Ordinary People

An ordinary people… that’s what I am.

*WARNING: transparent post ahead*

Todd and I were talking this morning, about many things … well, about everything, really. It is one of my most favorite things to do… to just sit in the stillness of the morning and spend time with one another discussing life.

One of the things that has been on my mind lately is my little side hustle with Young Living. To be honest, I truly don’t like referring to it as ‘my side hustle’ because it has become a lifestyle for me. Actually, it’s not even a lifestyle but rather a large part of my life. I have incorporated this wellness lifestyle into my life journey so much so that it is just the ‘norm’ for me and my hubby.

Having said that, one of the thoughts that has plagued me recently is that there are so many ‘oilers’ I’m connect to or follow that are doing so well building their businesses, and it just seems effortless for them. (‘Seems’ being the key word.) Many are already well-known bloggers or influencers who already have such a large following that it appears to be so easy for them to reach so many people and be able to touch and educate a vast group about the benefits of these natural, 100% pure products. That is truly wonderful, seriously, because I feel that as many people as possible SHOULD be informed about these God-given remedies.

However, this is an area of discouragement for me because I can’t reach that many people. I feel like I am stuck in my own little IG community with an open door that leads to nowhere.

I am one person.

I don’t have a vast following.

I am not an influencer, per say.

I am a blogger (part-time) but I am not successful, per say.

Do you know what ‘per say’ means?

It means ‘by itself.’

I am not these things I mentioned above, per say, but with God, I am. Todd reminded me of that this morning.

When I mentioned my discouragement, he immediately responded without hesitation, “God used ordinary people to be His disciples and do great things.”

*drop the mic 🎤

Let’s face it… these successful bloggers and influencers that I speak of are most likely those ordinary people whom Todd spoke of that God is using for His glory!!

How quickly I have forgotten why I wear my mustard seed bracelet 24/7… I never take it off! (Purchased from Marianne at Gracefully Wrapped.) My ‘faith as a mustard seed’ should not be compartmentalized and practiced only in certain areas but it should consume every area of concern in my life.

No… I am not all these things, but with God, I am.

I am what HE calls me to be for such a time as this.

I absolutely CANNOT take my eyes off of Him for one minute, because when I do, I make it all about me.

It’s not about me but rather about the God I serve.

I am not… but I know ‘I Am.’

Thank you, Todd, for that reminder.

Go out today and be ordinary, but allow yourself to be open to God and do great things for His glory.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

A.S.A.P.

I got a very late start to my quiet time this morning.

I hate that!

It makes my day ‘off’ for the rest of the day. Anybody feelin me??

The thing is…hubby is out of town, and I don’t sleep very well when he is gone. It was almost 2:30 before my mind would allow me to settle in for the night, and only after I rubbed myself down with Lavender and Stress Away.

I would have grabbed those oils earlier but, truthfully, I didn’t want to. I’m a scaredy cat when he is gone and I imagine all kinds of noises and burglars and fires and all kinds of crazy stuff that could happen, and I wanted to be awake should any of it happen so I could RUN!! lol

Ludicrous, I know. 😑🤦🏻‍♀️

But as my mind was running 100 miles an hour this morning thinking of the million things I had to do, I walked by this tiny wooden plaque that was gifted to me reminding me that there is ALWAYS time to stop and pray.

I will not rush through my quiet time, and I will savor it.

It is THE most important priority of EVERY day.

Afterwards, I’ll prioritize my list making sure to tackle the most important first and leave the rest for another day.

I’m glad hubby was only gone one day, but had he not, the little plaque that stopped my thoughts reminded me that “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Fear is a liar.

And I shall not be afraid.

Now… on to diffusing some Frankincense and Lavendar as I soak up God’s word!

Ushering In 2019!

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”          Isaiah 43:18-19

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe we’ve ushered in another year. I’ve just gotten accustomed to it being 2018, right? It flew by faster than I ever imagined.

My goal.

I shared these words 5 years ago but this is still my wish for today.  I am making it my resolution for 2019 + every year going forward.

img_4992

Declutter/Detoxify/Simplify (whatever you want to call it) > the mind…the body… the heart/soul… the home.

Whether it be simplifying or decluttering your home, simplifying your calendar, decluttering your mind, removing yourself from the noise around you, or detoxifying your body which is a temple…This involves Discipline in every area. As it says in 1 Corinthians 6, everything is permissible, but that doesn’t mean it is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but it shall not have power over me. Whatever my hands find to do, I pray I do it well. Whatever I share with others, I pray that it is beneficial and all for the glory of God. I pray that my life as seen through your eyes (most importantly in God’s sight) be Kingdom-minded drawing others closer to Christ as I live my simple but very blessed life!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution or goal that you are trying to achieve? I’d love for you to share what it is!

“The Lord bless you and  keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

P.S.  Below is what I shared on my Instagram wellness account that pretty much mirrors what I penned above.  If you get a chance, check out my Instagram accounts: alifeblessed, alifeblessedessentials, and alifeblessedimages.

 

Happy New Year

God has not granted me time just to waste it.

God has not given me a temple just to destroy it.

God has not given me passions for MY glory but for HIS.

Everything that touches my hands, goes through my lips, enters my mind and my body, and slips into each second of my time…may it have purpose.

Happy New Year, friends!

A Little Bit of Mustard Goes A Long Way

I pxfgvqatjsfvipybkfrzwas reminded this morning that a little bit of mustard goes a long way.  Just a Lil dab ‘il do ya!  Now, I love mustard, A LOT, and I can use quite a bit on a hot dog or a burger and never miss a beat — it’s soooo good! But have you ever just put mustard on your food of choice and it ends up getting everywhere unnoticed?!?

 

Our staff prepared lunch for our church members one day this week – burgers and hot dogs – and as I was eating mine, it seemed like the mustard just multiplied like the bread and the fish!!  I mean….it was oozing out the side of my sandwich, was all over my fingers – on both hands, mind you – was on the palms of my hands, it covered my napkin – front and back – and STILL had the promise of landing in places I wouldn’t find until later that day!  I love mustard, but puh-lease!! Somehow it always seems to find a way to multiply!

Yes…mustard does seem to multiply, but I’m not actually talking about the kind you spread on your food.

Mustard seedAs much as this is the case for yellow mustard, so is the case for the simple mustard seed.  I wasn’t just blowing smoke when I said I was reminded this morning that a little mustard goes a long way.

 

My Bible reading this morning took me back to the lunch this week and reinforced the promise that a little mustard (seed) goes a long way.

IMG_4157-03-11-18-10-10This is just one of the Bibles I use during my quiet time, and it has been my favorite for years. You may not can tell, but the Bible cover is basically what is holding it together. It is the New Century Version with devotions by Max Lucado.

As I picked it up to read out of Matthew this morning, I found Matthew 17:20 underlined with a name and a date written beside it.

FullSizeRender-03-11-18-10-10

This took me back to February 2007 when we were praying for a dear lady who was every bit on the brink of death, but the faith of those who steadily prayed for her on this tough journey was enough for God to let us know that He still had plans for her on this earth! Praise God, she is alive and well today and a daily walking testimony of His healing!

Jesus began this verse in Matthew by saying “Your faith is too small,” but in verse 17 above it, he says “You people have no faith…how long must I be patient with you?”

Did you get that? —>>  “...NO faith…”

He then continues in verse 20 by saying that “if your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. All things will be possible for you.”

I’m no theologian, but my take on this scripture that claims ‘your faith is too small’ means ‘you have no faith at all’!  If all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed, as small as it is, then having too little faith means we don’t have any faith at all.

Why don’t we trust God more?

I’m guilty as charged.

There are many things in which I’ve been trusting God for a while now, and there will continue to be those things that only He can make come to fruition. After all, it is Him who is in ultimate control, but I confess that my faith waivers at times. When things don’t happen soon enough, I tend to let my flesh take over and fail to be “… joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” as we are commanded to do in Romans 12:12.  Allowing your flesh to take over is dangerous, for then you are not working in God’s power but your own…and you have no power.  This can only end up one way:  disastrous.

About a year ago, I purchased a couple of items from Marianne at ‘Gracefully Wrapped‘, a site that I happened upon around that time on Instagram.  I made the purchase, a mustard seed necklace, for a friend who found out that there were multiple complications with her unborn child.  I bought it for her as a reminder that we would be praying for her child and her family during this difficult season of life.  I am a visual person, so I bought that to serve as a visual reminder to give her a bit of hope every time she looked at it.  I am happy to say that a year later, this little miracle is at home and doing well.  She still has to be under 24/7 medical care, but the fact that she is home with her family is nothing short of a miracle!  And, might I add, she is the most precious, adorable little miracle … with a face that brightens any room and a smile like a cup of sunshine!  We are praising God for what He has done in her life and the testimony she is speaking on a daily basis without even saying a word!

While I was making the purchase for my friend, I decided that I could always use a visual reminder for myself as well.  My item of choice was this mustard seed bracelet.

FullSizeRender-03-11-18-10-10-1

I wanted something that I could see every moment of the day…not just when I put it around my neck.  I know the item itself has no powers at all, of course, but mine has served as a daily reminder of that little piece of faith that is required to please God, for ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). I use this bracelet DAILY as this specific reminder and have found it very useful in grounding me for the moment and bringing me back to God’s promise that all things are possible with Him.

I never take this bracelet off.  I even shower with it on, but I don’t suggest that for everyone! (haha)  I do put coconut oil on it afterward to help keep it conditioned, but I keep anticipating the day it will fall off my arm! Hopefully, Marianne will have plenty in stock for me to replace it!  I love Marianne’s products so much, I’d like to put in a little plug for her Gracefully Wrapped Etsy shop.  It isn’t just her products I love so much, I love what she stands for and her sweet, gentle spirit, and you can see that in every piece she makes.

So, with the help of Marianne and her mustard seed bracelet, I am reminded every day that I must have faith in God for those things which I petition in prayer daily.

Whether it be yellow mustard or a mustard seed … it doesn’t take much.

A little mustard goes a long way.

Do you find your faith waivers when it seems like an answer isn’t in the near future?

For what are you trusting God in your life today?

Blessings to you today,

img_3166

Purpose over Profit

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” 

Proverbs 31:8-9

I mentioned last week about being a part of a teaching on Wednesday nights at church called ‘Counter Culture’ by David Platt.

This past week was a teaching/discussion on ‘human life’ which covered abortion, sex trafficking and the like.  Todd, my husband, facilitates the class so he is reading more material than that required of the participants.

After viewing the video and reading the material covered in this particular session, he was overwhelmed at the statistics and facts he discovered, especially in regards to sex trafficking.  Not only was he overwhelmed at the statistics, but his heart was breaking for those children who were made slaves to this devastating practice.  I can’t remember the statistics, but most of the children made slaves to trafficking are around the age of 9 years old. This fact alone, not to mention all the other ugly details, was one of those things that was so devastating to Todd.  He is a PE teacher for classes Pre-K through 4th grade. His 3rd graders are around this age. To imagine this kind of debauchery forced upon these innocent children was just too much to bear.

Right before class on the evening of this particular lesson on human life, I was going through some Young Living materials.  If you know me, then you already know I’ve recently fallen in love with essential oils and Young Living is the brand I chose.  I chose YL based on the longevity of their company as well as the purity of their oils and their ‘seed to seal’ promise.  In reading this material, however, I found even more reasons to love Young Living. The Young Living Foundation provides “wellness and education opportunities to underserved communities” through seven different projects, one of which is the ‘Hope for Justice’ project.  The mission of ‘Hope for Justice’ is “to end human trafficking and slavery, in our generation.”

Now, I do not think it is a coincidence that I found this material on the same night that we were to discuss this very issue, and this is just one more reason to love Young Living even more.

I try to do as much research as I can when taking a plunge as big as the one I took when I became a part of the Young Living family of essential oils.  I felt as though I did enough research to justify choosing Young Living over other reputable companies, but having learned of their projects to help empower underserved communities has now made me even more sure of my decision.

Of course, anyone who is in business HAS to make a profit in order to survive, but Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, says this: “I don’t make a product for a profit, I make it for a purpose.”

Young Living - purpose over profit
photo shared from onebreathatathyme.com

Dory from onebreathatathyme.com breaks down the YLF purpose beautifully by giving insight to each of its projects.  Click here to read not only about the YLF purpose but also her backstory leading her passion for it as well.

I’ve shared one of my favorite Bible verses with you before, but I deem it fitting to share it again now:

  ” … he who waters will himself be watered.”

(Proverbs 11:25)

Pic for 'Purpose over Profit' blogIf you’ve been interested in essential oils but aren’t quite sure about pulling the trigger at this point, click here to learn more about them.  You can also ask me any questions and I will help you any way I can.  If I don’t know the answer, I will find out!

If you know you are ready to get started with essential oils, click here!

 

Blessings to you today,

img_3166

 

One Had Everything, One Had Nothing

“Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord;
He will reward you for what you have done” (Proverbs 19:17-NCV).
Todd is leading a Bible study every Wednesday night called Counter Culture by David Platt.
Counter Culture
Last week’s session was on wealth and how we should be content with what we have all the while being willing to give/share even more of what we have to those around us who need it.
We’re all familiar with Philippians 4:13 that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, right? Well, have you read the verses that precede it? We take this scripture mentioned above and use it for whatever situation where strength, or the like, is desired (#guiltyascharged). However, the scriptures preceding it puts it into perspective for us.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).
—>”… in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content ….”
– drawing strength from the Lord.
Let that sink in.
Observation:
Keep the highest standards for God in your thoughts and actions, keep your mind on Christ, and gain contentment. “To live is Christ, to die is gain” Philippians 1:21.
May we practice dying to self and sharing our wealth (whether it be money, food, time, etc.) with those around us who are in need; and may we be more aware of the needs of others and less self-aware as we do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
*I leave you with a story that pretty much sums this up. PLEASE take the time to read it. Todd used it in class Wednesday night,  The original post came from Anthony Eaves and was reposted by a friend of ours. ↓ ↓ ↓
—-
One had everything and one had nothing.
I spent most of yesterday in Little Rock. I had dropped a load off at my company and was waiting for the time to take another one to Oklahoma. Earlier I had gone to the truck stop in my pick-up truck to get a sandwich. That is where I met a young lady sitting on the sidewalk by the door. She was asking people if they were heading towards Hope, Arkansas.
Most people ignored her and some walked way around her. Others just said no and kept going. I stopped and talked to her. She was in her late twenties and, to most people, she looked horrible. Her skin was almost like plastic and scaled. She wore a bandanna on her bald head and she had no eyebrows. I think she was a little surprised that I stopped and said hello.
She asked if I was going towards Hope and I told her no I’m a truck driver and I’m just here to get a sandwich before I go to Oklahoma. Oh, she said. Well, I’m from Hope. I’m just here in Little Rock for my chemo. I had breast cancer and both breasts removed. I have a disease called scleroderma which is why my skin looks this way. I told her yes I’m familiar with scleroderma; my wife has it. I told her. “You seem to be in a tight situation, kid. Do you have any family in Hope that can come to get you?” “No” she replied. “We just have the one vehicle and my husband told me on the phone that it’s broke down again. He won’t be able to get me ’til tomorrow. The doctors know our situation, so they gave me this so I don’t have to come to Little Rock as often.”
She raised her sleeve to show me a device attached to her that will pump chemo into her at home. “Well, do you have any money on you? “I asked. “No,” she said. “But Jesus will provide.”  I slipped her a twenty I had on me and said “Well, now you do. Get yourself something to eat while you wait.”
She reached into her little bag and pulled out her Bible.
“Thank you, sir, for the money; I am hungry. Can I pray for you?”
“Sure,” I told her as I knelt down.
She opened her Bible to read a small scripture. Then she prayed for me. When she said amen I looked to my right and there was an older woman who was dressed quite well down on her knees next to us with her hands folded as if she had been praying also.
“I’m sorry,” she said “but I’ve been waiting out here for my husband. He’s using the restroom and getting us some coffee. I couldn’t help but overhear y’alls conversation. Miss, we are heading home to Texarkana and Hope is on the way. If you’d like, my husband and I could give you a ride?”
“That would be wonderful!” she said as she turned to me and said, “See, Jesus always provides a way for us if we just believe.”
The lady asked her husband if he would go in with the young lady to get her a hamburger. I went in and got my sandwich and my coffee. As I came out the man was helping the young lady into the back seat. His wife came up to me and said: “Sir, I just wanted to thank you.”
“For what,” I asked, as I hadn’t done anything for her.  As she looked behind her at the young lady in the back of her car she said, “For restoring the faith in God of a woman with breast cancer.  I think she’s had faith in God for a long time, the lady with that little Bible of hers.”
She turned and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I’m not talking about her. I’m talking about me. That’s why my husband and I are here in Little Rock. We just came from my doctor. You know,” she said, “on the surface, I look like I have everything, and she looks like she has nothing. But before I knelt down and prayed with y’all, her, with her faith, had everything that actually mattered…and I had nothing. Y’alls conversation and prayer reminded me where I came from and how I was raised. And looking at her I now have hope.”
helping the poor
So one had nothing, one had everything.
After that day, we all walked away with something.

You Are Not Alone

How is your life going lately?

Have you taken a look around you and noticed how the lives of others are going?

So many times I get so caught up in my own schedules, my own agenda, my own wants and desires that are, what I feel, in line with God’s desire for my life. But even those desires that seem to be in line with God can become idols if not balanced properly.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken a step back, removed myself, and have just taken a good look around. There are people all around me going through their own story of heartbreak, health setbacks, disappointment, discouragement, feelings of hopelessness and despair, and even unspoken needs… the list goes on and on.

Friends, I am a bit overwhelmed when I truly sit down and think about the many needs all around me.

It makes me reevaluate my priorities in prayer and snaps me out of my tunnel vision of self. I pray for my family every day, and I pray that my life represents my God in every way and in every aspect of this life here on earth, but I get so caught up in that one desire that I feel, at times, it becomes ‘the thing’ rather than having intentional awareness for the needs of others.

I’ve said it before, there is no greater gift we can give someone than the gift of prayer. We may say “It’s the least I can do” when actually, it’s the BEST we can do.

There is no feeling quite like interceding on another’s behalf. It is a feeling that cannot be explained. When you pray for others, your desires don’t seem so dire. Although my desires for myself and my family are not wrong in any way when in alignment with God’s word, I know those desires can become idols when they become the sole thing on which I focus.

Take the time today to just notice those around you. Turn on your awareness radar and just take note of how many people you know are hurting or are going through a thing. Then, just take a moment to lift them up in prayer.

If you are awakened in the middle of the night and a person’s face comes to mind, that’s your cue to say a prayer for that person. Even if you don’t know what to pray, just pray however the Holy Spirit leads.

There is power in prayer. And let me attest to the fact that if you keep a journal of your prayer requests, you will be blown away at how God works in your life and in the lives of those you pray for over the years. It is a great way to help nurture your faith and trust in God, and it will remind you that you are never alone.

If you ask for prayer, please know that I will be praying for you.  You are not alone.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

You Are Not Alone

 

So We Rage

During my quiet time today, I read a good word in relation to the disappointment you might face with your world leaders. It was geared towards world leaders, but it is a good word for ANY disappointment we might face in any arena of our life. The following is an adaptation from this devo with words extracted straight from the reading mixed with my own gleanings:
“WE HAVE MISPLACED OUR FAITH. Buried beneath the panic we feel due to the state of our ‘world/church/job/life’ is systemic disappointment. This makes us feel weak and pathetic, so instead of owning our disappointment – in our country, in our world leaders, in our church, in our jobs, in one another, and God help us, in ourselves – WE RAGE. Mad feels better than sad. It’s painful to long, in the words of Hebrews 11:16, for a better country and embrace the hard, cold fact that we are strangers and exiles on earth (Hebrews 11:13).
Grieve, mourn, and weep,” James 4:9-10 says. “Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.
But who wants to do any of that? SO WE RAGE.
We have become like the world “…..having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 ESV)
Yesterday’s America (world,church, job, life, etc.) in all its honor and shame, is in ashes, but, rather than exercise the faith and obedience and earnest prayer to see God raise some beauty from the heap, some gold from the fire, we keep trying to glue ashes back together. And they won’t stick. Yesterday’s America has become an idol to us. It has no more breath in it and the thing about idolaters is that, sooner or later, they become like their idols. (Psalm 135:18)
God could do something new but we’ve lost our hope.
We want back what we’ve seen instead of believing Him for what we haven’t.
Don’t run. Don’t give up. Stop trying to glue back together those ashes yourself.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
When we run on desperation, we are driving drunk on rage, swerving all over the road, fenders dangling and headlights shattered from out collisions with one another. Any means to our end.
Our witness to the world has become the crimson-faced hysterical screams of armageddon after Jesus said “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
We are so void of vision that all we can see is a big fat “T” in the road ahead.
It is right or left.
There is no other way.
Poor, poor God. He’s down to His last two options.
And poor, poor us for having such a poor, poor God.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE PEOPLE OF FAITH IN A GOD WHO NEVER NEEDED A MAN-PAVED ROAD TO GET ANYWHERE. A dead end means nothing to a God of resurrection.
This is what the Lord says – “he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16) can also make a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
Psalm 146:3-9 – New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
4 When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
9 The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

In November, we cast our votes. But if we cast our confidence in our candidates (in ANY man), woe be unto us.
Unbelief is not just the absence of faith as it if leaves a vacuum.  It is the substantive presence of spiritual infidelity.  *It will not be the scandals of our candidates (or any man) that slacked the jaws of angels.  It will be the unbelief of the church.

Remember what I accomplished in antiquity!  Truly I am God.  I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

We are meant to look back to what God has done in the past so our faith is set aflame for what He can do in our future.  The gospel didn’t come to us in seats of government.  It came to us in a stable reeking to high heaven with cow manure.  God didn’t plant the Savior of the world in the womb of a governor’s wife.  He planted the Christ in the womb of a peasant-girl in the middle of nowhere.  The same one who’d get to bear the reputation that she’d done something naughty and gotten herself pregnant.

Jesus never once sat on a throne here. The closest He got was the back of a donkey.  God did not blaze a trail with the gospel galloping on a horse through the halls of government.  He did it through sandals flapping on the grass.  Through the mouths of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

It is the world’s way to associate power with people at the top, but the power of the gospel is at the bottom.  In God’s hierarchy, the way up is down.  The kings and queens of Planet Earth still have to bow low for power from the loft.

We cast our pleas prayerfully.  Carefully.  We plead for wisdom. The church of Jesus Christ doesn’t rise or fall on the backs of men.  We have our God.  He has His people.  We don’t even have to fully agree with one another to be a colossal force for the gospel.  All we have to do is agree with God that nothing is too difficult for Him and that no amount of mortal elbow grease can back His throne into a corner.

God cannot be overruled.

And it is He alone – I cannot say this loudly enough –  it is He alone who truly loves the world.
To think we care more than He does is remarkably prideful.

The responsibility lies not on anyone else.  Responsibility begins with us.  We are only as powerless as our passivity.  We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention.  Paul didn’t tell the government to overcome evil with good. He told US to.

We are convinced that those in ‘power’ have the power to gag God while 2 Timothy 2:9 says the word of God cannot be chained.  Difficult days are ahead.  We cannot endure them faithlessly.  Opposition is inevitable in any arena.  But at some point we’ve got to quit looking to leaders to fight for our faith. FAITH WE HAVEN’T FOUGHT FOR IS FAITH WE DON’T POSSESS.

‘At the top’ is not the only way we effect change.  We seek it.  We fight for it.  But, if we don’t get it, it has never been God’s only means to a change.

God can turn Pennsylvania Avenue into the road to Damascus, for crying out loud.  He can soften the hardest heart.  Transform the vilest offender.  Thank God no sin is too great for the power of the cross.  Oh for grace to trust Him more.

We need our faith back.
Without it we cannot stand.
Without it we cannot please God. (Heb. 11:16)
Without it we can’t grasp joy.
He still counts our faith as righteousness. (Romans 4:23-24)
We live by faith.  We love by faith.  —  Not by sight.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. …”  (Hebrews 11:1-3)

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)


My goal for 2017, my New Year’s resolution if you will, is to remember to RELINQUISH every thing to God in total surrender.  Every. Little. Thing.  
Today’s quiet time revelation was a great reminder of that surrendering which I promised God I would work on throughout the new year and years to come.

God foresaw this day and scheduled our births and our deaths within it.
Keep praying for change.
Keep the faith.
Run valiantly by faith drenched with hope because this race, dear friend, ends well.

Carob Tree Mentality

In the book ‘The Circle Maker’, Mark Batterson speaks of the life of a carob tree, stating that we must have a carob tree mentality when praying, praying long and praying hard.  
I did a bit of research on the carob tree, as I was intrigued by this.  The carob tree takes years to start bearing fruit, as early as 6 years, but it can bear fruit for up to 80-100 years. Although irrigation does help its production, it can thrive in dry areas.  
In a world of instant gratification, we are not accustomed to bearing these times of drought in our lives.  We pray ‘pop-up’ prayers wanting them to be answered as soon as we finish praying. We pray, and then expect a “presto” answer as toast popping out of a toaster.  
The truth is, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given” (Daniel 9:23), however, you may not see the answer for quite some time, maybe not even for years and years.  The ability to withstand these periods of drought is the same as having a carob tree mentality.  We must not give up. We must continue praying – praying without ceasing. We must persevere through our longings.  When we shortcut our longing, this becomes a lust, because we seek that instant gratification rather than holding out for that which we are longing. 
‘Praying’ is an important part of seeking that which we most desperately long for:  Jesus.    Praying long and praying hard is the answer for, in due season, we will see the fruit of our prayers.  We will see a harvest, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).  If you are restless, frustrated, disappointed, weary, unhappy, dissatisfied, or WHATEVER… just PRAY.  Pray long, and pray hard.  
I have a dear friend who once told me that I was my own worst enemy, making me realize I was looking at only the negative and not trying to be a part of the better picture.  Prayer can do this for us. Even if we don’t see an answer at this moment, prayer gives us hope that the answer is coming.  
Keep praying, without ceasing. Do not give up.  We may get to a point where we are at the end of the rope and think, “I have nothing left BUT prayer.”  Well, let me tell you, dear friend… Prayer is EVERYTHING.  
Prayer is not the last resort but rather the beginning of hope.