What Was Lost Was Found

As many of you know, I was in Tampa last week for a Daddy’s Girl conference. Let me tell you what happened when I returned home.

I got home from the airport about 10:30 on Monday night and since it was so late, I didn’t even bother to unpack my suitcase. Tomorrow is another day, right? I took out my tooth brush and a couple of toilet articles and put the suitcase over in the corner.

On Tuesday morning I had Paul help me put the suitcase back up on the bed because it was so heavy.  I started unpacking everything, dirty clothes sent to the hamper, clean clothes hung up. When I finally had all the clothes dealt with, I started in on all the assorted debris from the conference and 5 days spent living out of a suitcase.  I saw a small zip bag over in the upper right corner halfway sticking out from under several sheets of paper and wondered what it was. I didn’t remember packing anything in that type of bag before I left town. Hmmm

I reached in and pulled it out and my jaw dropped! In the bag was my freshwater pearl necklace that had been missing for over 7 years. I just stood there holding them, stunned and speechless. They hadn’t been in the suitcase before my trip and I’d used that suitcase on MANY occasions in those 7 years and the necklace hadn’t been in there.  I had even prayed for them to be found but they never were. They were an anniversary gift from Paul and meant a great deal to me.

I called Paul into the room to show him since he had been praying for their return too.  We were both grinning, amazed at the goodness of God. I’m still a little overwhelmed about the return of my necklace – so much so that I’ve been wearing it around the house with my T-shirt and shorts while baking! LOL

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The Miraculous – How do you define it?

The miraculous isn’t only blind eyes opened or even the dead raised; it’s so much more than that. I don’t know about you but for me, when that term is bandied about I almost always think of a creative miracle and rarely attribute it to anything else; until recently.

One morning while Paul and I were drinking our coffee, Paul began to describe some of the phone calls he had been receiving at work. There were those he categorized as “crazy, God showed up” type of calls as he prayed and the person was healed, they were even shouting about it over the phone. And then there were the calls where it seemed like the person wasn’t receiving the prayer or even listening, but instead kept interrupting to explain what was wrong with them or their circumstances.

These types of people didn’t receive perceptible healing or breakthrough. Many were frustrated or angry. Whatever it was, they were not noticeably changed during the course of the call. Some people were rejoicing while others were angry and upset.

As I listened to Paul talk about some of these calls, I felt a shift. It was like, hold on a minute: Isn’t the fact that they were bold or brave enough to call a prayer line pretty miraculous? It certainly would have been for me. And, isn’t the fact that they let a total stranger pray for them miraculous too? There had to be some fear issues that they had to overcome. I felt like my box for the miraculous was entirely too small. It was limited primarily to a physical event and that was all. And that did not sit too well with me; it didn’t sit well at all!

Since that morning I’ve been pondering the miraculous and inviting Holy Spirit to give me more revelation on this because it seems that I might have discounted some miraculous things happening all around me that are wonderful and should be celebrated. But yet, it doesn’t mean physical healings and raising the dead are not wonderful things; what it does mean is you and I can walk in the miraculous on a daily basis. I think it’s wonderful when I walk into the grocery store and discover I can love everyone I meet. Is that not a miracle? Sure this is easier when I’m having a great day but it’s possible every day.

It’s a miracle when someone overcomes anger or disappointments and gets emotionally healed. It’s a miracle when we have a disagreement on Facebook and yet we can continue to converse with each other, and no one gets offended. It’s a great and rare thing but it does happen. Did you know it’s a miracle when someone who often is very reactionary, suddenly shows humility and instead of reacting badly, instills order and peace to circumstances around them? That’s a miracle also.

These things may not seem all that miraculous to you but believe me, they are. It’s a big deal when someone gets breakthrough and overcomes things. Change is a miracle. Maturity is a miracle. Even counting it all joy is a miracle! Miracles happen because God steps in when we step down. Of course, we co-labor with Him but it’s not co-laboring if we’re trying to do everything all by ourselves. We have to take all of our ‘already know everything’ and set it aside and let Him show us what He has in mind.

I don’t know about you but I can be fairly stubborn sometimes and don’t want to change. So when I’m changed, it is a miracle indeed.

Something as simple as our joy and trust in an invisible God is miraculous too. Yes, I am aware many have seen Him with their spiritual eyes but seeing God is not like seeing your spouse sitting right next to you. We don’t have to engage our imaginations for that. All we have to do is reach out our hands and we will feel them. With God, it’s not like that and because that’s the case, the angels marvel that we can worship Him and have a relationship with Him without even seeing Him with our physical eyes. They are spirit beings and they interact with God all the time. It is a miracle to them that we can walk in faith for those things not yet seen and trust that God is faithful.

All of our lives are a picture of the miraculous. What may seem to us as every day, mundane stuff, to us is supernatural or miraculous to someone else.

We are not alone in this journey and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us but we have to allow Him to strengthen us; then the miraculous happens. Let’s expand our miracle box. All of our lives are a picture of the miraculous.

Overcoming Fear

Emotions aren’t good or bad, positive or negative; they are simply a picture of where we are. Sometimes our emotions might be a warning or signal that something might need attention. The action we attribute to the emotion is what matters. Often, our emotions are showing us a doorway to a choice or maybe a decision that needs to be made.

Joy is an emotion we all experience and is so wonderful when we do. When we experience joy it brings with it comfort and peace and happiness – we all love joy. But what about fear – is fear always bad?

No, I don’t think so.

Hear me out on this one.

(Yes, there is a spirit of fear but that is not what I’m referring to here.)

I believe the emotion of fear is simply another “notification” that something might be up. It is one of those things that require us to use discernment to navigate. We may need to ask, what is our response to that fear? Do we choose courage and boldness or do we back away, give in and let it consume us?

Fear will always require boldness and courage to get beyond.

Of course, sometimes fear is to warn us of real danger, like don’t go into that alleyway! Other times fear is something we must overcome or conqueror. In that case, we can’t let fear stop us! Instead, we have to confront it, become bold and jump over it and continue past it. Fear will often subside (or depart) if you confront it.

I often think of fear as the snake lying across the threshold of my path. It’s there reminding me of all the ways I will fail, reminding me of all the “what if’s” I never even thought of – basically throwing lies at me to see if I will react, to see if I can be stopped.

When I was a child, I played in the woods behind my house all the time and let me tell you, there were snakes out there too. My friends and I built tree houses and forts from scraps of lumber we got from the construction sites of houses being built in the neighborhood. Every time we built a new fort, we also made a new path to it. Often, and I mean weekly, we would encounter snakes in our path. They were primarily non-poisonous but they were very large – some were upwards of 6′! But as is often the case with kids, boldness and determination to finish a project would rise up and we would back up, take off running and jump over that snake and not look back…mostly because we were too afraid to look!

The point was, we didn’t let that fear stop us – we pushed past it (literally), and continued on.

We can’t let fear stop us either because on the other side of fear lives the fulfillment of our dreams and desires. Fear wants to keep us from our destiny. We can’t let that happen. 
What fear is holding you back today? Is it a past trauma that needs healing? Is it fear of man, the fear that you might not be “enough” in the eyes of others? Whatever it is that is stopping you needs to be confronted and overcome.

I pray that you will be bold and courageous today, standing up to those things in the path that would stop you from being all you are meant to be. I pray that if healing is needed, that it will come with abundance and grace. I pray that if there is help you need in being bold today, that help would come in many unexpected ways. I pray that fear will be overtaken by love and that that love would then pour out of you and drench everyone you meet today. I pray you will get up tomorrow and continue on this journey as you have today, seeking help when needed, and giving help when required. I speak freedom from fear in your life and call you to rise up in the destiny that was created just for you!

What Are We Feeding Ourselves?

As most of you know I bake and cook for a living. It’s my passion and it’s my ministry – much of my day is consumed with thoughts of food.

Besides the actual baking and preparing of the food, I spend a great deal of time contemplating the person who is on the receiving end of the food. I talk with God about them and I speak blessings over their lives, asking that they would feel the love and peace of God when they open their package.

This also how I am fed every day. I spend time with God, seeking how to pray for other’s needs, how to bless them and then speak it out, over them. No, they are not there in the room with me and they don’t even know that I pray for them. It doesn’t matter – I don’t do it for recognition. I do it because we have so much hurt and pain in the world and this is something that I can do; something I GET to do.

I pray it makes a difference in their lives. (And I have different testimonies that it does).

Also most of you know that I post a lot of pictures of my food on social media. I don’t do that to make you feel any particular emotion. I post them because making food for people brings me joy and that joy is the intent of the posts.

It feeds me, emotionally. I have so many conversations with God while cooking that it’s as if He’s in the room with me all day long. My food pictures are the fruit of my conversations in a way. 🙂

But…

The real reason for this post isn’t to bore you with my day to day stuff. No, It’s to ask you a question:

How do you get fed everyday? How are you feeding yourself?

I have a suggestion, if you are willing to listen.

No matter what you do, where you go, or what you post on social media, make sure God is in it. Make sure it comes out of the fruit of your time with Him.

Yes certainly there is darkness and corruption in the world but WE have the answers! We have the solutions because we have Holy Spirit access and He is the one how will bring us wisdom and revelation – all we have to do is ask.

Are you hungry?

Are you hungry enough to go spend time with God and let Him teach you how to respond to the needs of the world? Because if you are, you will be a blessing and a wonder to those around you.

If you aren’t that hungry, you will only react emotionally out of wounds that haven’t been dealt with you may indeed become part of the problem.

Bottom line: What you eat is important. How you are fed is important too.

I Am, really!

I am

Paul and I were talking and praying through some things this morning. He had a prayer sheet with a list of things to declare and start your day with – lots of I am statements that he copied from a friend’s timeline. Some of these statements got me thinking.

We all have learned that praying the Word back is a great thing to do. Our words have power and when we declare these things out loud, things happen and heaven moves. Paul likes to say, “The Kingdom is voice-activated” and he’s right. Our words do activate the spirit realm around us.

While going through the prayer points and declarations I kept thinking about how much every one of these requires faith and trust if we are to believe them. For example, how can I know I’m a new creation in Christ if I don’t have faith in that if I don’t trust that the Word is true?

Even though I was praying along while Paul was reading these out loud, I kept having more and more thoughts along the lines of how much faith it took to really believe what I was saying. Was it true, did I really believe what I was saying and praying; or was this just a mantra of ritualistic words that I was familiar with? Did I really believe this in my entire being or was this simply head knowledge?

After a few minutes we got to the statement, I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:21) and my thoughts suddenly stopped. I realized that this was the truth – not just in my head but down in my very being, through and through. I believed it because I have faith in the other things He has said and it takes faith in every step and every statement to come to a place where I could emphatically state these things as truth. They weren’t an empty statement or just words on a page.

I began to repeat some of the “I am” statements with the knowledge, with the faith of the truth that they revealed.

I am righteous because I am a doer of the word.

I am a joint-heir with Christ because I am righteous

I am holy because I’m a new creation in Christ. . .

I was realizing, deep inside and not just in my head, that I am these things and whether I’m feeling it or not, I am complete in Him. I lack nothing and I am far from oppression. Fear is simply a lie that I cannot afford to entertain.

Knowing this makes me able to walk in peace and joy no matter what the world throws at me. And, no matter what tragedies and difficulties that are around me I can remain in my identity and be of some use when needed. How in the world can I influence or help anyone if I don’t even know who I am? I can’t – at least not for the good. And who needs influence if it’s bad? No one!

It comes down to identity. Reading these statements again this morning made me realize that I actually believe them all. My faith has grown and it encompasses all the vastness He says about who I am.

A few years ago, that wasn’t the case. I used to read things like this all the time but, I only read them believing they were wonderful but not actually about me. Today the epiphany was, I am all of these things and the peace I can enter into and not have to ever leave is the fruit of that. Today the truth that has been in my heart finally reached my head! Understanding has arrived.

Time to exhale.

Encouragement – We All Need It

Encourage someone

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

I’ve found that things are a little different in the kingdom than they are in the world. For instance, if I need something, I usually have to begin to give something away. If I need kindness, I need to be kind. It’s a kingdom of opposites in some ways.

What seems right to a man is death, (Prov. 16:25) Hmmm. I think this scripture may have something to do with the ‘kingdom-way’ of doing things. If I keep doing things only for me, me, me, all it will do is bring death. If I am so full of things or information and never give back or pour back out to others, I’m a virtual dead sea with no outlet. I’m dead.

So, when I need encouragement, I encourage others. When I need wisdom, the first thing I do is ask, and then I give away what He’s given to me because others are seeking it. God has always been faithful in giving me what other’s need. He probably does the same for you.

Encouragement is often like an affirmation. It’s the turbo boost we sometimes need at the very end of a project or season. When things seem like they couldn’t get any harder but still do, encouragement is the juice that will keep us contending for the breakthrough we know is just around the corner. It will cause us to stand up straighter and know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

So, am I right; don’t we all need encouragement? I would challenge you to purpose your day to go out and find someone who needs exactly what you need and encourage them to not give up, to keep pressing until the breakthrough comes. Tell them exactly what you need to hear, use the same exact words you are longing to hear yourself. You will be amazed how refreshed you feel. Holy Spirit may even now be whispering to you some of the things you need to do or say to bring about this refreshing to others and vicariously, for yourself too.

I’ve done this before with great success. This is not a formula of course because we all need different things. But it can be a principal or a tool. One day when I was feeling pretty discouraged I went into the grocery store to pick up a few things. All I wanted to do was get what I needed as quickly as possible and then go home.  When I got my things and approached one of the checkout lanes, I noticed that one of the cashiers was really looking down and discouraged. I knew that if spoke some encouragement to her and simply spoke blessings over her, she would be lifted up and maybe even begin to smile; she would be encouraged.

Of course, that’s exactly what I did. I began by telling her what an awesome job she was doing and that immediately brought a smile to her face. I spoke other encouraging words over her and not only did her countenance change but so did everyone else who was standing in line behind me. By the time I left the store, which was really only a matter of ten minutes, I was encouraged myself! Win, win.

The kingdom of God is here, living inside each and every one of us. It’s not supposed to remain there. It’s supposed to be shared, transplanted in dark places or even in people who have no hope left. We have the answers to all they need. When we encourage others we are bringing light into their current darkness and isn’t that where light belongs, in the dark places? Aren’t we to be messengers of hope? I believe encouragement can be (and is) a great big doorway into bringing the kingdom to earth and transforming our neighborhoods and cities; one kind encouraging word at a time.

Let’s purpose to do this and if you do, come back and tell me about it; I will be greatly encouraged too!

So go! Get out there and encourage someone, right now, today!

 

Who Are You?

Image made clear

You know you can totally stop the enemy in his tracks, right? It’s true, you can. It all takes place when you finally figure out who you are and stand up and resist him. Fear will no longer control you, shame will not be able to make you run and hide away. Identity is that big – no, it is even bigger than that!

Identity is what makes the glass clear so we can see the image of us renewed into the image of Jesus. This is the image He sees us as and dare I say, knows us as? This is also the place where the Holy Spirit is leading us. He is our teacher.

So rise up into who you really are! Be bold, be strong and courageous; the enemy is raging but he has nothing in you! You are just like Jesus if you will only believe.

I challenge each of you to boldly go before the throne of God and ask him to show you how He sees you – it will change your life. And when you are changed and are seeing clearly through that mirror who you ARE, let’s get together and go rescue some more people!