Master-piece

You choose to use me.
But more importantly than even that, You choose me.

You chose me before I even came into physical existence.
You knew me, and the plan for me, before You began to shape me into being.

You consider me Your masterpiece.

A piece made with care by the Master.

And as such, I am special to You.

A piece of Your heart, wrapped in the work of Your hands, on display for all to see.

Purposefully made, purposefully chosen, purposefully pursued & adored.

Wow.

My problem receiving that truth?

Me.

By choosing my own feelings over Yours, and by accepting my word as true above Yours, I undermine my own effectiveness in Your hands.

I become the stumbling block from all You have planned for me, the one You call Your masterpiece.

When I get out of my way, humble myself and allow You to be the One whose words I take to heart, whose truth I walk out, whose love I demonstrate, others can see the masterpiece You set out for me to be.

Only when the missing piece submits to the love of the Master can i become Your intended masterpiece.

I struggle with this some days more than others, usually when things have been especially stormy and I feel off kilter.

When I forget who I really am, I set myself up to me moved by the deceiver in the board of defeat he would have me believe is all there is for me.

No more.

After a few painful blows and bouts of tears, I drop to my knees and acknowledge the truth You have always known:

I am Yours, Lord.
I declare You Lord over every area of my life.

May I become as You intended when I leave myself in Your hands,
Your masterpiece,
for Your glory alone.

image

we long to be-loved

image

(image via Bonnie Gray http://www.faithbarista.com)

We all long to be loved.

We were hardwired with that longing, which was integrally woven into our design by our Designer & Creator.

For He longs for us to awaken from our slumber, and accept we are beloved.

But we are not only loved, and created to be loved.

We all long to be beloved.

That special someone to our special someone.

The treasured loved one, precious and not just wanted, but pursued with delight by our Beloved.

The truth is:
We are His beloved.

He paid His dearest to show us that love with abandon, right up to dying on that cross.

His drops of blood shed for us? They cleanse us, clothe us in the white robes of the Bride, His Beloved.

His heart beat? Beats for you.

When He sees you approach, His face glows with affection as His eyes catch yours.  He leans towards you, with wide open arms, ready to embrace you. He waits to hear what you have weighing on your mind, pressing on your heart, or have been carrying since you last got together.

But God? He doesn’t just sit there and wait for you to come.  He is proactive.

Jesus chose the cross out of His great love for us, full well knowing He would turn the world on its axis for all eternity.

He deposited His Spirit within you, so we would know we are His Beloved 24/7, wherever we go, whatever happens.

He not only loves us enough to save us, but to walk with us, moment by moment, through this life.  Actively loving us, 100% of the time.

That kind of devotion does not easily come around in this world.

And the clincher is: its yours, whenever you want it.  For all of your days, here and in heaven.

Beloved is not only our position before God, but our new name.

Today, let that truth steep into your very core.

Say it out loud, “I am His Beloved.”

Wait for God to say to you in return, “And you are Mine.”

My beloved is mine, and I am his.
Song of Solomon 2:16

image

beaten not defeated

I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
for His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning!

Darrell Evans, Trading my Sorrows

When I fail or slide the slippery slope into sin, I have a habit of wallowing in it.

It ain’t pretty.

It isn’t necessary.

Freedom awaits!

God reminds me He is more than enough to meet ALL of me:

He is my Saviour
all my sins are made white as snow when I approach the cross, each and every one.

He is my Freedom
because of the cross, and who He is, God can break any chain that may bind me, and set me free into wholeness and wide open spaces of grace!

He is my Provider
all my needs are met in Him.

He is my Healer
in every way, He can heal me- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually

He is my Protector
He is my safety, my shield, who keeps me safe & protects me

He is my Song
He sings over us! Like a lullaby, reassuring us He is near.

He is my Source
as my Maker, I can bring all things to Him, as He knows all things!

He is the Giver of Gifts
all our gifts, talents & blessings come from His hand

He is my Peace
He calms the raging torrents within me in the battles

He is Present, God with us
God is always here.
There with us.
Waiting for us.

This is just a few examples of how despite hard times and circumstances, God’s got our back & is helping us make a way through the storms in our lives.

I am never defeated when I run to God in the skirmishes.

I may be pressed for His fragrance to be more easily released afterwards, but not destroyed by the enemy’s attack.

I may be persecuted because of the One who will never abandon me; my constant, rock solid, for me God.

I am blessed beyond the curse as I am His, and He is mine. His Presence brings blessings that far outweigh any hardship the enemy tries to curse me with.

His promise will endure, forever.
God never changes, and what He has promised comes to pass. What He has spoken comes to life. What He whispers to us sinks into our souls and grows new hope within.

My Joy will arrive. He rides a white horse, and has written my name on His love pierced hands, and He will come for His people in a triumph which leaves me breathless with anticipation.

His Spirit stirs the joy within me every morning that I am not alone, and this God who loves me so wants to be known by me, and to pour out His devotion for me 24/7, 365, and into infinity & beyond!

May you too jump into the Word, and find the names of who God is. May He reveal to you His heart as you do, and draw you closer than you could ever imagine as you invest in seeking Him first.

If like me, you have a hard time seeking freedom, would you consider the book “Stronghold” by Beth Kinder of Remade Ministries?
It is designed to move you out of the enemy’s shackles and into His stronghold of freedom, love and becoming whole. God is already using it to set people free, and it doesn’t launch until March 13th!
Please visit www.strongholdthebook.com to learn more download the first chapter for free,and pick up some scripture cards & screensavers!

image

His banner over me reads beloved

His banner over me is love.

Wow!

He calls me beloved.

ME?!

And as I have been soaking in that truth, and others like it, I realize that i have been the biggest hindrance to my receiving His love.

image

Because I don’t feel loveable most days. I feel awkward, a misfit, out of sorts, stressed, relaxed, hungry, thankful….but not loveable.

But just coz I don’t believe something doesn’t make it any less true.

God reassures me daily of His love for me. Through His Word, His gentle touch, His answers to my prayers, and the care He takes to meet my needs.

If someone continually tells you the opposite of what you believe, there are only options before you.

Deny it or accept it.

My feelings aren’t supposed to be my filter for what is true. Truth is.

The truth we can read in the Word.

The truth He whispers into our broken hearts.

The truth that He has loved me from the beginning of time, and will do so until and for all eternity!

I am His beloved.

And because I am His, He reminds me He is my Beloved.

His love is mine.

When we grasp how deep, high, wide, long & kind His love is, we can begin to feel it!

When you are told you are not only irreplaceable but also adored, are the apple of His eye, and the love of His heart….your broken bits begin to beat again. With new life, as a fresh infusion of His love moves in to awaken what was format inside.

“Come away with Me, My Beloved” is His heart’s cry of love for us, each and every one of us.

Will you let His love move into your broken heart, and begin to restore you to receive His love for you?

Because, in case you missed it, you are His favorite 🙂

#beloved #adored #Hisfavorite

what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

What would you do if you knew that ultimately you could not fail?

How do you get strong enough to believe it?

Love.

Specifically the kind of love God offers all of us.

The love that loves us no matter what, always…

There is nothing I could do to make You love me more. Nothing I could to do
to make You love me less.

There is Grace by Lara Langdon

If you believe that…

How high would you soar?

How far would you jump?

How long would you push?

How deep would you dive?

Writing for me is based on the foundation of being His.
Offering the gift back to the Giver.

If the giver of the gift thinks you can do all things when they are with us, then why do we talk ourselves out of believing it, let alone living it?

image

Image from: http://wildsister.com/2012/08/feel-the-fear-take-the-leap-declare-your-greatness/

Its time to take a step in the right direction.

If God is for you,
with you,
backing you,
equipping you,
cheering you on
& loving up on you
every moment of every day…
there is no good reason
not to leap.

Unless we are the problem.

We can stay rooted in our fears and what ifs too long, which slowly rots away our trust and faith, undermining the future He has for us.

Fear roots us on the spot, and limits our growth.

Its time to push through into the confidence He has waiting for you, for me. To stand on the foundation of who we are in Him (His) who we are to Him (beloved) as we tap into His strength (empowered).

His beloved empowered.

We could change not only our lives, but those we come across of we lived this every day.

Press in.

Ask Him to show you what you need to see on the other side of your fear.

Ask Him to speak what you near to hear to receive your freedom.

Ask Him to pour His love into your heart to overflow, washing out the doubt, fears & worries.

Ask Him to be your anchor, the core of strength you need to move ahead boldly.

Walk out your gifts, your calling & your purpose, without fear weighing you down!

Find hope anew in His Presence.

#betheyouGoddesigned
#morethanaconqueror

lonely, so lonely

After losing this piece twice by trying to directly post it to Facebook, I have decided to press through and post it as my blog post for today.

It relates to the Christmas story, so I am going to run with it 🙂

I bet Mary & Joseph felt very lonely in their separate situations before getting married.

Its not every day you see an angel who gives you remarkable news.

Notice the angel didn’t appear to both of them together about the coming of Jesus, but individually.

They weren’t alone, for God was with them through it all, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel lonely along the way.

I have decided to go public about my previously private struggle with loneliness.

This week, I have realized I also struggle with SAD.  This is the third winter I have felt blue, which doesn’t help my lonely feelings other than to amp them up.

There, i said it.

This morning, I felt like a freight truck of obvious collided with me as I read the article I have linked below:

http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/if-you-ever-feel-lonely-read-this/

I can relate to entering a full room and feeling alone.  Set aside, like I don’t belong.

Then I hear the whispers of truth combat the lies the enemy has planted, like land mines waiting for the right pressure to ignite.

I am wanted.

I am set apart, not set aside.

I have been lovingly handcrafted with care.

I am irreplaceable, unique, one of a kind.

There will never be another me.

I have a purpose that only I can fulfill.

God is with me.
24/7, I am in his gaze and on His heart.

Loneliness is an emotion, more like a side effect that may come with a job, or particular situation.

Purpose is a fact. Recorded for you to be able to revisit as needed.

How can we tell which of the people we know or meet are struggling with loneliness, feeling unwanted?

We can’t always tell. Many of us hide our struggle away, because we fear the rejection that could come if we admit it out loud.

And we can’t always hear God say who is struggling in our hustle and bustle, because  the reality is we aren’t always listening at the right moment.

There are three key things you can do with everyone you meet which can help, and make you appear approachable:

1. Make eye contact.
2. Smile.
3. Share a kind word, encourage them if you can.

Spending time in the Word helps steady me, as does getting enough rest, and regular time with my support team.

Spending time in the world can heighten my struggle, so I try to limit how much I do in a day, to try and maintain my perspective, especially in the winter.

Christmas can be a time of heightened emotions. The extra weight of expectation can weigh heavily upon us as we try to get more done in the same amount of time, preparing for the holidays.

If you struggle with loneliness or being unwanted, this can make you question why. Why bother?

The Christmas story gives a beautiful example of why God can down to be with us.

Its actually the highlight of the story to me, because it meets me exactly where I am at.

When the angels invited the shepherds to the birth of their King.

Did you know shepherding is one of the loneliest and lowliest jobs of the day?  Shepherds were the outcasts, pretty much one step above lepers. They were sent out to live with their flocks, a lonely job, especially if there was only enough flock for one.

God purposefully invited the lowliest to sit at the feet of the Mightiest, and worship Him.

Not only that, but their invitation was mind-blowingly amazingly special. A whole choir of angels singing His praises, and the invitation to join them in welcoming their King.

image

We have all been invited.
Some times, we need to be reminded of our invitation.

Reminded of the truth:

God didn’t come for only those who have it all together.

He chose the humble to parent His son, a virgin betrothed to a carpenter, from a small town.

He shared the good news first with outcasts & outsiders before the insiders were notified.

The only fanfare in His arrival?
The spectacular display of angelic voices- seen only by the shepherds and their flocks. Yet God didn’t see that as a waste, rather a special invitation it would be hard to ignore.

Our position, our emotion, our standing- none of that can disqualify us from our invitation…

All are invited to worship the King this Christmas:
the lonely.
the hurt.
the outcast.
the broken.

May you too find hope in His Presence this Advent, and may He rekindle your joy at His arrival.

His purpose for coming to earth?
For all to feel welcome.

Come to the manger.
Come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
God with us.
His gift.
For you,
for me.

#AdventuresinAdvent

His favorite

My son & I were both changed by his grade three teacher that year.

Mrs. M. had a tool in her teaching belt which caused several hundred former students and many current ones to show up at her retirement ceremony, in a school with classroom sizes averaging of 20-25.

Each and every child she taught believed they were her favorite.

And she treated each as if they were.

My son came out of his shell and began to blossom in her classroom. Since he was her favorite, he tried extra hard to do his best in class and didn’t disappoint her with his efforts.

I was blessed to be able to get to know Mrs. M. through lunch monitoring and volunteering at that school…and learn that valuable lesson which I have tried to emulate every day when I am at work, the bus, with friends or at home:

Everyone of us is God’s favorite.
Beloved.
Treasured.

And as such, we should all treat one another as such.

If I can fathom that I am God’s favorite, I can become secure enough in my relationship with Him not to be threatened when He shows others favor as well.

There is no mistake.
I am God’s favorite.
And so are you.

You don’t lay down your life for just anyone.

You need to love them more than your life to do so.

By following the hard path to the cross, God did just that: took the sins of His favorites and made us all sparkly clean again.

His Word is filled with His love, care and devotion for His favorites.

The next time you are feeling blue….try heading to a mirror and stating this truth out loud over yourself:

I am God’s favorite.

Treating everyone like they’re your favorite? It works. I did just that in the next job I worked at after leaving the school as a Batista, and I can still walk into both locations, be greeted by customers & staff by name-despite it being over three years so since I left that industry.  My favorites all recognize me still, most stopping to chat when I go in to grab a tea or latte. I don’t share this story to brag, but to demonstrate how much being treated with kindness and respect over something as simple as giving a client their coffee can go a long way to making someone’s day.

God treats each of us better than we deserve, but He delights to because you are His favorite.

Our God is so much more amazing that we can imagine or grasp, just from the view point of knowing He loves each of us- the billion or more of His creations on this planet- individually & personally.

Need good news to start your week?

You are God’s favorite.

Since He is an all knowing God, there must be more to each of us than meets the eye if our designer calls us His favorite.

That alone is worth a smile on a hard day!

image

step back & behold, beloved

When we’re not so busy pushing in to belong, we step back and behold. We find we’re beloved right here with wide spaces for God to work.
Alia Joy, http://www.narrowpathstohigherplaces.com

image

We need space in order to appreciate the bigger picture.

When we hold things too tight or are too insecure to take a step back, we can miss what is really going on:

You are beloved.
All the time.

There is nothing you can do to change how much God adores you. He may like your behavior more some days, but His love for you is secure.

God is always working for your good.
All the time.

He doesn’t start working on you, and get distracted by something new, and shuffle you to a waiting area or holding zone. He finishes all He starts.

We are in.
All the time.

Once you become part of the family, you are in. For eternity. You may lose sight of that truth, but God doesn’t.
You are secure.

The closer we hold things tight, the less room we give God to move in the ways He is longing to. We need space. Wide open spaces to run free, rest and be rejuvenated. Freedom to just be.

God is in those wide open spaces when we leave the room for Him to work in them.

I was in a job a few years ago that didn’t want to stay relegated to just being work. It wanted to invade home and private time, and refused to stay in the boundaries it needed to in order for me to keep working there.

God clearly told me to take the leap, let the job go and trust Him to work in the void it would leave behind.

I now work for 8 different businesses doing what I love to do. My job security has been left in God’s hands versus my own, and He has taken me further than I could have envisioned.

He knows me better than I know myself.

And I am so glad.

When we know we are secure no matter what, we are able to hope for the future, trust God will provide, and build our faith for God to move us beyond our expectations into our dreams.

I have a few areas left in my life that God has had me taken my hands off of trying so hard in, and trust they will happen in His timing. Not mine.

So as we wait for God, may we all experience the security in knowing He is for us, and He will bring all His plans for us to pass as we rest in His release and timing.

ten things I like about you

I really like ten things about you.
Even though i may not have met you yet.

That may sound strange, but as an observer of people, I have finally figured these things out.

And you probably need to know what these things are.

1. I like the fact that you aren’t me.
I spend more than enough time with myself, so I like that you are not me. I find our differences interesting. Think about how boring it would be if we were all alike.

2. You are here on purpose.
You were not an accident, no matter what anyone else had told you. God planned you, on purpose, from the spark that He first set off when He created you in your mother’s womb. You are handcrafted, and a one of a kind original. There will never be another one of you, ever. He designed you after Himself. He intentionally placed you in this place and time.

image

Image from- http://cdn.theresurgence.com/files/2013/08/05/Wired_ResurgenceTemplate2.jpg

3. God has equipped you with talents and gifts.
Sometimes you need to be reminded that you are good at something. We all have strengths, and when we get to know each other, we begin to see these in one another. It may take a friend or coworker to point it out to you before you may begin to see it in yourself. You likely are good at a few things, not just the one you may be best at.

4. God cares for you.
Each and every person who ever has been, is or will be is important to God. So much so that Jesus died for each of us, to pave the way for us to draw close to Him. He is the closest friend you can ever have, will never leave you and always wants the best for you. He is in your corner no matter what.

5. You are here for a purpose.
You are meant to do wonderful things with your life. Bless people through your profession, invent something, raise your kids well, mentor or teach others, encourage and help others. God will reveal the things you are meant to do as you get to know Him, and yourself through His eyes.

6. You are worth being heard.
If no one has ever told you so…what you feel and think matters. You have a story worth telling, and it deserves to be told. And heard.

7. You look great when you smile!
That’s right, a smile makes you look your best. And when you smile, it increases the likelihood that those around you will smile back at you.

8. Things may be tough, but they will get better.
This world is just our temporary home, and it’s a hard life most of us are living through. But its not our final destination if you believe in Jesus, and place your hope in Him. Heaven will be your forever home. No more tears, sickness, disease, pain or loneliness.

9. You always have something to be thankful for.
As bad as things can get, take some comfort in the small things around you if you can’t see any big things to be grateful about. Being able to breathe, read, hear, walk. A roof over your head, food on the table, a job. A cloud in the sky, sun, rain puddles, flowers, cat purrs. Whatever you can find, remember to be thankful for having it.

10. Someone is thankful for having you in their life.
They are. Whether a family member, close friend, coworker or a stranger you helped out…someone has been blessed to have you in their life.

I hope we meet, whether virtually, here on earth or in heaven one day.

Until we do, remember these ten things that you need to know about yourself.

It took many years for me to reprogram the lies and believe these truths about myself. May you cast off what needs to go to make room for these truths you were meant to know about you.

I am glad you are here.

you can’t have one without the other

Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or Easter?

This is one of those questions I have thought deep and long about.

Christmas and Easter are not stand alone, exclusive events.

They are fantastically intertwined expressions of God’s intervention into history. HiStory as God intended.

Christmas.
image

(image from: http://www.flowingfaith.com/2011/12/hunting-4-the-perfect-christmas-gift.html)

The reveal of God with us.
Among us.
Loving us as one of us.
The Presence of God overwhelming Mary to create Jesus.

Fast forward 33 years, give or take a few days.
Passover.
The criminal was passed over as Jesus was chosen to die in his place, on the cross, between two other criminals.

The reveal of God for us.
image

(Image by Ann Voskamp, http://www.aholyexperience.com)

Jesus took all we could never remove from ourselves, the stain of sin started in the original garden, faced it with a willingness to follow in the garden of His betrayal, took the blows intended for us, and remained on the cross out of His great love for US.

Despite the great physical, emotional and spiritual pain.
He alone took the weight of the world, and gave Himself up to death.

God for us.
Doing what we could not-
making things right between us again.
God did it for us.

For us.
Because He knew there was no other way.
He alone is and was and will always be the way.

The pain and anguish of Good Friday, where Jesus passed over to death.

The despair of silence.
Unsure what had happened.
Knowing something amazing did.
Not seeing the point yet.
Saturday.

The triumph of Sunday.
He rose, fully God and man.
Defeated the enemy.
Paid the price for all sin,
even though He did not take part in sinning.

The gift of Christmas, God with us,
became the gift of Easter, God for us.

If Jesus had never been born, we would never have had Easter.

Easter could not have happened without God coming down and doing for us what we could not do on our own.

Jesus.

HiStory changed us all forever.

You can’t have the new life, rebirth without His death.

Unwrapping Christmas leads to Calvary.

You can’t have the one without the other, without missing the point.

God so loved every single person who has, does and ever will exist that He gave the world the gift of His son, Jesus.

God with us.

So Jesus could do the work needed to bring us to God.

God for us.

It took His presence to be the present
we desperately needed to be free.

Christmas and Easter are one in HiStory.
One ultimate seamless love story.
That leads to one Home.
God in us.
Us in God.
Forevermore.
image

(Image from: http://propheticalert.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/heaven.jpg)