28 September 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Just Around the Corner’

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just wish you had a camera or a cell phone in your hand?

Well, I had one of those moments today.

I was driving home from work with my sons in the car and the sky was getting dark. It looked like it was going to pour at any moment. Then, as we pulled to an intersection, it began to look even worse. They were some of the darkest, most ominous looking storm clouds I’ve seen and it covered the entire area over this large intersection. However, as I looked and got ready to turn right, I noticed something rather interesting and amazing...

Off to the right was the bluest sky – clear and beautiful, looking like it was not even thinking about rain.

So I made the turn, and as I passed through that intersection, I moved out from under the dark cloud, turned in the direction of the blue sky and suddenly, those dark clouds were behind me.

Now I am not one of those strange and wacky Christians that likes to super-spiritualize every single thing they see (at least I don’t think I am). But it almost felt prophetic to me.

Better days, brighter skies are just around the corner. The darkness is behind.

That is what I am praying for so many of my friends, I am praying it for my family, and I am it praying – right now – for you!

God bless you …..

25 September 2011


That is all I can say today ... WOW!

I just love getting together with other believers, corporate worship, encouraging word - you just can't beat it. Today was awesome!

The presence of God was just overwhelming and the praise & worship so powerful. And the word that my senior pastor shared on our need to grow was encouraging and challenging at the same time. It reinforced some things that I have been feeling through these storms that have been raging. My faith roots keep going deeper and deeper and my understanding of Him keeps getting broader and broader. My desire to grow in God and become all He desires for me to be is intentional and I will not quit!

Our young people also ministered in such a powerful way today.

Just a quick note: You know how you know that you are old? You start saying things like 'our young people'. Anyhow, they did an awesome job praising God and ministering to the congregation through dance. Once they upload the video I will try to post a link on this page.

In the meantime, I at least wanted you to hear the song that they danced to. It resonated with me. Praying that you will be blessed by it and that the rest of your day will be relaxing and your week abundantly blessed!

21 September 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Up High ...’

Well this post is very late in the day. It has been extremely busy lately. But, it is still Wednesday – at least it is here in Virginia Beach. 

Today as I was driving back from taking my son to his college campus, I spied this …. 

It is an osprey (hawk) nest. They like to build their nests up high, often among the power lines, generally near a water supply with plenty of fish occupants, at an altitude which provides them the best view/perspective of their surroundings. I imagine, it also provides them the ultimate protection from any predator that would hope to attack them or their young.  

Then I started thinking about our journey series. Wouldn’t it be great if we would build our nest among ‘The Power’ – to be able to have an enhanced perspective of our surroundings, to perch up high but still be close to life-sustaining waters?

What would it be like if we made our home and resting place completely in Christ, dwelling in the shelter of the Most High and energized by the Holy Spirit?

Remember …
‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall remain stable and fixed
under the shadow of the Almighty
[Whose power no foe can withstand].’
Psalm 91:1 Amp.         

In this journey called life, let us be so hidden in the Lord that any enemy would need to contend with Him in order to come close to us.

Now that’s up high!

19 September 2011

change coming ...

The Lord says,
"Forget what happened before,
and do not think about the past.
Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening.
Don't you see it?
I will make a road in the desert
and rivers in the dry land."
Isaiah 43:18-19

The Lord your God goes before you,
Making crooked places straight –  
Working all things together for the good
Change is coming …

17 September 2011

in this time...

‘Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.’ James 1:12 

I am so thankful for everything that we have to look forward to as believers. However, I am also thankful that the LORD does not hold all His blessing for when we make it to heaven.

‘So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.’ Mark 10:29-30 

Today was supposed to be moving day. But, those plans have unfortunately been delayed.

It is a rainy Saturday morning here in Virginia Beach. Now, the move was not delayed because of the weather - but it was delayed nonetheless. And while it is disappointing, I have no complaints this morning. I choose instead to count my blessings. There are, after all, so many other things to be thankful for: my sons, my health, time spent with my best friend. And .... this week I started a new work assignment that came with a 46% increase over my last assignment! I am so very thankful. Praise God!

'Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.' Ephesians 3:20-21

And Amen...
Have a Blessed Day!

14 September 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘One Such Friend’

It is a rare person who can look beyond where you are and see who you are; one who chooses to become your friend right in the middle of the storm.     

I was thinking about this as I considered the many people who have entered and exited my life. I had to praise God for His faithfulness in the relationships that He has allowed in my life. Sure, I have a role to play as well – since every relationship requires commitment and participation. However, they are truly gifts from God, especially when they come at a moment in life where friendship with you might not otherwise be very appealing.

Friendships that form at your lowest point are particularly special. I say this because the valley moments of one’s life are typically the places where you will find yourself alone … even without the company of those who were once faithful. In part, it can be attributed to a little phenomenon which I heard described by Beth Moore in one of her teaching classes. Now, she did not invent the term. But, through her mention of it, I came to understand a great deal about what can happen to relationships in the midst of the storm.

So what was the term? BIRG and CORF    
'Basking in Reflected Glory' and 'Cutting off Reflected Failure'.

And while you may not be familiar with the term, you are likely very familiar with the process. Your favorite football team wins the game on Sunday night, putting the other team to shame. Your response is likely to be, ‘We had a fantastic game last night!’ The next Sunday when they lose, pitifully, your Monday commentary is sure to sound something like, ‘Man, they really blew is last night.’ You want to bask in the glory of their victory but separate and cut yourself off from even the reflection of their failure. 

This is what can happen in relationships during the storm and why those friendships that are initiated in the middle of the whirlwind become so meaningful.

Jesus was well familiar with the BIRG and CORF syndrome. There were those who desired to participate in the glory of His miracles and mass appeal and those who later wanted to cut off  and remove themselves from the reflection of His perceived failure. In the end ...
  • Where had all the cheering the crowds gone that sang ‘Hosanna!’ as He entered the city?
  • Where were all the people who partook of His miracle or who tried to do great works in His name?
Even those closest to Him, who had shared some of the most privileged and intimate moments, had abandoned or betrayed Him.

It is easy to desire to be someone’s friend when they are on the mountain top, when they are winning the game, when they are the celebrated center of the street procession. However, it is an entirely different matter altogether to befriend them when the tides have turned and they are being jeered, beaten and humiliated. Yet it is the friendships formed in those moments (walking a lonely and violent path or facing some sort of crucifixion) that are likely to be most genuine. For at that point in your journey, the person befriending you has nothing to gain from associating themself with you. They are simply a priceless journey companion.

God has blessed me with one such friend. She is a unique person who, despite seeing reflections of failure, decided to reach out, become my friend during my darkest moments and who has stood by my side through it all. She does what I can only term as SIRFing.
     'Standing in Reflected Failure', she has become a journey companion that has made a conscious decision to ride the waves of life along side me, no matter how rough the waters get, no matter how many times I wipe out. It is a privilege to be gifted with such a friend and I thank God for the blessing.

I pray that you too would find one such friend ...

10 September 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 X-TRA ‘Simplicity’

So I was out for my walk this morning. It was beautiful and I even took a different route, one which took me past several street openings with signs that said .... 

And it got me thinking about how we humans tend to complicate things. We find ourselves at a dead end in our spiritual journey and cannot find a way out.

And what do we do, more often than not?
We start to analyze: How did I end up here? Can’t believe I hit a dead end. So frustrated! What to do now? There’s no way out … 

Fact is, most of us have been there at some point. There are times we just get so busy with living that we miss the obvious. Yet, the problem is not that perplexing. The issue is not that deep. The solution is closer than you realize.

If you have run into a dead end and don’t know what to do...


Turn around, back it up, go out the same way you went in … then continue your journey with the LORD. It's that simple ...

And you've got to love simplicity! 

Have an Abundantly Blessed Day!

07 September 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Alone in the Company’

'There will be places where your faith will take you where it is just you and God.' These were the words of my executive pastor this past Sunday. His sermon was talking about real faith and fantasy faith. It was a powerful study! And it got me thinking about the many people in the Bible whose walk with the LORD took them amazing places...

'Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.' Genesis 5:24 NIV

'So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan.' I Kings 17:5NLT

'So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions...' Daniel 6:16 NLT

'And Jacob was left alone' and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of day.' Genesis 32:24KJV

'Peter said to Him, "LORD, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.' Matthew 14:28-29NLT

'As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Acts 7:59NLT

'Peter therefore was kept in prison ... sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.' Acts 12:5-6KJV

'Then Jesus was led [guided] by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness [desert] to be tempted [tested and tried] by the devil.' Matthew 4:1AMP

'They took Jesus therefore, and He went out bearing His own cross...' John 19:17NASB

Then there is you ....

Your walk of faith will take you places that you never dreamed. And you will be privileged to be alone, in the company of the Father. They are priceless moments, being alone in the company of the Father ... excrutiatingly lonely and painful at times, but priceless.

There will be many who will scoff at your choices. They will mock and taunt and tease. They will say, 'Simple woman, what is she thinking?' 'Crazy man, when will he learn?'

They will know that they know that you missed God completely and have gone off the deep end. And you will know that you know that you have heard His voice and have launched into the deep.

If I step out on faith, and begin to sink,
     having to be rescued by my LORD,
At least I stepped out and did the unimaginable.

If I speak His Word with boldness,
     and am persecuted and even harmed,
At least I fulfilled His purpose for my life. 

If I sink deeper than I ever thought it possible to go,
     And when I rise to great exploits,
          done in His name and for His glory,
I will know it is because I dared to walk with God,
     where few were willing to go.

Be blessed and be bold!
Even if it means being alone, in His company.

06 September 2011

Kingdom Alphabet: 'R' after 'S'

A, B, C, D, E, F, G,
H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P,
Q, R, S, T, U, V,
W, X, Y, Z 

Every preschooler knows the alphabet song, right? And they all know that the letter ‘R’ comes before the letter ‘S’. However, that only holds true for the standard alphabet. If you are talking about the Kingdom Alphabet – the opposite is true. 

Now you might say to yourself, ‘What is she talking about?’ Well, I am talking about Paul’s expressed desire in Philippians 3:10 KJV, ‘That I may know Him [Christ], and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.’

Resurrection and suffering – those are the ‘R’ and ‘S’ that I am talking about. And while the resurrection is mentioned before the suffering, it is not the order of things. Suffering [to the point of destruction and even death] always precedes resurrection.

R after S...

Interestingly enough, I thought about this post as I listened to our executive pastor. He got my attention as he made mention of our building plans and the fact that there are currently deep holes on the property designed to hold the pilings and rebar which will support both the foundation and structure of our church building. The taller the building, the deeper the construction crew must go to establish a firm foundation and to ensure that the building will be able to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and any other natural elements that might come against it.

Spiritually, it is no different. The life which is to be used mightily by God, which is to be built up into a monument for His glory – will experience unimaginable hardship and go to great depths in order to drive those faith pilings deep, to establish a firm foundation which will withstand the storms of life.  What does this have to do with the alphabet? We have to understand that the excavation, drilling and driving are all part of the suffering which comes before the resurrection. 'R' after 'S'… 

In my post ‘the fellowship of suffering’, I noted that many ‘desire to know the power of His resurrection but would just as soon leave the fellowship of sharing in His suffering on the buffet table.’ But both are part of the process of becoming all that God desires for you to become. If you are going to be a mighty spiritual tower, with high rafters, you must embrace this truth: ‘R’ after ‘S’

Resurrection comes after suffering. So, if you feel like you have been dug into a hole so deep that you cannot see your way out, if you feel like everything meaningful in your life has died – do not be discouraged. Resurrection follows suffering. Yet the LORD is doing a work in your day [and your life] that you would not believe were it told you! (Hab. 1:5)

01 September 2011

hope now...

‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” Ezekiel 11:16

I read this verse a couple of days ago and came back to it again this morning. There are many who have been scattered, and some even cast off – for any number of reasons, the most likely being sin. And if that is the case, repent quickly and turn again to the LORD. However, that was not what captured my attention.

My heart was tapped by God’s merciful ‘yet’ clause.

‘…yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ That is a powerful and comforting thought!

No matter where we are, no matter how we ended up there, God says, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them …’
  • Not when they get completely straightened out …
  • Not when they find their way back to Me ….
  • ‘I shall be a little sanctuary for them [now] in the countries where they have gone’
And He not only comforts us by letting us know He’ll be a sanctuary, He makes it personal and intimate. ‘I shall be a little sanctuary.’

Whenever my friend and I talk about creation and gaze at the stars, my head starts to hurt. She loves it! It reminds her how big God is and makes her feel good - safe and secure that He is large and in charge. Me, well it has an opposite effect. I too am reminded of how big God is. Yet, more often than not, I end up feeling small and insignificant, wondering if He notices me at all with all the other wondrous things in the universe. That is when God pulls me back to center. 

That is why I like this verse. Our magnanimous and all powerful God, who created the universe, consents to be a ‘little’ sanctuary for me – so that I don’t feel lost and overwhelmed. I am in awe when I think about how much He loves me … how much He loves us. And it fills me with hope, even as I face seemingly hopeless and insurmountable odds.

I heard this song on the way to work this morning. And I cried … not because I was sad but because I was so very thankful. Everything rides on hope now...

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His great mercy
has caused us to be born again
to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead,
to obtain an inheritance
which is imperishable and undefiled
and will not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you.’
I Peter1:2-4 NASB