Praying Mondays: Feeling Loved

I woke up to the sound of the garbage truck at five a.m. knowing our cans were not at the curb. Trying to push back annoyance and sleep the last few minutes of desperately needed rest, I settled into a dream that has been reoccurring for me. It is a dream that I am just sobbing because I missed going to the Sweet Valley Cottages. Everyone is going but I have to stay here. We did not go this September and that sweet place for me is a quiet peaceful retreat that I LONG for. I must long for that kind of pushing back all the bad news, busy schedules, looming deadlines, messy house, meal times, bills and homework kind of PEACE.

That.kind.of.nothing.but quiet.for.four.days.peace.

The alarm went off. I had already heard the dogs waking and coming, they know it is time and they are bedside the moment before the beeping starts. I have to practically leap over 170 lbs of dog to start my day. This day, with a migraine, a full schedule and weary to start kinda day with a longing that played out in my dreams now lingering deep in my spirit. HOW.DO.THEY.DO.IT?? How do all the others manage to keep pushing on and on and stay rested and at peace? I stopped questions running in my head, gripped my stiff fingers around my hot cup and cried from the inside out.

“Father, I just need a hug”

“I just need you, some how in all this, Your presence. Your Peace.”

I opened up my Blessing book to the day I that came next…Day 36 Love. The tears ran real softly over dark circles and that longing burst into desperation. YES. I need to “FEEL” loved. IN this day…all day…and tomorrow too…Loved.

Stephanie, your Father made you beautiful and beloved. I bless you with receiving the Father-heart of God His matchless love for you. His love revealed in you is a gold mine of identity and legitimacy from which to live out your birthright confidently and purposefully. I bless you with the belonging, inclusion,  and worth that His love nurtures in you. I bless you with being convinced deep in your spirit that nothing in heaven, earth, or hell can separate you from your Father’s love. I bless you with knowing that nothing in your past, present, or future can take His love from you. I bless you with being sure of His love in your fears and worries, in your problems and pain, in good times and bad. He promises that because of His love, His power, and His blessing upon you, He causes pain and negative things to be transformed into good, and I bless you with deeply abiding in that truth. (Gunter pp94)

So breathe deep friend. Inhale love so you can exhale joy.

        As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love… These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:9,11 ESV)

Abide in HIS love…JOY may be FULL.

I want to feel this. Not just know it in my head but feel in deeply and STAY there. The longing to be filled and I get to know JOY. In all of this JOY.

Jesus, I come to you fumbling with this precious promise of Joy and Love not knowing how to abide. Teach me. I confess that I am willful of self and try to hang on to survive, when letting go is really this only way to LIVE. Help me let go. Help me know and feel you in me…The Father’s LOVE in me. Until I feel, let me simple believe. Because with Faith, I have Hope and with Hope there is Love. Break down all the self protecting walls and help me feel. Even if I have to know grief of loss before love. I want You. I know and believe that You are faithful and hear my cry…my longing after You. Thank you…is not enough. May today be a song of worship pleasing to your ears…All because Jesus made a way to You!! In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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Praying Mondays: Paralyzed Spirit. Wake. UP.

Someday along this journey of your life you.WAKE.UP. With groggy mind and heavy eyes you wake and look around at your life. The fog with the depth of sleep hangs fuzzy over everything. You had fallen asleep, something had lulled your spirit into a deep paralyzing coma. Yet now, with eyes adjusting to the blurry reality you LIVE.IN. Something woke your spirit up. Maybe it was a Word. The Word. In power whispering your name, “wake UP!! My child, wake up!”. Eyes open you start taking.it.all.in. The Light illuminates the dark and you start to see the Truth about YOU, your life, your past, your people, your church…everything that was once hum-ho-ing endless in a dream, maybe even a nightmare, is taking shape in the light. It all looks different. At that moment you start thinking, how long have I been asleep in the dark? What put me to sleep and why. Your spirit wakes and starts crying out…for the Truth, for food, for the Way. The Holy Spirit searches and reveals. Christ attends and feeds. You start to strengthen as you have to re-learn EVERYTHING in the Light.

If this has not happened to you. Ask God to breath life in your spirit and wake.you.up.

If you are awake and the fog is heavy and you still feel like sleeping. Ask Christ to whisper His Truth and Light to lift the fog.

Get ready to be KNOCKED off your rocker!! Reality CHECKS are painful but most beneficial!!

I am awake. Wide awake. My eyes are adjusting more and more to the light. I see depravity and brokenness. I see what steals peace and I see sin for what.it.is. I see how the Enemy “programs” are minds as just babies to be paralyzed in fear. Then out of fear we struggle to survive and use manipulation to get what we need. It starts young while brains are still forming. Pathways are burned into the brain and we sleep in the dark in automatic Pilate wrapped in sin and talking in our sleep passing what we believe to all who are near us. We pass on fear in the name of life…If we die in that state, we exist in death for eternity. It doesn’t matter how much we say the name ‘Jesus’ and do things in His name…if our spirits are in sin, we are dead. The Breath of Life came to overcome Death itself and with breathe of new LIFE into your spirit and retrain.your.brain. NO more fear. NO more lies. NO more sleeping in a dark nightmare. There will be struggle. There will be pain. There will be great resistance to keep you in the dark and your mind captive to fear. But our GOD is BIGGER. STRONGER. BETTER.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

I beg you to wake up. I beg you to start praying over your spirit the Way. TRUTH. LIFE. and if you don’t have the strength or the words…have someone start praying over you. Everyday. Pray. LIFE. Retraining take time…repetition…dedication…You will like how your are programmed to live.

        For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:13-21 ESV)

Here are some tools I use to pray…over and over….pray.

ESVSB-in-Jerusalem PGW PJB blessing_your_spirit_book

Praying Mondays: The Underdog

I have not only been ‘benched’ but I was booted off the team. I tried out, made the team and then it was decided that I just could not do it. When you hear your Father say “Try out…I AM SUFFICIENT in your weakness…YOU are able to do ALL things according to the GRACE I give.” and it is risky but you take leaps. Leaps of faith that seem crazy but in all the crazy there is peace and open doors. There are yes’ where there should be no and YOU make the team!! Then just as you are thrown into the game, they bench you and then you get booted off the team entirely.

It is devastating.

It is confusing.

It is derailing.

It is exhausting.

It is sad. Very sad.

After all the hard work to uproot and move to be a team player…they decide. That’s that. They say “You CAN”T” to the Father’s “We CAN”!! Is their ‘no’ bigger than His yes??? Did I hear His voice wrong?? That’s the moment. The critical moment when you decide…throw in the towel completely to secure safety or become the underdog. You know the countless stories were an unknown hero hears his/her ‘yes’ and everyone else says they can not, will not accomplish it. There is that moment, that choice everyone can choose who they are going to believe…The ONE yes…or countless NOs. That moment when they choose to get up and keep taking steps toward His yes or give.up. Choosing that one Yes is choosing the One True God that NOTHING can stand against.

That One YES is from the God of the Underdogs….Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rehab, Esther, Job, Gideon, Jonah, David, Mary …..JESUS. What if they took NO for an answer. What if they took Fear’s no and quit. What is they listened to all the reasons they can not do it. What if they did not take His YES as the Truth. Believing His Yes takes faith, not heroics. I believe He takes much pleasure in the Underdog. He reveals MUCH glory in their overcoming GREAT odds in His strength.

So if you have been ‘benched’ or ‘booted’ know that at any moment you can keep pursuing God’s call on your life. His Yes is HIS WILL and it WILL be accomplished. So I am an UNDERDOG…and I trust His YES…taking steps in Faith…FACING all the nos and choosing NOT to believe them.

Underdog Blessing:

I bless you with HIS yes over your life.

I bless you with knowing the Truth and being SET free from all the Nos.

I bless you with peace in the uncertainty.

I bless you with His grace sufficient in all things.

I bless you with life-giving people who will believe in God’s Yes.

I bless you with taking another step.

I bless you with forgiveness in place of bitterness.

I bless you with the Spirit’s guidance whispering ‘Go this way or that way’

I bless you with failing without being a failure.

I bless you with many opportunities to overcome in weakness that reveal His strength.

I bless you with no depending on your own understanding, but in ALL your ways acknowledge HIM.

I bless you with peace beyond your understanding, your heart and mind guarded in the name of Jesus. AMEN.

Praying Mondays: Remain

It has been sometime since I have come to put words to thoughts on virtual pages. Life has picked up to such a speed that I gasp for Breath to sustain and utter the Word in hopes that they alone are enough to keep me upright! I thought and wrestled daily with hearing God’s voice. Wrestled with KNOWING His will for ME. That seemed selfish yet deeply selfless because there is no SELF in God…there is US…there is three-in-one. SO knowing HIM means knowing US. I longed to let go long enough of protecting myself and grasping His will for US. I thought that was hard. Hours of waiting, praying and pouring over the Word.

Part of knowing His will, His design, His way was distinguishing between Him and me. I sifted through my life and acknowledged all the things I thought and felt that seemed true but were mere lies. Sifting through lies was hard. There were a lot of tears and grief as I looked at reality for what.it.was. That was hard. Then it happened, I was brought into the light, the glorious light of HIS presence and my new existence as HIS child. That was WORTH all the hard. Every painful step, worth it.

Now?!?! I hear His will, His calling and I am following. In the light I thought it would just be victory and joy…and that’s that. Only God did not take me right off this earth and plant me in heaven to enjoy Him presence and love FOREVER. No, I am here...purposely here for a work. And guess what, work is hard. Remaining here on this earth means looking at death and decay and that is painful. It means plucking up weeds and slaying dragons…that is really hard. SO how, how can I DO all this…now being in the light seems more unsafe and harder than being in the dark afraid. THIS place demands courage and strength…something I lack much of. This is hard. Very hard. I do not think until the returning and plucking and recreating earth it will get ANY easier. That leaves me here in the hard to just DO what He calls me to DO and I want something HE promised through it all…JOY.

“Be blessed with living worthy of the Lord, honoring and pleasing your Father always by the way you live. Be blessed with heavenly desires to continually do good things for others out of the well-spring of the Spirit. You were created in Christ Jesus for particular purposes, which God prepared in advance for you. Jesus, the True Vine, says to you, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. This is to my Father‘s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that remains” (John 15:4,8,16).” (The Father’s Business Devotional)

As I remain here in the dark decay of selfish prideful death on earth, I have to remain in HIM to have LIFE. I have to obey His will and REMAIN in His love. Every time I see a wall so big, a army so mighty…remain…Every time Fear comes to choke life and love right out of my person…remain…Every time the waves come unrelenting and I am struggling to breath…REMAIN…Because remaining is Breath, Victory, Love, Truth and a POWER that OVERCOMES death. The best part for me in this place of hard pressing on in the fight is that I can actually have JOY in it.

May you be blessed with knowing His will for YOU.

May you be blessed with seeing His way.

May you be blessed with obeying His call.

May you be blessed with deliverance from yourself.

May you be blessed with deliverance from your enemies.

May you be blessed with KNOWING His love FOR you.

May you be blessed with REMAINING in His love.

May you be blessed with JOY.

Listen to Colossians 1:11. “…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully…”

     Be strengthened with His glorious power, so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need with joy. Be blessed with three-fold staying power in time of distress: strength, power, might from Him, by His glory and for His glory. Deeply know your God so that you will be strong and do great exploits. 

      Be blessed with inexpressible joy imparted by the Holy Spirit, not depending on circumstances. Positively invest in this season of preparation for whatever God is preparing, enduring with joy, not knowing what God is up to. 
Pay the price to do the daily spiritual disciplines required. Be blessed with great forward-looking vision to withstand present pressure of birthing pains for the joy set before you. 
     
       Listen to Colossians 1:12-13. “… giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…”
 
       Your Father allowed you to inherit all covenant blessings that belong to His holy people who live in His kingdom of light. You have a rich and glorious inheritance as His child. You are blessed with light so that you can understand the wonderful future He has promised you.
 
      In Christ you have authority over the power of darkness. Be blessed with the eyes of your heart being enlightened to know your Father‘s incredibly great power for you, the working of his mighty strength that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand. He is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given in this present age. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body. (The Father’s Business Colossians 1:9-13)
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Vows Spoken Lived Not Broken

This day 15 years ago I woke in wonder…everything buzzed around me but it was as if life had slowed to a crawl. It was REALLY happening that very hot and humid day late July…I am to marry. For the first time sitting in the wing back chair of my parents, I felt beautiful. The first time.ever. that I can remember actually feeling beauty. Nothing but pure joy and anticipation filled me that day…that forever long morning of not seeing him and getting ready. I was surrounded by friends and family but only could think of ONE. The One that chose me. The One who would vow in sickness and health, for richer or poorer…until death…vow to stay with me.

The full reality of those vows that were mere words of tradition knitted into a ceremony that would end with a shared last name became words knitted into the fabric of our lives as we faced.each.one and chose to remain.ONE.

I, Stephanie, take you Jeffery, to be my wedded husband

to have and to hold from this day forward

for better for worse

for richer for poorer

in sickness and in health

to love and to cherish

’til death do us part: according to God’s holy ordinance

and thereto I pledge you my love and faithfulness.

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As we had to choose to remain in the thick of ugly…selfishness…doubt…fear and life just being that hard…Something happened…We made those vows in ignorant bliss and lived them in painful reality…and what were mere good intentions became a deep well of life giving beauty…a love tried and true. Keeping…standing…staying…even though…even IF…choosing to keep a vow even if it was just that, keeping your word…transform naive innocent dreams into deep intimate reality…each year deeper…each year more beautiful.

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Honestly in ourselves saying words just is not enough for how good.it.is. There is something greater at work. A vow made to love…cherish…and stay with us by the Giver Of Life…the King of Kings…The Lover of our Souls…before the world was made. That VOW preceded all vows to abide and makes it possible to overcome, withstand and stay true. He MAKES beautiful things…He makes us beautiful!! Thank You Jesus for making a way for US to enter into the greatest love and deepest intimacy of the Trinity…without it we would be broken, vows just words impossible to keep and we simply dust.

1218I take you Jeffrey, to be my husband, loving you now and as you grow and develop into all that God intends. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart; when our lives are at peace and when they are in turmoil; when I am proud of you and when I am disappointed in you; in times of rest and in times of work. I will honor your goals and dreams and help you to fulfill them. From the depth of my being, I will seek to be open and honest with you. I say these things believing that God is in the midst of them all.

Feeding False Hope

I woke up this morning thinking…I.have.so.much.to.learn. This thought was not cloaked in shame yet there was an urgency. What if I know too little. What if there are still too many lies imbedded deep in the dark and the light has not yet exposed them…What if I stumble over false hope, again. What if I do not see as clearly as I ‘think’ and am led into battle armed with false saviors and am exposed to darts that will open scarred wounds…What.If. Fear knocked at my hearts door. I grabbed His Word and leaned with all my might up against that door.

What I ‘see’ physically…here…there…is false hope…People believe and fail…fall…I ‘see’ darkness everywhere…people teaching freedom while still in chains. People leading the blind blinded. People teaching the promised land while living in the desert.  People proclaiming beauty while covered in dirt and rags. People praising in word and cursing in deed….What if I am one of those people…What.If.

False Hope

What if all the ‘what ifs’ end up true. Where would that leave me. Where would that leave us…I humble and simply listen…

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

(Romans 8:1-11 ESV)

IN FACT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLS IN YOU…

Not hopefully…not maybe…not only if…not what if…IN FACT the SPIRIT of GOD.IN.ME.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can set itself up against THE TRUTH.

CHRIST.IN.ME.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:23-28 ESV)

The SPIRIT intercedes.

I groan. I hope. I wait.

GOD works together for good ALL THINGS.

That is another TRUTH, nothing can set itself against it. NOTHING. ALL THINGS.GOOD.

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

IN ALL THINGS. CONQUERORS. THROUGH HIM. TRUTH.

So for me and all my ‘what ifs’…all things God will work for good…the BIG. the BAD. the UGLY. ANYTHING.EVERYTHING.WORKFORGOOD.

That is His Word. That is TRUTH. That is my HOPE.

So how. How do I keep from feeding false hope. To myself. To others. To them?!?

Feed on TRUTH. Christ in me, my HOPE and GLORY. Christ the Word in ME!! The WORD is always TRUE!! True HOPE.

Shame is NOT Truth.

Guilt is NOT Truth. IN Christ NO GUILT. PAID in FULL…Truth SETS you FREE.

Fear IS NOT in Love…NOT Truth…Worries, NOT true.

Feed the spirit…True Hope.

Feed the flesh…True Despair.

Flesh=False

Spirit=Truth

May the Spirit intercede…interrupt…intertwine…IN me, through me…TRUTH…So I can feed True HOPE to others.

His WORD.FEED. HIS CHARACTER. FEED.True HOPE in Me.

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Praying Mondays: Identity

Who ARE you? Who does the world say you are? Who does GOD say YOU are? HOW DO THEY DIFFER???

Identity: the fact of who one is

Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals

Identify: establish or indicate who or what someone is; associate closely with; regard someone as having strong links with

Satan seeks to distort, distract and destroy what God intended for good rendering lives unfruitful and lacking in true victory and fulfillment that is GUARENTEED us as God’s children.

  1. Secrecy
  2. Shame
  3. Denial
  4. Distortion of Scriptures

We are BOUND, in bondage, if any of these things exist in us…living in a fallen world we believe the lies and they end up shaping our identity….

Sin: deviation from the truth, aberration: a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected

Do you know what God PROMISES is yours in Christ Jesus?? Often between knowing and believing there is a gap too big for us to cross…Christ came to bridge that gap…the gap from knowing but remaining in bondage and believing the TRUTH and being set free!!

Lets seek to enter into that PROMISED land that is ours…here…now!!

Is there a place in your life that you would like to bridge the gap into victory? Are there ideas or ideals that you believe that are NOT God’s design for you? The only way to know is to ASK HIM! He is the LIGHT, THE WAY, and THE TRUTH…and will show YOU!!

Galations 5:13-26

Praying over your Identity as God’s Child….

__________, even as the foundations of the earth were being set into place, Your Father purposed you to exist. Great thought and care was intentioned as He positioned you in the family and time you were born. The way you look, your personality, the natural gifts and talents were all chosen just for you. What the Enemy tries to steal and destroy within your past and present, Your Father purposes to transform into good. He has foreseen your pain and struggle as you wrestle with the hard parts of who you’ve become in this fallen world and longs to create beauty from ashes.

___________, I call your spirit to attention to hear God’s word for you. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)

May your spirit, __________, bless the LORD, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your sin, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(Psalm 103:2-5) I pray that you see what kind of love the Father has given to you, that you should be called His child; because that is WHO you are. The reason why the world does not know who you are is that ‘it’ does not know Him and His purpose and design for you. Beloved, you are God’s child now, and what you will be has not yet been completed; but know that when He appears you shall be like Jesus, because you see him as he is. And as you hope in Him you are purified as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 ESV) ___________, your world needs you. Your family needs you. I bless you with full knowledge of God’s design for you. I bless you with seeing what you believe that is NOT in God’s design for you! I bless you with a spirit of surrender as you put you hope in Him, that you may benefit from the riches of your inheritance as His child, as a co-heir with Jesus.  Pray with David, a man after God’s own heart: Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.(Psalm 51:7-12 ESV)

In Jesus Name I pray!! Amen.