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Archive for the ‘From My Heart’ Category

 

John 20:11-18

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Jesus was not hiding from Mary, but she did not recognize Him until He said her name. He was not hiding from Mary and He does not hide from us. We search and search for the one thing that will fill that void inside of us and He is right in front of us waiting for us to recognize Him. We desperately try to find happiness and love through drugs, sex, alcohol, empty relationships, work, food, etc. and Jesus stands just behind us asking, “who are you looking for?” We try to find happiness and love in all the wrong places. All the while, we suffer from loneliness, broken hearts, grief, pain, depression, anxieties, fear and overwhelming exhaustion. We still run from the ONE THING that can fill us with joy, peace and love. Jesus is calling YOUR name right now. Put down whatever it is that is keeping you from hearing Him. Put down the drugs. Let go of the relationship that is leading you down the wrong road. Let go of whatever it is you are trying to fill the empty void with and focus on Jesus.

He is standing right behind you asking, “who are you looking for?” He is calling you by name and He loves YOU. Fill that emptiness with the one who loves you. His name is Jesus.

 

 

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Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Exodus 4:10-13

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” 13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

There is such a contrast between the responses of Isaiah and Moses to God’s call on their lives. Isaiah was eager to be used by God. He enthusiastically answered YES! when God called for mission volunteers. I can picture Isaiah jumping up and down, waving his hand yelling, “me, God, me! Pick me! I want to go!” On the other hand, Moses was a bit reluctant when God spoke to him from a burning bush. He gave God excuses as to why he couldn’t answer the call God had on his life. Moses even went so far as to tell God to send someone else. If hiding from God was an option, I’m sure Moses would have done it.

I have had to ask myself how I will answer when God calls on me to a Godly mission. Unfortunately, I have been more like Moses than Isaiah. Yep, I completely understand Moses and have repeated his excuse verbatim when called on by God. Being an enthusiastic volunteer is not me and if I do say yes it is in a quivering voice, shaking in my shoes. How I wish I could be more like Isaiah, ready to answer God’s call with a willing YES! instead of with excuse after excuse as to why God should choose someone else. Something I am working on for sure.

What about you? When God calls you to answer His call, do you answer eagerly, like Isaiah, or do you make excuses, like Moses? If you answer like Moses, why? What makes you a reluctant servant? Is it fear? Is it something else? Whatever it is, turn it over to God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you become an enthusiastic servant.

The most important thing to remember is that even though Moses made excuses, he still obeyed God. God may have been frustrated with Moses, but he never gave up on him and He won’t give up on you either. Give your excuses and reluctance over to God and trust Him with the outcome of the mission He calls you on. God will give you the courage, strength and power to do His will. Be willing to move your feet and trust God to guide your footsteps. Being a volunteer on a Godly mission is always an adventure! Be an eager servant and hang on for the ride!

If you need encouragement along the way, let me know and we can pray through it together. I know the awesome power of prayer and am always here to pray for you, whatever the need. Be blessed, my friend!

 

 

 

 

 

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Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

I heard an online sermon that caused me to ask myself the question: Am I Peter or the disciples? Unfortunately, my answer is that I have been much more like the disciples than Peter. I have been more likely to find myself staying in the boat. As I realize this about myself, it saddens me to know that there have been times when I should have trusted Jesus, as Peter did, but chose to act more like the disciples.

When we read this story, we tend to focus on the fact that Peter gave in to his fear and started to sink. The normal reaction to that is, “I don’t want to be like Peter and give in to my fear.” For this blog post, I want to focus on the three things that Peter did right.

  1. Got out of the boat– Peter was the only one to get out of the boat. He was the only one who trusted Jesus enough to even attempt to walk on the water. Peter trusted Jesus! We will never know what we can do if we don’t get out of the boat. In the real world, the boat is our comfort zones. If we never trust Jesus enough to venture out of our comfort zones, we will never know what we can accomplish. We will never know how God can use us. Is Jesus telling you to “come”? What is He asking you to do? Is He asking you to get out of the boat? Is He asking you to move out of your comfort zone? Will you trust Jesus enough to obey the command?
  2. Focused on Jesus- The passage says that Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus. PETER WALKED ON WATER!!! How did Peter walk on water? Peter focused on Jesus! He looked ahead to where Jesus was. In order to do the impossible he had to keep his eyes on Jesus. As soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus, he started to sink. He turned his focus to his fear and the storm and he started to sink. We can accomplish the impossible if we focus on Jesus. We can accomplish the impossible if we look ahead toward Jesus and not focus on our circumstances. What is that “impossible” thing that you are wanting to accomplish?  Are you focusing on Jesus? Or are you focusing on your circumstances? what three things can you do that would help you focus on Jesus more?
  3. Cried out for help– Even when his fear got the best of him, Peter still trusted Jesus to save him. Peter still trusted Jesus! Getting out of the boat takes courage. Stepping out of your comfort zone takes courage. Courage is a feeling that comes and goes. Peter denied Jesus three times later on. David ran in fear from King Saul. Do you think Moses was afraid as he faced God speaking to him from a burning bush? Do you think he faced the call on his life with enthusiasm and a willing heart? Moses was afraid. That’s why he came up with excuses not to do God’s will. We ALL feel fear at one time or another. The important thing is to refocus and cry out to the ONE who can save us: JESUS. Have you allowed your focus to slip from Jesus to your circumstances? Have you cried out to Jesus to help you? If not, why? In what three ways can you refocus on Jesus?

The main point here is not to let the storms of life keep you in the boat. Don’t let your circumstances keep you locked up in your comfort zone forever. Don’t be like the other disciples who sat in the boat while Peter had this thrilling adventure in faith. He had this AWESOME moment with Jesus that the other disciples missed. Don’t miss that moment because you are afraid or you think that your situation is hopeless. Focus on Jesus. Get out of the boat and see what amazing adventure in faith is waiting for you. Don’t worry if you start to sink. Cry out for help and refocus on Jesus. Trusting Jesus can lead to a wild ride full of impossible things becoming possible. Don’t allow yourself to miss out. Trust Jesus!

 

 

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Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

I was at work this week and a Sister asked me how my daughter, Kiowa was doing. Kiowa has been stationed in Japan for 2 years now and with the threat from North Korea, the Sisters have been faithful prayer warriors. This question led to a conversation about world events (such as the school shooting in Florida and the mass killings in China) and how much hopelessness there is in the world. I mentioned how all of this despair can cause anxiety and worry and she mentioned the Bible verse that mentions the Proverbs 31 woman who can laugh at the days to come. I reflected on that verse for the rest of the day and looked it up as soon as I got home.

Having the ability to laugh at the days to come takes faith in God. Something that comes and goes with me. I can be the epitome of faith at one time and completely lack faith at another. Thinking about the days to come can cause me to shake in my shoes. Why is that? If I have complete faith in God like I’m supposed to, then why is it so hard for me to trust God with the days to come? Aren’t Christians supposed to have faith in God at all times? WHY IS IT SO HARD?

I want to be the woman who laughs at the days to come. I want to be the woman who has no fear of the future. I want to be the woman who trusts God with every situation that comes my way. How? How do I keep my faith from coming and going like leaves upon the wind? I know of two ways to strengthen my faith:

  1. Pray: God blesses us when we pray. God gave King Solomon wisdom when he prayed for wisdom and God will give us faith when we pray for faith. When we pray, God moves mountains on our behalf. He will answer our prayers for faith.
  2. Read the Bible: The Bible encourages us to be strong, to be courageous and to have faith. When we read the Bible we fill ourselves with the promises of God. We fill ourselves with the power of God through the Holy Spirit.

I remind myself that even King David’s faith wavered at times. The disciples didn’t always have faith. Peter denied Jesus 3 times, because he didn’t want to face the persecution that came with being a disciple. I am human. There are times when I may not have the faith of David facing Goliath, but the Bible says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed that NOTHING will be impossible for us (Matthew 17:20). Certainly, I can summon the faith of a mustard seed!

As the enemy continues to create chaos around the world and we see the pain and heartache caused by the evil he unleashes, I know that I really need to focus on becoming that woman that can laugh at the days to come.  I need to be in constant prayer and I need to be meditating day and night on the Word of God, so that I will be able to trust God completely with whatever the future holds. I don’t want to be that Christian that is found cowering in the corner, biting my nails, fretting over what may happen. I want to face the future with courage.

My challenge to you: if you find yourself lacking faith, I challenge you to pray and dig into the Bible. The world is a scary place and things aren’t getting better. We all need to find the faith to face these events with courage and faith. We all need to be able to trust God with our future. The goal of ALL Christians should be to have the faith of the Proverbs 31 woman and be able to laugh at the days to come. If we can not summon that faith then we will find ourselves locked in a prison of worry and fear.

If you find yourself struggling in your faith, or suffer from anxiety, worry or fear, contact me. I am here to pray with you and encourage you. I will walk with you as you build your faith in God. I know how hard it is. I’ve been there and on some days am still there. You do not have to suffer alone.

 

 

 

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John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I think it was fitting that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day were the same day this year. We all think about Lent as a time of loss and sacrifice. It IS a time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, but this year I am reminded of the greatest love story that has ever been written. We can read about this amazing love in the Bible. It is all about God’s love for us.

God loved us so much that He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus. God sent Jesus to die a horrific death, as a final sacrifice for US. I don’t deserve that kind of love. I am not worthy of that level of sacrifice. In my mind, I will never be good enough, but God says that I am. I am worthy. God knows that I am imperfect. He knows that I am a mess. He knows that I am broken beyond belief and He knows that on most days I am desperately hanging on to the hope that is found in Him. God knows all of this about me and yet He still sent His Son, Jesus, to die so that I may LIVE. That is what love is all about.

Valentine’s Day is now past, but Lent has just begun. I know Lent is usually about giving up something: candy, meat, soda, internet, etc. In the spirit of God’s love, why don’t we find a way to show love to those around us. Use this season to bring the love of God to the hurt and lonely. Make this the year you let someone know that they are worthy and loved. As you step out and love those around you, you will feel the love of God for you in a way that you never have before. For God so loved the world and this world needs more love.

 

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Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

We live in a time when people live isolated from family and friends. Many people go through life alone. I love the sentiment in this Bill Withers song, “Lean on Me.”  We need to be there for each other. We need to look past our differences and be willing to help each other regardless of our racial/cultural differences, gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status, educational background or any other difference that keeps us from reaching out to each other. We segregate ourselves into groups and refuse to reach out to help those that are different. we continue to recreate the past, refusing to learn from our mistakes.

Why do we do this? There are so many people that are alone and hurting. There are so many people that are living lives of quiet desperation and we choose to turn a blind eye and walk past their pain. We should be living out the example of Jesus. We should be showing compassion to those in need whether they are different or not. Although, Jesus was Biblically sent to bring the Gospel to the Jews, in Matthew 15:21-28, He has mercy on a Canaanite woman and rewards her faith. In John 4, Jesus shows compassion to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Jesus didn’t care about the differences or that Jews weren’t supposed to associate with these two groups of people. Jesus saw the need and had compassion on these women.

Is there someone in your neighborhood/community that has a need? Is that person “different” than you are? Is that difference stopping you from stepping out in compassion? How can you look past the difference and your own bias to meet the need of one of God’s children?

I challenge you to look past the differences and see a child of God. We are ALL God’s children and Romans 2:11 tells us that God has no favorites. This means that one demographic is not better than another. He loves us all the same and wants us to show compassion for each other when one of us is in need. “Lean on me” needs to be a phrase that we use more. Look around you this day, week and year and see how you can be that person to lean on for someone else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a cousin that has embraced her passion and has turned it into a life that she loves. Kali was going through a difficult time and at some point became inspired by Native American hoop dancers. She started hooping on a regular basis and it has evolved into so much more. She is now not only a talented hoop dancer, but has taken on other activities, like becoming a certified fire-eater, and  balancing swords on her head. She is in her 30’s and lives a life full of passion. She does performances. She gives individual instruction as well as workshops. Recently, she has brought together other talented performance artists and founded the Rogue Underground Circus: an all female circus. She has created a life that she loves and I admire her for it!

Why does it seem so hard to live a passionate life? Why does it seem so hard to create a life around that one thing we are passionate about? Why can’t we find that one thing that makes us jump up in the morning ready to start the day? I watch Kali’s videos and I feel her joy when I see her pictures on Facebook. Why is it so hard for me to feel that same joy for life? We all need something to live for.

I guess if I am honest, my question would be: Why am I not as passionate about Jesus as Kali is about performance arts? Shouldn’t my passion for Jesus exude from every fiber of my being? Is there such a thing as a passionate life lived quietly? Does passion have to be outrageous and always public? I look at Kali’s life and I wonder if I am living my life as passionately. I love Jesus with all of my heart. Does the world see that? Does my passion for Jesus show to those around me?

In my reflecting, I have to remember the Sisters with whom my life has become intertwined. I know that they are passionate about Jesus and taking their charism of love, mercy and justice to those who are hurting. They live quiet, simple lives of prayer and service. They are passionate, but they do not have to go out and yell it from the street corners. Maybe, what I do not see in myself, others see in me. I hope so. I am a quiet, simple person. I like solitude. I find peace in the solitude. Maybe, passion can be found there too.

 

 

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