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The Testimony of God

13 May

Have you ever considered that God has a testimony?

A formal statement spoken in the court of the heavenlies regarding YOU?

A written recounting of His story specifically with YOU?


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This was the verse that ran through my heart recently as I listened to two beautiful Sisters share their heartfelt desire to make the transforming work of their Father and the limitless goodness of His love known to their community.  It struck me as these Beauties spoke about the tenderness and compassion of God that the enormity of His testimony, the magnitude of His story, is too much for one person to tell so He etches Himself across our hearts in unique and personal ways to give us each a portion to share.

Our testimonies are His pages and His chapters unfolding across time and space to speak the fullness of Him into the very place and appointed time He has determined we should live.  You, Sister, are here and now to live His story to the full. To know and enjoy the One who has spoken the formal statement of His love over you with one Word:  Jesus.

And praise His Matchless Name, the Author of Life continues to write His life story over our hearts.  He continues to weave the beauty of Himself over our days and He splashes His unending love across our pages.  He performs personal wonders in our lives as we live out the testimony of His miracles side-by-side.  He brings each of our short stories into a seamless novel of redemption and invites us to share His glory with the world. O Lord, may we never shrink back.  May we always announce through word and deed that You still etch Yourself on hearts today, that Your testimony is salvation, and the ultimate triumph, the final miracle of the Messiah in our day, is yet to unfold.

Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them was written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.   John 21:25

A young baby girl reads a Bible.

O Sister, Rejoice! and again I say rejoice! YOU are a portion of the testimony of God, a piece of His story! YOU are a beautiful page in the Lamb’s Book of Life and your most magnificent chapter is waiting in Glory!

 

The Miracle in the Manger

24 Dec

creation swap 22155_Christmas_BellsI love Jesus. He is my Savior, my Rescuer, my Friend.  He is the One I trust will be there when I need a heart to hide to in. The One who finds joy in my company. The One I know will never tire of me or find me to be too needy. He is just IT to me and the idea that the King of Kings would stoop from heaven to show love to this ordinary woman often overwhelms my heart until the joy of being His slides down my cheeks.

I am no one special to this world. I hold no place of great esteem or importance. I am insignificant in the landscape of this temporal life. But to the heart of Jesus, through the eyes of God, nothing could be further from the truth. Not for me and not for you.

Christmas Day is the announcement that He finds you, that He finds me, to be special. It is the trumpet call declaring our importance to Him. It is the Star He hangs to shine on those who are far off and it is His chorus, filling the sky with the heavenly host to say to every man, woman, and child “You matter to me!”

Friends, that is the beautiful truth of Christmas.creation swap candles David Shrein 12966

Love gifted to us as a Baby was not delivered to the wealthy, to the influential, to the movers and shakers of the day. He was given to a young girl who appeared to the world to be nothing special. Gifted to a Hebrew carpenter who held no lofty position.

The Star, heralding the arrival of the King did not shine with revelation on an exalted inner circle of priests and scribes. It lit up the night sky for a group of outsiders. Unknown, unnamed men from the East, foreigners and strangers with no standing in the Hebrew community.

And the glory of the Lord, the angels filling the sky with praise, did not proclaim the birth of the Good News to kings and nobles. The messengers of God shared the dawning of Salvation with shepherds who lived in fields seemingly influencing no one. They were unesteemed and insignificant in the landscape of their temporal lives.

Don’t you see that stooping down from heaven and gifting the ordinary with the Extraordinary has always been God’s way? The Baby in the manger held in His tiny chest the tangible heartbeat of the Living God and no matter how ordinary we may feel . . . the Heart of the Extraordinary still beats for us in personal, real and tangible ways today.

The Gift of Christmas is still being given to those the world sees as nothing special. The Light of the season still dawns from Glory to shine for the unknown and the unnamed. The glory of the Lord stills fills the skies and proclaims the message of Love to the unesteemed and the insignificant.

The Extraordinary sees you as anything but ordinary. You will never be the nothing special, the unnamed, or the insignificant to the heart of God. He loves you so and has gifted you with the priceless life of His Son. The Christmas Child has come, Dear Sister. The cry of the Babe of Love has pierced the night and the Light of the World has dawned.

creation swap JOY 3763_Christmas_1_of_2_(REVISED) ribbetPonder these things in your heart. Treasure His grace in your soul. For blessed is she who has believed that all the Lord has said to her will be accomplished. There are no limits where the Beloved of God are concerned nor are there any boundaries that can hem His holy blessing. O Sweet Sister, embrace the full of Him in the celebration of this season and may you experience the miracle of the manger as never before. Merry Christmas

 

Session 6: Dressed for Success

16 Nov

 

  • Only when we love one another well –out of His heart and not out of our own—will we have something that attracts a watching world.
  • Only when we are tender to the hurts of one another will the injured and wounded come out the shadows.
  • Only when we walk in forgiveness as we have been forgiven will the lost step forward.
  • And only when we wear grace for one another on our sleeves will we dress in the humility and gentleness that will turn heads.

You Sweet Sister have been clothed by the Most High. The Name of Jesus covers you from head to toe. The Spirit Himself has dressed you in holiness. And the Elohim, the All of God, the eternal, independent, true and holy One, has crowned you with life and Girlfriend, believe me when I tell you –it looks good on you. May you wear it well!

 

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

THANK YOU FOR THE JOY IN THE JOURNEY!

Session 5: Rooted in the Heart of God

9 Nov

Wonder not if you are loved, protected, desired, and cared for, Sweet Daughter of God, when you encounter disappointment and disillusionment with yourself – grace does not depend on you.

 

Do not try to puzzle out His affection, His heart provision, or His ache to see you walk in redemption when you meet with seasons of darkness and distress. CLAIM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AS YOUR OWN!

 

It is not the will of God that you should be downcast, yoked to shame, or chained to the past –fear not; you are free. Breathtakingly free!

 

  • Free to look up and gaze upon glory.
  • Free to peer into the heavenlies and anticipate the certainty to come.
  • Free to be filled with Hope and life here and now and confidently expect the joy of eternity.

Colossians 3:1-3 from the Message . . .

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.

Session 4: Laying Down Roots

2 Nov

Receiving is not a passive activity.  It’s pulling up close beside a thing and reaching out by volitional choice for all that is made available.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:6-7

What will we reach for of Jesus?

Out time is now and our place is here.  Our God, who is a consuming fire, is a blaze within us!  He has appointed us and anointed us to be convinced of Him on the inside and bear the fruit of that conviction on the outside.  We better lace up our hiking boots Girlfriend because we’ve been called to the top of the mountain!

Session 3: “The Everything of Jesus”

26 Oct

Sister, when we come to know Him that way, when we set everything else aside and we get serious about the business of making the “The Everything of Jesus” everything to us – we will leave Miss Layla’s lowest level of heaven in the our rear view mirrors and live life at a height that we have not begun to imagine.

That, Beautiful Reader, is just a glimpse at our incomparable Jesus.

Does He not take your breath away and fill your lungs with holy air simultaneously?

Is your heart not moved to a holy hush and wild exultation at the same time?

Are you not dazzled by the Bright Morning Star, the Light of the World?

May we never get over Him.

 

 

Daughters of the Star Breather!

20 Oct

WE ARE DAUGHTERS OF THE STAR BREATHER!
Made by the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Brought to life by the death and resurrection of the Son, called by name, placed here and now to serve in the army of saints!  Set in against the darkness to absolutely shine!

You are huge to the heart of God and He has given His all that we might be women

  • Steeped in faith
  • Living to love
  • Anchored in hope
  • Fueled with the Holy Spirit to burn Bright!

And here’s what I know Sister –A Holy Fire like that will not be contained!

 

A Body filled with those kind of women, no matter how small, will begin to believe beyond themselves, to love one another in the Name of Jesus, and to stand firm in the confident expectation of the Hope of Glory.

May it begin with us!

Our Roots Are Showing . . . Introduction Parts One and Two

14 Oct

Sister, are you not under attack and tempted at every turn if not to deny Jesus certainly to dethrone Him? The question is how will you respond? Will we trade the riches of Jesus for the things this world has to offer or be women who stand firm in the truth?

DIFFICULT TIMES WILL COME . . .

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We must live it well in front of the ones who looking to us to forge their future. We must live it well in front of those who are entrusting us to build a faith heritage of life and love. We must hang on to the Isaiah 65:16 God of Truth, cling to the John 14:6 Way, Truth and Life, and grab hold of the John 16:13 Spirit of Truth and refuse to let go.

Praying we find ourselves stirred to action and application as we study the Book of Colossians together!  Have a blessed day Sister!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Might Be Time to Change the Channel!

27 Aug

God tells us flat out in the book of Jeremiah that we will begin to look like the things we pursue. The things we exalt and make the goal of life move from being the thing we desire to possess, to the thing that possesses us. That makes such sense because the things that we love, that we chase after, and I’ll be so bold as to say lust after, control us.

                         This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
    that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
    and became worthless themselves. . . . Jeremiah 2:5

Our pursuit shapes the way we use our time, where we invest our resources, and even our friend circle. Not one area of life goes unscathed or escapes the tentacles of our pursuit.

Do not run until your feet are bare
    and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
    I love foreign gods,
    and I must go after them. . . . Jeremiah 2:25

Rolling all of this over in my mind and asking myself what I pursue with everything I am and praying in the back of my brain that my pursuit is of the Who and not a what, made me remember a Shel Silverstein poem I used to read to my Sweet Girl when she was little . . . Jimmy Jet and the TV Set.

I’ll tell you the story of Jimmy Jet–
    And you know what I tell you is true.
He loved to watch his TV set
    Almost as much as you.

He watched all day, he watched all night
    Till he grew pale and lean,
From ‘The Early Show’ to ‘The Late Show’
    And all the shows in between.

He watched till his eyes were frozen wide,
     And his bottom grew into his chair.
And his chin turned into a tuning dial,
    And antennae grew out of his hair.

And his brains turned into TV tubes,
    And his face to a TV screen.
And two knobs saying ‘vert.’ and ‘horiz.’
    Grew where his ears had been.

And he grew a plug that looked like a tail
    So we plugged in little Jim.
And now instead of him watching TV
    We all sit around and watch him.

   Shel Silverstein

Quite the cautionary tale! Full of wisdom if we’re willing to take it in. I can’t expect to be consumed with the temporal things of this world and not look like I belong here.  Like this is my country and my home.

Sister, we will be changed by what we run after and where we fix our eyes. We will resemble what we pursue and our pursuit will shape who we become.

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Lord,
     Let me fix my eyes on Jesus.
     Let me pursue you with everything I am.
     Give me the desire to look like you.
     To be holy because you are holy.

     Influence who I am in the here and now.
     Shape me to be who you want me to be.
     In Jesus Name Amen.

JESUS HAD STORMS . . . WE HAVE JESUS!

25 Aug

John 12:22-28

22-23 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

26 “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.

27-28 “Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”  The Message

Sisters, these were the words of Jesus as He contemplated the Cross. “Storm-tossed” seems a small term to describe the agony He was about to endure but is it not one we can identify with? The storm of sickness, loss, disappointment? We encounter what we often see as the less-than moments in life and we feel tossed about by our situation.  The water may calm briefly but before we know it the waves have crashed over us again and the tide is rising around our necks.

How often do you and I react with nothing but a strong desire to get out from under the waves and crawl up on the beach?  How often do we long to pop open a beach umbrella and simply sit with our toes in the warm sand, to just be done with the thing rather than ache to fulfill the purpose for which He has sent us . . . especially when our purpose might require suffering?

Do I have what it takes to remain in the water even when I can’t see why in the world I needed to leave my comfortable spot in the sand?  Will you and I stay put, no matter how dark the sky becomes or how choppy the waves, and trust Him to be our Rescuer?

Do we have the courage to live with the pain and strain this temporal world so often dishes out to be part of the kingdom story, the better story, the love story of God?  The answer to this question is absolutely YES! with Jesus

The same Jesus who uttered these words, who stood firm in the face of every life storm . . . lives within us. It is He who will provide the ache, the courage, and the holy desire to fulfill our purpose. He will never leave us to face the waves or stormy waters alone.

God held the water back and led His people through without a single foot slipping.  He’ll do the same for you.  He’ll do the same for me. He will hold despair to the left and sorrow to the right; guiding us through on solid ground straight into the arms of Jesus.

And if we stand at the water’s edge and it seems those stormy seas are refusing to part, then we know and we believe with everything we are that our Jesus is going to pull us to the very top of those murky depths and place our precious feet on top of every wave.

Girlfriend, you hang on to Him as that water rises.  And you know, to the marrow of your bones that if that water doesn’t part, if He doesn’t calm that storm with His hand or speak a word to send those waves away, then your Jesus plans to swoop from heaven straight into your circumstance and lead you through in a blaze of glory because Sister, no life storm can take us where the hand of Jesus cannot reach us!

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#HeismyLifeGuard

 

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