Thy Rod and thy Staff they comfort me

I was headed to a training this morning and listening to a phone call that is a quick devotional going through the newest book by Joel Olsteen. I was overwhelmed in my car driving down the freeway with the presence of the Lord. No really, I was overtaken by His presence! I needed to pull the car over and when I tried to retell the experience to my best friend I could barely get the words out. The reading today went right along with my Draw the Circle Day 38.

When we are taught Bible stories or hear about someone having a “staff” or when reciting the 23rd Psalm (thy rod and they STAFF they comfort me) we think of it as a walking stick because they just walked EVERYWHERE! We think of it as a protection device against wild animals. It was used also as a correction and guidance device for herding animals. What we don’t hear is that it was used as a writing tablet of sorts. It was a memorial stick. When a baby was born, mark on the stick.  When they won a battle, mark on the stick. When they fought a lion, mark on the stick. You get the drift. I am thinking it was a little like braille. So in 1 Sam 17:40 we are told “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine”. I can imagine David running to get his staff and rubbing his hands on it to feel his stories of when God had helped him slay a lion and a bear and was full of the power KNOWING that He did it before and He could do it again!’ In Exodus 4:20 when Moses was letting fear rule and questioning God’s instructions, God asks “Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied” Do you see it? He wanted Moses to look at his life and REMEMBER all that He had done for him and how HE had seen him through. So when they put Aaron’s staff in the Ark it was DOCUMENTATION OF THE MIRACLES OF GOD!!! OH GEEZ! I am getting all excited again! What are you believing for that you feel like God isn’t hearing? That He has forgotten you?

imagesWhat if you took a paper and pen and wrote down EVERYTHING  & EVERY TIME you could think of when God showed up and God delivered you, and God made a way when there was no way? And what if, you had that with you everywhere you went? Read it daily? Lifted it up over the situation? How powerful would you be, knowing that IF GOD IS FOR ME WHO CAN BE AGAINST ME? All the promises coming to life in your own life and before you very eyes! NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU WOULD PROSPER!!! His battle, His fight, His way, His weed to pull! Love you and mean it! xoxo

BE THE BEST!!!

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I have heard Oprah say “BE YOUR BEST SELF” several times and it was inspiring to me but kept me wondering what is my best self? More importantly HOW can I be my best self? Obviously it would be skinner, healthier, sexier, a better mom, better wife, better leader in my business, more successful, wow I better stop I am getting depressed and is definitely not the plan.

So today, when I am reading my Beth Moore devotional, I read that she prayed for God to be “strict” with her and she has been her best and felt so much peace since that prayer. It wasn’t easy but she was rewarded with peace and joy for the perseverance. The devotion was about God correcting those He loves. I pondered this all morning and shared my insights with my daughter and knew this was definitely a bloggable topic.

What made Mohammed Ali the best? What make Super Bowl champs and Special Forces the best? What makes anyone the best in their field? Opera singers or musicians? Business or Sales Executive? Somewhere along the line they had a coach, mentor, leader that pushed them to do the hard things. Pushed them to be disciplined like no one else in their field is. Made them cry, made them mad, made them want to quit but wouldn’t let them, made them be THE BEST. Can’t you see the picture of Rocky Balboa training with his coach? Pushing him beyond what he thought were his limits so he could be the champ?

Shelby had a great thought about this as well. While training to be the best you will be knocked down, knocked out, hit with fists, balls, strain your voice with the high notes, be told “no”, fail at a presentation and your trainer will make you do it over and over and over again so that you don’t flinch when the ball or fist comes at you, back down when the customer says no, freeze in fear when bullets start to fly or the audience looks huge. You will in a sense be numb to the pain. So literally the saying is true here, no pain, no gain.

Isn’t that what God is doing with us? He is training us to be GREAT! THE BEST! Because that is what HE created us to be. I had always wondered why I continually had a certain personality always in my life that just drove me crazy with frustration. It was always a different person, but they evoked the same response of irritation and frustration from me. When I presented this to The Lord I was given the understanding that I would continue to have them in my life until it didn’t bother me anymore. I would meet them in every situation of my life until he worked that rough edge off me. Til I was more like him. Do you feel like you have been traveling around and around the same mountain over and over? Well, you probably have been! He is teaching not to react to your surroundings. Instead, eventually you will be able to respond from the teaching of His Word full of grace and wisdom.

You have probably heard Joyce Meyer tell this story before, but I love it so much I so will share it with you or at least my version of the story..

A man goes into a shop and is looking around couldn’t find the shop keeper to help him with his questions and purchases. He finally goes into the back of the store and finds the store owner smelting a pot of gold to make he beautiful jewelry. The man asked if he could have him stop and help him out front. The shop keeper apologizes as he skims the dross from the top and explains that he can not leave the gold right now as he is almost at the perfect temperature and if he leaves it the dross will harden in the gold and it will be impure, ruined. The man asks if he can hurry it up and by making the fire hotter and he explains that if he heats the gold too hot it will burn up and not be any good. Finally the man asks “well when will you know it is done”. The shop keeper looks at the man and says “when I can see my reflection in the gold, then I know it is done”.

I love that story! That is exactly what God is doing to us!! He promised His Son a bride without SPOT OR WRINKLE… PERFECT. THE BEST! He won’t stop what He has started because we will harden with those impurities in us. He loves us too much to leave us with hate, hurt, selfishness boy the list could go on forever, but he won’t stop. Like a great trainer He will keep the fire at the perfect temperature and keep skimming off the impurities until He can look into our face and see Himself, His Son.

Ask Him to get strict with you! I dare you! Comment and let me know what happens!

Blind Faith

I started Beth Moore’s book “Whispers of Hope” today. Chapter/Day One I realize that it is really hard to have blind faith when I have 20/20 3D vision. I should be getting better at this the older I get, but it seems the more experience I have the better my “reality” vision is and the worse my blind faith becomes.

Beth Moore pointed out that on day three, God created the plants and trees. On day four, He creates the sun. In my 20/20 3D vision, that is backwards! My experience tells me that you have to have sun to grow plants. If I had been there I would have been waving my hands and jumping up and down trying to get His attention to advise him of the importance of photosynthesis on plants! EXCUSE ME…. MR CREATOR.???? Sorry to bother you but “WE” need to switch day three and four so this works out right. You see, plants and trees can’t grow in the dark! HELLO! Everyone knows that!!! Wait, it all worked out.

I wish I could say that I was kidding, but I’m not. Sadly I see that I do this all the time in my life. I have trust issues with God’s plan. With his creation methods in my life. While I know that the Word says His ways are not my ways and His plans are not my plans, my 20/20 3D vision can’t focus on that when there is more month left than money or when the doctor says “this is as good as it will get for you”. When I know better because of experience, but God is telling me he created the photosynthesis process’ in my life and is full aware that I need the light to ignite the process.

Faith, trust, total surrender and blind faith…what peace that must be to actually “get” these concepts and, well, more importantly live them. Imagine walking through life with blind faith, ignoring your 20/20 3D vision and putting trust in the creator of the Universe who creates plants and tree sometimes in our lives before He creates the sun to grow them and feed them. Trusting that when He brings things into our lives that He is the God of order, will provide for them, care for them, provide the energy before the energy making process. All we have to do is believe with childlike blind faith that He’s got it! Realizing once again that it’s not our weed to pull.

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PLANT ME DEEPER

He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. (Matthew 13:3-6 NKJV)
(Matthew 13:3-6 KJV)

I don’t think I could even make up a number of the times I have heard this parable. Sunday School as a little girl up though current day ministers and teachers. But for some reason, this morning this was the verse God decided to talk to me through. The part that hit me was “some fell upon stony places where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away”. Everything I have ever done that I sprang up really quick about didn’t last long. Everything that has lasted in my life was slow going.

I remember being a little girl and planting my seeds in a cup then putting the cup in the window to grow. Then I waited…and waited…and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the little green plant to pop through the soil. I was taught by my mom that the little seed had to break open and push through all the dirt. She caught me digging it up to to help it out and told me I had to push it back down because pushing up through the soil helped it be strong. And the deeper it was, the stronger the roots would be. Well at four all I wanted was to see the plant and didn’t care about roots. My immaturity just wanted it to hurry up.

When God plants something inside us aren’t we the same? He puts it deep inside us. We want to know what it looks like, what fruit will it produce, and aren’t we all anxious to just see it? We ask God a million times… WHEN?? Sometimes we even try to help it out but that just slows the process even more. Like the seed, It is broken and transformed in the dark under pressure. Sometimes wet and cold but almost always alone. The struggle to the top is what makes us strong and gives us a deep root system to be nourished and fortified by. Then finally, our heads poke through what seems to be an endless journey of an uphill battle. When the wind comes or the heat blazes we are strong, we don’t wither.

PREPARE

Most people at the beginning of the year make resolutions to do all the things they didn’t do the year or years before. I woke up January 1st and resolved not to do that. Instead I began to pray for what it was that God wanted from me this year. 2013, what Lord do YOU want me to do? The answer came rather quickly and in true format as how He talks to me very simple, blunt and to the point. PREPARE. That’s it. Nothing fancy, no explanation, just ‘PREPARE’. My next question was the obvious “ok Lord what does that mean?”. Again, just heard PREPARE. Now I have a very active imagination and began to think of all the things that could mean. Now being in my head can be a crazy place and I admit to being a little A.D.D. in my thought life so I will share just a few things that started to swirl around.

Noah came to mind first. Honestly field of dreams came to my mind first but that doesn’t sound as spiritual. Build it and they will come, sorry, back to Noah.. An ark? Lord, do you want me to prepare to build something for you? Silence. Prepare to move? Lord do I need to start packing? Silence. There were tons of things rolling in my head but i was quickly reminded of the verse to “cast down imaginations” so I asked again… Lord, what do you want me to ‘prepare’ for?

I have explained before the way God speaks to me so I will just say that after asking again I had an understanding that came quickly and resonated in my spirit as truth. I was to prepare for ANYTHING God would ask of me. Physically, I need to prepare to be able to walk when he said walk, run when he said run, carry something if He asked me to carry something. To be healthy enough to do whatever He would ask me to do. I need to prepare financially for ANYTHING God requested me to do financially. If He asked me to give I needed to be prepared to give. If I needed to move, I needed to be financially prepared to move.

I am sure you are getting the theme of this but for the sake to getting it down on paper I will continue. I need to be spiritually prepared to handle the temptations and trials that may come my way. Immersing myself in the Word and in prayer so that I can resist the enemy. I needed to prepare to be ready in and out of season should He require me to teach again or speak to women. I needed to prepare in the other gifts The Lord has given me so I am ready to use them if I am called to use them.

We all want the weight loss without the diet, the wisdom without the education, the money without the labor. A field requires ‘preparation’ for it to be able to yield a crop. Rocks need to be removed, tilling, planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing. Goodness, that right there is enough to preach and blog all year about but sparing you all that, I prayed again, Lord show me where I am lacking in my preparation and how YOU want me to prepare. I can come up with diets and budgets and devotional plans but I want to be prepared for HIS work, not mine. I am so glad I prayed that before I started making graphs and charts for myself because His plan was so much simpler than mine. His yoke always is. Duh! He promised that. He gently showed me areas to fertilize and lovingly guided me in corners that needed weeding.

My 2013 word was really about me being called to be a better steward of ALL He has given me and be PREPARED to share my time, money and talents so that I don’t miss out on being used by Him. Where do you need to be more “prepared”? Ask Him! The discipline in the preparation is so worth the reward of being used as the hands or feet of the Almighty Creator of the Universe! So I share my word with you dear friends… PREPARE! I can’t wait to hear what that means to you!image

Fresh squeezed update

What happens when you publish your feelings for the entire world to read you can pretty much guarantee that you will be tested on them and not in the area you are expecting. My squeeze today, from my dad. Woke up, decided to skip my own church and drive to go to church with him and surprise him. We rushed around, made our daughter get up and get dressed in 10 minutes and went. After church we went to lunch and in the first ten of conversation my dad asks “so are you still nursing”. To which I answer “nah I quit that” obviously joking. His reply, (here comes the squeeze) “that wouldn’t surprise me”. I replied “wow that was mean”. He says (more squeeze) “well I have known you your whole life and you quit everything you start”.

What can I say from here? This is the same guy that when I called to invite him to my nursing graduation he said “nice to see you finally finished something”. When I asked him then what he was referring to he said I quit guitar and piano. Mind you I was six and eight when I attempted those instruments. From there I have successfully completed many things apparently he didn’t notice.

This squeeze produced a very sour fruit juice of hurt. A little girl from as early as she can remember wants to make her daddy proud. We look to our father’s for validation. This coupled with the fact that I had a mother that showed love if I performed well equals a girl always needing validation. What did this squeeze teach me? My validation needs to come from my Heavenly Father. Where is the EZ button to stop caring what others say to me? On my knees apparently. The minute I presented this hurt to God He revealed the areas of my heart that needed to be healed by Him.

I thought the bad fruits were obvious ones like anger, bitterness but hurt? That is a very vulnerable place in the heart and our Father, THE FATHER, knows just how to tell me He is proud of me. That He thinks what I do matters. That He created me to be adventurous and do things others may not even if they are short lived. Zephaniah 3:17 is my favorite verse
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

FRESH SQUEEZED

Seems like every where I turned the last couple of weeks the verse “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:24 was popping up. My heart is good. What can that possibly have to do with me? Then opportunity after opportunity came up to prove just how “for” me this verse was. I would have a situation and then not act in such a becoming way to it. I realized then what that verse was saying to me. I can’t be frustrated if frustration isn’t in my heart. I can’t be impatient if impatience isn’t in my heart. I can’t be rude if rudeness isn’t in my heart. Get where I am going with this?

For the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience/long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Galatians 5:22-23 When I am squeezed, what juice is filling others cups? Annoyance is not a juice you want to make a smoothie out of. Sarcasm fresh squeezed not so palatable either. I know, I speak fluent sarcasm too. I also realized that tolerance is not in the list of the fruits of the spirit. Had to ponder that one for a bit but in doing so realized how prideful it was to “tolerate” someone. Like I am so much better I will tolerate you. Oh, ok! That makes God proud of me I am sure.

This week I was tired, in alot of pain from dental surgery, and emotionally exhausted from grieving over several of my patients dying that I cared deeply about. One of my co-workers was on my last nerve and I blew. Now, I didn’t cuss her out or anything but when the Jack LaLane juicer was applied to my life the squeezing did not bring out a fresh glass of kindness, gentleness, love, or peace. Heck, not one of the fruit juices of the spirit came out. Instead I told her why she was on my nerve and basically how I couldn’t stand her. God repeated that verse to me over and over. Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth spoke. My heart was saying exactly what was in there. Oh God, change me! I was mortified after I got over feeling good about telling her off.

My heart is ugly. My fresh squeezed fruit juice is bitter and hard to swallow. Adding a little sugar to it just makes it passive aggressive. I need a transplant and STAT! I know that I can’t but HE can take my heart and make it like His. His Spirit can birth the sweet fruits in my life so that I can love, be joyful, be at peace, have patience, be kind, show goodness, be faithful, gentle and most importantly for me to have self control. Not in the situations that I can control and that are with nice easy people, but with the situations that truly put you in the juicer and squeeze the pulp right out of you.

What is your heart condition? What fruit juice do you produce when you are squeezed? Let Him help you examine yourself and then do the fixin where the fixin needs to be done. HE can do it! YOU don’t have to, just be willing to let Him. Why? Cause it’s not your weed to pull!