Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Look To Him

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.  Psalm 34:5
I read this and all I felt was shame.  I felt that I was a failure. 
But when I looked to Him and I asked Him to speak to my heart His word of life for me in that moment, He did.
He reminded me that all my children will be taught of the Lord.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
I cannot fail at a job that isn’t mine.  My job is to live an authentic life of following the Lord before my children.  To tell them Who I know Him to be.  The rest is in His hands and theirs.  They have to choose Him for themselves.  I cannot do this for them.  He will reveal Himself to them.  That is His part.
He is relentless, just as our enemy is relentless in his attacks.  Still, the truth is that Love has already won and will win.  I will stand in the victory Jesus has already secured.  I will trust Him and His word that says not one who belongs to Him will be snatched from His hand.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”  John 10:27 – 30
I will remind my soul that He is the One who started this and He will complete it.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
When I sat down to write this, my eyes fell on the verse above the one I had read: 
I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4
Thank You, Abba, for hearing me, for speaking to me, and for delivering me from the grip of my fears.  I will trust You.  I believe You.  Help my unbelief.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


As we waited for the Lord to speak, I began to thank Him in my heart for the fact that He says to us, “Come.”  A few minutes later, I was sharing this with the rest of the family and this truth just blossomed in front of us.  In Isaiah 1:18 … God says, “Come let us reason, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow.  In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”  The author of Hebrews encourages us to “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) 
Growing up in American culture has shaped my thoughts about God and not always for the best.  I realized this morning as we began to see this wonderful truth of God with His arms open and extended in loving invitation, that my default imagining of God was nothing like that.  In fact, the picture that came to mind was more like that of Dorothy and her friends coming before the Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz:  fearful trembling before an angry powerful One Who demands performance before there can be acceptance or assistance.  This is the essence of most religions in the world.  And yet, if we flush all the lies the world and its belief systems have told us and focus on the truth revealed by the written Word and the Living Word, what a wonderfully different scene we see.  We see the Father running to embrace the prodigal.  We see Jesus coming into the world as one of us, to defeat the enemy none of us could overcome, even though it took Him all the way to a painful, shameful death.  We see Jesus making breakfast on the beach for one who denied Him and saying, “Come have something to eat.”  God is good.  He is so much better than we give Him credit for.  He loves us, and He says, “Come.”
Thank You, thank You  Lord for being a God who says, “Come.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where I Am

Dear Friends,

I need to sit down and talk with you today from my heart to yours.  I wish we could sit down over coffee face to face, but this will have to do.  Getting Heart to Hear written has been a struggle lately.  This is due in part to the fact that it is summer and I find it very difficult to get the quiet I need, both to spend time with the Father and to write.  On the other hand, I’m also wrestling with the concern that I have nothing more to say.  I’ve shared all I know and maybe it’s time to say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”  Bottom line, I love hearing God and sharing what I hear with you, but what I do not ever want to do is to pretend I’ve heard when I haven’t and this week, I haven’t.   

I think that what I really need to do is take more time to listen.  My Father has been stirring my heart about a new direction for writing.  No surprise there since every other area of my life seems to be going in a new direction, too!  I need to take time to focus my hearing, and to wait on the Lord to speak to me.  I also want to be sure that what I’ve been hearing, I am actually living and walking out.  Thanks for understanding and bearing with me on the winding road. 

With Love,

Jennifer Davis

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Life That Lasts

This year has been all about change.  My church has changed.  My weekend routine of when I attend a worship service has changed.  The gym I’ve used for seven years has morphed into something completely different and the bit of community I had in those weekly classes is gone.  Even my favorite Mexican restaurant has been torn down due to road construction, and even though they built a new one, it is just not the same!  So, what is up with all this stinking change? 

Last night, as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to come and praying a little, this thought came to mind, “Nothing lasts.”  This morning I’ve been thinking about that statement.  I think a more accurate one would be, “Nothing lasts except what God does.”  Depending upon your age and background, you may be familiar with the poem that says, “Only one life will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.”  I grew up with those words in my Bible, inscribed there by a visiting evangelist.  Those words captured my heart.  I wanted to live a life that would last before God.  Lately though, I’ve wondered.  Is what I am doing of lasting value?  Are my prayers anything more than selfish, misguided requisitions?  Is my “service” more than a project that anyone could undertake?  I feel like I’m skating out on thin ice to even suggest that not everything we do for the Lord is gloriously pure and blessed by His hand.  How much of it is just us trying to find our own identity?  I want to do great things for God, but more than that I want to do great things with God.  Still I wonder…maybe the highest aim would be to simply do those things that He wants to do, trusting Him for the outcome and unconcerned with how great or small it is.  However, I won’t know what He wants to do unless I spend time with Him, getting to know Him, listening to His heart instead of always pouring out mine.  The bottom line is that there isn’t anything greater than coming to Him.  He is the end and not the means, and I don’t think I’ve really gotten that into my heart yet. 

Abba, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit – please teach me what life with You really is. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Living House

As many of you know, we have been experiencing a major transition in our lives in the area of where and when we worship.  For 23 years, we were part of one church, but that church has ceased to be.  A new fellowship has risen in a new place, but the old one is over and the building will soon be torn down.  There is no going back.  The only direction to move is forward, so that is what we are doing.  It isn’t easy.  It feels very strange at times, but God is still my Abba Father and Jesus is still Faithful and True.  The Holy Spirit is at work in each of our lives and it is very good.   

This week when we attended the weekly service, we were waiting for friends to arrive when I saw another dear friend across the room.  I hurried over to give her a hug and say hello before the service began.  As I went back to my seat, I realized that now I felt like I was at church.  Before that moment, it felt like any other place where you go, get a seat, experience an event and leave.  But after spending a few moments with my sweet friend, I felt the truth that I was a part of the Body of Christ in this place.  Even though there are many I don’t know, just knowing there was at least one there I did know made all the difference!

Coming and going, even entering into worship and responding to the message isn’t enough.  I need connection with other believers.  I need to join my faith and my life with theirs.  Isn’t that what church is all about?  I Peter 2:5 tells us, “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  We aren’t meant to be scattered stones.  We need to come together to be built into this spiritual house.  Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:22, “In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”  I have no clue what the future holds, but I believe with all my heart that it is my Abba’s intention that we be part of His house and I am trusting that He will fit us in exactly where He wants us.   

Dear Father, thank You for Your amazing love.  Thank You for Your incredible wisdom in designing us to need to be connected to one another.  Please help us trust Your plan and your timing in placing us where You would have us.  Please help us trust You even when we don’t understand Your blueprints.  We love You and we know being in Your hands is the very best place to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Lately, I feel a bit of dread every time I check the news or even my email inbox.  There always seems to be another urgent message informing me that I need to SEND MONEY NOW and save the world from the latest threat to life as we’ve known it.  The worst part is that most of the threats are real!  The thing I have a harder time figuring out is how throwing money at the problem is going to fix it.  Everywhere I turn, I am confronted with the demand to do something to make a difference.  I hear this in the Body of Christ as well.  “How are you changing the world?” has become the new “How are you?”.  In some ways, this is not a bad thing.  For too long, it has been easy to stay self-focused and complacent about the world outside the walls of our homes and churches.  On the other hand, I feel overwhelmed with the huge array of need and the incredible number of claims on my response.  I don’t do well when I’m overwhelmed.  In fact, it usually paralyzes me and I end up doing nothing except beating myself up for doing nothing.  This morning, as I struggled to enter the presence of the Lord and hear His voice above all the noise in my head, I read Psalm 27.  Actually, since I had the house to myself, I sang it aloud.  If you’ve never tried singing the Psalms, I highly recommend it.  Singing those words to the Lord was powerful and my spirit was awakened and energized to respond to God.  I found myself pouring my heart out to Him with tears and yet, feeling a renewal of my courage as well. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident. Psalm 27:1-3

What I believe the Lord is telling me is that He will show us what our part is in His plan.  Do not panic or be overwhelmed or leap into action apart from His direction.  He knows exactly where we are and who He has made us to be.  He will show us our place as we wait on Him and find our strength in Him.  

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;                       Wait, I say, on the Lord!  Psalm 27: 14

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In the Boat!

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you;  May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion.”  Psalm 20:1

Last week, I told you about how the Lord has surprised me recently with the realization that I had a swamp in my heart and how He has uncovered some twisted, stinking thoughts lurking beneath the surface.  I’ve begun to see how I’ve been looking at my relationship with the Lord wrongly.  I’ve been talking about Jesus being the One who makes me right with God, but I’ve continued to slip back into living as if I am still trying to earn rightness with God every day.  Instead of seeing that He came and pulled me out of the murky water where I was drowning and put me safely into His boat, I’m acting as if He has just given me a better motor for mine.  The truth is that apart from Jesus, I don’t have a boat and I’m not a very good swimmer either!  So, that is where I am today.  I’m in His boat.  I didn’t build it.  I’m not steering it.  I am not even sure of where it is headed, but I am in it, and I trust the One who knows all the answers to my questions.  What I hear the Lord saying to me today is this,
“Trust Me.  I have you.  You are safe in me.  Stop treading water.  You really are in the boat!  Yes, there are high winds and storms sometimes, but never think that I have left you helpless.  Call on Me.  Cry out to Me.  Pour out your heart to Me.  I will answer.  I will give you what you need.  I am all you will ever need.  Settle it today in your heart – apart from Me you can do nothing.  Everything good comes from Me.  Don’t fret because of what you see others doing.  Trust Me to show you your path and give you grace to walk it.  I love you with an everlasting love.  Take joy in knowing this.  Everyone is looking for a perfect home.  You have it in Me.”    

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Drain the Swamp!

My husband has been praying an unusual prayer lately.  He has been asking the Lord to “drain the swamp.”   Driving East from New Orleans along Highway 10 you can see swamp land that is very lovely, down in the Louisiana bayous where the tall cypress trees rise up out of the murky water and trail Spanish moss from their limbs.  However, I don’t think that is the mental image my husband has in mind.  His swamp is the kind of place where the water is so stagnant that you smell it before you see it.  The surface is covered with scum and you do not want to know what lurks beneath the surface.   I believe this prayer to drain the swamp came from the Lord.  Who else could tell a man he has a swamp in his heart and enable him to respond with the faith to believe He can and will drain it?  So far, so good, but here’s the weird thing:  my swamp is getting drained, too, and I didn’t even know I had one!  I honestly thought I was doing okay.  I was in a good place.  Then the waters started drying up and things began to appear that I hadn’t known were there:    twisted, stinking thoughts and emotions with big ugly roots going down into my heart.  Just like those massive cypress roots, there are some assumptions and beliefs in my heart that my Abba Father wants to deal with.  He called me to be an oak of righteousness, not a swamp cypress.   So, here’s where I am – facing up to what is being revealed, choosing to believe I am still loved and accepted by my Father God, and trusting Him to complete what He has begun.   I’m realizing once again that most of my yucky stuff stems from still trying to be perfect and in control.  I’m praying for the grace to lay those impossibilities down at the feet of the Lord Jesus and the courage to get up and walk every day in a new life where I trust His righteousness to be all I need.   So far, trying to do everything right and remain in control at all times has only made me a fearful, brittle, frazzled mess.  I believe the life I’ve been called to looks very different and I want to choose that life. 

Abba Father, I can’t change me, but I know You can.  Please enable me to cooperate with all that You are doing.  Please enable me to hear and obey, believe and walk in the freedom in Christ Jesus that is mine.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He is sure

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “there is a time for every purpose under heaven.”  The next seven verses go on to describe many actions for which there is a time, and each one is listed with an opposite action.  “A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.  A time to tear down and a time to build up.”  There is even “a time to keep and a time to throw away.” 

Clearly the writer has been around long enough to know that in this life things are always changing.  Sometimes it is slow and barely visible, like the opening of a bud or the growth of a child from week to week.  Other times it is a total rearrangement of the furniture of our lives that leaves us feeling tossed about like a little boat on the open sea.  My mental image for this has been the deck of the Titanic tilted to a 45 degree angle.  Everything is sliding, but I don’t think I’m sinking.  It is just really hard to keep my balance.  Nothing seems sure, but I hear my Abba Father saying He is sure.  He is my rock and His love is the ocean beneath me.  His mercy and grace are as high as the puffy white cloud mountains in the sky.  He says, “I have not abandoned you.  I am holding you by the hand.  In fact, I am holding you and your entire world in my hand.  Trust Me to be God.  Trust Me to be good.  Because I AM.” 

Thank You, Lord!  I will trust You.  I choose to embrace this time and all its uncertainty, because I know that it is simply the next step in a journey that ends in Your arms.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So Simple

Here is all I know this week:  God is God and I’m not.  He can do anything.  Apart from Him, I can do NOTHING! 

The Amplified Bible says it this way, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 

I find it very easy to forget I am only a branch.  It happens so easily.  I begin to think I am the Vine and if I don’t make fruit happen, then it just won’t.  Sometimes, I get really crazy and start thinking I am the Gardener and it is my job to take care of all the other branches.  For a branch, this is not only exhausting, but downright impossible. 

So…deep breath…I say to myself, “Hey, you are a branch.  All that frantic activity – mental, emotional or physical – that is not your job.”  Then I hear the Holy Spirit’s sweet still voice saying, “Just live in Me.  It really is that simple.  Lay down your plans, your worries, your cares, and rest in the fact that I am good and I know what I am doing.” 

He said it this way to Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jer. 29:11 NLT)

All I really need to concern myself with is living in Him.  For me this means waking up and making the choice to believe I am in Him.  He has brought me through the night and He will see me through the day.  He will lead and I will follow.  That is how simple it really is. 

Abba Father, I’m so tempted to make it more complicated, to make a to-do list of how to be in You.  Please, teach me to simply, humbly live in You, for Your good pleasure and glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Step Up and Stand Firm

Do you ever feel like a failure?  I woke up yesterday morning from a dream in which I was sitting in a school desk and in front of me was a paper with a big ‘F’ on it.  It was even circled for extra emphasis!  Realizing this was not the best way to begin the day, I began to cry out, in a rather whiny way, to the Lord for help.  Instantly, I heard His response in my spirit, “You feel like a failure, but your feeler is wrong. You don’t need to be rescued from these bad feelings, you simply need to stand up and believe and speak the truth about yourself.  This is maturity.  This is your call to step up and manage what you have been given.  To walk in strength you must not listen to lies or those who would advise you who don’t share your goal.”  At this point, I had to ask myself, “What is my goal?”  I realize my goal might be different from yours.  I know we are all at different places in our journeys.  For now, my goal is to stand by my husband in training our children to walk in strength and truth.  I also want to walk in strength and truth, myself.  I want to be ready to move on from laying the foundation stones of salvation, forgiveness, and acceptance.  I want to hear His voice and do what I see Him showing me to do – each day.  Being human, especially a female human, means having to deal with a body full of crazy hormones that fluctuate wildly from one day to the next.  I want to know that truth is still truth on the days when I can’t seem to put down the potato chip bag or my emotions are in a free-fall.  Essentially, those are the times when we just have to gut it out, as my husband likes to say.  This means thinking and doing what I know is right, regardless of the total lack of warm fuzzy feelings.  These are the times when going back to the Word and taking in truth as a life-saving substance is so vital.  Yesterday, I found Hebrews 4 and 6 most helpful.  I encourage you to read them.  I will leave you with a few highlights.

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…”  Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16  NKJV

Abba, thank You, for your Word and for Your faithfulness. Please keep us faithful to You. In Jesus’ strong and mighty name, Amen. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dangerous Territory

Last week as I rushed around trying to get ready to take a quick trip to Virginia to see my parents and bring my baby girl and her baby car home from college, I took a few minutes to mop my bathroom floor.  I’m not sure why, but God always seems to be able to speak to me best when I’m doing something like that.  I had a song playing in my head, the Eagles singing “Take It Easy”.  There’s a line in it that says, “Looking for a lover who won’t blow my cover, she’s so hard to find.”  Yes, I know, this is not praise and worship music, but as those words rolled through my mind, I heard that quiet voice in my heart that I know is the Lord.  Here’s what He spoke to me through those lyrics.  If we get into the dangerous territory of real love we will find that our cover always gets blown.  Am I willing to let people know me?  Not the made-for-public- consumption version, whitewashed and airbrushed, but the real person that lives inside my skin? 

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul tells the believers, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”  Most of the time, it isn’t enough to hear the truth from someone.  We want to hear it wrapped in love from someone who is willing to share not just the truth, but “their very selves” as the English Standard Version of the above verse reads.   Real love is not for sissies.  It requires of us that we push past our fears, and insecurities.  It means being brave enough to have the hard conversations when offenses have occurred.  It means being willing to work through problems instead of pulling away.  Real love isn’t easy, but it truly is the only kind worth having.  Today, I want to encourage you to take another look at your relationships.  Are you still keeping up a pretense with those who should be trusted with your very self?  Do you need to take some hurts to your Abba Father for healing so that you can be willing to be real with those who love you?  More and more, I am coming to believe that in our hearts we are all so much the same.  We all have those same feelings of being different from everybody else.  We have all heard the same lies from the enemy our entire lives.  We all have the option of choosing to hide or coming out from behind our walls and living in the sunlight of true love.  It is scary, but so worth it. 

Abba Father, please give us the courage and grace to love and allow ourselves to be loved.  Please help us bring our hearts to you to have the thorns pulled out of the sore places.  Help us be brave enough to face the pain of pulling them out instead of just living with the ache.  Thank You for being a God of truth AND mercy.  We love you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Journey Continues

Dear Friends,

Each one of us is on a journey.  One of the things I love most about our Father God is that He relates to us as individuals.  My journey will not be the same as yours, although we may visit many of the same places.  I find myself at the beginning of a new chapter in my life.  For now, most of the page is blank.  I want to write a word of life and encouragement for you today, but in my heart I feel that this a time when I need to keep silent.  The Father is speaking to my heart, but for now, it isn’t anything I am free to share.  I need time to process and time to wait upon the Lord.  Maybe you do, too.  I love you all.  I feel so blessed that you are willing to read what I write.  Please pray for me as I seek the Lord for the next step in my journey as a writer.  For today, I leave you with a prayer from the Apostle Paul to his brothers and sisters in Christ in Thessalonica:

May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon.  And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May He, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all His holy people. Amen.

I Thess. 3:11-13

In His Love,
Jennifer Davis

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We Are One

For the ladies of Restoration (my home church for the last 22 years), we are nearing this chapter’s end.  However, it is definitely not the end of the story.  Yesterday, I believe I heard the Lord say the heart of Restoration is still beating.  Even as we commemorate the end of this part of our journey, the heartbeat of Restoration continues because it is alive in our hearts.  The desire to see individuals restored to God’s original intent for their lives is something we will carry with us wherever we go.  Some of us are going ahead with CityLife Church.  Others of us will be walking with the Lord into new areas of His Body.  The thing we need to remember is that no matter what, the Lord only has One Body.  Some may be here and some may be there, but we are still connected as the Body of Jesus.  We don’t need to draw circles around ourselves.  Jesus came to break down dividing walls, not build them.  We are still family no matter where we find ourselves on Sunday morning or Saturday night!  In the end, we all have the same destination – the presence of the Lord Jesus. 

Abba Father, thank You for bringing us together.  Thank you for knitting our hearts together in love.  Keep us one in Your Spirit.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Honestly Angry

Have you ever noticed how God likes to speak to our hearts when we are busy doing something else?  Yesterday, I was drying my hair with my amazing jet-engine blow dryer when the Lord began to speak to me.  Some “frustrations” (this is the polite word I use for things that make me angry) began to rise up in my heart.  As my thoughts flowed on, I surprised myself by saying out loud that I was angry at someone.  Wow.  Why was that so hard?  Growing up I heard Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and sin not” quoted so much that I think I got the idea that you’d better not ever admit you’re angry – especially not at someone.   Admitting I’m angry is like standing too close to the cliff’s edge.  I might fall into that sin if I don’t stay way over here in denial of my anger.  The problem is if I can’t be real about where I am, with myself and with God, how can I invite Him into the situation?  Instead, I wear myself out denying what I really feel instead of bringing it to my Abba Father and getting His help. 

So right there in my bathroom I got real with the Lord and told Him how I really felt about some things.  It’s important to note that I had prayed about this before and tried to forgive and forget, but it is difficult to let something go when you still haven’t been honest about how you feel.  If I’m saying, “Oh it’s nothing.  No big deal,” when I’m actually really irate, I’m lying to myself and to God.  How can the truth come and set me free when I won’t even let myself speak it?  So, I got honest and God did, too!  Just kidding - He’s always honest!  However, He did say some things to me that I hadn’t considered before and they reframed the whole situation.  He gave me a new perspective, one that included my own need for His grace.  It’s remarkable how much easier it is to give grace when the Holy Spirit gives us a little peek at our own massive need for it.  In the course of a few important moments of truth, what had been a huge deal became something I was willing and able to put behind me.  Thank You Lord!

Bottom line:  Getting real with God about our feelings is a whole lot more effective than living in denial.  Be real.  He can handle it. Besides, it’s not like we’re really fooling Him.  He’s God – remember?  And, best of all, He loves us.

Abba Father, thank You for Your amazing, never-ending love and mercy.  Please give us the courage to be our true selves with You.  Thank You for knowing the depth of our sin and choosing to redeem us anyway.  Your grace is amazing!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting The Victory By Giving Thanks

I’m writing this week on Monday morning.  Today was one of those days when you want a rewind of the last seven hours when the alarm rings in the hope that next time it goes off you’ll actually be ready to face the day, instead of wanting to hide under your pillow.  As I moved through my morning routine of getting kids up and out the door to school, collecting laundry, and making myself get ready to go the gym, I stayed busy enough not to notice the heaviness.  But when I pulled out of the driveway and joined the rush of traffic out of the neighborhood and onto the freeway, it became almost overwhelming.  Thankfully, just as the enemy was pouring a wave of discouragement over my head, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart.  I remembered the thank offering verse He showed me last week.
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.  Psalm 50:23 (NIV)

I knew this was battle time, just as clearly as if I had heard the bell that rings to sound the beginning of a boxing round.  I began to sing to the Lord, just making it up as I went.  (This is a wonderful benefit to being in the car alone!)  I told Him how I felt and then I began to thank Him for things anyway.  It was singing in the face of discouragement and sadness and somehow I know it was powerful.  I sang some more and it morphed into a prayer time for friends who are going through very hard things.  By the time I reached the gym, I was refreshed and encouraged.  My heart was back in alignment with the One Who is in control and my soul had been reminded that He is good no matter what.  This is what incarnational life looks like:  Jesus’ Spirit speaking to and empowering us and enabling us to draw on His strength to get through the day.

I want you to know something.  Every life lived in pursuit of relationship with our Abba Father through His Son Jesus is important.  Not one is more valuable than another.  The Kingdom of God is not a contest or a tournament where we try to outdo one another’s exploits and compete to win our Lord’s favor.  We have His favor because we wear the robe of righteousness bought for us by the blood of Jesus.  He delights in each and every one of us as individuals.  I write because He’s put it in my heart to do it, but my life with Jesus isn’t any more than yours because of it.  Now more than ever, I believe we need to live for the audience of One, knowing that His eyes are smiling at us with compassion and encouragement, just like a proud parent watching a beloved child take on any challenge whether it is their first steps or their first wrestling match or recital.  We need to face each day knowing our Abba is rooting for us, Jesus is praying for us, and the Holy Spirit is as close as our next breath to give us grace to get through each moment. 

Hallelujah!  Praise His Name!    

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hearing God Through His Word

This week I’ve been reviving a practice my dad taught me; reading the Psalms and Proverbs that correspond with the date.  So on Monday I read Proverbs chapter 19 and I began reading the Psalms at 19 and continued reading by adding 30 each time – 49, 79, 109, and 139.  It’s always interesting to see what treasures I’ll find.  Yesterday, I came across a verse that really blessed me. 
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.  Psalm 50:23
Isn’t that an amazing verse?  When we focus our hearts on all that our Abba Father has done for us, it creates a highway for His saving grace to flow toward us.  Wahoo!  That’s pretty cool.
Then there are those other verses that pop out because they are charged with conviction.  I had one of those yesterday, too.

You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.  Ps. 50:20
How easy it is to pass judgment on those around me – almost as if I thought this were my job.  Nope.  Jesus talked about the harvest fields being white and He talked about sowing seed on good ground, but He never said anything about appointing me as a fruit inspector for His Body.  James 4:11-12 covers this pretty thoroughly. 
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Busted!  I hadn’t even really realized how much I’d been doing this until I saw the Word telling me not to and then I knew.  That feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is pretty unmistakable.  The great thing is that with it comes grace to repent and ask forgiveness. 
As always time in the Word of God is time well spent.  I believe our Abba Father can speak to us in so many ways, but spending time in His Word is definitely one of the best. 
Abba Father, please give us hearts to listen for Your voice, and hunger for Your Word.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Storm Season

I have a love/hate relationship with springtime in Texas.  I love to see the fresh green leaves coming out on the trees and all the beautiful flowers blossoming in every direction, but I hate fighting the symptoms of seasonal allergies my children endure.  I also really hate the fact that it is storm season.  I love a good storm.  Thunder and lightning don’t bother me a bit.  It is the tornado warnings and watches – never can keep the difference between the two straight – that cause my anxiety to rise.  Last night, I was musing over this problem and I realized that the terrifying thing about tornadoes is that I can’t control them.  I have no way to guarantee the safety of my family if one hits.  We are completely in the hands of God.  Of course, when I actually had that thought I saw the foolishness of my isolated fear.  After all, whether I realize it or not, we are completely in the hands of God every single moment of our lives.  This is at once a wonderful and terrible thought:  wonderful if you believe He has your complete best interest in mind; terrible if you like to imagine that you have some control over your life.  At any given moment, a crisis of any kind can whirl into our lives and reveal the fact that we are completely at the mercy of our Creator.  Again, the nature of our relationship with Him will determine how we feel about embracing this idea.  I have to admit, as much as I love the Lord and see Him as my loving Heavenly Father, I also really love the idea of having a storm cellar where I can go and be safe from whatever happens.  Ideally this would be a charming, comfortable space stocked with everything my family could possibly need to survive any type of calamity.  It would be so easy to put my trust in a place like that.  Maybe that is why the Lord hasn’t seen fit to get my husband on board with building one!  What I hear the Lord saying today is that He wants to be my storm cellar, my hiding place in time of trouble.  He wants me to trust Him with the ones I love and believe that He will bring us through whatever crisis may befall us.  Security will not be found in a list of 47 essential items.  Any supply we may put our trust in is subject to destruction or theft.  In the end, all we have for sure is our hope in the Lord.  We have to believe that He is all we need.  Dear sisters, I don’t know what high winds are blowing in your life this morning, but I do know how scary it is.  I’ve wept as I’ve written today and I’m not sure if it is my flesh, my spirit or both.  I only know it is hard to say, “Yes, Lord, I trust You – with everything,” but I believe with all my heart that it is the only way to survive, thrive, and walk in the joy and peace our Abba Father means for us to have. 
In His unshakeable love,


For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.  Psalm 32:7  New Living Translation

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What if?

Slow down and take time to be with me.

Slow down and stop running. 

Be still. 


This is what I hear the Father saying today.  He’s been talking to my heart lately about the things I do to refresh myself.  He’s been daring me to find out if spending time with Him could be better than picking up a book or flipping on the television.  I’m being honest here – I’ve spent most of my life finding rest for my soul in a plate of nachos and a good book.  I love the Lord and I love spending time with Him, but I think this may be one more wall in my brain that needs to be torn down.  Early in the morning and last thing at night seem like natural times to seek the Lord, but there are lots of times throughout my day when I turn in other directions for rest and relaxation.  Still…there’s that quiet voice in my heart saying “What if you turned to Me instead?”  What if I found relationship with Him on a whole new level when I let Him into all of my day? 

Abba – my loving Father God, Jesus – most faithful Friend and Lord, Holy Spirit – Comforter and Helper to You I pray. Please help me believe You to be this big in my life!  Please help me trust You to be all I need all day.  Please help me be brave enough to lay down my crutches and really walk with you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting for "Well Done"

Have you ever found yourself incredibly discouraged by hearing someone else’s success story?  All of the long nights and endless days are reduced to a couple of sentences and it seems as if the hard times really didn’t last very long.  It’s kind of like watching Julia Child.  You see her begin to make a really complex dish and then after the next commercial break, suddenly she is pulling the finished product out of the oven looking picture perfect and saying, “Voila!  Bon appetit!”   We’re all sitting there thinking, “I’d be a chef, too, if it were really that simple.”  The problem with all of this seemingly instant success is that it is incredibly discouraging to those of us living in real time, isn’t it?  We are waiting on some situation that involves people dear to us to be resolved and it seems like it will never happen.  We pray, we cry, and we resolve to leave it in the Lord’s hands and then, bam!  The smoke alarm is going off and we are calling our 911 prayer line again.  That is where I am today - opening the windows to clear the smoke out and getting on my knees again to put this dish back in God’s oven, trusting His timer to be the right one.  As dearly as I would love to already be at the “Voila!” moment, I know the Father is asking me to trust Him for as long as it takes for this dish to receive His “Well done.” 
What I hear the Lord saying today is simply, “Don’t faint.  Don’t let go of my promise.  Keep holding on and trusting that I am holding on to you.”  Hebrews 10:23 puts it this way, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Yes, He is!  Keep holding on.  One day, we will have a joyous celebration when all of the works of the Lord are complete, and all the waiting will be worth it! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Leaping Over Walls

For a while now, I’ve been aware of walls in my thought patterns.  Barriers that only exist in my head and yet, they still keep me from doing things I need to do.  For example, I have a wall in the area of my head where I plan meals, buy groceries and cook.  The reasons for this are mostly fear-based.  I’m afraid I’ll spend too much.  I’m afraid no one will want to eat what I make, including me.  I’m afraid it won’t be healthy enough.  When I hit this wall, I usually sit there and beat myself up for not having licked this thing 20 years ago.  This is one of those places where I need the Lord to step into my everyday life and set me free.  Today, I am choosing to believe that the amazing God who has saved me from my sin is also willing to help me live moment by moment.  Regarding this wall, His answer to me is to step past the fear and just do it.  Make a plan.  Stop sitting there stewing and wishing for perfect.  My family will be blessed if I make them food – period.  It isn’t just fear that makes a wall.  Wishing for perfect is another wall builder for me.  Last night, my ideal was sitting down to dinner together.  Unfortunately schedules didn’t come together and I only had one family member out of four around when it was dinnertime.  I was frustrated and hungry (never a good combo!) and then I realized, my daughter and I could just go ahead and eat.  The rest of the family would eat later and it wasn’t the end of the world.  Again, I heard the Lord saying: Just do what you can.  This may sound really lame and obvious, but for me I’ve felt like each day was an obstacle course.  I thought for a long time it was because of all that I had to do, but now I am beginning to wonder how much has been the mental/emotional baggage I’ve been dragging around as I tried to do what needed to be done perfectly.  Today the Lord is saying to me:  Just do it.  Just do what you can.  And finally:  Just do what I give you peace to do.  How many times do we tie ourselves up in knots doing things that we really aren’t called to, but they sounded like good ideas?  I’m not saying there won’t be times when we are called to do something out of our comfort zone, but if God is saying “Go for it!” we will have peace even as we push ourselves. 
Abba Father, thank you for being so faithful to speak to us right where we are.  Please help us turn to You always, no matter what kind of wall we are up against.  Thank You, Jesus, for being the Good Shepherd who promises to lead us and never leave us! 

John 10:27

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Psalm 18:28-29

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing in Grace

This week, I’d like to share with you some verses from Romans, at the end of chapter 4 and on into the beginning of chapter 5 from the paraphrase called The Message.  One of my prayers for this year is to have new eyes.  Looking at these powerful verses through a different pair of lenses has given me a fresh take on the truth they express.  My prayer is that they will bless you, too.

Abraham didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong…sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

There’s a victory being described here that is definitely beyond where I am living currently, but I certainly hope it is where I am headed. 

Abba, please help us stand in Your amazing grace, instead of being willing to crawl through our days under the burden of condemnation, hopelessness and frustration.  Please fill us again with your Holy Spirit, so we can know Your love in all it’s fullness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love Songs from God

Yesterday I woke up to the Lord quietly calling me to Himself with a love song.  It was so gentle, I could have easily brushed it aside and gone back to sleep.  I had a choice – dismiss it as random brain waves or receive it as an invitation from the One who loves me most.  Grace enabled me to do the latter and I am so glad!  I guess I’ve always thought, so stupidly, that I have to get myself together to come to Him – as if I ever could get myself together without Him.  Daring to believe that He was calling for me, wooing me to come to Him – Wow!  That’s a game changer.  You see, for the last two days, I’ve been on the run.  Running from what?  I didn’t know until He stopped me.  Then I could see.  I was running from the pain of trying to figure it all out.  When did I decide that was my job?  Here’s what my Abba, my loving Lord, had to say about that: 
Trying to figure it all out will crush you.  That is what keeps most people from embracing Me.  They have decided they have to figure it all out first.  They think they have to completely understand Me with their minds before they are willing to let their hearts trust.  What faith really comes down to is being brave enough to truly look Me in the eye and see that all I have for you is love.  I’ve made provision for your sin to be covered.  I’ve revealed myself as the One who comes with mercy to heal, restore and set free.  My heart says to My creation, “Come on, come on, into My arms.  Give in to Me.” 

John 1:16-18  “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Got In the Way?

Last week the Lord spoke these words to my heart:  Something comes between us and a shadow falls on your heart, but My great love never leaves you. 

You might have wondered what could have possibly been big enough to block my awareness of the Father’s love.  Sigh.  First, let me just say that sometimes it is really hard to be so open with you.  I wish I could hide myself and just share the distilled truth I believe I’ve been given without showing you the muddy path to the well from which I draw.  Knowing that we all walk those same muddy paths is what keeps me willing to lay down my mask and let you see me as I am.  My dearest hope is that I can help you avoid or climb out of a few of the holes I’ve fallen into. 

What came between me and my awareness of my Abba and His love?  I had shifted my focus from Him to a person.  My thought life was dominated by how this person had disappointed me, let me down, and not been to me what I had hoped they would be.  I was stuck in a place of finding it hard to let go of how I wanted things to be.  I didn’t want to let go of my claim ticket that said “So and so owes me ____________”, only that little blank would go on for a paragraph or two.  Have you ever wandered this barren land?  It is not a happy place.  It is pretty much the opposite of the picture painted by Psalm 23.  This is where we end up when we seek to be our own shepherds, searching desperately for the way to make sure our needs get met by those around us, or even by ourselves.  In the end, there is nothing but darkness and howling emptiness.  The only way out is to let go of our right to demand that someone be what we need.  Now, here is the part where we get to see how wonderful our Abba Father is.  He doesn’t ask us to deny the needs of our hearts.  What He asks is that we will take those needs and trust Him to meet them.  He speaks to our hearts the incredible comfort that we are His sons, and He will provide for us.  We are not orphans that we should cry at the gate for a crust to be thrown our way.  No!  He promises that every need will be met abundantly if we will only trust Him.  With this treasure before us, it is easy to let go of the little rock we’ve been clutching so desperately.  Now we are able to go beyond forgiveness in the traditional sense of “you did this, it was wrong, but I forgive you”.  We are able to look at those responsible for our deepest let-downs and say, “I forgive you for not being who I wanted you to be for me.  I accept you as you are.  I trust my Abba Father to meet all those needs that you either won’t or can’t meet.  You are released from my debt.  I won’t keep trying to shake you down for something you just don’t have.” 

Is this a one-time deal?  No way!  I have to keep choosing where I put my focus.  Is it on the immense awesomeness of my Abba God or have I allowed a tree to block my view of the One Who made every forest?  This is why worship is vital to the life of our souls.  Not because God needs it, but because we need to remember Who rules, and how wonderful He is and always will be.  He is ALL we need.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Am I Really Hungry For?

This past week I’ve been wrestling with the hunger in my heart to be known and loved deeply.  When I say wrestling, I mean most of the week it had me pinned to the mat, crushed under the weight of this huge craving in my soul.  Now, when I talk about hunger and cravings, I know you ladies know what I’m talking about.  Sometimes it’s our stomachs and sometimes it’s our souls, but there are times when we feel as if the canyon inside of us can never be filled.  When I finally sat down and began to write my heart out to the Lord in my journal, I realized on one level, it is true.  I am a broken human who has a cavern of emptiness in me that no amount of mother love, father love, husband love, child love or friend love has ever been able to fill.  The kicker is that I know it is only the divine love of my God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – that can fill up this huge pit.  I know no human can completely meet this need for another.  My cry to the Father was, “Why don’t I know it right now?!”  Here is what I heard my Abba say:  You have known it and you will know it again, but sometimes you lose sight of it.  Something comes between us and a shadow falls on your heart, but My great love never leaves you. 
As I thought about that, I picked up my Bible and ended up turning to Psalm 115.  I was especially blessed by verses 9 through 13. 
O Israel, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD!
He is your helper and your shield.
The LORD remembers us and will bless us.
He will bless the people of Israel
and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the LORD,
both great and lowly.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us.  That’s worth writing up and posting on your bathroom mirror.  He is our helper and our shield.  He is the ONE who truly understands us, knows us, and loves us completely and unconditionally.  At our worst, He loves us.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and even better, He has promised to perfect the work He has begun in us.  His love is Enough.  Thank You, Lord!  We bless You and praise You! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time To Move On

Well ladies, it’s the first Wednesday of the new year and I’ve been asking the Lord for His word for us for several days now.  For many people I know, the next few months will bring many changes.  Our beloved church called Restoration is coming to an end and something new will begin.  I’m sure I’m not the only one with a mixed-up swirl of emotions over this fact.  My husband and I came to this church as two-week-old newlyweds in 1989.  This place has been our spiritual home, our community, and the center point of our lives.  We have been so blessed to be part of this small portion of the Body of Christ.  This morning when I logged onto my Facebook, I saw a video link to a song by Dennis Jernigan posted by my wonderful cousin by marriage.  The song is called “Time To Move On”.  I’d like to share a few lines with you.      
It’s time to move on! 
Time to conquer that mountain.
 Time for crossing that ocean. 
Time for calming that sea.
It’s time to leave your past behind! 
It’s time to loose those chains that bind.
But if you never seek you will never ever find
All you’ve been hoping for
Right through that next open door
But you’ve got to move on.
Moving forward with the Lord always means leaving something behind.  Good or bad, we have to be willing to put the past in the Lord’s hands and keep moving forward with Him.  We can thank Him for all that was good.  Receive His healing for all that was painful.  But we can’t move forward until we let go of where we’ve been.  God is great and He is good.  He has a future for each one of us.  Jeremiah 29:11 assures us with these words.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Abba, thank You for loving us always, and always being at work for the best in our lives.  Help us trust You with our memories and our tomorrows.  Give us grace to be brave because You go before us, preparing the way.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
*If you would like to hear the entire song, you can find it on   The video was posted by Dennis himself and includes a wonderful testimony about how this song came to be.