Monday, December 5, 2011

There is More that I require of You ( Part 1)

Psalms 63:8 “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You…” (AMP)

Deuteronomy 13:3-4 “….God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love him with everything you have in you. You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life!” (MSG)

“I DON’T WANT TO!” With pouted lips and arms folded (figuratively speaking) I reverted back to the bratty little girl I once was (and still am at times!) This selfish and rebellious reaction was the attitude I took when the Lord started speaking to me and asking me to move into obedience. God interrupted me in the midst of my being consumed in my problems, worried about my unmet desires and manipulating situations for selfish gain (Guilty!). I was more focused on living a life I so desperately wanted, not really paying attention to what God wanted for me. As I went about my daily mundane tasks: laundry, washing dishes, checking email, preparing for my work day, etc. God began to audibly (admittedly a bit scary) begin to start telling me what he wanted me to do. Over the course of 2 ½ months he began to ask a whole lot from me that I didn’t necessarily understand, had never thought about and flat out didn’t want to do!  We are talking RADICAL OBEDIENCE! Something I never had felt moved to do. I figured I was doing just fine obeying “most” of what the Bible instructed and being “Christlike” as often as possible, surely that was enough, right?! 

One of the things he told me while I was doing laundry was to “start writing devotionals”, Write?? something I NEVER had done and more importantly never had a desire to do (At one point I started to write a memoir and gave up after 3; however here I am on this blog writing devotionals and sharing my life journey :)
STILL God was calling me to do more and so naturally my doubt and insecurities began to set in: “I can’t”, “I’m not qualified”, “I’m not worthy”, “What’s the point?”, “What will my friends think?”, “I’ve made too many mistakes”, “They won’t like me anymore”..Should I go on?? I think you get the point! For all my doubts and questions God’s answer continued to be the same “JUST DO IT” (his voice was getting sterner..ouch!) He was clearly not playing with me so I figured I better quit playing with him..

“Reach out to a friend”

I knew God had given me a gift of encouragement but I didn’t always exercise it. At the time God was calling me to connect, encourage and share more of Christ with a close friend that was hurting; I myself was in a “not so good” place. I was caught up in frustrations at work, fretting about my finances and future, struggling with my weight and tangled up in worry about a relationship that was not working out the way I had hoped. I needed encouragement, how dare God ask me to set aside my feelings to focus on ministering to someone else? I figured I would at least make the attempt to follow what God was calling me to do, so I started small : forwarding an online devotional here and there; a little conversation over dinner; suggestions to “pray about it”, basically run of the mill encouragement. 

I felt I simply could not be bothered with taking her (or anyone else’s) pain full on but I knew God was not pleased with my half hearted answer to his call. Until one night she called me, at the time I was balled on the couch full of tears once again consumed in my “issues” and while I didn’t realize it, I too was sinking into a pit of depression. I answered. She shared. I listened. I shared. Our pain was the same. Three hours of talk time later I now knew it was time to press in. So the journey began: sharing sermon notes; attending church together; supportive emails and phone calls; praying for each other; sharing of testimonies; her finding her own church and both of us seeking God like never before. And in the midst of that I discovered the most unexpected blessing. While I was called to encourage her I began to become encouraged by her! The chains from my bondages were being broken, shame from my sins was released and I began to be lifted out of my own pit that I had tried so hard to hide from others. The truth was that while I appeared to “have it all together”, I didn’t, I knew it and didn’t want many people to know. I was full of pain from a father who has absent, broken relationships, bad decisions and a slew of insecurities. God knew best. So he used this call, this connection, and this journey with my sweet friend to move me from being a regular “church girl” to a bold, fearless, authentic believer, worshipper and seeker of Christ. He had called me to help her so he could help me! WOW!

The journey with my beloved friend still continues. She is in such a great place I get so happy in the Lord (I could run laps!) when I see the joy and light that has returned to her life. The other day we were talking and I mentioned having one of my “bad days”, feeling a certain situation wasn’t turning around the way I desired and perhaps that my last couple of months of obedience and seeking hard after God was somehow in vain.  She said “Not true, if for nothing, I’m not sure how I could have survived these last couple months without you”. HUMBLED. It was with those sweet words God impressed upon my heart “It’s not about you!” We have to allow God to use us in whatever way to encourage, uplift and inspire others for HIS GLORY. That’s my calling. I’m now totally surrendered to his will, his way, his heart and his plan for my life. 
As I was writing this post I listened to a song “YES” by Shekinah Glory. The song comes from the heart of God and the lyrics are very relevant to my story: “There is more that I require of you, will your heart and soul yes? If I tell you what I really need, will your heart and soul say yes?”

God requires more of us. Will you say yes?

There was still MORE he was asking of me and I had to say yes. I will share in my next posts

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Psalms 31: 7, 17 “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction, You have taken note of my life's distresses…Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, or disappointed, for I am calling upon You..”

Going through difficult seasons in life can leave us feeling in despair, confused and hopeless. Sometimes life difficulties last longer than we anticipated and seem like they will never end. To the person who has abruptly lost their job the “unemployed season” brings feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and doubt. During a “sickness season” your body as well as your mind is gripped with pain, drained and overwhelmed.  In the “loneliness season”, the heart is often left reeling from the sting of rejection and abandonment, in search of comfort and desperate for a sense of belonging. These seasons do test our faith, are no doubt difficult to manage and at times too much to handle! While we would all love to live a drama free life, the reality is that LIFE HAPPENS and we are challenged to push through. 

This Psalms is a refreshing reminder that God is fully aware of our afflictions and life distresses (v.7). Knowing that he sees what were going through is really enough to give us peace! The word already confirms for us that he has a plan for our life (Jer 29:11), he’ll never leave or forsake us (Joshua 1:5), that joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5) and that he is a GOOD God! 
God has the power to ease our burdens, lighten our load and free us from our pain. We must believe that he will not “disappoint us or put us to shame“(v.17) So, when we find ourselves in the midst of these “seasons” we should do as the psalmist instructs: REJOICE! We should release the sound of praise, a sound that is full of hope and love should flow out of us in the midst of our challenges, knowing that our God has already given us the victory. While you are going through life challenges, focus on the God that sees and acknowledges your pain. Then start to REJOICE and PRAISE him in the midst of it all, declaring his goodness, love and mercy and trusting he has the power to lift you out of your circumstance.  Our praise puts our faith into action.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He was there all the time

 Joshua 1:5 I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you”
Joel 2:25-26 25And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten…..And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.

Last month while in my usual mad dash to get dressed and run out the house, I went into a panic when I went to my jewelry box and couldn’t find my Aggie class ring “Hmm, maybe it’s on my bathroom sink?” I thought. Nope. Purse pocket? Not there. Nightstand?  Nada. “Argh!!!!” Frustration began to overwhelm me as I started rifling through my jewelry thinking it may be hidden underneath some earrings and necklaces. As I explained to my close friend on the phone what was going on (yep, I was multitasking, thank God for bluetooths!) she told me to calm down, leave the house and just look for it later. Done. To understand why this ring meant so much to me you would have to know just how treasured a tradition receiving your Aggie ring was at Texas A&M University. Everything from ordering to picking up the ring was a big event and meant even more to me because less than a year before I went through the devastating loss of my parents and wasn’t even quite sure if I would finish out college. Members of my family pitched in and helped me pay for the ring (something they knew my mom would have done) and the day I picked up the ring was a moment I’ll never forget!
I spent the next three weeks tracing my steps back, emptying all my purses and looking in every possible nook and cranny in my condo. I still couldn’t find the ring. I sat on my bed and quietly whispered “I give up”, the ring was lost and I would never see it again. As I thought about what the ring meant to me, the road that led me to Texas A&M, the memories shared with classmates and the journey I’ve been on since those days, tears started to roll down my face. I wiped them away, accepted what was now lost and decided to move on. Five days later I’m paying for my smoothie at my neighborhood juice shop and as I reached in my wallet to get the change needed, I saw deep in the corner right amongst the pennies, dimes and nickels….my ring!!!!!!!! YAY!!! Sweet relief! As I sat there waiting on my smoothie, I pondered “how could I have missed it??” I know for a fact I’d dug change out the wallet recently, so how did I overlook it? And furthermore why on earth was it in my wallet??  It was then I heard my mother’s voice (always a treat when I get those moments) singing that old school gospel song “He was there all the time”. Whew! Since I was in a public place I couldn’t catch the “holy ghost” like I really I waited til I got in the car! Lol :)
That got me to thinking, how often in the midst of our storms, difficult circumstances and overwhelming schedules do we overlook God? No matter how hard life can get or how impossible a situation looks, God is always there. He promises us in this passage to never leave nor forsake us. What is amazing to me is that I took that wallet with me every day and my ring was in there the whole time. I thought it was lost because I was careless with my placement of the ring and forgot to put it in its proper place. I don’t want to ever get to careless with my relationship with God as I did my ring. We have to make sure he is always in his proper place, which is first in our life and at the center of every thought, action and decision we make.  Don’t worry over your difficult circumstances, a situation that looks too hard to turn around, an opportunity you feel you’ve missed or a relationship that has been broken. God is there and still able to restore what you’ve “thought” was lost.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Romans 8:24-25,28 
For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. (AMP)

Jeremiah 29:11 
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (MSG)

Hope: to look forward to with desire and confidence

 Why do we struggle to "confidently look forward" in our life? More often it’s because our circumstances, challenges, pain and regrets keep us from remembering the hope that is promised to us in God’s word. Jeremiah 29:11 : I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (MSG) is my favorite scripture and has been for about 9 yrs. You see 9 yrs ago i went through the most difficult pain of my life. While in my junior year at Texas A&M University i unexpectedly lost my mother and while still in my grief, two months later i lost my father after a difficult battle with cancer. Loneliness, pain, confusion, anger and uncertainty filled my heart and consumed my life. Those were very dark days and most of it seems like a blur. 
As I cried out to God in my pain and even anger, it was Jeremiah 29:11 that gave me strength to keep going, looking forward to my brighter day. 


I began to rest on this one word. While I didn’t (and still don’t) understand the "why" I DID know God had a plan and it was full of hope and a future for me. In the midst of not seeing hope I had to receive it! 
Though other trials have come my way, I am still living out that hope and future today. God has richly blessed me and I seek to enjoy every day along my journey. 

No matter the circumstance we all have reason to hope:
Loss of a loved one? 
Psalms 30:11, God will turn your mourning to gladness

Desiring children? 
I Samuel 1:20, Because of her faith God opened Hannah’s womb

Bad doctor’s report? 
Luke 8:43, 44, Just one touch from him can bring healing

No matter what you face focus on HOPE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wide Awake

Psalms 121 “ I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!   He will not let you stumble;
 the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel  never slumbers or sleeps.  The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.  The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.   The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (NLT)

Have you ever felt invisible? (Invisible: withdrawn from or out of sight; hidden)

Maybe as a child you were never picked to play on the team? Or in high school you longed for the day the popular kids would eat lunch with you? Or at work your ideas never seem to get recognition? I think you get what I mean! No one likes to be ignored or looked over. 

If we were to be honest there are times in our life when we feel invisible to God (or maybe it’s just me :) I often find myself saying “Umm Hello there God, are you there? Did you see me crying? Can you hear me praying? Did you see how badly they offended me?” Well of course he does! Even WHEN, we don’t feel he’s there, HE IS!

In this Psalms we can find joy in knowing the Lord does not sleep, snore, doze or nod off, he is WIDE AWAKE! He never takes his eye off us; he’s looking upon us and looking out for us. His presence is always surrounding us, ordering our steps and making sure we don’t lose our way. Through our tests, trials, challenges and moments of loneliness we have a Heavenly Father who sits high and looks low. We only need to look up (and kneel down) to find he is there to help us. 

Today take time to be thankful for a WIDE AWAKE GOD :-)

Be encouraged by these lyrics to “He Knows My Name” by Israel Houghton:

I have a Maker
He Formed My Heart
before even time began
my life was in hands

He knows my name
he knows my every thought
he sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call
I have a father
he calls me his own
he'll never leave me
no matter where I go

He knows my name
he knows my every thought
he sees each tear that falls
and hears me
when I call

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Things First

I Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Prayer is the action that brings us closer to God and closer to fellowship with each other. It is with prayer and intimate time with God that we start to see his plans for us revealed. When we come before him, it’s not only to make our requests known but to also praise him for who he is, thank him for what he’s done and listen for his voice leading and directing us. As believers we MUST always remain focused on strengthening our prayer life and time spent in his presence. It is through prayer and seeing those prayers answered that we come to know the true faithfulness and miracle working power of our Savior. Verse 4 "..come to the knowledge of truth". The Lord desires for us to come to know the truth. The truth that is him, truth that he is our comforter, provider, healer, deliverer, waymaker, our confidence is found in him and we are made strong through his power. I challenge you to spend more time before the Father so you will come to know his truth and experience firsthand his power in your life. 

Always remember, first things first: PRAY

The Road Ahead

Acts 20:22-24 "But there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I'm completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won't be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started (if only I may finish my course with joy): the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God. (MSG and AMP)

Have you ever been at a crossroads of your life? Crossroads is defined as a “turning point with an unpredictable outcome”, literally meaning a crisis. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. The place where you know you have a decision to make but just can’t seem to decide for fear of the final outcome:
Stay or Go? ; Wait or Settle?; Release or Hold on?

Sometimes we are forced into these moments as a result of our own decisions but many times we find ourselves at this point after God has spoken a word to us or gave us a vision of what he wants us to do or where he wants us to go. 

The question then becomes: To Obey or Not to Obey? 
In my 16 years as a believer, I’ve been there more times than I can count in relationship, career and ministry decisions.
In this passage Paul is at a crossroads, as he is informing the elders of Ephesus that he has a sense of “urgency” to go to Jerusalem. We too have moments in our life where we have a sense of “urgency”, moments where the Holy Spirit nudges us to take steps of faith and trust in him, knowing not what lies ahead. Paul recognized his road ahead would bring hard times, dark days and even imprisonment but he pressed on anyway. We must too move forward and not let fear paralyze us and detour us from our road to destiny. Jesus wants us to promptly obey him and have some urgency about it! No hesitation, no thinking it over, no procrastination but to immediately trust in him and take the steps he has instructed you to take. God will never give us access to the entire road map to navigate our life but he will give us the next step, and when we take that step, he’ll instruct us of the next one. It’s a process and he expects us to trust him every step of the way. We must have “blind faith” in our walk with Christ.
Whatever the spirit has spoken to you, I encourage you to do exactly what he’s asking of you and surrender your will to his so you can see his plans come together in ways you can't even explain!

Trust HIM for the road ahead, he’s counting on you!:-)