Can I just peek at that plan?

So when God gives you a dream, a vision, an idea, a passion, a calling, whatever you want to call it…we tend to see the end goal picture first. We get excited.

We want to shout from the rooftops, LOOK AT WHAT GOD IS GOING TO GIVE ME!

It’s like when you see a picture of a house that you want to own. Like looking at the virtual online tour of your perfect dream home.

I love floor plans. Since I was a kid, I have always been obsessed with floor plans. I have drawn out the floor plan of almost every house I have lived in. When I think of how I will arrange a house or room before I move in, I draw a rough floor plan. When I got tired of living in junky old rent houses, I would dream of homeownership and look at floor plans online. Even floor plans of modular or mobile homes got me excited.

I get annoyed when I can’t visualize the layout of a house that I am viewing online and there is no floor plan. I see a room here, but does it connect there? Or there? Is that a closet? Or a bathroom?

I like to see the whole plan, how it’s laid out, the flow from room to room.

And God has been talking with me A LOT lately about the dreams he’s given me. When He gave me those dreams, he didn’t let me peek at the floor plan. He let me see some snapshots of the end result. Where I could be when he wanted me there, if I followed his plan for me.

Of course, I decided that jumping to the end was going to happen right away.

After all, I am supposed to be the next joyce meyers/kim walker smith plus nurse missionary, right? I knew the nursing dream would have to wait…I have to be trained and have a degree and license to do all that…..

But it didn’t occur to me that my knowledge of God’s word had to be strengthened, my relationship with God had to get closer, my voice range/tone and other technique issues had to improve. I was going to chase after that final picture of what God showed me!

I sat down to write a book I felt God wanted me to write and the first several chapters flowed so easily. Then the next few were harder, and then the items that were next on the list, I had to slow down on because, Father forgive me, I had not yet finished walking them out in my life.

I had to put it down. I had to walk out those areas of my life with God. Then we would circle back around to an area I had already “mastered”. The “why does this keep happening to me?” started changing to “No. I’ve already beaten you enemy, why do you come back?” and I had to face the fact that I was allowing him to come back, by my own habits. My stewardship sucked. I got frustrated. “Where are the promises of God? I believe they are for me! Where are they?”

Then I begged God to show me his plan. I begged him to give me a sign. He showed me my end picture again. So I would jump up and chase after it like I had already mastered the steps to get there. And fall flat again.

In the midst of that, I was pursuing my dream of nursing. And I got so close to starting nursing school. I graduated from community college, I started at a university and only had two classes that I needed before starting. Only, they couldn’t be taken together. I had to take one, then the other. So I went to the adviser. I asked what I could do. She told me that I could take these other courses with them that were part of my nursing program. And I foolishly thought that it would mean a shorter time on the other side of nursing school. I took all those courses along with my two science classes. I got accepted into nursing school and when I went to register for classes, I find that I could only take ONE nursing course my first semester. I had 4 hours….BUT I WORKED AHEAD! I started early. I asked, if I only have 4 hours this semester, and only 9 hours the next semester, then Why can I not take them together? And they explained very nicely that in order to do the nine hours worth of coursework, I had to have the knowledge from that 4 hour class. Without that, I would not be equipped to take the next classes.

And now you see where this dream ties with the others. I needed a foundation of knowledge before I could know what to do next. I kept circling around to the same stumbling blocks because I hadn’t laid down that foundation. There’s no skipping ahead. There’s no cheating the system. You have to learn what you have to learn before you can move forward.

That’s when they handed me this nifty piece of paper that said “Degree Plan Course Sequence” And it laid out the next two and a half years worth of classes for me that I must take in that exact order to get my degree. And I came to accept this, because I could not change it and because I had a piece of paper that laid out a plan for me.

God didn’t give me a neat little piece of paper that said “Dream Plan Life Sequence”. But he did give me his word. He laid out a way I should live this life in his word. He tells me that he has plans for me. (Jeremiah 29:11) Those plans for my good and to make me prosperous and give me hope and a future. He tells me who I am. He tells me I am loved and that I CAN DO ALL THE THINGS THAT HE WANTS ME TO DO.

You see, God didn’t show me that picture of a future for me to dangle a carrot in front of me. He showed it to me to give me hope. He is saying “when I see you, I see the potential you have and the plan I have for you and the things you will do for my kingdom. You’re not there yet, sweetie, but look how far you’ve come. Now, are you going to trust me? Are you going to do the work?”

God doesn’t give me the floor plan because he knows I might start making changes to it where I don’t like things. It’s too uncomfortable to learn how to walk under authority, so I’m just going to be the boss. It’s to expensive to do this, so let’s just pull back the budget on this vision. We don’t need a 5 bedroom house right now, so let’s cut costs and go with a four….but do you know what God’s going to do with that extra room? Do you know where God’s going to pour out provision in your life? Do you know the people God is going to use to get you where you’re gonna be? God knows I’d get impatient and start settling for less that what he wants for me. I’d pick the “close enough” that the enemy offers me.

God doesn’t give me my floor plan because he knows I’ll only work on building up me. My focus and my attention switches from the cross and furthering the kingdom and spreading love to others and focuses on what God is going to do for me.

So instead, he gives me a snapshot of the future and some small steps in the right direction.

Along the way, he gives me opportunities to see what he’s doing in someone else and help them slap on some dry wall. While I’m focused on Him, reading his word and pouring it out into others. While I help build someone else up, he’s pouring a foundation for who he wants me to be. While I learn to walk in obedience to those in authority over me on earth, I learn to walk in obedience to God. He pulls in some mentors, some other believers who help me walk out the hard areas of my life and who start building a framework of the person he needs me to be. He doesn’t send me the yes men, who will wallow in pity with me. He sends me the people who say, “no. this is what the word says. This is what God says.” They patch up the holes where I am letting the enemy throw stones into my house. He shapes me into who he wants me to be. Why do I have to be the person He needs me to be to get where I need to go? Because, it was never about me. This dream. This call. It was never about me. It’s about Jesus. I’m always a work in progress. I’m not gonna reach that end goal and just rest. That’s just the beginning of the next floor. I’m never going to be perfect. I just a reflection of the son.  

The Fruits of Maturity

A lot of adult believers tend to categorize the bible. There are the bible stories and other “kids stuff” and there is the grown up stuff. I have dealt with the “kids stuff” as a lot as a former children’s pastor. Amazingly enough, while teaching the children, I grew so much by getting revelation from what I was teaching. Where we go wrong is that there is no ADULTS/KIDS ONLY categories. The word of God is for everyone. Kids don’t have Jesus, Jr. They have the same Jesus that lives in us. 

Since we know that none of the bible is sectioned off in a kids only section, I will share one of the children’s lessons that I worked with extensively: The Fruits of the Spirit! If you teach kids, you probably think right off the bat that the fruit of the spirit is not a coconut. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. These are not just for kids, they are signs that you are mature as a believer.

“But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”

– Galatians 5:22-24 (Amplified Bible)

Our spirit is like any living thing. It needs to be fed and nurtured to survive. The bible tells us in Ezekiel 36:26 that when we accept Jesus, God puts a new spirit in us as well as taking out our stone heart and giving us a heart of flesh. That new heart is going to be able to open up more, love more and feel more. This new spirit needs to be watered. It needs to be nurtured.

As believers we have a tendency to put our spirits on what I like to call the “ramen bible diet”. We get what what we can live on, but not what is going to be nourishing to our spirit. We go to church, we hear a sermon, we chew on that for a bit and maybe see a few verses pop up in our facebook newsfeed and that is what sustains us until we get to Sunday the next week. We feel a move of the spirit and we think its enough to hold us over until the next sermon.

On that diet your spirit stays alive, but it bears no fruit or very small hard fruit. We begrudgingly love our neighbor because we know its what we are supposed to do. We feel joy in the joyful moments but when we hit trouble, it brings us into worry and depression. We can’t even begin to fathom what God wants from us as far as self control is concerned. We just kind of do what we think is right, just so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone besides us.

When we start to expand our spiritual diet, it starts slow, maybe with some faith based music thrown in. Then we add a little preaching from people on television, maybe read a book or two our friends recommended. And our spirit will grow a little more. When we really start digging into the word daily, and getting our “daily bread”, that is when our spirit starts to thrive. It’s not just living, it is exceeding. We start to line up our hearts with what His word says and we start to use our spirit to tap into what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. When we really truly start to fellowship with God, those fruits begin to blossom. It’s evidence that Holy Spirit is dwelling within you. You can be joyful in the hard times. You can have the gentleness to deal with difficult moments with other believers. You can wait on God for His promises to you, and while you are waiting, you can have peace knowing that God does his part always. You just have to do yours. You can change your habits, and you can have control over your desires and exercise your self control.

It’s difficult to do alone, but when you feed your spirit the right diet of God’s word and nurture it with listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit, you are mature enough to see that you are never alone when you have God on your side. Hebrews 13:6 says “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

Today, I challenge you to pick up your bible, and sit down for a spiritual meal with the King of Kings. I know the bible seems intimidating.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Make it a habit. You are not too busy to unlock the spiritual potential inside of you.

Brake Check

How many times have you been going along in your car, not paying attention to your speed and you see a police car? What is your gut instinct? Hit the brakes, just in case. Slow down and make sure you aren’t getting in trouble. You check your mirrors as they pass to make sure they don’t pull a u-turn and flip on the flashing lights.

Sometimes, we apply our same mentality about respecting the authority of the police to God. We hit the brakes when we see the police car. We hope and pray that those lights don’t flash. We speed when we don’t see an officer on the horizon.

When we can’t see the end plan of what God has for us on the horizon, we tend to be the same way. We get lax in our respect for God and how we should live our lives. We don’t give our best to God and make sure that we are devoted to our calling. Then when we hear a call from God we get a little brake check in our hearts. You never know what God has just over that hill, just around that corner, just after that rough spot, but he is always working for your good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jerimiah 29:11 (NIV)

Check your hearts today like we check our brakes.  Are you working toward his call and his purpose? What’s holding you back from God’s plan for you?


It’s been a while

Hello to my few faithful followers. It has been a while.
I’ve been focused on nursing school and following the path that God has put me on within my church body.

Lately it’s been on my heart to share my testimony with young women. I’ve been praying about how God wants me to go about doing that. I could write blog posts, I could write a book, I could speak to teen groups. Please partner with me in prayer for direction.

God has been faithfully providing me with opportunities to serve and I am so excited to be given a chance to study in London this summer and am working to find a place in Paris to do mission work over my break. Please pray with me that the right connections are made and that I may be able to serve God in whatever capacity He needs me to work in.

I will do my best to update more often and share some of the great things God is revealing to me!

Working on a Bigger Revelation

I have not posted here in some time. I am sorry for those who follow this very sparse blog. 

I have been called by God to write a book. I do not say that lightly. In fact, everytime I start to doubt, God sends a person who does not know that I am writing this book to tell me to work on it. One person went so far as to pray for me and then say “You need to write a book!” Most people gave me a “stop worrying about pleasing others and do what God has told you to do” or “get out of your own way, God has something you are supposed to be working on.” 

I did not want to announce this publicly for a couple of reasons.

1. People can criticize it now. The enemy uses people you care about against you to nay say your dreams sometimes. Other people may say I am not qualified. This has been my big hang up. I have heard over and over again, “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” I think I am going to take that a step further and quote scripture. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11 
I am not going to run from a calling because I worry what others will say. I will use my testimony and the revelations God has given me to be a light in the darkness, for his glory, not mine. By accepting Jesus, I am called to be a light. Am I more worried about people pleasing than pleasing God? I shouldn’t. So, I shouldn’t fear people’s reaction. 

2. If I don’t tell anyone, I can’t let anyone down. People can’t hold me accountable if they don’t know. I was afraid of letting God down, but mostly, I didn’t want anyone to hold me to a commitment I made to God. I kept telling myself this is between me and God, no one else has to know. Well, it meant an absence from this blog because I was working on the book, which I have not explained so I had to tell you guys. I also had to tell because I get weak sometimes. I give in to what is easy, not what is right. I need you guys to ask me how it is coming along, so that I can stay on track. 

So I am doing some deep study and making notes and following the spirit. I will be self publishing this work as an e-Book. As soon as I get it published, I will post a link.

Please pray with me, dear friends and readers. Pray that I be a vessel to carry the message that God wants me to deliver. Pray over this book that it be blessing to those who read it. 

The working title is “Don’t Stress; Be Blessed.” It deals with a lot of issues that help you let go of what brings you down and stresses you out and reveals the blessings God has for us. I hope it will be a tool for you and others to deal with issues of our heart and bring us closer to the Father. I know it has been for me. Joyce Meyers always says “I’m not gonna feed you something that God hasn’t already made me eat.” This has been my journey for the last several months. It is not a solution to end all stress, but a tool to help remind you of who is really the one who controls it all. 

Trying to be God

Control is a big deal for me. I grew up having no control over anything and wanting to control everything. I want to fix everything. I have found myself telling people, “Would it be okay if I showed you how to do that?” Because they weren’t doing it my way. As a believer, everything has to be out of my control and in the hands of God. It is hard. Especially in times when people are suffering.

We all have dealt with illness. We have all dealt with the death of someone we love. As a believer, I know that God can give divine health and miraculous healing. Having faith and fighting can be hard.

When I am sick, it is hard to fight when you have little strength physically to fight in the spirit. That is when corporate prayer with family and friends can be helpful. It is easy to put on your jammies, get in bed and whine. Now, doing things like resting when you are not feeling well can be good for you, but whining is a compromise to your confession. Once I get through that, I realize that God can do his work when I do my part, confess healing. My symptoms seem bad, but God is working in me. I am not saying medicine is not a gift of wisdom from God. Take medicine, but also, ask God for help! Trust that His word is true.

It is harder for me when someone I know is in pain. A dear friend of mine has been fighting for a while against cancer. My mom was diagnosed 5 years ago with cancer. My first impulse when facing cancer used to be to crumble and cry since I lost my mother in law to cancer 6 years ago. When my mother told me her diagnosis, I did my best to keep it together in her presence, but the first thing I did when she left my house was to run to into my husband’s arms and cry. I did not want to lose her. Fear was controlling me. I have had to work for years to overcome that impulse and to stand strong and confess healing. I know now that my mother was healed and continues to be healthy. When you are in the middle of it, it is hard to be strong. Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” When we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and our human minds can’t wrap our head around things getting better, we have to remember that God is here. God is working. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”

When I see that pain and suffering that my loved ones go through, I want to just take the burden off of them and put it on me. I want to take away their pain if only for a little while and carry it for them. I would rather suffer than to watch them suffer through it. I tend to think of myself as a strong person. I have overcome some hurdles and have stood through some battles in my life. And if I could use my strength to fight for them, I would. Especially my children and husband, I want so badly for them to never feel pain, never to suffer and I would be willing to take all that pain for them. I don’t have the ability, and I don’t have the right, because Jesus beat me to it. Jesus has already taken that on. I don’t have to. Jesus paid for their pain. He took their place on the cross. It is so human of me to think that I could take on their pain, that I could help relieve them. But I am only HUMAN. God sent his son to take our place.

So many times I find myself trying to be God.

I want to control the future. I want to be the master of my destiny. I want to take on their pain. I want to save others. I want to make these huge decisions and I want things to go MY WAY! I think I know what is best for me and mine and the world would just be a better place if I was incharge of all the silly people who mess up all the time. I am a little crazy. You can say it. I know it. It’s childish to think I can do all these things.

I am not God. I am just a control freak human. I cannot fathom the possibilities of the future or how things will work in the right harmony so that I get what I need. I can empathize with others, but I cannot possibly put myself in their position to understand what is truly right for them. I cannot in all my wisdom even comprehend the sacrifice that would be required of me to give my child for all of humanity. I had a difficult time understanding for an hour or so how having less classes next semester for nursing is actually A GOOD THING! We are selfish, we are disobedient, we are not faithful like God is.

I hear people (including myself) say, “Let Go, and Let God.” Do my part and trust that He will do His. It is so easy to say. It is so hard to practice. It’s hard to see that God is working even when we aren’t fussing over it. He actually works better if we aren’t fussing. Confession!

I am also the most impatient person on the planet at times. I can’t wait to have patience! I want what I want and I want it now! Healing is not always instantaneous. Miracles don’t always manifest instantly. I find myself praying that I need something, right now, urgently. And His answer most of the time is just wait. Wait and See what I have for you! I don’t know better than God. He is the author of my fate. Why do I not trust that He will help me when I need help?

God is love. Love is patient. My Father is so patient and forgiving of me. Instead of trying to be God, I should try to be more like him. Kind, patient, forgiving, faithful…

Revelations 12:11 says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” We will overcome the same way. THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB and THE WORD OF OUR TESTIMONY. God did his part already. We don’t need to do it. He sent His Son and He keeps His promises. Our part is to get our mouth and our thoughts in line with His word. We have to be obedient and faithful.

So I am letting go and Letting God. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of faith and trust to walk in peace. Will you join me today in this walk?

Resurrected with Christ

As Easter approaches, I am taking time to remind myself of the covenant I have with Jesus and what it means for me. He was the sacrificial lamb of this blood covenant we have. I agreed when I was saved to live my life as a disciple of God, and a follower of Christ. I asked God to take over and be the boss. In return, He promised me protection, he promised me healing, he promised me eternal life free from condemnation, so long as I ask forgiveness and accept Jesus as my savior. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am saved by grace. I think I got the best end of this bargain.

In children’s ministry, there is a lot of emphasis on the death of Jesus. “Jesus died so that you might live abundantly. Jesus died for your sins. By Jesus stripes you are healed. God sent his son to die for us and give us eternal life.” We talk a lot about Jesus dying. We cheer that Jesus died for us. More focus should be made, in my opinion about the resurrection of Jesus.

When you are baptised, you are burying the old you, washing away your sins, and being risen with Christ. You are baptised as a confession of your acceptance of Christ as your savior.  When we were born into this world, we are born of Adam and into sin. Sin is in our nature. When we accept Christ, our old nature is dead and buried and we are born again in Christ. The resurrection is key to understanding your salvation. Now for a moment, let’s imagine you just died with Christ. You are held under that water for ever. Being cleansed of sin through Christ’s death sounds pretty awesome, but without the resurrection it ends there. We would live and die as sinners.

Consider Romans 6:1-14:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

When we accept Christ’s salvation, we died with Him, and rose again. We rose again. The resurrection of Christ means that sin and death are no longer our master. Our one true master is God. Everything we live for should be to Honor and Glorify Him.

We talk about the death of Christ and the cleansing of our sins when teaching the word. We talk about the DON’Ts…And we sort of miss the point. Now that sin is no longer my master, I shouldn’t concentrate as much on the don’ts. I should be focused on the do’s.

Take for instance, a diet. If you want to focus on all the things you are depriving yourself of for the sake of fitness, it is going to make it oh so hard to succeed. You have to focus on the things you need to do and the things that come of it. In the morning, if I say to myself, you can’t have that donut. It’s bad. I get to feeling sorry for myself about it. If I say to myself, here is a delicious healthy omelet made with a little cheese and spinach and mushrooms and you will be full until lunch because of the protein and feel better because you aren’t sugar crashing in an hour, then I might just succeed.

You magnify what you set your focus on. Focusing on grace, love, and mercy rather than guilt and condemnation and applying it to others will help you greatly in your walk. A good portion of what Christ won for us on his Resurrection day has to do with our lives here and now on Earth. God wants us to be happy, He wants us to be healthy, He wants us to spread love. Jesus said people would know us by the signs and wonders and by the way we love. If we suffer through this time on Earth we can’t be light to the darkness. We just blend in with the rest. Defeating sin and living in the good things that God has for you is part of the deal we struck. God always has something better for you. Are you willing to work for it and get it? Are you willing to stop saying Jesus died for my sin, so I can’t… and Start believing that Jesus died so you could have a future and that your future can give Honor and Glory to God and be a testimony to others?

We celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas. We tend to celebrate his death and sacrifice on Easter. This year, lets all try to remember that it was the raising from the dead that conquered death. We are no longer death’s servants. Easter is a time of re-birth and revival. Easter is the celebration not only of Jesus resurrection but of every believer’s spiritual resurrection.

Happy Re-Birthday!