December 18, 2018

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Thought to share: MY grace is like manna, daily raining down on you. Each day, I shower you with an abundant supply of power, strength and favor, giving you more than enough to meet your daily needs. Each day you can indulge deeply knowing that tomorrow a fresh supply will be ready for you. Don’t try to live off yesterday’s supply. Instead, gather, feast and be filled each day.

2Corinthians 12:9 (Amp) He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you[My loving-kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in[your] weakness.” 

Ephesians 4:7 (TPT) And He has generously given each one of us supernatural grace, according to the size of the gift of Christ.

Exodus 16:4 (NLT) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. 

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March 27, 2018

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Thought to share: the word for today is Grace. Grace is MY supernatural power at work in you. Grace gives you the strength you need to push through difficult situations. To endure hardships. To withstand the storm. Grace is the resolve you need you need to stand your ground and be unmoved. Grace enables you to do what you could not do otherwise. So lean in to MY grace and draw from MY power.

Ephesians 4:7 (TPT) And He has generously given each one of us supernatural grace, according to the size of the gift of Christ.

2Corinthians 12:9-10 (TPT) He answered me, My grace is always more than enough for you,and My power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

 

October 10, 2017

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Thought to share: Grace is your word for the day. You have MY unmerited favor. You’ll never have to earn MY love. I love you because you exist. I used MY power and authority to rescue you. And now MY power and authority fills your life. You are surrounded by MY grace. MY strength empowers you. Now walk in MY grace. Extend MY grace. Love everyone in your path simply because they exist. Never require them to earn it. Use MY power and authority to rescue the lost. Take MY strength and support those around you. MY grace at work in you is not just for you, but should work through you to touch others.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (Amp) For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
2Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT) Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s messy….but beautiful.

I’ve decided that conflict resolution is a lot like having a baby.

I remember when I went into labor with Gabrielle. She was my first baby, and I had no idea what to expect. Other than being a bit early, it was a “normal” delivery. In the end, my mind was totally blown over the wonder and miracle of life.

Danielle’s delivery was nothing like Gabrielle’s. It was unexpected, unusual and traumatic. This time, the phrase “miracle of life” really had meaning. (I’ll have to tell you about it sometime.) Nothing about it matched my experience with Gabrielle. But still, my mind was blown. Not only by the wonder of life, but also by the goodness of God.

Stefan’s delivery, though early, was “normal” like Gabrielle’s. I remember going to the hospital and getting settled in a room. And as the reality of the next few hours settled on me, I looked at Bill in complete seriousness and said, “I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. I’ve changed my mind. Is there another way?” I considered the thought of staying pregnant forever.

In shock, Bill responded, “What? It’s too late now. There’s no other choice. You’re having a baby. Today.”

Fear gripped my heart as I remembered the excruciating pain from my previous deliveries. I started to cry as I remembered how relentless the contractions were. The nausea. The inability to get relief. To be comfortable. The extreme exhaustion that followed that caused uncontrollable shaking. I panicked.

I told Bill I wanted the baby. I wanted to hold the baby. I’m ready for the baby. But I don’t want to do delivery. I can’t go through this again.

His gentle words reminded me of what I already knew to be true but could not see in the face of fear: in order to hold the baby I wanted so badly, I would have to go through the process (that word!) of delivery. There was no way around it.

Since I couldn’t figure out an alternate plan, I proceeded with delivery. It was painful. It was messy. Uncomfortable. Exhausting. As Bill held my hand and encouraged, supported and comforted me, I journeyed through the process to birth. In the end, I held my sweet baby boy. And there were no words. Mind blown again.

Relationships. I want this person in my life. I want to journey with them. I want to share experiences with them. I want to love them and be loved by them. But unfortunately, in every relationship journey there is conflict. Regardless of who – parent, sibling, spouse, child, friend, co-worker, neighbor –  it’s nearly impossible to have authentic relationship without an issue of some sort.

And I panic at the idea of conflict. I want the relationship, but I’m terrified of conflict.

To be honest, my first response is to abort. I don’t want the excruciating pain that comes from words that hurt (words of affirmation is my #1 love language). I don’t want the exhaustion of drama as I try to understand what they meant by that look or that comment. I hate the knots in my stomach that come from the tension between us. I don’t know how to get relief or how to be comfortable with them again. I don’t think my heart can bear to go through this another time. So it’s easier to just let that relationship go – to pretend there is no problem as I build a wall between us – instead of going through the process of resolution.

But like Bill, Jesus gently reminds me that in order to have the relationship, I must go through the process of working it out. There is no way around it.

Each set of circumstances will be different, but I know in every instance I’ll have to open up and communicate. I’ll have to be transparent and vulnerable to share what’s in my heart. How I feel. What I perceive. What I need. I’ll have to listen to more than their words, but hear what’s in their heart. To understand their perspective. To see what they need. I’ll have to be ok if we don’t see the situation the same way. I’ll have to know that resolution is not them agreeing with me. It’s not me changing their mind.

It may get messy. It may be painful. It may take time. Forgiveness and understanding will be required. Grace will be needed. But Jesus will faithfully stay by your side to comfort your heart as He helps you navigate through pain. He’ll support and encourage you to maintain connection.

And in the end, it’s worth it because your mind will be blown.  At the wonder of seeing their heart. At the miracle of really knowing them. Of authentic connection. Relationships are a lot of work, but there’s beauty in a relationship that’s weathered a storm. The connection is deeper. The love is greater. The bond is stronger. The journey is sweeter.

I’ve aborted a lot of relationships in my life. I couldn’t endure the pain. I wasn’t willing to be uncomfortable. I was terrified of rejection. Transparency was paralyzing. Authenticity not an option. I didn’t think I could endure the heartache. But I don’t want do that anymore.

Romans 12:9 (NLT) tells us to Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Do all you can to maintain a healthy connection to people. Every person. He tells us this because we need people in our life. Because He works through people in our life. Because we can’t keep discarding people and continue to make a difference for the Kingdom. Because when you are a promoter of peace, you’ll be blessed and identified as His child. Matthew 5:9 (NLT) God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

I regret every aborted relationship. So, as messy as it can be, I want to work through conflict in order to have the beauty of relationship. I want to live in peace with every person in (and outside of) my life so I don’t miss an opportunity to experience an aspect of the journey.

 

Note: I delivered all my babies drug/epidural free. So, don’t panic. And don’t decide not to have children based upon my description. You can always opt for a pain free option. Which is what I was wishing I had done as I delivered Stefan.

Here are all my sweet babies as newborns – Gabrielle, Danielle and Stefan. I can say, the mess has been worth the beauty they bring to my life.

 

Sometimes I say stuff

Sometimes I say stuff – remember I’m a talker – but I have no idea what I’m saying. I heard someone somewhere say it and it sounded reasonable, so I repeat it. I read a snippet about it and it looked good to me, so I share it. Or it’s something “they” say – and you know they are always right – so I say it too.

As a result, I’ve found myself saying and sharing information that I really know nothing about. Or I say things without realizing what it means. And sometimes – it’s not good. Like the time I told my husband that I parked out in “BFE” and he nearly fainted. Needless to say, I don’t use that term any more. (don’t judge – I didn’t know)

Another one of those words is ‘karma’. Sounds like an interesting concept. A good idea. A word that can just easily be tossed out and it sounds right. A harmless word. And it’s trendy – all the cool kids say it.

However, I’ve gotten a little smarter since the BFE incident. So I did a little research because I wanted to understand what I was actually saying. And this is what I learned.

Karma is a spiritual concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions and is based upon the belief in reincarnation. The law of karma states that every thought, word or action – whether good or bad – will count in determining how an individual will be born in their next life on earth. It is the idea that how you live your life will determine your quality of life after reincarnation. So an individual with bad karma could be born many different times into a lower human status or even into lower forms of animals (which is why they are vegetarians because you can’t risk eating Uncle Elmer). An individual with good karma will “upgrade” their status in their next life. In Hinduism you have the ability to eventually upgrade to the Brahmin class and be released.

Karma is believed to be the invisible power that balances the universe – giving people what they deserve because their past actions create their present state and their present actions will create their future. Through karma, you create the world into which you are born.

In essence, karma teaches that individuals are in control of their salvation, which is their release from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

I’m no theologian, but none of this seems Biblical to me.

This belief abolishes grace by eliminating the possibility of forgiveness. It says I deserve the good things that come to me because I earned them, therefore denying the blessings of Abba and His goodness to humanity. It says that every bad thing that happens to me is my fault, denying the influence of a sin fallen world and an enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy. It teaches the philosophy of past lives and more lives to come contradicting the truth that man only dies once.

There are those who believe the idea of karma is found in the Bible in Galatians 5:6-7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

However, the enemy’s lie of karma is nothing like God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping. The Bible tells us receiving the benefits of godly choices takes place in this life, not in some future life. The Bible also teaches there are negative consequences for choices that are contrary to God’s principles. In addition, the sowing done on earth will affect the reaping in eternity – either in heaven or hell.

So, with that in mind – I won’t be using the word karma. I can’t talk about something that I don’t believe in. And I can’t promote anything that is contrary to the Word of God.

Now, to figure out what “oh for pete’s’ sake” means.