Stormy weather

stormy-weatherIf you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know I write a lot about the storms of life. I have moments when my heart hurts and I think that surely my life has been stormier than most, but I know that it has not. Most of us keep our storms hidden… or at least we find a way to mitigate their appearance.

But however well we hide them, the storms come to us all. Some of us cry in public, others in private. Some of us rage while others medicate. But the common denominator in each of these responses is pain.

The storms of life are painful, even devastating, but every phase is covered in God’s Word. For every moment, there is a promise that He made to us that we can stand on and believe in and draw strength from.

He bore our griefs. (Isaiah 53:4) He healed our broken hearts. (Psalm 147:3) He brings new life and joy. (Psalm 30:11) He fights our battles. (2 Chronicles 20:17) He closes the mouths of the lions. (Daniel 6:22) He restores our souls. (Psalm 23:2)

Whatever we’re facing, we serve a God who is faithful in the storm if we humble ourselves and run to Him. His salvation does not come to those who stand with arms folded. His salvation comes to the heart that is flayed open before Him, the heart that says, “Oh God, please help me. I need you. I cannot do this in my own strength. Save me.” God responds to the softened heart that comes to Him in humility. He responds to the prayer of faith and expectancy. He responds to His children who run to Him, not from Him.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. Psalm 23:4 AMP

Run to Him. Drop your baggage and run to Him. He is waiting for you.

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Change your spots

leopardAre you a leopard who desperately needs to change your spots? Is your life in the toilet? Do you need a miracle?

In this day and age, you’d be hard pressed to find any believer who doesn’t need a miracle in one way or another.

How do you get what you need from God? ASK HIM. He is ready to help but most times we are so goofed up in our heads that we don’t even know we need it. Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG

Take the mercy, accept the help!

Leopards CAN change their spots with the help of the Word of God. Renewing your mind daily with His Word changes your spots. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Get out of the toilet. Go to God and ask for help. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5 NLT If we ever needed wisdom from God, it’s now.

The state of your union

Hot and coldWhat’s the state of your union? I’m not talking about your relationships, I mean what’s the state of your insides? Is there peace? War? Personally, mine have recently been engaged in a skirmish. On one side there is faith… on the other, fear. Only one of them can win.

The Bible says a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25), so there has to be a winner. There will be a winner; whether I like it or not.

So, how do I tip the scale in favor of faith?

The Word of God in my mouth is the only way. “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.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The Message translation says it this way: “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”

Every loose thought and emotion and impulse… How many of those do I have in a day?

The power lies in recognizing them when they come, and then forcing them to align with a life shaped by Christ. In other words, forcing my thoughts, emotions, and impulses to line up with the Word of God… the Word of God that is hidden in my heart so that I might not sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11)

It’s a battle, make no mistake. The very fact that I’m human and I was born on planet Earth, a sin-filled, fallen world means that there are forces working against me, against my peace, against my fulfillment and my destiny. But I know how to overcome them. God’s Word and His Holy Spirit have given me the power and the tools to calm the state of my union, and declare a winner.

 

Be a warrior

Woman warriorMy sister Christi really scared me a few months ago. She went to the hospital thinking she had a bad case of the flu and narrowly avoided the intensive care unit by about two points on the blood pressure cuff. A large kidney stone had produced a massive infection that spread throughout her body and threatened her life.

Of course, I love my sister. I love her dearly… even when she makes me nuts. But when faced with the fragility of her life, and the pain and fear that came in waves, I found myself somewhere new.

When she was weak, I had to be strong. I’m a fairly strong woman but I had to go to another level; there was absolutely no choice.

That’s what you do for people you love. When they are in the fight of their life, you don armor and pick up your sword. You pray God’s Word over them. The doctors and nurses used the weapons of their warfare, and I used mine. It was war.

Christi is the healed of the Lord. (Psalm 103:3)

She is His beloved child and He gives her rest. (Psalm 127:2)

Greater is He Who is in her than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Christi is more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:37)

And then you open the valve of Holy Spirit peace and let it flow… drowning out beeps and needle pokes and scary numbers. That’s how we win. No matter the battle, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit make us win.

Christi is well and whole, and my faith is stronger for it.

Get to the table

Get to the tableIt makes me laugh the way God talks to me. I’m sure the Hollywood bigwigs did not anticipate their movies being blog material, at least not this kind of blog. But for this girl, movies are ripe for the picking.

Psalm 23 says that God will prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I have felt the embrace of that scripture before when it seemed like the world was against me, but today, a dear friend pointed out another aspect that tweaked my thinking. She told me the Lord showed her that the enemy there is not necessarily a human enemy, but anything that may be blocking our way or causing us pain… sickness, financial strain, relationship problems, fear, whatever it may be that is keeping us from freedom and victory in this life.

You see, no matter what problem we may be facing, there is a table set before us that has answers. That table has bread if we’re hungry and medicine if we’re sick. It has what we need to survive… kind of like the cornucopia in the Hunger Games. Except we won’t get killed on the way to the table.

The table is there, and it is set for a feast. But the feast will never be consumed unless we get there. We have to do something. We have to walk up to the table and pull up a chair. We have to accept the gifts. They are not dropped in our laps, they are spread out in front of us, but it’s still up to us to get to the table.

Draw the line

Draw the lineJohnny and June walked the line. Last night, I had to draw the line. They say trouble comes in threes, and while I do not subscribe to sayings like that, I have experienced a painful windfall of troubles. I got shingles, my precious mother-in-law went to Heaven without my permission, my heating system went caput, my dog got very sick, and a couple more unmentionable issues from which I will spare you the details but caused me major consternation. These storms hurt my body, broke my heart, scared the crap out of me, and attacked my finances.

Last night I got mad. Mad at the devil. Because that is who brings things meant to steal from us and bring death and destruction into our lives. Why?

Because we let him. Because bad things happen. Because we live in this fallen world. Because a lot of things, but we can fight back.

That’s not to say that I don’t pray over my family and believe God in many, many areas all the time, because I do. But last night I reached a moment where in the spirit realm, I drew a line. I told God where I stood and I told the devil where I stood. I pointed arrows of scripture and fired them. And then I thanked God that this storm and future storms were dead in their tracks.

The Bible says we perish for lack of knowledge, (Hosea 4:6) and God knows sometimes I’m very slow to realize I’m under attack and it’s up to me to engage in the fight. But I engaged and I won.

God wins. We win. And I’m not letting anyone forget it.

Pup-date

Sammy boyThe leftovers are foiled up, the pies are decimated. I slept deeply and awoke to a flood of dog pee. Sammy is taking medication that makes him extremely thirsty, so he’s drinking more than usual. And polite little man that he is, he did not want to disturb my food coma to tell me he needed to go outside.

I have much to be thankful for, including the health of my dog. Your prayers worked. Samson is home and recuperating from a gnarly intestinal malady. He is on special food and meds but we are expecting a full recovery, in Jesus’ name. His little shaved paw and bony back are heartbreaking, but his cuddles are priceless.

What would we do without our Bubbas?

Thank you, my friends, for your prayers. I am so very grateful.

Big words and Oral Roberts

Befuddled, what a great word. You drop that bad boy on a triple word score and you’re doin’ it.

Sometimes I’m just befuddled on how to pray for a situation. I don’t have the spiritual gumption to rise up in strength and pray Heaven down. I don’t have the words, I don’t have that fire. All I’ve got is, “Oh God, help me.”

I find myself there a lot.

The other day, I was editing down a classic Oral Roberts sermon for our magazine and I stumbled upon perhaps the most perfect prayer I’ve ever read. It’s so real and heartfelt and non-super-spiritual.

After preaching his sermon, Oral prayed this prayer over the people in attendance. Before you skip down past the part in italics, because I am notorious for skipping through the scripture passages, etc… please take a moment to read the whole thing. He covers the critical areas so well and yet leaves it open at the end for us to just say, “Oh God, help my life.”

Heavenly Father, in the name of Your incomparable Son, Jesus of Nazareth, I ask for miracles. Dear friend, through Jesus Christ of Nazareth who’s risen from the dead and who is transferring His power toward you right now, I pray that He will touch you from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet.  I pray that your soul will be born again.  I pray that you will say, “God, forgive me of my sins.  Forgive me of my unbelief and come into my heart and make me a new creature.”

I pray God will heal you.  If you have medicine in your body, if some physician is working with you, or if you’ve had surgery, I pray that whatever he has done will work, and that the Spirit of God will come upon the physician’s care.  And then I pray that the miraculous power of God to heal will touch you.  Every part of your blood.  Every bone in your body.  Every muscle.  Every nerve.  That from your head to your feet the healing power of Jesus will flow through you like a mighty river.

I pray for your loneliness, for your feelings of desperation and helplessness.  I pray that Jesus will transfer His power to you, that you’ll feel and hear God’s still small voice, and you’ll take dominion over this struggle, through the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Today I pray that you will rise up, and Christ will come into you with a new power.  And you will know that you know that you know that Christ has taken over and is going to change things in your life.

Through Jesus Christ I pray, I believe, and I expect this miracle to happen in your life.  Amen and amen.

My favorite line is this: And you will know that you know that you know that Christ has taken over and is going to change things in your life. If you skipped the entire thing, I hope you hold on to that one line. If we’ll call out to God in our weakest and darkest times, when we’re completely befuddled, He is there, and help is right around the corner.