Tuesday, January 26, 2016

God's Best is Truly Best

Do you ever think of God as some kind of Genie in a bottle? Or maybe even hope for it?

“C’mon God, I really need that new car!”
“I’m sure this job is what would really be best for me, God.”
“Could you please just make this person fall in love with me so I can finally be happy?”

Okay, I realize that sounds a little silly but how many of us come to God with our well laid out plans and say, “Here they are, make them happen God.”

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been guilty of that in the past. I still have to do a heart check daily to make sure I’m seeking and putting His will in my life first.

“If you want to hear God laugh just tell Him your plans.” Woody Allen

God has put dreams and passions in each of us. He’s not withholding good from us when things take longer to come together than we hope. Even when things don’t go the direction we feel would be best for our life, God’s best is truly best.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that.
Jeremiah 29:11 (VOICE)

All too often we spend so much time making our plans before we even talk to God. Instead of the frustration of making our “to do lists” as well as the pro’s and con’s of each endeavor, let’s simply ask God first.

He loves us more than we can fully understand! He wants us to be complete and have a full, abundant life.

Our view of a full and abundant life needs to be viewed through the lens of our mighty God who is able to accomplish more than we could ever ask!

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Ephesians 3:19-20 (NLT)

Am I the only one who’s ever struggled with the idea that maybe God’s best isn’t really what’s best for me? Sorry if I burst any bubbles with that statement but I just want to be honest.

How about when God whispers to you as you’re about to eat something that looks and smells so yummy, “Not my best for you”? I’ve heard that and decided God didn’t know what He was talking about in that moment. Surely popcorn that smells that good and is loaded with butter and salt was the best for me right then. “Trust me God, I’m sure of it.”

God isn’t forceful. He just nudges at us to point us in the right direction. What we do with that nudge is our free choice.

My choice that night wasn’t the best for me. Oh how I paid for that choice all night. Miserable stomach ache. He wasn’t try to deprive me. He was trying to spare me the pain.

I’ve also been through a time in my life where I was pretty sure I didn’t deserve God’s best so there wasn’t any point in believing or asking.

I pray if you’re at that point in your life you’ll give God a chance to whisper to your spirit that His best is truly best. We deserve it because when we believe and accept Him we’re given the *rights of children*. (John 1:12)

As a mom, I know I want the very best for my kids. I also know that sometimes what they want and what’s best for them doesn’t line up.

Lord, help me to not throw a tantrum when I don’t get what I’m sure is best for me. I want to trust You completely, knowing that You want me to live a life of fullness IN You. Guide me to where You want me to be each day so I can serve fully in the work of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Praying to God Our Promise-Keeper

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)

I invited my friend Wendy Blight to share with you today about Praying to God Our Promise-Keeper.

Knowing God by name. Calling upon God by name. Praying His Word … His Promises … back to Him are powerful and effective ways to usher God’s life-transforming work into our lives because our God is a Promise-Keeper.

But prayer is hard. It doesn’t come naturally to most women. I know it didn’t for me. The thought of praying out loud intimidated me. Made me feel uncomfortable.
But I have also learned that without prayer, we will never get to know the promise-keeping side of God. In order to know our Promise-Keeper, we’ve got to interact with Him. Pray to Him. And more than just pray, pray His promises … His Word … back to Him. It’s the substance of His promises that transform our prayers to be those powerful and effective prayers James talks about in James 5:16.
This truth came alive to me last year at a women’s conference in Houston.
The women’s ministry leader invited me to share my testimony. It’s a hard story for me to tell. In 1986, just days after my graduation from Baylor University, I fell victim to an armed, masked man hiding in my apartment. The horrific events of that June day locked me in a prison of fear for years. I hated God. I felt abandoned and forgotten by the One I grew up believing loved and cared for me.

A few weeks after my attack, a friend gave me this promise: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, NIV). But at the time, it meant nothing. In fact, I saw it as a lie. He had forsaken me. He sat on his throne in heaven and watched what happened to me and did nothing.

Thankfully, God did not leave me in that dark place. As time passed, my heart slowly opened to God’s Word. It was a long and arduous journey, but over a decade later, through much prayer and the transforming power of His Word healing came. Freedom came. My test became a powerful testimony. 

As I closed my message and stepped off the stage, a woman walked up and shared her story. Little did I know it was my story too.

She had been a student at Baylor at the time of my attack. She was part of a ministry whose leader invited them to pray for the young woman who had been attacked (me). They prayed a passage from Psalm 62 over me every week … for two years!  They prayed the promises of the Promise-Keeper.

Grasp the miracle here. At the very time I felt abandoned by God, He had raised up believers to pray. And not just pray, but pray God’s Word. His promises. She showed me her Bible. Yes, she still had it! Next to the passage was 1986 and my name.

As I read the passage, I saw clearly how each promise had come alive in my life. My promise-keeping God had honored each and every one.

I pray my story not only encourages you to pray but also opens doors for you to invite others to pray. Because you never know what God is up to in the midst of all those prayers!

Will you join me in praying God’s Word back to the One who is our Promise-Keeper? He always honors His Word. In fact, Isaiah 55:11 promises His Word will never return void and will accomplish everything He desires and achieve every purpose for which He sent it … even thirty years later!

In addition to God Our Promise-Keeper, there are hundreds of Names of God. I invite you to visit Wendy’s blog to get a sneak peek of her newest Bible study, I Know His Name and also sign up for her FREE companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is There Power in the Tongue?

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you could reel the words back in you spoke in haste?

Yeah, me too. Way more times than I care to admit.

Scripture tells us there is the power of life and death in the tongue.

We must use our words wisely.

Negativity can quickly seep into our lives if we don’t stay on guard for it.

My family and I ranch (raising cattle and sheep) and as such are very dependent on volatile markets, expenses and weather. It’s WAY too easy to get caught off guard and let negative words from others suck you into the black hole of doom and gloom.

“The cattle market is dropping!”
“We’ll never get any rain!”
“Feed costs are out of control!”

You have a choice when these kind of words come flying at you from family and friends. Either join in and let the power of the tongue fill you with negativity or speak words of life to counter them.

“The cattle market is fine - God will provide.”
“The rain is coming in God’s perfect time - God will provide.”
“Jehovah-Jireh - God will provide.”

Have you ever seen a massive ship sailing effortlessly across the waterDespite its immense size and the fact that it is propelled by mighty winds, a small rudder directs the ship in any direction the pilot chooses. It’s just the same with our tongues! It’s a small muscle, capable of marvelous undertakings. And do you know how many forest fires begin with a single ember from a small campfire? 
James 3:4-5 (Voice)

Let’s squelch those embers of negative words before they spread like wildfire through our lives. Instead, let’s make the choice to use this small muscle for positive, life giving power.

Life and death are in the literally in power of our tongues. We believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and we are saved by our tongues speaking it out.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 
Romans 10: 9-10 (NLT)

Jesus came to live in human flesh and die a brutal death to save each of us from an eternal separation from Him.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart and would like to - feel free to use this very simple prayer as a guide.

“God, I know I’m a sinner and I can’t save myself. I believe that you sent your son, Jesus, to die for my sins, raise Him from the dead and give me eternal life. I repent and turn from my sinful life and ask You to come and be the Lord of my life. I invite Your Holy Spirit to fill and guide me. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Welcome to the family of believers! I highly suggest getting into a good, Bible based church and fellowship with others.

I encourage you to share your decision with me either in the comments or privately through the contact form. I will be praying for you!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Such a Time as This

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been a part of the Five Minute Friday linkup. Unfortunately time has kind of slipped away from me a lot lately. This made this week's prompt so timely. Okay, I’ll admit I’m getting a bit cheesy with it now.


This past summer I went to the She Speaks Conference. I soaked in as much of the technical teaching’s as I possibly could. They warned me it would be a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. They were right! I’m so grateful God has given me the ability to take fast notes.

What I wasn’t necessarily prepared for was how powerful the Holy Spirit would move in that place. Looking back, I can see how God was preparing me for that exact moment in time. I was in a class Wendy Blight was teaching and she prayed over each of us. Commissioning us to go out and share our stories.

This bring me to the story of Esther. Our sovereign God had ordered the steps of Esther’s life so she could be in a position to be part of God’s plan to deliver the Jews. God was fully capable of delivering the Jews without her but He gave her the opportunity to be a part of that deliverance.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NIV)

Such a time as this. That phrase has been running through my head a lot lately. God has called everyone of us to share the good news that Jesus saves. There is no better time for this than right now! We ALL have a story God has written with our lives.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of God’s great plan. 


Okay, I think I may have chased a rabbit down a trail there. Sorry! I was wanting to honor the write and not edit part of FMF. So, there you go. It might help you understand why my kids are always asking me to chase that bunny back to my original point. 

On another little rabbit trail, I want to share with you about a great study that I'm doing. It's called Weigh Less to Feed More from www.revelationwellness.org. If you get a chance to check it out, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Marked for Christ

Scars can run deep. They leave a lasting mark that each of us handle differently.

My dad grew up in a home where food was scarce for quite some time due to his father leaving his mom with several kids in the backwoods of Missouri. The effects of a starvation mentality from a young age has definitely left  it’s mark on my him.

When he was young his uncle took him to work with him for job and afterwards they got a big steak. Uncle Hank told him, “We work hard and we eat well.” That has stuck with Dad. He has always worked very hard to make sure no one in his scope of influence goes hungry.

Being raised by a single mom, who was blessed by a church family that literally prevented them from starving to death, left another profound mark on him. Dad has always had a strong desire to help people out who are struggling, especially single moms.

The scars from Dad’s childhood could have made him bitter and had the opposite effect on him. But...he was marked as child of God and the Lord had His hand on Dad always.

I’m not saying he’s lived a perfect life or never made mistakes. He’ll be the first to tell you that too. He’s tried running from God’s calling on his life in the past. He was set apart to follow Christ and share the good news of God’s love with others however.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit never stopped pursuing Dad. After a big wake up call he realized it was time to throw off everything that hindered him and follow the path God had marked out for him.

When we run we look forward to where we’re going. We don’t try looking over our shoulders to see what is behind us. I’ll admit I’ve tried that and ended up on my knees. We’ve already seen what’s behind us so we’re well aware of it so we need to focus on the path marked out in front of us.

God has a path of faith marked out for each of us. We need only to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

I, for one, don’t want to let the marks left on me from the past define me. As soon as I accepted Jesus as my savior, God put his mark of salvation on me and I want to share the good news with others! God loves. God saves.

Join me at Suzanne Eller's for #LiveFreeThursday.

If you're looking for a great Bible Study Suzie is leading us through 
30 days of Life Shaking Study.
Check it out!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Planning or Procrastinating?

I have a confession to make...I really like to plan. I love lists, sticky notes, calendars, etc. It absolutely drives my hubby up the wall. You see, he’s definitely NOT a planner. He’s more of the “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of guy.

I have learned in our livelihood (ranching) that all the planning in the world can get wiped out in a moments notice. Animals get sick, markets change and weather wreaks havoc with the best laid plans to name a few.

Yet, I still try to plan. Day to day stuff. The monthly outlook. Yearly livestock plans. You name it I will find a way to plan it! So the first of the year is a bit of a planning junkies mardi gras.

I had a new calendar, goal sheet and sticky notes all laid out and ready for the magic to happen. I thought and I thought a little more. Ready to take on the new year with gusto.

Nothing came. So I tried to just jot down old plans I hadn’t succeeded at yet. A do over of sorts. Yet something was still nagging at me. So I walked away from my pretty planners and took a walk in the fresh air with my dogs.

I cleared my head and had a good talk with Jesus. A phrase ran through my mind that I had heard somewhere, I think it was Michael Hyatt, “over planning is just a form of procrastination”. Ouch! That one stung a little as it sure hit home with me.

Isn’t it sometimes easier to plan than to move forward and DO? I’m sure there are many people out there shaking their heads at me at this point but I’m just being honest.

God kept speaking to my heart, DO more - THINK Less!

Do you have assignments from God that you know He’s called you to but are still in the planning phase as a way to avoid moving forward? I get it, I really do. God has called me write a specific book but it isn’t easy. I’d much rather plan how I’m going to write it then actually write it!

As I sat and wrote down what God was calling me towards for the new year I was continually reminded that to plan is good but are we willing to let God interrupt those plans? Are we so attached to our to do lists and planners that we’re not willing to lay down our own agenda for His?

So let’s go forward this year ready and willing for God to interrupt our days with His plans. He always has the best ones for us anyway.

I’m going to take Him at His word and believe what He says! Will you join me?