beauty. His Power! His majesty!

He is exalted! He is high and lifted up, and all nations of the earth will bow before Him! In His presence who can stand? There is no one like you, O Holy God!

You are the God of Promise. The God of Restoration. The God of Rebirth. The God of Healing. The God of Justice. The God of Righteousness. The God of Good Things.

Holy is your name. Great and Mighty is Your Power. Your compassion, your grace, and your mercy are unending. You leave us better than when you find us. You save! You heal! You transform! You renew! You set our feet on solid rock. You cause us to climb on heights!

Who can know your mind or your plans? What you do, your ways are a mystery to man! We give you our worship. We give you our praise! We give you our hallelujahs for a thousand generations!

Peace to your Heart

I was on a call with a friend this morning and she confided in me the fear that she was feeling about life, her work, and the landscape of society in general. We were speaking in context of our business relationship, and when I got off the call, I went into my quiet time and begin to pray for her. During worship, the Lord began to speak this to me and released me to share it today. He says,

” My people are afraid. They have allowed the circumstances and the environment around them cause them to lose focus on the things I am doing in this hour. I AM the GREAT I AM. I am making a way where there seems no way. I am aligning people, places, events for my purposes, says the Lord. Do not allow the enemy to steal your focus on who is in control- IT’S ME! Do not look for me in the fire or in the earthquake, or in the wind. You will find me in the secret place. You will hear my still, small voice. I whisper thoughts of love, hope, a future to you. I tell you of great things to come. You are living in a time where miracles abound. Pray for the eyes to see them. I speak peace to your heart today. Nothing is taking place that I have not ordained, and as I sit on my throne I invite you to sit beside me. You will find me when you seek me with your whole heart. Remove the distractions and come and be with me. Activate your faith to believe I AM and that YOU CAN find me. I am not a far off God. I am as close as your breath. Come!”

I want to add to that, don’t give God pieces of you. God desires ALL of you. He created you for His delight and for His glory! And for those of you who feel as though your life is in pieces, or maybe you feel like you’re missing pieces you need before you can come wholly to God, I say just come! Bring whatever you’ve got and come to Jesus. He specializes in turning pieces into masterpieces. He’s the God of restoration and he will restore you. Just come to him! I was reminded of this song I sang in church as a child. I hope that as you listen to it, it’ll settle your anxious heart and that you’ll sense the deep love Jesus has for you. The link is here: Softly and Tenderly

A Form of Godliness

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2nd Timothy 3: 1-5

You might be thinking, “I’m not any of those horrible things!” And while we are seeing evidence of terrible times in present-day culture, for the church, I believe God wants us to really hone in on the latter part of the text. Having a form of godliness indicates that, in the last days, people would look like Christians. What does a form of godliness look like? Perhaps they go to church…maybe they can quote what are non-scriptural cliches within the spheres of Christianity like, “God never gives you more than you can handle”, or “When God closes a door he opens a window.” They celebrate Easter and Christmas (for some they only attend church at Easter and Christmas), and they might even be able to quote a scripture or two. They probably own a bible, but they don’t read it.

In Matthew 7:15 the Bible talks about knowing prophets by their fruit, and we can also use this scripture to apply to the fruit we either see or don’t see in a believer’s life. Trees are known by the types of fruit they bear. As the holy spirit begins to work in the heart of a new believer, God’s character is made manifest through the transformation and refinement of a believer, from the inside out. A person who lives life at the well of Jesus begins to exhibit the fruit of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. It’s antithetical to the scripture in 2 Timothy that we just reviewed. Those with a form of godliness make an outward display of the “being a christian” on the surface, but there is no depth, no real relationship with Jesus underneath the surface.

We should examine our own fruit, as well as the fruit of those around us. Are we bearing any? Do our day-to-day life, conversations, and associations prove that we are pursuing Jesus rather than adding a dose of Christianity to our worldly lifestyle? It’s important to understand your sphere and the culture of your environment because it is shaping YOU. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Jim Rohn says it this way: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Your friendships and associations influence who you are and who you will eventually become. They determine what you value and prioritize. God’s word also says “Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”, and “They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me” (Matt. 5:18). We should be the kind of people who live a lifestyle of honoring God first in all things and choosing to align ourselves with other believers aspire to the same kind of righteous living.

This passage from 2nd Timothy invites a pause to self-reflect on who we really are, and the trajectory of our life based on our focus, decisions, and associations. It takes giving the Holy Spirit permission to convict us by showing us where we’ve been getting it wrong so that we can repent and pursue God the way he desires. AND BEAR FRUIT.

Some of God’s people have compromised. They are not quite in the world, not quite in the kingdom of heaven. They look upon and give commentary on the state of the world yet they fail to look inward and examine their own hearts. They have a form of godliness but they stifle the transforming power of the work of the cross, the power to change the world by becoming a living vessel of the message of Jesus Christ. They have made the holy mundane, slowly exchanging the truth of God for a lie. They have a form of godliness but but they are compromising like Ephesus. Paul warns true believers to have nothing to do with such kinds of people.

Verse 16 in 2nd Timothy 3 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Chapter 4 states, “In the presence of God of Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths. But you keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Today, I pray that you will ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truths he wishes to teach you about your walk with God, your lifestyle, your relationships, and your fruit. May you become closer and closer to God as you pursue a life of true godliness in Him.

Your Sins Are Forgiven

the gritfull life, Matthew 9:1-2

Matthew 9 recounts the time when Jesus healed the paralyzed man. The scripture says:

“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over, and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. when Jesus say their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” (calling himself God because, according to the Torah, only God can forgive sins). Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; any they praised God, who had given such authority to men.”

It stands out to me that Jesus would start by saying, “Take heart, son” to the paralytic. He called him son, which identified him as an heir to the kingdom of God. He told him to “take heart.” In other words, gain courage, and confidence. Begin to feel better and hopeful. He then forgave him of his sins.

I want to hone in on the mindset of the paralytic for a minute. Can you imagine not being able to walk and having to be carried in on a mat by friends in to the presence of Jesus? What caused him to become paralyzed? Was it paralysis from birth, or did some sort of accident happen that caused him to become paralyzed? The Bible describes his condition as physical paralysis, but I wonder if he also battled mental paralysis? We can agree that this sounds like a man who was desperate to believe that Jesus was the son of God. He was desperate for a change in his life, and in his circumstances. He needed a miracle, and was just crazy enough to believe that Jesus could do it! Did he come to Jesus in shame? Was his mind filled with doubt as to whether Jesus would heal him? I ask this because Jesus responds with “take heart.” Again, in other words, “Believe I will. Be brave enough to dare to believe. Be confident in my presence.” He called him SON, and forgave his sins. Was this man thinking that his sins would somehow exempt him from being healed?

I love that Jesus started by forgiving him and calling him son. Jesus doesn’t look at us through the lens of our sins. He sees us through the lens of his love and his blood. Because of his sacrifice, when we choose to ask Jesus into our hearts, we become the sons and daughters of God. Heirs, heiresses. Entitled to the benefits of children of God.

Forgiveness of sins followed by healing is a pattern in the bible. The two are connected. These verses illustrate more:

Psalm 103:3 “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.”

1 Peter 2:24 “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

Maybe you’re not dealing with physical paralysis, like the man in the story. But maybe you’re dealing with a mental paralysis…Maybe the devil has convinced you that you can’t go to God for forgiveness because he’s tricked you into believing that “you’re too far gone,” or “your sins are too great.” I’m here to remind you that God already sees all and knows all about you. There’s nothing about your past or your present that is a surprise to Him.

It is the heart of Jesus to forgive you and heal you of whatever it is you’re dealing with right now. Faith is more than knowing He wants to forgive you and heal you. It’s believing that He desires to, and He will, when you make your way to him like the paralytic man did. My prayer for you is that you will let nothing stop you from calling out to Jesus for healing. He’s so faithful and so willing. He will lovingly start by healing your soul, and then He will begin a work of healing in your heart and mind so that you can receive the all of the benefits attached to being an heir with Christ. Go to him! You are his son. His daughter. He desires to make you whole.

10/30/22 A Word From The Lord

Isaiah 43:10

A Word from the Lord: “You have been waiting to be unleashed, and now is the time. ‘Ready or not, here I come,’ says the Lord. Go where I tell you to go, and say what I tell you to say. Don’t add or take away from it. Even if you feel afraid. I will be there to strengthen you and uphold you with my righteous right hand. I will not let you fail. These things are for my purposes, says the Lord. You are my witness and my servant who I have chosen that you may go out and bear fruit so that others may know and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

“Tell them: ‘Social media is not a God. Politicians are not Gods. Stop looking for man to fix what’s broken in this world when my son died to fix it. ‘It is finished,’ says the lord! ‘It is finished!’ You are my vessel to reach those I have predestined to know me. Get off the sidelines and get in the game! It’s time to bear fruit. Whether you think you’re ready or not, I know you are.  RUN!” 

Behold! Your Bridegroom!

Matthew 25:6

Early this morning around 3am I heard these words: “Wake up, your bridegroom is coming!” I laid in my bed, trying to wake up but finding myself so drowsy from sleep that I continued to lay there.

This morning in my quiet time, as I talked with the Lord about the urgency of the hour and the words that I woke to, He spoke this word to me:

“I am purifying my bride for such a time as this. I call out their detestable practices. They say they love me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. I must pull back the veil to show them their errors and sin while there’s still time to repent and return to me. Not everyone will listen, but some hearts will be convicted. That’s me- touching their heart because I love them. I want them to be right with me. Made righteous. Pure. I am not coming for a broken bride. I am not coming for a bride that loves me with half of her heart or even just a fraction. I am coming for a bride who has made herself ready to receive me. I died for my bride. She is my beloved, and I am hers. She knows me intimately and understands what I mean when I say this. This is a call to my bride to purify herself. Come out from among them and be separate and touch no unclean thing. Put away the deeds of darkness. It’s almost daylight. Wake up! Behold! Your bridegroom is coming soon!” says the Lord.

He took me to 2 Kings 17: 34 which states,

“To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” They would not listen however, but persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.

When you asked Jesus into your heart, you made a covenant with him, similar to the covenant of marriage. When you enter into a covenant with God it means you agree to keep certain terms and promises. In this instance, the Israelites, the church, and we as individual believers in covenant with Jesus agreed not to worship any other gods, to serve or place anything at a higher value than we place our relationship with Jesus. We agreed to live life according to the Word of God, not according to the world’s standards, worldly aspirations, etc. And His word says in this passage that when we worship the Lord, He delivers us from the hand of all of our enemies. (He promises so much more than that to us, too!) But the bible states that the people of God wouldn’t listen, and they “persisted” in their other practices. To persist means to firmly or obstinately continue in a course of action despite difficulty or opposition. In other words, they continued to gritfully pursue their own desires, lusts, and serve themselves and other “gods”. A little god (with a lowercase g) is anything in your life that you place of greater value above big God (with a big G). A little god is defined as anything you adore, admire, or anything that has influence over you. Little gods or false gods could be money, intimate relationships, work, gambling, alcohol, sleeping in on Sundays..r-rated or x-rated movies…the list is really endless. And alot of Christians profess Jesus but they continue on with the worship and even sometimes secret worship of all of these little gods. Well, the Bible is clear. When you make Jesus Lord over your life- you are saying, “Jesus, I am making you authority over my life. I am making you the influencer of my life. I am making you the master over my life. Rule over me. How then, do you justify the little gods in your life? His word this morning was clear. We are to purify ourselves, turn from our evil ways and our little gods, know Him more intimately. That means tearing down the idols. His word says, you shall have no other gods before me. And maybe you think you’re living life ok in the eyes of Jesus. I encourage you to pray to him and ask him to reveal the idols you’ve set before him. He is so kind and faithful to show us. He doesn’t condemn you. He wants to make you right so you’re awake and ready for his return. For more, please read the text below when Jesus spoke about the parable of the 10 virgins.

Matthew 25: 1-13. “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take along any extra oil. 4But the wise ones took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9‘No,’ said the wise ones, ‘or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10But while they were on their way to buy it, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.

11Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’

12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

13Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

No More Distractions

This morning in my quiet time, the Lord took me to 1 Corinthians 7:21. Before I go into the scripture, I need to say that God has been speaking to me about the remnant of believers. I am called by Him to write to them to encourage and correct them. To help them rekindle their relationship and pursue God on a more intimate level. To hear His voice, receive His instruction, and fulfill their assignments on earth. I’ve been thinking about the name of this blog, The Gritfull Life, asking God if I should change it to something else. But the truth is, it takes a measure of faith and grit to live in this day and age. It takes GRIT to be a part of the remnant. I think of the book A Tale of Two Cities when I say this because it truly is the best of times and the worst of times. The darkest hours before the Lord’s return, but the generation that will welcome His return! Before the foundation of the world, God purposed that we would be alive NOW. I don’t know about you but that realization has caused me to ask God every day, “Lord, what do you want me to do???” “How can I be your agent of change? How can I bring you to others and show them that you are living and active, that your plans prevail, and that, even though the darkness is closing in, you are COMING SOON?” “People need you Lord, whether they know it or not yet!” “I’ll go wherever you want me to go. I’ll say whatever you want me to say, if you’ll be with me and make me brave to do it.”

The Lord replied, “I am putting new things in your hands. You have everything you need already. Go where I tell you to go, and say what I tell you to say.”

It’s why I’m writing this blog. Like he instructed me through his word in Habakkuk, “I will stand my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me. I will write the revelation down and make it plain so that a herald (one who makes public proclamation) may run with it. For the revelation waits for an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and not delay.” Habakkuk 2: 1-3

Reader, I want you to know that everything up till now has been God preparing me for becoming comfortable putting things in writing, believing God for who He is and what He says about me, what He wants me to do, etc. I literally have journals filled with the path and signs he’s been pointing me to. Like the Mandolorian says, “This is the way.” He had to heal my heart first, and bring me to a place where I could receive and release what He wants for His people. I’ve been tiptoeing into the pool of this ministry that I’ve known He’s called me to my whole life. Now I believe and know that it’s not me, it’s HIM. And the gifts he has given me are for you, for his glory, through Jesus Christ. For such a time as this.

Ok, now to the scripture:

“What I mean brothers, is that time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed by them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” 1 Corinthians 7:21

I asked the Lord, why He would show this to me now? Beyond what I’ve just said to you about being a voice for Him to His remnant, I grew up in church environments where I saw leaders in the church use scripture like this to justify leaving their wives, walking away from ministry, etc. Of course, being a pre-teen at the time, I wasn’t wise in the scriptures, and thus formed a very biased view of how “Christians” interpreted the Bible to give themselves permission to do whatever they wanted, thanks to “grace.” And while that’s a whole other lesson that needs to be unpacked, corrected, and re-aligned to the TRUTH of the Bible, it bears mentioning here because God is not giving us permission as women to exit our marriages. Basically, He’s saying, that we as believers should make the most of our time before Christ’s return. Every person in every generation should have a sense of urgency about telling others about Jesus because life is short. We don’t know the day or the hour of Christ’s return. We should be focused on what really matters. HIM, and making Him known.

The Lord spoke to me to share with you today:


“There are people who are still focused on fixing others rather than themselves. My word says there is no one righteous, no, not one. I want my people to seek me for healing, wholeness, fullness, and peace. But they are searching everywhere else for anything else that could possibly satisfy. ‘Well’, I ask, ‘Are they satisfied?’ Before I ask the question, I already know the answer. I am calling- you who are hungry, come and eat. You who have bread, come and find me and be satisfied. I will give freely.”

Time is running out. It sounds as though you’re still searching elsewhere for satisfaction. I want to encourage you to seek God while he may be found. If you’ve wandered away from reading your bible, going to church, and fellowshipping with other believers, it’s time to return. Build yourself up in the most holy faith, and pray in the holy spirit. Stay awake, he is coming soon.

Come Home To Me

A word for the Lord:

” I am a patient God. I long for everyone to come to me as the Prodigal returned to his father. I am not a father who shames or condemns you. I am here, ready to receive all who would come home to me.

I think about you every day when you’re far away from my presence. As a father longs to keep his heirs close to him, so I long to have you with me everyday.

Return to me.

Come home.

Come back to your father.

I am here with open arms.”

Hidden Treasure

I’m feeling so burdened for those who don’t know the Word of God. I’ve been participating in a bible study with several women from my church and have realized just how little biblical knowledge exists within the group.

The Bible calls the word of God our weapon, our sword (Ephesians 6:10-18) At a time when spiritual warfare and darkness are at an all-time high, it’s frustrating to witness the lack of gumption believers have to read the word of God for themselves. I’ve listened as several have made what are ultimately excuses: “I can’t understand it”; “I don’t like to read, I prefer to listen”; and, “I don’t have time to read it”.

Can’t you just hear the devil’s voice in those comments? His job is to rob us of all of the good things God has for us. If he can convince anyone that it’s pointless to connect with God by opening His word and letting the holy spirit speak to them, he’s already won the battle. (But thank God that God wins the WAR.)

The devil has a plan of destruction for you. A plan for evil. A plan that will harm you. Plans to take your hope and your future. While God’s plans for you are the opposite! But how can you know what God’s plans for you are so you can mature in a relationship with him and walk in the paths he’s ordained for you? How can you know your best friend if you don’t spend any time getting to know Him?

THERE IS TRANSFORMING POWER IN THE WORD OF GOD.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

I can personally attest to this. During the past two years, God changed the circumstances of my life to bring me to a place where I could meet with him daily. Was I faithful every day? No. But each and every time I met him in the same place with my Bible and journal in hand, He was (and continues to be) so faithful. For the first few weeks I met with him, I would pray and be still, and I would hear the words “I love you” whispered to me. Tears would flood my eyes. It was the last thing I was expecting to hear from someone who knew all of my mistakes.

God and Jesus are gentlemen. They don’t force themselves on anyone. No guilt. No condemnation. They are patient to wait for us to go to them. And when you finally decide to, they have so many things to say to you if you will just carve out the time! The Word will come alive to you in a way that you never dreamt possible. I PROMISE!

For the next two years, The Lord would take me on a journey through His Word to heal my heart, correct my thoughts, deliver me from my past, and show me the beautiful future He had planned for us together. I began writing again to save our conversations, the scriptures, and the promises he was giving me.

I just want to encourage any professing Christian to develop the daily habit of reading the Word of God. The Word of God is living. It’s active. It transcends time and your circumstances. God can use a passage of scripture to minister to you in one season and recall it again in a completely different season and it’s just bursting with new meaning.

It’s like having a treasure map. You have to trust that the person who wrote the map did it correctly and it will actually lead you to treasure. You pursue the treasure and when you find it, you’re heart overflows with excitement! You’re rich! In this case, the treasure is the word of God. God is the map maker, and when you find that His Word is so personal to your situation, you know that you are seen and loved by the true God who you can’t see. It’s like putting fertilizer on your faith! You instantly become hungry for more of Him. As you continue to grow in relationship and mature, He will show you more and more. It’s amazing, and awesome, and humbling.

It’s like the parables in Matthew 13:

(vs. 44) “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Start your Treasure Hunt

I’m here to tell you right now, you have the time. And I’m here to declare over you, you CAN understand the word of God. God has specific things He wants to say to you about you because He loves you. He wants you to know the real him. He doesn’t want a relationship with you through your pastor or anyone else!

There are literally more than 100 complete English translations of the Bible in existence today. It’s possible to find one that reads at a level of your comprehension.

I’m old school. I personally like to hold a Bible and read it. I keep it in the same place every day with my journal so it’s ready to go for our standing appointment. I like to highlight and mark mine. I write out prayers around scripture. I’ve had the same bible for 24 years and it’s interesting to see the notes, perspective shifts, and prayers through the years. God is so faithful to call us back to him.

I’m not here to call anyone a “bad Christian” but there comes a point in time when you have to make an honest judgment about yourself. Evaluate the amount of time you spend on social media, at social events, working out, etc. I’m sure that if you were honest with yourself and were able to shave off 10 minutes of time from what you determine to be an excessive activity in your life, you’d have more than enough time to allow God to speak to you through his word.

A Prayer For You To Find The Treasure in the Word of God

Lord, I pray for the person reading this message. I pray that this is confirmation and conviction you bring with love to inspire a desire for a new level of intimacy with you for the person praying this prayer. I pray that you would help them cultivate discipline to meet with you daily, without distraction. I pray that you would lead them to the bible translation that would break any barrier to understanding your word, and I pray for the breath of your Holy Spirit to reveal a fresh and deep understanding of YOU. I pray that they would hide your word deep in their heart so that they would not sin against you. I pray that today is the day where they begin to know you better so that they can grow into everything you’ve designed them to be. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Deep Roots

Proverbs 8:5

When God gives us a new thing, it starts as a seed. If you’ve ever tried to grow a plant from seed you know how slow the process can be. Imagine a seed buried deep in the soil, with the gardener or farmer towering overhead each day, watching and waiting for any new signs of life to emerge…nourishing a plant with sun and water…creating an ideal environment for the seedling to begin to thrive. It can take weeks to see signs of life, even when the season and environment are right.

This morning I was asking God to show me the direction he has for three different initiatives I recently started. My default actions have always been to sprint to and through the things that I believe He’s calling me to, full of faith and excitement, and mixed with a heaping tablespoon (ok, a cup full) of impatience. When I discover that He’s not working on my schedule, I typically have a little mental setback. The truth is, I want what I want when I want it. I know, very childish, but it’s the truth!

The Lord stopped me this morning and reminded me of the seed in the dirt. Something is happening in the dark, even when we can’t see it. The root system is being established to support, nourish, and sustain the plant before the new bud appears on the surface of the soil. When the farmer plants the seed, he doesn’t return to his garden every day to dig the seed up and check to see if it’s growing. He trusts that the seed is going to do what it was designed to do. The same is true in our lives.

I was asking God for wisdom to know his will about the three initiatives. You have no idea how many times I’ve asked for him to stamp his confirmation on these things. How deep are your roots? You might think that it’s growing time, and it is, but He’s got to grow your roots first- so that when the wind blows, out plants don’t break or blow away.

I remembered this from the story of Exodus 13:17ff: “When God let the people out of Egypt, He did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. ” Sometimes the delays are for our protection. Our development. God knows we aren’t ready yet. He needs our roots to be deep and well-established. We need to develop wisdom and mix it with our faith so that we are ready to manage the harvest when it’s due season.

The Bible also says in Proverbs 9:

“Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out its 7 pillars. She has prepared her meat mixed with wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids and she calls from the highest point in the city. Let all who are simple come in here! She says to those who lack judgment, “Come and eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.”

Bottom line: Don’t doubt what He’s called you to grow just because you can’t see the majestic leaves, blooms, and fruit yet. Pray for God’s supernatural wisdom and divine insight for the things he’s calling you to, and go to His Word for direction. He will illuminate your path while continuing to till the soil of your heart. He’s making YOU ready. Continue the preparation to where He’s guiding you.

A word from the Lord: Wisdom is not found in a recipe box. You can’t flip to answers to become wise. Wisdom comes from depth. The depth of my Word. You will find wisdom with time spent in my Word.

Proverbs 8:5 “You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen for I have worthy things to say. I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is wise. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Remember Your First Love

A word from the Lord:

Revelation 2:4 Remember your first love

“My people are asleep. They have allowed the cares of this world to draw them away from their first love, but time is short. The harvest is coming, and I am preparing the threshing floor. Those whose hearts are rooted in me will be saved. And as the wheat is separated from the chaff, so will I separate those who worship me in Spirit and in Truth. Do not mourn for them. They had teachers and prophets, but they made their choice as I knew they would.

Consecrate yourself for my purposes for such a time as this. I am going to get my glory. The time has come and there are still those who must come to the well. Do what I tell you to do. Say what I tell you to say. Lives depend on it.”

Obviously this is a very sobering word. I went to the Bible for deeper understanding of several points God made in this word he spoke to me.

God’s People Are Asleep

In 1Thessalonians 4:4-8, the bible states:

4But you, brothers, are not in the darkness so that this day should overtake you like a thief. 5For you are all sons of the light and sons of the day; we do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not sleep as the others do, but let us remain awake and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.”

God is about to wake up his church. He is making his bride ready for his return.

But his word says that not everyone will be ready.

He illustrates this in The Parable of the 10 Virgins.

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

They Have Forgotten Their First Love

In the book of Revelation, chapter 2, God gives a warning to the church of Ephesus. Ephesus is known as “the compromising church” in the last days before the return of the Lord. The Lord tells them:

 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

The Harvest Is Coming

The threshing floor is a place where God separates the wheat (the harvest) from the chaff (the things of no value to the farmer). God’s word says that he values those who walk in righteousness, whose ways are fully pleasing to him, who bear fruit in every good work, and who increase in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Just as all mankind is given a choice, we are not to mourn for those who have chosen life outside of the salvation of Jesus Christ. God’s word also says not to look back, but to keep our hand to the plow and keep to the harvest (Luke 9:62). Lives depend on our bringing the hope of Jesus into their hopeless situations.

It’s Time To Dedicate Yourself To The Lord’s Purposes

God clearly said that it’s time to make the decision to consecrate yourself for his purpose now. I can’t help but think of Esther who had just become queen when the decree for the slaughter of the jews was made by Haman and the king. Mordecai spoke these words:

13And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

God is faithful. He will do that which he says he will do. He will deliver his people whether you’re on board or not.

If you’re reading this and you’ve been asking God for clarity or confirmation for your role in the ingathering of believers, I pray you receive confirmation from his word and that you seek the Lord for your specific role. We are his hands and feet. We are his light in this dark world.

Lead Others To The Well

The truth is our words and our actions in these days either point to the hope of Jesus or they testify against it. My mom used to say, “preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Today is the day to wake up from sleep for our salvation is nearer than before. Open your bible and commune with God. He is waiting to speak with you. Make time for him in your daily schedule. How can you do what he wants and say what he needs you to say if you haven’t made time to listen to him? Yield to him, and let him use you!

There are divine appointments ahead on your journey.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Burn the blueprint

Behold, I am doing a new thing. Isaiah 43:19

I’ve been seeking God diligently for the past two years about how he wants to use me. Honestly, I believe that everything leading up to now has been a process of a systematic “letting go” of what I thought my life would look like. I find myself waking up most mornings, going through my day-to-day activities, but searching for the reason why God purposed me to live in this generation. Do you ever think about that?

It doesn’t take a genius to see the convergence of signs that point to the soon return of Jesus. First for his bride, and then to rule and reign. I can’t help but want to tell everyone, but I also battle imposter syndrome. Some of my limiting thoughts include:

“I’m not a bible scholar. ” (BUT I am a bible READER and strive to be a bible doer)

“People will think I’m a crazy bible-beater.” (but some people’s eyes might be opened!)

“I’ll lose business…friends..” (but what if I win business and make new friends?)

“My past disqualifies me from being someone He’d use.” (lie, btw)

I can quote scripture, and I can tell you the story of how he’s loved me, delivered me, and healed me, but I can’t sketch out an end times timeline for you. I feel a sense of urgency in my spirit that I must do something, but I’ve also made mistakes in the past where I believed God wanted to use me, and I didn’t see what I would call “success” in those circumstances.

So here I am.

HERE I AM.

Wait a minute- that’s my life verse. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here I am. Send me!”

The truth is, I don’t have all the answers. But I know who does. And all He really asks is, “Who’s available?”

I once had a prophet speak over me, “I’ve (the Lord) been waiting for you to LET GO of what you can’t, of what you shouldn’t be having anymore”, (this was 10 years ago, btw, so the struggle of letting go is real. But so is the perfect timing of God).

The thing he wants us to do is NEW.

A word from the Lord: It’s never been done. You can’t look for a blueprint of what it looks like, because it’s being invented in you. created in you, by me, for my people. It’s not a copycat ministry. You don’t need the blessing or approval of anyone to start. I will anoint it. I’ll put my hand on it because I’ve got healing for the nations coming.

“Behold I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Burn the blueprint. Seek him. Be available. And start where you are with what you have.

Engraved

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49

Isaiah has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible because it speaks of restoration, comfort, deliverance, and hope. This morning in my quiet time I flipped open my Bible to Isaiah 49, which speaks of the restoration of Israel. Take a look below.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.”

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 49: 14-16

God’s promise of restoration often comes at times where we feel restoration is hopeless. As I read the scriptures, I could relate to being like Zion, saying, “God doesn’t care about me. Where is God? I don’t matter to God.” I can’t even type those thoughts without tears welling up in my eyes because I remember how dark those times were for me. And while those were real feelings, feelings aren’t FACTS. The TRUTH is, God has always been present in my life, just as he has been in yours.

I asked Jesus into my heart at 6 years old. The first conversation I had with God was at 7 years old when I prayed Isaiah 6:8 for the first time. God knew just how much I would need him, and I believe that’s why He revealed himself to me at a very young age. Did bad choices and bad circumstances have consequences in my life? YES. I had to do a lot of reaping of things that weren’t quite so lovely. But I love this love note from God that reminds all of us, no matter what, that He has never left or forsaken us:

v. 16). “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

The definition of engrave means to literally scratch or scrape. Seriously!? God loves you so much that he has YOU tattooed on his hands?! I can’t help thinking of Tommy Boy: “That’s gonna leave a mark!”

But what about your walls?

In the Bible, walls symbolize protection, security, a place of shelter. During the time of Nehemiah, the restored walls of Jerusalem became a unifying force for God’s people, a symbol of inheritance and belonging. When the walls of Jerusalem were intact, it served as an indication to God’s people that God’s hand of protection and prosperity was on them. God is saying he’s ensuring you’re protected. I’d even go as far to say, he’s watching for possible breaches, and if you’re in fellowship with Him, He’ll tell you and show you how to correct them.

As believers living in a chaotic world, it’s absolutely necessary to remember that God isn’t like us. He’s God! He doesn’t make empty promises. He doesn’t make plans for us only to cancel at the last minute. He doesn’t say kind things, only to turn his back and speak ill of us. He’s not a surface friend- someone you can’t go into deep conversation with. He doesn’t ghost (except for the holy ghost, ha). His ways are not our ways. He He hasn’t forgotten you. He can’t. You are engraved on Him.

For more on the book of Isaiah (Yes, do it. Isaiah is amazing!), watch this video: Isaiah for the Visual Learner

Time Out

Zephaniah 3:17

You know that tightness in your chest? Like you can’t catch a deep, cleansing breath? Sometimes as a wife, mother, entrepreneur, I have 80 browser tabs open inside my head at once. Mentally, I’m shifting and rearranging the most important tabs to the front all throughout the day. And when I get tired, I usually end up closing one by mistake, which inevitably leads to dropping one or all of the balls!

It can be overwhelming, and there are moments when I have to stop and give this mom a time-out to prevent ball-dropping and insanity. Lately though, my emotions have been more of fear mixed with frustration, mostly because of the way the world is looking these days. Uncertainty mixed with more uncertainty on the horizon. The Bible has told us what to expect, but watching to see how it plays out is another thing altogether. How much time is left? What does the future look like for us? For our son? What kind of world will be waiting for him when he matures? What will his peer landscape look like? I’ve worn God’s ears and my own mind out asking a million questions. I still don’t have all of the answers. But I know this much— giving myself a time out, time to withdraw from the noise and confusion of this world and into the presence of Jesus, is time well spent. And the most beautiful thing is you can time out wherever you are, at any time, whenever needed. It’s free and it’s unlimited.

Time-out from the world to have a time-in with Jesus lets me renew my mind and my strength. It’s like sitting in your favorite chair with your favorite coffee and being with your best friend. It just feeds your soul. I used to allow myself a few minutes of social media and TikTok as a means of escaping thinking about the heavy things of life, but I found that, while some videos were funny or ridiculous, it left me feeling more tired in the brain. And the time itself was just wasted. But time in his presence… ahhhhh….

I love how Zephaniah calls out God’s delight in us. It says, “he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” He is with us. He is mighty to save us from our fear, from our overwhelming thoughts, and time in his presence brings us back to the awareness of his deep love for us. Scripture states he’s singing joyfully over us, like a father singing to his child.

When my son Andrew was still a baby, my husband used to sing “Sweet Child of Mine” over him when he cried. This passage reminds me of that time, and my husband, with joy and love plastered all over his face, rocking our son and singing, no matter how LOUD Andrew was scream/crying! Andrew loves music and singing to him always calms him quickly. It’s the same for us.

If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, afraid, or just angry, just GO and meet with Jesus. You can be honest with him about your feelings. He will quiet your emotions with his love. Under his wings, you will find refuge. His promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4).

Zephaniah 3:14ff ///// “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back on your enemy. The Lord, the Kind of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”The sorrows for the appointed feast I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes.

Come Alive

What an honor.

We have been called and chosen as his vessels to go into the darkness and proclaim light and life through belief in Jesus. I was reading The Prayer of Peace by St. Francis this morning in my quiet time. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have always asked God to use me to show others that He is real, that His love is real, and that His forgiveness is real. To go into hopeless situations and speak HOPE. RESTORATION and LIFE. To be a vessel that introduces the transforming power of Jesus.

His word says he came to give us life, and life more abundantly. Before I could do that for others, He had to do that for me. I’m so thankful that he met me where I was and changed me with his love and forgiveness.

I want to share the prayer of St. Francis here for you to read. This world needs a manifestation of these attributes, now more than ever. I hope you’ll pray this prayer with me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

I love this song by Brandon Lake called House of Miracles. Every time I hear it, I think of Lazarus. I think of Talitha. I think of the Valley of Dry Bones. I think of myself. I think of everyone who draws breath but is still spiritually dead. I speak new life in the name of Jesus over you.

Lord, awaken your church. Compel your remnant. Stir your Spirit. Make your people Come Alive! Let us be agents of change, in Your Name, for Your Glory and Your Kingdom. Amen.

“Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’” Ezekiel 37: 12-14

Return To Me

Zechariah 1:3 
Return to Me, and I will return to you, declares the Lord...

Going into 2020, I had made a complete mess of my life. I was neglecting myself and my spiritual health, which gradually trickled and then flooded over into neglecting my marriage and my son. Prior to the covid-19 shelter-in-place, my pastor had decreed a word for the year: TRANSFORMATION. He referenced multiple scriptures but this one stood out most to me: “Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord (Zechariah 1:3). For me, there was great conviction with those words. You see, I was a person who was proclaiming to be a Christian, but living another life. I was checking the Sunday box and being the “good mom” by taking my son to church every week, but there was no real evidence of living the life of a follower of Jesus. I was drinking, medicating depression and anxiety, and on the literal verge of a nervous breakdown.

I would pray prayers at night before bed. Sometimes I would read my Bible. If things were really bad. I would often cry on the way to work– why wasn’t God doing anything? Why wasn’t he coming through for me? Couldn’t he see that I was miserable? I was blinded by my lack of participation in going to God, and genuinely pouring out my heart to him, laying down my way, my plans, my mess. I continued to carry them, all while playing the victim of God’s lack of movement in my life.

A friend of mine gave me a journal for my 40th birthday and encouraged me to begin to write the things that God was speaking to me and showing me. I wrote a prayer in it, and the words that my pastor spoke, “Return to me, and I will return to you.” Then I put the journal away in a basket with some other books and went back to chaos.

Fast forward to shelter-in-place in March of 2020. Mandatory work from home. Mandatory homeschooling. Mandatory time away from the things that kept me distracted from dealing with me. I remembered the journal and the word, and I started to write. Everything. All of my feelings, beliefs, prayers, hopes, and complaints. Everything. I asked God to heal me. I asked God to forgive me. I asked him to help me break my habits of alcohol and medication. It’s a long story, but He started a work in me. A transformation. It all started with a return.

I heard a pastor once say, “If you can’t hear God anymore, it’s not because He moved.” And while I do believe that there are seasons that he lowers his volume so we’ll press in closer and go up higher to where he is, in my story, I’m more like the prodigal son. We are all prodigals at some point. When we accept Jesus, we get to enjoy the benefits of an heir, including a fully restored relationship with him. But we take our benefits for granted, or we expect God to do something amazing for us and when it happens, we forget God. That’s what I did. Thank God for second chances, and thirds, and fourths, etc.

“While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

“Return to me, and I will return to you.”

It only takes changing your mind to change your direction. Then, if you’ll truly surrender the reins, He’ll change everything in your life. Today I’m on the other side. I don’t abuse alcohol. I don’t take medication to numb my anxiety. Is my life perfect? Absolutely not. Am I doing life alone? Never again. In the 30 years that I have professed Jesus as my personal Savior, He is more real to me now than he has ever been. He’s still in the business of second chances, restoration, and miracles. My life is proof.

Do you need to make a return? Have you been living life with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom? God’s word says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).

On the outside, you might be the complete package, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you could be hanging on by a thread on the inside. Just go to Him. I promise you, He’ll run to meet you too. Lay your pieces down at the feet of the Prince of Peace. He’ll transform your reality too.

Magnify

Jesus, your ways are incomparable.

Your thoughts are unattainable. Your gifts are unimaginable. Your hope is unforgettable. You mend the broken things. Broken people. You raise the unlikely, the unseen, the unloved.

You elevate your chosen to greater authority with greater purpose, for your glory. You illuminate the path of the righteous so that their way is clear.

You trade dishonor for honor, sin for cleanliness, ashes for beauty, darkness for light. You raise up, and you tear down for your purposes.

Oh Lord, you have looked upon me, and in your mercy and loving-kindness, you have caused me to forget the former things. You pour blessing upon blessing over my life. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.

I will walk with you hand-in-hand, all the days of my life. To your name, I will bring glory.

Luke 1. ////////// My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is his name! His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but he has send the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

The Secret Place

Word: You have a thousand tasks to complete this week, and while your mind rushes to the details of your day, I gently whisper to you, inviting you to be with me. The energy and strength you need for this season will only come from time spent in the secret place. Time spent in my presence. I’m here to fortify you for the purposes I have for you. You cannot accomplish all that I have set before you without me. I am your ever-present help in times of trouble. I am your strong tower. I am your mighty fortress. Run to and abide in my shadow to find rest. I’m revealing each step you need to take. I love you. I desire to fill you with my supernatural strength for such a time as this.

Psalm 91: 1-16 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”

Stop Picking

There are some of you out there who God is trying to heal, and while you’re asking him for healing, you’re continuing to self-sabotage the process. I think about the man at the Pool of Bethesda who Jesus approached and said, “Do you want to be made well?” That’s such a powerful question. So, I’m asking you: do you want to be made well today?

If you want to be healed, ask God for your healing, and connect your faith with receiving his healing. Walk like you’re healed, talk like you’re healed. I suppose I kind of mean “faith it till you make it”, but I think so many times we blame God for our lack of healing, yet the things we say and walk out day-by-day testify against the healing that God so freely gives. I mean, he loves us SO much!

His word says, “Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat and mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? […] don’t you think God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matthew 7:11, The Message translation) God longs to give us good gifts, and that includes complete healing for whatever it is that YOU keep picking at.

Stop looking back.

Maybe for some of you, you’ve received a measure of your healing but you haven’t fully forgiven yourself for the part you played in your past. It’s time to forgive yourself.

This is what I heard the Lord say in my quiet time, and at one point in my life, this was for me. Today, I believe it’s for someone else, and I need to announce what I heard:

I’m trying to heal you, but it’s you that keeps picking at your own scabs, revisiting that old thing that you’ve prayed and asked me to take care of. But your picking at it keeps me from doing what I need to do in your life so you can move forward.

Stop revisiting old pain.

“Forget about what has happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:19 (The Message translation)

Here’s your promise- He’s ready to bring you out. Are you ready to start walking?

Glory Bearer

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. -Isaiah 60:1

“I am sending a fresh rain of anointing for my people for such a time as this.

Be holy, as I am holy.

The time is coming when my true disciples will worship me in Spirit and Truth, and the world will know that you are mine because you pursue righteousness.

Allow me to fill you with the gifts I have so that those who I have ordained will come and follow me.

Do not ask when the gifts will come or where they’ll come from. Connect your faith to this promise, and be bold in your faith. Boldness is not finger-wagging. Boldness does not bring condemnation. Holy Spirit boldness is being brave to say the words I have given you. When the time is right, you’ll know.

Ask my Holy Spirit to lead you, and you’ll know when to speak, when to pray, when to be silent, and when to bring my truths to correct.

I love you, and because you are a willing vessel… because you seek me… because you seek to bring ME glory, my glory will fill this place.

You are my glory bearer.”

Focus

I don’t know about you but I don’t recognize this world anymore. Some say we’re getting better. Some say it’s worse. I was watching the 80’s Top Tens on Disney+ last night and began to travel back in my mind to my personal memories of growing up in the eighties. As I watched, tears filled my eyes. It was like another lifetime. A time where I was naive about a lot of things. A world where things were simple and people were kind.

Like the picture, we live in a world where things are upside down. Evil is called good, and good is called evil. Focus is so important. Terri Savelle Foy says, “What you think about, you bring about.” It’s why you have to make a valiant effort to focus on the promises of God. To believe God for the impossible. To use your gifts and abilities to change spheres of influence. The Bible encourages us to, “fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Does this mean we should ignore the problems? Bury your head in the sand and pretend that since it’s not in your backyard that it doesn’t affect you? No- It means we charge into the culture and take a stand. We change it by our presence. We change it with our actions. We change it with our voices. Together, as believers in Jesus.

When you’re looking through the right lens, the things that are out of focus are made clear. Sharp. The path is made visible. And straight. There’s greater clarity, and with that clarity comes peace. On the outside of the lens, there’s still confusion, cloudiness, chaos, uncertainty. This may seem obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Our lens for clear living, peaceful living, and purposeful living is the Bible. I’m praying that you will make a habit this year to renew your mind in the word of God every day, so that you can maintain your peace, grow in wisdom, and experience a greater revelation of who Jesus is and who he’s calling you to be.

A word from the Lord:

To stay in the flow of my spirit, it’s vital that you do not allow distractions to hinder your time with me. What I have to say to you is important for this time. I need you to focus.

Scripture

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Light Switch

Today in my quiet time, I was led to this passage in John 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made (that includes you); without him nothing was made that has been made. (You wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t part of his master plan).

In him was LIFE, and that life was the LIGHT OF MEN (Jesus is our light, and when we receive him into our hearts, his light and life shine through us.). The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (Those without the light know that we’re different, but they don’t understand why.).

He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him (Those he foreknew, he predestined, and not everyone will recognize or receive him). He came to that which was his own (the Jewish people), but his own did not recognize him (Their books prophesied the coming of their Messiah, but their hearts were hardened to him.).

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, not of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (He created you by his design and for his purpose. You are not an accident. You are not a mistake.)


Jesus was in the beginning. The life inside of him was the light of men, the calling on his life to save them. His calling and his purpose are to save those who are lost in life, and even his name Yeshua means Salvation. His name was his mission statement to the world!

Right now you might be thinking that you’re not wanted. Right now as you’re reading this, you could even be in a room full of people and still feel all alone. You might be surrounded by everything you’ve ever wanted, but there’s still an emptiness or a dissatisfaction that you can’t explain.

You might have lived your entire life feeling rejected by your parents, your siblings, and the people you encounter at work or at school. You’ve just buried it. You’ve covered it up with denial, by hardening your heart, with sarcasm. But I’m here today to show you that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from or what you’ve done. Jesus is the missing piece. Whatever you think is missing from your life right now, Jesus is the key. In fact, I challenge you to define what it is you think you need to feel complete and put that thing in the blank of the next sentence:

“Jesus is the _________ I need in my life right now.” He’s the joy you need right now. He’s the peace you need right now. He’s the assurance you need right now. He’s the hope you need in your life right now.

Jesus said all who receive him become children of God. Adopted. Chosen. He offers this gift to you. He has been standing at the door of your heart gently knocking, waiting for you to let him inside. Those God moments you’ve had that you’ve tried to explain away as coincidences, those miracles that you’ve excused as luck– that’s Jesus. It’s his grace calling out to you. He has so much more in store for you. Just say yes. Receive him into your heart. Let him flip the light switch on in your life today. One moment you’re in the dark, the next moment you’re in his light. Just.like.that.

His light will lead you along the right path. His light in your life will be light and warmth for others. What are you waiting for?

God in a box

Is your thinking too little? Are your dreams too small? Did you put God in a box?

You cannot contain the creator of the universe, but you can limit his power to do the impossible in your life by limiting your belief in what he’s capable of.

God.does.not.change. PERIOD. Scripture says he’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The same God that saved Noah, that delivered young David from the bear and the lion, that provided for widow and Elijah…that God manifested his physical presence in Jesus. Jesus performed thousands of miracles of healing, deliverance, and provision. He’s still doing it today. He’s still doing miracles. I’m not talking about tiny miracles (you know, the kind we explain away as coincidence) either. If you want to see God do miracles in your life, take him out of your box. Seek him. Just ask. He’s a good God and he loves his creation. He loves his kids.

I was praying one morning, literally begging God to do something that I had been asking him to do for a while. I heard him say, “You don’t have to beg me, just ask me.” I am guilty of sometimes forgetting that his love is continually unconditional. It’s unmerited. And he gives it in abundance.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that we don’t have to do anything to deserve it or be worthy of it? I’m still learning that even at 41 years old (after feeling unworthy of love for most of my life) he doesn’t see us through the lens of our mistakes or our deficiencies. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He’s looking at us through the eyes of a loving father. Let that sink in for a moment.

It doesn’t stop there. He has good things for us. His word says he knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future. Plans like that can only come from a good GOD. It’s our responsibility to be open and willing to the plans he has for us; to submit to his will for our lives. At one point in my life, I interpreted that to mean that accepting God’s plans for my life meant that I just had to deal with suffering and lack, but that’s out of alignment with Jeremiah 29:11 (quoted above). I didn’t realize it at the time but I had put God in a box.

I want to encourage you to reflect on your beliefs about God and Jesus today. Do you really believe that he’s still capable of performing miracles? Because miracles aren’t Bible stories. They’re accounts that are meant to build your hope to dare to believe. Do you receive that he wants to do miracles for you because he loves you? He wants to do miracles in you AND through you. You’re meant to be a miracle for someone on his behalf.

When you finally catch this thought and let it take root in your heart, you’re going to see the miracles of the Lord begin to manifest in your life. Take him out of the box you have built for him. Let him be God, and let him use you.

Choose Your Hard

Choose Your Path, Choose Your Hard

My pastor Keith A. Craft (Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas) shared this one Sunday, and I’m sharing it here because it’s in alignment with what it means to live a Gritfull Life. When I first heard this, I thought truer words were never spoken. It’s easy to get into the short-sighted game of comparison and think that life will get easier when you finally “arrive” at your place of achievement. Or maybe you think the grass is greener on the other side (which we all know it’s not, but still). Let this remind you that no matter what you choose for your life, choose to do it with Jesus. There will be mountains and there will be valleys. There will be peaks and there will be pits, but you can conquer any hard with his help.


Galatians 6:9 | So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

If doing good was easy, you wouldn’t grow weary.

Being your best is hard.
Being your normal is hard.

Making wise decisions is hard.
Making bad decisions is hard.

Being in shape is hard.
Being out of shape is hard.

Losing weight is hard.
Being fat is hard.

Working out is hard.
Being weak is hard.

Being disciplined is hard.
Being lazy is hard.

Getting out of your comfort zone is hard.
Staying in your comfort zone is hard.

Starting a business is hard
Working for someone else is hard.

Making a lot of money is hard.
Making a little bit of money is hard.

Being rich is hard.
Being poor is hard.

Having great relationships is hard.
Having bad relationships is hard.

Having friends is hard.
Having no friends is hard.

Fighting for your marriage is hard.
Divorce is hard.

Having a lot of things is hard.
Having nothing is hard.

Living on purpose is hard.
Living off purpose is hard.

Doing life God’s way is hard.
Doing life your own way is hard.

Everything is hard!
Choose your hard!


Keith A. Craft (keithcraft.org)

Tenderness

Luke: 23:31 | As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you say, “‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘ For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

When I read this I asked the Lord, “Why did you specifically mention that women followed Jesus to Golgotha, weeping and wailing for him?”

There was a pause.

The Lord reminded me of the events of this past week.

I have been asking God to use me in greater capacity in this season. He began by giving me words for specific women in my life, and I believe it was kind of like a test to see if I believe and if I’m ready to speak what he’s showing me—

“Jessica, you’ve been asking me for this. I want to give you this gift in a greater measure. I’m speaking words to you about the people you are praying for. What will you do with these words?” Of course, my reply is, “I’m available for you to use me to do and say whatever you’re leading me to do and say.” (My life verse has been Isaiah 6:8: Here am I, Send me!) I’m willing. No matter how I’m perceived, no matter what I may look like to others, I am willing to carry His message to those who need it most, for such a time as this. Some of the words he has given me start with the thoughts that the Lord knows these women are thinking, and these are the notes I’ve taken down:

“I’m unseen.”

“I’m unheard.”

“I can’t go on.”

“I am questioning everything about life right now.”

“I’ve lost hope.”

The Lord will go on to give me a message for them. A love letter straight from heaven. To encourage these women that God is listening, he’s hovering, he’s watching, with compassion and tender love.

Women are doing all it takes to hold it all together, at all times, for everyone. It’s in the night hours, when the kids are in bed, a thorough dive into social media has been made, exhaustion abounds, the lights are out, and the tears start to flow with the thoughts mentioned above. It’s the late night heart cries that he’s speaking to. The tears that no one else sees, the heartbreak, the life or death thoughts. God is right there, and he’s saying, “I carried my cross, I’ve already died to give you freedom from that. I’m here. You are not alone. I want to lift your burdens for you.”

I have to think, that the common thread for women are the heart cries. The deep things we carry that we don’t talk about, frankly because we just can’t go there. We don’t have time to crumble, or we don’t feel safe enough to feel vulnerable enough to crumble. I believe the women who mourned and wailed for Jesus experienced something, if even for just a moment, where in their encounter with Jesus they “knew” and for the first time in their life, they felt truly “known.” And it is because of that radical life transformation, they were able to put their emotions on full display in mourning for the only One who spoke light into their darkness.

His love for you is so tender and so pure. His love leads us to repentance. To a place of peace and acceptance. I’m praying you allow yourself to really know who Jesus is, and to know that you are 100 percent accepted, just as you are. Just as the Lord was taken out of this earth, one day his holy spirit will be taken out of the earth as well. Come to him while the tree is still green.

Cease Striving

I can always tell when my energy reserves are depleted. My thoughts and actions come from a place that is not Spirit-led and it’s as though I revert back to primitive coping methods. I am short-tempered and generally low on patience. I start scrutinizing the attitudes and actions of others from a place of judgment, which is never a good look. Of course, this comes far after I’ve ignored the signs that I need to pause and rest. And those who usually end up paying the price for my inability to give myself a timeout are my husband and my son, and the last thing I ever want to do is make my home a place of frustration or hostility.

I’m sure that as a woman, you can relate. How did we get here as a gender, thinking that we should be able to carry it all well? Sometimes I think it’s seeing a need and wanting to help, or taking on that extra task that just pushes timeline for the day over the edge. I think as women, we should encourage each other to take a break– if even for half a day, just to rest, breathe and fill our cups back up. And I think we should celebrate and affirm women who have the self-awareness and grit to say, “These things can wait. I need to take care of me right now.” I mean, after all, are we really being effective in being productive when we are running on empty? Or are we just being busy but serving no lasting purpose?

This morning in my quiet time, I cried. I’ve been coasting on fumes trying to get to the finish line of some of my deadlines for school and work. I was thinking to myself, I just need a break. I told God that, and I asked him to show me what’s most important right now because I’m literally so tired, I don’t feel like doing ANY.THING.

I heard the gentle whisper of the words, “Cease striving,” and it hit me.

Thinking back, my whole life has been about striving. About fighting life. About struggling. Struggling for and against things that I was never meant to go to battle for ( i.e., lack of boundaries and codependent-driven actions). Someone ( I can’t remember who) said that if you have to struggle for something to the point that you are no longer healthy, you might be fighting the wrong battle. Well, I’m there again– full-on striving. My thoughts and my actions indicate that I’m feeling the need to control the balls I’m juggling rather than surrender those things into God’s capable hands.

I flipped open my Bible to Psalm 46 and began reading. Here is what the scripture says:

Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes war cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.

Cease striving and know that I AM God; I will be exalted above the nations, I will be exalted on the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

While the Psalmist is referring to God’s message to Israel and her enemies, the message applies to us today, right where we are in the middle of life. God lovingly speaks a word of encouragement to his daughters, knowing that in this time and this place we would be afraid, tired, and taking on too much. He sends his word to remind us that he is always with us, he is our helper, our fortress. We don’t have to do life in our strength, we can rest knowing that God is God- not us. He’s in the details, he’s already seen the future. We can truly experience his divine rest on earth right now knowing that he’s got it.

Friends, God never asked us to carry our burdens. Thanks to the shed blood of Jesus, we don’t have to. I’m praying for you today. It’s time to cease striving.

Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. I am meek (gentle) and lowly in heart (humble); and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

Cue the song of the day.

The Harvest

The Harvest, Revelation 14:14

Revelation 14:14 describes an event that has yet to take place on the earth.

“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Verse 17 goes on to state, “Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the first, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1600 miles.

Harvest comes before the wrath. The son of man- Jesus, will separate the faithful from the unfaithful. When he has completed the work in and through us and we are ripe. Using the word “ripe” to describe disciples of Jesus may seem like a strange term, but allow me to lend some context to the word. Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines ripe as:

1. Brought to perfection in growth or to the best state; mature; fit for use; as ripe fruit; ripe corn.

2. Advanced to perfection; matured; as ripe judgment, or ripe in judgment.

3. Finished; consummate; as a ripe scholar.

4. Brought to the point of taking effect; matured; ready; prepared; as things just ripe for war.

5. Fully qualified by improvement; prepared; as a student ripe for the university; a saint ripe for heaven.

For those who rejected God’s gift of salvation through Jesus, this time can be likened to hell on earth. It’s not something that we as believers would want anyone, friend or foe, to endure.

Saints, we know the times we are living in. They are the best of times and the worst of times. Let’s not allow these temporary circumstances to keep us from being faithful to show God’s love to others who desperately need it. People are searching for answers and for hope, now more than ever. Let’s be faithful to the call and share the message of Jesus in a loving way with everyone we know. The clock is ticking towards the harvest.

Non-perishable Goods

This morning in my quiet time, I took God my plans for the day and asked him to show me the most important tasks that needed my attention and what could wait. I tend to get overwhelmed with thoughts of wanting to make everything happen quickly, so much so that that my schedule rules over me more than I rule over my schedule.

We all have a lot going on right now. Personally, if I stop to think about all of the things I have to accomplish, all of the questions I still don’t have answers to, and all of the hours I really need to make things happen in my life, it can cause me to feel like I’m sinking in the deep waters of my circumstances. I was telling God that this morning– “Lord, how? How am I going to get all of this done in time?” He lovingly reminded me that his grace is enough, and he is showing himself to be strong enough for me to accomplish the most important things. He reminded me that he has already empowered me to do all things because of his great, supernatural strength.

Then, the Lord led me to 1 Corinthians 15: 44 which states,

” If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”

“I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we (who are alive) will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(My favorite part) “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm, Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Because Jesus paid our sin debt, we as believers have the glorious hope of heaven. As we spend time with him (in his presence and in his word) daily, his word is an incubator for transformation, and we are changed into his likeness.

This morning is a much needed reminder that the things God is calling us to must take first place in our lives. We must clothe ourselves with the things that will not die- the things that make his name known in all the earth. Those are the things that outlive us all. This morning Jesus reminds us that, no matter what’s going on in this world, no matter how insane or bleak the circumstances may be, we are to surrender ourselves completely to the dreams and the mission he’s called us to.

He wants to do an eternal work in and through you, for his kingdom.

I’m praying that you seek him today. He is ready to reveal his plans to you when you are ready to make time to listen.

Peculiar

Peculiar.

When you hear that word, what comes to mind?

I always think of something strange or different. Or odd. I would say that most of my life, I felt like I was peculiar. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it was like I was made not to fit in. And that was very unsettling to me for a long time because I wanted to belong to something and be accepted without having to wear a mask or a personality that I thought would make me more pleasing to others.

If you’ve ever tried that you can probably relate and you might even say that deep down, trying to be what you thought others wanted you to be didn’t bring any lasting joy, even though it may have brought temporary acceptance.

But, let’s go back to that word peculiar. Webster’s 1849 dictionary defines peculiar as:

a. characteristic of only one person, group or thing: distinctive.

b. different from the usual or normal.

c. odd, curious.

d. eccentric, unusual. something exempt from ordinary jurisdiction.

Synonyms: atypical, exceeding, exceptional, rare, unique, unusual.

Antonyms: common, normal, ordinary, typical, unexceptional.

Peculiar doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. In fact, it sounds pretty special. I mean, who wants to be normal when you can be peculiar?

Understanding the true definition of a word that at first glance feels synonymous with an outsider has the potential to bring freedom and allow you to completely reframe your identity.

You are distinct. You are unusual. You are rare. You have gifts that this world needs. And above all else, this world needs you to be authentically you while giving your gifts to others. Free yourself from the limitations of what you thought about being different.

Your difference is all the difference.

1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may declare praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Fast. Slow. Trust.

Every birth is a miracle. If you’re a mom or a dad, you probably have some recollection of the wonder of pregnancy, the excitement of meeting your baby, the long nights, and the deep feelings of loving someone else so much more than you ever dreamed possible.

Then time moves on and you get caught up in everyday life, activities, challenges, and teaching moments. It’s like you have a baby, then you blink and they’re 8 going on 18. And just when you think you’ve got a season of parenting down and you kind of think you know what you’re doing, life changes again and you’re starting all over in a new season. But with the same team. And more hormones.

Life is fast and life is slow. Today, as I get my son ready to start the third grade, I have mixed feelings. I remember having those thoughts of, “Are we ever going to get out of diapers?” “Are we ever going to sleep through the night again???” “Are we ever going to sleep in our own bed again?” The answer is yes. A bittersweet yes. Life is slow sometimes. Our kids need us extra sometimes. This past year, our family made the choice for me to stay home and teach our son because it was what he needed to thrive. Then there are those moments where, developmentally, they learn to fly beautifully and they graduate to the next phase of growth.

Today, I’m sitting here thinking of how fast the time passes and how there were times that I did not treasure the gift of time with my child. Not one bit. But this week, as I watch my son confidently rise to the occasion of starting a new year, I’m wishing time would slow down, just a little. There is part of me that wishes I could keep him at home with me forever.

As I was praying for Andrew and his school, his teacher and his friends, God took me back to His announcement of Andrew’s birth, at a time when the doctors told me I would not be able to have a child. He reminded me that Andrew’s life, along with every child’s life, is a miracle. A gift. He reminded me that he provided confirmation to me 3 times by three different people (all strangers to one another) who said the same thing verbatim about the birth of Andrew. He reminded me of the man and his wife who operated with the gift of prophecy who, without knowing anything of my diagnosis, prayed for my womb after my doctor told me I couldn’t carry a child. Andrew’s birthday on 10/10 serves as a numerical reminder of God’s perfection and completion, signifying that when God makes a promise, he carries out to completion EXACTLY as He said He would.

Then, the Lord took me to the gospel of Luke which documents the life of Jesus, pre-birth to resurrection beginning with the announcement of the promise of Jesus to his mother, Mary. Supernatural promises. Miraculous circumstances. Fast and slow. Mary treasured the promises of God in her heart, and while she did not fully understand the things that would ultimately take place, she took her role seriously. She cooperated in doing her part to prepare her gift, her child, for the world so that He could change it forever.

I don’t know exactly what God has planned for my son, but I remember the miraculous circumstances of his birth, and now all that he is becoming. This year I am recommitting to cooperating with the plans He has for Andrew. They’re so much better than what I could dream up anyway.

Lead with Love

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like God’s hand is on and in everything you experienced? Today was one of those days for me. There have been a lot of words spoken over me and secret promises that God has made to me, even as far back as almost a decade ago. At the time, I didn’t understand the prophetic words or the promises because I had no vision for the future that God was speaking those promises into. Sometimes a prophetic word can be like what some describe as “reading your mail.” In other words, the word describes your situation so perfectly, that it’s as though someone had to be reading your mail to know the things they knew. For me, it’s a lot different. It’s a mystery. Something that I have to wait for. (Did I mention that patience is not my forté?) Something that he has to prepare me for.

When God makes a promise, I write it down. I ponder it. I begin looking for it in the natural realm. I’ll start looking for deeper meaning in everything that remotely resembles His promise to me. I’m totally guilty of always trying to figure Him out before the time is right. And I’ll admit, that I’ve failed every time! He’s really good at waiting to reveal mysteries to me! Anyway. Like I said, there are things that He’s spoken to me that I’m still waiting to see the manifestation of, and there are times where I’ll get frustrated and put those promises on the shelf. Some time will go by and He’ll bring them back to mind.

Today was one of those days.

I have felt a shift the past four weeks, and I’m starting to see things differently. I’m starting to sense things differently. It’s like I have a new awareness or He’s opened my eyes in a new way. I’ll try to explain. I went to Half Price Books to search for old magazines to cut up for an art project. I walked right in and right in front of me were the journals. My senses became immediately overwhelmed. Here are just a few of the things I saw:

A journal that said “Write your Story.” (He told me to do that a week ago while I was having my quiet time.)

A note card that said, “If you’re looking for a sign, this is it!” (Ok, God- you’ve got my attention!)

Another journal decorated with artwork “Woman in Gold” (Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer) by Gustav Klimt. One of my favorite artists.

And when I was in the store, I heard Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago, written by Maurice Jarre- the song my grandfather used to sing, and we would dance to from time to time when I was a little girl. When my grandfather passed away, this song was the soundtrack for a dream I had where I was able to see my grandfather happy in heaven, waiting for me.

Here are the lyrics:

Somewhere my love there will be songs to sing
Although the snow covers the hope of Spring
Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold
And there are dreams, all that your heart can hold

Someday we’ll meet again, my love
Someday whenever the Spring breaks through

You’ll come to me, out of the long-ago
Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow
Lara, my own, think of me now and then
Godspeed, my love, till you are mine again.

So there I was in Half Price Books with tears in my eyes, telling God, “Oh great, I wasn’t really planning on having a cry right now.” He told me, “This was you and your grandfather’s song, but now it’s our song.” “When your grandfather was alive, he was the person you went to- he was your father. But after he came home to me was when you finally realized that it was time to let Me be your father- to be the one that you come to for everything.”

There was a time when I had forgotten how to dream. I don’t mean dream while I sleep. I mean that over the course of time and circumstance and pain that I walled up my heart to protect it. In the process however, I shut myself off to dreaming anything about my life or my future. The air around my heart became stale. It was beating and I was living, but there was nothing that bloomed. Nothing that brought me joy for me. I could muster living and giving for others’ sake, but I never wanted to put myself through the process of a dream again– for fear of failure, for the fear of more pain that it would cause me.

Today, I saw a glimpse of my promises. And I’m not afraid anymore. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s thoughts towards us are SO GOOD, SO LOVING, and SO KIND. I hope that by reading this, you start to believe again. I hope that you start to dream again.

Sold Out

I used to think I was a pretty ok christian. I grew up in church, and while I had to overcome a lot of obstacles relating to my opinions of the churchgoers and the church itself, I stuck with it for two main reasons, and here they are: I had an encounter with God when I was a child (like 6 or 7 years old) and because of that encounter and feeling like no one on this earth understood me, I always went back to Jesus with my pain and disappointments because he was (and still is) my best friend and the only one who I knew really loved me and accepted me exactly as I was.

My life is far from perfect. I have done many things that I am not proud of. I don’t admit those things to you from a place of shame or unworthiness either. I’ve just made a lot of mistakes. Maybe you can relate. I’m glad that those things are in the past now, because there were definitely times where I did feel completely ashamed of who I was and unworthy of anything good in my life.

There are those times though where I still ask God,

“Why did you let me do those things?”

“Why did you let me walk through that door?”

“Why did I have to fall so hard?”

“How can you possibly take these mistakes and work it together for my good?”

I don’t have all the answers, and He’s still making me wait before he shows me. (Did I mention that patience is not my strong suit?) I do know that God took every misdirected step, every hurdle, every mistake and to this day he’s still redeeming them. He’s still writing my story, and he’s still writing yours. He’s helping me unlearn the lies that I believed about myself and construct new truths, his truths about me. In some ways I feel like a late bloomer because it has taken me 41 years to discover His real love, but then I have to remind myself that His timing is perfect.

His timing is perfect for you too. Whatever he’s guiding you to, He will be faithful to get you there- when you finally allow Him too. He gives beauty for ashes. He works ALL THINGS together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He just wants you to surrender your heart, your will and your plans. Basically everything. That is totally hard for control freaks like me. But let’s be honest with ourselves, has doing it your way really brought you everything you have hoped and dreamed for?

I promise you- His ways are better. He gives freedom and a peace that you’ve never known before. I’m not saying that your roads will always be easy. Sometimes they are downright dark and full of pain, but you’ll never go through it alone.

When I made the choice to surrender, Jesus had to pull a lot of painful daggers and arrows out of my heart. Through the course of my life I adjusted my thoughts and behaviors to make the pain of those injuries easier to bear. What I’m saying is I grew comfortable with those those things that caused injury to my heart, and I even held on to them like a badge of courage. I told myself not to trust or not to believe anyone but God and myself, but He can’t heal what we’re not willing to let go of.

What’s standing in the way of your healing? No finger pointing. This isn’t about what was done to you or what you couldn’t control. This isn’t about you correcting your mistakes or trying to make things happen in your own strength. Get out of your own way. It’s time to heal so you can be all you were created to be!

Pause to Praise

Life has a way of overwhelming you sometimes. Have you ever had those days where you’ve got too many tasks to complete and not enough hours in the day? I’ve been feeling that way right now, especially with school, work and life. There are always going to be the things you have to do, then the things you want to do, and you’ve got to find a way to balance it with being present for your spouse and kids. There are only so many late nights and early early mornings I can swing before it starts to take its toll on my attitude. Then I start saying and doing things I regret because I’m actually tired but not letting myself rest.

Moms get tired. Alot. Moms get tired alot. It’s ok to get tired. We aren’t Wonder Women. I’ve learned that rather than pushing through, I need to let myself take a break, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Today is one of those days. When I get like this, I tell my son that mom needs a 30 minute break and I head into another room to recharge with peace and quiet. I sat down in my chair and started telling God, “Lord, I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done. And honestly God, I’m feeling overwhelmed already and what I really want to do is take a nap. Please show me how to prioritize my time right now and give me your peace in knowing that I will get it all done the way it’s supposed to happen, not the way I think it should.” Amen.

I picked up my Bible and asked God to give me something that would refresh me so that I could pick back up and keep moving through my day. I flipped open my Bible to Psalm 146 and began to read, looking for something that God wanted to say to me about what I asked him for right now. Here’s what the psalmist wrote:

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– the Lord who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.”

God doesn’t want us to worry about the stuff we have to complete. He doesn’t want us to worry about our schedules. He loves us. He is saying that we are blessed because He is our help. He just wants us to praise him for who He is and because he’s already taken care of it for us. As clear and simple as this seems, it can be incredibly challenging to utter out praises to God, especially in the middle of circumstances and deadlines that have us feeling a little anxious, and like I said before, short on time. Nonetheless, I thanked Him because I came to Him with a problem and He offered His solution: praise. I turned the page and Psalm 147:10 drew my attention: “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” It’s like God put a p.s. on what He wanted to say to me.

He loves you. Just trust him. He’s not asking you to do everything in your own strength and get Him to put a blessing on it after the fact. Put your hope in his unfailing love for you. He will get you through this time too.

I added this song by Casting Crowns to help lead you in taking a moment to pause to praise. Xo.

Perfect Love

I’m in awe of how you love me.

You’re the only one who knows the darkest things I’ve done, and yet you love me more than anyone else who has ever claimed to.

Your love is precious to me.

Your love is so pure.

Your love has no agenda.

Your love has no conditions.

Your love shows me that you accept me the way I am.

There’s nothing I have to do to earn it.

It compels me to a better way.

It calls me to live greater.

It calls me to love greater.

Your love sets me free.

I’m free to fly.

I’m free to be me, full of you.

I’m ready to tell others of this mystery. This miracle. This love so pure and real.

I want others to know and receive this love. This unfathomable love of yours.

You Can’t Mess Things Up

We think we’re in control. We think this life is really about our plans. Some of us are safely navigating the path of least resistance while others of us don’t mind the struggle as long as it ends with us getting everything we want.

But how do you reconcile matters when your plans don’t go the way you tried to make them go? I’m not talking about the trivial matters of life, I’m talking about the big stuff. The epic fails of life. The things that leave us devastated, in puddles on the floor, questioning our existence and our own will to keep on living. How do we respond to the crises that make it hard to breathe, hard to see past the moment, hard to have vision for the future? What future? Where do I go from here? This-THIS was my everything, and now it’s blown away in the wind.

Have you ever experienced something like that in your life? I have. I know if you are reading this, that can only mean one of two things: you either survived it or you are presently working your way through surviving it.

I want to encourage you. You will come through it. You will stand again. You will breathe again- not the anxiety-ridden breathing, but the inhales of peace and the exhales of rest. You were never meant to carry what you tried to tow around for all of those years. Sometimes it’s just time to stop the charades, and let the walls fall down. No more duct-tape, no more trying to trying to plug leaks, no more keeping up appearances. No more faking it till you make it.

SURRENDER. Cease resistance. Your plans aren’t working. When are you going to admit that to yourself? You were never in control anyway. You just thought you were.

Give Ashes, get beauty.

Give God the pieces. Give Him the remnants. You ask, “What could he possibly do with what’s left?” Or maybe there’s nothing tangible left to give. Even better. Give him your heart. I promise you– that’s all He’s ever wanted from you.

There are so many touching lyrics I love in a song by Danny Gokey called “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again.” In it he says, “Get back up. Take step one. Leave the darkness, feel the sun. Say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.”

When you finally surrender control, You give God the authority to begin to move and act on your behalf. Think of it this way: My plans in my hands -or- His plans for me in His hands. You don’t have to be genius to figure this one out.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from captivity.

Isaiah 14:24 The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.”…For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

Trust Him with your heart. Trust Him with His plans for you. Tell your heart to beat again.

Your Love Song

In my quiet time this morning, this is what the Lord said to me. I want to share it with you. He reminds me everyday of how special you are to Him.

“I love everyone I made with the love you’re feeling right now. I want them to know this real love.

The world and the prince of this world would have them believe the lies he is screaming.

He says, “YOU DON”T MATTER. NO ONE CARES. YOU’LL NEVER BE LOVED.” LIES!!!!!! They’re lies.

I spilled my blood. I gave my life willingly for you. BECAUSE OF LOVE! I LOVE YOU! Receive me into your heart. Let me fill every empty space. Let my live heal your heart and transform you from the inside out.

I love you so much. Ask me into your heart. You’ll never be lonely again.”

Please give your heart to Jesus. He loves you so much, it’s unfathomable. He’s chosen YOU. He thinks you’re kind of a big deal.

Cue the song of the day.

Right Hand

In my quiet time this morning, I asked God to lead me to what He wanted to say to me today and what I could share with you. I’ve developed this habit where I simply flip open my Bible each day, trusting that He will guide me to what He wants to say to me. This morning I opened up to Acts 2.

In this passage, the disciples had already received the Great Commission by Jesus and were waiting, as He instructed them, to receive the Helper a.k.a., The Holy Spirit. I’ve included the scripture here for you to read (NIV):

“In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

I admit that the passage both excites and scares me a little. Why? I’ve always viewed this passage of text as a thermometer passage. What do I mean by that? It means that when things on the earth start to heat up, God says this is what will happen next. Really amazing stuff and well, pretty frightening stuff. When I see these things begin to happen, based on the promises of God, we are nearing the Lord’s return, and that IS EXCITING!!! But my question to Him lately is, “God, how bad do things have to get before you return?” I admit that there are days where I sit down in my quiet time and just cry over the sufferings on this earth. I don’t mourn as those who have no hope. My heart is heavily burdened for those who don’t have hope, and those who are losing hope every day.

But then He gently tells me, “Read it again and keep reading.”

So I go back and read it again.

“I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth below.”

According to Webster’s Dictionary, prophecy means: “A foretelling; prediction; a declaration of something to come.” (For more on this, check out the extended cut definition here.) The definition itself when applied to the context of the passage tells us that God never does anything without first announcing it. In this case, He tells us that He will use all people to make declarations about His return.

And because he knows our hearts, He goes on to say, in verse 34:

“I saw the Lord before me, because he is at my right hand.

I will not be shaken.

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, my body will also live in Hope because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay.

You have made known to me the paths of life.

You fill me with joy in your presence.”

If you have placed your faith in and given your heart to Jesus, God is your right hand. Period. The right hand symbolizes sovereignty and authority. Madea said it best, yall!

Urban Dictionary defines right hand as, “a person you can count on through hard times and good times. They are there to hold you up, not bring you down. They will always support you and sometimes you might get in fights with this person because you are too close and understand each other too well. You love them like family.”

Essentially, there’s nothing to fear. Your Right Hand is in charge. Let’s challenge ourselves to live in joy, spend time in His presence daily, and be His light where He’s called us to be. Let’s give our joy away. Let’s leave hope wherever we go. Let’s love others like their eternal life depends on it. Because it does.

I love you and am praying for you today. Go get your Grit on. (cue the anthem of the day.)

Living Torches

Have you ever read the story about Deborah in Judges 4? Deborah was a judge over all of Israel and some even describe her as a military heroine. Judges describes her as:

-a prophetess

-wife of Lappidoth (Lappidoth means “torches” or “light” in Hebrew, btw.)

-a leader of Israel

-one who held court daily at the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim

-one who the Israelites came to see to have their disputes settled

One day she sent for Barak and commanded him on behalf of the Lord, “Go- take with you 10,000 men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I (The Lord) will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give them into your hands.”

The Lord was already with Barak, but he would not go and fulfill the command of the Lord unless Deborah went with him. He had been given a green light for victory, and yet he was still reluctant to go. The Bible doesn’t say if Barak was afraid or if he desired support. In fact, there’s not much else the Bible has to say about Barak, other than that in chapter 5 of Judges he sings a duet with Deborah after a woman named Jael kills Sisera. Here’s what we do know: Deborah goes with him, and the Lord did as He promised. He routed the armies of the enemy and Barak and his 10,000 men destroyed the troops of Sisera.

Victory was promised and victory was fulfilled, but the victory was first declared through a prophesying woman’s mouth.

What types of victories could we as women proclaim for the kingdom of God, if we would allow Jesus to transform our language from questions like, “Can God?” to declarations like, “Won’t God?” By that I mean, won’t God do all that he said he would do? Scripture says, “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). If our hearts are in alignment with His will, won’t He give us the desires of our heart? OF COURSE! Why? Because he’s wanting to use us to accomplish His will here on earth!

So, what’s stopping you?

Maybe it’s your limiting beliefs.

“It’s never happened before, so why would it happen now?”

Maybe it’s your inability to dream a new dream.

“Life is so hard right now, I can’t see to tomorrow, let alone dream any.thing.”

Maybe you don’t believe it’s possible.

Well, I’ve got a scripture for you. Matthew 19:26. “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Salvation is possible. Redemption is possible. Healing is possible. Restoration is possible. Victory is possible. With God. Because of your relationship with Jesus, and according to your faith.

Will you be a Deborah and declare the word of the Lord? Or will you be a Barak? Will you use the authority by God given to you to bring light to dark places and dark situations, and call those things that are not as though they are? The first recorded words spoken by God in the Bible were, “let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). He called the light “good” and separated the light from the darkness.

You’ve been separated to speak life and bring Jesus’ light into your sphere of influence. It’s no coincidence that Deborah’s husband was named Lappidoth, which means torches. You are the bride of Christ. Your bridegroom desires that you carry his torch and proclaim his truth, justice, mercy and grace.

Romans 8:29 (MSG) reads, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.” All this time, he’s been molding you into his son’s image to make his glory known in your sphere of influence.

The Call of Duty

This morning I am praying for the friends who have reached out asking for prayer over the past week. There has been so much loss lately; suicide, covid-related deaths, friends battling cancer, and just general feelings of fear and hopelessness. There are so many times when I wish there was something I could physically go and do to help improve a situation or help make a difference, but friends and family are far away.

It’s our natural default to become fixated on lack and loss, and with the world writhing in turmoil, I have found that I’ve had to censor myself from the news and social media just to catch a break and renew my mind. It makes the time I spend with the Lord so precious, and over the past 3 years, he has taught me that spending time in his presence brings peace and rest. In my quiet time this morning, I was reading Jude, verses 18-22 which says:

“But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

Because we are living in the last days, the devil will try anything to keep you gripped in fear so that you are afraid to take steps of faith. Fear often looks like: speaking negative things, sleepless nights, panic attacks, tension headaches, excessive drinking, a short temper, harsh words. I mean, if you start thinking about it, the list could go on and on. But today, I encourage you to look fear in the eye and speak faith. Faith looks like, God is working in this situation. My challenges are making me better and stronger. No matter what it looks like, I know that God has good plans for me. He wants to give me hope and future. He desires that I prosper in all things. Speak faith-filled declarations over your life and watch how what you’re looking at begins to change before your eyes!

The Lord says in Isaiah, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah answered the call of the Lord by offering his life in service to what the Lord wanted to do in the earth. “And I (Isaiah) said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Lord give us hearts like Isaiah. When you issue a call, let us be the ones to say, “Send me!” Let us be the kind of people who encourage others, who show up in life for others. Cause our hearts to be moved with compassion and empathy so that we do more than just text or message “thoughts and prayers.” Use us to show mercy and remind those who doubt of your goodness and your good plans. Help us to speak the truth in love at all times, so that your house is built up. Help us to be holy and set apart, for such a time as this. Give us eyes to see the real needs of people so that we may be a blessing to them, because of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Song of Promises

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want for anything. (I’ll never lack anything I need.) He makes me lie down in green pastures (He desires rest for me), he leads me beside quiet waters (He leading brings me to a place of peace), he restores my soul (He desires to restore me.)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (His plans for me will prevail.) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (even through life’s uncertainties) I will fear no evil (I am not afraid) for you are with me (I am never alone); your rod and your staff, they comfort me (I know you are always guiding and protecting me).

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies (You call me accepted and you are proud for everyone to know!) You anoint my head with oil; (You call me chosen, set apart); my cup overflows (You bless me abundantly!)

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, (I will never be alone again.) and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (I am yours forever!)

Cue the song of the day.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.