Saturday, April 26, 2014

We interrupt this multi post message for breaking news...time for a growth spurt...

 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.                     
                                                                         1 Timothy 4:12-14 ESV
I've seen this Scripture several times lately. In most cases it was shared about a younger person. God just kept bringing it around & around...I must insert in this space the fact that our Father is so many times have you asked your children to do something & then just wait around patiently for them to decide to do it?? Well that doesn't fly in this house & I'm sure it doesn't in yours either.
Back to God showing me this verse. I have been up & down most of the last few nights. I could feel this post coming through His subtle whispers. I've been putting this off for as long as I can. I honestly thought He was leading me to get the posts about the Encounter God Retreat we attended in Abilene, TX last Oct. done...the messages have been so jumbled. That's when I know it's something that will be life changing for me. That He's going to be growing me, that what He's going to teach me will make me more like Him. These are both my favorite & sometimes most difficult times. But they are like a changing of the season's....a growth spurt...

Remember those?? I have fond memories of those & sad ones too. In our family we did hand me downs. God blessed me with 2 girl cousins that were just a few years older than me & my sister. Of course their mom was always up on the cutest styles, so they had so many cute clothes & shoes to hand down. I got my first pair of high heels from them!!! I used to look forward to their bags. I loved digging through them trying outfit after outfit on. Some would be to big & I'd have to wait to grow into them...those were some of the sad memories. The next day I'd get to wear a new outfit, it always felt so good to head out in a new outfit. The sadness long gone & forgotten, now replaced by the laughing & excitement of girls giggling. Still too big, but not as important.

The other sad memories I have with growth spurts is out growing a favorite out fit. You know what I'm saying. The outfit that I'd wear everywhere. It fit me just right. I felt attractive in it. Wearing it made me walk with my head a little higher. Then I'd hit a growth spurt & suddenly it became my little sisters outfit...I would be so frustrated & sad. Jealous even sometimes.

All this to say that finally today my brain started working in a different way & I now am seeing this Scripture in a different way. Instead of seeing & thinking literally young in age, I'm seeing & understanding it as in young in our relationship with Jesus. We all start out as newborns in every area of our lives. We learn as we go. Our faith grows as we grow & mature in our relationship with Him. It doesn't go by how long we've walked, but the path He is taking us down. Sometimes His plan is to get us through something quickly, fast track us. Other times He lets us linger along the path. If we linger too long in a comfy spot, He may allow things to get uncomfortable for us, to get us moving. We never want to stay somewhere we are uncomfortable. So we will move, if we are believers, we move the direction God guides us. But as we go we grow, become more like Christ.  Each time we pass a season, we find it getting easier to get going again. To not linger for too long. To hear Him & get moving. Then we enter a new season, when He knows we're ready.

He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.

                                   Daniel 2:21 NIV

I was reading in "God's Words of Life" when He led me to this Truth...

"...The talents we use may change season to season...Keep looking for & developing new talents. God will bring them out in you as you yield yourself to Him."
                                                      Nancy Corbett Cole

At this point I have noticed I'm on a new growth spurt. This growth spurt is spiritual. It's the kind of growth I've experienced a couple of other times...the first time when I realized I didn't need religion, only to have a personal relationship with God. The second was when I learned that Jesus is God...that was a wonderful revelation that has changed my life. I, like so many others, always thought that God, the Son & the Holy Spirit were 3 different individual beings. So this was something new for me. Lately my Faother has been teaching me more & more what the Holy Spirit is to me. That it is God in me. He's my Helper. I'm learning that not all Christians believe He is the same as God the Father & Son. They are all good with the first part...God the Father & Son & will speak of the Holy Spirit being equal, but in their truest heart of hearts for God, they place Him at a lower level. But I believe ALL are God & therefore ALL are co-equals. Now this being said I found this reading today, and it really spoke to me.

This made me search out all I could. I found several places that talk about where the gifts come from. How we receive them. What are the gifts of the Spirit. This has caused a conflict & I'm sure will right to judgement day. Some people believe in the gifts of the Spirit, some don't. Some pick & choose which gifts they will accept & some just say "I refuse to put a border, wall, or ceiling on what, when & how God can work through me & others." This is my belief. I've seen God use the Spirit in many areas of my life & those around me.

Here are some of the Scriptures I found concerning the gifts...

 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

                                                          1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your  faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

                                                            Romans 12:6-8 NIV

I have been learning that God uses each of us in different areas, according to our gifts & where He wants us. He moves us around. He grows His gifts in each of His children that choose to give Him control. He will not force us, He gave us free will. We can choose to accept the gift He gives us & let Him use the gift through us to grow us into a more mature relationship with Him. To bring Him glory, to shine His love through us all.

Our family has recently had a few HUGE changes take place. These are life changing steps. I can not sit & honestly tell you that I have not doubted, or compared. I've put boundaries on & lifted them off God. I've felt the old comfort of my flesh calling my name. I've failed God so many times...but He is here. He knows what He's doing & I trust Him. So, I know so many things are changing around us. I know that these are the times that the enemy wants to use to divide & conquer. Rebuke him, break off the spirit of rejection & doubt. Toss that liar back into his pit.

We as Christ-followers, must not let the enemy tempt us to turn on each other. God made us each unique, so we all handle things differently...but don't give the enemy an inch in this battle. God is more than sufficient to take care of all of us. Let's not judge others choices, lets lift them in prayer. God will show each of us who chooses to surrender all of ourselves to Him, which gift He's blessed you with. If someone else who has been a Christian longer than you speaks doubt over it, smile & choose God. Don't let anyone tell you what your relationship with God should be. Or what gifts He's given you.

Your gifts may change with the seasons He takes you through. The more you allow Him to mature you, the more gifts you may receive?? I do believe that all gifts are alive & shared to this day & will be forever...

Okay, I'm out of words, so this is the end of the breaking news...


Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet me in Abilene, Texas at Fountaingate 2

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
 to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
                                                Isaiah 42:6-7 NIV

As I walked into the lobby of Fountaingate Fellowship the next morning, I could smell the amazing aroma of coffee, baked goods & everything  seemed to be extra yummy smelling today. I could hear the whir of people talking & sharing with each other. I saw the line of smiling & chatting men & women all the way to the doors, for the cafĂ©. There were couples, families & friends gathering in groups, at tables & all around the lobby. I walked Jr over to check him in, while Sr was taking a smoke break out front. C-2 was rushing around, she was a coach & therefore  had plenty to do. D-2 was also a coach, he was grabbing breakfast, then heading out to prepare.

I ask Jr if he wants anything, he says no thanks mom. So I stand there, trying to stay out of the way. Then the beautiful smiling K comes up & says good morning...Jr wants to go in with the other kids, so I take him over then make my way back to K & she leads us inside the was so strange, it was like I had never been in there before...even though I was in there the night before. It looked different. The first thing I noticed this morning was how large this room was. A peace just came over me. It was very open, no walls. There were NO WALLS....It was WIDE OPEN. Ready to be filled with Praise & Worship being lifted up to our Father, the One Who loves us completely. He doesn't care if our voices crack, or we sing off key...He's thrilled we are lifting up our hearts to Him. It's also very bright in this special place. I walk up to the chairs we had last night & put down my stuff.

We sit down & K asks me some questions about myself. She knows I came from Arizona. "I've been praying for y'all....for a few weeks. Every since God shared He might bring y'all down. We all started praying for y'all..." I must have had a shocked look upon my face, because she just smiled & said "He gave me some words for you already & I'm really excited He chose me to share your very first EGR!!!" I hugged her. I felt like she loved me, she didn't know me from Adam, but she really loved me. I knew she was here for me, that God had placed this woman right here just for me.We talked a little more. I got to learn from her that she & I had a whole lot in common. Both before & after accepting the gift of salvation. I always look up & say, "I know this is you, thank you."

 People began finding their way to the seats they had chosen the evening before...As a man came up to open up the wonderful weekend God had planned for us, in prayer. Then the Worship band came on stage...God opened up the speakers & pure joy, love, praise for our Daddy came pealing out of the mics...& worship had officially begun.

The music was a mix of songs I knew & didn't know. But each one was hand chosen, by God Himself. He picked songs that would get us moving & dancing & reaching for Him...He built up the excitement, He lifted our praise level all the way off the charts. Some songs were great reminders & others that would enlighten us. Each one chosen to prepare our hearts, open them up nice & wide to receive whatever He had for each of us that day. Where ever He was planning on meeting us & whatever He would be teaching us. There were ladies with flags/banners waving them & walking on & off the stage waving them. As I looked around I thought, well what would our church family think of the level this group worships at??? Some people star at those of us who raise our hands to Him in praise. I lose myself in worship & I can feel the eyes on I love that they are so completely worshipping God, that they don't have any clue whats going on around them...That is my favorite way to worship, totally & completely. Have I been doing that lately??.....I haven't...that was my answer. Just that quick & to the point.

As if she is in on the private conversation going on with my Holy Spirit at that moment, K says do you want to go down front?? I don't even answer, or hesitate, I just get carried down the aisle to the crowd dancing down front....I can literally feel my heart opening wider & wider...I hear the joy of my praise lifting up higher & higher....I can physically feel my head going back, my chest lifting up & His Spirit in me connecting to the Heavens above...there is actually a physical feeling I experience. By the end of worship, I felt like I was being held up by the Spirit connection with God Himself & His Spirit in was so super natural....I remember not wanting to stop worship that morning..I never wanted that level of connection to go away....worship ended & we headed back to our seats...

I had never been to an EGR before & I had no idea  what to expect, other than what we had heard from a couple of others. It is kinda of like a convention in a way. But there's no one trying to sell you anything. In fact people are begging for what God is offering...& it's TOTALLY FREE. So they explain what the sessions are about...We are free to choose which we want to attend, certain ones were for different groups, such as teens, etc. I just chose to let God speak through the ones He wanted me to I pretty much stayed for it question kept going through my mind..." Omgoodness am I ready for this???"

I answer silently, Oh YES...I can do anything through Christ Who gives me strength....Phil. 4:13....So I am choosing to let God decide what areas I need the work in right now...etc. Take down the walls I've built Daddy, take my hand & lead me down Your path.......

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Life with Nona: Meet me in Abilene, Texas at Fountaingate Fellowsh...

Life with Nona: Meet me in Abilene, Texas at Fountaingate Fellowsh...: 14  “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. 15  They know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And...

Meet me in Abilene, Texas at Fountaingate Fellowship....

14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. 15 They know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I give my life for the sheep.
16 “I have other sheep that do not belong to this sheep pen. I must bring them in too. They also will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I give up my life. But I will take it back again. 18 No one takes it from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.”
                                                                              John 10:14-18 NIRV

"One more thing going wrong..." I didn't mean to say that out loud, but I did. We were picking up the rental car...then had to load up at home & take off. As usual we were running late. No matter how perfectly we plan our lives....sometimes God has another plan. I've learned that I just need to keep my focus on Him & I wont get lost....or be late. God usually has a great reason for allowing this delay...most of the time we don't know what it is. This time on our way to Abilene, Texas from San Tan Valley, Arizona, I believe God showed me. We came across a pretty bad accident. "Thank you Father" I prayed & then began to lift those involved & their families in prayer. The feeling of gratefulness completely fills me. It's His time, not mine.

We arrive in Abilene, find our way to "Fountaingate Fellowship" & the open arms of C-2....boy I'm glad to see her!!! She takes us in & introduces us to our coaches...a beautifully dressed, blonde woman walks up to me....her smile, it's the first thing I notice. It's filled with light, it's honest, it's beautiful. Her name is....K...for privacy I'll just shorten it to that. "welcome, I am so glad you made it!!!" I've been late to places before, the people who are waiting usually will say this...only behind their plastic smiles they are upset & pretending not to be. K is being real, no plastic smile here...her heart tells me that she truly means it!!! Away we walk, leaving my guys in the lobby with C-2...

K opens the doors & there is a man speaking onstage. I look around & see Special K & near her is Sweet M. After scanning the crowd a little more I recognize Special S & Sweet D....then spot my handsome hubby. I lift up a quick prayer to my Father..."Daddy please let this entire weekend retreat be the encounter I've been bring me closer to You!!! Help me to see your hand in every part of my weekend...thank You Daddy for providing this encounter retreat & the ability to get here!!" The evening was almost over, so we listened to them finish up. Then met in the lobby again. Where C-2 & C-1 introduce us to their sweet hubby's, who also have the same first names, so I will call them D-1 & D-2. Immediately I'm struck by the reality that I'm standing in Fountaingate Fellowship, in Abilene, Texas. I'm finally meeting the hubby's I heard so much about & I realize my Daddy once again blessed our faithful obedience...He is amazing, ALWAYS.

The alarm the next morning seemed to go off just as I closed my eyes...but I was ready for ALL my Daddy had for me. I shut the alarm off, head down stairs to the bathroom. C-2 was the only one up that I saw. She opens her bathroom door & says "come on in" I accept the invite & begin catching up, thanking her for her hospitality & ask about the EGR schedule for that day. She's attended several EGR's & we chat it up. Then get ready & head out to the church....this is it. I can feel it, I'm going to encounter God as I never have before....I'm soooo ready!!!

We walk in & see Little J....she's been blessed with a heart to serve with the kids. I introduce Jr. to her & she shows us where he'll be encountering God...I sign him in & walk back to the lobby. I see Sweet Hubby chatting with  C-2 & her wonderful hubby D-2. I then spot K & head into the sanctuary with her where we sit down. I don't see our other friends from AZ?? I know they'll make it so I just spend some time quiet with my Daddy before the amazing day begins.

When I was first learning to walk with Christ, as a Christian, I learned that the church is NOT the building, we are the church. We are the body of Christ, therefore we are His church...the building is where we meet to have fellowship. So, since I learned that, I have never thought about going to another building as being bad. After all doesn't Christ say we are His body. He doesn't specify which building, or congregation's are His body. He says if we believe, give our life to Him & love one another, we are His body...not if we go to "this congregation" or "that congregation" we will be the church. I don't know why this paragraph just came out of nowhere. But it does explain the Scripture God chose to start this post off with.

I attended the same church I found what really being a Christian is, the Pastor married Sweet Hubby & I, he also baptized me...we dedicated our Jr. there & Sweet Hubby baptized Jr. there, our Little Princess was dedicated there & we considered it our home church. So, according to what the world says, I guess I should've felt as though I was cheating on them. But my heart is for my Daddy, not which building I'm worshipping Him in. So I had NO fear that I shouldn't be here. I knew God brought us all this way to meet us Fountaingate in Abilene, Texas....this congregation who loved like my Daddy calls me to. They truly love God & others, they put others needs in front of their needs....they live for Christ & choose to let Him shine through instead of them shining themselves & their gifts. I could feel the REAL LOVE, the same kind of REAL LOVE I found when I leapt off the cliff of faith a few months before in Florida with the sweet sisters that had invited me to this EGR....the kind of love my heart desires to walk in it begins, me learning how to let Christ shine through, let go of the selfish "me, I, we" & hold onto the "He, His, Him" that will let others see Him instead of me...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is my true desire to be like Christ...or like so & so???

For the last several years, well since I was about 40-ish, I've believed that the wisdom I'm gaining is due to getting older...doesn't everyone say "the older you get, the wiser you get"?? Truth is I am getting wiser because I'm getting older, in some areas. In my flesh I'd love to take the credit for learning as I live. In reality I'm being shaped, molded, re-created by a Father that loves me...loves me so deeply He came to earth to bear my sins, ALL my sins, even the ones I refuse to share with ANYONE but Him. He knows ALL my deep dark secrets, the ones that can sometimes still bring a heavy shame if I forget Who's I am. The enemy hopes bringing all the sins to the light, or reminding me of those dark ones, he can trip me up & turn me away from my Daddy.....

At times I've struggled, even recently with the shame. I have beat myself up sooo many times over these weak moments I've let the enemy distort my relationship with my Father. Those days, they are a struggle to begin with, but then add the reminders of my bad choices & it's a perfect recipe to reject the TRUTH...the reality that I'm a child of the most high KING. That I'm not the same person I was when I made those choices & chose to sin. I know I'm not the only one who has done this. The fact that others stumble this way doesn't make me feel better, it makes me sad.

My desire is to always focus on Jesus, not let the enemy distract me. I am made of flesh & bone, but I truly want to not let that be an excuse. I want it to be the reason I keep my focus on my Father. I want to let Him shine His love & light so bright & full through me that others have no doubt Who's I am. I pray a lot that others will see Him in me & my life & want to know what I have that they can have too!!! I know all I have to do is step back & give Him center stage...sometimes that's easier said than done for me. He is making it more & more possible, after all He is my Creator. He knows ALL about me, He knows what I'll choose before I ever consider it. So it's not a surprise when I fail, not to Him. He lovingly shows me the why's & how's, it's during those times when the enemy does his best evil scheming to make me stumble & fall...

Lately the stumbling block the enemy keeps using over & over is comparison in my faith. Am I as good a Christian as this one is, or that one is??? Do I do enough?? etc...Maybe you've never struggled with this issue. If not, that's great!!! But if you are like me & have fought this issue, there's a solution. God recently repeated to me in several situations "comparison is the stealer of joy....why wouldn't you appreciate what I'm doing with you?? You can be inspired by the work I'm doing in/with them, but to wish it was you....that's like a slap in my face!!"  I've been reminded that He's moving mountains with my faith...why should I allow the green eyed monster that does the enemy's evil work to trip me up?? It is kind of like that song, "2 steps forward & 3 steps back." 

God's molding me in His time, according to His plan. We are all created in His image, with different gifts & personalities. He didn't want to create a world of people who are the same. What good would that do?? He purposely created each of us. Not for the same purpose, but for a good purpose. His purpose.

So, His question is this...."Do you want to be like Me, or like so & so???" With each piece of flesh He trims away, I realize more & more that the answer to that question is a resounding "You Daddy, I want to be like You!!!" The next time you feel a flutter of jealousy over a blessing, gift, or option someone else is given, remember have no idea what their deep dark secrets are. You have no idea who or what they may be wishing they were like. We are all unique for a reason, God made us this way. So instead of wishing you could have, be, or do what so & so is, be happy for them. Find joy in these things you find yourself wanting, in them & appreciate the walk God is taking with you. Don't compare, hold onto the joy God gives you, in your life. Live in who God is creating you to be....the one & only you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grace never expires...

Wow, it seems to have been quite awhile since my last blog post. Sorry, I've been locking myself away...letting the enemy try to fill my entire being, heart & all with so many different doubts. Finally, I turned & walked away. I've had enough of the solitude, sadness & fears. Praise God all I have to do is turn back to Him & away from the evil, hateful enemy. So, during this post, I can tell that God's gonna share some pretty painful truths. I wouldn't be able to let go unless He sets it in front of the world, including me & shows the flaws in the enemy's plan. Though this is painful, I've learned that even though God has given us the freedom of choice, He doesn't give us the ability to choose what the consequences will that is not up to me...

For the last several months my hubby has been out of work. The wonderful union he is a member of, doesn't have any work for not only him, but he's #100+ on a list of over there are a lot of hardworking men & women out of work. We have struggled through this many other times. Not this long usually, but what does it matter how long?? Does God's grace expire?? No it never expires. He promises to cover us with His grace, if we accept His free gift of Salvation. What a trade, I'm thinking I get the best of this agreement. It's a win, win for me...of course my definition of a win may be different than His, or even yours for that matter.

In March I attended an Encounter God Retreat in a town near me. I knew God had something big for me...then He led my little girl to go with us. She did, saying that she'd go the first day, but probably not the second day. So I agreed, I figured "one day is better than none, God doesn't need a specific amount of time to move in our lives. He only needs us to listen for His whispers, or even loud shrieks, depending on which His plan calls for. I had NO idea what this retreat would hold for either of us, I just knew God was gonna move mightily & purposely. I knew that I could feel Him urging me, pulling me, not letting me make any excuse to get out of I agreed, I gave in & said "okay I'm going....COME ON!!!"

Of course I was not disappointed. I never have been since I started saying yes to some pretty unbelievable  plans. He welcomed us into this small church with the open arms & a real love, from His children. From the first moment, I could feel the difference. The electricity in the air was a big hint for me. Little girl, had no idea what to expect...she let herself go, she just melted into God's plan for her. He planned to take both of us to a level of grace that neither of us was expecting, nor had we ever felt this peace He was surrounding us with.

His plan for this encounter was to break off the spirit of rejection in some pretty intense areas. Of course He does it so gently it doesn't feel like something is breaking off. It feels like a new found freedom. Everytime I let go of a painful part of my heart & mind, I get a newer version of freedom. Though each time it seems like I have to fight it, over & over. Then I just hand it all over to Him freely....& here comes the new found freedom, just in a new area of me.

Not only did the breaking of my spirit of rejection affect me...but it trickled down to my sweet little girl. All the pain, the seeds of rejection, hurt & tears I, her mom, have caused over the years to now, I got to be there & ask for her forgiveness!! Wow, that is a gift I've never experienced in my life. True forgiveness from someone I harmed....the vicious cycle of abuse that has went around & around for generations, could finally be broken. God could take the hurt, tears, unhappiness, unforgiveness & rejection out of our open palms & willing hearts, & He could replace it all with His grace, His unexplainable peace...He kept His He always does.

Little girl ended up going to both days. She left there a happier woman, ready to get back on the path God has for her...that is always my prayer, that my children will be what God wants them to be. Especially walking in the undeserved grace He offers to even a wretch like me...He will never reject us. His perfect grace never expires, we just have to accept it & believe it.

God bless you all...