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!

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

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.

Oh, What A Friend

My grandmother, Ms Oleta Clementine Frazier (pictured above with my granddad, Kirk Morror Frazier) loved this hymn, and it has become one of my favorites over the years for two reasons:  1) It reminds me of her, and 2) It is so true.  

🎼 What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer. 🎼
I had the privilege of having my grandmother around for 7 years of my life.  She died at age 67 (if my memory is correct) of colon cancer.  
There are three things that come to my mind about my grandmother whenever I think of her: 
#1) I don’t think I ever remember a time she wasn’t struggling with her health due to the cancer.
#2) She was one the most selfless, loving, attentive and gentle people I know, and I can still remember her sweet, gentle smile (on her face AND in her eyes) and the feel of her loving arms around me. (AND her great mercy and grace whenever my brother & I lost her good spoons while playing in the dirt behind her house after promising we wouldn’t!)
#3) She could make even a bowl of oatmeal taste like a gourmet dish! 
She endured a lot of pain due to her cancer, but the most important thing I remember about my grandmother was that she had the greatest faith in and love for God.  She would sing this hymn, and others, at the top of her lungs in her living room, and my siblings and I could hear her through the screen door across the road from our yard.  At the time, we were very young and we laughed at times when we heard her singing, but all the while my heart was warmed inside and filled with so much love for her.  I remember having a feeling of safety and security listening to her singing. 

Little did I know what a legacy she was passing down: her faith.  It has passed down from generation to generation and my desire is to keep the legacy alive by continuing to pass it down with each future generation. 

What a friend I had in my grandmother, and what a friend WE have in Jesus.

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