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.