Category Archives: Bible

“Come to His Table”- Theme 2018!

By | Be Brave Series, Bible, Missions, Personal, Studying Scripture, Suffering, Testimonies | No Comments

Remember the Alamo!” It was the statement that was shouted in the middle of the iconic battle in San Antonio, Texas. Those words gave a reason to fight. A focus-point when all around them was crumbling. Battle cries are important. They become fuel for the fight.

Every January (since 2014) God has given me a theme to live by. A mantra for the year. A focus-point for the next twelve months. Some of them I’ve loved…and most have stretched me beyond myself.

In 2014: Do Hard Things

In 2015: Reflect the Son

In 2016: God Writes my Story

In 2017: Be Brave

Each year has perfectly mirrored what might go through your head when you read the above statements. I did hard some things in 2014. I learned that it wasn’t all about me in 2015…that I was only to be mirroring Jesus. In 2016 I had to learn to surrender my life story to Him and that He would write it better (not easier, but BETTER) than me.

This past year was a game-changer for me. I literally emerged from the other side of 2017 a completely different gal than the one who started it. It was truly, my year to BE BRAVE. For the record, it seemed like everything I did in 2017 was out of my comfort zone. My friend once commented that last year was like being inside a violent clothes dryer. You get out feeling sore, disoriented and a little out of sorts. Sometimes God calls us to seasons of “being in a dryer” for His glory and our good.

Which brings me to the year 2018. Anybody else wincing? Signal the drumroll, please…because my new battle cry is about to debut!

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I have felt the finger of God on my heart for the year 2018. His heart for broken and needy people has suddenly come to life for me. It’s His will that none would perish. That all would gather at His table. I’ve seen hungry women. I’ve been desperate for His living water myself. Time and again. So it only made sense when I felt Him drop this year’s theme for me…

COME TO HIS TABLE.

Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift. (Revelation 22:17 HCSB)

Come to His table. This means a variety of things for me. The table is a place of bonding and discussion. It’s a place to be filled…both your stomach and your heart. Mentoring happens at the table. Homework questions are answered. Family conversation is plentiful. Even more so at the Table of the Lord.

Come to His Table.

First, coming myself to receive nourishment from Him. I cannot persuade others to come to His table if I haven’t been there myself. I’ve seen women (and men) who are so FILLED with Jesus that you feel like talking with them is touching the hem of His garment. You know what I mean? You KNOW that she/he has been at His Table. They have been fed by His Word. They have received freely of Him and His truth. Somehow, every conversation points you to His Table…because their life is inviting you to go there.

Next, I need to be running to the dark and dying world and bringing others to His table. If I’m being fed at His table, I will naturally want to share His saving nourishment with others. I want to be a woman who invites others to His Table.

Saving a seat for my neighbor. For the gal in the grocery check-out line. For the girls I lead home Bible study with. For the little people at church I have in the nursery. For the women I minister to in prison.

Come to His Table.

His Table means healing. His Table means wholeness. His Table means restoration and redemption. Thirst quenched. Hunger filled. Worry erased. Fear melted and replaced with FAITH. Perspectives are radically changed. At the table, weariness is replaced with strength…HIS strength. I don’t know about you, but His Table is where I want to be.

My battle cry for the year 2018? COME TO HIS TABLE!

You’re invited, friend. Come to His Table.

 

(This post was originally published on Faith’s blog Living Brave and Courageous on January 1st, 2018. PCM will be adopting the same theme this year: “Come to HIs Table”.)

What are you most afraid of?

By | Be Brave Series, Bible, Personal, Relationships, Testimonies | No Comments

“What are you most afraid of?” The question kind of took me back a little. I was sitting across the table from my friend, Liza, who had listened to me pour out my heart. My emotions were raw. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart felt like it was bursting. There was a lot going on and I was overwhelmed by life. She listened intently and then she gently asked the question that rocked me…

What are you most afraid of?

I guess I should clarify…the biggest ministry season was straight ahead, I was having best friend issues, relationship struggles, and I had just lost a close friend to cancer. I was weary. Broken. Life was shaking my faith. It seemed like on every side there was some major change or shift. What was I supposed to do? Where was I supposed to spend my energy? Why was everything coming so hard and all of life falling apart? I had a million questions for God.

In the middle of all of the chaos, God had asked me to open my heart up. To say yes to a relationship that was way outside anything I wanted at the moment. I felt so raw and broken and helpless at the time and starting a relationship with someone seemed…strange. Wrong, actually. I could barely survive each day without an emotional volcano and I was pretty sure that meant I was a bad representation of the real Faith Walker.

I was digging my heels in. Of course, God has the blueprint…but this time? This time I knew better. Or so I thought. I wanted to trust His plan, but I was so spent emotionally. I can’t do this! Don’t ask me to jump into something that will make me give of myself…not now. Not yet.

What are you most afraid of?

There I sat at Liza’s kitchen table, tears rolling down my cheeks and mascara ruined. It was becoming the ugly cry. The question echoed in my ears like a thundering voice. It rattled my insides. It awakened my spirit. This demanded an answer. A heart-search. It was a gauge of my trust level.

I needed that question. To verbalize what was going on inside of me. I had to stop and think. It hung in the air. And the silence was almost palpable. I sighed and bit my lip.

“I’m afraid of heartbreak.” My voice warbled. I felt the knot tightening in my throat. I was truly afraid that in the end, there would be another broken piece of me…and I felt too messy to invite something new into the mix. Why sign up for failure?

My friend, Liza, is an excellent listener. She is wise and gentle and caring. So she sat there and heard my heart. She saw my tears and cried a little with me. She validated my concerns…and then she quoted Charles Spurgeon: “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” That sunk in for a moment.

“Faith, God isn’t gonna lead you anywhere that He isn’t going with you. He is good and He has good plans for you.” I cried some more. I knew she was right and I was scared.

I could feel the white-knuckled grip of my soul trying to hang on to anything that would prevent me from what was ahead. I wanted to just curl up and shut out the new…I just wanted everything to go back to what was “normal”. Whatever that was. I hurt deep. The pain affected everything…my eating, my sleep patterns, my attitudes, and my sanity. The world around me was swirling in craziness and I didn’t know how to get it all to stop. Depression hung over me like a cloud.

What are you most afraid of?

For days, the question gripped my heart. I heard it over and over. It haunted me in a totally holy and righteous, God-pursuing way. I needed to answer it again and again. I needed to face my fears. Acknowledge them so I could deal with them.

Somehow, that question became a balm of sorts. A way to face my realities and speak truth to my heart. If I knew what I was afraid of and could verbalize it…then I could counter-attack with the truth of His Word. The solid rock certainty is that even in my toughest times, most grueling moments and hardest circumstances, HE IS WITH ME. Liza is right: He won’t leave me to flounder in the pain alone. He won’t lead me astray.

Despite the unknowns and uncertainties of life, the Word is never changing. When everything else in the world is crumbling around you, count on it: Jesus is there. He will walk with you. He with hold you.

My theme verse this year is Joshua 1:9, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (HCSB)

Isn’t that where the real answer lies? Here I am…broken, scared and confused. He will never leave me…and that is where my strength and courage really are: IN HIM. He is here with me in the middle of my mess and He says, “I’ve got this”. Answering that question at times of uncertainty has helped me breathe. It puts handles on how to counterattack. It gives me strength to speak truth into my fears and boosts my faith.

So…What are YOU most afraid of?

Perhaps you need to answer that question yourself. What is holding you back from full potential with Jesus? Maybe it’s what someone else thinks of you. It’s plaguing you. The need for approval. The quest for more Facebook likes and sappy comments about the way you’re dressed. You’re afraid that someone won’t like you, they’ll unfriend you, or talk about you behind your back.

Perhaps you’re afraid of failure. You are just sure that you’ll never get that job promotion or that A+ grade in school. Inside you’re always comparing your life to your friends. You aren’t measuring up to their grade-point-average. You don’t have the skill set that they do. You are afraid you won’t be able to make it in life and you’ll just be one huge failure after another.

Or maybe your biggest fear is fear itself. It stares at you every day in the mirror. You are fearful of getting in a car accident or saying something stupid in front of your friends. You are afraid of a storm taking your house or your purse getting stolen. If you can be afraid about something…you’ve already been there done that.

What are you most afraid of?

I’m with you, friend. Life can present a hundred opportunities to choose between fear and faith. Honestly, I enjoy the feeling of control (although it’s a mirage at best) and hate when I lose my grasp. When my world feels it’s crumbling around me, my soul can feel like it’s coming unglued. All the “what if” questions run through my brain. Before I know it, I have myself alone on an island, without a boat, eating canned tuna and without any rescue in sight.

Living in fear stinks. In fact, it’s not even living. At best, it’s only surviving. We were made to THRIVE, and fear will hold us back. Every. Single. Time.

What are you most afraid of? This question has rerouted my heart many times over the last few months. When I feel the fear mounting up, I often stop and think of my friend’s question. It brings me back to earth and reminds me of the truth: HE IS WITH ME.

Now this is what the Lord says— the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel— “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 (HCSB)

Fear break-necks it out of the way when we cling to Jesus in faith. So name it, friend…what is your fear? Then speak the truth of Scripture over your soul and let His Word heal the brokenness. Walk in the Light. Rehearse His promises: He is with you. He loves you. He sings over you and delights in you. He does all things well. He will never leave or forsake you.

Now let those truths seep into your heart and take root. Let them turn your fear into rocket fuel…FAITH…that will move mountains. Name your fear and then find the antidote for it in His Word.

You were made to thrive in the wonder of His love and care. Breathe it in. Then go live like you believe it.

 

(Originally published on the Living Brave and Courageous blog, November 30th, 2017)

A Book on Singleness?

By | Bible, Family, Personal, Relationships, Studying Scripture, Testimonies | No Comments

Hello friends! Wanted to share a little snippet of what’s been on my heart lately and ask YOU for your help. If you’re single and graduated…I need your questions and testimonies. If you’re married or still in school…would you pray for me? This is one of the most scary and exciting times in my life and I’d be grateful for your prayers on this journey.

Bench Talk

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“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (HCSB)

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Guest post by Charity Walker

I had already bought my things. I don’t drive yet, so I sat and waited on a bench near the checkout. I’m not really a talk-to-everybody kind of person so I put my head down “looking” in my bag (this shows my lack of knowledge…I bought that stuff, I should know what’s in it!). Out of the corner of my eye I see him. He’s in his seventies, hunched over his walker and slowly making his way over. I take my bag off the seat making room for him. It’s not that I wanted to, but I was always taught manners and respect for older people. He asked to sit, I nodded and smiled. His face was rough and lined with wrinkles. As he sat hunched and breathing hard, I saw it. It was on his face and in his eyes…loneliness. He started a conversion, telling me this and that…”oh, he’s lonely, no doubt”,  I thought as he chatted away. I thought about how this looked in the eyes of other people in the store. A picture of an old man and a fourteen year old sitting side by side on a bench startled me.  So I pushed myself and my timid ways away and engaged him in conversion. As I walked away I felt guilty…not for talking to him…but for NOT talking to all those people that are lonely and lost. It doesn’t HAVE to be a person in Wal-Mart…OR a homeless person, even though that’s a good thing. It could be that girl in school by herself in the corner…or an older person that’s struggling with their bags…or that little kid, swinging by themselves. These all have the same problem…God is waiting for YOU to make that out-of-the-box step. He wants you to be brave and help those people see Jesus through you. So to make this cool and exciting, I’m challenging you to do the “12 days of Christmas” challenge. Do Things that make other people feel the love of Jesus. And to help I’ve put together a list of ideas:

  • Make a Christmas card for an older person.
  • Buy coffee for a co-worker.
  • Make a point to write to your Aunt that you don’t see.
  • Ring bells for Salvation Army.
  • Work the soup kitchen this Christmas.
  • Comment on how wonderful someone’s kids are in the store.
  • Visit a nursing home. (Joyfully PLEASE!)
  • Ask a young mom to help with her kids sometime.
  • Sweep and mop a room your mom hates to do.
  • Make cookies (or buy) for someone who is not-so-festive.
  • Ask to help backstage for the children’s play.
  • Help a little one with “that super hard” math problem.

But of course please make your own list…these are just ideas. The main thing is to show JOY and JESUS when you do them. 1 John 4:7 says “Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. The person who loves has become God’s child and knows God.” If you have a relationship with Christ…YOU SHOULD SHOW IT!  When you help someone you are helping further the kingdom of God. Share this with your friends and ask them to do the challenge with you!

To the High School grad…

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To the High School grad,

Graduation is a mile stone, for sure. Ironically, today marks ten years since my own high school graduation. I know, it’s almost hilarious… But it got me to thinking….what would I say to myself ten years ago from my now-27-year-old self?

So here it is, graduates….my two-cents from my perspective. Learn from my mistakes and jump ahead of the game!

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You’re embarking on the journey of a lifetime. It will be thrilling. It will be amazing. It may even be scary at times. But your Guide will never be far away and He is orchestrating each leg of the road ahead. Three things I would say to you above all else:

1. Trust HIM. There will be days of heartache and pain and unexplained circumstances. This is life in our fallen, cursed world. No matter how difficult or rough the journey, remember that He is Faithful. He is worthy of your trust. He is capable of holding your heart…even when it is breaking. He is the only unchanging One and the only One Who will always be there, always be near, always smiling and singing over you. Trust Him. Fully. Freely. With all of yourself, trust Him.

2. Learn to say NO to things that don’t really matter. Say no to things that will bog you down and threaten your walk with Christ. Say NO to things that will clog your heart from the truth of God’s Word. Say NO to the things that aren’t God’s best for you. Often, the good things in life will keep you from the best, friend. Always reach for the best.

3. Never let your fearful NOs stand in the way of your impossibles for Jesus. That’s bad English, so let me translate: the biggest obstacles to doing great, impossible things for God is when we let fear get the best of us and say NO. Don’t say no to Him. It may look ridiculously impossible…but that’s His business. And quite frankly, He enjoys the impossible. I have found in my own life when I say NO it’s because of fear: fear or rejection by family and friends, fear of the unknowns, fear of the outcome, fear of failure, and on and on. Oh, Wow! I wish I could say I always said yes to Him…but sadly, I do not always follow obediently. Those choices are some of my most regretted. Yes, there is grace and forgiveness, but I just can’t help wondering what life would have been like if I would have said YES.

In short, SAY YES to Jesus. Always say yes to Jesus.

Life isn’t one giant leap after another…its small steps. So take each small step in His direction and amazing, impossible things will happen.

There will be thousands of things people say to you about these next few years of life…and to some degree, they may expect or even encourage you to throw wisdom out the door and “find yourself”, which really means “be selfish”. I’m saying the opposite. Dig in. Go deep with Jesus in these foundational years. It’s ok to be different than the world…to go against the flow for the sake of Christ. You have what it takes- I know that about you. You have determination, zeal and a love for life that will take you far if you use it for God’s glory.

Being radically in love with Him will change your heart AND everyone who comes in contact with you. John Wesley said, “Set yourself on fire with passion and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” I’m in agreement…so all that to say—Get on fire…for Jesus.

Today is the day, graduate. Get on fire!

Crazy Love

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Hosea and Gomer. I’ve always loved this story…not because it’s a happy fairytale, but because it’s not. It’s real. It’s human weakness and Supernatural love on display. The kind that only God can give.

Last week I purchased a copy of “For Such a Time As This” by Angie Smith. It’s a children’s book designed for little girls all about the women of the Bible. The illustrations are beautifully done by Breezy Brookshire and the writing style Angie uses is lovely.

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I settled in one afternoon on the couch with my eight-year-old sister to flip through the pages and read some stories to her. At page 120, I stopped. There they were. Hosea and Gomer. As I read the words aloud (well written, by the way, for a younger crowd) it struck me again. I’m in awe of this story.

Hosea is told to marry Gomer despite her checkered past. He does and he loves her. They have children, but Gomer’s old life pulls at her. She eventually leaves. But this is where it gets so unbelievable. Hosea’s love for Gomer is unreal. After all she does…her trickery, her lying, her cheating, her unfaithfulness…Hosea chooses to love her anyway.

My favorite part of this story is the end… Gomer winds up being sold into slavery. Dirty, penniless, and unable to help herself…she stands there on the selling block waiting for someone to buy her. Rejected. Broken. Unwanted. Hopeless. Her past is stained. Her future is bleak.

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Then a Jewish man steps up to bid. He buys Gomer and she looks up into the face of her master…and gasps. It is Hosea. Her Hosea. The one she was unfaithful to. The one she turned her back on for something worthless. He bought her back.

This is unconditional love. Crazy love.

At this point in the book, I am crying. I can’t hide my tears and my little sister is trying to figure out why I’m crying at a children’s book. My voice wobbles as I read the last few sentences. But it’s not a children’s story. This is my story.

This story is of Jesus rescuing me from myself. Loving me despite my flaws. Redeeming me though I am completely unworthy. Calling me consistently to Himself when my heart wanders. This is MY story.

Hosea 3:1-2
“Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods…So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley.”

Hosea and Gomer. Jesus and me. This is my story. Unconditional love for an undeserving girl….and I’m forever grateful to Him.

Who is Your Daddy?

By | Bible, Personal, Relationships, Suffering, Womanhood | One Comment

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1 (KJV)

One of my life passions is helping young women understand the depth of God’s love for them. Of course, humanly speaking, wrapping our minds around the limitless love of God is impossible. However, even if we catch a glimpse of that unconditional love He has for us, it completely transforms the way we see our Heavenly Father. It’s all about Who we belong to, girls!

I once saw a powerful 3 minute video clip by Pricilla Shirer that I want to share with you. (and if you can’t watch this video, you can read the words to it at www.goingbeyond.com/blog/who-do-you-belong/)

Every time I see this clip (and trust me, I’ve watched it a lot), I want to stand up and cheer for my Heavenly Daddy! The fact that this limitless Daddy chose to become Father to a limited girl like me… that is amazing! I’m in awe of that kind of love. That kind of grace overwhelms me. What mercy and kindness!

I’ve also noticed the more I focus on Him and Who He is, the more I see myself and my surroundings in a different light. When I am secure in His love, not much else matters, does it? It changes the way I see myself in the mirror in the morning. It changes the way I view the ministry He has set before me. It completely transforms the way I view big problems in life…because they’re not too big for Him.

I love seeing the first part of 1 John 3:1 in this way too… “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!…” (HCSB) We are!

We are His daughters! Princesses of King Jesus. Savor that incredible thought for a little while, gals. Dwell on it. Think about the power of that small sentence. You are His little girl.

You.    Are.    His.

Nothing can stop Him from loving you… “For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come , Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I want some feed back here, sisters. What are some of the amazing things you LOVE about Jesus? What makes your heart burst with thankfulness when you think of Him? I want the comment box here to flood with your praise of our amazing Heavenly Daddy. What are the characteristics you most appreciate about Him right now? So go ahead…click below and share.

Jonah and Me

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“Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3

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Years ago, I used to read those verses and think…what is this guy’s problem? Does he really think that he can run from the Lord? That was then. This is now…and NOW I have realized something: Jonah and me….we have this problem. We are in the same boat. Sometimes literally. I am quite sure that Jonah is somewhere in my family lineage way back. I’m just way too much like him to not be related.

You see, the more I walk with Jesus, the more I realize that He sometimes calls us to do uncomfortable things. Crazy things. Hard things. Ridiculous things. Awkward things. Radical things. Way-outside-our-box things. All for His glory.

That being said, I have a major confession to make. I have to tell you an inside story to a recent weekend event…

There is a wonderful sweet lady in my community named Pam, that I know and we have come to do ministry together. About a year ago, she came and asked me to speak at a womens conference. She wanted a “warm up speaker” for an annual Christian women’s event in February 2016 called Ladies Day Away.

I said NO.

She asked me again.

I said NO.

Third time is a charm, right? So she asked me again. I decided to get spiritual and say “I will pray about it”.

How many of you know that when you pray about something you better be ready to get the green light if He gives that as an answer? I fought with God. Actually, I FOUGHT WITH GOD. I argued. I pleaded. I tried to convince Him that I wasn’t the one. The more I begged, the more He gave me counsel through His Word that He wanted me. I felt stuck. I knew better than to say NO to God, but this is one of those times that I seriously debated jumping on a boat headed for Tarshish. Or one heading anywhere but speaking to this group in February 2016.

Jonah and me. We have issues.

Lots of conversations with my parents followed…they know me better than anyone, but most importantly, they know my Jesus and they could see the struggle in me. They prayed for me, with me, and encouraged me to obey and trust God for the details. I was stuck. Everywhere I turned I heard my name called. Every verse I turned to was telling me to go. Every song I heard was about obedience. Every voice was telling me to listen to my Heavenly Father. The sky seemed to spell out neon signs: “GO AND SPEAK”. I was caught…scared to death to disobey God’s leading and equally as frightened to walk in the path the Lord was asking me to.

Pam is a sweet and patient woman. She wouldn’t take NO for an answer. She kept telling me that she felt God wanted me to speak. She also asked me on several occasions: “do you ever feel like you have a whale on your tail?” I knew what she meant…she was calling me a Jonah. Wow, did she ever know me, or what?

Jonah and the whale became our standing joke. Whenever we talked about it, there was some sort of exchange about Jonah or a whale. Comments like “well, I don’t want to be swallowed by a whale” were common. We weren’t just laughing though, we knew it was serious business to disobey our all-powerful God.

I finally said YES. Reluctantly. I stood on the brink of the unknown feeling terrified to move forward, but even more scared to death to turn back. God wanted my submission…my obedience. He wanted all of me. My fearful heart. My uncertain future. My inabilities and corks. He wanted me…FULLY and FREELY. He wanted 100% of Faith Walker.

I have to tell you, once I said YES, it did feel better inside. Obedience always gives way to freedom, but don’t think for one moment that I felt like I was out of the woods. No ma’am. I was now only at the beginning of a very long road that I felt would surely lead to my death. Crazy how our imaginations run wild, isn’t it?

For months, every time I prepared part of my message to share…God would tell me it was all wrong. I would crumble the paper and start over. I would try again. Cram it in the trash. This went on for months.

In the mean time, God was dealing with my fears. I’ll be honest here and tell you that I am not a fan of public speaking. Hate is a strong word, but I might even use that word in conjunction with speaking. Speaking for Bible study sessions on video even nerve me up (little plug for our online Bible studies!). I’m totally serious. I’ve had meetings with three people that make me squirm. No joke. I’m just not the limelight-lover. So everything about this event made me want to throw up.

Added to that was the fact that the majority of these ladies would be moms and grandmas…neither one of which I am. Teen girls I get. Children, babies and toddlers I can handle. But women? Why does that make me worm in my seat? I honestly felt God had made a horrible mistake. Pam kept me well informed of the registration numbers coming in and every time I wanted to barf. I would go right to God and remind Him of what a mess I was going to make for Him in February if He didn’t do something.

So He did. Instead of fixing the event or letting me off the hook, He opened His Word one morning. It hit me between the eyes…or at gut level.

“The word of the Lord came to me: I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations. But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,”
for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord’s declaration.

“Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words. See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish,
to build and plant.”  Jeremiah 1:4-10 (HCSB)

HE was speaking in February. I was just the mouth piece with which He was going to do it through. And who was I to question His abilities to use a weak, young, blubbering, scared-to-death girl from a little town in Southern Michigan to complete His work? I kept thinking about Jonah.

Jonah and me have doubting problems. We have better ideas. More qualified friends. We have more comfortable plans for our future. Ones that don’t involve dangerous or unpleasant things. Like telling others about Jesus when they don’t want to hear about it…forget that they are facing judgment…Jonah and me value our safety!

Time and again, God convicted me of my UNBELIEF. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith (no pun intended). He is my soul’s Anchor and the King of kings. He is Creator of all and Keeper of eternity. Why do I doubt His ability to use a fragile person…when He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and has breathed the stars into existence?

I have a puny view of God…so I view impossible situations like that- impossible. Forgetting that my Jesus is the God of the impossible. The Lord of everything. He is Love. He is Life. And He is the Writer of my life story…how dare I grab the pen and tell Him He is writing it all wrong?

The day arrived and I could feel a peaceful rest fall on me. Inside I felt waves of nervousness and uncertainty, but each time I felt incompetent, I reminded myself that this was His ball game…I was just along for the ride! There were dozens of prayer warriors scattered across the United States praying for me. I read the two passages of Scripture that God had given me over and over, quieting my turbulent heart. The section in Jeremiah and also a part in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:

“For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

I prayed as I’ve never prayed before. Putting on the headset microphone and staring at the stage, I thought…this has got to be a dream (or a nightmare!). Jonah and me. I told you we have trust issues. I kept hearing God’s voice…asking me to lean like I had never leaned before. They announced my name. One foot in front of the other, Faith. Just don’t barf. 20 minutes and it will be over. I stepped foot on the platform…and a miracle happened. All fear vanished. All the butterflies in my stomach, the shaky hands, the dry mouth, GONE. So this is what it means to ride with Jesus!? I’m all in.

After I spoke that Saturday, I felt filled to the brim with joy unspeakable. Obedience does that, doesn’t it? It makes us full as we follow the path of Jesus, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may seem at the time. I was standing at our Polished Cornerstones booth during one of the first breaks in the conference when lovely Miss Pam walked up. She was holding a box. “This is for you darlin!” She handed it to me. It was heavy and I was curious. As I unwrapped the paper, I smiled.

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There in all the tissue, was a beautiful glass whale. I laughed. Then I teared up. I’ve been given a lot of gifts over the years, but few have meant as much to me as this little glass whale. Why? Because it has a story. A story that beckons me to follow Jesus…or else. Jonah and me…we sometimes learn the hard way.

What about you, friend? Has God called you to do something dangerous or uncomfortable and you’re looking for a boat to Tarshish? Take it from someone who is a fellow whale-on-the-tail gal…He will not call you and then leave you unequipped. He will give you exactly what you need at the precise moment you need it (and probably not a moment sooner!). Why? Because He loves using weak people to showcase His glory! Your inabilities are a beautiful way for Him to shine through you! Riding with Jesus is always an adventure, friend. Why not say, YES…and then watch Him show up in a bigger way than you’ve ever imagined? You can do ALL THINGS through HIM who strengthens you!

I’ve had people ask me, will I speak again? I laugh…nervously. Can I be honest? I still feel like Jonah. If God asked me to stand on a stage again and speak to 400 women I would feel like running for Joppa (to find a ship to Tarshish) AND throwing up. That’s my knee-jerk reaction. Just because I’ve obeyed once doesn’t mean I will jump into speaking engagements or other uncomfortable situations every time God brings one around. No ma’am. I will be slow and deliberate and caucious. Really…because I KNOW that if Jesus isn’t in it, it will be a miserable failure. I’m not a public speaker. I’m just a child (along with Jeremiah), I’m a coward at times (like Gideon), I’m broken and scared (like Moses), and I’m for sure a runner (like Jonah). So…to answer that question: I hope that by God’s grace I will answer YES to whatever opportunities God asks me to fulfill. God doesn’t need my confidence, He just wants my obedience.

For all the uncertainty and fear and unknowns, it was a great day. I had fun. I learned a lot. I had many wonderful conversations. Actually, come to think of it and to quote my ever-smart mother, “we had a whale of a good time”!

Are You Coexisting?

By | Bible, Personal, Studying Scripture | No Comments

     Last spring, my husband and I were both shocked to find out that we had a snake infestation at our house. Now to some it would just be a little problem, but both of us hate snakes and are deathly afraid of them. I cannot stand to see pictures of them, think of them, see them, and for sure be tourchered by them being right outside my door. When I see them, I try to chop their heads off as soon as I can so they will never be back (I’m sorry if anyone really loves snakes). What is it for you? Spiders, mice, bugs? I consider these things to be vermin. When I see them, I want to get rid of them. Not in a year, or a month, or a day; now!

 

     Here’s the thing though, if we are so ready to clean the filth out of our physical lives, why do we take our sweet time with clearing out the filth in our spiritual lives. Instead, we find ways to partially get rid of the filth. Then, when God is done convicting us about it, we let it slide right back into our house with us. Eventually, it becomes our “secret best friend.” God sees our sin as disgusting, abhorring, much worse than vermin. So why do we not see it like this? What is holding us back from reality? We look at gossip, envy, lying, strife, hatred, you fill in what fits for your life __________ and say, “It’s okay, it’s not really that bad.” If we stop ourselves and search the scriptures, we will come away wanting to chop the head right off those sins. James 1:26 says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” Wow! Does that hit close to home? That does not make it sound like it is just okay and it’s not too bad. Galatians 5: 16-21 says, “16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (My emphasis added in bold) Let that last part of the passage sink into your heart. I know you do not fit that whole list! You are probably similar to me and struggle with what we call the “church sins” or “Christian sins.” But when I stop myself and really let that passage sink in, God’s Word tears at my heart. I want to inherit the Kingdom of God! I want to live my life to serve Him as best as I can! I know that I cannot do it with those huge, ugly, sickening “Christian sins” holding me back!


     Go, search the scriptures. Whatever it is that you are holding over Christ and giving Him full control of your life, go see what His Word has to say about that. Let Him speak to your heart and life. Stop looking at sin as okay or not that bad! It is why God the Father sent His precious and only Son to die on the cross! He went to pay the punishment for my sin and yours! Let’s do all that we can to rid our lives of the vermin. Chop their heads off as soon as possible. Think of your (physical-snakes) vermin. Would you want it to stay around and get bigger or would you want to get rid of it as soon as you possibly could? “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” (Phil. 3:10) He is not dead. There is power in His resurrection and it’s there for you to use. He did not defeat death and the grave in vain. Call on Him now and ask Him for His power in your life in ridding yourself of the vermin that wants to destroy.

Beautifully Different

By | Bible, Personal, Studying Scripture, Testimonies, Uncategorized, Womanhood | No Comments

“But do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may be prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2, NKJV (emphasis mine)

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Let’s face it girls. We all like to be “in the club”. No one likes to be the odd ball…to stick out or be different than the crowd. We are a culture of sameness. People don’t want to stand out. We all want to blend into our favorite click and be like everybody else. We want to look like, talk like, and be like whatever person is currently the image. We enjoy our clicks.

It’s sad really. We feel like if we can hide in the sea of normality that it’s better for us. It’s safer. Less dangerous.

Now I’m not a Bible scholar…but I do love the Word of God. It is hope and healing and redemption when our world is painfully short of these things. I’ve found my only solace in the pages of Scripture and in this amazing JESUS I’ve come to know and love…but…nowhere in the Bible can I find where God tells us to fit in. Actually I find the complete opposite.

Now before you click off this page and start looking for something else to read, let me give you some clarification here. I’m NOT saying that you need to purposely go in every opposite direction that the crowd is going. I’m NOT saying you need to dress wild and weird just because you want to be different. I’m NOT encouraging you to be rebellious or to act strange and justify it according to Scripture. What I am talking about here is the heart…and that will affect every area of your life.

You see, being a Christian is more than going to church and having John 3:16 memorized…and those are wonderful things. Being a Christian means you are a “Christ-follower” and that means you are to be set apart for His purposes. Jesus repeatedly tells you and I in Scripture to “take up your cross and follow Me”. Crosses are heavy. They are abnormal. If you carry a cross you are definitely different from the average Joe. Who wants to be uncomfortable, right? We’re all about being cozy…and carrying a cross is everything BUT cozy.

I was thinking about this whole concept of fitting in one day as I was driving to a meeting. The topic of standing up, standing alone and standing out was rolling around in my mind. It’s something that I deal with on a personal level but also as I talk to young ladies everywhere. It’s a common thread in all circles…fitting in is just the thing to do, or at least try to do.

I take the back roads when I’m going places because I Iove this beautiful time of year. As I turned one corner on this particular morning, I noticed that a corn field had recently been harvested and a fence row of trees now stood in full view. My jaw dropped open. I stopped my car.

There in front of me was a huge row of brown, crusty trees, dead from the autumn wind and mostly barren of leaves. Directly in the center was a big, beautiful tree in full color. It stared at me. It was so different from the others. So beautiful. It seemed to beckon me.

Sitting there on the side of the road, it was as if God spoke to my heart as I stared in disbelief at the beautiful sight.

Being different for the right reasons can be incredibly beautiful.

I sat there and thanked God for a word picture. (I really need those sometimes!) Suddenly, being different didn’t look so scary or weird…it looked beautifully alive and strangely wonderful. You see, our lives are to be so radically different that it beckons our dying world to take a look at our JESUS! We should look different so that those we come in contact with cannot help but hunger for the Bread of Life. We should make people thirst for the Living Water as we live purposely set apart.

When we follow Jesus fully, our lives are different…but they are beautifully so.

What does that look like…to be set apart from the world. We want to be in the world, but not of it….so (practically speaking) what does that look like?

Let me ask you- does your facebook look any different than your non Christian friends? Is it selfie-focused or others-oriented? No…I’m not saying you can only post Bible verses and sermon videos! I’m saying…does it speak of your different-ness? What about presenting an accurate picture of who you are…not always making your life seem like a fairy tale and stretching the truth to seem more glamorous. Everybody knows it’s not girls, you live in a broken world like the rest of us…so just be honest. If you don’t have something nice to say on there…don’t say anything! Do you partake in gossip and slanderous talk or do you speak with kindness and make them wonder about your JESUS?

What about your speech? Do you talk with the same language that everyone else uses? Do you refrain from profanity, or do you struggle to not fit in…so maybe you curse sometimes to be cool?

Do you do things and go places that you know you shouldn’t, but it just feels awkward to go against the flow so you do it anyway?

Do you only choose to befriend people who are like you or do you have lots of age groups and personalities in your circles? Look at people through Jesus’s eyes…It’s different, but it’s beautiful.

What about the way you look…the way you carry yourself…your attitude…how you treat your parents and siblings…what activities you spend your free time on? Being different is our call to bring others to the Cross…because let’s get real…who wants to follow Jesus when there’s nothing different about His followers?

I think about that big, bold and beautiful autumn tree a lot. That’s what I want to look like. I’m a tree…a person like everyone else…but what’s inside of me is what changes how I look, act and speak. I do stick out from some of my fellow trees…but I hope and pray it’s the kind of difference that makes people long for my JESUS. I want my life to beckon others to look toward the God of the universe and be willing to follow Him as well. I want to be Beautifully Different.

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What about you? I’d love to hear from you, friend. What are some ways you can be Beautifully Different and reflect JESUS in your daily life? Leave your comments below or shoot me an email!