the best revenge

As of late, there have been a lot of TV shows and movies out there that seem to have the theme of revenge interwoven throughout them.

The natural reaction to pain is to strike back.
To wound the one who wounded us.
To seek revenge, our own personal justice upon our attacker.

Falling into the mindset of revenge tightens the grip the enemy has on us, and does not lead to the inner peace we so desperately seek when we are hurting, broken, beaten and wounded at the actions of another.

There are only two ways to ensure you are not falling into the lie of seeking revenge:

1. Hand it over to God.

Give your wounding, whether emotional, mental, physical or spiritual over to God. Ask Him to be your justice seeker, and allow Him to deal with the feelings that well up within when you think about the situation.

The best offense is the best defense.

With God as your defender, you will have justice, for He knows what was done to you, and will hold every one to account for their actions one day, your wounder included.

By the way, giving it to God in no way means you are letting your wounder off with no consequences. If you need to break off relationship, post & enforce firm boundaries or safely distance yourself, then do so as He prompts. Just because we don’t see His justice that doesn’t mean God will not see to it on our behalf. As the Holy One, all injustice bothers Him, and will be judged before His throne.

Give it over to God as soon as you realize you need to. This will help ensure you….

2. Live free.
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Living well is the best revenge.
-George Herbert

Living free means what the enemy intended to hold you down with becomes ammunition for God to use against him.

In His hands, you will be healed, can be renewed & restored, and live out the live He has planned for you.

I was once told of an old custom of making your enemy carry hot coals upon their head as part of their punishment for their offense towards you.

We don’t need to do that here on earth. As God has carried our punishment for us. He alone is in the position to judge offenses. He alone is to carry out the sentences He will pass. He alone will extend grace and mercy to His people.

Living free means we don’t carry the weight of such wounds within us one moment past when we extend them to God, and ask Him to carry them for us.

The best way to seek revenge?
To let the desire for personal vengeance go, and let our Warrior take the role of our defense, as He was meant to do.

When the feelings of revenge swell up above your hurt and anger, bring them to the cross. Take a good long look back at what Jesus did for us there. If anyone was due to exact His revenge, it was Jesus. Instead of condemning, He forgave. Instead of anger, He offers grace & mercy. Instead of disappointment, He extends His nail pierced hands of love towards us.

For all we have done to nail Christ on the cross, we deserve the full vengeance of God.

Because of His love, shown with His very blood , we instead receive grace and a new start.

Take your new start, and allow Him to help you live your life to your fullest.

Let Him be your Warrior & Shield, and let Him judge those who harm you.

Live your life without the chains of offense dragging you down into the minefields of revenge.

Live free.

when the enemy begins his assault, run for Refuge

When you are moving forward into the new place God has called you to, or the dream is spreading its wings and starting to unfurl, the inevitable usually happens.

The enemy begins his assault.

His assignment? To stop you from being free in Christ. To hinder you from becoming who God designed you to be. To block you from what God has for you to do for His kingdom, for His glory.

His challenge?

We are on the Winner’s side.

God has announced for all who will hear it that the enemy will not win.

He is only a created being.  He is not the Creator.

The enemy comes to try and tear down but is no match for the pace of the Builder’s renovations.

The enemy is trying to win at checkers, while God is playing strategic chess.

Those who are created cannot outsmart or outknow or outwit the Eternal Creator who knows all.

If you are feeling a little battered or worn from this latest assault, draw your comfort from the Lord as you move into His stronghold, the secret place of refuge God has designed for you to hide in, safe in His strong loving embrace.

His protection? Impenetrable.

His strength? Unshakeable.

His love? Everlasting.

His Words? Eternal Truth.

His plans? Always come to pass.

His Presence? More than enough.

His Protection? Rock solid.

The enemy may do his best, but we have the Best Provider for all we need as our defence.

We need never fear when God is on our side, for He is up for the task of defeating our enemy, for He is the reason the enemy tries so hard to wound us.

The enemy may have been created by God, but He certainly has deluded himself as to his ability to take down the Maker of All.

Keep in mind, the enemy will try to lure and snare us in his attempt to wound us.

Our God is greater.

If you are weary from the skirmish, take comfort in knowing God wins the war.  The battle belongs to Him, and He will come to your defence when you cry out to Him.  His covering is the shield He will place about us as He keeps us safe.

If you have been wounded in the battle, know that His healing awaits. He is longing to bind up your wounds and restore you.

Keep your eyes fixed on your Defender, not the destroyer.

Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours. 2 Chronicles 20:15 MSG

Father, as Jesus was one with You and in You, so can we be. Draw me closer to You than I can ever imagine. May Your walls of refuge & defence hold strong against the enemy’s assault. YOUR PLANS WILL PREVAIL, LORD. We know how the story ends, and the Winner has been announced forever. May I hear Your voice above all the clamour and chaos, and may Your Word release peace & order as Your Presence grows stronger within me as I seek You. You are more than enough, always, for all I need, always.  Amen.

In the Lord I take refuge. Psalm 11:1a

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If you long to be free to run towards Him in a new way, visit http://www.strongholdthebook.com for free resources and info on a fantastic bible study designed to lead you from what binds you to His safe house . If you live in the California area, visit http://www.remade – ministries.org for more info on March 14th’s Break Free workshop.

Steep in His Love

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Matthew 6:33 MSG

Afraid of missing out?

I know I am at times…maybe more than I am comfortable admitting!

There are days where I don’t get in those things I love to do, such as a freshly steeped cuppa tea to start off or end my day.  I miss my tea when I don’t make the time for it.

lightstock_101455_xsmall_karla_leesThe same can be said for our daily quiet time:  our faith needs daily steeping as well.

The Bible reminds us all that God is there for us in a real, life-altering way.

He extends His hand in a love driven offer for you:
To be with You.
To care for You.
To love You.

Honestly, I  need to reread the above verse from Matthew every day.

For it reminds me He is just waiting to help us.

He promises in His Word to provide for us, in every way we need, each day.

Just like tea, the more we steep in Him for our daily needs, the stronger the faith we will develop!

It’s time to come and soak, and let Him steep the truth of who He is deep within us, as we daily depend on Him to strengthen us, for….

He is real! – we are in relationship with a tangible touchable living God!

He started it!– All things start in Him, and as our Maker He knws how to best help us become the “us” He designed, made & hopes for.

He will provide! – He promises as we seek Him & give Him first place, our needs will be met.

Let Him take our daily rawness, and make something more wonderful as we steep in His Presence.

May we end up a sweet offering, pleasing to our King!

Note: this post was based upon my daily devotion which posted today at Remade Ministries, an organization designed to help women be remade in His hands:

http://remade-ministries.org/devotion/strengthen-your-faith/

when your knight comes to your rescue

I have a confession to make.
I am a huge believer in romance.
I love to read classic, well written tales of how two people fall in love. I love to watch it play out in front of me on the big screen.

I don’t believe I am alone, for who doesn’t want to meet that one perfect person meant just for them, have him ride in to rescue you like the knights of old, fall head over heels in love and ride into the sunset?

At least, that’s way the books & movies see it. The boy or girl from the wrong side of the tracks falling for the upperclass girl or boy, and a happily ever after in their future.

Life isn’t really like that.

I learned that the hard way at 16 years of age. My first breakup was a head smacking fall back to earth and reality. Love doesn’t work the way I believed it did from the Disney movies or the fairy tales.
But I still clung to the standard of Mr. Darcy, and believed my hero would come to my rescue one day.

Five years later He did.

What i realized in the weeks that built up to our meeting, this face to face falling deeply & madly love, was how people will always let us down. And how I needed rescuing, from my beliefs and my actions.

And when I got down on my knees and admitted my need, my Knight quickly rode in to rescue me.

He knocked out the enemy guards, broke my chains and burst me from my cell into wide open spaces of love, grace, mercy and His Presence.
image His name is Jesus.
He is my Beloved, and I am His.

Woah there girl, you may be thinking. You were talking romance and now you are asking me to believe Jesus is the one you were waiting for?

Absolutely.

He loves me with a fervour I can barely grasp. Died for me in a beautiful bloody exchange that cemented my freedom & released His power in a declaring blaze across all known space & time.

Jesus was and is indeed the white knight who swooped in to rescue me from the dark knight’s clutches, claiming me as His bride. Restoring me and adoring me along the way as I get to know Him more each day. He was the rescuer I needed, unlike any other.

What does that mean about romance? Is it dead here on earth?

No. Whenever someone lays down their wants & desires to put another’s first, true Love is seen.

We tend to think of romance as the falling in love part of the relationship. The getting to know one another, beginning of the story.

Real romance is the day in day out staying together as you walk out your love.

Its what happens after the wedding and honeymoon. The courtship is only the first part of the story.

The same with our relationship with Jesus.

When we meet, He courts us, showing us His love, freedom and promises. Once we accept His love, the real romance begins.

Wooing may get you to the door,
real love waits for the owner to hand over the key so they can enter with permission, and put both your names on the deed. Proud to merge together after making the promises to be exclusively each other’s forever.

Marriage on earth is to be a reflection of the love God has for us when He comes knocking at our door. He waits for the invitation to come in once we have accepted His forever offer of love, and He gives us our new name as His beloved. We becomes His.

So do I believe in romance?
Absolutely.

But from the changed perspective of the One who designed it, and reveals it to each one seeking real love.

I realized when I met my husband that I didn’t need rescuing any longer. My Knight had already come.

I have been given my husband to love and cherish, to try to walk out & show His love towards him on a daily basis as long as we both shall live. A living demonstration of the love God expresses to us as He loves us.

Passionately. Ardently. With abandon. Totally. Devotedly. Eternally.

So when I watch a movie or read a book about romance (or any other theme), it needs to fit into a few must have categories:

1. Keep it pure:
No smut, no swearing, no explicit scenes, no gore or horror for horror’s sake. No excuses. We have a turn it off policy after one incident, no exceptions. I have walked out of a movie theater or two and always gotten a refund when I was offended by the content. I try to get a sense of the movie through online reviews & word of mouth.

2. Keep it holy:
God must be in the story, either directly or in the belief systems in place. There must be a clear sense of right from wrong. I don’t watch movies based upon adultery, hurting one another as your relationship disintegrates, or free love being spread around. Those aren’t influences I want to share my headspace.

3. Keep it real:
I love Jane Austen, CS Lewis, Lucy Maude Montgomery and many of the classic writers because they wrote about real life within a framework of stability. Faith, marriage, community. There were hard times and difficult situations, but also forgiveness and real life consequences. Real people have flaws, a real God can restore them.

4. Keep it in perspective:
God is love, and shared that love with us- first to know Him, then to share within the appropriate relationship boundaries to make Him known as we love one another.

5. Keep in prayer:
A few times, God has warned me to stop watching, or to get rid of a movie as it doesn’t have a good influence woven within. Not always one I can see or sense myself.

There would not be such a high demand for romance novels or movies if people just wanted sex. People are crying out for more. For true love.

I want to be able to meet my White Knight, my Groom, my Beloved face to face when the time comes, and known I have maintained my romance with Him before all others. That I have loved my husband in a way that brought God glory. That I have loved my children, family, friends, church, coworkers in a way that helps reveal Him through my care for them.

The real romance worth fighting for is the one that will last forever.

With Him at your side, you can battle for your marriage knowing the Lover of your souls is with you, helping and encouraging you to stay true to one another, and live out a sharing of love others are desperate for.

God will continue to come to our rescue when we need Him as we seek Him first.

And Mr Darcy? He’s only a small echo of the amazing God striding towards us to offer His unswerving devotion & unconditional love.

Just thinking about how He loves me makes me swoon with joy 🙂

its time to be still

I was anything but still today.
What I got done today leaves me tired just thinking about it.

And as usual, a few unexpected raised their heads and tried to unravel the day.

My first reaction was to get ticked off. (Honesty before eloquence!)

My second was to confirm a correct response (as sometimes these are needed) with someone who knows about the situation.

My third was to cry out to God.

And once again, in my busyness I bungled up the order of how to deal with the unexpected.

Go to God first.
Pause.
Breathe.
Let it all out.
Wait.
Listen.
Do only if He leads you to.
If you don’t get clarification, that means to wait some more.
Repeat if necessary.

These past several days I am feeling more tired than normal. I am not sensing anything serious, just a need for some more self care and time off.

After getting home from my 12 hour work day, I sat on my comfy couch and popped onto Twitter to connect with a few feeds I am always blessed by reading.

Within five minutes, the following two verses and one quote had all grabbed hold of my heart.

I am listening, God.

My New What to Do When I Don’t Know What to Do List:

Bring it all to God:

Cast all your cares on Him, for He adores you. 1 Peter 5:7

Because:

God is always with us. He will never leave us. He’s always present in the place of need, the place of pain to provide comfort and hope. @jeremycamp tweet, Jan 12/2015 3:05pm

and because:

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In the middle of my longest work day, I needed to remember its okay to be be still.
To wait.
To catch my breath.
To listen.
To expect He is with me.
To recall how He loves me.
To claim the promise He has the best yet to come for me.
To let God battle for me where I am meant to let Him.
To remember tomorrow is a fresh slate ready for me to follow the right path when I don’t know what to do.

For tonight, I go to bed now knowing:

I slipped up.
I confessed.
He restores.
He adores.
His grace & mercy He pours
onto these uplifted hands.
🙂

#hopeinHisPresence

meet

Meet people where they are, not where you’d like them to be.

@POTSC tweet

Every one you meet has a story, just like you and I.
Their story may not be visible on the outside.
Just like you and I.

There is more that goes on inside every book beyond the title on the front & the summary on the back cover.

Because, just like you and I, we don’t let it all out when we first meet people.

We like to look presentable until we know the person we meet is safe to share our real story with.

Like a first date. We take care in choosing our outfit, practicing our answers, and try to make sure we are meeting in a location we can easily escape from, especially if its a blind date. We might even have back up in case our antenna picks up any weirdness.

But just like the rows and rows of novels and hardcovers in the bookstore, each and every book has an aspect to their story that the reader doesn’t expect. A character behaves in a way you don’t expect, a situation has your holding your breath. The unexpected catches your attention, and draws you in to the story.

Every person we meet has a story deep beneath the face they show to the world. Addictions, losses, pain, brokenness, illness, abuse…each and everyone has a unique twist, as no two people are exactly alike.

Everyone you meet has their own story.

As His followers, we need to be listening to His prompting, discerning:
When to offer the same grace God extended you when you met Him for the first time.
When shame needs to be met with a hand of mercy.
When love needs to be poured into a wound until it is made clean and healing can commence.
When kindness in a smile or caring look will soften a hard heart as it begins its journey back to wholeness.

Everyone you meet is beloved by God, and He wants us to meet them where they are at, just as He does the same with us.

When we hear where people are at, it can be unnerving.

Why? When we look into someone else’s story, it can remind us of our own.

That can make us uncomfortable, if we are being honest with ourselves.

I really enjoy learning about the life of King David. But not so much from his story as told by the storytellers, but His own words in the Psalms he wrote, and sang in His day. Honest, gut wrenchingly moving, they are a testimony that we can meet God, be changed for the better, yet be ourselves through the process.

God meets us where we are at.

Let’s offer the same gift to those we meet around us.

Accepting people where they are at is God’s specialty, but it doesn’t end there. He begins to help us write the story He intends for our lives, as we meet and hang out on a regular basis with Him.

We can rest confident that He won’t leave us where He found us.

There are no chance meetings in God’s plans.

If God brings someone into your life, He has a purpose for your meeting.

It may be to help Him be known to the one you meet, or because they have more of Him to reveal to you through their story.

Be yourself.
Accept people where they are at.
Meet up with God.
The world will be a much better place the more we do so.
Imagine the stories He will be writing!
Imagine the rewritten masterpiece you will be from meeting Him!

touchy touchy

There are moments when we don’t want to be touched.

When we want to stay entrenched in our fury, stand on our injustices and refuse to allow the pressure to  release.

When we want to be right even though a little voice may be poking us to tell us we aren’t.

When we have lost what feels like our world from beneath us, our grief emanating from the depths of who we are.

When the pain radiates so strongly that the lightest of touches feels like a bee sting.

When we are too touchy and prickly in our woundedness.

These are the very moments God came to touch us in.

I have had several car accidents (as a passenger) that have left my neck & shoulders exceptionally tight.  I can feel relaxed everywhere else, but not in those two spots.  Prayer helps with the pain management, yet the work I do typing daily doesn’t help. 

I need the strong touch of my massage therapist or physiotherapist to help get the knots out, and smooth away my tense muscles.

If I go too long in between, I feel it.

In the same way, we were not designed to be solitary creatures, keeping ourselves removed from God’s loving touch.

We were meant to reach out and touch God. Our bodies, minds, emotions & spirit need His touch in order for us to let go of what needs to be uprooted or sloughed off under His soothing gentle yet firm touch.

Let God help you release the tension….
Get rid of that knot of burden you refuse to take off your back…
Help your stiff neck turn towards Him again…
Soothe the raw nerves as only He can….
Bring deep penetrating rest into the areas you may not even consciously be aware need it…

In the Old Testament, God kept Himself apart, and required distance from direct contact with His people.

Jesus arrived, and turned this on its head!

Jesus touched people everywhere He went…
the hurting,
the diseased,
the paralyzed,
the lonely,
the beggars,
the lepers,
the outcasts,
the grieving,
the children,
the ones seeking their last hope,
the untouchables,
even the dead.

Against all traditional beliefs in how God should treat people, God in Jesus touched lives beyond what we believed possible in a holy God.

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He touched our hearts as He did.

For all the world to see, Jesus reached out and embraced the cross. That touch reverberated through out known time and space, rippling out into heaven and eternity.

When He allowed man to touch Him, wound Him over & over, and crucify Him, He knew intimately how some touches can devastate us.

When He rose from the dead, He knew how much those He had left behind, His disciples & followers would need the real touch only a loving God can bring:
compassion
forgiveness
mercy
love
grace
kindness

He still offers this to us each and every day.

Are you ready for God to collide with you right where you are at? Embrace you, holding you closer than you can dare to imagine?

God’s touch brings the hurting, broken and dead areas in us back to life again.

Reach out and touch His outstretched hand.

All it takes is one touch for your life to change.

time after time

Today, I am both humbled and grateful to have been invited to guest blog for Remade Ministries. Beth Kinder and I met on Twitter this fall,  both passionate about God & seeing women be set free into the fullness He has for them.

Guest blogging for the first time was a wee bit nerve wracking, but a great experience for me to press in to God for the message He wanted me to share.

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As a result, please click the link below to visit the lovely Remade Ministries website to read today’s blog post about mistakes, and His grace:

Time After Time- Guest Blog

I hope to have Beth guest blog here one day soon, for I am sure you will love her as I do!  You can start to follow her on Twitter at:
@remademnistries and/or sign up on her website for encouraging emails, bible study and to follow her blog.

It never ceases to amaze me how God can take what we have to offer, and do so much more with it when we follow His prompting!

here in Your Presence

You give me peace infused with love
here In Your Presence
You hand me joy to refill my hope
here In Your Presence

You grow faith out of grace
here in Your Presence
Your gaze is soaked in kindness
here in Your Presence

Spirit have Your way in me
Unchain my heart,
come set me free
Cleanse me from my sin
Leave Your fingerprints within
As I come to You now
Draw nearer to me

Here in Your Presence
Spirit have Your way
Here in Your Presence
I find the real me.

-Hope in His Presence, 2014

investing

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Invest.

Not a word we tend to think about apart from investing with our money.

I wouldn’t be here today without the investing that people, in God’s perfect timing, made in my life.

When I was at my lowest, love was poured into me.

God met me and pulled me out of the pit I had made of my life, reeling from what I had done in response to what had been done to me.

God got me. Accepted me as I was. Loved me as I was. Loved me for who I could become in His hands. Guided me towards help.

My life has been completely made over from His investment.

The transaction Jesus paid off to buy my freedom was an investment of love. Poured out to cover all I had done and will ever do. A love offering that keeps on loving in equal parts grace and mercy.

An investment in me, making me worthy; His.

I have had several mentors who came along side me when they saw I needed direction, and guided me as they poured into me. Helping me make wise choices, develop necessary skills, forgive as I needed, seek God’s face when at a crossroads.

Their investment of love allowed me to more fully live.

The life we live is impacted by those around us.

There will always be negative influences to block out with our shield of faith.  People who don’t like where you are headed as you follow God’s lead.

If God’s investment in me was worth His all, how can I respond with less than my all?

As a wife, mother, daughter, friend, coworker, God places people in my life for me to invest in.

To encourage, to love, to come alongside in times of need, to work together with, to share my hopes & dreams and encourage theirs.

It is in investing in love that we truly live.

Our purpose after loving God with all we are, is to love His people, all of them, with the love we have been shown.

An investing, overhauling, radical expression of love.

Love is the only thing that can change the world. 

In Jesus, it has, forever.

What better investment can we make with our lives than to follow His example.

Love the ones you are with, as He loves them.

PS.

I was inspired last week to use my words in a more unique way last week.

One of my coworkers was gearing up for a major licensing exam and a major sporting tournament this past weekend.

God laid it on my heart to social media bomb her with the following:
“You are amazing.”

I found some fun pics saying that phrase, and sent them to her regularly to show her I believed in her, and she could do it.

Everyone needs a word of encouragement sometime. And some times, yours may be the only one they get.

God is pleased when we invest in one another.

Take the time today to call, email, post or tweet your appreciation to someone who has invested in you.

The hash tags #YouAreAmazing & #youareamazingmarathon are available for you to use.

Imagine His smile if we set social media on fire with blessing and honoring one another with speaking the truth He speaks over us every day: “You are amazing, My child. You are a handcrafted unique one of a kind expression of My love. And I adore you!”

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to show your love. A batch of cookies, a card, flowers, cutting a neighbor’s lawn, a kind word…

As you invest in love, watch & see what God will do with it!

Care and compassion will always be on fashion.