Falling On My Face

This morning, I came to a realization that hit me square between the eyes… okay, it hit me in the heart, where I feel the most, and I couldn’t let it pass without taking care of it. Maybe you’ve been there. You know the truth; that God loves us, He promised He would never leave us or forsake us, that He will always guide us, and that He will complete the good work He began in us.

Then life hits.

It’s amazing how we will take one thought, one statement, that one niggle of fear, and let it snowball into a snowstorm that really isn’t there.

And that, my friends, is how we derail ourselves.

This morning I knew without a doubt that I needed to fall on my face before the Lord and repent. Not that I’ve done anything tremendously wrong. Just that I had let the little things snowball and I needed to reset. Repent. That means to confess, to say I’m sorry, to God. I needed to fall on my face, get on my knees and truly talk to the Lord.

It’s tough for me to kneel because of a past knee injury. But nevertheless, though I knew it would be a bit painful, I brokenly trudged outside (because that’s where I feel closer to Him) to my patio and knelt right there on the concrete, face down.

Why am I telling you this? It’s not for the attention. No. It’s to help someone out there who is struggling with something. I want you to know that this small gesture, though small to us, is a huge show of faith, to God. Because when I knelt down, put my forehead on the concrete, the tears began and all I could say was, “Oh God, I’m sorry!”

Then an amazing thing happened.

We’ve all heard about that still, small voice. Many people wonder if it’s audible. Is it booming? Is it male? Is it female? Does it say, “I told you so!”? No. It’s none of those, yet so much more.

I want to share with you the answer I received from the Lord today, because I want you all to know this:

God. Loves. You. Very. Much.

Let me repeat that a little clearly:

GOD!  LOVES!  YOU!  VERY!  MUCH!

Oh, my sweet friends, you and I have no idea the magnitude of God’s love for us, His tender care for us, His mercy toward us, His grace for us, and His sacrifice so that we can experience all of this over and over again.

While I was on my face, I felt His abundant love. I did not hear, “I told you so.” I heard in my heart (did you know your heart can hear?), “no condemnation.” That was my answer. God loves me and I am not condemned.

I knew it deep down while I was on the patio. I poured it all out to the Lord, and what I received from that obedience was…

Peace.

My dear friends, God has given you a task to complete. He is elevating you to the next level of your life, your ministry, your career… you, lovely, beautiful one, are being elevated, taken higher! In this process, the devil has become angry, threatened, and afraid (oh yes, he’s afraid) of who you might become if you were to actually be successful in this task. If you actually discovered your true identity, a child of the Most High God, and began walking, talking, and acting like it, then you will be a force to be reckoned with. So, the devil has been having a field day making you miserable.

He was with me.

Until this morning.

It’s time to put a stop to it.

Sometimes you just need to fall on your face before God and tell Him the truth. Pour it all out. Who’s going to care but you and God anyway? At least, that’s the attitude we should have.

What do you need to confess to the Lord today? He’s waiting. Ever so patiently, with no condemnation.

Only love.

Marriage 3.5 – How to Go All The Way

On our 35th wedding anniversary (June 18, 2018), my husband set me up – BIG TIME. He scheduled a night for us to share the podium at our church and bring a message about marriage… together.

I think it’s important for people to know that it’s time to step up your game. In the past few years, we’ve noticed the devil amping up his attacks. One area he’s attacking is marriage. Ours has not been immune to those attacks.

The Bible says (in fact, it was Jesus who said it) that the thief (the devil)  “comes only to, steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 ESV). Don’t you know, he wants to steal, kill and destroy your marriage, your relationship with your spouse, and the joy you both once felt when you got married.

When you got married, you each repeated vows. Those vows are a promise, a covenant. To be honest, those vows were meant to be kept and never broken. Just as God makes covenants with us, He never breaks them. We should never break our marriage covenant.

When we got married, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and obey. Yeah, I know most people want to eliminate that one word; obey. But through the years, that one tiny, four-letter-word has been taken out of context so badly that it’s true meaning has been forgotten. In doing so, the sanctity of marriage has been nearly forgotten.

So, what does it really mean to obey? Before we get into that, let me just throw a couple of things out there. We also don’t like the word submit. Let me tell you, I have been in Bible study classes before where the women want nothing more than to bash their husbands. The Bible study forgotten. They justify their banter by saying they’re “helping one another” by “venting.” My answer is, “No, you’re not.” There is nothing godly in that. This is a group of women the enemy has tricked into believing their husbands are the problem, when in fact the wives have been tricked, just like Eve in the Garden of Eden. They all thought they were doing the right thing. Yet they had been sorely deceived.

The wives don’t want to obey, submit or have respect for their husbands. Therefore, the husbands begin to resent their wives. This is what we’re seeing more and more of in marriages. And this breaks our hearts, for the people.

To obey, or submit, simply means to respect. It’s explained in Scripture. In Ephesians 5 it states, “vs.22 – For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. vs. 28 – For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. vs. 33 – So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

The point is this; if the husband loves the LORD more than anything, and the wife loves the LORD more than anything, they will both love EACH OTHER as they should. It doesn’t mean you won’t have arguments or issues. It just means you’ll be better equipped to handle them if you’ve put the LORD FIRST in your lives.

This is what we’re talking about in Marriage 3.5. We want to see marriages and relationships between husbands and wives healed. We want couples to want to stay together. We want people to want to take their marriages all the way. All throughout the Bible there are nuggets of information about marriage and the role of the husband and the wife. We can also learn from other husbands and wives throughout the Bible.

What is going all the way? It’s more than just the marriage. It’s more than sex (although that’s nice). It’s more than sticking it out through better or worse, or in sickness and in health.

We’ll talk about that more in upcoming posts. Stick with us here. It’s going to get really good. Promise!

Squirrel!

In my quest to get things done, I keep running into distractions. Ever have those? Distractions – little SQUIRREL! moments that lead you off onto something else, which leads to something else, and before long, you’ve totally forgotten that first thing that was oh, so important. Or was it? What was I talking about? Hm…

See what I mean? SQUIRREL!

Ah, but isn’t this exactly what the devil would like to happen? To get us so distracted from the task God gave us that we completely forget we were on a mission. Yes! You. Me. On a mission.

You see, while we toddle around, trying to discover our purpose in life, trying to figure out who we truly are, trying to decide what we’re supposed to be doing today and worrying about what we’re going to do tomorrow, we are missing the truth which gets hidden in the shuffle.

SQUIRREL!

You know, I like squirrels; the furry, four-legged kind that steal your birdseed from your bird feeders and dart out in front of your car as you drive down the road. But the distracting SQUIRREL! moments… I don’t like. Granted, some SQUIRREL! moments can be healthy, especially when it’s a Holy SQUIRREL! moment. Ever had one of those?

A Holy SQUIRREL! moment is one in which the Holy Spirit interrupts your thoughts, conversation, prayer, your whole day even, to give you something He thinks you need at the moment. Now those, I absolutely LOVE! In fact, a Holy SQUIRREL! moment is how I got the inspiration for my newest book, Warrior Princess, which releases on Saturday, July 14! But I digress…

SQUIRREL!

We are going to have SQUIRREL! moments. The key is to identify which kind it is and take care of it promptly. If it’s a distracting SQUIRREL! moment – such as getting stuck in the social media vortex, which can keep you there all day, or a difficult person causing stress over something –  take measures to shut it down quickly. However, if it’s a Holy SQUIRREL! moment – like an encouraging word from someone, or a Scripture that just pops into your mind – then pay attention! Write things down. Do whatever you can to remember it and then act on it!

It’s easy to get distracted. I understand that. Which is why Jesus gave us some wise words to live by ~

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” -Matthew 6:33 (AMP)

If we put Christ first in our lives, we won’t have so many SQUIRREL! moments that cause us to veer off onto the wrong path. It also won’t take us so long to get back to where we need to be.

 

Come Awake!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I’ve also been doing a lot of procrastinating. Frankly, I’ve known God wants me to do something and all I’ve been doing is making excuses. That, my friends, is blatant disobedience. For that, there is no excuse.
Oh, I could give one reason after another why I haven’t followed through. But I even have a reason for my reason; it’s an excuse. And an excuse is just a lie, disguised as a reason. Ouch. So, for that, Lord, I’m sorry.

The truth is, every day we are attacked in one way after another. The enemy of our souls has asked to sift us like wheat. Lately, much of that has looked like death to a good number of us. Some of us have lost family, and friends. Therefore, our focus has turned to the tragedy, the loss, the grief, and overwhelming sadness.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” –Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)

I’m not diminishing it one iota. It’s all overwhelming sometimes. But as I started to write this it was just a few days before we celebrate Easter, and it was raining. For days. Thinking back on why we celebrate this occasion, I’m reminded of what Jesus went through just before His crucifixion. I can’t imagine the weight He must have felt. Nor can I imagine the confusion, sadness, and heavy feelings the disciples must have felt. Then again, maybe I can… just a little. While I’m feeling quite a bit sifted myself, I also have hope and an excitement building.
We often focus on the problems in our lives…maybe a little too much. In so doing, we have allowed a drought to take over our minds. This is exactly what the enemy wants to happen. If he can get us to believe we are dried up, shriveled, useless, then he can prevent us from growing. Remember, whatever we sow, that we shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). Therefore, if all we speak are negative things, if all we do is focus on the bad things that have happened, or are happening in, or around, our lives, that’s exactly what will continue.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” –Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

I had put my writing down for a couple of days, and now here it is, Easter. The rain stopped for a while and the sun came out. You know, we celebrate Easter because, although Jesus went through probably the worst death anyone could go through, He came back to life. He rose again. People… Jesus. Got. Back. Up. He’s alive!

That in itself is cause for celebration. As I sat in church and listened to my pastor’s message, I began to realize that the message of the cross; the death, burial, resurrection, is more than just that. It’s not just about salvation. It’s about life! It’s about healing. It’s about forgiveness. It’s about renewal, safety, love, grace, mercy, abundance. It’s about everything because it is everything.
Maybe that’s confusing for some. But look at the cross. It’s so much more than just a tree. There was a t-shirt I saw once that stated, “Jesus beat the devil with a big, ugly stick.” It’s kind of funny when you read it, but ponder that for a minute. The cross wasn’t just about Jesus dying and coming back to life. The cross, while it is a big, ugly stick, is also the source of our healing, salvation, even our very lives. Once we see that, it changes everything.
So, this Easter (and really every day) is, and should be, so much more than we can imagine. Therefore, no matter what you’re going through, grab onto the cross, heave it up, over your head, and declare victory over every aspect of your life!

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” –John 10:10 (Amplified Bible)

The devil (the thief), may be trying to sift us, attack us, or destroy us, but we have the upper hand because of Jesus. Once we grasp this very truth, we become a force to be reckoned with. We need to come awake and pay attention. The devil wants to keep us from becoming who we were meant to be. He wants to prevent us from encouraging and helping others. The devil actually wants to keep us from discovering who we really are. But, he cannot win because he has already been defeated. More than that, because of Jesus, WE WIN… and not just a little. We win BIG!

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” –Romans 8:37 (NLT)