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Thankful 2B Thankful

 

Be Thankful!     The other morning as I was saying my prayers, I said “Lord, I know I tend to be thankful for the same things over and over again. I thank You for waking me up. I thank You for my life and allowing me to see another day.  I thank You for keeping my children, siblings and friends safe. I thank You for the followers on Broken-2b-Restored. I thank You for a roof over my head and food on my table.” I said, “Lord, I know I sound like a broken record and that I am always thankful for the same things.” But then I said, “Lord, I am just thankful to be thankful!”

Thankful to be thankful! This made me realize that I have not always told Him Thank You. As a young person in college, I would just get up and take everything for granted.   As I became a full time employee, wife, and mother, I would wake up and maybe say a brief Thank You, but then I would just go on about my day.  Reflecting on this and how He has kept me over the years, made me realize even more how thankful I am.

Like most, I have been through my share of  ups and downs.  I have had some major disappointments and personal challenges that weighed heavy on my heart, my body, and my mind. I have wondered how the bills were going to get paid: how was I going to free myself from a verbally abusive and controlling spouse, or how I was going to be a good mother to my children.  And today, when I look back on where I was and where I am now, I am so very thankful.  I am thankful to be thankful, because of how God has kept me.  He has protected me from the seen and unseen dangers.   He has kept me and my children safe; He has clothed and fed us; and He has always provided us with a roof over our heads.

As I grew closer to God and I learned to ask Jesus to intercede on my behalf, my perspective on being thankful changed. I stopped taking it for granted that I just woke up each morning.  I know that God’s mercies towards me are new every morning, even when I tend to thank Him for the same people and things over and over again. I know I can repeat these words of thankfulness and also add onto it as each day passes, because He waits to hear from me. I know He has always provided for me and that He will continue to do so.  Yes, I have continued to experience the ups and downs that come with living this life here on Earth, but I’m thankful for every day, every blessing, and every lesson learned.   I am thankful to be thankful.

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Dear God, thank You for keeping me and my family covered under Your mighty protection.  Thank You for continuously blessing us and showing us how much You love us.  Thank You for my life, health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see how good You have been to me, and for teaching me the lessons to be learned from heartbreaks and disappointments.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy towards me. Thank You for Jesus and Thank You for The Holy Spirit. Lord, I am just thankful 2b thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of fristfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV

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. John 3:16 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but  in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

 

 

What Will You Say To Your Mountain?

 

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Matthew 17:18-21(NIV) tells us ” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why, couldn’t we drive it out? He replied “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed of faith against a mountain?  Can you visualize that picture?  Do you know how small a mustard seed is and how big mountains can be? And when you look at what Jesus said, that is exactly what he meant.   Yes, a mustard seed is very small.  Yes, mountains are huge.  However, if you trust and believe just a little bit, you will be surprised as to how things can move mightily in your circumstances!

When challenges and frustrations start to overwhelm you, speak to them just as Jesus said to speak to the mountain.  When you feel you are under attack, rebuke the schemes of the enemy just like Jesus did over the little boy.  So often, we see how God blesses and/or delivers others and we don’t understand why our prayers did not manifest into the blessings and actions we spoke.  Could it be we have focused too much on our mountain and not enough on our faith? Today, I encourage you to focus on your faith, no matter how small or weak your faith may be, speak to your mountain and believe it can be moved. Sometimes the mountain is not as close to you as you think it is, and when you keep trusting God the mountain starts to get smaller and eventually disappears from your circumstances.  All you have to do is have a mustard seed of faith and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can believe in your faith in God enough to move the mountain? What will you say to your mountain?

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Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with just a mustard seed of faith.  And, with this tiny seed of faith, I believe that my situation is already better.  I believe that mountain of frustration is moved; I believe the financial obstacle is no longer in my way; I believe that all manner of sickness and disease in my body is gone. I believe the enemy is under my feet and no longer in my way. I believe you are taking my mustard seed of faith and showing me that nothing is impossible, and that I can speak to the mountain in my life and it shall move. Right now I am telling the mountain with a mustard seed of you are going to move!  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen and Thank You!

 

 

 

I Thought The Chair Was Empty

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As I write this blog, I am visiting a location near Cleveland, Ohio.   When I left South Carolina the other day the temperature was 81 degrees, and  when I arrived in Ohio the next day, it was 39 degrees.  Driving through the streets to get to this charming apartment in Ohio, I could see what was left of a light blanket of snow that had fallen the night before. It’s always fascinating for me to see snow blanket the ground and rooftops, especially before it gets too messy.

I share this with you because this morning, I find myself sitting alone at breakfast having a bagel and coffee. (It’s cold outside and right now I am not ready to venture out the front door.)  There are only two chairs at this table and the “empty” one is directly across from me.  As I looked at the “empty” chair, I began to think what if Jesus was sitting in this empty chair and what would I say to Him?

Immediately, I began to think I would tell Him about things in my life I did not get right.  I would tell Him about the wrong decisions I made and how my thoughts and actions often got me into some messy situations. I would let Him know that my heart had been broken a few times and how I had struggled with forgiveness.   I figured if I brought all of this up myself, He wouldn’t have to tell me about how I mishandled things.  As I looked across at what I thought was an  “empty” chair, I heard Him say to me “I love you”.  There was no bringing up the past.  There was no making me feel ashamed. It was just those three words, “I love you.”

As I sat across from this chair with tears and rejoicing in the revelation it was not really  an empty chair, I felt so blessed. It is such a great feeling to know you are loved unconditionally.  Others may bring up your past and remember all the bad stuff,  but not God.  The Bible tells us that He knew each one of us before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He knows all about us and He knows what we are going to say and do before we even utter a word or make a move.  He loves us in spite of the mistakes He knew we would make. He is such a loving and compassionate God.

As I took another look at this chair, I began to thank God for blessing me today with His presence, His love and His amazing grace.   The chair in front of me was filled with compassion, strength, joy, peace, hope and most importantly it was filled with the love of Christ.  Whenever Jesus is seated at the table with you, the chair is never empty.

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“Lord, You know everything there is to know about me.  You perceive every moment of my heart and soul, and You understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.   You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and You know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!   You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future and prepared the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.”

Psalm 139:1-7 The Passion Translation

 

 

I Was Broken 2b Restored

I am rejoicing today because the Lord blessed me to wake up on my 57th birthday, and because this is also the 7 year anniversary of Broken-2b-Restored.

I shared my first post on my 50th birthday on November 2, 2011.  When I prayed about starting this blog the Lord gave me the title Broken-2b-Restored.  I knew I wanted to write words to share some of my testimony in hopes my experiences would encourage and lift up others.  I also knew I wanted to share with others how to love God while also, learning to love yourself in spite of experiencing brokeness.

I must admit that in my younger years I was not sure how to love God and how to allow Him to love on me. I would feel that I was not worthy of His love.  I would wonder how could He love me when I didn’t spend time with Him like I should.  I kept thinking I have to get myself together in order for Him to love me and to bless me.  Also, I resisted feeling His love because of how others who said they loved me mistreated me.

I have since learned that no matter how broken or hurt I was, God has  always been there unconditionally loving on me.   When others have turned their backs on me, walked away and mistreated me, God was always there to lift me up and keep me going. When others did not tell the truth about me to justify their own bad behavior, God was always there to comfort me and to not allow me to wallow in self-pity or unforgiveness. When my own choices and decisions caused me hurt and pain, God has always  been there for me to lean and depend on.  God would not allow me to give up, give in or give out!

How could I not see His love for me and how could I not understand that in spite of my brokeness, He was going to love me anyway?  No matter how many times I experienced brokeness, God never left me.  I thank God for His revelation and  transformation in my life!

I was broken 2b restored and I was restored because of His love for me.

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Dear Lord,  thank You so much for another day in my life.  Thank You for all the grace and mercy You have shown me over the years.  Dear Lord, I know  I would not be who I am and where I am if it had not been for your precious love for me.  I thank You for the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for me.   I thank You for the comfort of the Holy Spirit Who abides in me.   I am so grateful that in my times of brokeness You have loved me and restored me.   I was broken 2b restored and I am forever grateful! In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”   Psalm 36:5-9 (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why? What has He done wrong?

In my quiet time the past few days, I have chosen to read chapters in the Bible that lead up to Resurrection Sunday. These are the final chapters that take us through revealing the plot to kill Jesus and then to The Resurrection.  This morning, I have been reading Matthew 27 which tells the story of when Jesus was handed over to Pilate.

As I was reading the part where the shouting crowd chose to release Barabbas over Jesus, Pilate’s 2 questions to them in verse 23 resonated from the page.   Pilate asked the crowd “Why?”  And then, He asked “What has He done wrong?”   These questions seemed to incite the crowd more and they shouted “Crucify Him!”, yet they never answered Pilate’s questions.

In Luke 23:34 after Jesus was on the Cross between the 2 criminals,  Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”   When Jesus said to forgive them, He answered Pilate’s questions.  In my spiritual mind,  Jesus answered the questions in reverse order.

Pilate:  What has He done wrong?

Jesus:  I have done nothing wrong.

Pilate:  Why?

Jesus:  They have done wrong!  I am doing this for them.

Jesus’ dying on the Cross is the answer to what the people did wrong back then and to what we do wrong now.  On the day He was crucified, it was not about the wrongs that just occurred on that day.  Jesus’ death on the Cross was about our sins: the wrongs of our bad choices, the wrongs of our unclean thoughts, the wrongs of our sinful activities, the wrongs of our bad behavior and the wrongs of our bad attitudes.  Our sinful nature is the answer to the question Why?

Pilate’s questions were for that particular moment in time.  However, the reason the crowd did not respond with an answer was because Jesus had to get to the Cross for the answer to be revealed.   His answer was for all of eternity.   John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  (HCSB)

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Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You for Your Beloved Son, Jesus!  Thank You for the love You have shown us over and over again.  Jesus, we thank You for the precious blood You shed for each one of us.  I pray that as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, that lives will be changed and souls will be saved as we give remembrance unto You.  I pray there will be a true understanding for many to the question as to Why You died on the Cross.  I pray more people will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please forgive us of our sins!  It is in  His mighty and precious name, I say Amen!

It’s All God’s Time

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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!