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)

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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

Mission
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Mission

I began blogging in 2007 elsewhere and it was a wonderful 4 years of making friends and doing life together through posts and sharing of pictures. Our journeys marked with milestones and challenges, but through it we encouraged each other and laughed along the way. Though it was time to close that door, it wasn’t long before I began to share again here, but with a much more focused drive to reach others with specific and inspired posts.

Thankfully, life has evolved and new chapters added to my life story to include ministry. I pray that this blog be a wellspring, an overflow, of what God has compelled me to share with others face to face. My mission is to point others to Jesus, to speak encouragement concerning their circumstances, and to feed the hungry the life giving Word of God. All this working in harmony so that the hearer is not swayed by circumstances or trials, but rather built up and eager to run the race.

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Pat's Creamy Chicken

Last week I scored chicken breast on sale. Buy one Foster Farms chicken and get two free! The cost figured out to be less than $3.00 a pound.  

This week I was disappointed to find regular Gala apples priced at $2.29 a pound. Instead I decided with $2.19 for organic Red Delicious. I wouldn't have noticed that without the help of a friendly shopper. High five to the apple lover!

An oldie but goodie from my recipe folder:

Pat's Creamy Chicken (2005)

Ingredients:
•4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed
•1/4 cup melted butter
•salt and pepper, to taste
•dried leaf thyme, to taste
•1 clove garlic, minced
•1 can (10 1/2 ounces) creamy chicken soup
•8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes, can be used reduced fat
•1/2 cup chicken broth
•1 cup chopped onions
•1/2 cup chopped celery

Preparation:
Place chicken breasts in crockpot. Brush the chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add herbs and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Tips: I don't brush the chicken with melted butter. I melt it in the microwave and pour it over. I use the high setting for 4 to 5 hours.

This dish is comfort food at its best, and great over rice.  I dare you to pass this up and head over to the meatloaf or mac-n-cheese. Really, it's that good! This recipe calls for thyme, which is a bold spice so use enough, but don't overdo it when seasoning. Take into consideration that you'll want to taste the cream cheese and chicken as well.

Enjoy a hearty meal from the crock-pot today! Trust and believe your family will thank you.

8.11.2013

I Was Blind But Now I See

Before I made a commitment to Christ I was dead, dead in my spirit, though my body was living. Nonetheless, not alive as it was purposed. Yet, the Lord was patient and persistent with me, and knocking on the door of my heart. Regardless of my then sinful state he knew I would open the door and say, "Yes," because I was called by name.

After being a believer for many years, life became busy after the call of motherhood. In the midst of being mother and wife without warning, I found myself on shaky ground and crippled with fear. I had forgotten my first love and gradually became lukewarm, which makes God sick—literally.

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." Revelation 3:16

In both instances I was lost and separated from God. Yet, when I turned to Him in desperation with my heart eager for His will, God the Father of abundant mercy took me into His loving arms and gave me Heaven's riches. I will never be the same. My heart feels what He feels. My eyes see what He sees. I am His humble servant.

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Revelation 3:21

Revelation 3:15-22


If You Were Accused

8.07.2013

Blast From The Past: Having Church

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.

Circa 2007

Yesterday I was listening to Shirley Caesar, Marvin Sapp, Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff, and Israel Houghton while cleaning. Yes, it’s possible to be spiritually elevated with gospel music and Lysol wipes!

The light shines upon my life, and within me.


Thank you Jesus, for your promises that include the assurance of my eternity, and that life's challenges will come. But, behold I have the confidence that with God I will continue to overcome, conquer, and endure. Knowing that my ultimate victory is over death because of Christ and His blood shed at Calvary.

God has provided resurrection power for the journey. I boldly testify, there is nothing that Jesus and I cannot face together, His comfort and strength are with me always. I'm on the mountaintop, and looking below upon the valley from which I have traveled. It has been a season of reflection, growth, and most importantly a time of intimacy with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for the valley experiences that continue to prove that His love and purpose are working in me.

My faithful Jesus—all powerful and wonderful God!

8.02.2013

COLORME Art Spa

gofundme: COLORME Art Spa

Fine Artist, Debra Lee Murrow of COLORME Art Spa is an inspirational artist and a gifted teacher with groups of every age and skill level. She has both created and coached at numerous events and fundraisers. Her passion and belief is that everyone can draw, and for those who are uncomfortable with coloring outside the lines, Debra gives you permission to do so. Her attitude and smile are convincing on mess-ups as well, "You can turn that into something. It's a happy mistake!" Her large canvases with whimsy and words have been shared in churches, restaurants, coffee houses, commercial real estate, and homes alike.



Prophetic Art is Debra's gift as led by the Master Artist, God. While she draws close to Him through prayer her hands create on canvas interpreting the sermon, teaching, or speech at church services, conferences, or conventions.


There's an abundance for the kids at COLORME Art Spa also with shrink plastic necklaces and key chains, paper WORD postcards, and custom pillowcases.  Debra's Art Spa is very popular at VBS art camps, birthday parties, and other youth events. Give her a couple of hours of your time to color your world in Phoenix, Arizona or book her for a session on Skype. All you need is music, colored pencils, oil pastels, chalk, ink, paper and/or canvas, and you become the artist.

 


INTERVIEW:

I have heard parts of your testimony during art spa workshops. How old were you when art had more meaning than a box of colorful crayons, and how has it evolved through the years?

I was 33, when a revelation of the power of words changed me one ordinary day. My art is made up of words and phrases mixed together to engage the mind and heart.

What’s the most significant piece that you’ve created thus far, and what’s the story behind it?

Most recently I have been able to create prophetic art, on stage at conferences while the music was playing. Those pieces are very near and dear for me because God lead me through them step by step, and I was learning and growing at the same time. Last year, when I created a black ink piece that had the written word REPENT, I then looked up every Bible scripture that went with this piece and wrote them around the letters of the word. I must have cried through the whole drawing—it was very cleansing.

It seems that art is satisfying no matter what our age. You have done a variety of venues from children’s birthday parties, to teaching at assisted living centers, and most recently prophetic art where you do the creating center stage at conferences. What motivates you to offer your COLORME Art Spa to a wide audience?

Everyone can and should create—no matter what age and at what point in their life. I love creating with mixed age group classes, that way it gets the parents and the kids involved together -- learning and exploring art. Then they can continue this in the comforts of their own home.

Art is healing, and you make such a declaration on your website. Won’t you tell us your side of it?

Art comes through the right side of the brain. I also believe that is the side where God gives you visions and dreams. When we stop saying, "I'm not an artist" and unblock that side, we can heal not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially. I believe we can hear Him better by being able to draw and draw well. We also then use our whole brain—hence, wiser. I am not saying everyone should become a fine artist. I am saying everyone should learn how to draw so they can unblock. I love the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. She explains it so well.

It’s said that, “Your talent is God's gift to you; what you do with it is your gift to God.” Do you agree?

Most definitely—we all have different gifts and if we don't or won't use them, well then, God will find someone else.

If you could share a wise nugget of truth in one sentence for those who follow your life/art what you would tell them.

God does have a plan, and He is waiting on you, not the other way around.

What’s next for COLORME Art Spa?

I want free standing 'COLORME' Art Spa galleries in strip malls and malls across America, and then eventually internationally. I want people to go out and create art as easy as they go buy the next new thing. I want the model to be donation based so that there is no objection to going in to create even the smallest of art pieces.

Contact Info: DebraLeeMurrow.com
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