The accounts of Jesus didn’t end in the bible

The bible didn’t stop with the accounts of the apostles. Your encounter with The Lord is as inspired as theirs. While their stories are miraculous and amazing, we were never meant to live vicariously through them. Your story is, too. You know Him. Tell your story.IMG_0598

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Fear of the unknown

YouIMG_7909‘re on an incredible path (of understanding just how incredible you are) and I’m excited about your journey!  I can certainly appreciate all of your fears of the unknown.  Fortunately (that’s an understatement:) we have a God that is becoming very well known and Who is very intimately acquainted with our struggles.  Bringing our fears to Him doesn’t move Him into action or change Him in any way….it changes us.

Father, You love us with an everlasting love.  When the angels sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” they’re including us in the eternal conversation of Love found in the Trinity. We’ve never been separated from You and we’ve never been slaves that had to beg for crumbs.  Thank you so much for your provision.  The world’s wisdom would put fear and doubt into our unknown future….but Your Wisdom is beyond compare and You’ve prepared our path.  It’s a path of joy and peace and it’s found in understanding our identity in You.  I pray our eyes will be opened, all the more, to your perfect provision for this moment.  When we search for tomorrow’s answers we stumble and fall because it can seem so dark.  You’ve given us this breath, right now.  Cause us to breathe and be still, trusting that the breath You’ve given us this moment will continue to be Your breath through our tomorrows.  Cause us to see with new, clear eyes…eyes full of your love and protection.  Cause us to turn away from what we don’t yet know and run into the embrace of the One Who knows us.  Thank you for our seeking hearts.  You have and will fill us to overflowing.  You have filled us and are causing us to see our perfect union in You.  “Fear not, little one, for I am your good father…”  Thank you for your words of encouragement, Lord.  You are so much better than we know…and you would said to us “So are you!”  Amen

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What do we do with “bad” thoughts?

I can appreciateIMG_6529 your struggle and I believe the Lord uses many avenues to deliver great hope.

You are not alone, my friend.  At different times in life, all of humanity has “bad thoughts” and wonders about the Goodness of God in all of it.  I want you to know that those thoughts don’t define you. I had a friend who was being devoured by such thoughts and he began to speak to them, saying “These are not my thoughts.”  (because they aren’t) That, in itself, took away the condemnation of having them.  They also stopped.  When the condemnation is broken the power is destroyed.  Even in the midst of having them you can embrace them and boldly say “Father, thank you for loving me perfectly in this moment.  Even when I can’t see my worth and my feelings betray me, You are unchangeable and I am created in Your image.  I am filled with your Glory and You’ve placed me in this time and space as a love letter for all humanity, for all eternity.  Lord, the only reason I am breathing is because You’ve placed Your breath in me. Thank you for renewing my mind to unfiltered truth.  You are not sleeping or unaware of who and where I am.  Cause me to see, all the more, my perfection in You.” Amen

You weren’t born defective.  When the Lord created you He lost His breath with wonder.  Wonder at the Glory of creation in you.  You’ve never lost that identity.  All of humanity has been in a major identity crisis, but we’re coming out…one by one.  We were never worthless.  We’ve always belonged.  It’s so much easier to have great hope for others, than for ourselves.  So, until the dawn shines in your own heart, believe my witness of your holiness.  It isn’t based on what your feeling or thinking.  You’re perfectly loved…just as you are.

The lie tells us that exposing ourselves is fatal. The truth is that reaching out in our brokenness brings healing and hope.  The Lord’s hope doesn’t disappoint.  It’s going to be good.  I can’t overestimate His Goodness.  You’ll look back on this time and be thankful for the journey in Him.

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Created in God’s image

The amazing news is that we were created in God’s image.  We were with Him before time began.  He wouldn’t have been complete without us, and He’s never been incomplete.  He said “Let us make them in our image….”  and He did!  In the garden Adam and Eve forgot their true identity.  They never lost their value but deception crept into their line of vision.  Jesus came to remind us who and Who’s we are.  We are the pearl of great price..that He sold everything to redeem.

The Lord doesn’t consider any of His creation disposable.  He is love and He is everywhere.  Before He created us in the womb He knew us.  He dances over us with joy!  There’s nothing we can do to change His view of us (as his beloved creation).  We only have one nature.  Sin is off the table for all of humanity.  We are righteous, holy and blameless.  The reason we continue to sin (miss the mark of perfection) is because we forget our glorious selves.  When they said “Those who are spiritual, go and restore…” they meant Those who know their true identity as sons and daughters of the Living God.  Sons and daughters aren’t slaves or beggars.  They’re owners and they claim ownership and live in acceptance. You weren’t born in sin.  You were born 2,000 years after sin was eradicated from God’s eyes.  In fact, He never even counted it against Abraham.  We were deceived about our true value and eternal worth.  Our eyes have been focused on the wrong issue.  Only seeing our amazing worth will cause us to live like sons.

The Lord is not into flesh management.  The flesh only reveals what the heart believes.  Fan the flame of belonging and the flesh will follow suit.

It’s good news from beginning to end.

Shalom!

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Ministry…in God’s eyes

I can understand your feelings of separation.  I, too, have been in great desperation in my understanding of my walk with the Lord.  You are not alone in this human blindness, my friend.
Your frustration is founded in what religion has defined ministry.  We were taught that missionaries in other countries were top notch on the Christian pole, followed by anyone “serving” the Lord full time. Laymen, sitting in a pew on Sundays, were only serving if they were street witnessing or purely loving their neighbor, spouse and kids.  This lie has many precious saints in places they’d rather not be…led there by guilt and condemnation.  Then, if they don’t produce the fruit the (never satisfied) religious belly deems worthy…their self worth plummets and they “feel” like the Lord is frowning (along with the hierarchy of man’s religious rite).  How can we then feel like we’re still in union with a loving Creator?
The truth is He has no expectations of you…not because He doesn’t think you can measure up to His requirements…but because, just as Abraham slept through the covenant God cut with Himself in Christ, your miraculously created being brings Him exceedingly great joy simply by breathing!  For years you’ve found your worth in what you’re doing for Him.  Your ministry.  You’re coming to understand who you are in Christ and that amazing person is so joined to the Lord that you never cease praying.  Every thought in your head, every sigh through your lips and every tear that stains your face are embraced by and through Him in perfect timing with you.  There is no separation.  You ARE ONE BEING.  Perfect.  Holy.  Righteous.  Blameless.  If you never said another thing about Jesus He would still behold you with awe and wonder…dancing over you with joy.  You are free to just be, and as you relax into that truth you’ll fall in love with yourself as you are…not by what your doing.  Your identity is eternally secure from His perspective.  Your worth has never been in question from His perspective.  He truly knows the plans He has for you and you are not forgotten.  You’ll look back on these years as a time that the Lord was setting you free from works…into a glorious friendship with Him.
You’re defining yourself and your God by your circumstances.  When Jesus said “Fear Not” he meant for you to define your circumstances by your amazing, loving, patient, peaceful, eternally loyal God.  He’s closer than a brother because your very breath is His breath.  Breathe.  Notice Him.  That will bring the great hope you’ve forgotten.  His great HOPE….confident expectation of experiential GOOD to come!  You’re not a failure or broken….just short sighted.  Take a deep breath and believe, if only for this moment, that this time of desperation will not last forever.  He is for you and you are so incredibly loved.  Right now.  He hasn’t forgotten you.  I guarantee it.
In my times of desperation, though I felt confused and lost in the middle, on the other side (when my 20/20 vision could look back) I stood amazed at the loving care He provided for me through it all.  I wouldn’t trade any of it because it was a catalyst into an adventure with Him that I couldn’t have dreamed was coming.
You, too, will stand in awe. We all need each other, to remind us of how amazing we are and how short sighted we can become.
I pray this stirs up a confident hope in you and allows you to rest in this moment with Him.  Your ministry isn’t working up conversations with people to feel accepted by Him.  What He knows to be true about you trumps anything you believe about yourself.  Your ministry will be called Life from now on…and it will be an overflow of your great joy in Him.  Rest in this truth.  Soak in it.
Shalom, my friend.  I look forward to hearing of your great adventures through resting in being His eternal pleasure.
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Being loving

Breathe.  Seriously, just take a minute and recognize that the very next breath you take wouldn’t be possible without the Lord himself holding you together.  Take a moment and recognize how incredibly eternally unique and loved you are for Him to breathe His life into you and call you His friend.  For this moment in time, forget about loving and exhale the very breath of God.  That in itself will settle some of your angst.  Yes, you’re absolutely in union with your loving, extravagant Creator!  There is no separation.  Ever.   You’ve listed all of the criteria of a life lived in union with God and are striving to work it out.  Your best efforts aren’t working and they were never meant to.  This is all going to sync together.  I promise.  You might feel like the only person in the world who isn’t hearing from the Lord, and experiencing His presence, but you couldn’t exist without His presence….and He’s always talking. The Lord hasn’t planted all of this in you for any of it to come back void.  And by “all of this in you” I mean Jesus.  Love is a person and He is the only one who can love.

When we’re feeling hopeless, it’s because we’re defining our God by our circumstances.  When Jesus said “Fear not” he meant for us to define our circumstances by our GOOD God!  You are not a failure at anything!  You’re more than a conqueror.  You’re so complete that you’re already resting at the finish line.  We’re short sighted but He’s not.   Take your eyes off of what you see (or don’t see) in your flesh and open your spiritual eyes…no matter what your feeling like.   He’s got you. One of the biggest lies I’ve encountered from the enemy is that whatever negative situation I’m in will never change.  You’ve got the Holy Spirit indwelling your “house”.  You are not a body with a tiny spirit, you’re a SPIRIT housed in a body.  You’ve read and listened to so much and I think you could really benefit from a walk in nature.  Ask the Lord to quiet all of the teachings of man and to tell you what He thinks about you.  He’ll tell you and it’ll be good.  It’ll be gold and nobody can take that away from you.

The good news is your not broken…just short sighted.  We all are in different times in our lives, in different areas.  We all need encouragement to remember who and Whose we are.  I pray peace is flooding your entire being as you read this hope.  Hope, in God’s economy isn’t like the world’s hope.  His HOPE is a confident expectation of (experiential) good to come.  His HOPE doesn’t disappoint.  Play in the rain.  Swing.  Let yourself off the hook of expectation and breathe.

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Live loved

“For I know the plans I have for you….” I, the creator of your new heart….the heart that is in union with my heart, I know how to give good gifts and I am not separated from you. … Wait, with great anticipation, for the adventure I have planned. You will be so very pleased and you’ll look back on this time of uncertainty with more confidence in my love for you….with amazement at my ability to weave lives together for joy. It’s MY joy to be with you….and I’m always with you. the problems that you focus on (with family, friends and the need to make a life) are not problems to me because I’ve already calmed the sea and you are in Me…safe…secure…at rest. I am your peace and I am your patience. You have everything in me. Fear not my darling child. I love you more than life itself…will I not give you good gifts to satisfy your soul? I am a good Father….a trustworthy Father. Rest in the provision that you don’t yet see but that you know is soon to be evident. Take heart and live loved…even in your uncomfortable blindness. I have your hand…you don’t hold mine…so the contact is forever. I love you! I’ve given you shalom peace. It’s a peace that is confident of good things to come. Your life in this realm is not over. Not by a long shot. You will have joyful feelings and you will laugh and have wonderful adventures…but your true joy is even now because it’s Me. Love, Abba

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Laughing in faith…

I heard an incredible idea recently. A guy came home from vacation only to find that he’d been fired. He called his two closest friends, to lament the situation. One friend asked him. “Do you think maybe you’ll laugh about this one day?” He thought about it and said “Yes, I probably will.” So his friend suggests “How about if we laugh about it now..in faith?” They did and it changed everything.

How amazing?! It makes me think of devastating times in my life that, looking back, I wouldn’t trade for anything. One in particular was Hurricane Katrina. There were a few completely melt down days…living in complete fear of my future. Almost everyone I knew lost nearly everything they owned, so we were all in it together…which made it hard to complain, but there were days. I remember my parents returning to their ranch house (that had taken in 6 feet of water…8 in the garage). We began tossing everything out, onto the front yard…for the city to pick up. Then my dad picked up a crow bar and started gutting the house. Neighbors stopped by and said “Sam, what are you doing?? We’re not rebuilding. We’re going to move.” My dad said “We’re rebuilding.” Then he spray painted a sign that said “No whine zone” and got busy. The neighbors, seeing my parents determination, wound up rebuilding, too. I’d never been more proud.

The storm took my entire townhouse and my future as I knew it. My dad found out that the (flooded and gutted 3/2 ranch) house (across the street from them) was for sale for 40K. He said “Stacey (or sometimes toots:) if you buy this house I’ll do everything I can to help you rebuild it and you do all you can to help rebuild our house.” Deal!

For the next 2 years we spent countless hours together. My parents wound up buying 2 more gutted houses, as rentals, so I puttied, caulked and painted all of them. The first 8 months my parents lived in the gutted shell of their house as we completely rebuilt my new home. I remember hearing my dad laughing as he’d walk by…seeing me taking up the old tile with a hammer and chisel. He was so proud. Turned out the popcorn compressor (I always called it the wrong name) worked better…but when it would spontaneously start running it always made me jump….then he’d set it outside.

When I came home from a three day trip it would be like Christmas…excitedly waiting to see what my dad had done on the house. He was a perfectionist, with an engineer mind, and could do whatever he set his mind to. My new living room was long, so instead of the 4 recessed lights I was expecting he’d put in 8! Yay!
My dad approached every job with pride and excellence, so when the day came for me to paint my ceiling I knew the standard. Of course the first coat never covers well but by the third coat I was feeling the frustration of not being able to get it right. He kept telling me “You can do it. Just put more paint on the roller.” He didn’t see the shift in my countenance, so when he brought my mom by, to proudly show her my work, instead of seeing proud satisfaction he saw truth…in the silent stream of tears running down my face. In shock, he said “Oh! What’s the matter?” and I replied “It’s too hard. I can’t do it.” He said “I’ll do it! I WANT to do it!” and grabbing the roller finished the job perfectly. Later we laughed about that for years and whenever a tough situation came up we would sarcastically joke “Aww, is it too hard?”
Looking back I see that he showed his love in ways that outnumbered the stars.
The Lord knew the steps He had for us all along and if I could go back to the days of despair I hope I would laugh in faith. Maybe I can try that next time….

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Living fully alive

 A couple of weeks ago, at church, I was chatting with some friends and I noticed a lady I hadn’t met before.  My nature is to make people feel welcomed and comfortable, so I walked over to introduce myself.  There was a teenage boy across from her, so I asked if they came together and he said “I’m _____.  I’ve been coming here for a few years.  My mom is _____ and you talk to her all the time.”  What??!!  I talk to her all the time?  I was getting really embarrassed…as the new lady must’ve thought me dim.  I asked for a picture of his mom and he said he had a new phone so he didn’t have one.  He said she comes all the time (obviously….since I talk to her all the time) but she wasn’t there that day.  Fortunately, at that moment, a friend of mine walked in and I left to greet him.  Unfortunately, the teenager and the new lady sat in the second row, while I was on stage singing with the praise band.  I was amazed at how uncomfortable I felt.

I’ve been thinking about that ever since and have come to an amazing discovery.  It’s not my nature to make people feel welcomed.  I don’t even remember their name unless we begin to have a relationship beyond an initial greeting.  My nature was to make MYSELF comfortable by welcoming people.  This beloved kid’s assessment of me has set me free to step back and look at why I do what I do.

Expectations of human beings are set ups for disappointment.  I can’t love myself or anyone else while I’m holding up a standard against myself or them.   We’re all trying to live from our hearts and sometimes it takes 44 years to figure out what our heart is saying.   For the most part, the people we encounter (family, close friends, strangers) aren’t intentionally trying to disappoint us.  They’re simply trying to live life the best they can…to live fully alive and to read their heart.  The ones that do disappoint on purpose have yet to discover your eternal, infinitely valuable, miraculous, priceless self….and their own…but discover they will.  We’re all blind until something happens (a moment with a stranger….an inner calling) that causes us to evaluate and re-evaluate what we think about ourselves, life and God.  For me, it just keeps getting better and better with each growth spurt.  They’re usually not comfortable, but after the fact they’re more priceless than gold….so hang in there.  The Lord is very, very good and His intentions toward us are boundlessly good.

I’m thankful for the awkwardness of my encounter with that teenager.   I’m free to sit in a corner and watch people, or to jump into the middle of the crowd….or to stay home.  It’s a wild ride….unfasten your seatbelt and recline your seat.  Be free. J

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Stress relief

Recently, I was boarding a very hectic flight.  The plane was late getting in and catering was filling the galley as the passengers were coming on.  It was a small, single isle plane and it was going to be completely full.  There was nowhere to stand (and we couldn’t do a first class ground service with catering in the way) so I sent the other flight attendant to the back, to check on bag space.  In the meantime I was being pulled several ways by worried passengers.  One lady had left a big box in the jetway and was determined to not let me forget about it.  She came to me at least 5 times, saying “Please don’t let them forget to take my box down.”  I repeatedly assured her that I knew about it and I would take care of it.  “Really, I’ve got this.  I won’t forget. I promise.”  In the meantime another couple, with a toddler, had a car seat and an oversized bag to check.  I told them I’d take care of it and took her seat number, so I could bring her the bag check tickets.  They wouldn’t go sit down, choosing instead to remain in the jetway until their situation was completely handled.  The gate agent would have to check their things, so I continued to board and let them hang out there, not realizing that the dad didn’t think I was being very helpful.  Both people were stressed and my greatest desire was for them to really believe that I heard their request and I would take care of it.

As I realized how much I wanted for them to believe me, the Holy Spirit spoke to me saying “That’s my heart for you and for the world.”  All of a sudden I realized how pointless worry and stress are and peace flooded my soul.  I realized that the reason for their stress was a relationship issue…..they didn’t know me.  If they knew me they would trust me and they would know that I heard them and that I wouldn’t stop until their situation was resolved.  The Lord told me “Stace, you are learning more about my heart all the time and you’re learning to trust me.  That trust allows you to live loved, no matter what you’re seeing around you.  We HAVE a relationship.  I always hear you and there is nothing I haven’t already taken care of.”

What a rest!  This morning I came across Philippians 4:6 and it finally made sense.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God (His peace), which surpasses all comprehension (He is forever at peace), will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Our rest comes from seeing our union (mind blowing) with God in Christ Jesus.  All that Jesus is, I am….in this realm and the heavenly realm…..at this moment….and this moment….and right now!  I am a completed work and I am on a great adventure with my Prince of Peace.  In this moment I’m enjoying the ride and I pray you are too!

Lord, cause us to see, all the more, exactly who we were created to be.  You are a good God,  a very good God and Your desire is for us to know You.  Knowing You is true Life.  Thank You for revealing Yourself to us in so many ways and for giving us the incredible privilage of encouraging each other through all that we see of You.  You’re amazing, just the way You Are…..and You say the same thing about us!

Shalom:))

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You are radiant!

Listen. To God you are not the mess you think you are. You were created in love. You are redeemed and you are Innocent. Jesus didn’t die for you he died as you. You don’t try to live for him you are living as him. The pressure is off. Breathe. Just be. Your feelings will lie. You are radiant.

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Trusting goodness

Today I’m thanking God for the good that I know He’s bringing….rather than being afraid of what I’m feeling and perceiving.

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The Lord is completely satisfied in you…

When God says He’s on His throne we tend to think He’s far away and separated from humanity. He says that we are His temple. You are His throne. No separation. Can’t get closer….breathe. He’s completely, fully, eternally satisfied and fulfilled in You. In Me.

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Eternal union.

In Christ we live. In Him we move. In Him we have our being. There is no breath that is apart from Him. There is only sweet, eternal union and everlasting love. Peace.

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His present reality is the answer to everything.

I thought I was going to cut it really close to being late for work (as I sat in rush hour) but, as I prayed and pondered the reality of Jesus with me, Delta called and offered me an hour later sign in! I’m learning that it’s a joy to realize my union with Him. And not only that, but my peace (and solutions) come from understanding that He (His present reality in me) is my answer to everything. I’ve seen Him heal a friend (of a lump I didn’t even know she had) as I prayed for her over the phone and simply brought Jesus into her comprehension of her “problems” Amazing!!

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No separation….

God isn’t loving you in spite of who you are. He’s loving you BECAUSE of who you are! Created in His image. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Miraculous! Your eyes captivate Him. Your breath is His breath. Everything in life is held together by Him. Without Him nothing would exist. There is no separation and you are worthy of eternal life and love. You have it. He is good at knowing and loving you. His heart leaps like a lover for you. Always. You are beyond human explanation. You are everything.

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It is well with your soul…and everything else.

When we’re anxious, afraid and feeling hopeless it’s because we’re allowing our circumstances to define our God. When Jesus said “Fear not.” he meant for us to allow our eternally GOOD God to define our circumstances. That brings peace, hope and great expectancy…childlike faith. It is well with your soul…and everything else. Shalom

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His favorite form of worship :)

My entire life I’ve struggled with trying to fit in and be whomever (I thought) someone needed me to be. My self esteem depended on it. It never worked out well. Now I’m realizing the glorious talents that have been placed in me…amazed that I get to walk out this life displaying His glory through my life. I’m really beginning to like me…and I’m hearing the Lord whisper “That’s my favorite form of worship.” Sigh.

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Break the condemnation…

Are you beating yourself up for something you did, didn’t do, should’ve done, should’ve said, shouldn’t have said…the list is endless and the carousel of accusations is deadly. Break the condemnation by thanking The Lord for loving you purely and perfectly in this moment…and in whatever that moment was. Say something like “Father, I know that isn’t the real me. The real me is pure love and understanding. My union with You is perfection. Thank you for your perfect, pure, eternal love for me in the midst of my deceptions about myself and others.” Then sit back and grin.

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You rock!

The Lord moved heaven and earth to be in your presence….because He knows your value is eternal…and because He thinks you rock.

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