A View Versus A Vision!

 

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

We do not see what God sees.  We see what is currently in front of us and God sees our future, our destiny and our purpose. We have a view but God has a vision.  A view is the actual extent or range of your vision.  Vision is the power of anticipating that which may come to be! In the scripture above, Abram had a view of the land in front of him. The vision was in the length and breadth of all the land and the offspring to come.  The view to Abram was that he and his wife, Sarai, were too old to have children.  The vision was the offspring that would be too numerous to count!

Our view is so much different from God’s vision.  We see our current situation and God sees what will come to pass.

The view is the struggle; the vision is the victory!

The view is the cancer; the vision is the healing!

The view is the unemployment; the vision is the new business!

The view is living from paycheck to paycheck; the vision is the harvest!

The view is the  problem; the vision is the praise!

Abram was a man of great faith.  He made a decision to trust and believe in God’s promises to him.  As he walked through the length and breadth of the land, he experienced some setbacks and some situations, but he kept on walking in faith.   Are you focusing on your current view right now? Or has God given you a vision?  Continue walking in faith.  God has plans to prosper you and give you hope for your future!

Don’t give up!

Don’t let the view distract you!

The vision is so much better!

To the persecutors of Jesus, the view was death on the Cross.  The vision was eternal life and salvation!

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Dear Lord, I am thankful that you have better things in store for me than I what I can see right now. I am thankful that Your vision will bring me through this current view that I have.  I am leaning and trusting on You, Dear Father, as I take this walk of faith to get to where You would have me to be!  In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

Didn’t You Hear Me?

The past few weeks have been very challenging to say the least.  It seems like I get over one hurdle and before I can get one foot on the ground, another hurdle is before me!  Today, when I got home from work I had to get to my prayer closet to have one of those heart to heart conversations with God.  Our conversation went like this :

Me:  Lord, what is going on?  Why do I feel like I am in several battles at one time?  Why do I feel that I am under attack?  Why do I feel such a heaviness is on me?

God: My child, you feel this way because you have not laid your burdens down. You have not trusted me to fight your battles!

Me:  Yes, I did turn all of this over to You!  Didn’t you hear my prayers the other night when I was crying out to You?  I laid it all down, every challenge, every struggle, every disappointment.  I gave it all to You.  You must have heard me!

God: Yes, my child, I most certainly did hear you crying out to me.

Me: Well, what’s the problem?

God: My child, as soon as you finished your prayer and said in the name of Jesus, you went right back to worrying about everything you prayed about!

Me: Did I do that?

God: Yes, you did do that! In fact, you did not give me a chance to let you know that I got this! I am God all by myself! I can fight all of your battles.  I can lift every burden!  I can wipe away all of your tears.  I can mend your broken heart.  My child, I can guide you safely through every storm!

Me:  Wow!  I didn’t even realize I picked my burdens back up.  Forgive me?

God: Of course, my child, I forgive you!  But now I need you to do something for me.

Me:  What would that be?

God: Trust me!  I got this!

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Dear Lord, I am trusting You with everything!  (The good and the not so good.) I am trusting You to work everything out.  I release all of my worries and struggles to You.  I release every distraction and stumbling block to You. I  put all of my trust and confidence in You to fight all of my battles! I declare peace in every area of my life!   In Jesus’ name I thankfully say, Amen!

It’s As Simple As That!

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God is great; God is good!

Let us thank Him for our food!

Bow are heads and all be fed.

Give us Lord, our daily bread!

This is a simple prayer I was taught as a child to bless my food before eating.  This is the same simple prayer, 30 some years, later I taught my three young children.  A few evenings ago, I was blessed to see how this simple prayer had impacted my 17-year-old son’s life.

When my son, Isaiah, came home from basketball practice the other night he was tired and hungry (or better yet, hungry and tired!)  It was still some time before dinner, so he made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack.  When he sat down to eat his sandwich, he bowed his head and blessed his sandwich.  As simple as that, he said a prayer over his snack!  I know that his prayers to bless his food have changed since I taught him the simple prayer cited above. The point is that he is still giving God thanks for his food, even if it was just a snack!  It touched my heart to see him bow his head and give thanks for something that most of us would take for granted, because it was of course, just a small snack before dinner.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 tells us to “pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  This means in all you do or in all you may be going through, that you are to be in constant prayer and thankfulness.  It does not matter whether it is a snack or a full course meal.  It does not matter whether you are in a good place in your life or in a not so good place.  It does not matter whether all your bills are paid or whether they are all past due.  What matters is that you are giving God thanks for His current and future provisions to you.  What also matters is that you are taking all of our requests and needs to Him in prayer and being thankful as you wait for God to move in your circumstances.  It’s as simple as that!

My son was praying and giving God thanks for a snack.  He had an expectation that God was going to give him more to eat later on that evening.  However,  he gave God thanks for what he had available to him at that time as he patiently waited to receive the bigger blessing later on!  It’s as simple as that!

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Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for always giving me the opportunity to come to you in prayer.  I am thankful that I can make my requests known to You and You are an ever present help in my life.  I thank You for the small blessings as well as the bigger blessings.  I thank You for all You have done for me!  In the name of Jesus, Amen!

It’s as simple as that!

 

Where Did The Time Go?

Just a few months ago I was eagerly anticipating my youngest daughter’s graduation from high school.  When that day and that moment arrived,  my heart was filled with mixed emotions.  I was a proud mother to see her stand before her graduating class and deliver the commencement address; but I also knew it was time to let her go.  I kept asking God where did the time go?  It seems like You just gave her to me and now. . .

And now, here  we are already in September and she has completed 2 weeks in college.  Where did the time go? I now have two in college and one beginning  his Senior year in high school.   I have watched my three children grow from babies into young adults and I can’t help but to marvel as to how the time has flown by.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was taking them to  daycare and kindergarten.  I must admit the thought of my children not being home every night has been tough at times.  Over the years I have gotten comfortable in knowing they were safe and secure in their rooms and close by if I needed to look in on them.  Now,  I’m watching my son go out in the evenings to hang out with his friends knowing that within less than a year he will also be on his way to college.  There is so much going on in the world these days, that it’s only natural you want to protect your loved ones at all times, especially your children.  You want to keep them close by as if nothing could happen to them at home, school,  church or in places we call familiar.

The Sunday afternoon I had to leave Cecily at a college 4 hours from home, I had my emotions in check (or at least I thought I did!) I was so busy running around trying to make sure she had everything she needed before we left, that I did not have much time to think about getting emotional.  Just two years before I had taken her sister to school and figured I know how this works now; I can handle it! I’m a big girl! I’ve got this all under control!

Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened. As soon as it came time to give our hugs goodbye, I realized this was it. This was the moment of letting go!   Where did the 18 years go?  When I saw Cecily hugging her brother and sister goodbye, the tears just started to flow.  I could not stop them!  As I hugged her and the tears continued to flow, I said another prayer over my child and her new journey in life.  I gave thanks to the Lord for blessing me with her.  I  told Him that I was trusting Him even more to keep watch over her.

 You see, I needed this reassurance for me more so than I needed it for Cecily. For the past 18 years I’ve known this day would come. I’ve known that my assignment was to raise Cecily as best I could and to encourage her to have her own relationship with God.  He tells us in Isaiah 55 (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

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Cecily Elise Matthews, although I am marveling at how fast the time has flown by, I know you are in God’s hands and you will continue to flourish.  He has a greater purpose and plan for you and it will be fulfilled.  Because of this, I am ok with the letting go and allowing you to grow and prosper according to His divine will. You are a blessing to me and I am blessed because you call me mommy!

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The link below is a post I had the opportunity to write when my oldest daughter graduated from high school 2 years ago. The words “Take Courage” still resonate within me today.  Thanks, to my sister Change Agents, Renee and Roslyn! Love you both!

http://doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com/2011/06/take-courage.html

Why Does It Have To Hurt So Much?

Have you ever experienced an excruciating physical pain and wondered why it had to hurt so much?  This is the type of pain that goes beyond a mere “ouch”.   And what about the pain that digs deep into your emotions?  The pain that breaks your heart and pulls at every part of your physical and emotional being. This could be pain that comes from a serious illness, a failed marriage or the loss of a loved one.  And how about that deep pain we feel due to our own bad choices and subsequent regrets?

Have you ever cried out to the LORD and asked why does it hurt so much?

The pains we experience in life will sometimes cause us to withdraw from a particular activity and/or withdraw from people. There are some athletes who become injured playing their favorite sport.  However, if they experience a torn ligament or broken limb, they may not feel up to returning to their sport for fear of being injured again and feeling that same unpleasant pain.

If you have ever experienced pain inflicted by another person, this could cause you to withdraw from building other friendships and keep you from trusting others.  I have been in this situation a few times.  I have believed someone was my friend only to find out they were doing things and saying things about me that would not meet the definition of friendship.  I have fallen in love and been married only to feel the heartache that comes from harsh words and hurtful actions that caused my heart to break and my trust to be broken.

When you experience a deep hurtful pain, it’s only natural to wonder why does it have to hurt so much? With any pain, whether physical or emotional, there is a healing process.  When you seek medical treatment you have to explain to the doctors and nurses what hurts and give them a level from 1 to 10 as to how much it hurts.   You also have to follow the directions and orders given by the doctors and nurses in order to assist with the progression of your physical healing.

When you have experienced the pain that digs deep into your emotions, you can also seek counseling from a trained professional.  Most of us tend to shy away from counseling because we feel it sends a message something is wrong with us.   This should be a matter of choice for you and perhaps talking to someone on a regular basis is just what you need to help with your healing.  Trying to go it alone may not be the answer for you, so hopefully there is  a ministry or a person within your church that you can call on to help with your healing process.

When I have experienced that deep pain and wondered why did it have to hurt so much, I have trusted in the Lord.  I know the hurt I feel will eventually go away, but I also know that it has also made me stronger.  I have survived the abuse; I have survived the ridicule; I have survived the disappointments and I have survived the dishonesty. I have survived the brokenness!  I can talk to God better than I can talk to anyone else and I know He listens to me even though He already knows what I am going to say.   I know He cares for me and He wants me to trust Him with all of my heart and soul.

Psalm 51:17  says “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise.”

When I have wondered, why it hurt so much, I am reminded of Jesus.  I know that the beating He took, the carrying of the cross and being nailed to the cross had to hurt.  I know that the sneers from the crowd and the crown of thorns on His head caused Him some pain.   But, He endured that pain for me.  So when I am hurting and I am wondering why, I pull my strength from my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  I know that although my tears are flowing, He will give me joy in the morning.  I can wonder why it hurts, but I know the pain is what will draw me closer to  Him.

I was broken and He restored me!

Celebrating Rosa Lee!

Today I am celebrating my mother, Rosa Lee!

  Today would have been her 80th birthday.

When my mother was still alive we would ask her how she was doing and she would say “Oh, I’m having a grand time”!  She would put such an emphasis on the word grand that you could not help but to smile with her.

There were many times in the last couple of years of her life, that she did not always remember who I was when I would visit her.  She would recognize my children and call them by name, but she would look at me and could not remember. She would even say that my children were Jackie’s children but did not realize that I was Jackie!  I would tell her that it was okay and then I would ask her how she was doing.  She never failed to say she was fine and she was having  a “grand time”!

Towards the end, when her memory and health were fading more and more, she would still continue to tell us she was having a “grand time” !

 I can only imagine that every day since January 5, 2011, the day the LORD called her home, that she has been having a “GRAND TIME”!

To God Be the Glory!

It is with much love that I am celebrating Rosa Lee!

Everything I Need!

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me besides the still waters.

He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;

 thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The 23rd Psalm is familiar to most of us.  We either learned it at an early age or we have just heard it so much that we can recite it without looking in the bible.  The past few days, in my quiet time, God has brought this scripture before me to meditate on.  In reading the 23rd Psalm, God ever so gently reminds me that He is everything I need.  Plain and simple as that, He lets me know that He is my shepherd and with him there is no lack.  He gives me peace, comfort, and restoration when my soul is anxious.  He gives me time and a place to rest.  He provides the beauty of nature for me to look at daily.  When evil is lurking near me, He tells me not to be fearful because He is right there with me to shield me from all harm and danger.  When others are  challenging me and even at times attacking who I am, He covers me with an anointed oil that only He can cover me in.  And then,  just like that, He blesses me!  In my best times and even in my broken times, His goodness and mercy is ever-present.

Plain and simple, He is everything I need!

Promises

We’ve all heard the old saying “promises were made to be broken”! I am not sure who first coined that phrase but it is obvious they were either on the receiving end of a broken promise or they broke a promise to someone.

If you have had any disappointments in relationships, you might believe this is a true statement.  Remember when you met that special someone, and all appeared to be going well in the relationship?  You tiptoed around as if you were walking on air.  You could finish each other’s sentences and you stayed on the phone just listening to each other breathe.  You promised to  love each other forever.  You promised to be true to each other.   It didn’t matter that you were only 16.  It was a promise! Then came the unexpected break up.  The tears flowed and your heart was broken!  You just knew you would never love like that again.  “Promises were made to be broken”.

Then there are those special friendships where you promise to be friends forever!  Today, the term is BFF (best friends forever). You shared secrets and promised not to tell.  The next thing you know that secret you told was  being broadcast all over town, on the school yard and even at your church.  You learn the hard way that the best kept secret is the one you just don’t tell.  “Promises were made to be broken!”

The word promise is defined as a declaration to do, to give or to arrange something.  A promise can also  be a declaration not to do something. It is a pledge or a vow. And oh, how it hurts when you realize a promise made to you will not be kept or was never intended to be kept!  How could you have been so gullible to believe the promises spoken to you were truthfully spoken?

When I was in my brokenness because of broken promises, I called on Jesus!  I wanted to know why. Why would anyone want to hurt me with false promises? Why would anyone tell me lies and still continue to look me in my face? Why would they not keep their promises to me?  Why?  I can’t tell you that I have ever found the answers to any of my whys.  I just know these were some experiences I had to go through in my life’s journey.

 When you enter into a relationship with the LORD, you will come to know that He will keep His promises.

 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act?   Does he promise and not fulfill?    I have received a command to bless;  he has blessed, and I cannot change it. (Numbers 23:19-20)

He gives us instructions to do right and we can receive what the LORD has promised.

 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors (Deuteronomy 6:18) 

He can be trusted!

Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. (2 Samuel 7:28)

Even in times of trouble, He promises to sustain you.

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. (Psalm 119:116)

If we believe in Him, He promises us eternal life!

For God so loved the world, that HE agave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

And this is what he promised us–eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

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Dear LORD, Thank you for your promises!  Thank you for loving me when promises that were made to me were broken.  Thank you for sustaining me.  Forgive me, LORD, for uttering promises that I did not keep.  LORD, I thank You for being gracious and merciful.  LORD, help me to do right and to live right so that I may continue to receive your great promises in my life.  I thank You for the promises that have already been fulfilled and I thank you for the promises that are yet to be! Dear LORD, I thank you, that even in my brokenness, you were restoring me with your promises.  In the name of Jesus, I say, Amen.

Determined!

At the beginning of this year a dear friend challenged her Facebook friends to come up with one word to take them through the year.  I chose the word DETERMINED!   The word determined is an adjective that means having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it!

I purposely chose the word determined because I have it resolved in my spirit that I am moving forward in this life and not backwards.  I am determined not to allow past hurts and disappointments take me back to a dark place or time in my life.  Galatians 5:1  In this freedom Christ has made us free; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery which you have put off!

I am determined to walk in victory no matter what people say about me or think about me!   I am determined to encourage myself even when no one else does.  I am determined to receive the blessings and promises God has in store for me!  Psalm 23:5  He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  He anoints my head with oil; my cup runs over!

I have made the decision to live each day as a blessing from God.  I am determined to find joy in each day that I am able to wake up, even when I know I will have to face some challenges.  Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!

I am determined to spend more time with my Father!  The one who can comfort me like no other; the One who truly listens and understands me for who I am.  I am determined to draw closer to the One who  has given me purpose and direction.  Psalm 121:1-2  I will look to the hills from where my help comes from! My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth!

I am resolved to be a better person because I want to be more like Him!  Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them!

 I am determined to take better care of myself.  I am determined to make better food choices. I am determined to exercise more.  I am determined to live more healthy and more holy!  Psalm 139:14  I praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! 

I am determined to trust God more and more with all aspects of my life.  I trust him with my family, my friends, my career, my finances, my ups and my downs! I am determined to let go and let God, because I know how awesome He truly is!  Psalm 24: 10  Who is the King of glory? The Lord Almighty—-He is the King of Glory!

Even in my brokenness, I am determined 2b restored!

Even In My Brokenness. . . . .

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.  Jeremiah 18:1-4

Take a minute and reflect  back on what may have been one of your darkest moments.  When and where did you experience your brokenness?  It may have been the loss of a loved one, the end of a tumultuous relationship, the loss of a job, or a financial hardship.  Could it have been a health issue, drug addiction, depression or eviction from your home?

You may have felt like giving up and running away from your situation.  Maybe you were tempted to drown your troubles by drinking  some wine or some other alcoholic beverage.   Or did the temptation of doing drugs try to lure you back in for a temporary fix? Perhaps  you were tempted to call someone who could only bring more misery and destruction into your life. Did you get so broken that you even considered taking your own life?

Now take a look at yourself today!  Do you see how God sustained you and covered you so that you could be restored? Although you might have felt alone and empty, He did not ever leave you and He surely did not forsake you.  Even in your brokenness, it was God who kept you from taking a drink from the bottle.  Even in your brokenness, it was God who did not allow you to succumb to a temporary high from drugs.  It was God who kept you away from the person or persons who would be of no good for the plans God had in store for you.  Your life was and still is in His hands!

There have been a “few” times in my life, where I was ready to give up.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel and I would become more discouraged day by day.  It got to the point, I did not even know what to pray for.  I would just say “God, I am still here”, but I would feel so tired and worn down.  I would try to smile on the outside while all the time I was a mess  on the inside.  Then God started to show me how He was moving in my life.  He moved me from one location to another.  He put new people in my life; people who did not mind telling me they were praying for me even if they did not know me! Then there were some people who had to be moved out of my life; the ones that thought they knew me.  The ones who would speak negative things over my life and try to steal my confidence and rob me of my joy.  Well, God took care of that, too! Sometimes just as quickly as He will move someone into your life, He will allow relationships to come to an end. Even in the brokenness that we experience, God has a way of restoring us and elevating us to a new place in Him.

Imagine the joy and freedom I felt, when I  started to realize that God was working things out for me.  He was restoring me even in the midst of my brokenness.  My restoration did not come suddenly; it was a process.  A process similar to the clay on the potter’s wheel before the pot is finished! During this process, I learned how my brokenness was making me stronger.  Today, I can proudly say, I was broken to be restored.  I give God all the glory and praise for what He has done in my life and for what He is getting ready to do.  You see, even in my brokenness, He was already making me into a better person for Him! I am restored!  Thank you, Jesus!

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Dear Lord, I pray for those who may be experiencing a brokenness.  I pray they will call on the wonderful name of Jesus.  Set them free, dear Lord, from the situation that has broken their hearts and broken their spirits.  Set them free from the addictions, from the depression and from the bad relationships.  God create in them a clean heart and restore them to be who you have purposed them to be.  God, I ask that You show them how mighty and wonderful you are.  God, I pray for healing in the mind, body and soul.  Where there is lack, I ask that you supply their every need.   God, I thank you for the restoration even in the midst of their brokenness! Amen.

It’s All God’s Time

Ecclesiastes 3.jpg

Ecclesiastes 3:1 starts  with “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.”   In just one verse, we move from a season into a time and then, for a purpose.  My season of harvest may be your season of planting.  My time of weeping may be your time to laugh.  No matter what time “zone” either of us may be experiencing,  it’s all God’s time.

God is the Creator of us all.  He speaks things into existence and He knows the beginning and the end.  As believers, we know that God is in control of all things and at all times; we know He has a master plan.  We know that what He has purposed will prevail.  We know that all He has purposed for you, for me, and for this world will come to pass.

God knew there would be times when some of us would agree with each other and there would be times when we would not  see eye to eye.  However, for those of us who believe, we must be in agreement that as things happen, whether we like them or not, that God is always in control.  He is aware of every activity under the sun and everything in its own season will be done according to God’s time.

As seasons change and as time moves on, God is always with us.  He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.  Will you trust God in your present season?  Will you give Him praise not only during the good times but also during the bad times? Will you glorify His name even when you may not understand what is going on?

Psalm 118:24 says this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Whether this is your season to reap or to sow, or whether it’s your time to speak or to be silent, it’s all God’s time.  Trust Him in this season to do what He has already purposed in your life.  Embrace your current season in a way that will show Him honor.

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Dear Lord, thank You for all you have done in my life. Thank You for allowing me to see different seasons and to grow and prosper in each one of them.  Lord, thank You for all the times You have kept me, even when I would not consider spending time with You.  Thank You for the times You turned my midnight into day.  Lord, I need You all the time. I know that You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and that all time belongs to You! In the mighty and wonderful name of Jesus, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Now, God?

It’s been well over a year since I published a post on this blog.  Many things have occurred in my life since I wrote ” Moving Forward”.  I have moved to another state, gone through a divorce, become an empty nester and most recently, I celebrated my 55th birthday!  Over these months, I have thought about writing, I have wanted to write and I have been blessed with many topics to write about. However, for some reason, I have not been able to write. Even when I have tried to write, I could get no further than a few sentences.  In fact, I am in awe right now that I have finished a complete paragraph.  Praise God!

I have been asking God when do I get to write again?  I have been asking, what now, God, for so many areas of my life which also include continuing with writing this blog. Over and over again, I kept hearing, “be still” or “not yet”.  I have been spending quite a bit of time alone talking to God and trying to declutter my own thoughts so I could clearly hear Him. From my own spiritual perspective, I felt like I was stuck! I’ve been reading the Word of God, listening to message after message, reading devotional after devotional, playing worship music and trying to utter prayers in hopes of moving things along. As much of this as I have done, I kept feeling like I was stuck, like I was not really moving forward.

So today, the question, “What Now, God”, arose in my spirit again. After I left church service and thought about the Word that was ministered to us today, I kept asking “what now?”  This was not the theme of today’s message at church, but as I thought about some of the things the pastor said, I kept thinking what now, God?  And now, this evening as I powered on my laptop, and I started to draft this post, I started to read 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20 verse 12 when Jehoshaphat said “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You”!  Jehoshaphat was surrounded by his enemies. He was stuck, but yet He knew something had to be done.  He felt powerless, but yet he knew he could go to God and ask, what now?  (Of course, that’s not quite how he phrased it.)

And the Lord answered him with don’t be afraid or dismayed at how great the multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s!

Are you feeling powerless? Stuck? Is your back up against a wall? Heavy burdened? If so, it’s ok for you to ask, what now, God? Then, listen for His voice to say, my child, you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel like I have left you alone, you don’t have to think that I brought you this far to leave you!  The Lord is saying to you, stop thinking that you won’t be healed, or you won’t overcome the depression or you won’t be delivered from the addiction or you won’t be set free from the shame or guilt.  Stop looking at how  the enemy has come at you with health issues, bad thoughts, family troubles and financial burdens.  Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you can’t finish school, or that you won’t get the job or the promotion. Let God work all of that out for you, let Him fight the battle for you!

In verses 16 and 17, God gave Jehoshaphat clear instructions about the next day. God said, tomorrow go down against them, you will see them coming up against you. God said, but you don’t have to fight, just position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!

Did you get all of that?  When you feel surrounded by the attacks on your life, when you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, when your flesh is getting weak, ask God “what now” and get in position for your breakthrough! Your enemy is not prepared for your “what now” prayer!

God says, He is going to ambush those attacks coming against you. He is going to move you from that place of being stuck to victory!  He is going to defeat your enemy and scatter your naysayers.  You need to start praising HIM this evening for what HE is going to do tomorrow!  In verse 21,  Jehoshaphat appointed some to sing  for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness.  Their praise was “give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love endures forever.”

This is your notice, you have been appointed to praise Him!  Tomorrow is your day of victory!

When we ask, what now, God?   He answers with  “This is not your battle, this is the Lord’s battle and God will fight for you!”

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Dear Lord,  I thank You for my “what now” moment and that I can look to You for guidance, protection and a strategy for my circumstances. I thank You for letting me know this is not my battle, but Yours.  I thank You for getting me out of this place of being stuck and surrounded, and for ambushing my enemy!  Lord, I am going to praise You right now for the victory!  Lord, because You are fighting my battle for me, I have a great expectancy for tomorrow!  In the mighty name of  Jesus, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

2015: Taking My Praise With Me!

As we approach 2015, I have read quite a few posts about what people will leave behind. Naturally, they want to leave the hurt, the pain and sorrow, disappointment, betrayals and all negativity behind.    I also started to ponder over what I would leave behind, but then I started to consider what I would take with me.   As I enter into 2015, I am taking my praise with me!

I am entering 2015 with praise and I am excited about all God has in store for me.   2014 has been a great year for me even in spite of some challenges and circumstances that came my way. Through it all, I made the decision to trust God and give Him praise even during the times when I was struggling, hurt and brokenhearted.  In the midst of tears flowing and wondering why I was going through what I was going through, I would tell God that I trusted Him and that I was going to praise Him no matter how I was feeling!  As down as I would feel at times, I would continue to praise Him because I knew that my joy was on the way. I knew that He had never left me or forsaken me. I knew He was restoring what was  broken and He was still blessing me.  I continued to praise Him even when I didn’t feel up to it and I continued to praise Him even when I thought He was silent in my circumstances!

I am definitely taking my praise into 2015. My praise gives me hope and peace. My praise tells God that I trust Him in all areas of my life.  My praise allows me to rejoice in Jesus who died just for me.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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I pray, in the wonderful name of Jesus, that you enter 2015 with praise, and that you have a Happy and Blessed New Year!  I pray you shout for joy, because His love endures forever!

God Is Ready To Celebrate!

Last night after returning home from a church service, my son, who is the youngest of my 3 children, called me.  Interestingly enough, he had already called me earlier that day to see how I was doing.  Although I had some inclination of what he might be up to, I was not absolutely certain. Well, my wonderful suspicion was confirmed when I heard the doorbell ring while I was still on the phone with him!   He was the one ringing the doorbell.  He came home to surprise me and to visit with some of his high school friends.  Needless to say if you could have seen or heard me, you would have thought I had just  won the grand prize showcase on the Price is Right!  As you can imagine, I was very excited to see him.  You see, this is his first year in college and as I said before, he is the youngest.  And to be truthful, I just saw him about a month ago, but I have really been missing him and his 2 sisters.

Of course, after all the screaming, hugging and more hugging, my motherly instinct of asking questions kicked in!  How did you get home? What time did you leave campus?  Why didn’t you call me to pick you up?  He told me that he rode the Mega bus from Jacksonville to Orlando.  Well how did you get to the bus station all the way from campus?  He said, I started walking and I was going to walk to the bus station if I had to because I really wanted to come home.  Then he said, I realized that would have been a long walk so I stopped at a local metro bus stop and asked a man did he know if the next bus would take me downtown to the civic center. (Okay, so now I’m thinking to myself, didn’t I tell you not to talk to strangers!)  He said the man was very nice and told him exactly what he needed to do to get to the bus station.  (I thank God for this man who gave my son good instructions on how to make his way home.)

As he told me of how he made his way home, I just started thanking God for keeping him safe and for getting him home.  I sent a text to his sisters, saying ” the baby’s home”!  I posted on Facebook that I was feeling fantastic because my son was home!  I asked him, what do you want me to cook for you while you are home?   I guess you can tell by now that I was overjoyed to have him home for the weekend!  I wanted to celebrate my baby being home and whatever he wants his mommy to cook, I will be in the kitchen cooking it for him!

This morning  I  thanked God for waking me up and for keeping my children safe and especially for the protection He had over my son as he traveled home yesterday.  Then I heard this soft whisper saying,  “Jackie, this excitement you have of your son being home, is how I feel when one of My sons or daughters come back home to Me!  No matter what My children have done,  and no matter the road they travel to get home, I am just glad to have them come back!  As they start to journey back to Me, I will meet them with open arms, hug them and kiss them and we will celebrate!”

20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15)

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My Dear Heavenly Father, today I am praying for Your children that are making the  journey back to You!  I am praying for Your children who think they are not worthy to come back home.  I am praying for the ones who just left home and will get into situations that will make them feel they can never go home again! I know You will keep them safe no matter where they are on their journey back to You.  Whether they are just leaving home, whether they have just hit rock bottom or have just made the decision to come back home, I know You are ready to run to them and welcome them back with open arms.  I am thanking You for the celebrations that will take place when they return home to You!  It is in the wonderful name of  Jesus, I am sending up this prayer!

He’s Been So Good To Me!

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I am rejoicing!

He’s been so good to me!

I have unspeakable joy

He’s been so good to me!

I  delight in my Lord and Savior

 He’s been so good to me!

I have an overflow of praise

He’s been so good to me!

I am more than a conqueror

He’s been so good to me!

I am blessed beyond measure

He’s been so good to me!

I am the head and not the tail

He’s been so good to me!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

 He’s been so good to me!

Again, I say, I am rejoicing

Because He’s been so good to me!

Moving Forward

  Sometimes we get to a  point in our lives, where we have to make a decision to either stand still, go backwards or move forward.  It would seem likely that we would choose to go forward, but in reality we don’t always make that our first choice. Hopefully, going backwards is never the choice. However, it’s the standing still that might cause other problems to arise or get worse.

I’ve recently had to make some personal decisions in my life and I chose to move forward.  This was not my first choice.  I had stood still in a situation for a long time.  I thought progress was being made but then I realized there had been little to no progress.  I made myself believe I was moving forward even when the same issues and problems continued to exist.  I was praying about it and I was still holding on.  When I came to the realization there was no progress, I knew it was time to take some steps. I did not want to stay in that same place and I refused to go backwards. I needed to move forward.

The hardest part about moving forward is that sometimes we have to let go of things and people we have had in our lives for a long time.  We allow ourselves to believe what we are going through is normal, when it’s really not. We allow ourselves to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. We allow ourselves to accept less than what we deserve.  We convince ourselves to hold on because of the love we have for that person and we fear moving on.

My first few steps were tough. I felt like I had cement in my shoes and I had to lift one foot up and put it down before I could think about moving the other foot.  In taking these steps, I have  had to make my situation transparent to family and friends  who had no clue about what was going on in my personal life. I’ve had to deal with the questions, the surprised reactions, the silence, the sympathy and the gossip.  I had to move from what seemed normal and comfortable onto a path I had not expected I would be taking.  I am moving forward.

I take every day step by step. Some days are better than others.  Some days I get through the day without crying and then there are days I  ask God to stop the tears from flowing.  Even with the tears, I am moving forward.  I don’t have time to look back and wonder why for the rest of my life. I understand that I may not get answers to some of  my own questions, but I do know I am moving forward.

I have been told I am a strong woman.  It’s not that I am so strong, it’s because I have a God who has never left me or forsaken me. I have a God who strengthens me when I am weak and a loving God who wipes away all of my tears. I have a God who will fight my battles for me and who will not allow any weapon formed against me to prosper.  I have a God who will supply my every need. I have a God who gives me peace and joy.  I have a God who restores me even in my brokenness.  I have a God who has ordered my steps. I am moving forward.

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Dear Lord, I am praying for someone who does not know that it’s time to move forward. I am praying for the person who does not know how to take that first step.  Lord, I ask You, in the name of Jesus, to give them the will to let go of past hurts, disappointments, unforgiveness, shame and self-pity.  I pray they will no longer allow themselves to be accepting of the uncomfortable places they are in.  I am praying for their strength and determination so they can move forward and receive the blessings You have in store for them. I am believing for them that every stronghold of guilt, abandonment, neglect, mistreatment, and depression will be broken off of their lives.  I am believing You will restore their souls. I pray for their restoration of faith, hope, peace, self-confidence, and joy.  Dear Lord, create in them a clean heart and lead them on the path of righteousness.  I am praying this is the day, they surrender all to You and they move forward! In the powerful and mighty name of Jesus, I say Amen!