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Entries in Faith (16)

Friday
Dec112015

Christmas, Cardinals & Prayer

Have you ever had a time when you had a decision to make and just didn't know what to do? I'm talking decisions like buying a house, accepting another job, changing careers, how or if to spend money, even making a donation. You could go with your "gut" and make a decision but earnestly wanted to do only what God wanted for you in that particular decision. So, you prayed, you waited but seemingly no clear direction or answer. Lord, should I or should I not?  You then prayed, fasted and waited some more.  Finally, you asked for a sign!

Years ago a very dear friend of mine and I were praying about a financial decision.  It was a big decision, so we prayed and waited and prayed some more.  Finally, not knowing what do to we asked God for a sign.  Here's the story...

It was early December so the weather was cold, the days short, and the trees bare.  Even with the bird feeders full, there always seemed a shortage of Cardinals that time of the year in that particular part of the US. When you did spot a male Cardinal in a bare tree or against the snow it would take your breath away.  So, our earnest prayer went something like this:  

"Lord, if you want us to proceed forward and do it, then show us both a cardinal on this particular day."  

Okay, so just in case you are laughing or shaking your head, my God is certainly able and truly, the possibility of us both seeing a cardinal on that particular day would certainly be "of God."  This was not an impossible sign and the heart of the request was to do what would be right and pleasing to Him.  So, don't judge!

That particular day came and there were no cardinal sightings by either one of us by mid morning.  None by mid-day.  Still none when the sun went down.  Thank you, Lord.  We had our answer.  We will not go in that direction! That particular day also happened to be the day my dear husband was taking me to Longwood Gardens to experience A Longwood Christmas. Oh, it was so beautiful!  Toward the end of the evening tour, we entered one of the buildings that had a few different rooms with various wreath displays. As I entered one of the rooms, my breath was taken way.  Every wreath in the room had one or more Cardinals on it made from a variety of materials.  I literally started laughing out loud.  I called my friend to see if fake Cardinals counted and if she had seen any!  We reckoned fake could be a sign, but she had not seen any fake Cardinals either.  Now we were both laughing!

Through this experience, the Lord encouraged me in two ways:

  1. Fervently and with great expectation, take any and all requests to the Lord.  Keep praying!
  2. Before praying, stop and ask His Spirit to lead me and show me how to pray - specifically!

I will never forget that experience and the laughs that my friend and I had over it but also the fun moment it was with the Lord.  You see, before He ever spoke  the world into existence He thought of  and planned for me and my friend.  He knew exactly what we would be seeking from Him and on what day.  He also knew that on that day I would be walking into a room filled with fake Cardinals. The word from the Lord spoken into my heart that day? No go girls but I heard the cry of your hearts so surprise!

In sharing this experience, I am praying (specifically) that you too will be encouraged in these ways. Fervently and in great faith, take all your requests to the Lord.  Keep praying!  Before praying, stop and ask his Spirit to lead you and show you how to pray - specifically!  Since the time of this story, I've tried to stop and ask myself what I really want to ask the Lord to do in each situation and for His Spirit to show me how to pray - specifically!  These two things are not necessary to being heard or having my prayers answered.  But, I love it and I love Him all the more for leading me by His Spirit to pray specifically!  I love, love, love when I pray specifically and He answers specifically.  It's thrilling.  It's amazing.  It's a wonder.  He's a wonder!

Saturday
Aug252012

Who me?

 

The first place you go when you join the Army is off to boot camp! I’ve never been but I hear it’s really hard and it either makes you or breaks you! You are told when to get up, what to do and when to do it, how to dress, and how to behave. The Army owns you. You obviously need tough people if you are going to win a war, but is there a goal or purpose in boot camp?

 

Here’s what I found at www.todaysmilitary.com.  I'm telling you - this will preach!

Basic Training - officially called Initial-entry Training—prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional. It gives service people the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour. 


Army Basic Combat Training - More than just pushups and mess halls, the Army's basic training is a nine-week-long journey of self-discovery. Follow six recruits as they go through Basic Training, discovering their inner strength and learning valuable skills that will help them succeed as Soldiers in the Army and in life.”

 

It occurs to me that God is using the circumstances and situations of our lives to "prepare us for elements of service: physical, mental and emotional" - amen? He's given us the "basic tools necessary to perform" and boy oh boy it's definitely been a "journey of self discovery"! Yep...each trial and testing is also a discovery of "inner strength" and "teaches me valuable skills that help me succeed as a soldier" in God's Army and in life.

Truth is, like it or not, I am in God's Army. As Christ followers, we are in God’s Army which means boot camp (basic and combat training) is absolutely necessary. Honestly, I haven't always been happy about the boot camp/army lifestyle. I've whined, complained, and convinced myself that I'd joined the wrong army!  How about you?  This excerpt from the movie “Private Benjamin” makes me laugh while at the same time proving a point that pricks my heart.

Basic and combat training is designed to make us AND break us! It’s all about learning to submit to God, relying on His strength and power and developing godly character. So, what is God really asking us to do? What will our lives really look like?  The truth is not for sissies or the fainthearted! But, We can do it!  Are you in?

 

 

 

Saturday
Jul142012

Fish Vomit

In your faith walk, have you ever found yourself fish vomit?  Before you think me totally mad, hear me out.

God really strengthened my heart recently.  I've been listening my way through the Bible this year - chronologically!  Sometimes it's easy to zone out when you get to those familiar places in the Bible.  You know the ones where you've heard the stories since childhood and at least a couple of dozen sermons on the subject?  So, as I started hearing Jonah, my thought was:"I know this"!  But - boy oh boy did the Lord have some new insights for me to learn!  As I listened and continued throughout the day to reflect on what I heard, here is what I gleaned:

· God reminded me and thus encouraged me that He appoints work for me to do on His behalf.  Wow.

· I can say no to God's work and run in the other direction but He pursues me.  Isn't that amazing?

· When I say no to God and go in my own direction, it always impacts others in a negative way.  Sad but true.

· By the time my rebellion is all over, I look and feel like I've been in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights and am laying in fish vomit.  So not pretty.

· Even when I don't want to do what God asks of me and I get attitude, He still allows me to do the work. Now, that's mind blogging.

· Though I am rebellious and have attitude, I am still God's and He still takes time to talk to me, teach me, use me.  But, why?  This truth melts my heart.

You really should listen to it:  July 7, 2012 Podcast

Saturday
Jul072012

Shall we dance?

I love a good chic flick and the more romantic the better.  Recently, I watched "Shall We Dance."  Early in the movie the wife said to the husband:  "Come dance with me."  The husband's response was:  "But I don't know how to dance".

Then, it hit me!  That's it...I don't know how to dance.  All my life - every time I go out on the dance floor to slow dance, I am frustrated.  I feel foolish, tense, unable to relax and enjoy.  Why?  Well, he's supposed to lead and I'm suppose to follow, but how can I follow if I don't know where he's going?  How can my foot follow his if I don't know which direction it's going in?  Help!  I need to learn some basic dance steps.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like this in my faith walk with God.  I want to dance with God but instead I feel foolish, tense, unable to relax and enjoy.  I just need to learn some basic dance steps!  I just need a few lessons (a/k/a Bible studies)!

At the end of the "Shall We Dance", the husband goes to his wife's work and she sees him riding up the escalator with a red rose in hand.  He reaches out to her and says "Shall We Dance."  Perfect chic flick ending!  Truth is though - one day Jesus is coming for me and I will dance through all of eternity with Him and in His presence.  But wait, with a few more dance lessons, I can dance through this life with Jesus.  I don't have to wait until eternity.  Shall we dance?

Dance with me Jesus
Play hide and seek with me Jesus
Walk with me Jesus
Dream with me Jesus
Talk to me Jesus
Be mine Jesus
Dance with me Jesus
Look for me Jesus
Find me Jesus
Put the glass slipper on my foot Jesus
I love pretty shoes Jesus
Love me Jesus
Dance with me Jesus
Come for me on your white horse Jesus
Fight for me Jesus
Rescue me Jesus
Be enthralled with my beauty Jesus
Dip me, twirl me, spin me Jesus
Thrill me, lead me, guide me Jesus
Teach me how to dance Jesus
Teach me how to
Seek you
So I can find You
Walk with You
Talk with You
Dream Your dreams
Stare at Your stars
Marvel that you know each one by name
Hear You say “You are Mine!”
Teach me to dance this life with you Jesus
To know your eye is always upon me
To experience your presence with each breath I take
To recognize You’ve come for me Jesus!
Glass slipper, royal robe, crown and white horse
Jesus my prince - come to rescue me!
I am enthralled with your beauty Jesus
Thank you for teaching me to dance with you Jesus
Let’s dip and twirl and spin Jesus
Thrill me, lead me, guide me….
I’ll follow you anywhere Jesus

Saturday
Jun302012

Emotional Roller Coaster

My niece Kristen loves roller coasters!  She'll travel anywhere to experience the thrill of the ride.  I love her sense of adventure with a capital A.  I mean seriously, have you seen some of the roller coasters out there?

I've often thought my emotional life was much like a roller coaster ride. I mean seriously, life out there is well...an adventure with a capital A.  Ups, downs, fears, thrills, love it, hate it, want on, want off....  Sadly, these emotions frequently impact my faith walk.  Learning to master my emotions is a cry of my heart.

The below video that my dear friend Brenda Brown sent to me is entitled "The Definition of an Emotional Roller Coaster".   What I love the most about this video is how the coaching and encouraging of the dad helped the young boy experience the thrill of the ride. How I thank God for the people He has sent into my life who coach, mentor and encourage me along so I can experience my faith walk with greater joy (wee wee weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  What a blessing!