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“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

Today I heard a story about a young woman who almost lost her arm due to a dog attack when she was young. She lost almost all muscle in the area surrounding the bite which rendered her arm almost useless. Her father begged her doctor to tell him anything they could do to help her regain use of the arm and strengthen it. He promised that they would do anything the doctor said in order to help his doctor. The doctor told him the best thing he could do would be to get his daughter violin lessons. He said that she would barely be able to hold the violin at all when she started, and it would be a long, hard road in front of her, but eventually, she would be able to gain enough strength to hold the violin up. The dad immediately got her enrolled in violin lessons and started her on her journey toward regaining the strength she needed in her arm. Years later, the girl stood up in  front of a large crowd and told her story. She continued on to tell how she became a concert violinist when she grew up. She said that God took what was seemingly a tragedy in her life, and turned it into her passion and calling. And He will do the same for you! What tragedy have you endured or are you enduring? Trust Him, cling to Him, and hold onto His promise to turn it to good. He can take your worst nightmare and turn it into your sweetest dream! Just wait and see!

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“He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” Mark 3:14-15

I wonder how many times I’ve read the verses above and missed out on this key fact…Jesus not only called the twelve disciple to preach and drive out demons, He called them to be with Him. In fact, He calls them to be with Him before anything else. I think we sometimes get that totally backwards. I think we feel as if God has called us to do things, but being with Him would probably not top our list. I think we dismiss how important just being with Him is. We put much more value on serving Him than we do in just hanging out with Him. What we fail to realize is that we will never be able to serve Him fully unless we spend the time needed with Him. Just as the twelve needed to spend time with Him before they could go out and preach and drive out demons, we need to spend time with God before going out to do whatever it is He has called us to do. Spending time with Him is where we gain the strength, encouragement, guidance, wisdom, and every other resource we need to fulfill His calling on our life. Take some time today to sit at His feet and gain what you need in order to go out and serve Him to your fullest!

“When the enemy thought he buried you, he forgot about something…you are a seed.”

I cane across this quote a few days ago. I’m not sure who said it, but they grasped something that I think a lot of us forget…it’s not over until Jesus says it’s over! Satan spends his every moment trying to bury God’s people so they are not a threat to him. He doesn’t want us fulfilling the plans and purposes God has for us because he knows those plans and purposes breathe life into others as well as into us. He knows he cannot take is away from God, but he is going to do everything in his power to keep us from bringing anyone else along with us, and he’s going to do everything in his power to make us miss out on the life Jesus died to give us. He wants us buried as deep as he can get us in doubts, fears, insecurities, failures, condemnation, guilt, shame…the list goes on and on. He thinks that if we are buried, we will just stay there…unable to make any kind of difference for the kingdom of God. He thinks once he buried us, he wins! What he forgets is that God isn’t hindered by anything he throws at us. He forgets that God is not limited because we are buried. He forgets that it’s not over until God declares is over! He forgets that when he buries us, it puts us exactly where God wants us…in fertile soil where He can nourish us, grow us, and blossom us into who He divinely intended us to be. He forgets that we must die in order to truly live! What Satan intends for our demise, God uses for our greatest transformation!

“Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24

 

“There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know…” from “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns

I don’t know about you, but music really speaks to me, especially when I am struggling through something or when fear is strangling the life out of me.  Recently, I had a situation in my life that had me paralyzed with fear.  I could barely speak about the situation without falling to pieces.  There were so many times that I set out to pray, but ending up just bawling my eyes out before God or not being able to utter anything at all except, “God, please help!” During this time, there were a few particular songs that I played over and over and over when the fear would grip me so tightly I could hardly even breathe.  One of these songs was “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns.  The line I have quoted at the top really helped me to stay focused on the fact that my God is bigger than any fears I have, that He is stronger than any fears I have, and that He can overcome any fears I have.  I found great comfort in the fact that it is fear that has to face God, not God having to face fear.  And when those fears have to stand face to face with the Lord Almighty, they have no choice but to disintegrate at His feet.  We cannot live life without having to face some kind of fear.  But, we do not have to allow fear to rule our lives.  We can choose to remind those fears who we belong to and watch them fall helpless before Him. Fear can have a very powerful grip on us, but it cannot destroy us as long as our eyes are focused on the One who calls us by name…the One who calls us His own.

“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

“I try to pull You down so we are eye to eye” from “King of the World” by Natalie Grant

My soon to be two year old grandson is an expert at getting me to do what he wants me to do! He knows how to bat his eyes at me, tilt his head to the side, and grin the biggest grin with all the charm he can dish out. Then in his sweet little voice he says, “Please, Nana!” Well, I’m pretty much putty in his hands at that point! He can have almost anything he wants and he knows it. A couple of days ago, he was trying to get me to let him sit in his Pop’s trucks and “drive” which he absolutely loves to do. Normally, I don’t mind him doing this, but on this particular day, he wanted to do it right in the middle of the day and the temperatures were soaring in the high 90s. I told him it was too hot, but he just kept begging me to let him drive the truck. When he realized I wasn’t budging and no amount of “pleases” were going to get him what he wanted, he climbed in my lap, put his hands on each side of my face, and looked me right in the eye and said, “Yes, Nana!” I had to muffle the laughter because it was so cute, but I didn’t want him to know I thought it was cute. I immediately thought of the song “King of the World” by  Natalie Grant and the line I quoted above. How often do I do to God what my grandson was trying to do to me? How often does He tell me “no” about something, so I try to pull Him down to my level and let Him know how it’s going to work? How often do I think what I want is a better plan than what God has planned? How often do I try to make the King of the world on my level? It didn’t work for my grandson and it doesn’t work for me! I need to remember who I am dealing with and keep Him in His rightful place!

 

 

 

 

 

This evening I received a phone call from my grandson’s mom. She wanted to share a story about what my grandson had just done. He asked her where his picture of his cousin was that Nana gave him. She told him that Nana gave the picture to his whole family, not just him. He argued with her that Nana did indeed give the picture to just him. She said they argued back and forth for a little bit, and then he got aggravated with the whole thing and basically told her he had had enough. He said he was going to call Nana and Nana would let her know who the picture belonged to. I laughed and thought that this precious little grandson of mine is three going on thirty! I had to give it to him, though! He knew exactly who to call to get the help he needed! We should be so smart! We should know who we need to call when we need help! When the enemy shows up and tries to argue us down, we would be wise to cut the arguing short and just call our Heavenly Father to step in on our behalf. He can put the enemy in his place quicker than we can even imagine. We don’t have to fight our battles alone…God is ready, willing, and able to come to our rescue! And He’s an even better rescuer than Nana!

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16:20

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and say, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  Luke15:4 – 7

 

My soon to be 4 year old grandson has a birthday coming up in a few days.  I asked his mom to ask him what he wanted Nana and Papa Tex to get him for his birthday. He let her know his request and I received a very specific list of 3 superhero characters back from his mom.  No problem!  Nana was on it!  Character 1 – check!  Character 2 – check!  Character 3 – now we had a problem!  I went to 3 stores yesterday, but couldn’t find the one remaining superhero I needed.  I called his mom to double check on the name of the character (Iron Spider in case anyone is wondering).  I pulled every character off of the shelf at each store making sure there wasn’t one lurking at the very back of the shelf.  I stopped this morning on my way to work at a different store, but still couldn’t find the elusive Iron Spider.  Mom assured me it was okay and not to worry about it, but what’s a Nana to do if she can’t find what her precious little grandson wants except worry and keep searching.  I stop at store number five and as I round the corner on the aisle with the superheroes, my heart just falls.  There is not nearly as many superhero characters lining the shelves of this store.  I just know there is no way I’m going to find Iron Spider here.  However, I looked just in case.  And what do you know?  Right there in front of me is one lone Iron Spider.  I grabbed the box and made a beeline to the checkout.  I didn’t check the price.  I didn’t care at that point!  I was so elated that I found what he wanted that I was getting that toy no matter what.  As I left the store so happy that I found what I needed, I was reminded of the story of the one lost sheep.  It doesn’t matter how far gone we are from Jesus, He will do anything and everything to get us back.  He will move mountains if He has to in order to bring us home again.  He will never give up on us, no matter how far we run away from Him.  And the happiness I found over finding Iron Spider cannot even begin to compare to the happiness He feels when He finds us and we return home!

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