Believe the Impossible

Going into the new year I have a been doing some reflecting on the past year.

What have I done?

I have done a lot.

Attended 7 weddings. I was in 2 of them.

Became a life coach.

Hiked the tallest mountain in the lower 48.

Began discipling woman and have been discipled myself.

Experienced inner healing and have been learning how to give myself grace.

Turned 28

Partnered with M2B ministries to help missionaries with re-entry.

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God is doing a lot and I know there is more to come in 2017.

One thing that I desire this year is to have more intimacy with God. I know I need to pursue God and spend time with him. I must pray and sit and be in His presence. This is something I need to be discipled in and practice. I must turn it into a habit, a good habit. I know this will be a habit that will change my life! I want to hear God’s voice and be able to share what he tells me with others to encourage them and hear what he wants to say for my life.

This past year I have also been learning how to dream big and if my dreams don’t scare me, they are not big enough. That’s a scary statement. I think before I would never allow myself to dream so big it scared me because I figured it would never happen. But that’s not the right attitude!!! I must believe in my God to do the impossible. I must believe that he has my best interests in mind and wants the best for me. He can make the imaginable possible and that is what I am hoping for this year! I want things to happen that can only be explained in one word… GOD.

Why don’t we live like that? Why don’t we live life thinking the impossible will happen? Believing the impossible will happen!

It’s a mindset. We need to change our mindset and our focus to be on Jesus. We need to trust him and his ultimate plan for his life.

God gave me a picture many months ago of me and him standing hand in hand on a stone. It was a stone that looked like part of a stone path but all I could see what the stone I was on. As I was hand in hand with him he led me to the next stone. As put my foot out to take the next step the stone appeared.

My interpretation of this vision is that God is with me every step of the way but that he wants me to trust him and to stay present. He wants me to stay focused on where I am and not where I am going or where I have been. He wants me to take the step of faith and trust that he has something there for me even though I cannot see it.

And I believe this is true for you as well. God wants you to stay present but to trust him in the process and to take his hand and let him led you. It’s scary but great things happen when we step out and take risks.

I pray that for us going into this new year. I pray we grab onto God’s hand and allow him to led us to the next stepping stone in our lives even if we cannot see it! I also pray we stay present where we are and enjoy the moment.

Believe the impossible.

Enjoy the moment.

Trust God.

What are the desires of your heart?

Do you have desires deep in your heart that some people might not even know about?

Do you have hopes and dreams that are buried deep that you are even afraid to acknowledge with the fear they may never come true?

I love this verse

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

DELIGHT in the Lord and HE with GIVE YOU the DESIRES in your heart that you and him may only know about. But he knows. He knows your heart and if you spend time with him he will deliver.

“The plans of God are only revealed in the presence of God.”

I am reading through a prayer challenge book called “Draw the Circle.” It is by the same other who wrote “Circle Maker.” He talks about praying circles about your hopes, dreams, desires, and wants. It’s about being persistent and trusting that God will provide. Sometimes he doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want him too but he answers them in a better way. Sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes it’s yes. With that he has our best interests in mind.

He knows the deep desires of your heart and he wants you to pray into them. Sometimes patience is required because things don’t happen on our timing but in God’s. And that’s how it should be. He knows all the details. He sees everything we cannot see. Imagine trying to do a puzzle with your eyes closed and some of the pieces missing. You will never be able to complete it. But God has all the pieces lined up in front of him and he can see everything! So why are you not trusting him with all that you are and the desires and dreams of your heart. He knows what they are, but he is wants you to pray into them.

Pray circles around your desires. I am doing that now and I am writing it down. Writing your prayers and desires down is helpful for later when you can go back and see how God connected the dots and how he answered your prayers! He most likely will answer them in ways you are not expecting.

“When we pray regularly, irregular things happen on a regular basis.” (Draw the Circle).

Seek God’s face every day. Bring him your hopes and dreams and desires. He has a plan! You must be patient, trust him, but take action by praying!

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Choose Joy

Last week a friend and I got together and I had worship music playing in the background. She was talking and sharing with me all that God had been doing in her life recently. She was in such awe of God and how he had been providing for her and showing up in unexpected ways.

As she was sharing with me I felt God say, “Praise me. Thank me. Worship me.” I stopped her and said, “God wants us to praise him and thank him for his goodness.” I turned the worship music up and little did I know what would happen next.

We were sitting on my couch worshipping God and I felt so at peace. I prayed aloud praising and thanking God for all he has done for us and she did as well. After praying I got hit with laughter. I began laughing uncontrollably. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Shortly after I began laughing, my friend sitting next to me began laughing as well, so hard she was crying. Every time I would touch her, I laughed even harder. The Holy Spirit was in the room and present in both of us!

As I was sitting and laughing God was telling me things. He told me

“I have big plans for both of you.

“Trust me.

“Keep your focus on me and I will show you where to go next.

“I know the desires of your heart.

“Trust me.”

It was beautiful! Although I was laughing I felt such peace and comfort.

Last night this same friend and I were talking and she was sharing with me that she has been experiencing so much joy and she doesn’t want it to ever leave her.

I asked her this question, “What are you doing now that is causing you to experience that joy?”

She answered with, “I am praising God no matter what and thanking him and keeping my focus on him.”

I responded, “Well, joy is a choice, and when you feel like you have to choose joy more than ever at a certain point, do the things you are doing now. Praise God, thank God, and keep your focus on him.”

I say this to you as well. Joy is a choice. You must choose joy every day. No one can do that for you. It is your responsibility. If you are struggling with choosing joy, praise God in the midst of the storm, worship him, put on worship music and sit in his presence. Allow the Holy Spirit to touch you. It’s not scary, it’s comforting, and renewing!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

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Just Keep Swimming

I think most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” when the character Dori sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In the movie “Finding Dori” we learn why she sings that song. She is a small young fish and sings the song with her parents when she is learning how to swim and she continues to sing the song when she is facing her fears.

We all have fears that we must face. Whether we are a small fish, a child, or an adult, we all have fears. “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy it will one day defeat you” (Havilah Cunningham). You are either driven by fear, or overtaken by fear. What will it be for you? If you let fear defeat you, you will not grow or become the person God made you to be. You can either step forward into growth or step back into safety. What will it be for you?

There is a spirit of fear that wants to dominate everything in you. It is Satan’s way of stopping you from doing the powerful things God created you to do. Will you let him stop you? Will you let him win? What happens when you face fear? What if? What would you become? You will not know unless you do it, unless you take action. It will not be easy. Facing what you are afraid of is NOT easy, but you will never know who you could be or what life has for you if you don’t.

I was asked why I go on so many trips, and do so many activities and adventures. And my answer is this, there is so much on this earth to experience and so many places to go, why not try to do as much as possible?! I said yes to an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries. I was scared. I was afraid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did it anyway and I am here to tell you I do not regret going one bit! I am so happy I was obedient to God. I grew in ways I would have never if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and face my fears.

Our job is to be obedient and say yes to the opportunity in front of us even if it scares us. There is anointing that comes when you obey God. And when we obey the supernatural will happen. And I experienced just that. God gave me an anointing over my life and I experienced miracles, and went on many adventures.

I have run and finished a half marathon, completed a triathlon, hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, training now to hike Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental America), went shark cage diving, laid with tigers, rode an elephant, went on a safari. I’m not saying this to brag of all the things I’ve done. This is a result of saying yes to an opportunity, facing fears and going for it. I accepted the challenge of training, of leaving the country for a year and in return I was able to do all this and more! 

Are you going to “just keep swimming” or are you going to let fear defeat you? It’s up to you.

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Which Son Are You?

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active. I love when I hear a teaching on God’s Word that makes me realize this all over again. It is such a beautiful thing to ponder when God uses an anointed teacher to reveal His truth in a fresh new way.

We all know the story of the prodigal son. In fact, it may have become boring, common, predictable, and just so much yada yada yada to our ears. I heard Troy Murphy, Chaplain for the Green Bay Packers, speak recently on the scriptures found in Luke 15:11-32, and God used his words to rock my world. I’ll give you one highlight, but it’s definitely worth watching the whole sermon here.

We have the two sons to consider, the prodigal son and the older brother.

Think about this: when the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, we see no mention that the father argued with him, or told him what a mistake he was making. He gave his son the inheritance. In the same way, God won’t disrupt our wandering. We don’t have to go off the deep end to be a prodigal. In fact, we all could be prodigals in some way. A prodigal is not necessarily a desperate, horrible sinner, but someone who wants to pick and choose what he wants from the Father, and then live life on his own terms.

Ouch. Guilty.

The older son is the obedient one, but boy oh boy does he have an attitude problem! I’ve done this for you. I’ve done that for you, and you’ve never done ___________ for me! This self righteous attitude says I want something from God, but I have to do something to earn it. Then, God will OWE ME.

Ouch again.

If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that we are all both prodigals and older sons at some point. Both are dangerous places to live, but in a sense, the prodigal is actually more desirable than being the know-it-all-do-good-live-by-the-rules son.

Why? Because of verse 17: “When he came to his senses...”

The Bible says the prodigal son came to his senses and ran back to the father, and we see that the older son remained bitter and refused to join in the celebration. Sadly, we see so many Christians choosing to be the older son, even when they witness the compassionate heart of the Father welcoming a prodigal back home.  It makes my heart sad for them.

And then I think of all the prodigals wandering the earth, experiencing hardships that may lead them to that point of coming to their senses, and it makes me so happy we have a father who will celebrate us when we come to our senses and run back into his arms!

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Luke 15:11-32 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

 

LET GO!

What are some of the things you are holding onto? What is one thing you are holding on so tightly that it has to be pried out of your fingers? What is something you do not want to give up control over?

There are many areas in our life that we want to hold onto whether it’s children, a job, house, any material possessions or loved ones. We want to be able to control it. But I have news for you…

YOU CAN’T.

You cannot control life. You can control, however, how you respond to the circumstances that happen in your life.

There is one person who can control life and it’s not you….it’s GOD.

He wants you to give over control. He wants you to let go of the things you are holding on so tightly. And I have good news for you, He is the BEST person to take control because he will make whatever situation, whatever circumstance better than you could have ever made it.

God wants to bless you. He wants to bless you abundantly. But he won’t do that if you do not trust him. Trust him with the small things and he will trust you with the big things. Whatever size your problem or plan is, give it to God. He will blow you out of the water with what he does with it!

You have to TRUST HIM.

Right now I am trying to start my own business. I am starting to notice a pattern. When I try to do things my way, nothing happens, no one is reached, I haven’t been able to make any connections in the field I am working in. But when I pray over what God wants to share to others through me, or ask him what he wants to do in my business, I am blown away with the amount of people who watch and listen to my content, the connections and meetings I make. And it’s all because I come to God first. I come to God with my plans and ask him for his. I give him each situation and allow him to use me in it.

Let go of your plan. You will not regret it, I promise. God has a much better plan for you than you have for yourself!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

When you let go and let God take control it will feel something like this…  : )

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CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Remember that TV ad a few years ago when the person would move different places trying to get reception on his cell phone?

I wonder if God thinks that about us sometimes!

How do YOU hear from God?

Maybe you feel God really doesn’t talk to you……”He doesn’t care about me….He has only the major stuff in the world to concern Himself with.”

Well……do YOU talk to Him?

Our Father God is all knowing, all seeing, and He is everywhere!   He will listen to you as you speak to Him through His Son Jesus.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…..”  I Timothy 2:5

So, to have a relationship with your Creator you must talk to Him….then LISTEN.

The listening part is the most difficult for all of us humans.  I say “Dear God, give me a written sign, in English please!!!”

If you need an answer from God my advise is to seek out the answer in the Bible, meditate on it, pray about it, ask for wisdom, and a peace will come into your inner-most being with the answer.  Sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

What I’ve noticed as I get older is that looking back on events in my life I can truly say….”Oh!  That’s why that worked out that way!  I see it all clearly now.”

Sometimes it’s a process (one of my least favorite words!) that doesn’t happen quickly.   And wrong choices I’ve made and repented for, God, in love, has turned it around for my good.!!!

Beloved, TRUST GOD.  He sees, He hears, He answers the best way for each one of us in His time.

LISTEN…….HE IS SPEAKING TO YOU.

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW???

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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.

 

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?

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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