The Day Before

Tomorrow eight ladies from Naples, Florida, are going to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on a mission trip, to share the love of Jesus.  I am honored to be a part of this group.

We have been preparing for this event for several months.  One of the things we are going to do is host a Women’s Conference, where I will be speaking.

It’s interesting … the very first night I knew of the conference, God gave me a message for the ladies, Hope is Rising.  And then nothing else.  I have prayed and fasted for 30 days, I have sought God on what he wants me to share.  I have woken up so many nights at 3:00 am, with thoughts in my head of the message he wants to bring.

I have the main scripture, the story of the four lepers outside the wall of the Samaria.  It was a time of hopelessness, but God turned things around and brought hope to his people.

That is the message I want to bring to the women of Honduras, we can be in a time of hopelessness, it may look like there is no where to turn.  But if we will look up, to God, he will bring his light of Hope into our lives.

I am excited today.  I know God has big plans for our team and I am in awe how he has worked all things for the good of each one of us.

Today, before the adventure begins, I just want to say how grateful I am to God for bringing this opportunity into my path.  I didn’t have to go find it, it came to me.  I so love when that happens.  God is preparing hearts even as I am writing this.

We will see many new things in the next few days, some will make us sad, some will make us very happy, but I pray that through it all we will lift high the name of Jesus, he will be honored and glorified and that Hope will rise wherever we go.

Father, thank you for allowing us to be your hands, feet and voice.  I am overwhelmed by your presence today and the knowledge that this is your plan and purpose for our lives.  Go before us Lord and light our path.    In Jesus Name.  Amen

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:28-31)

 

I Thought It Was Going To Be Better?

In Exodus Chapter Five, Moses and his brother, Aaron, go to the Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites have some time off to go into the wilderness to worship the Lord.  Pharaoh doesn’t take to this request very well, why in the world would he let the slaves off work to party?

In fact, he gets so upset over the suggestion, that he doubles their work load.  They not only have to make the bricks, but they have to go out and gather the straw for the bricks, as well.  And to make it even worse, they have to fill the same quotas, in the same time frames.

This is not an easy task, to say the least.

And now the Israelites are not happy either.  Moses came to them bringing them news of God’s heart towards them, his compassion for them, his desire to free them and they are so touched that God hadn’t forgotten them.  And then, instead of things changing for the good, they get worse.  Lots worse.

And they complain to Moses and he in turn complains to God.

Boy can I relate!  I remember how excited I was when I began working at the church.  I not only didn’t have to drive 7 or 8 hours a day any longer for my courier job, but I was doing what I’d dreamed of for many years, serving the Lord full time!  I was so touched, God hadn’t forgotten me.

And then my first day on my new job I had an altercation with a team member.  I said something I shouldn’t have, it was taken the wrong way, and my wonderful new life took on a whole other dimension.  Was not pretty.  I remember saying, “God, what’s going on here?”

Sometimes life gets worse, before it gets better.  Don’t give up, remember, God’s got the victory!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place.  (Isaiah 43:2-3)

Eyes on Jesus!

I love the Apostle Paul.   He calls himself the worst of sinners (I Timothy 1:15), yet when he had an encounter with Jesus, everything changed.  He went from persecuting followers of Jesus to traveling the known world, at the time, telling everyone he met about him.  He wrote a good portion of the New Testament, much of while in prison.  The guy was amazing!

In Philippians, he is encouraging us that our confidence cannot be in man, either others or ourselves, but must be in Jesus.  That whatever we have or do, means nothing without a relationship with Jesus, and that we need to press on towards that goal, seeking God with all we have.

He doesn’t share a lot of do’s or don’ts, but he does say there is one thing we can do to reach this goal:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Living in our past can destroy our future.  There is no way to go back and redo life.  Paul’s past held a lot of ugly.  If he stayed there, he would be missing out on the blessing that God had for him, for the life God wanted for him and for the future God planned for him.

Paul knew his only hope was keeping his eyes on Jesus!

My past was dismal, my future is bright, my eyes are on Jesus!

Feel like a hamster on a wheel?

I love this from our devotional yesterday:

Some of us are forty, or fifty, or sixty years old and we’re still not happy with what we are. We’re frustrated and frantic because we’ve never found that feeling of contentment. The problem is, we’ve made it our goal to become something God never meant us to be.

Boy … isn’t that the truth?  We’re out there beating ourselves to death … trying to do this or be that and it’s literally killing us.

I know … I was there.

But once I allowed God to guide me. Once I surrendered my will to HIS … everything changed.  His peace flows through me today. So, my friend, if you are struggling today, feeling like a hamster on a wheel, why not seek the one who created you to find out what he created you to be?

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Beginning Is Always The Hardest

I have been doing a Daniel Fast for the past 21 days. In fact, when I counted back the days to see when I started, today is Day 22.  The Daniel Fast for me consists of no bread, meat, pasta, chocolate, or any type of dessert sweets. Mostly I eat fruit and lentils and rice and beans and salad and vegetables.

The first week was very difficult. I was craving chocolate and ice cream. I really wanted a milkshake with ice cream and orange juice. But instead, I prayed and made a smoothie of fresh fruit.  To make it even more difficult, someone had hidden chocolate bars all over my office. They were giving me a treat, they didn’t know I was fasting chocolate.

The second week was difficult. Still wanted sweets. But I prayed and ate a banana instead. To make it even more interesting, I had some celebrations during this time frame, even celebrated a birthday, but no cake for me.

The third week, it became so much easier. To the point that I didn’t crave anything … just wanted to eat when I was hungry.

I’d like to say my spiritual journey took a giant leap during this time, that I had huge revelations from God, but I didn’t. I felt him near, I found myself praying without ceasing … most of the time it seems to be “help me Lord.”  So, maybe I will continue on for another week. Now that the physical side of my fasting is conquered, I can focus more on what God wants me to learn through this.

And if no huge revelations come, I’m okay with that too.

I’ve learned that each day is a lesson, with an opportunity to either walk in his path or not. He has laid out the direction … my choice is to follow.

Solomon tells us, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

And Paul, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.: (Philippians 3:14)

My encouragement for you today my friend, new things are difficult, they will become easier. Don’t give up. God’s not finished with you yet.

I Can’t … But God Can!

We’re walking through Exodus in our ladies group. I love the lessons … it’s always been about the lesson!

God has just given Moses the instructions to go back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of the Egyptians. He assured him he’d be with him and there would be a victory.

But Moses isn’t so sure. He uses excuse after excuse of why he can’t do this task that God has set before him, to the point of asking God to please send someone else.  (Exodus 4)

I love it … I am so like Moses.

When God gave me a message of hope and healing, I had every excuse under the sun why I couldn’t share it with others. But I stepped out in faith, God has been with me every step of the way and many have found freedom, through Jesus!

Father … thank you!

The Lord is My Shepherd

For those who are hurting, lost and confused today:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

Lord Jesus, thank you for being my shepherd.