"One of the most effective life messages you have is birthed out of your deepest hurt. That which causes you pain, shame, and embarrassment - the part of your "journey" that you want left untold - will become the very tool God uses to powerfully heal others."
Father, I am so grateful
for Your entrusting me with Brooke's life. Help me to nurture her sweet spirit
to become all that You have called her to be. I pray for Your peace that
surpasses all understanding to surround her each and every day of her
life. I pray for her to be kept safe, healthy, and to have a full
life filled with joy! May she walk in confidence down Your path and grow up to
be a woman after Your heart. In Jesus' Name.
Lord, I thank You for entrusting
Alyssa into my hands - to care for her, to raise her to know You, to learn to
hear Your voice, to one day return back to You. I ask for Your help,
Your guidance, Your wisdom. I want to present You with a daughter one day that
has made You proud with her life. I pray for protection and long life for
Alyssa. May Your hand of blessing and favor follow her everywhere she
goes. I commit her once again to You - that she would live a life
unashamed of You - a life recklessly abandoned to Your will...
I loved you the moment
I knew you were on your way
Such anticipation I had
For your arrival day
Great plans for your life
I held deep in my heart
Never thought for a moment
You’d have such a rough start
You were such a fighter
So little - yet so strong
I watched my baby endure
Five months way too long
Now it’s 16 years later
I’m so proud of you
You’ve faced so much
But God carried you through
I look at you now
Your smiling, happy face
I’m so blessed to have you
My sweet, Alyssa Grace
Happy 16th birthday, Alyssa!
You are such a beautiful, fun, and loving daughter. Thank you for always giving
me a reason to smile. I'm so proud of you and I love you deeply.
What is itthat stopped Jesus in His tracks to tend to Bartimaeus' need in Luke 18:35-43?
Here's a man who thought money or goods were his greatest need as he sat on the road begging that day.That is until he overhears that Jesus is passing by. Something stirs within him. His spirit leaps when he hears that the Man of Compassion is in his midst.Faith arises.Bartimaeus becomes desperate to receive more than what a fallen world had dealt him. He becomes bold. He pushes past the fear of men; men, who had sight, yet were blind to what his soul was reaching for. He refuses to keep silent.He no longer accepts “the bad report,” but to trust in the Name above all names.
Heaven’s will and earth collided that day.Bartimaeus walked away with far more than eyes that could see, but a life changing encounter with Love Himself.
The good.The bad.The ugly. The pain.The struggles.The
Notice He didn't say He
"wants." Though He does want us, in order to work in us, He
NEEDS us.He needs our cooperation.
Sweeping things under the rug has
to stop. It's impossible to love
God with all of our heart, mind, soul, body, and strength, if we don't give Him
all of it. Secrets in any relationship destroy intimacy.Even with God.We need to expose to Him the things He
already sees.This will open our ears to
hear Him more clearly to what He is saying to us. This
grants Him permission to begin to heal and adjust our mindsets that don’t align
with His. He won't pull His love from
us.He won’t ignore us.He won’t mistreat us when we become
vulnerable to Him.We can trust Him.
remains hidden can’t be fixed. When a spill is not dealt with or is carelessly
spot cleaned, damage is done. In order to fix the
"spills" in our lives, we have to confront them head on by allowing
God to shine His healing presence on our condition. When our "free will" chooses to let
God in, He then has something to work with.
to trust that whatever He tells us is for our benefit and the benefit of
others. Trust Him that even if what He tells us is painful at the moment,
it is always for our greater good. He may require you to rip out the
flooring to get to the damage. You will be working alongside the Carpenter
of your soul to tear out and restore a messy foundation. Not an easy
task. It will be uncomfortable. It will be ugly.It
will hurt. It may cause every fiber of your being to want
to give up and start sweeping again.NO MORE SWEEPING!
challenge myself - I challenge you - to surrender your ALL. Work with God as He works in you. Expect
Him to do some rearranging because He will. He won't always do what
we are comfortable with because His ways are different, but
they are right. His
purpose is always to get you to the side of His will for you. The process isn't always a quick work, but
anything rushed is rarely done well.
yourself. Wait on Him. His voice is calling out, "I need ALL of you."
Prisoners function, but they're not
free. We often learn to function in dysfunction - emotional, mental,
physical, spiritual - becoming so accustomed to bondage that we settle
with the condition.
learn to live with it. It
It becomes normal.
through life but never free! You
are meant for so much more. Going through the motions of life isn't
living. It's time to quit settling! It's time to stop
seeing yourself through the lens of your past. It's time to
stop defaulting back to the familiar because it's what your mind has been
conditioned to. It's time to aspire beyond limits others have
led you to believe that you have. It's time to make a decision.
Quit hiding the
chains. Quit bringing color to them through excuses as to why it's
okay to remain bound. A finely decorated prison cell is still a prison
cell. It's time to kick off the shackles
and reposition. Your environment, your choice of entertainment, or the
people you surround yourself with may have to change in order for you
to blossom into all you were created you to be. You may
want what's best for others, but not everyone wants what is best
for you. Our choices deeply matter. Life is too short to remain
indecisive. Don't let not making a decision become your decision. Lost time
can't be purchased back.
came to set us free! It's time...
"The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because
He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the
Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and
recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are
oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]."Luke 4:18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pD2zIuiC2g
As I walked one afternoon, I began meditating on a couple of scriptures that may be quite familiar to some of you:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God loved us smack dab in the middle of our sin. He demonstrated His love while we rejected Him.He poured His life out as an offering with the chance we may never love Him back.Why would He lay Himself down for us in the midst of our wickedness? Why would He provide a way of escape for us when we lived a life that mocked His ways?Why?In that moment of question, I felt Him gently speak,“Not because you're worthy of it, but because you're WORTH IT.”
Immediately I was reminded:
“This is My commandment, that you love one another asIhaveloved you.” John 15:12
It is not a suggestion, but a commandment to love as He loved.We are called to love those who do not deserve it. It's far more than voicing the words "I love you."Love is a verb and demands action.It is demonstrated in our choices, in our attitudes, in our words spoken towards EVERYONE… yes, even the unlovely. Yes, even the one who disrespects you, the one who speaks evil of you, the one who has smeared your name, the one who has broken your heart, corrupt leaders, misguided politicians, the harsh boss that takes you for granted…
We have become so accustomed to the thought that we need to only respect and love those who are deserving of it and those who have earned it.God’s ways are much higher than our human logic:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you to show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers alike. For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that?And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the heathen do that?You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character,having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:42-48
Each one of us was once lost in our sin and living a life separated from God… and yet - Jesus found us WORTH IT.When we are tempted to pull our judgmental swords and withhold “the love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts” let’s remember where we came from and love those who have not yet found The Way.
"And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"Romans 2:3-4
The goodness of God.The goodness of God in what Jesus already did, the goodness of God in our everyday lives, and could it also be the goodness of God THROUGH US to others that will lead them to true repentance?
May our love walk demonstrate the God who loved “while we were yet sinners.” May God's love in action - in us - be the very tool that gains us access to speak the Truth into those people’s lives who Jesus found WORTH IT! J
Father, thank You for Jesus - the One
who willingly laid His life down for our eternal freedom.
Thank You for the men and women who have
served and are currently serving our country. Like Jesus, they have committed
themselves and their time for the sake of freedom. They have unselfishly laid
down their lives for us and even a future generation yet unborn.
Thank You for the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
Comfort the families who have lost their loved ones while battling for our
country's freedom. We are so thankful for the price they've paid. Comfort the
families whose loved ones are away. Give them strength and courage to face each
We lift up those who are on the battle lines
now and those who could be called at any time. We pray for their protection and
safe return. We pray that their purpose in fighting for our peace not be in
for the servicemen and women who do not know You. Send laborers into their
path. May the blinders be removed and their eyes be opened to the Gospel
message. We pray Jesus would become their hope and comfort; that they would
then unashamedly share their experience with Him to others. We pray for a
domino effect - that the saving message and love of Jesus would spread like wild fire! We pray that the United States would fall in
love with You. We pray that revival would be sparked in the hearts of all -
that a great awakening would strike the land and Jesus would be glorified in
America. Bless our country, Father. In Jesus' Name. Amen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arSiv9PRo04