When Heaven and Earth Collide

On Thursday I was worshipping during a corporate worship service and I felt as if heaven and earth were colliding. It was the feeling as if things of heaven were coming down to earth and all the saints were in one room together along with angels. The presence of God was so overwhelming in the room that I was flat on my face lying on my stomach on the floor.

While I was lying on the floor worshipping there was a presence of someone else worshipping with me. Yes, there were many other people physically in the room, but I felt as if someone was with me spiritually. It felt as though someone I dearly love who went home to Jesus about 6 years ago was with me. That presence was my dear Grandma! It was beautiful. I felt as though my grandma and I were worshipping our God together! I had tears of joy streaming down my face. She and I were laughing together and singing praises to our Savior. The moment was wonderful and I didn’t want it to end.

I know for a fact my grandma is in heaven and I believe God gives us gifts from heaven like visits from the ones we love who have gone before us.

This is not the first time my grandma has visited me. Almost exactly a year ago I had a dream that was so vivid I felt as though my grandma was in the room with me. She told me she was sent from God to bring me reassurance and hope.

Before my grandma’s visit last week, I was missing her and wishing she was with me. I want to talk with her so badly about all the things God is doing in my life. I want to sit down over a cup of coffee and have a conversation about Jesus. Even though I cannot physically see her or give her a hug, I was reminded on Thursday that she is with me. She is seeing all that God is doing in my life, and we shared a special moment together in the presence of God. What an incredible gift!

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Hillsong has a song called “Heaven and Earth.” The chorus is

Heaven and earth collide
The Savior for everyone has come
Bringing the dead to life
All for the glory of Your name

This is so true! The savior for everyone has come. He came to this earth and is alive in heaven. He brings the dead to life, which is true in many ways, but in this case, my grandma “died” on earth, but is alive in heaven with Jesus! And I was able to experience her being alive to bring glory to the name of Jesus. He is the only reason why I was able to worship with my grandma and see her in a dream.

I hope this is an encouragement to you! That you will experience heaven and earth colliding. Worship God, give thanks to him, praise his holy name, ask for an encounter with him, and you will experience the greatness and glory of the Lord on earth as it is in heaven.

 

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1: 18-19

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” Matthew 6:9-10

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See, I am Doing a New Thing!

I love a new year! It feels like everything old can be washed away as a clean slate is presented to us for writing a new story. I find this both encouraging and daunting. Encouraging because there really is no limit to what God can accomplish through me. Daunting for much the same reason. What will 2016 bring?

The Bible is filled with rich promises of a new beginnings, and I found it so encouraging to read through these verses the other day, I thought they might encourage you as well. My prayer is that you will latch on to these promises and find the HOPE in new beginnings:

Isaiah 43:18-19 

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Oh, how I love that one! It feels like a love letter from God. He is making all things NEW!

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Lamentations 3:22-24 

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Let us not be consumed by worry about what the future holds, or what the past has brought. His mercy and compassion is new EVERY morning! What a great thought!

Ephesians 4:22-24 

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Amen! May we put on a new self daily, as we walk through the new year.

Isaiah 40:31 

31 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.

Want to SOAR this year? The only requirement is that you HOPE in the Lord. Whew! That takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

We have not because we ask not. This one hits hard. I’m going to be asking for big audacious things this year – not only from God, but from myself and others as well.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

As much as I’d like everything to happen NOW, I must remember that God makes everything beautiful in its time. In HIS time.

Revelation 21:5

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He is making everything new! Everything. Every. Thing.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

So why am I trying to do it all myself?

Jeremiah 29:11

11 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.

My future is secure. What a glorious hope!

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

Yes. We plan our course. In our hearts, on our planners & calendars. After all that planning, what might happen if we gave the Lord the last word on which things to step into and which to stay away from? I think probably the best year ever, that’s what!

Oh, there are so many more! I invite you to explore the Word of God as you plan your year. Let Him direct your steps and chart your course. If you do, I believe you will look back at the end of the year in amazement at how much more God accomplished through you than you ever could have done on your own!

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The Maze Runner

I had a vision a couple weeks ago of myself running through a dark maze. I was frightened because I didn’t know what would jump out from around each corner. I was sprinting through this maze and there was no end in sight.

I have prayed and seeked counsel about this vision and this is what I think it means… I have a lot of unknowns in my life at the moment and I don’t know which way to turn. Life is a mystery and we never know what we will face.

When I told this vision to a mentor of mine, he told me I need to pray God shines His light on the maze so I will be able to see where I am going. I love the advice he gave me because it’s true! When we shine a light in a dark place we are able to see. And when we seek God with unknown situations he will guide us in the direction he wants us to go.

I still feel as though I am in that maze, but I don’t feel as though I am sprinting, it’s more of a jog. And the maze is not as dark. I am still in the midst of a lot of unknowns but I serve and love a God who has all the answers. I can trust him with my life. I can trust him to guide me in the right direction. The direction he leads me may not be the direction I would have expected, but God’s plan is way better than anything I could have ever dreamed or imagined!

It’s funny because when I worry about things it puts more stress on me and it usually doesn’t work out the way I want it to. BUT whenever I surrender and let God take control, those things I was once worried about are taken care of. We make things a lot more complicated than they need to be.

If you feel you are facing a lot of unknowns let me encourage you to lay those unknowns at the feet of Jesus and allow him to take control. He loves you and will provide and take care of you!

 

Allow God to lead you through the maze of life. He will lead you to heaven.

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(Every morning while living at an orphanage in Swaziland we exercised by running several miles with some of the children – World Race November 2014)

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Problems… We’ve all got ’em

I want to share this devotion from Jesus Calling with you. This really resonated with me because of the season I am in and I feel it will resonate with some of you as well.

 

“Approach problems with a light touch. When your mind moves toward a problem area, you tend to focus on that situation so intensely that you lose sight of Me. You pit yourself against the difficulty as if you had to conquer it immediately. Your mind gears up for battle, and your body becomes tense and anxious. Unless you achieve total victory, you feel defeated.

“There is a better way. When a problem starts to overshadow your thoughts, bring this matter to Me. Talk with Me about it and look at it in the Light of My Presence. This puts some much-needed space between you and your concern, enabling you to see from My perspective. You will be surprised at the results. Sometimes you may even laugh at yourself for being so serious about something so insignificant.

“You will always face trouble in this life. But more importantly you will always have Me with you, helping you to handle whatever you encounter. Approach problems with a light touch by viewing them in My revealing Light.”

 

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:15

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” John 16:33

 

 

(Jesus Calling November 15)

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Spend time with Jesus. Bask in his presence and allow him to take your burdens and your problems. They are not yours yo carry.

(View from the top of the mountain where I lived in the Philippines during the World Race September 2014- taking in the beauty of our Creator with a cup of coffee of course!)

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I Have Learned to be Content

Today I was thinking: Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What was that joy? YOU and ME … sons and daughters of Father God. he was an only Son… now, through His sacrifice, he was to have millions of family members!!

Rejoice… you are loved!

Some of the most miserable people I have ever met have been Christians who looked miserable. You couldn’t disguise the misery of their lives, for it shone on their faces and in their eyes, and when they spoke, Someone always had more of this world’s goods, or of happiness. I have found a scripture that will puncture their outlook, in 1 Timothy 6:6, and it simply says, “GODLINESS, WITH CONTENTMENT, IS GREAT GAIN.”

I believe this is a learned attitude, for Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever condition I am in, therewith to be content.”

Try it… your life will be happier and brighter!

(Originally written by Gladys on 1/7/2004)

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God is in the Details

There are some crazy stories in the Bible, aren’t there?

If you grew up in church like me, you were puzzled about many of them. One in particular I remember was found in 2 Kings chapter 6 about an ax head breaking off the handle and sinking to the bottom of the river. It was borrowed, which made no hope of retrieval even worse, I suppose. But when the man who lost the ax head went to the prophet Elisha and told him about it…

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut off a piece of wood. He threw it into the water at that place and made the ax head float. Elisha said, “Pick it up.” The disciple reached for it and picked it up. (2 Kings 6:6-7)

End of story.

Cue my mother, Gladys. Great preacher that she was, and confused child that I was, I have a beautiful understanding of this passage these days. It wasn’t because of a sermon she preached, but a real life incident where God showed himself to be the same God today as back in the days of the great Kings of Israel. Many, many years of hearing the story told over and over again has solidified my belief that God cares about the details of our lives.

I remember her being so excited about planning a series of outdoor meetings one summer in the church parking lot, calling it “Brush Arbor Days.” This was in the early 1970’s – the beginning years of the Jesus Movement, and since we were in Southern California and had access to these things, she booked a few bands out of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, along with some gospel singers from Los Angeles, set up a stage and chairs in the church parking lot, and planned several nights of summer revival for the community.

As you can imagine, this involved needing a lot of sound equipment our little church didn’t own, so it was borrowed. One night, as things were being set up, the crew noticed a box of microphones missing. Without missing a beat, my mama recalled the scripture in 2 Kings 6 where God floated a borrowed ax head and got a group together to begin praying to float the ax head. They prayed fervently for those stolen microphones to float back to our little church before it was time to return them, or have to pay a big price. And you know what? That box was left at the church steps with an “I’m sorry” note. I can only imagine the story from the other side – how did the thief know that box must be returned?

For the rest of my life, I have remembered this story about the time God floated the microphones. God cares about the details.

Just last week a friend sent me a text asking me to pray for her daughter whose laptop had been stolen at school. Her request was that her daughter would learn through this experience how God works in the details of our lives. As I prayed for this situation, my mind returned to those microphones so many years ago, and the story in the Bible about the ax head floating to the top of the river.

And you know what? God floated that laptop. He cares about the details.

 

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God knows…

I received this word from God and I feel I need to share it with you!

 

“The waiting is where you are and need to be, but it won’t be long. You will not stay in the waiting! I have overcome any obstacle you face and I am by your side when you face them to walk hand in hand through them. I am in front, behind, and beside you. Everywhere you look I am there. There isn’t a place you can go that I cannot see you. I am watching over you my sweet child. And I am protecting you from the devil’s schemes to bring you down and take your hope. Keep your eyes focused on me, and the ways of the world and the devil will not be a distraction to you. Don’t let him grab a hold of you. Keep your eyes on me, seek my face and let me fill in the gaps and there will not be room for anything else!

“Trust me with your whole heart and give me your cares and your worries. I don’t want you to carry them with you. I love you!”

 

Love, God

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with my ways.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:1-3, 7-9

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(Because hiking up a volcano is conquering an obstacle. This is my beautiful team Agape in Guatemala Jan 2014 while on the World Race!)

 

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Timing Is Everything

I have been trying to write something for today for a while…but I have to be honest. It just wasn’t happening.

I’ve had a rough few weeks, as I found out my best buddy, my sweet pup Lacey had cancer. I spent every moment with her as we enjoyed our last couple of weeks together – and then the time came to let her go. I just haven’t been able to focus enough to write about that, or anything else for that matter.

So, here I am. Sitting in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas at a convention for my new business. Still dazed by the trauma of my loss.

BUT, as my cousin Nikki (who is here along with me and my Aunt Tami too!) reminded me today…God’s timing and attention to detail is truly remarkable.

See, I almost had to cancel this trip that would allow me to see my sweet family and friends from the West Coast and allow me to learn more about growing my business. I was planning to do that to spend that precious time with my little Lacey.

BUT GOD, in His infinite wisdom (as my dear Mother Karen reminded me yesterday), allowed me to be free to make this journey. Plus, He allowed me to have a week to grieve. He gave me a sweet last two weeks with her – but then He gave me time to pull it together and get to Dallas. To get a change of scenery and ENJOY the company of my family and friends.

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How kind our God is to us – even amidst our trials – He is there.

Life will always ebb and flow with the good and the bad – but, if we truly look, we will notice God’s grace and blessing in the details of it all. For that, I am thankful.

Here I am in the midst of a trial – but able to be surrounded by people who care for me and love me through it.

His timing is truly superior to ours – even when we don’t see it right away. I am learning to trust God’s timing, and to have faith that He is the one ordering my steps.

Do you trust Him with His timing in your life?

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OK, America.

I am learning patience and it’s not easy. I have to remind myself daily to trust in the one who is bigger than me, the one who holds my life, and the one who knows what is best for me.

I was visiting my cousin Kristin in North Carolina and we were joking around and being our silly selves when she wanted something from me and said, “But I want it NOW!” And I responded, “OK, America.” She started cracking up, because she realized how true that statement was.

We have the “I want it NOW” mentality. We live in a culture that wants everything and wants it NOW. We don’t want to wait for anything.

What is patience anyway? If it’s something I want, why can’t I have it now?

 

Having patience is a journey. We learn about ourselves, about others, and about God in the process. If we had everything handed to us when we wanted it without having to work or wait, we wouldn’t learn a single thing! We wouldn’t grow in character. We wouldn’t be stronger. We wouldn’t be wiser.

 

Even though patience is really hard (believe me I know!), take it as a learning experience and see how you can grow from it. And know that God has a reason for everything. We may not see it now, but God is holding something from you in this moment for a reason, and in the end it will be better than you could ever dream or imagine.

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” 

Proverbs 14:29

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Be YOU

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you see all your flaws? The mistakes you have made? Wish you were someone else? Wish you looked a certain way? Had a certain car, house, you name it!

 

The world we live in is full of lies and pressuring us to be someone we are not. To the world it’s all about how you look, how you act, what kind of job you have, how much money you are making. But that is not what is important at all.

 

Do you know what God sees when he looks at you?

He sees you as beautiful, as his child, worthy. He created you to look a certain way, to be unique, to be the only YOU, one of a kind. He created you to be different. He doesn’t care how much money you make, or what you look like. All he cares about is YOU.

 

I pray that you stand in confidence as the person you are.

I pray you walk in boldness and stand out because of the one who loves you and who lives inside of you.

I pray you are a light to this dark world.

I pray you find what you are passionate about and run after it even if you are ridiculed in the process.

I pray you stand strong in your faith.

I pray you are who God created you to be and no one else.

 

Don’t let the world define you. Your identity is found in Jesus.

 

Be the YOU God created YOU to be. And smile when you look at yourself in the mirror knowing the God above loves you and made you just the way you are for a reason.

 

“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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