turn Him loose

Turn me loose,
turn me loose,
I gotta do it my way
or no way at all…
-Loverboy, 80s & 90s rock band

When the road gets tough, our reactions reveal what is under the surface within us.

There are three ways we respond when the storms are swirling and the waters rising…

1. We let them swallow us, and drown us in our wallowing.

2. We freak out, stress out and run around like Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling.

The first two because we can’t take our eyes of our circumstance or situation. We forget how much bigger God is than our current battle, and we don’t walk in the confidence of Heaven. We turn ourselves loose from the possibilities God has waiting for us.

The last one is what our Abba hopes we will do.

3. Drop to our knees, open wide our arms, and pour out our praise as we seek our Deliverer.

Reaction 1 occurs when we hide away from community, and continually focus on the negative.

Reaction 2 happens when we can’t sit still from the weight of what we were never meant to carry on our own.

But reaction 3?

Falling to our knees in worship is the supernatural opposite of our natural tendencies.

And what God not only longs for us to do, He modelled for us in Jesus.

Jesus as a young teen felt drawn to His Father’s house, to sit at the feet of the rabbis and soak in the Word.

Jesus fell to His knees in prayer before He began His ministry, feeding on the Word instead of food while in the desert place.

Jesus went off to solitary places throughout His ministry to connect with His Father, sometimes with others, as He sought direction.

Jesus prayed so intently as He made His intention known to be willing all the way to the cross, His sweat dripped off Him like blood drops.

Why do we think we don’t need to follow His ways when things get rough?

Part of it I think is our North American & European culture geared for comfort and pleasure.

We have lost the daily stressors which other countries still walk with. Hunger and thirst for physical food. Desiring a roof over their head. Clothes and shoes.

God Himself is our shelter.
Our provider. The very Word we are to feast upon.

We have access to the Kingdom of Heaven as His chosen family members, Beloved.

Don’t allow your temporary circumstances cause you to forget where and to Whom you really belong.

Let’s stop belly gazing and wallowing when times get tough.

Let’s halt our panicked screaming to the world while in the trenches.

Let’s retrain our natural tendencies for those of His Kingdom:

Press in for all our Father has for us.

Invite Jesus to reign over all of your life.

Begin to ask Holy Spirit to reveal what He needs you to know in the here and now.

Rest in His promises.

Praise who He is.

Trust His heart is for you and it will all work itself out for His glory, and your good.

Keep repeating these acts of faith every day, through all things.

Turn God loose over the situations, and watch how He shows Himself strong on your behalf!!
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Do you overcome your problems or do you let them overcome you?

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Some people are overcome by problems. Others overcome problems. -Max Lucado

Which kind of people are you?

Do you sink down overcome when things get tough or do you rise to overcome?

Everything could overcome you if you let it, for this is an amazing world full of both wonder and wildness.

Full of people who can rub us the wrong way, situations which are designed to topple us by an almost unseen enemy, and full of the God of wonders – all at the same time.

Which are you allowing your focus to be fixed upon? The created or the Creator?

We can overcome anything when we know:

1. Who we are.

We are the Beloved of Christ. We are the apple of His eye, the delight of His heart, the Bride He longs for.  We are His family, the ones He free back Home, made whole and set on fire to share the wonder of our newness with the world around us.

2. Who to turn to.

The God of all Creation, over all things made and unseen, this God is not a hands off type being who rules without any consideration for anyone other than Himself.

All He does for His Beloved flows out of the love He has for her.

For you and for me.

He promises so many times in the Scriptures He is with us, becuase He knows how often we may need that reminder when the hard times come.

Because of Him, we can overcome.

The end of the story of humanity has already been recorded and written for all to read, learn and believe.

God wins, the enemy doesn’t.

God overcomes, forever and ever!

We too can overcome when we invite Him to battle for us.

It doesn’t matter what you are facing, but whose face you are focused upon….

You can look to yourself to overcome, but we all know deep down we are only able to handle so much on our own.

You can keep your eyes fixed on the enemy’s moves, and become overworked as you stand in fear.

Or you can fix your eyes on God’s loving face. Cry out to Him, the One who is able to do all things, make the miraculous happen in the blink of an eye, sends His angels to protect you, covers you in the blood of Jesus and indwells you by the Holy Presence of God Himself, Holy Spirit.

When we begin to feel overwhelmed, fall to your knees.
Not because you are admitting defeat, but to show the enemy you refuse to bend the knee to any other than God Himself.

Ask Him to invade the situation with all He has for you to make it through, not only to endure but to overcome in His strength.

Then stand in that strength, the strength of His might, and walk over and through those problems.

Because you know He’s got you covered.

And because He is with you, you will overcome.

If the waves seem too high today, the debt load crushing or the relationship too far gone for human intervention, He is waiting for you to welcome Him into your problems.

He delights, as any good father does, in helping His children, in showering blessings on His Beloved.

With Him at your side, you will overcome.

bedazzled? beware!

Over coffee last night, a girl friend and I were sharing a bit of our backgrounds & story with one another….as new girlfriends are likely to do as part of our get to know each other chats (Right girlfriends ;D)

She mentioned how sometimes when something seems to good to be true, it is a warning.

You know…like how a little strategic decorating versus bedazzling the heck out of something appeal differently to our senses.

Sometimes we don’t take enough care to take a closer look at the bedazzling package in front of us.

True beauty is deeper than the surface beauty we often settle for.

I have found God’s gifts have a natural wonder which take my breath away in appreciation, but never glitters so much I can no longer clearly see His handiwork.

Years ago, pre-believing, I was very flattered by the attention of an older handsome man, and threw caution to the wind.  I found myself quickly over my head, and looking back now, just as quickly longed for a way out.  I was bedazzled by the outer exterior, but saw some glimpses of what was underneath, which wasn’t pretty at all. I still thank God that He got me out of that relationship as quickly as He did. 

Just coz it looks great, doesn’t mean it is great.

Ever since that experience, I look beyond the exterior into the interior character of people.  To me, the beauty of you is found in who you are, not the shell you are housed in.

I may be outwardly overweight, but inwardly I am way more attractive than I was when He found me!

Anger and rage have been tamed, with sarcasm wrestled & left at the foot of the cross….but what He left in their place is way more beautiful and dazzling than i could have imagined.

God moved in, and began to shine His Presence in such a way i startednto see the decor within might have been bedazzling on the surface, but was really tarnished underneath.  It was time to trade up!

Now i decorate within in the Vintage style which will last for eternity!

The beauty found in spending time with my Maker, who is continually making me new from the inside out.

So if you suspect something is too bedazzlingly wonderful to be true, ask Him to reveal what is really under the surface.

It may be the enemy is trying to decoy you away from where God really wants you, or God may have something better ahead than you ever believed possible, Beloved.

Being aware doesn’t mean we need to be scared. It simply means take a moment to ask God, “Is this what You have for me?” and awaiting His response.

May we cease being surface dwellers, and dig deep for the vintage eternal treasures He has waiting for us to unwrap & enjoy.

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Presence

The past few days, I have felt overwhelmed physically.

A few of my sore muscles are having a hard time giving up their tension, despite prayer and the efforts of my physio & massage therapist.

Sleeping on my left side is foreign to me, I have always been a back or right side sleeper, and with my right side sore, staying asleep HSS now become an issue.

I am generally not a big whiner, but a solution finder.

I am in a situation I cannot control. nor see a quick end too.

The trail ahead seemed very steep last night.

I could only pray, “Help” before falling asleep.

This morning, as I awoke and spent time in His Word & Presence, He has reminded me I am not in this alone.

He is with me.

He is strengthening me.

He is helping me.

I was only looking at my physical symptoms, but God was looking at my whole person.

My spirit is reaching out for Him more than ever before, because I don’t want to make it through without Him.

My solution, my Hope is found in Him alone.

I am actively bringing my thoughts into alignment with His Word & promises.

I am being honest about my feelings, but not letting them run my decisions.

But how I am physically weary of being sore.

And that is the area God reminds me I need to bring into alignment with His truth.

I can keep going when I depend on His strength.

He is more than enough for me, even as I struggle.

Its okay to be real before Him, and fully rely on Him for all I need.

Maybe one of you needed to hear this this morning too.

I hope He draws close to you, and reminds you of what you need to hear from Him directly as well.

Once again, it is well with my soul.

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Because all things are possible, in, with and for our God!

lectio divina giveaway

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Prelude:
This post is about the Message version of the Bible.  If you don’t prefer this version of the Word, I bless you as you study your favorite version. 

However, God has used this version to help me find my voice as a writer, and hear His voice more clearly.  Which is one of the reasons I love using it, as one of the versions of the Scriptures I study from.  I believe God can and will use any version of the Bible in any translation or language it comes in, because of who it’s Author is.  The One who wants all men and women to find Him.

If you don’t prefer this version, I get it. But I would prefer not to have negative comments posted about my choice to enjoy it as one of my favorite books to read.

Thanks for showing respect as you honor my request, just as I honor yours to disagree with me.

Lectio Divinia: the classical method of reading, thinking, praying and living Scripture with the intention of inviting an infinite, omniscient God into your life, as it is, no gloss, no veneer. Lectio divina is more Bible basking than Bible study, as it teaches  you to absorb & meditate on Scripture. converse with God openly. and live out what has become a part of you; His Word.

-Eugene Peterson

When the Message bible was released, it rocked my world. As a Christian university student, I had studied the bible in several different ways, but found in doing so that it was becoming a text book, and less God’s personal Word to me.

The way this Bible, and in particular their devotional format is designed? To bring the reader into wholeness in His Presence.

There are four key parts to Lectio Divina:

READ– taking the time to read His love story, the Bible.  And not just reading it, but savoring it, enjoying it like a perfectly cooked steak or your favorite dessert.  Read it closely, taking note of its nuances, key words.

THINK– every word is meant to be read as God speaking to you through it. Meditate on what a phrase or passage is saying, and ask God to make His voice known to you as you seek His knowledge, guidance & wisdom. Read what it actually says, not what you think it should say.

PRAY– God want to have a conversation with you, face to face. He longs to hang out with you over a coffee, unrushed as you enjoy one another’s company.  Tell Him what’s going on with you, then wait for Him to respond and share His heart with you, His now words for you. If you don’t get part of what you are reading, just say so. He gets it.

You can read, think, and pray all day, but unless you live in God’s words as well, you miss the point.

-Eugene Peterson

LIVE– We are meant to live out the Word with which we are interacting. To bring it deep within, and watch it take root and grow with a flourish when we water the Word. To speak it out over our life’s situations. To demonstrate it with our love, our words, our hands and actions to those around us. The Author is alive, and His Word is too.

When we live according to the Word we have read, pondered and prayed over, God lives through us!

So, it really doesn’t matter what version you prefer to read of the Bible, but how you interact with it! Which is why I love Lectio Divina, because it helps guide us through our Word walk as a starting place for interacting with the Word & its Author. 🙂

To celebrate over 500 blog posts now (!) and only being a few away from 200 followers here at Hope in His Presence, I am offering my first giveaway.

I have one brand new copy of The Message:Solo Women’s Devotional just waiting for one of my blog followers who live in Canada or the United States! Since 99% of my followers are from North America, this giveaway is for y’all 🙂

To enter the draw to win it, please do the following three steps before the deadline:

1. Follow my blog, either through Word Press or email, or follow me on Twitter @HopenHisPresenz coz like you I know sometimes we just don’t have time for all the news coming our way, so whichever way you prefer to connect is cool with me. 🙂

2. Visit my Connect page, and shoot me off a comment via my contact form. Share with me what you love most about His Word! Your first name and email are a must in order for me to contact you if you are the winner!

3. You can only enter once. As this is a small blog, this first giveaway is too!

This giveaway is only open until Sunday night, March 22nd, 2015 at 11:59pm Central Time.

It’s time to fall deeper in love with Him, through spending time in His Word, conversing with Him and seeking His face!

The winner will be announced (via first name only) on Monday/Tuesday here on the blog, after a confirmation email has been received from them 🙂

I can’t wait to hear how the Word stirs up in your hearts!

how the weight of His glory can fall like snow

How much does a snowflake weigh?

Someone who measures such things determined that an individual snowflake weighs 0.02* grams. At that weight it would take 50 flakes to make a gram. For comparison, a Hershey’s kiss weighs 4.7 grams – equal to about 235 snowflakes. There are about 95 kisses in a pound. Using the kiss-to-snow crystal calculator that comes to 22,325 snowflakes/pound.
*this would be the heaviest end of the spectrum. Most are much lighter, weighing from 0.001 to 0.003 grams.

In reality, it’s hard to measure the weight of a snowflake. For one thing, each snowfall is different. Some snow is light and fluffy, and some is heavy and wet. That’s due to the water content in the snow, which is related to the temperature high in the clouds where the flakes began forming, and the temperature of the air they fall through.

Quote from: http://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.ca/2011/01/how-much-does-snowflake-weigh.html?m=1

An individual snowflake doesn’t weigh much in the big scheme of things.  Yet God designed each one uniquely, placing great care in its creation.

And despite its miniscule weight, it still manages to fall to earth, again as part of God’s plan.

Why am I bringing up snowflakes during winter?

Because of last night.

Last night, while worshipping, I “saw” how snow & the weight of His glory relate in how they both fall.

Each snowflake is designed for a purpose, and only fulfills that purpose when it falls with the rest of the snowflakes in the same snowfall or storm.

On its own, it isn’t particularly heavy, but when you add up the weight it forms when it piles up, it can be quite significant.

Each snowflake’s composition is perfect for the design of its fall, the exact amount of water contained within to be the perfect part of the team alongside the other snowflakes….all unique yet made to fall together.

There are two ways snow is a great example of the weight of His glory.

We are all like those snowflakes. And He will perfectly fill us with the right amount of water (living water, His Presence) so we are filled for the purpose we are to live out that day….so we can share it with those around us.

His glory? Its weight falls like the snowflake. Perfectly attuned and made for its recipient.  And when a group gathers seeking His Presence, the weight of His glory gets heavier, as He falls on everyone in the room.  Some can sense it landing heavily, others sense a light touch.  He uniquely meets each of us with the exact right weight, more than enough for us in that exact moment, but never exactly like someone else’s.

Just like each snowflake, God’s Presence falls on each of us how He knows it will best soak in & water us.

When the weight of His glory falls heavily, as a heavy snowstorm can cause traffic to come to a standstill, so does time seem to come to a standstill.  The air gets thick, charged with power and spiritual electricity as He enters the room in His majesty.

The weight of His glory
falls snowflake by snowflake
until the full weight
of His tangible Presence
descends:
soaking in,
cleansing,
refreshing
as Heaven
meets earth
in a fantastic
exchange.

Unlike how we have no control over the snowfall, we can ask God to come to us.

His word promises He will come when we seek Him:

Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.

 -Jesus, Acts 1:8

He will come when we seek Him. Exactly how & the when is up to Him.  Who He falls on with the weight of His glory? That depends on us:

Read the Word.  The God you find described there is real, and wants a real relationship with you.

Take some time to seek Him every day.  Even a five minute break can be used by Him to refresh you.  An extended period of time where you just seek and wait for Him? Even better. Even in the midst of being about His business on a short timetable, Jesus still made the time to spend with His Father:

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.

Luke 5:16 MSG

Worship Him for who He is.  He loves to be praised, and promises to live where He is honored & lifted high:

Yet you are holy,enthroned on the praises of Israel, Your people.

Psalm 22:3 ESV

Thank Him for what He has done. For making you His. For caring for you. For the blessings He has already poured out on you and the ones He promises are to come:

I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

Believe He will come:

Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a mustard or  poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.

Matthew 17:20 MSG

Just like the snow, which continues to fall, so will the weight of His glory when we keep seeking Him.

It may feel like a snowflake landing on your nose. It may be  like a tingle or charge of static electricity. It may feel like a heaviness on your shoulders. It may feel like a heat wave, a fresh burst of wind, bubbling up joy or a peace unlike any you have ever known.

He will come. Just as sure as winter will always come again!

(PS. Here is a great song to hear to help set the atmosphere to seek Him: Weight of Glory)

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Image from: http://www.kidzworld.com

3 Ways to Shift the Atmosphere

“Be a thermostat & not a thermometer. Change the atmosphere around you with your attitude rather than just reflecting circumstances all day.” – Sandi Krakowski

Tired of walking into a live drama?
Feel like you are stuck in a sitcom you can’t escape?
Sick of surviving?

Sometimes in the spiritual battle we face God has already equipped us to confidently engage.

If you are ready to take action, there are three ways to change the atmosphere wherever you are:

1. Own your part.

I have finally learned it is okay to get along with everyone. Being respectful, honoring and kind does not mean I agree with other people’s decisions or behavior. If I am in a crappy mood, or feeling low, I need to deal with my stuff before I get around other people again. Even if its a quick bathroom break to pray, refocus & find peace, make the time to name it, own it & deal with it.

It takes two to make drama. If you are calm, that alone can cool a hot situation down.

2. Shift the atmosphere.

I have learned from experience that we can sometimes pick up on other people’s vibes, even when they haven’t spoken a word. An intuitive person, this can lead me to wild imaginative scenarios playing out in my mind if I am not careful. If someone is irate, upset, depressed or cranky, I now immediately pause to pray, something like this:

“Holy Spirit, Your Word says You live in me, Your temple. I do not want to partner with anything that is not from You. I ask You to be my Shield right now, and I send this ____________(name what you are sensing) back to the person sending it out there. May Your peace reign in this room, right now. I invite Your Presence, and blessing, in the name of Jesus.”

I will share one brief example. My hardworking hubby was really cranky about some last minute work changes to his day, and his displeasure & anger was ringing out loud in our car. I turned my head to the right, muttered a similar prayer to the one I wrote above. Lo & behold, within a minute, my hubby calmed completely down and was at peace again. My hubby & kids asked me later what I had done, so I shared it with them. Our home has been a lot calmer ever since, and we react more appropriately to each other when someone is upset now.

God can change the atmosphere when we invite Him into any situation.

3. Don’t stay if you sense you need to leave.

You may be in a good head space, and have prayed the above prayer, and still feel a bit off. This is either God or fear telling you it is time to leave.

Fear isn’t from God, so if you ask God if this impulse is from Him, and you don’t get an answer, you need to deal with this fear. Now. Ask God to kick it out, and stop giving it a listen. You may need need to make a mental note to revisit this at another time and uproot it, but blocking its ability to speak in the moment is a critical step.

If God is telling you to leave, He is trying to shield you, and protect you from something you may not be aware of, but He certainly is. Obey.

If you claim to be His follower, then follow where He is leading, even when you don’t know why. In those moments when I have obeyed without knowing why, I have to trust He knows better and has good plans for me.

So to recap:
If you sense He wants you to change a situation:

  • Own your part. It takes two to tango. Be prepared by being in control.
  • Shift the atmosphere by allowing the Spirit to shield you.
  • Follow as He leads. When He says go, move. Our obedience shows we have invited Him to take lead in our battles.

As you seek Him everywhere You go, remember His Presence is with you, actively ready to guide & help as we tune in.

It’s time to show His reflection, instead of our reaction.

Worship to help shift the atmosphere: Here as in Heaven by Elevation Worship

 

shift the atmosphere HIHP

bless from the mess

You catch way more flies with honey than vinegar.

-Unknown

I recently had a gear shift, or what you may refer to as an ‘aha’ moment.

I have a few friends who are both teachers.

My newest friend of the two finally felt she found the school she was meant to stay in, and was unsure there would be a place for her next year. She was almost heartbroken at the thought of moving on, and couldn’t see how it could happen for her to stay.

I prayed for her, asking God to move whichever teacher at that school who was waiting for their dream job/blessing on, so that the position would become available for my friend. Not what this person was expecting. A little taken aback by my approach, she also prayed the same way.

One of her coworkers shortly after shared that they got word their “dream job” had opened up for them, and space was made at the school for my new friend to stay there next year.

My other close friend has had a really rough year at her current school, without a great deal of internal support. Mess is an understatement for her year of extreme stress. I quietly prayed that God would move out into a better position whomever was needed for her to have a better year if she was meant to stay, or else open up an admin leave for her. As the year was an emotional rollercoaster, she was unsure which door she was meant to go through. The main person involved has recently been promoted out, leaving the door open for blessings to come without my friend needing to leave.

Praying God opens a door for someone else waiting can help us while we wait for ours to open.

Why pray for others? Why not just pray for our needs?

When I look at Jesus in the Word, I see a man of compassion for those who are struggling or hurt around Him. I see miracles, healings and deep care for those He blessed.

Why not bless someone else too while we pray about our need?

Jesus poured out His very life for those He loved, which was everyone.

We can have a positive impact by praying blessing on others….so why not ask Jesus to bless them too?

It could lead to their discovering who He is, how much He loves them and what He has done for them.

So I choose to pray blessing for those I work for, blessing on those in know who are waiting for doors to open, and blessing on those who are waiting for their doors to open.

We serve a big God. There is no reason why He won’t choose to bless if we ask Him to, even setting off a blessing chain reaction of open doors swinging wide before their King!

If God intends for you to walk through a door, He will open it for you. His Word promises His plans are good for us, and will come to pass when we seek Him first. Don’t be afraid to pray for the door to open if you know that you know that is where God wants you to go!

And if your coworker or neighbor or friend gets blessed in the process, even better 😉
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