Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This Is Me....

This is me...I love having my own unique style...see here's the thing I spent so many years hating myself, yes hating myself because I felt fat and ugly and honestly felt that I needed to be skinny to be loved, it was a disastrous Time in my life. Then God did what only he can do and showed me unconditional love, a love that wasn't dependant on what I looked like and I slowly began to accept myself as I was. This didn't happen overnight there are still days I battle with my bigness but I now know that no matter what I am loved. I do what I can to take care of my body and yes I can improve on that but now I am able to enjoy the journey I am on without hating myself. I can walk in confidence that he is with me every step of the way!!  I understand this journey of acceptance is tough but it is possible!! You are loved no matter what, remember that we never arrive and we are all on the journey together. You are beautiful! You are loved!! Encourage someone today, tell them they are beautiful and love without conditions!!!

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Simple Joy

Sometimes I long to live with the freedom my dog has....he loves nothing more than if I open the window while I drive and he pops his head out closes his eyes and enjoys the wind, ears flapping, almost what looks like a smile on his face.
As we were driving today he did just that and I caught myself wishing I could have that freedom then that still small voice nudged as if to can, just enjoy the simple moments, stop worrying about that situation that's been weighing on your mind, enjoy this moment, right here, right now is the only moment you are promised!
So I laughed at the joy I saw on my pups face and cranked my music and enjoyed the ride simple as it was.
Often I wait for the big moments to 'enjoy' and how easily I forget to enjoy the smell of fresh baked cookies, the sound of perfect harmonies in a song, the dimpled smile of my child (even though he may be driving me batty), the simple arm around my waist as my hubby comes to steal another cookie...these are the moments of life I need to start enjoying a lot more!!!!
How about you? You wishing your life away In hopes of a 'better' time in the future? I hope you can see some simple glimpses of beauty and joy today!!

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Breaking the Chains

Are you feeling stuck? Held captive by chains of addiction, pain, guilt, fear, approval of others, bitterness, envy, sadness? If so I want to share this with you!!
This was written about Paul and Silas after being severely beaten and thrown in jail...'after surviving the severe beating Paul and Silas aren't moaning and groaning they're praying and singing praises to God....suddenly the ground begins to shake and the prison foundations begin to crack...every prisoner realizes that his chains have come unfastened..'
What a picture of life, we can become hurt and wounded by the many trials of life and in those moments we have a choice to make, sit and moan and groan or raise a voice of prayer and praise to God.
Notice that it was when they praised that the foundations of what was holding them captive and the chains came undone.
Inevitably in this life we will face difficulties and we may feel beaten down and truly want to sit and stare at our mess. Yet it is in those moments we must turn our eyes on Jesus even though we may not "feel" like it and sing praises to our King and then He does what only He can do and sets us free.
So whatever it is that is holding you captive...addictions, fear, guilt, sadness, approval of others, bitterness, envy...whatever it is He can set us free. Shaking the very foundation of the belief that held us captive in the first place and led us to the place where we are, He can set us free to a life of peace, joy and contentment despite our circumstances.
We can truly become overcomers in life and it all starts by choosing to praise the only one who has the power to change us and our circumstances!
Turn our eyes from the junk of our lives and turn them to the one who sets us free!!
I pray you get a revelation of His love for you today and despite how you feel take a moment to praise Him today, in whatever way you choose, and see what a difference it makes, it may not happen immediately but I want to encourage you to continue turning your eyes to Him, He is faithful and He loves you so very much!!!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Stone Throwers Heart

Ever heard of Stephen?! A mighty man of courage, in my opinion, and someone who needs a lot more 'air time' in the world. See he is a guy we can read about in Acts, a super hero for Jesus.
He was not afraid to speak openly and boldly for Jesus, he walked around sharing the message and healing people, carried with him an incredible presence.
It says that each time he was threatened or put in situations where he should be afraid, he exuded peace. All this led to his death giving him the name of the FIRST Christian martyr after Jesus' death.
Did you know that?! I didn't or if I did I certainly forgot.
That's not the end, get this, as he was being stoned to death, stones hurling through the air with the main purpose to kill him, he cried out to God saying "Lord do not hold this evil against them.".....Those were his last words before he died.
Reminded me of exactly what Jesus said on the cross "Forgive them father for they know not what they do."
All I can say is....WOW!!
Two incredibly crucial moments and they were thinking of the people that were KILLING THEM and praying God would forgive them.
I think I personally would be wailing for help and quite possibly asking God where the heck he was in that moment, definitely not asking for the forgiveness of those putting me to death.
Therein lies the mess of my heart, the lean towards bitterness and resentment instead of forgiveness and love, quickly developing the stone thrower's heart!
There have been moments in my life that I have been incredibly hurt, devastating moments, I thought I offered forgiveness only to have bitterness and resentment rear their ugly heads.
Can you imagine if in the moment of Stephen's death he cursed them all to hell(his death may have been faster if he'd said that). Yet instead he cried for mercy for the people, I can't help but think that as Stephen cried out for the forgiveness of the exact people that were killing him that a few of the stones dropped beside the people who had wanted to throw them recognizing that even in this moment this man had complete love for his enemies. How many walked away that day questioning what they had just done because he showed love and not anger and malice?!
When I read this story I recognize my need to forgive immediately, to not hang on to my hurts because when I hang onto the hurt I realize I have become the stone thrower not the victim.
See it was anger, bitterness and resentment towards Stephen and the message that he was sharing that led these people to pick up the stones in the first place and if I hold onto my hurt I run the risk of throwing stones and causing hurt to all those around me.
I definitely recognize my need for a saviour someone who can save me from myself and that someone is Jesus!!
Lord help me to put down the stones of anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness and pick up the peace, strength and joy that only you can offer. As my heart heals from hurt help me to pray for those that hurt me. I know this is only possible with your help! As I grow in your tenderness and mercy help my heart to become more and more like that of Stephen so when I am faced with adversity I too can be known for peace in my countenance and able to show love till the end!! Help me to have a lover's heart and not a stone thrower's heart!
In Jesus name....Amen.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Disturb Us Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, 
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, 
when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore. 

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life, 
having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity, 
and in our efforts to build a new earth, 
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim. 

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, 
where storms will show your mastery, 
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. 
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, 
and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. 
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.

~Sir Francis Drake

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Help Me To See

I can still hear the words echoing in my head....words that I spoke during my morning prayer "Break my heart for what breaks yours.."..what I didn't realize how wide open my eyes would become and the mix of emotions that would follow.
I volunteer at an inner city Food bank program with my son, I have gone many times before and have enjoyed my time there, but this time it felt different and it was a feeling I couldn't shake.
As people were filing through the line picking up their food I began to notice....I noticed the bruises on women's faces, I noticed the broken smile and dirty clothes, I noticed the markings of abuse, I noticed the look of despair in hollow eyes and what I saw were 'his children' I actually saw each and every individual and as they passed me I heard these words in my heart "that is my daughter, that is my son, that is my child, I am so in love with her, I see the pain....."
My reaction to noticing and the words that echoed in my heart is what disturbed me the most.....
I just wanted the morning to be over, I was counting down the minutes so I could I could return to my middle class suburb, with my middle class home and enjoy my middle class family and leave the hurt behind.
I didn't want to see the pain or feel the love that God has for each and every one of them, I wanted to insulate my heart, not to feel he brokenness, better yet not feel anything, to do 'my part' and go home.
As I left that day the emotions still raging inside of me I began to realize that 'my part' isn't to show up and hand out food. 'My part' is to see, to see the hurt and the pain and to crack my heart wide open and have it break for 'what breaks his'.
To see each and every individual as someone who is wholly and completely loved by a God who wants to use me to reflect his love back to them. So that when they look in my face they don't see a face that is arrogant, or a face that feels sorry for them, but rather a face that reflects genuine love, love of a saviour who loves so unconditionally a saviour who wraps them with love and says 'I see you'.
The truth is the hurt is everywhere no culture, no class, no race is void of hurt and pain and he is asking us to 'see' not as the world sees and labels but as he sees, through eyes of love and compassion, vessels of love for his goodness.
I still have undone emotions inside of me that have yet to work their way out but one thing I know for sure, he hears and he answers prayer and if I didn't actually want my heart to break for what breaks his I maybe shouldn't have prayed that prayer in the first place.
He is good, He is faithful and He cares, I encourage you to take a moment to step outside of your insulated world and 'see' today you may not have to go far, you may see the people in your world as you have never seen them before.

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Shine Your Light

Ever wonder what your role as a Christian may be?
I love how Matthew 5:13 in the message translation says "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. "
Then the Voice translation reads Matthew 5:14 "you beloved are the light of the world.....You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may Illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it."
So often I believe Christians have this idea in their heads that they need to go around sharing their opinions on hot button topics or they need to point out other peoples faults and failures when God clearly asks us to go about living our lives in a way that illuminates his goodness and his glory! He says "they will see your devotion to ME",not devotion to an opinion or and agenda but to ME. This verse is also calling us into a deeper relationship with our saviour, and when we do, our hearts will soften and change towards those around us.
I believe most of the time it means keeping our mouths shut and loving on people right where they are at, not where we want them to be!!
It's our actions that people see, it's our bright light that they are drawn to.
After-all it's the GOODNESS of God that leads man to repentance, not Christians pointing fingers down at somebody who is hurting.

Let's go out into the world today and shine our lights, shine bright the light of ENCOURAGEMENT, of KINDNESS, of HOPE, of RESTORATION , of ACCEPTANCE, of FORGIVENESS, of PEACE and above all else UNCONDITIONAL LOVE ~ take the conditions off of our love and shine bright the light we've been given!!!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Offering in Being

Have you ever doubted that what you have to offer isn't enough?
That you don't have some big extravagant talent or gift that is noticed and therefore means "more" when offered back to God.
This is the thing, it's ALL big to him; changing a diaper, doing piles of laundry, getting the kids off to school the you go off to work, driving to the office, volunteering at a seniors home, cleaning up after everyone else, being a nurse, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher .....WHATEVER it is that you do can be an offering to God.
Stop waiting around for the BIG offering, what you have to give RIGHT NOW means more than you will ever know!!

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. "
Romans 12:1-2

So here's how I want to encourage you today, invite him into your 'everyday' little moments today and see what a difference that makes!
I pray you feel and know his love today in a tangible way!!
Love you friends!

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