Extravagant Love

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I got up to spend time with “Daddy” God this morning in prayer and reading His Word and He led me to Psalm 63:1-4 (MSG)
“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! … I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.”  ♥
Wow! I LOVE these verses! God knows my heart so well!
 
I just wanted share my heart with you today. I really have a strong desire to take my walk with God to another level. I’ve been walking with Jesus for a while now but I want to know Him much more than I did last year, last month, last week, and even yesterday. I want to know Him like never before. I desire to go to another level in my worship, in my praise, in my dedication to the Lord. I want to grow and keep on growing more and more.
I want His light to shine through me and for me to be a true reflection of the love of Jesus in every situation. I want every aspect of my life to bring glory and honor to Him.  
It cannot be just lip service or a thought. I want to eat, breathe, sleep, and live in Him with such zeal and passion that there would be no mistaking me as His daughter.
It’s truly my ♥’s desire. I want to dance with my “Daddy” God. I want to be consumed by His love at all times. I want my love for Him to increase and keep on increasing! Even the thought of it makes my heart rejoice and I feel so alive! & I can’t help it! He is so amazing! So incredible! How could I not want to be closer to Him and know Him more?
 
What about you? I really want to hear from you and know your heart too. So tell me. What do you desire in your walk with God?
What about those of you who are not walking with God at this time or maybe have never have walked with Him? Don’t feel bad or ashamed. We have ALL been there at some time in our life. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I returned to God and took my relationship with Him seriously. It’s not too late for you to turn to Him now. It is about a relationship, not religion and a relationship takes getting to know each other and growing in affection for one another. I cannot help thinking and knowing just how amazing your life will be! Once you experience and begin to know His love for you, you will never be the same. You will have a joy, love, and peace that you have never known before.
It’s as simple as this… just talk to Him. He will speak to you in different ways but most often through His Word the Bible. Get to know Him through His Son, Christ Jesus (Romans 10:9-15). You can learn about Jesus throughout the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible you can always use a resource such as www.biblegateway.com which has different and some easy to read versions. A good place to start is in the book of John. It’s a short book that would take only 21 days to read if you break it up and read a short chapter each day. You will learn about God’s love for you, about the life and character of Jesus which is a reflection of God, and a great deal more. You will love it!
While you do that take a little time to tell the Lord how you feel and what you desire. He longs to hear from you & just a little secret… He knows your heart. He is just waiting for you to go to Him and tell Him yourself. He will not ever force himself into your life. You must invite Him in. Then He can open up the windows of heaven and pour out His extravagant love in you! 
 
There is a few verses I have been meditating on found in Jeremiah 29:11-14 (AMP)… Often times people hear or see verse 11 quoted but there is so much in the verses that follow. I believe you need to read them so you can know His heart and promise to you. Read each one aloud and think about what the Lord is saying to you today.

11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.

Not only does He promise that He has a good plan for your life but He also promises to be found by you when you seek Him in prayer. Yes! He promises to show up and be there for you. To bring you through and out of things that have kept you in bondage, in captivity. Another thing you should know about Him…is when you let Him into your life He will never leave you. EVER! Look at what Romans 8:31-39 (MSG) says about that:
 
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
 
Wow! God promises that absolutely nothing can get between His love for us! That is so relieving and exciting!
So what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Call on the Lord today! He is willing, ready, and waiting for you now!
 
I pray that where ever you are in your walk with God now, whether you are a “seasoned” Christian or just beginning your walk with Him that you will experience His incredibly extravagant love today and always!
 
To all who read, follow, and share my blog with others…Shalom! Shalom!
 
 

13 Going On 40

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I haven’t told too many people about this but I have been in the process of writing two books. One is about my life experiences and testimonies of my personal walk with God. The other is a mother/daughter devotional that my daughter, Julia, and I are writing together. I was talking to her friend who was visiting today about the devotional book and saying how we still need a title for it. I also discussed how I was writing a blog and another book about my life when God spoke through my daughter, Kalina confirming the title for my personal book. After we laughed for a minute I told her I loved it and that I am totally going to use it! It works so well for the book.
I attempted to blog about it but then I began really getting too much into the book. So I had to stop and start over. Without giving too much away I will share just a little about the book and I’m sure you will agree that the title, “13 Going On 40” is a great choice.
I have been through a whole lot in my life, some good and some bad. We all have a story, a testimony. This is simply a glance, an overview of mine.
I was just 13 years old when I got pregnant with my firstborn son. I’m sure you can only imagine what led to that happening and what took place after having him. Within three months I turned 14, had my son and then married his father. We had three more children, another son and two daughters together. We were married for 13 difficult and painful years. We divorced and I became a single mom at age 27. I have raised all four of my children pretty much on my own with very little to no help or support from my ex-husband. I did some things right but also made many mistakes. I look back and the only real regret I have is not raising my children to know the extravagant love and grace of the Lord from a young age. We were part of a religion for several years that did not believe or teach the grace of God (as well as many other things) and that mislead us in the teaching of the Word of God. Maybe if I had been able to teach them the true Jesus and not be scared to tell them what the Bible had to say then they wouldn’t have to struggle in some of the areas I did over the years. But we can only teach what we know and I did not know Jesus then like I do today. One of the things I was told was that I could not pray for myself and so I didn’t. I stopped praying because I was told God would not listen to my prayers because of my sins. I became so confused, angry, lost, and sick while “out in the world” for a few years separated from the Lord. I resubmitted and yielded my life to God when I was at my most broken point after watching a few nights of Joyce Meyer’s messages in middle of the night. I don’t believe I could get any more low than where I was at and I don’t ever want to be there again. I was lost and confused when God opened my eyes and heart to understand and receive HIS amazing love and grace. Oh how I thank Him for that day when I no longer believed the lies and refused to listen to them any longer. I began to call out upon the name of His Son and study the scripture for myself. My life has been such an incredible journey ever since then. God has answered every prayer I have prayed in some way or another.
One of those prayers was to remarry to man after God’s own heart. God answered that prayer three years ago when I married my best friend and awesome man of God. He has loved all of my children as his own and been a wonderful father figure to them despite never having children of his own. I credit that to God as well because my husband continually seeks God in prayer in all he does.
Fast forward a little more and here we are. It’s now 2013 and my youngest daughter is turning 18 this March. I can’t believe it! My little girl, 18! I have been a mom since I was 13 years old, just a child, and now all my children are grown. To top this all off, next month I am turning 40! Of course I will always be a mom and I still desire to have more children with my husband. We both love children and it is truly a blessing to be a parent. We are just waiting on God’s timing now.
At the same time this is also an entirely new chapter in my life & I am extremely excited about it and all that it will bring. Part of this chapter includes writing the books (as well as a song, but that’s a whole other story!). I have never done anything like this before. I did not go to high school. I did get my GED in my 30’s and have taken some college courses and Bible Ministry classes. Oh, but there is so much more. I have always said I would write a book about my life some day and that day is now here. This has been a long time dream and vision of mine and now I am working on it! I have so much to share from my heart that I hope will inspire and encourage others!
I will announce when I am finished writing the entire book and let you know when it is to be released. I am praying, God-willing, I will finish it this year. You will want to get it too because I know it will bless you to hear the whole story. There are many gaps and missing pieces here. It is a true story, my story, about overcoming trials and tribulations and experiencing victory and triumph in the Lord. It is about how He desires to hear you speak to Him and how He not only wants to answer you but will.
So what do you think my friends? Do you love the title as much as I do?
“13 Going On 40”
Life’s not ending it’s only a new beginning in an already extraordinary life.

Thank you to all who read my blog. May God Almighty show up in your life in unexpected ways and may you experience an overflow of blessings like never before. In Jesus name.

Thank You Lord For Friendships

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Friend.

When you see that word or hear it what do you envision? What picture comes to mind? What kind of emotions do you get? Do you laugh, cry, get excited, become frustrated? Do you recall fond memories made throughout the years? Are there things you would like to forget or regret doing or saying?  

Do you think about the number of friends you have? How many friends do you need? Does everyone have to be your friend? What is the quality of your friendship? What kind of friends do you have? Better yet what kind of friend are you to others?

www.dictionary.com defines a “Friend” as: A person attached to another by feelings of affection personal regard. A person who gives assistance; a supporter. A person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile. A member of the same nation, party, etc. A person associated with another as a contact on a social-networking Web site like Facebook.

I have friends that fit into each of those categories. I have those that are really close to me. They know my heart and have experienced me on a regular enough basis that know me very well. Our love for each other is like family.

I have those friends that I can depend on in my time of need. I know if I need an encouraging word, accountability, prayer, or assistance with anything else I can call on them and they will help to the best of their ability.

I have those in my life that I may not see often at all but we keep in contact and when we talk it is as if we have been in each others life the entire time.  

I have friends I have gone to work, school, and church with that I do not know so personally but none the less I have a caring for them in my heart and enjoy giving and receiving hugs and encouraging words.

I have friends from my youth that I have reconnected with through Facebook. I love it because I have got to be a part of their lives in a small way. I enjoy learning how their lives turned out and seeing the pictures of their beautiful families.

God never intended us to be alone. We all have a need and desire for friendship. I am grateful for every person that has come into my life. Even if it may have only been for a short season.

I want to encourage you today to thank God for your friendships. Pray over each of them. Each one is a unique person, with special gifts that add to your life in some way. Ask God to bless them. Pray for their needs.

If there are people that are difficult to love in your life or there is conflict submit them and the problem to God. Don’t become bitter. Friends hurt friends too, sometimes without even knowing it. Be forgiving! People make mistakes! Do not carry bitterness in your heart towards anyone. I guarantee you it will carry over into other relationships. When possible talk out the issue with your friend and resolve it.   

Ask God to remove anyone who should not be in your life and when they leave let them go. Be realistic. You don’t have to be close friends with every single person in your life. It’s not a popularity contest. Don’t deceive yourself that you don’t have friends at all or feel rejected just because there are some who don’t respond to you the way you want them to. Sometimes when we go through issues in life we can feel abandoned and rejected by people we want to reach out to us. That is just not the truth. God places the right people in your life if you simply ask and be open to the gifts they have to pour into your life.

Also remember in any relationship it is give and take. Not just take. While we should give without expecting or demanding anything in return, we can’t be selfish and just expect the other person to cater to all of our needs and not look to see how we can bless them.

Think about it, who wants to give all their energy, love, time, and devotion into someone who does not want to be in your life. It is like fighting against the wind. Wouldn’t it be much more beneficial for you and those friends in your life who need you and what you have to give to use all that and pour it into them?

I also want to encourage you to ask God to reveal to you what kind of friend you are to others. Be ready because you may not like what you hear. I am not saying to go out and talk to every person you know now and ask them what they think about you as a friend. But God can definitely speak to your spirit through a word, an experience with a friendship, and through conviction in your spirit when you are making an error. Just be open to make changes and grow where you can. You can’t be everything to everybody but you can be a blessing to someone.

God lead me to submit each of my friendships to Him at the beginning of this new year, praying for each, and declaring the blessings of God over their lives. The picture above is only a few women whom are like sisters to me. My friends mean the world to me. Some have seen me through various, sometimes challenging, stages of my life. Some are from my youth, others I only recently met, and there are those that are yet to come. Regardless of who they are I love them and thank God for whatever part they have played in my life. I also pray that I have been a blessing to each of them in some way as well and that I continue to be throughout our lives.

With all that said, I would like to honor each of my friends today. I wrote this poem a few years ago using the word of God. Many of them have read it because I usually repost it each year. Thank You Father God for Your plan regarding friendship.

 

Your Friendship

My friend this is a simple poem written just for you.

I hope it helps you understand, at least a little, what you do.

I have sought God about what I should be, as well as, look for in a friend.

& His words are all true is what I have found in the end.

I started in the book of Proverbs where you can find words inspired of God Divine.

I learned there that a friend is one who forgives & seeks love in Proverbs 17:9.

There is the friend that loves at all times & is born as a brother for adversity. Proverbs 17:17.

That is someone who sticks by you even in the hardest of times…You know what I mean?

Then there is also a friend that sticks closer than a brother found in Proverbs 18:24.

My friend, in our case it’s closer than a sister. Please bear with me there’s more.

The Bible does warn us that evil company corrupts good habits so we must be on guard.

Being wise and careful in choosing our friends can sometimes be hard.

We should avoid those prone to anger and perverse talk because it could cause us to do the same.

Instead we should seek out friendships that glorify and honor God’s Holy name.

Proverbs 27:9 describes the counsel of a friend as sweetness.

God’s Word says that giving counsel should be done with meekness.

Iron sharpens iron, so sharpens the countenance of his friend is what God’s Word tells me.

Encouraging, edifying, joyful, patient, forgiving, and loving is what we should be.

We ought to be able to depend on each other through times both good and bad.

Spending time laughing with great joy and weeping together when sad.

Able to trust each other with our burdens and willing to share.

Lifting each other to God in prayer, really showing that we care.

My dear friend and sister in Christ after all my study and research I have found,

That the qualities & characteristics of a true friend in you greatly abound. 

So when I pray to my Father in Heaven I can’t help but thank Him for you.

For your friendship has blessed my life richly by all that you do.

There is a season, a time for everything, every activity under heaven according to Ecclesiastes 3. And with all this said I just felt this was the time to tell you what your friendship means to me.

By JulieAnne Hollist

June 11, 2008

A Little Getaway With God Is All It Takes

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If you have noticed the theme of most of my posts have been how God has answered prayers, often in unexpected ways. God truly desires to be involved in every aspect of our lives even down to the smallest detail. He doesn’t always answer them when we may want or even in the way we would expect. But He does answer. You simply cannot put God in a box. I believe after experiencing and recognizing His hand in some of the things you pray about you will not want to either.

As I mentioned in the blog before, my husband and I were about to celebrate three full years of marriage. Whenever we are able to, we usually make a trip back to San Antonio where I lived before we married. We would go visit friends and family while there, attend church services at our old church if we stayed over the weekend, and we would never leave without stopping at Tiago’s at The Rim. They have the most amazing chocolate cake with cinnamon ice cream and whipped cream! It has become a tradition of ours to do that when we have a chance to get away. Since that was what we usually do we began researching hotels on the Riverwalk Downtown where we had our first official date. As I researched locations nothing sat well in my heart. So we really began discussing doing something different for our anniversary this time. I started looking up Bed & Breakfast locations in San Antonio but everything was extremely priced or booked on the day we would be able to go. So I looked in Austin, Georgetown, and even up north. Then my husband said, “Babe, why don’t you try College Station?” I typed it in and turned to him and said, “We haven’t really prayed about it like we would normally do.” So we stopped for a moment and we prayed.
Just as I opened my eyes and turned back to the computer the paged loaded for Abigaile’s Treehouse. It is located in Bryan, Texas. The first thing I did was read the reviews and they were all so amazing. But honestly it only took the first one to get me because the couple praised and thanked God for leading them there. They had stayed in the Eagle’s Nest which is the room on the top floor. I looked through the pictures and fell in love. 
We began the process to book the room and decided to call to ask some questions. After speaking with the owner, Lisa Ketchum, I just knew this was where God wanted us to go to relax, get rejuvenated, and prepare for the upcoming year. She is such a beautiful, loving, and welcoming woman of God.

We planned to leave right after church service on Sunday. I woke up very sick so I stayed home from service and took some medicine in hopes it would go away before we planned to leave. I had the beginnings of typical flu symptoms. Unfortunately they didn’t go away, but we still decided to go and at least get some much needed rest. I am so glad we did!

Lisa was as great in person as she was over the phone. She walked us through and shared her personal testimony about how Abigaile’s Treehouse came to be. (I will leave that out so if you ever get a chance to stay there you can hear for yourself. It’s awesome!) I loved her passion for the place, for people, and for God’s plan for her life.

Even though we weren’t feeling our best we still enjoyed the hot tub that is in the room. There is a loft you climb up into to spend time reading and in prayer. The breakfast, fresh baked cookies, and bread Lisa left for us were amazing! There is Christian artwork and materials throughout the room. Without a doubt, the peace & love of God flows through that place. One day is not enough to stay! I really wish we could have stayed two days to really soak up everything. But even being there just the one night was so relaxing and such a wonderful experience.
One of the things I really loved was reading through the Guest Book in the room. People from all over the country and as far back as 2011 shared their experience and reason for visiting. Some were recently married, some just getting away to get refocused, and others married many, many years. Each one unique and each a beautiful testimony! Most believed that God sent them there just as we did.
My husband and I spent time together praising and worshipping God. We sought His direction and we thanked Him for our marriage (Psalm 16:11; 95:2). We honored God together because He is the foundation of our marriage. He is the one that brought us together and He is the one that will keep us together. Then my husband prayed an incredible God-lead prayer. He spoke blessings over me and declarations over our marriage and family. We connected on a greater level, strengthened our marriage, and increased our love for one another. God is so very good!

My hope and prayer is to do this a few times a year. I know it is very beneficial to my mind, heart, and spirit and I want to be my best me not just for myself but for God, my husband, and for those that are a part of my life.

I would highly recommend to make a point of taking time for yourself with God and getting away from the external noise of everyday life and get before God whether you are married or single. Pray and ask Him today for an opportunity and provision to get away to seek Him. Get His direction and guidance for your life. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, or costly. You don’t have to go to the Caribbean or travel afar. It could be in the next town over. You don’t have to go for a week. Just a day or two. Trust me, God wants that time with you. So He is more than willing to make it happen, if it is your desire to spend time rejuvenating your relationship with Him. All you have to do is ask and then step out and do your part. Don’t pass up the opportunity. Stop putting limits on God and putting Him in a box. Believe that He will do something special and wonderful for you. He loves you.
When you get to the place that God leads you to, limit your activities so you can truly spend time in His presence worshipping Him and meditating on His word and promises. Then receive His love, joy, and peace. A little getaway with God is very beneficial to your life! You will be so blessed and happy you made the time and stepped out to do it!
I am already envisioning every person who may read this and praying for each and everyone of you that you will have a special God-experience. That God meets you right where you are and blesses you in such a special unique way that is designed just for you! I am praying that you grow in your love for Him and for others. I am praying that you will truly know how much He loves you and wants to spend quality time with you. I pray that your mind and spirit will be rejuvenated and refocused. Please be sure to stop by and share your testimony. I would love to it! God bless everyone who reads this blog.  

Write the Vision

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On December 31 my husband and I will celebrate three full years of marriage. We have gone through some incredibly difficult challenges throughout the three years. My husband has had to learn to be a father and leader to my four children (my girls who are 17 and 19 years old live at home with us). I have had to adapt to being a military wife. Then there have been the issues with my health and physical problems.

I would have to say that 2012 did not turn out the way we would have planned it. Despite all the challenges we definitely grew as husband and wife. Our love is deeper and relationship is much stronger.

Now with 2013 is just around the corner and people everywhere are making their New Year’s Resolutions. I am sure you have been thinking about some things you would like to see happen in 2013 in your life. I know I want to see quite a few things changed or improved in mine and my family’s.

I personally look forward to this time of year. I love seeing my husband take the lead to usher us into the new year with a plan and a vision. At the end of each year my husband and I sit down and review the year. We talk about the things that didn’t go as planned, where we made mistakes, and discuss what we can do to improve in every area. We talk about what our goals, desires, and dreams are for the new year. We pray together and separately and seek God’s guidance. Then we begin to write out the vision and plan for the new year for our family.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 in the Message reads:

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

God encourages us to write down the vision. When we do that we have something we can look back at as a reminder of what goals and dreams we are working to accomplish for the year. I will be honest with you though. Last year I had a lot of trouble reminding myself to look in my folder where I kept everything at. I mentioned that to God in prayer and He gave me the most wonderful idea! 

When you saw the picture above what did you think it was at first glance? It is actually a picture of a blank wall in my living room. As I was praying God dropped the idea of a Vision Wall into to my heart, mind, and spirit. In the center will be our family vision written out and framed. On each side will be two smaller frames containing a collage of pictures of our personal goals, dreams, & desires. One frame for each of us. This will be a way for us all to keep the vision before us throughout the year in addition to our folders where we journal our accomplishments. I am praying to have this all done and put up within the first week of January.

We finished writing out our vision last night and my husband typed it up. Today we will sit down as a family to discuss it and get the girls thoughts and ideas about it as well. Then we will pray over it together yielding our plans to God. We understand everything is subject to change. We are entrusting God with our year and submitting it to Him. You can’t go wrong when God’s hand is on it. It is important to us that He blesses and anoints the vision laid out.  

I would like to encourage you to think about the upcoming year and begin to write down your dreams, desires, and goals you would like to accomplish. They don’t have to be big things and you can always add to it if you need to. Find an area in your home that works well for you. It could be your mirror, the fridge, even your car. A place where you will be able to see and be reminded of the vision you write down for yourself and your family. Get creative! Make it fun! Most of all include God in your decision making. The Word of God tells us in Proverbs 16:9 (MSG) “We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.”
I would love to hear about your plans and vision. Be sure to comment and share! I pray that God gives you direction and ideas, that He blesses and anoints them, and that you see everything come to pass. May 2013 be your best year ever!

What Are You Saying?

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Hey everyone! I pray you have all been doing well. I wanted to apologize for not blogging for a while now due to unforeseen circumstances. But I’m back and have something that God has been stirring up in my spirit and on my heart to share with you all the last few days. I pray you are blessed by it!

I am sure you have heard messages or seen books out there about making positive declarations over your life. Speaking from my own experience I have found that it is often easier to believe and speak positive things over other peoples lives than our own. As a result, there have been times in the past that I have settled for less than God’s best for my own life. That is until I got the revelation of how it works for me. I’m not saying I have arrived yet but applying this principle to my life has been very beneficial and life changing in many areas; physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, financial, and relational. I want to tell you can have victory in your life by changing what you say.

So today I want to share with you what I do each day and encourage you, in fact I want to challenge you to try it for yourself and see what happens. Now you might be thinking, “oh I have a good life already.” I’m here to tell you that it can be even better!

First we have to start with the fact that the Bible is God’s Word. As a believer we know that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Tim 3:16, NLT) If you are not a believer and not sure if you agree with that statement I would like you to try this and let God show it to be true to you. A great resource to use is www.biblegateway.com and try versions such as The New Living Translation, Amplified, Message, and the NIV (New International Version). You can actually do side by side comparisons and really get the most out of His Word. 

Second, in Isaiah 55:11 (see all of Isaiah chapter 55) God’s Word says that His words cannot return void, that it produces fruit, and it accomplishes what He sent it out to do. So whatever He says is going to happen, you can count on it! His words have amazing power to actively produce something in your life. If you read the account of Creation in the book of Genesis 1, you will see that God spoke everything into existence. He said “Let there be…” and it came to be. He envisioned it and then called it to be. Now think about this, in that same account it also says that we are created in His likeness, His image. Since God’s words have such great power doesn’t it make sense that they create the same power when we speak them? We are His children, made in His likeness, and His image so we also have authority and power in our words.

The Bible clearly says that there is power in the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “the tongue can bring life or death.” In the Message version it says, “Words kill, words give life.” Another Proverb says that “the tongue brings healing.”

So what are you speaking out of your mouth? Are they words that give and promote life? Or do they bring curses and death? Are your words healing?

One of the worse things I used to always say years ago is, “my back is killing me!” Well guess what? That didn’t make the pain go away at all! In fact I would become so depressed and discouraged and the pain would get so bad I have felt like I was dying! I have really had to examine what I was saying and I had to change the words I speak. I declare that my back is in alignment and strong. I am still working on that but definitely seeing a greater improvement in this area. Thankfully I have people in my life that remind me of my declarations on days that might be challenging or difficult. So make you sure you have people in your life that will hold you accountable and remind you of your declarations.

My husband and I have taken God’s word and made it our own. We make declarations every single day together concerning God’s promises and have seen it work in our lives in many areas, such as our marriage, finances, and relationships. We are not only reminding God of His promises but we are personalizing His Word concerning our lives. So what does that look like?

I wanted to give you a simple example to get you started and then you can research God’s word for yourself. As you study and meditate on the scriptures you can ask God how you can personalize them. So let’s get started!

If you have your Bible turn to Psalm 1 or you can go to the site I mentioned earlier and enter Psalm 1 and choose a translation. I like using the Amplified when I do this because it elaborates on the words used but you pick a version that works best for you. Now take a look and read each verse slowly, thinking and meditating on what they say.

Now I would like you to stop for a moment and pray. Ask God to guide you and reveal His word to you and give you clarity. Ask Him how you can apply it to your own life, making it personal. Thank Him for His wisdom, guidance, and word. If you need to ask for forgiveness in any area so you have a clear mind then do so.

As you grow in your declarations God will begin to teach you how to even pray out His word when you speak with Him.

Now re-read Psalm 1 again. I am going to break it down verse by verse. The scripture first and then the example of the personalized version in bold letters.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

I am blessed, happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable because I do not walk and live in the counsel of the ungodly, unwise, & unbelieving. I am blessed, happy, prosperous because I do not follow their plans, advice, or purposes and I do not participate in the things they do.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

I delight and desire God’s word, instructions, direction, guidance, and teaching. I study, meditate, speak it, pray it, and live it everyday, all day.

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

Because I do that I am like a tree that is firmly planted by streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season. I do not fade or wither and everything I do prospers.

Not so the wicked [those disobedient and living without God are not so]. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away.

I am not disobedient and live without God. My life has meaning and purpose.

Therefore the wicked [those disobedient and living without God] shall not stand [justified] in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God].

I do not have to fear judgment because I trust in God’s word and live it. Because I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior I am in right standing with God.

For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).

The Lord knows and is fully acquainted with my ways, my choices, thoughts, actions and I live within His will and plan for my life.

When you get a chance I want to recommend you look up all scriptures regarding the power of your tongue in the scriptures. Meditate on them and begin to make simple changes. It won’t always happen immediately. But you will definitely see results!

Begin to see, recognize, and acknowledge the power you have to speak over your life. It is also very important to begin to see what you are speaking, believe it, receive it, and live it. I am not saying it’s going to be easy, it will take effort on your part. People can declare over you all the time but unless you receive it for yourself it is not beneficial to you. So do it for yourself. James 1 says that we cannot just be hearers of the word but we must be doers of the word! So you must also live it! You have to walk out the word! 

It is truly life changing. You can have greater confidence when you know who you are and you declare it over yourself. You will experience victories in areas of your life that you thought you could never have. You will experience God’s best for you and live a phenomenal life and that’s exciting!

So I want to encourage you today, especially if you are struggling, need improvement, or needing a breakthrough in any area of your life to begin to see what God’s word says about it. Be open and sensitive to what God wants you to learn regarding this. Be prayerful and give thanks. Find a principle or example and personalize it. Active the word! Make the word your own and make the word work for you! Speak with words of faith!

With that said this is my prayer for each of you taken from Eph.1 & Phil. 1
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I have not stopped thanking God for you. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy. I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. In the Mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

P.S. Just to say how awesome God is, as I completed today’s blog my hubby started listening to a message he got last night from our Pastor’s spiritual father and it was on this very subject and he even used the same exact scriptures I used here. Definitely a word and confirmation from God! I believe it is His heart for His children to know this truth about His word, how to be & speak like Him. So in awe right now. God is good!

Dance With God & He Will Let the Perfect Man Cut In

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Years ago before my husband courted me (we were best friends at the time) I was dating another man. I had learned to always pray about my relationships after having been through a horrible experience years before. God always answers when you pray, you just have to be listening. He often does it in unexpected ways.
So one night, after one of those prayers, I went to sleep & I had a dream. I dreamt that I was dancing with that man I was dating at that time and he kept stepping on my feet and hurting me. I was getting frustrated and just felt so out of step. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and a hand reached out to me. When I looked I realized it was God and I was completely captivated by His love, tenderness, and smile. He took me by the hand and I began dancing with my Daddy God. We were gliding so smoothly across the clouds. It was so incredibly beautiful. I was filled with such peace and love in my spirit. As we continued to dance He spoke to me saying…. “This is how the right relationship should feel and be…No man should step on your feet or distract you from me. He will follow my lead and lead you as you need to be lead.” It was truly an incredible dream that really impacted me and my view on relationships.
A couple weeks after having that dream the relationship ended. It became so obvious that we weren’t being called together by God. I am so grateful that I didn’t attempt to force it or try to make it work because 7 months later the Lord revealed to my now husband that God was giving me to him as his wife.
Oh and life has been such an incredible dance with him! I couldn’t have asked for a better partner! We’ve used some of our previous experience at times, made corrections in some of our moves when necessary, and have had to learn and create new steps together (those are the best!). Most importantly God has been our dance instructor from the beginning and still is. He corrects us when move wrong, applauds us, and makes up new routines for us to follow as we grow as partners.
All in all it’s been just like my dream and I wouldn’t change a thing.

& my favorite part is that every now and then, my Daddy God still steps in, reaches out His hand, and asks to cut in. Then He takes me in His arms and we dance away on the clouds of heaven together.

“Divine Romance”
The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied

For You I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love

A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it’s filling up the room
Your innocent blood, has washed my guilty life
In Your presence God I’m completely satisfied

Walk It Out & When Possible Run!

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There are things we have in our control, ability, and power to do, to handle, and to make happen. Find out what motivates you and get motivated. Find out what inspires you and get inspired. Find out what encourages you and encourage yourself. If you are always waiting for someone else to do it for you, you’re not going to get far. There are times when people may come into your life and help in these areas. They will motivate, encourage, and inspire you through their words, testimonies, and their lives. But they are often like your favorite dessert, such as, a spoonful of ice cream or a bite of chocolate. Sweet to the taste but it’s ONLY a TEMPORARY fix to meet a desire, need, or want that you have. You can find yourself wanting much more than just a bite. So you take another and another. Soon you are just sitting on the couch, not moving, eating too much and putting on weight til you can’t even move anymore. It tastes great while you were eating it but you also have to properly manage your diet and include some exercise too. You have to get up, start moving, and do something for yourself. Study, learn, work, whatever you have to do. When you get mentored apply what you’ve be taught. Pray and ask God to place dreams, goals and desires in your heart and to reignite those that seem lifeless. Next sit down and write a strategic action plan to help you reach those goals. Then get up, go out, and begin pursuing them! I believe in you! God believes in you!

So what are you waiting for?
It’s time to get up and walk it out!!! & when possible run!!!
Habakkuk 2:3-4

Are You A Mountain Climber?

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Are You A Mountain Climber?

This morning as I was praying God showed me a picture of someone climbing a mountain and I was prompted to research what a mountain climber has to do in preparation of climbing a mountain. I jumped online and found a lot of great helpful information on mountain climbing. First of all there are different styles of climbing. One is the ‘Expedition style’ in which the climber makes several trips between camps set up on the mountain to carry supplies up to a higher camp. There are high expenditures for equipment and supplies with this type of climber because he/she is usually not alone and has other climbers with him/her. There is also a longer scale time up the mountain. Then there is the ‘Alpine style’ in which a climber does not have to continually make trips between camps so the scale time is much shorter. Since fewer supplies are needed for the climb there are usually less expenses. These climbers tend to take on the mountain and any challenges they will have to face on their own although they usually will let someone know that they are making the climb in case of any emergency.

Both types of climbers usually try to scope out and learn what they can about the mountain and they also realize and know the risks and dangers involved such as the possibility of an avalanche, poor weather conditions, injury, ice, snow, steep slopes or they could come across open or hidden crevasses. Because they understand the dangers, risks, and challenges of climbing any mountain they always make plans ahead of time and prepare for whatever they might experience during their climb.

With all the risks involved in mountain climbing it is very important that a climber makes sure that he/she has all of the proper equipment, tools, food, first aid kit, and clothing they will need before they set out on their challenge. If they know that they will be encountering a mountain with challenging terrain and weather conditions in which they’ve never climbed before they will usually turn to someone with experience or even take a class before beginning their quest. Mountain and rock climbing classes offer instruction about the equipment, tools, and supplies they will need and how to use them properly. They also teach what to do in different situations that climbers may encounter and how to overcome them. Climbers also learn assist and rescue techniques for in the event of an emergency. Many schools also offer ‘rock walls’ to learn basic climbing techniques and provide an opportunity to practice and train for their climb.

Mountain climbers realize the value of being in good physical condition for mountain climbing and so they will go through physical training in preparation for their climb. They focus on strengthening their legs with exercises such as stair climbing, running, and hiking and also do some weight training which is helpful in preparation for carrying a backpack or supplies. They don’t just show up to the mountain and try to take it on. During their climb, they make sure they are clothed properly, have all needed equipment, emergency tools, and they drink plenty of fluids so they stay hydrated. They pace themselves and don’t try to overdo it. Most mountain climbers usually don’t climb alone but have another person or even a group of people to climb with them.

Something else that I read of great importance is that a mountain climber doesn’t just need to be fit physically but mentally as well. They are often faced with having to make quick, sound decisions about their safety (and sometimes the safety of others), what direction to go, and the conditions on the mountain which can have major consequences on their life (and the lives of others).

So let me ask you, are you a mountain climber?

Mountains are often used to describe the hardships, trials, struggles, and the challenges we all face in life. Some are more like hills, small and not too bad to get up and over. Then there are those big mountains that can sometimes be pretty intimidating by looking at their size. There are times when we are climbing those large mountains we face that we might stop and look over at someone else’s mountain and think that theirs look much smaller in comparison. We may begin to question why ours is so much bigger. The problem with that is that our vision is usually somewhat distorted because when we look at something far off it simply appears smaller. So don’t deceive yourself and stop comparing your mountains with other people’s mountains.

You must also take into consideration the condition of the mountains something that is not always so noticeable from a distance. Mountain terrains are different. Some have more like dirt trails, some are thorny, and others rocky. It might be dry and barren or there may be trees and plants everywhere you turn. There may be a river of water flowing, small bodies of water, or there may be no water at all. The weather conditions vary as well. There may be rain, there may be sunshine, there may be snow & ice, or there could be fog. We all have to climb mountains at some point in our life and sometimes wish they would move or go away. But most times they don’t. You have to be ready for whatever conditions you may encounter on your own mountain. So don’t focus on anyone else’s mountain, instead prepare yourself to climb yours.

So how do you do that?

First of all you have to determine what kind of mountain you are facing and what style climber you will have to be. As an “Expedition style” climber you are not alone on the journey, you will travel with others. Some mountains will require us to climb with others. This means you will have support and help during the climb. So it is important to have other experienced mountain climbers with you. Sometimes you might have to take trips back and forth getting supplies and needs to take or get to the next stop. This kind of mountain might take some time to climb but if you are as prepared as you can be and make as few trips back as possible, then you will get to the top much faster.

If you are faced with a mountain that you cannot take someone to climb with you on, then you are climbing ‘Alpine style.’ You really need to look at the type of mountain and make sure you are not endangering yourself by going it alone. Be certain before you make the climb. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let someone know about the mountain, it just means it is a mountain that you have to climb on your own.

Regardless of which style climber you are, there are several things you will need in order to be successful and get to climb the mountain with as little problems as possible. It would definitely be beneficial for you to have a plan and prepare in every way necessary to climb the mountain. Develop an action plan that will help you reach your aspiration of reaching the mountaintop. Map out the direction you desire to take and have a backup plan should something come up along that road. Pay attention to warning signs. Pace yourself, don’t overdo it. You will avoid unnecessary stress by doing so.

Make sure you have the correct tools, equipment, and knowledge you will need to make the climb. You want to be sure you learn from someone experienced, someone who has successfully been up that type of mountain and who has overcome obstacles they faced. I can’t stress enough the need for proper instruction, training, and guidance.

You will want to know all the risks, dangers, or obstacles you may face and know ways to overcome them. You will also need to make sure you are physically and spiritually fit. You want to be strong and healthy. Eat right, exercise, and drink plenty of water. Be prepared mentally and emotionally to handle making sound decisions and judgments. When faced with a challenging decision you don’t want to be led by your emotions. You will need to be alert, well-rested and focused. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Pray. Pray. Pray. Know that HE is with you wherever you go!

This can apply to practically any area of your life that you are facing, be it relational, spiritually, physically, etc. Could be a small mountain, could be a big one. Whatever size or type, just make sure you prepare yourself in these ways and celebrate when you reach the top and master your mountain! Then when you get there look and see what has been waiting for you on the other side!

Declare this with me:

“I AM A MOUNTAIN CLIMBER! BECAUSE GOD IS WITH ME AS I CLIMB, I ALWAYS MASTER THE MOUNTAINS IN MY LIFE!”

Pray for your Pastor

Pray for your Pastor

Today I want to encourage you to pray for your Pastor. People often forget that Pastors are human too and they go through and experience the same challenges as we do. People often like to complain, criticize and judge Pastors for decisions they make, for their actions, and even for their personalities, but let me ask, are you praying for him/her? What do you do that helps make his assignment a little easier to fulfill? Do you know the vision God has placed in his heart? What part do you play in helping see that God-given vision come to pass? You may not agree with every decision a Pastor makes but what you can do is pray that he always hears from God in everything he does and that he obeys. You can also pray for his/her needs and for their families. So instead of complaining or praying “about” your Pastor, I want to encourage you to please pray for him/her and for his/her family. You will be amazed at what God does!

Hebrews 13:16-18 (AMP)

16 Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy [of the church as embodiment and proof of fellowship], for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

17 Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].

18 Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good (clear) conscience, that we want to walk uprightly and live a noble life, acting honorably and in complete honesty in all things.