Saturday, April 24, 2010

Doing the Hokey Pokey - Facing the Future Part 2

I talked last time (Part 1) about how often when I'm thinking about the future I can slip into an attitude or posture of FEAR instead of standing in FAITH.  I am definitely still learning this dance move, but basically God has me working to turn these feelings around (that's the Hokey Pokey part J) so that I can move on in His strength all the way to victory!  It goes something like this (though the order varies depending on how He leads):

STOP.  Come before His throne and get down on my knees.  Be still.  Look up and listen.  Look back and remember how faithful he has ALWAYS been.  Throw my burdens into His hands.  Thank Him for all He's done before and what He's going to do still.  Turn away from the sin I may have fallen into.  Push back and resist the enemy.  Put my hands in God's and let Him lead.  Trust Him.  TRUST HIM.  TRUST HIM!  Climb up on His lap and maybe all the way up to His shoulders and see what He sees when He looks at my future!  And then make some choices...

To be DETERMINED instead of dreading.
To start being COURAGEOUS instead of cowardly.
To choose to be CONFIDENT and stop despairing.
To be TRUSTING instead of anxious.
To be FILLED WITH FAITH instead of fearful.


EXPECTANT instead of worried.
HOPEFUL instead of discouraged.
ENCOURAGED instead of depressed.
BRAVE instead of timid.
PERSEVERING instead of giving up.
STRONG instead of weak.
BOLD instead of afraid.
FEARLESS instead of terrified.
EMPOWERED instead of powerless.
SECURE instead of insecure.
ENLIGHTENED  instead of confused.
EQUIPPED  instead of incompetent.
AT PEACE  instead of falling apart...
EXPECTING and PROCLAIMING VICTORY instead of declaring defeat.
COUNTING IT ALL JOY instead of whining!!!

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."  (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Why???  Because God says so.  (In 2 Corinthians 4 it also says...)
6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak...
I have to believe it and speak it.  I will not lie down and give up because my victory is not dependent on my own power. Christ bought it for me with his blood.  I will not squander that!  My victory depends on God and I HAVE THIS TREASURE and no one can take it away from me.

And THAT, my friends, is what it's all about.  J

In Faith, Hope & Love,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Facing the Future... Part 1

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that many of the negative feelings that I often deal with are directly related to how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking/believing about the future. Most specifically, how I'm FEARing something in the future. Whether it's the future in 5 minutes or the future in 5 years or more, facing the future can at times leave me dreading whatever I anticipate is to come. Guilt, shame, bitterness and the like are connected with the past. But most of my issues have to do with the FUTURE. If I'm not standing in faith and looking at the future from a God-centered, Trust-and-Truth-based perspective, I'm probably Facing the Future with FEAR and I will find myself feeling:

Like Giving Up
Insecure and

But IN CHRIST, I am NONE of those things!  A few weeks ago God showed me that too often I have anticipated battles (some that came and some that didn't) but stopped short of anticipating and expecting VICTORY. And you know what? When God got it through my head and into my heart that it was HIGH TIME that I started anticipating and expecting victory instead of just a battle... I STARTED EXPERIENCING MORE VICTORIES.  And I so intensely want that for you too!

He's been teaching me that when I am Facing the Future with FEAR (see the list of symptoms above), I need to STOP, TURN myself AROUND and Face the Future with FAITH. Then I will experience the victory. I'm gonna write more about the ways God's been showing me to do that in another post or three. But I want to leave you with the words to a hymn that was written in 1891 reminding us that FAITH is the VICTORY. Remember that, Friend!!!  And I'm praying that if this is an issue God wants to work on in you, too, that He will start by showing you how often you are looking to the future this way...  because when we expect and declare defeat when it's not even half-time yet, we give up and the enemy wins.  God almost always starts freeing my mind by showing me first that I AM IN BONDAGE to some kind of lie and I NEED TO BE FREED.  So if that's the case with you, I'm praying God will show you.  I feel like I should apologize if He answers, because it likely won't be pretty...  but I don't believe He uncovers and exposes stuff that He doesn't intend to heal, so I'm gonna expect victory for you and praise Him for what He's gonna do... even if the process is painful.  And if this is just about me, that's okay too...  I'm already thankful for the victory He's bringing me.

Grace & Peace,

Words by John H. Yates - Music by Ira D. Sankey

1 John 5:4
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

            Faith is the victory!
            Faith is the victory!
            O glorious victory,
            That overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above with shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind's breath, swept on o'er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

            Faith is the victory!
            Faith is the victory!
            O glorious victory,
            That overcomes the world.

On every hand the foe we find drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind, and onward to the fray.
Salvation's helmet on each head, with truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble 'neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

            Faith is the victory!
            Faith is the victory!
            O glorious victory,
            That overcomes the world.

To him that overcomes the foe, white raiment shall be giv'n.
Before the angels he shall know His name confessed in Heav?n.
Then onward from the hill of light, our hearts with love aflame,
We'll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus' conqu'ring Name.

            Faith is the victory!
            Faith is the victory!
            O glorious victory,
            That overcomes the world.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Update on my cousin

Several of you have asked how Amy is doing, so here's part of the update I received about her yesterday. Thank you so much for praying...
Love, Melissa
Amy was given an echo cardiogram test this morning which showed no swelling in the brain. Praise the Lord! The heart specialists report that her heart seems to be healing well, also.
Some friends of hers made the trip to see Amy and to help take care of the children. What wonderful friends! When they showed up at the hospital, Amy's eyes lit up in instant recognition (she is still unable to speak because of the ventilator). Even without words her eyes spoke volumes. The children were also delighted to see them.
Prayer Requests:
Pray for wisdom and unity among all concerned as they consider Amy's medical needs.
Amy still has a hole in her heart which is possibly the repaired hole reopened. Pray that this can be cared for in the least invasive way possible.
The doctors predict that Amy will need to stay in the hospital for at least 3 or 4 weeks. Pray for her family as they deal with that... for strength, peace, patience and wisdom one day at a time.
Thank you!!!!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Please pray for my cousin...

Hi everyone... If you would be willing to pray for my cousin and her family today I would appreciate it so much. My cousin Amy is 35, lives in Colorado and is the mother of 6 kids under 11. Last week she went to the hospital b/c she was having some pain that felt like a heart attack. They discovered that she had some defects in her heart... major arteries connected in the "wrong" places that were causing them to kink. Nobody can explain how she's gotten this far in life (and through 6 childbirths!) without any problems.
She had a LONG open heart surgery yesterday... ended up with a double bypass and while they were there they removed a mass of tissue and repaired a hole they found. It seemed last night like it was all going to be okay, but this morning they airlifted her to Denver (about a 40 minute drive) because of some blood flow problems - and she hasn't woken up yet from the anesthesia like they expected.
Please pray for her heart and whatever is still wrong, for her to wake up when GOD wants her to, for the Dr.s and especially for her husband Rick, parents, her kids and her sister Cristy (it's Cristy's birthday today).
What's amazing about this is that last Fall, they discovered an aneurysm in Amy's brain. It ended up being so small that they didn't have to do surgery, (and as of an MRI just last week it is GONE!) but I truly feel like it was one way God prepared them for this. There are so many other ways we have seen God's hand at work, we know that no matter what He has been and will continue to be faithful. But I have a feeling that He is writing an amazing story through this frightening situation that is going to bring Him great glory when it is done. I am so thankful that in times like this I have the Hand of God and the Body of Christ to reach out to for strength...
Thanks so much...
Love, Melissa