Time Out

Time Out

fantasy-football

Ever watch football? At my house we have put together a fantasy football team,  connecting my family which is stretched from coast to coast. It has sparked a whole new interest in football for me. With a house full of boys, it was bound to happen. If you have watched football, you will notice that there are times when the coaches or the players call for a time out. It is a time when the commercials are played. But mostly it is time for the players and the coaches to say we need to refocus, renew and rejuvenate. They get out of the game and mingle on the sidelines. The players then come back into the game and you can see it in their faces. They have a plan, they are focused, they are strengthened.

What would happen if they stayed on the sidelines?

In life there are times when we need to be like the players and call a time out. For me it usually involves coffee. I like to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and drink in Jesus’ word as I read from the Bible. Sometimes, my time outs last a few days, sometimes a few months as I withdraw to the sidelines to confer with my coach. OK, God, why am I here? We are stuck in the middle of the field and the offense is strong. I am barely able to hold the the line. Tried throwing and it got intercepted. Tried passing it off and it got fumbled. What is the plan?

That is when I hear a voice telling me:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait on the Lord, will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”—– Isaiah 40:38-31

Jesus is saying, ” It is time to get back into the game.” This time with My understanding, with My strength, with My might, My power. Jesus will give you new strength, you will run and not get tired, and will walk and not become weary, but you have to get off the sidelines, the buzzer has sounded, get back into the game!!

time-out

Game Talk:

What is God telling you? What is your game plan?

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Radio man

Radio man

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

With a house full of testosterone, I have learned to appreciate a good war movie every now and then. They remind me that you can have courage under fire and strength when you need it.  (FYI…..Although my husband tries to convince me that Braveheart is a love story, I am still not convinced). Recently, I was watching this movie where the combat team is highly specialized and they are on a secret covert mission during WWII. The introduction goes through each man and gives their name, rank, expertise i.e. John, Lt, sniper; Frank, Col, leader; Bill,Lt, knife expert; Joe, night vision; Sam,demolitions, etc. All have been on multiple missions and all have been highly decorated for success and bravery under fire.

Then we get to the last one, Bill, RADIO MAN.

Experience— none.

Military— only 6 mos.

Reason for being chosen— other guy got sick.

Location when picked— in chair at the radio on the plane.

Reason chosen— no time to pick someone else.

Do you ever feel like ‘RADIO MAN’ or woman ?

I ask God some times, “Why am I here, Now. Not exactly what I had planned, God.” I think that maybe Radio Man thought, ” yeah, in the military talking on the phone, should be easy.” He asked the lead commander what the mission was and was told “need to know” (standard military response for –just obey orders peon).Ok, now Radio Man is on a mission he wasn’t trained for or briefed on and he is getting shot at. Radio man just about gets sick right there. But the good news is, he is THE RADIO man. Which means maximum protection!

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 21:6

063In God’s army, we are like THE RADIO man. We have maximum protection. We may be in a battle and not know why or how, but God always has His plan and reason. The battle will bring out fruit in our lives that can only come out under fire. This is the time where our relationship with God flourishes. It is the time where Jesus shines forth in all His glory. The battle is not ours, but His. The victory is in His hands.

We don’t need to know the mission, it will be revealed to us when the time is right. In the mean time, press into the relationship with Jesus, learn to hear His voice and His voice alone. Allow Jesus to do His perfect work in our hearts.This is a time for prayer coupled with action. Let your heart stay soft and sensitive to the voice of God. Look for the miracles amongst the battle.

Praise Jesus and ‘thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’  1 Cor 15:57.

In case you are wondering, What happened to Radio Man? Well, the original mission failed and had to be changed in mid battle. As it turned out, they had to sabotage a submarine minefield that was controlled by radio signals. Guess what, only Radio Man knew that equipment. The original man chosen would not have been able to do it. As a result, the American fleet made it through. When the battle is over we will be able to look back and see that it is no mistake that we were where we were. Jesus sees the big picture when we don’t.

(FYI– the movie is Ambush Bay by United Artists, 1966)

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

When did you feel like ‘Radio man’ or ‘Radio woman’ and how did you receive ‘maximum protection from God’?

Be Strong in the Lord

Be Strong in the Lord

 

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Be Strong in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

Have you ever played paintball? With teenage boys, it is inevitable. My son had a paintball birthday party. The place advertised, “Mom’s Play Free”, which translates “Mom’s put a target on your chest, You are Going Down!”  Moms watch out, the kids will form ‘unholy alliances’ against the mom. Why? Because  boys know what you might not know. Paintball is as much about the relationships, or alliances, as about the battle.

What kind of alliances do you have?

Relationships and spiritual battles are connected.  Have you ever noticed that the scriptures in Ephesians 6 which talk about the Armor of God and waging battle follow instructions regarding relationships? (Ephesians 6:1-9) . Relationships cause friction but our battle is not with the person.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Ephesians 6:10

“Strong” in Ephesians 6:10 is used three times:

  • Strong-v. “endynamoo” which means to be enabled, to receive strength It means that our strength is not from us, but from the God who made the heavens and the earth. The God who made us, who knows us better than anyone will empower, strengthen, enable us for the battle. He is the Commander in Chief of the battle and not us. Praise God!
  • Strength– n. “kratos” which means ‘mighty deed’, and ‘a work of power’. The word comes from vigor. Not only is God giving us the strength and invigorating us for the battle, but His deeds are powerful to accomplish all that He wants us to.
  • Might-n. “ischys” which means ‘ability’, ‘force’, ‘strength’. We may not have the ability, but God does.

The word ‘in’ can also be translated ‘with’. It is a preposition. Remember your grammar, a preposition links two things together.  We are to be linked or interwoven with God’s power, strength, mighty deeds, ability, force to have the healthy relationships that God intended. When we are in an alliance with God then we can  withstand and overcome the battles.

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Was there a time when God gave you the ability to see the true battle in a relationship? With God’s wisdom, and power, how was the situation turned around?

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…..Inside and Out…..Honey, Patricia, Janet, Carol

In God we Trust….four words that bring so much controversy. It is not the world we grew up in and I am sure our parents thought the same way. Songs, videos, books that praise God’s name are viewed as offensive, but when we are in a time of need, we drop to our knees…. from which comes our strength, our hope, our joy. I know we refer to the faith of our ‘founding fathers’ as the basis for this, but it goes deeper than that. It is the very core of our being. It is the empty hole we cannot fill with anything else. Since the beginning of time man has tried to fill that void with all sorts of things from money, daring excitement and adrenaline rushes (natural or man made), sexual pleasure, or just wanting to be in the best house in the best neighborhood with the best job and the best family (the idea of a ‘perfect’ life). All these are fleeting and bring joy for a season.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

As a teenager, I learned that negative emotions can be habit forming and that joy has nothing to do with happy times or happy circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God and knowing that He is there with us always. Jesus will supply all we need physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. As a teenager, my parents divorced and my mom and my sister and I moved to a new town. I struggled with my identity of who I was and with acceptance as most young girls do. During this time, God brought four ladies, friends of my mom, into my life, Honey, Patricia, Janet and Carol. They filled in the ‘mama’ gaps when my mom could not. What I saw in them was the power of prayer and faith in God and Jesus’ ability to fill that ‘gap’ in my life and bring true joy. Their families and children were not perfect, but their love for Jesus was. I saw a faith and determination to trust Jesus through the hard times and rejoice with Him in the good times. Their relationship with Jesus was and still is a steady anchor in their lives. I wanted that for me; a faith that expressed itself in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A joy that permeated to the core of my being.

Honey had ( and still does) a joy that lights up regardless. I treasure her statement, ” It is not an obstacle but an opportunity for God to overcome.”

Patricia showed me how still waters can run deep. She has integrity and showed me how to stand on principles of God and not to compromise. God has His best for you, don’t settle for anything less.

Janet, a prayer warrior (then and now), showed me where my source of strength needed to come from— the word of God, my relationship with Jesus  and prayer. Through Janet, I learned that in order to be as Psalm 1 states” tree planted by the waters that produces fruit in due season”, then I needed to take time and be open and honest with God. I needed to allow the healing blood of Jesus to forgive.Our own abilities and intellect can only go so far and will only produce temporary fixes in our lives, but Jesus’ fixes are deep and permanent.

Carol showed me that Jesus is the source of wisdom and discernment, not my own mental understanding. I watched her stop many times and pray before making a decision and it didn’t matter the size of the decision. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t just pondering the situation, but was saying,”Ok God, what do you want me to do?” Wisdom, understanding and discernment come from a spiritual ear and heart tuned to hear God’s voice. In order to hear God’s voice I needed to know Him and in order to know Him  I needed to read His word.

Through these ‘spiritual mamas’ I learned to not dwell on my own short comings, failures, inadequacies and struggles, but instead to develop a love for God and to trust Him.” All things are possible to him who believes, ‘ Mark 9:23.Thank you Jesus for the praying ‘spiritual mamas’ in my life.

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photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

Gazebo Gallery:

Look around for the ‘spiritual mamas’ in your life. What characteristics did they impart to you?

Crystal Coast Gems…..

Crystal Coast Gems…..

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ (Matthew 22:37, message version)

Have you ever been so busy you forgot to feel? Or, if you did take the time even if  it was 5 min, you took a few breaths and then you were off again. As you go through your daily list for the umphteenth time in your head, do you take the time to see what your heart is saying? Laundry, supper, pick up the kids, get golf clubs to golf practice, tennis racquet to tennis match, church early to set up coffee, call so and so, get landscaping quotes, make grocery list and the list goes on and on. We all face this every day. Then all of a sudden you hit the wall and everything crashes. You then ask, why did this happen? Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to feel. Your head crowded out your heart.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

Have you ever gone on vacation and come back needing a vacation? You run the kids to  this amusement park, putt-putt, restaurant, movie, sporting event, etc. Finally you come home and realize: I did not walk the beach. I did not sit and enjoy the waves crashing. I walked, but was busy clocking my miles. I did not look at the sun reflecting on the water. As the light shines, crystals are glistening with every wave saying ‘Praise the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.’ Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to praise. Your head crowded out your soul, your prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths…..wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds…. Psalm 148:10

Have you ever been to the zoo and seen the animals swinging from the trees. Or just observed your own little ‘animals’ swinging from the rafters of your own house. If you have two little boys running around, you know what I am talking about. A friend of mind, Dan Breeding, is a wild animal handler. He says that animals do what they were designed to do and they do it very well and in so doing they bring glory to God.

What were we designed to do? I am sure we have many talents and abilities that God has given us to enable us to enjoy our life our earth, but what is our main purpose?  Passion refers to your heart; prayer is your soul and intelligence is your mind. We were created to Love God with our whole being. Above all else we were created to have a relationship with God. When we try and fill that desire with anything else, we will hit the wall. We know God loves us, He sent His son to die on the cross for us because of the love He has for us. But are we taking the time to tell God we love Him? Are we holding back our love, passion, prayer, thoughts?

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. John 3:16,17 (Amplified)

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What were you designed to do that you are doing very well?

 

 

Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal and Jen

Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal and Jen

There are two women in the Bible who I feel represent two sides of every woman. They are Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha are first mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus and the 12 disciples decided to stop in and visit, while ‘on their way’.

Martha had a servant heart that was full of action. Mary had a devotional heart that sprang from her time at the feet of Christ. Mary and Martha were not only sisters by blood but they also had a spiritual relationship based on their faith in Christ. I grew up with Marthas, from my grandmother to my mom. But as any Martha can tell you, you need the Mary side of you to be the center point that drives you. The Mary side is the one that sits at the feet of Jesus and lays every care and struggle there. It is the part of you that cries out, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, ” and means it with the very depth of your being. The Mary side, the side that allows the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you, is the side that supports the Martha. Being a Martha by nature, God has brought some Marys in my life to remind me of this principle. They have been used to keep me on track. They have shown me again the joy and peace of staying close to God and having that intimate relationship that comes from spending time in the Word of God and from spending time with our face on the floor in prayer.

A Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal

One such Mary is Crystal. I lived with her and her family for a few months before I married. After having spent most of my teenage years in a home of a single mom, God knew I needed to see another side. During those months, I saw a woman who prayed for her husband and children. She had quiet times and enjoyed that time in the Word of God. She opened her home to college students like myself who needed some extra love and attention. She took things lightly and always had a smile on her face. She knew who her source of strength was. She was quick to cast her cares onto Jesus and allow His peace to flow. I know many a prayer was said over me as I struggled with that balance of “I can do it myself” and “I need to allow God to work through me:. She started her day with Jesus and it flowed through everything she did. She sat at the feet of Jesus with her whole heart as Mary did. In Luke 10:39, the word ‘sat’ (parakathezomai) means to ‘to make  to sit down’. It is the only time it is used in the Bible. Mary had the same choices as Martha and she made herself choose to sit down at the feet of Jesus. Mary not only physically heard the teachings of Jesus but she also learned from what she heard. She was obedient to His voice. It was not a one time thing. It was active and continual, i.e. she kept on hearing. Mary sat close to Jesus physically and close to Him with her heart to not only hear instructions with her physical ears but to incorporate them into her very being. The words of Jesus became a part of her. Mary and Crystal were yielded to Jesus.

Martha was ‘cumbered’ with serving. Cumbered (perispao) means that she was drawn away. Her actions were good but they were drawing her heart away from Jesus. Martha was said to be doing ‘much serving’. Serving and ministry of helps were Martha’s calling. The gift of hospitality flowed in her life. How many of you invite 12 plus people over for dinner at the last minute! Martha is quickly overwhelmed and goes to Jesus and asks Him to encourage Mary to help (synantilambanomai), i.e. come alongside, share in the bearing, to take hold with another. This word is only used one other time in the New Testament. In Romans 8:24-26, it is used in reference to the Holly Spirit helping us in our weaknesses. Martha was feeling left in a lurch, abandoned, alone in her calling. But was she really? Jesus was right there. Martha was being distracted mentally when she needed to be at the feet of Jesus refreshing her mind and spirit for the calling that was so evident in her life.

“But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42

‘Needful’ comes from ‘chreia’, a noun meaning ‘what is necessary for life.’ It is used in the New Testament in reference to needs of the spirit that only God and the Holy Spirit can fill. (Example Matthew 3:14, Hebrews 7:11, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31;Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:21-24). Mary and Crystal chose that good, joyful, excellent, pleasant, agreeable part that is ready to bear fruit in their life. Crystal, like Mary, incorporated the word of Jesus into her heart to such an extent that it ‘shall not be taken away.’

A Princess…Inside and Out…Jen

Mary was transparent with Jesus. Her heart was in passive mode to receive. As a Martha type person, I am usually not passive about anything. Then I met Jen. Jen talked about being ‘transparent’ with God. I thought I was transparent until I heard her talk about it. I heard not only the words but I saw a deeper level of relationship with Jesus in her life. Martha had a relationship with Jesus just like Mary. Jen and Mary chose to open their hearts in such a way that their very lives depended on it. Jen is new in my life. God knew I needed to meet her when I did not know I needed to. With Jen, her life depends on that open transparent relationship with Christ. With us typical Marthas, we are usually ‘capable’ people who as I like to say, ‘Get the job done.’ We need to be reminded that we can only go so far without being more transparent with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and open to the words of  Jesus to change us from the inside out. I think Marthas fight this intimacy because we do not want to see what is really in our hearts. You know the areas that we keep only to ourselves. The areas that we are ‘busy’ covering up. Jen reminded me that those areas even existed. We forget that Jesus knows everything about us anyway.

It is at the feet of Jesus and on our knees in prayer and in the word of God that we choose the part that cannot be ‘taken away’.

When we sit at the feet of Jesus with our hearts open to hear and understand His word, then we are changed in such a way that we cannot return to our original state. It is here that the Holy Spirit breaks down every wall and barrier in our heart and mind., It is here that we have joy and peace, It is here that our burdens become light. It is not easy. It means making deliberate choices to spend time in prayer and studying the word of God. It means being willing to change. It means being honest with ourselves. It means as Jen says, being transparent before God. It means reaching out to serve not only physically but with your heart. The rewards are worth it. It it the Mary times that provide the oil that makes the Martha times run. Praise God for the Mary’s in my life!

As you have therefore received Christ, (even) Jesus the Lord, walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots (of your being) firmly and deeply planted (in Him, fixed and founded in Him), being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving….Colossians 2:6-8 (Amplified version)

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

Please share about the Martha’s and Mary’s in your life……

A Princess….Inside and Out

A Princess….Inside and Out

See, Princesses do not paint their own bedrooms. They do not caulk holes in the walls, which is why my arms hurt. They don’t wash and paint base-boards, which is why my back hurts. Princesses don’t paint their own door frames…which is why mine probably have to be sanded and redone due to dried drips going down the sides….which is why Chuck is laughing his Heavenly butt off!! —– Sara Stophel ( a princess in more ways than one)**

We all have idea of what a Princess is. Is she weak and fragile or strong and harsh. Maybe she is a combination of both, strong when needed to govern and  tempered with tenderness and mercy in comforting her fellow men. When we look in the Bible we see women who are strong, confident, gentle, loving, caring, joyful. God created women to be such a mixture of all of these things. I take comfort in knowing that I can

Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—- Philippines 1:6.

I love this verse. It means that God is not done with me yet! It means that Sara will eventually have her trim painted and it not drip!!  More than that it means that what the Holy Spirit starts……… He completes .! None of this ‘If I only I was……” or ” I wish I could have   the personality of……” or maybe if ” I could do…..”. We as women tend to allow God to start His perfect work in us only to pick up and try and complete it by our own strength and ideas of how it should be done. The phrase ‘ that he began’ in Philippines 1:6 is used only once in more in the New Testament, in Galatians 3:3:

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?– Galatians 3:3.

Lord let us be true princesses who allow You to complete Your perfect work in us with the power of Your Holy Spirit.

I am reminded that Princesses are a compilation of the wisdom and knowledge of the Princesses who have gone before them. Godly women who have instilled their wisdom, love and prayers  into our lives. As I have thought about the many women throughout my life who were there when I needed love, support, encouragement, I am amazed, because I see that the Holy Spirit was indeed working to complete that good work. Is that work complete? No, not at all, but I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy that I am not forgotten, abandoned, or alone. I am a Princess of the most high God.

I will be sharing some things I have learned from women who have touched my life. Not that I am anyone special or unique. I am just someone who loves God with all my heart just like many of you. Someone who cannot go through one day without His strength, mercy, love. My prayer is that as you read some of these posts you will also be encouraged and strengthened as I was when these people entered my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work God’s perfect work within our lives and we will not be tempted to pick up the reigns of our life and try and complete it with human effort.

** Sara Stophel is a dear friend whose husband is in heaven singing praises to God as he did on earth. Her posts this past year have been humorous and truthful as she is allowing the Holy Spirit to complete His perfect work in her life and the life of her children. She has given me permission to copy and paste her posts in the hopes that they will encourage others.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What is your idea of a princess?