10.16.2014

Good News

It has been more than 20 months since my diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer after a routine partial thyroidectomy, and last week's lab results proved to be good. Okay, better than good—no signs of cancer. Alleluia!

Celebrating for so many reasons to include today's good news and sponsoring Jayanti from India, a young girl from Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope ministry.

View my Pinterest board Small Battles or check out the tags below to find out about the backstory, but even if you skip it please know that I give God all the glory for the work of His hands. Multiple small battles with surgeries in February 2013 with scary secondary complications was a testimony to God's faithfulness.


I Am a "Kept" Woman by Pastor Margarett
You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, but God kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)
There were times when I thought I could go no longer, but the Lord kept me moving. (Gen. 28:15)
At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong, but the Lord kept my mouth shut. (Psa. 13)
Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough, but God has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Mat. 6:25-34)
When I thought I would fall, He kept me up. When I thought I was weak, He kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Mat. 11:28-30)
I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me! I'm blessed to be "kept."

10.14.2014

Hope for a Child

A giver by nature because that is the very nature of God, and I am His seed.

If I were financially able I would help more while sharing God's goodness, but though I desire to do more I cannot overlook the possibility of making a difference now with the little I have.

Little is MUCH in the HANDS of GOD!

After reading the free book No Longer a Slumdog from GFA (Gospel for Asia) it has compelled me to do something. The reality for these abandon and sold children is horrific.

"Thousands of children living in slum conditions throughout South Asia. Real children share their real stories of crisis and how our loving God intervened to rescue them."

Get No Longer a Slumdog - Free!

Today I took a leap of faith like never before! I sponsored a young girl named Jayanti for the year. Yes a whole year—and upfront. This means that no problem, trial, or set back can steal my desire to do more. My smile is huge knowing that the enemy cannot persuade me to stop or discontinue this giving as it is already done in Jesus' name.

Blessed already making the decision and sharing with her in a letter:

10.13.2014

Anoint Me Lord, For Greater Works

“See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 2:24

(written July 11, 2014)

As the overhead clouds cast shadows on the desert mountains I wonder if that is a direct parallel of my current season in life. Though the sun shines the clouds are bulky with a dark gray underside. At any moment there could be a torrential downpour, causing all living things beneath its burst changed and refreshed.

The picturesque landscape is inviting to the eyes. However, my spirit man needs a drink from the Well of Truth that only the Holy Spirit can offer. And without fail He delivers to quench my thirst for answers.

9.25.2014

My List of 50

It is my special birthday and how blessed I am!

Birthday greetings started early morning from family and continued throughout the day with emails and texts from friends. Not to mention birthday surprises in unexpected ways. Truthfully, I had low expectations, so to my amazement the day ended with many cards, gifts, and a dozen roses.

To even utter the words that I have made it to 50 is something to praise God for. Less than two years ago I went through a series of operations that ended in a tracheoplasty. Routine operations that had secondary complications, which are always likely to be problematic. 

Over the years when I think of my circumstances and experiences, and how God has kept me, it makes my heart fill up with gladness. For God is good all the time, and all the time God is good! Amen! I am still standing strong.

6.22.2014

Seekers

In this generation we are seekers of fun, entertainment and thrills. Whether we engage in adventurous outdoor fun, family activities or perhaps eating out as a family in restaurants—these alone are not sinful. However, anything in excess can be questionable.

It has been a few Sundays that we have eaten out as a family after church and each time I felt dissatisfied with the money spent, and knowing I could do better in my own kitchen. Yes, I can cook! The interesting thing is we have eaten at different eateries with and without coupons, for an ordinary Sunday and a significant celebration. None stood out, and all left me with an experience that took from me rather than adding to my life.

4.24.2014

Victorious Living

2 Timothy 2:11-12 “For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”

To deny Christ would be to deny the very existence of myself, because He has not only given life, but walks with me daily that I may finish strong and give Him the glory. I thank God for His guidance, and protection even when I chose false shortcuts or strayed. I owe the One True God my life – my very breath. For He has done so much for me that I cannot tell it all!

I have traveled up hill and through rock-ridden paths to get here today. It has been no primrose path to be free, but I found strength through faith for the journey. Many along the way have supported and encouraged me with prayers as well. However, it is God alone who wrote my story from the very beginning -- before I was ever a thought or named. I thank God for His unique flare to write a story full of life, passion, and giving that has been uniquely mine. I can visualize how with one stroke of His hand my life journey begins and ends with a celebratory victory roar. Though He also foreknew of my struggles, challenges, and even failures in between He was merciful to underline each of them with His grace to keep me focused on the prize ahead -- my purpose in Christ Jesus.

Thus far my life story has meaning and purpose and there are witnesses to testify. Nevertheless, I am expecting more of His goodness and revelation knowledge that I may begin the next step towards my God-given destiny.

Yes, there is more!

2.26.2014

Journey of Faith

But Ruth said (to Naomi): "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Ruth 1:16,22a

Like Ruth, I have come from a people who were ignorant with idol worship that followed blindly religious culture and traditions before them. Not to mention survival of self was a matter of daily struggle for the women before me. My journey similar to Ruth’s -- I was born into the most unlikely circumstances and my future already deemed insignificant. Yet, God Himself has called me out from among them.

“Daughter of the King of kings, Priest, Redeemer, Sanctifier, and The Alpha and Omega—come out from among them to serve and speak My truth.”

He did so with Ruth as well, to carry a seed of greatness -- Obed, her son with Boaz, who begat Jesse and Jesse begat David. This connection in history and time was God’s reward for her devotion to Him and following His commandments wholeheartedly—secondary to that being a woman of excellent character who made wise choices.

2.06.2014

Get Your Head Out of Yesterday


When grey skies suddenly show up in the continually blue and sunny valley of the Southwest I wonder if it is a direct reflection of a melancholy mood. Nevertheless, I cannot excuse the devil and his trickery of calling to mind my yesterdays, and today this trickster came on strong, which has me on alert.

In seasons past, I learned the danger in disappointment, discouragement, and those feelings of dissatisfaction that are a warning sign due to unsettling circumstances and relying heavily on what’s incoming or the lack there of.

During an innocent thought of comparing my egg salad sandwich on honey oat with spinach, tomatoes and onions to a similar sandwich of more than ten years ago I was quickly drawn into my past with scrumptious sandwiches and all the rest, but wisdom revealed the truth.

11.19.2013

Hopeless & Fearful

Hopelessness is a lie from the pit of hell, and it leaves nothing behind but death and destruction in its track. Though one might find themselves in the midst of its ugly grip and taunting lies I speak life and truth – if you let Christ guide your life you will not stumble in darkness.

If you ever wondered what fear is, it’s a feeling that once fully grown has a life of its own. I share from experience that it merely starts as an imagination, notion or doubt that festers, and with each feeding of belief in the untruth it morphs into an oppressing blackness in which you find impossible to free from.

What’s most perplexing is that once engulfed in the black heaviness of fear many things that came easily are a struggle. Smiling is nonexistent, finding the beauty in anything or to realize a blessing is scarce, and hope is dead. There is nothing to look forward to, except more of the same hopeless thoughts brimming with fear and the dismal dark future.

Marked as a Believer I was. Still, I was not cultivating my relationship with God diligently. I was careless and my spiritual tank empty. The enemy took full advantage of my spiritual predicament and planted one thought.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Thoughts enter and exit every hour of every day, that’s not the issue, rather it is what value we place on the thought and the choice to build it up or tear it down. When one is full of faith encouraging ourselves in scripture is not a bother nor is it challenging to tear down lies. Quite the opposite, when you are not grounded in the Word of God or spiritually weak a thought can fester, and lead to death -- death of dreams, relationships, eternal spiritual death, and for some the snuffing out of their own light and/or others. It’s tragic to consider that hopelessness and fear can lead to unthinkable acts.

I’m battle tested and a survivor in my private struggle to find joy, and when given an opportunity I find the courage to speak up and motivate my audience to hold on and let the Holy Spirit lead. I tell all with zeal that He (Jesus) rescued me from that hellish state of being, and grateful that I am free indeed. Nevertheless, I am not neglectful to share additional portions to include crippling fear, ugly incidents, emotional pain, and trusting God to give others more when I was in need. While the world told me to take time for me and seek restitution with the person(s) who have wronged me, Jesus asked that I surrender to His plan, forgive, and give selflessly. The work was deep and intense, yet necessary. In exchanging my ashes for God’s beauty I found grace for myself and others. Then the shift began, “and the light shined in the darkness,” hope birthed and faith renewed. No longer did I feed the lies, on the contrary I was more willingly to cling to hope that does not disappoint—Jesus, the Son of God. I came to the comforting realization that my worst case scenario in life held no weight to the glory and goodness I had in Jesus. He was my all and all!

I aspire to grow with each season of life and that dark period marked in months, years ago, was no exception. To date the most challenging and rewarding as the Holy Spirit - a gentle helper - guided my every step, along with the support of many laborers and their prayers to give me a surer footing and hope for a brighter tomorrow.



“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:4-5

Life Application Study Bible: The darkness of evil never has and never will overcome or extinguish God’s light. Jesus Christ the Creator of Life, and his life brings light to mankind. In His light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior). When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives. Have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life? Let God guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.

11.13.2013

Do Not Fear, Little Flock

Lately I've been intentional concerning the Lord and giving Him my first and best--and from day to day it has multiplied with an increasing hunger for the same. How grateful I am that my spirit has been strengthened and my faith fortified for on the horizon are big life decisions.

After repeated blessings and answered prayer yesterday I offered my thankfulness through tears and ministering* to the Lord, then I heard that still small voice, "It is my good pleasure to bless you." Found in scripture in the book of Luke.


"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

Glory to God! Bless His Holy name! For He has set His eyes upon me and my spirit abides in Him.

I encourage you to trust God, and give the Lord your time in prayer for others and giving to those He directs from your basket of riches. As His servant it is your good pleasure to do so.

"But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." 2 Cor. 9:6-11

For as Believers we acknowledge the cost of our sins upon Him, and our obedient response is to surrender, follow, serve, and worship Him alone. Having an intentional and committed relationship with Jesus we are assured of our inheritance in this life and the next. 

*serve, worship
 Luke 12:22-34

11.01.2013

Operation Sticky Notes

Being a newbie on Twitter I have been particularly excited with anything related to Believers and giving. Many are familiar with #PayItForward, and fewer of you have heard of #BeTheGift, which by fate alone did I stumble upon the night before my birthday. Nevertheless, a couple of weeks ago I found yet another way to give through #OperationStickyNotes.

#OperationStickyNotes has been making a difference by Generation Y with Twitter Profile AFH - All For Him - Twibbon (a movement for Christ) in schools primarily, and now making it's way out into the communities and inspiring others to join in. The encourager leaves positive messages and/or scripture(s) written on sticky notes everywhere and anywhere for others. They are unexpected blessings that are making a difference. I was particularly giddy over this type of mission as it was low-cost, anonymous, and notes left in the most inconspicuous of places to include a library book drop, library magazine, water vending machine, mailbox, bathroom stalls, and car window.


If you take a step back you can see the bigger picture, these acts of kindness are all connected in what seems to be a giving movement that is stirring in the hearts of God's chosen to make a difference in their community—speaking life, sharing hope that does not disappoint, and ministering to those in the midst of struggles.

I encourage you to give out of your basket of blessings, whatever its size, because sometimes the smallest gesture could mean everything to someone struggling. If you’re concerned about your monthly budget constraints I assure you sales are plentiful and the expense is less than lunch out with a friend.

He wants us to be the gift! Jesus was God’s gift to the world, so why do you think it strange that we also are asked to do the same?

10.04.2013

Stop Wanting To Get And Give!

God has been dealing with me on a personal level concerning a relationship that demands more of me than I’d like to give at times. It’s uncomfortable, and giving up of what I could be gaining elsewhere if it were my choice.

I know I’m not alone. Your situation may differ in the scenario, but the lesson is similar. You’re in a tight spot, and for either the sake of your marriage and/or the family you’ll endure. Maybe you’re moving again. Maybe your spouse has a difficult time staying in a job for a season. Maybe you’re stuck in a dead church or a church that doesn’t celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their fullness. Change the people and/or circumstance it matters not.

God has a way of pairing us up with those who are unlike us, and for good reason. We’re learning to soften our hard edges while we live life up close and personal as a witness of God’s goodness. All the while sharing His promises, and laying down our own desires. We talk about doing what Jesus did. However, are we really ready to do that? Are we ready to put aside our selfish longings and be as selfless as He was?

It’s not easy to do at all, especially when we feel like we’ve done enough. Regardless, God is demanding more from you. We must be confident “that He who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  To press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” and trust Him with our desires and dreams. We need to find joy in giving of ourselves as He did.

What if your greatest divine purpose was to be witness to this other person?

What if all of your sacrifices were to eventually lead this person to the saving knowledge of Christ?

Sharing the Gospel is vital, but equally important if not more is living it out daily.

I give you permission to feel sorry for yourself for a minute, and then move on.

I’m blessed and encouraged that God in His goodness brings revelation to my spirit so that my head and heart are connected to His ways, which are higher than mine.

The lesson is crystal clear: He wants me to be the gift!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

9.29.2013

Amy Hagerup


Amy Hagerup has a gentleness about her, some may say it is grace worn like a mantle, or humility—and perhaps it is a bit of both. What most may not know at first glance is the treasure she carries inside. As she eloquently shares on her LinkedIn page, “my faith permeates my life and business.”

Amy has a keen sense for online marketing, and her stick-to-itiveness in several businesses simultaneously is to be commended—besides having been a missionary for twenty-two years. She’s the kind of woman we want to be when we grow up. We want to have that kind of life-experience, and a legacy that spans continents and makes a difference.

She is still making a difference helping people, but the setting has changed. Instead of trekking in the mountains on a mule to deliver the Good News, she now coaches others as a Christian wellness and weight loss professional (Healthy Christian Living & Shaklee).

Speaking is also something Amy does quite well, and it has afforded her the opportunity to share in many different venues. She’s versatile, and though the programs are widely divergent the core of her message remains. "I love to help people get healthier in body, mind, and spirit." She is as relevant as Apostle John penned in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”



I have showered Amy with compliments galore as to get her to share here today in a short interview, as well as her talent of storytelling. As an auditory learner myself, I find her tone and pitch to be delightful. So relax and listen to a cup of goodness as Amy shares with us in less than 10 minutes. 

Be encouraged and have a great life-changing day!

Life-Changing STORYTELLING:
Life-Changing Storytelling: God's Provision
Life-Changing Storytelling: Being Thankful

INTERVIEW:

Having been a missionary for twenty-two years how has that shaped you as a person?

Living and working in another culture alongside many nationalities makes a person value the gifts and differences that each person brings to the table. Sometimes in America we can become very narrow-minded. However, there is so much more to life than our own experiences, and limited perspective. My 22 years on foreign soil has given me a world-view of the value of people everywhere – not just ones who look, think, and live like I do.

How do you stay humble considering your life-experience?

I really don’t feel that a particular life-experience is to be elevated above any other. God calls us all to different tasks and locations. The key is to be obedient to what He calls each of us to. Someone who is called to be a plumber or an artist is just as important as someone called to be a missionary. I guess anyone has the temptation to become proud in what they do (whether or not it is following a calling from God), so it is important to remind ourselves that we are just a sinner saved by grace – no matter what we might accomplish for our Lord.

If your faith is permeated in not only your personal life, but business as well, do you find that to be typically an advantage or disadvantage?

My faith is at the core of who I am. So I am not the kind of person to say “here I am over here as a believer in Christ” and “over here I am a business person.” I am one and the same with a deep faith in Christ. Of course, I do business with all types of people – believing like I do is not a criteria for my clients. In fact, I love all people of all faiths or lack thereof! However, I do get criticized from others for not hiding my faith in my blogging in particular, but that is okay. II Corinthians 2:15 & 16 tells us that we will be the fragrance of Christ to those who are being saved and to those who are perishing – to the one we will be an aroma from death to death and to the other we will be an aroma for life to life. So how others perceive me has to do with their own philosophy of life, and that is okay. Meanwhile, I will hold true to being rooted in Christ.

If you could share a wise nugget of truth in one sentence what would it be.

The most important thing for us to do each day is to spend time with Jesus - reading His Word, talking to Him, and listening to that still, small voice.

9.25.2013

Be the GIFT

#BETHEGIFT
BECAUSE GOD HAS BLESSED ME
IN SO MANY WAYS BIG AND SMALL

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Jesus went about doing good, and as His disciple I am compelled to do the same. So I was not surprised, but rather excited that I got the idea earlier this week that my upcoming birthday would be different than those past. I would give instead of receive.

Looking for inspiration for the next day’s mission I stumbled on Ann Voskamp’s website and print list quite quickly. Mission confirmed through Ann’s journey of blessing others randomly, which in itself caused me to sit up and pay attention. Yes, God is saying something, “Do it!” I answered the call with an eager, “Yes, Lord!”

My morning started off a bit bumpy because of less sleep  due to hormones mixed in with a good dose of expectation. Still, I was ready, available, and charged with boldness and power to make a difference today. I was commissioned to give and share with others that God exists, and He is good.

There’s truth to the Bible and its application, and today was no different—it is more blessed to give than to receive. I was on a supernatural high, and blessed at how God orchestrated conversations with heartfelt smiles exchanged.

 

Busy Banker Dude
I peeked in the glass enclosure to see him busy at his desk with reports in hand glancing at the computer. He looked like the perfect candidate for a Starbucks blessing. Being the first of many gifts I was extremely encouraged when I tapped on the door and with a short explanation he accepted so gracefully.

Bearded Young Man
One of my conversations today was giving the gift of hope. A young man spoke to me as we walked the parking lot towards the mall. I acknowledged and approached him with a smile, kind words and a friendly handshake. He was thankful that I was polite, but perhaps most of all that I genuinely cared. I continued and further shared that there’s so much evil in the world today that I’m just doing my part to show that God exists. He was stumped that I could have that perspective. “Keep keepin’ on,” I said as we parted ways.

Yes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob exists, and He is good. Even so, if one questions God or where is He in all this tragedy and tribulation in our world I must remain steadfast in my faith that He is not afar off, and with His influence I can take this walk with Jesus to limitless possibilities being light and salt in my sphere of influence.

Lady Grocery Checker
As I asked for cash back with my purchase of gifts and gift bags, the checker answered with the following statement, “Oh it’s not like your giving money away today.” Nobody but God! I answered, “As a matter of fact I am—funny you should say that.” I gave her a five dollar bill with my printed orange sheet with a smile and a “God bless you!”

You can’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor! But perhaps He wanted to see the motive of my heart and to test my boldness. Regardless, we know that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  I gladly confessed.

There were others that touched me to the core like blessing a young boy with a bright orange teddy bear at the gas station. I had a skip in my step after seeing the big rig truck picking up donations from one of those stand alone metal deposit stations. I gave him Blessings bank envelopes for his children. The coveted two-dollar bill was enclosed along with my message. I asked permission to leave my last Blessings bank envelope on a two-top at the ice cream parlor. The maintenance woman at the mall wasn't expecting a spice pumpkin candle after her ATM transaction.

This glory is not my own, nor do I share in it, but I am merely a participant that reaps the benefit of seeing how God can use the ordinary to do the extraordinary in the everyday.

Today I was the gift, the giver, the encourager, the hopeful, and the kind and generous. I witnessed the anointing that breaks down barriers, generational gaps, and the possibility of being misunderstood because God had ordained it. It was a seamless transference of gentle human kindness and heaven had recorded it.

Thank you Lord, for a holy experience in giving and sharing with my community. It was an unforgettable day with you!

It’s my birthday and I’m still here, standing and believing that God has a purpose and plan for my life, and in His timing it will mature into its fullness. I will wait patiently on the Lord!

"Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday." Psalm 37:3-6 Amplified Bible

"Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done: He'll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon." Psalm 37:3-6 The Message

9.13.2013

Do Not Forsake Your Mother's Teaching

I remember when my daughter was a toddler and every bump and bruise mommy was there to kiss it and make it better. I would bring joy to any blue moment, and often without an invitation.

Moms are like that—our nature is to rescue and leave that situation with smiles and happy thoughts. I believe that’s appropriate from infant to kindergarten age while other children need more time to grow with a few exceptions up to and including second grade. Nevertheless, my third grader needs to get it.

My mommy instinct kicked in at the end of last school year with a tip-off that it’s time. It's time this first responder gets a needed break and my daughter take ownership. In many conversations I declared it with phrases like:

“You have to find your own voice.”

“You have to be more responsible.”

Proverbs 1:8-9 Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. "

Fast forward to today after coming home with a tummy ache, and it gets worse quick. She has forgotten a re-do test at school that her teacher specifically gave her a consequence for if it’s forgotten or lost.

Oops!

I tried my best in returning to school, but by late afternoon on a Friday the parking lot was mostly empty. The way home was mounting stress for her with tears streaming down and repeating, “Oh my gosh—I can’t believe it.”

Believe it honey. You’re in the thick of a mistake and mommy can’t fix it. I’m rather okay with it too.

Most lessons in life are painful, and all can attest that growing up is hard work. It’s a tough dose of truth to swallow, but sometimes parents help by not rescuing their child.

Ouch!

I've grown every season with my daughter since day one, and here we are again learning life lessons side by side. I'm learning to let go little by little so that she may someday stand on her own without my help.

The Bible is clear--children are precious, but it also states how we are to teach, train and discipline them. Bible verses here.

8.25.2013

Why did God choose me?

I listened to a riveting sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes that had me on the edge of my seat while my ears were leaning in to get every word and my heart open to receive such good news. It encouraged me, and strengthened my spirit man to persevere no matter what. Whether on the mountain top or in the valley I have to know the truth that is—God did choose me.

Later on that same evening during my quiet time I pondered more about why God chose me. Rewinding my life story I started at the beginning, and continued with defeating trials, obstacles, and unfortunate circumstances. It’s not the making of greatness I assure you. The devil tried to take me out. So inwardly I pressed in the more.

The Lord answered with that still small voice, “It doesn’t matter where the seed is planted it will grow; whether in the crack of cement, in the crevice of a rocky mountainside, or in arid desert places.” My heart melted and my mind could comprehend it. I am His seed, and in my mother’s womb He knew me. I was marked and set apart for Him.

I would grow in age and stature, but at age 31 come to a crossroads and accept the prevenient grace of God -- to choose salvation in Christ Jesus. My spiritual journey had begun, and Jesus has never disappointed me these seventeen years and counting.  Even in a moment of doubt I come back to the Bible truth:

God chose me.



God doesn’t lie.

"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19

He understands my thoughts.

“You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:2-4

I cannot hide from Him.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10

I was skillfully made in secret, and God saw me.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16

He had a specific plan and purpose in mind when He chose me.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

He will keep His promises if I wait, trust and am hopeful.

“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“Then the Lord answered me and said: "Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3-3

He has kept His Word, and I am His.

Why did God choose me? (Bishop T.D. Jakes)

8.18.2013

Blast From The Past: Negativity a Stronghold

Blast From The Past are archived blog posts hidden and held hostage elsewhere or in my computer archives. They have relevance, and encourage me to remain patient as Christ did to endure—for surely the vision shall come to pass.

Previously Posted: October 3, 2010

"God is asking us to be obedient no matter what the results." – Marina L.

God is speaking to me specifically on how to overcome the discouragement in the lack of progress, success, or motivation from a certain situation or difficult person.

An analogy came to mind that only made more real my current life lesson. It is obvious the difference of when our emotions and exuberance are attached to something "new," and when we are in something for years of the same. The lack luster of what we fix our eyes upon can be down right dull and boring, and quite possibly and irritant.

Consider the bliss effect in getting a new job, house, or when in a new relationship. Everything is coming up roses so to speak. Then, gradually without even noticing, our attitude becomes less gracious and more critical.

We are overwhelmed with a house that is sub-par and in dire need of an overhaul. We might be in a career that is on hold with little hope of advancement in an economy that is stricken with handicaps of all sorts. Perhaps it is our marriage where one or both spouses are stuck. Though these are the facts and our reality, we must recognize that these situations can be the breeding ground for anger where our focus shifts to all things negative.

Do you find that you cannot walk pass that chipped paint without a physical reaction -- a deep sigh or the rolling of your eyes? Do you get sweaty palms or does your heart race when you have to deal with a difficult person on the job? It is easier to communicate with your spouse about anything, but the issues that are in need of repentance and healing.

Negative attitudes lead to negative behaviors. Let us call it what is—a stronghold. Strongholds can be either a safe place of protection or prison.  Negativity is the latter whereby the enemy influences and plunders our Heavenly goods of love, grace, and forgiveness. Where joy and delight wanes to the point of non-existent—hence, inoperative for the Kingdom of God and no longer a threat.

God is love, and anything that drives us negatively is not of Him. This should be our spiritual barometer: If we are feeling upset to the point of negative thoughts or speech, it is time to seek help in tearing down the prison walls.  Fellowship, bible study, daily prayer, accountability, and maybe deliverance.  Do some or all, but do something. Get free!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

8.16.2013

Giveaway: Custom White Mug

Giveaway: Custom White Mug (Copyright). Mailed straight from the manufacturer to the lower 48 only. Created in 2011 for coffee house gigs. Enter using Rafflecopter. (see below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post at Seeking Kingdom First

"A man's gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men." Proverbs 18:16

Writing is my passion. It's what I want to do most of my day, but life's obligations don't afford me that.

If you're wondering was I ever published, the answer is yes. I did numerous Christian movie reviews for a few years and did great.  Before that I had my own dot com when space on the Internet wasn't free. I also wrote over 1200 posts on another general blog, which is held hostage and private with a farewell post the end of 2010. Occasionally I do sneak back there to find a treasure or two.

Cup of Goodness started in Jan 2011 as a faith-filled blog; with my mind made up, the call to minister was a natural next step in 2012. However, I will tell you I was surprised, but not my pastor. Ministry responsibilities also include editing the church's monthly newsletter, and it's a labor of love to serve in a capacity that's fitting to my gifting. They are a church that celebrates God as the head, the calling, the gifts, and the Body of Christ.

Writing is my gift—with God's super on my natural! He alone has made my mind fruitful. He gets all the credit! My inspiration comes in different ways. Nonetheless, when my thoughts start to carry on into sentences in my head, I know it's relevant and significant to share with an audience. Tap, tap, tap on my keyboard and the message is there. Whether it be an audience of one, or in a room with a few, I'm sharing it.

Please visit Forest Rose at Seeking Kingdom First for my guest post Epic Failure.

8.12.2013

Testimony

 
It was 1996, three weeks before my wedding day that I had a spiritual conversion -- an introduction to Jesus in a personal way. Finally, all the love I had felt for my Heavenly Father since a child, reciprocated in one finite moment. God kissed every fiber of my being inside and out, and I would never be the same!

Through my 17 years of walking with Jesus I admit there were many seasons of intimacy, but there were also a few that I acted more like a distant lover because of distraction and the busyness of life. Still, I press on knowing that the countless mountaintop and valley experiences were necessary for maturing in the faith of Christ Jesus. And with humility, I answered the call into ministry and surrendered to His plan.

I am an ordinary woman living out an extraordinary life through the power of God.

"My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

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