Monthly Archives: July 2012

Wrecked

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These are the same hands that healed, loved and prayed for you. These hands represent the Body of Christ that was broken for you. These are the same hands that picked up the children, fed the 5000, and took care of his mother. These hands writhed in pain for you and for I. These hands show unconditional love. These hands love ALL people.

The dying.

The drunk.

The deaf.

The dumb.

The destitute.

The drowning.

The one in despair.

The doubting.

The one in denial.

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My heart breaks for people who cannot see God’s love- for themselves or for others. He did not come to condemn us, but to save us. Yet, here we are condemning others on a daily basis. We pass judgment on people without having lived in their shoes or having understanding of who they were or where they came from. We say, “what’s wrong with them and why can’t someone do something?” We are the ones who supposed to be DOING IT! WE are the hands and feet of Christ! It all matters to God and it should matter to us, but for some of us-it doesn’t. We say we love God and we are Christians, but we certainly don’t act like it. Yet God loves us anyway. We have been de-sensitized to the missing link.

LOVE.

Our blindness to the basic human need is what will kill us.

LOVE.

We all need it…

….and you know what? When we all get mad with a burning passion for Christ is when things will change for us and for others. If we choose to let it- that passion will fuel us in ways we never thought imaginable. We have to have an outrageous, all consuming love for every person we come in contact with. We have to pray like our lives depend on it and we have to come together at the foot of the cross and totally surrender our will to God’s will. We have to put away our disputes. We have to crucify our bondages and we have to purge our prejudices.

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Sometimes I say, “ Lord, why do you put up with us for so long? Why do you bother to keep trying?”

We are reckless, clueless people who have no earthly idea of WHO you really are. We don’t live like we are loved and we certainly do not ACT like it. We are more worried about who is sitting where and what’s for lunch on Sunday.

You love us just because. It is a mystery.

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I cannot imagine NOT loving you and THIS is what has wrecked me for you. You have loved me so entirely that I want nothing more than to be brokenhearted FOR you. I want to spend the rest of my life declaring your love for US to all the people you place in my path. I see how all people HAVE worth IN you and THROUGH you. You have given me eyes to see for others what they cannot see. You have given me the tools to work on broken things and to mend hurting hearts. YOU are the tool. I am the hand.

Some people can’t see the hand for their pain. Lord help me teach them WHO can ease their pain and WHO holds their tears. Help me share what YOU have done for me and so many others. Fill me, fuel me and fire me up. Strengthen my hands, my resolve and my love for you. It’s never enough. Raise up a generation of wrecked people-people so blown away by Your love for them that they will spend their lives on you just as you have yours for us.

Help us Lord.

Help me.

I love you because you first loved us and because of that I am crazy for you.

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“ Do you love me?”

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John 21:15

Jesus said, “ Peter do you love me?”

This scripture comes from the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. When Jesus asked Peter this they were having breakfast together on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. I can only imagine how ecstatic Peter was to be sitting with the One he loved so passionately! After all, he had denied him 3 times. We often think that when people deny Christ there is no hope, but as we look at Peter’s life we see just how deep and wide the love of Christ is. For it is when we are in our deepest despair that Christ loves us even more and this was true for Peter.

We should never think that there isn’t any hope because as long as the earth is still in orbit and Christ has not yet returned, there is STILL hope! We just have to find it. You see, Satan is a thief who wants to steal our hope, our joy and our salvation. He is the father of lies. He wants nothing more than for you and I to feel hopelessness in this world.

When we know what the bible says-we know what a lie that is. We are told over and over again to take our thoughts captive, to transform ourselves by renewing our mind, to eat the scroll and to walk in the light. We are to guard our minds and be careful of what we put there.

Who was Peter? He was an ordinary guy named Simon – a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. His brothers name was Andrew and it was Andrew who introduced Simon (Peter) to Jesus. When Jesus met Simon ( Peter) he changed his name to Cephas which means “Petros” or Peter- a piece of rock. It is said to have the meaning of “for better or for worse.” Sounds like wedding vows to me! When we marry ourselves to Christ we are saying to each other, “ For better or for worse.” No matter what happens I’m not leaving.

In Matthew 16 we hear Jesus telling Peter these words: You are Peter, and I can guarantee that on this rock[a] I will build my church. And the gates of hell will not overpower it.

For better or for worse. No matter what Peter did Jesus loved him anyway. He was aggressive in his actions and he spoke before he thought. He was a rough and tumble guy who let his emotions get him into trouble. Does that sound like anyone here? Aren’t we all a little like Peter? But what Jesus saw in Peter is the same thing he sees in us- a loyal and passionate love bundled up in a big burly fisherman who sometimes gets his words mixed up with his heart. He wears his fear and doubt on the outside and you know what? Jesus loved him through it all. Even through the denial.

We all know people who are in denial of who Jesus is and we are called to be like Christ and to put on love. This is where it gets hard. We are to love them through it no matter what, because you know what? We have to boldly believe and pray that our friends and family who are in denial will turn around and will come to know Christ. We may not be the ones who are purposed to convert them but we can be praying for the person or people who are. God knows every need.

It’s funny how God will change the sermon at the last minute. On Friday afternoon God got my attention and sent me in another direction. When we follow the leader, Jesus Christ, we must be in tune with Him and not the world. I’m like Peter when I let my own questions and doubts creep in. I forget to focus on Christ and I begin to sink. My faith has weak spots in it and like Peter- I often look at the turmoil instead of the prize! I’ll bet none of you do that- do you?

It has been a crazy week of getting Cort ready for his trip to Yellowstone and of me trying to set my anxieties aside. It has also been a week filled with meetings. They come in all shapes and sizes and they are a necessary part of life. During the week it became clear to me that I had missed the most important meeting of all!

Meeting with my Lord!

Do you ever do that? You get so caught up in the things around you that you just forget about a meeting? Well, silly me- I had a lunch meeting on Monday that involved eating at my favorite place- RIO GRANDE in Hillsville. I flat out forgot about it. I was disappointed in myself because I knew I had let people down. I had also let God down because in my busy –ness I had missed the most important meal of the day- the breakfast of the champions! Not Special K- but Special J! LOL

So, on Friday I took the day to re-group and re-focus and I spent some serious time on my porch with my bible and a whole lot of coffee. I knew I needed to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says: The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.

The world is full of things that clutter our minds and cloud our thoughts and we need constant care and reminder to keep the MAIN thing the MAIN thing and that is putting Christ first in all that we do. I can see where Peter struggled with this too as he walked out on the water. You remember the scene don’t you? Peter saw Jesus walking on the water yet he doubted what he was seeing, so he said,” Lord, if it’s really you, call me and I’ll come to you on the water.” So he did and Peter jumped out of the boat, took his eyes off the prize and got scared.

Yep, that’s me! I’m known to look down instead of up from time to time. I need constant reminding to look in the right direction. How about you?

One of the ways that I remind myself to look up is by getting on my motorcycle and riding. Some people, like Peter, like to get in a boat. Not me- I like to get on my motorcycle. Pastor Ty always jokes and says what kind of motorcycle did Jesus ride? He rode in on a TRIUMPH! HAHA!

All joking aside-this looking up business is serious. Our eyes need to be OPEN and we need to be AWAKE! There is no napping on the job. When I ride I like to meander down country roads at about 45 mph and sing to the Lord at the top of my lungs! My singing goes along with the roar of the bike and it’s all good. No one can hear me but God. It is my spiritual act of worship. I hadn’t ridden my motorcycle in over a week. So I took several hours out to ride, praise God and to pray.

Along the way I decided to ride to Volvo and ride back home with Cort when he got off of work. So I met him there and we took off on the back roads-heading back to Carroll County.

During my ride home I was reminded of this verse from 1 Peter 4:7: The end of everything is near.

Little did I know that verse was going to come to life right before my very eyes! As I was bebopping down this country road with a corn field on the left and a farm on the right- this little beat up red Ford Escort comes over a knoll and is headed right at me! They were asleep at the wheel! They were not looking in my direction and in fact I don’t know what they were doing at all! I was in my lane-and as soon as I saw that car coming toward me I hit the brakes and got as far to the right as I could. I know I left some rubber and a piece of my heart on Baltimore Road on this past Friday afternoon.

All I could see was the front end of that car and those headlights were aimed right at me. I don’t know if you believe in angels or not-but I do. It was only by the grace of God that whoever was driving that car WOKE up and veered back into their lane. I nearly had a heart attack right there. My BP went up and I got so angry because the driver was not paying attention to what they were doing. They could have killed me or someone else. By the time I got to the end of the road I was nearly in tears from the anxiety of the moment. Cort pulled up next to me at the stop sign and he was just shaking his head in disbelief and I was just shaking from anger.

For the rest of the ride home I could think of nothing else but this: Romans 13: 11 You know the times in which we are living. It’s time for you to wake up. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first became believers. My salvation was very near. I always say if you ride a motorcycle you better have Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You can have fun but don’t be dumb.

1 Peter 5 :8 came to mind. Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.

Satan is very real and he wants nothing more than to take us down one by one so that God’s Word will not get out. But as long as we belong to Christ- he can’t. Oh he will try to mess with our heads but he can’t get into our heads unless we allow him there. He’s not really a lion- he is just pretending to be one. He’s a poser. He wants nothing more than to steal our joy and we cannot let him do that.

This is why it is so important to devour the Word of God so that when we are under attack we can recite God’s Word back to satan. He hates it when we do that, but it is our most powerful weapon against evil. We are in the fight of our lives-not just for ourselves but for those we love and for those who we have yet to love. The least, the lost, the lonely. Peter says we are to keep our mind CLEAR AND BE ALERT. This means no napping on the job. I wonder if Peter was thinking about his own time of napping when Jesus was in the Garden? Is he telling us this from experience?

What is your experience? Our testimonies are so important to the Kingdom of God because they bring Glory to God. We do not testify enough in the church today. There are miracles all around us but we can’t see them because we are looking in the wrong direction or we are just plain napping.

This has been a week of miracles for this family. Saturday morning Cort left for his trip to Yellowstone. I rode with him part of the way but we did not get very far. A half a mile from our house, at 5 am, my husband went down and wrecked his bike. I didn’t even see it happen because I was too far behind him-it was dark and I noticed his headlight made this funny pattern on the trees ahead of me-I slowed down for the stop sign that I knew was coming up and there he was-sprawled in the ditch with the bike. I wasn’t sure what had happened and I stopped and jumped off to help him. I was a little surprised by the whole thing and he was really shaken up. A doe had come out of the neighbor’s yard and had run into the front of his bike. I am praising God this morning for the His protection around Cort. Some might say, “how was he protected if he wrecked his bike? “ He was protected by the fairing and the engine guard on the bike-without these two pieces of equipment he would have been majorly injured. He suffered some minor road rash and a broken bike but he was able to continue on his journey with another bike. You see, I married a man who doesn’t quit. He is an overcomer because that is who God made him to be and this morning I am thanking God for his mercies, his protection and his amazing love for his bungling and broken people.

All of this has reminded me of how very near our salvation is. It became clear to me that our message is one of saving grace and that it is a message that satan does not want the world to hear and he will go to any lengths to get us to shut up. Swerving cars and dodging deer included. It has only reinforced what I said before-do you know where you are going when you die? If you don’t-you must get it right and don’t wait. Time is drawing near and we never know when our last day might be. So d, please don’t spend this day, today, wondering or second guessing where your eternity is-if you aren’t sure-come on up and we will pray over you to receive Christ. Just don’t wait. Since I have stepped into this role I have been under attack more than I care to say-BUT my GOD is bigger than that and His strength rises up in me at every turn. Our God is an OVERCOMER and He has made us in His image and that means we are overcomers too! We are heirs of Christ and nothing is going to stop us from proclaiming the Word of God to the people of the world.

So let me ask you what Jesus asked Peter on the beach of the Sea of Galilee:

“Church, do you love me?”

If you do then FEED MY LAMBS.

“ Church, do you love me?”

If you do, Shepherd my sheep.

“Church, do you love me?”

If you do, then follow me.

When we love Christ with all that we have today and with what we will have tomorrow and with all that is coming- we WILL follow Him for better or for worse.

We WILL do all that we can,

with what we have in the moment,

and like Peter-

we will fumble, we will mess up and we will be eager to do all that Christ has for us to do. And Jesus will love us for it- and when we deny him- He will love us even more and He will love us through it and in the end He will look us in the eyes and He will say,

“ Do you love me?” No if’s, an’s or buts, just “do you love me?”

So, let’s take Peter’s advice and confirm God’s invitation to us. He has chosen you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do it today. Time is short. Do this, and you WILL have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will you come?

The Old Rugged Cross and Prayer

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Oswald Chambers says:

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” ~

( Behold the Man by Domenico Feti)

Paul wrote this in Ephesians 1: 15-17 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

I love to read about the history behind the old hymns and when I started thinking about the hymns for today I chose “ The Old Rugged Cross” because it is an old time church hymn that everyone knows and it is one of my favorites! Music and art can both share the message of the gospel…

George Bennard was the writer of “The Old Rugged Cross” and here is what he said about the song:

“ I was praying for a full understanding for the cross and it’s plan in Christianity. I read and studied and prayed. I saw Christ and the cross inseparably. The Christ of the cross became more than a symbol. It was like seeing John 3:16 ( For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ) leave the printed page, take form and act out on the meaning of redemption. While watching this scene with my mind’s eye, the theme of the song came to me, and with it the melody.”

Mr. Bennard is a man after my own heart. He was seeing the cross with new eyes-the eyes of God. How did that happen? Through his prayer. He said he was praying for a FULL understanding just as Paul spoke of in Ephesians! His heart was flooded with light and understanding! Not only did he get understanding-countless people around the world have gotten it through the writing of this song! I believe that we can be saved by hearing, experiencing, and seeing God’s Word through a song, a piece of art, a poem, and through taking communion. What I mean by that is that God can prick our hearts to believe by any means he wishes and he does.

John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed.” Here is his account of that event from his journal: On May 24, 1738, he had an experience that changed everything. He described the event in his journal:

“In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Then there is Count Zinzendorf who was born in 1700 in Dresden, Germany. He was born into a very noble family. As a young man he visited an art museum in Dusseldorf, Germany. While there he saw a painting called “ Behold the Man” by Domenico Feti. The painting depicted the risen Christ with these words, “ All this I did for Thee, what hast thou done for me?” The face of Christ in the painting never left Count Zinzendorf’s heart and Christ’s love became the compelling force in his life.

Zinzendorf had something in common with Wesley and Mr. Bennard-they were all men of prayer. You see Zinzendorf spent countless hours in communion with his Savior through prayer and he sought to lead others to a life of prayer also. He allowed a small group of Moravians to build a church on his estate in Hernhut in 1722. He helped them develop a deep passion for Christ. His example led the Moravians to begin a powerful prayer movement that they called “ hourly intercession.” They prayed in shifts-24 hours a day for 7 days a week for the work of Christ around the world. This went on uninterrupted for 100 years! The Moravians sent out more missionaries than the whole Protestant Church had done in 200 years! Pretty remarkable I’d say!

What I didn’t tell you about John Wesley was that he had his own experience with the Moravians while traveling to the New World in 1735 by ship. During a storm- Wesley was afraid for his life and the Moravians were strangely calm and they were singing hymns and praising God. Wesley noticed this and he was moved. Once they safely arrived the Moravian leader asked Wesley if he had faith in Christ. He said that he did-but he also wasn’t sure. This caused Wesley to do some soul searching. It wasn’t long after that he had his Aldersgate experience. His passion for God rose to a burning inferno.

He is quoted to say: “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” I can’t help but think that these Moravians were from Hernhut and that this was a divine appointment for Wesley through their faithful prayers. It changed his life!

These men of faith have a lot in common with all of you! You, too, are faithful prayer warriors and we know that prayer is the greatest weapon we have. Paul says in Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. When we pray like this we are acknowledging to God that He is the strength of our lives. Prayer allows us to stand in the gap for believers as well as people who can’t do it for themselves, won’t do it or don’t know how to do it. Just as George Bennard asked God for full understanding-we must do the same in our time of prayer with God. We are also to remind God of His Word-His promises-to pray the scriptures back to Him as well as send up praise and thanksgiving. One of the things I have recently learned to do is to praise God with thanksgiving by using the alphabet!

A- You are an AWESOME and ALMIGHTY God!

B- You make all things BEAUTIFUL!

C- You are the CREATOR of all things colorful!

You get the idea! Try it! God loves to hear our praises and I thank God for people like George Bennard who PRAY and seek God’s understanding and then put it to such a wonderful tune to be heard the world over! May God rejoice in singing over each of you as you commune with Him in prayer, praise and thanksgiving this week!

Rooted and grounded in Love

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Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Ephesians 3:17

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Well, what can I say that isn’t here?  We are to be so caught up in the Love of Christ that everything we do and say should be a result of where we are grounded-in the WORD of GOD. 

When we devour God’s Word- EAT THIS SCROLL- there will be no doubt of WHO we belong to!

I thought a lot about Kyndel, Casey and Alex  as I was doing this-these kids are growing up in the Word of God and they have baby roots.  Over the the years those roots will grow deeper and deeper and like the mighty oak-they will sway and bend in the wind-but they will never be uprooted because they STAND on the WORD of God.  He is the TAPROOT-the source of Life, Light and Love. 

I have watched these kids stand IN the WORD of God and it has begun to permeate their souls with goodness, with passion, compassion and a love for all people.   These kids bless my socks off with their uninhibited passion for JESUS CHRIST. 

So, my little friends- always know how much I love you and what a blessing you are to me! 

(  …and adults in church- when those kids that are sitting in front of you are making a glorious mess on the floor with their crumbs and crayons and are making what you might think is too much noise-take a minute and thank GOD that they are IN CHURCH hearing the Word of God!   Pray for them unceasingly.)

We have been blessed to be a blessing-now GO! BE! DO!

Love you ALL!

Words

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Words of Life and Light

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says: All Scripture is ( breathed) inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

At the beginning of June, my mentor and great friend and Pastor, Linda Blessing died. She went home to be with our Lord. She was always an inspiration to me and still is today. Before she started to preach she would always say to us, “ my sermons are more for me, than for you! “ In other words she was preaching to herself! I am like that too. God shows me things about WHO HE IS through my life and then I want to share what I have learned about God with others. We should all be busy sharing God’s story however we can, whenever we can and wherever we can. He equips us in different ways to reach many different kinds of people.

Last weekend I went to a renewal conference and while there I heard a wonderful speaker repeat these words from Ezekiel to us: “ Eat this scroll!” She said it in such a way that made me want to dig in deeper than ever. The scroll is God’s Word.

Last week we looked at

Genesis 2:7

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

In this verse we see where God breathed his Word into existence through a human he created called Adam. He created something from nothing. He took a hand full of dusty dirt and breathed His very own breath, the breath of God, into the nostrils of Adam. The thing I realized is that I have overlooked the meaning of the two words “breathed” and “ breath.” They are the similar, but not entirely the same.

The first word “ breathed” comes from the Hebrew word, “naphach” ( H 5301). It means a puff of air, to blow or breath. It is the action or movement of the second word, “breath.”

The second word “ Breath” comes from the Hebrew word: “ neshamah. ” ( H5397) It means a puff of wind as well as a vital breath of divine inspiration. The breath itself was a violent expression of God’s love for what he had created. It had to be powerful enough to raise this man to up from the dust and to fill him with life. It is more than a puff- it has substance to it. Not only did it cause Adam to breath-it imparted life, wisdom , and knowledge into what God had created. It gave man FORM and SHAPE.

For most of us this was the first story we were told as a child! These are some the first WORDS of God that we read when we open the bible.

In the beginning….

These little tidbits are why I read IT, Eat IT, Devour IT. There is so much more when we look beyond the page and that creates a hunger inside of us for more. It is food for the soul, our spiritual manna.

When we read and study the Word of God it changes us from the inside out- just as Adam was shaped and formed through the breath of life. This scroll is our breath of life and we become intimate with God when we partake of it. Over time, we become more like Him.

Let me share a story…

Back in April I attended a workshop called “Life in the Spirit.” This workshop was a teaching on the Holy Spirit. During the workshop we had to get into small groups for discussion. In our discussion we were talking about what it meant to be a unified – the Body of Christ. We went around the group and each of us said a few words. When it came to my turn, I said all the wrong words. My heart aches for people in churches that have divided themselves from one another and have not healed. ( another sermon another day) It feels personal to me and I take these things seriously because of my love for God. Little did I know- I wasn’t over my own past issues of being hurt in the church. We all have them, don’t we? My pain was coming out of my mouth!

I immediately began to feel the conviction of the HS!

“ Donna! You should not have said that!” I wanted to crawl under my chair! Of course I didn’t and the group leader talked to us about love and how we are called to love God with ALL of our heart, mind and soul. ESPECIALLY when it is hard ! When things are hard and we call on God – that is when the strength of Christ rises UP in us and works THROUGH our weaknesses. Phil. 4:13 says, “ I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!”

It is God who lives IN us and it is God who will guide us to speak the truth in love when we choose to love others as we want to be loved. It’s a choice we have to make. An intentional act of love. Christ was intentional when he went to the cross and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for us to be intentional with the words that come from our lips. Our words should build up the body, not tear it down. I needed help in that area and God knew it.

Our leader told us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. What does that mean?

It means that I wouldn’t say to myself what I had just said to the group. If I want people to see the love of Christ then I need to keep my mouth shut just as Jesus did! I was under great conviction.

Our group broke up and we went back to the sanctuary.

Well, we were then told to get into another group. This next group was with different people and we were discussing another topic-which I can’t even remember now what it was because my conviction was so great.

Well, don’t you know these words came out again in this next group? The pain of my past became evident to me. I knew it was wrong and like a child who has been caught, I wanted to hide my face. For the rest of the evening my heart was heavy with the despair of my own words.

When I got home it was late and I went to bed. I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all throughout the night. I finally got up and went to the scriptures. In my reading I began to realize that I needed to get to the ROOT of my problem. God told me that I needed to be rooted and grounded in love ( Ephesians 3:17) and in this particular moment I wasn’t.
This is what I wrote in my journal:

I am always defending what God is doing. I always rise up in his defense and get myself locked into the place where satan has a toehold. Arguing! Arguing leads to dissension which leads to a stumbling block for others. I must walk in the Spirit and speak the truth in love. What is the truth? Scripture. Not my words, but God’s words. My words must be God’s Words. They must speak life and light into others and if they don’t-I shouldn’t say them at all.

In the movie Bambi-the little rabbit named Thumper says this: “ If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” How many times have I told my own children that? Now I was hearing it too!

I went to Matthew 12:19 where the prophet Isaiah is quoted to say: “ He ( Jesus) will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.” Jesus didn’t defend himself with words. His actions showed great self-denial, dignity and humility. I cannot tell you how many times my words have gotten me into trouble! If I would just look a little deeper and EAT this SCROLL I wouldn’t get myself into so much trouble! I needed self-control and self-denial.

2 Timothy 1:7 says this: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. When we call on God’s power inside of us- the Holy Spirit- then we can answer people in love and with self-control. But before we can do that we must be filling ourselves with the Word of God. When we know what the Word says, we will know how to respond and if we aren’t reading our bibles then how can we know what to say? We can’t.

God’s Word is not a snack- it is the bread of heaven-our manna-our sustenance. It’s not a piece of cake that we eat every now and then-it is food that we are to live by day in and day out. Some people live in it minute by minute. I want to be one of those. Don’t you? When we start to devour God’s Word we begin to see and hear that it brings Life, Light and Truth into our lives.

John 6:63 says this: The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

In the beginning when God said, ” Let there BE” He wasn’t kidding.. His Word is True, Right, Saving, Rejoicing, Kind, Mercy FULL, Disciplining as well as DISCIPLING. Are YOU standing in it?

Once God showed me that I needed to repent-he forgave me and he also healed my pain. I thank God that He never gives up on us! I’m not perfect and my words come out a little better now, but it’s still not easy.

God gave me a vision in my head to help me stand on and in His promises. Here it is:

I began to see myself standing on God’s Word. When I say that- I mean I had a picture in my head of myself, literally standing on the Word of God-an open bible. The Words, or the breath of God , began weaving their way through my body-up my legs, into my veins, in every crook and cranny of my being, out of my hands, my feet and my mouth. They swirled all around me like a fine mist. I heard God say to me, “ Your words need to be MY WORDS.” It was like He was raising ME to new life!

So, since then I have become more intentional about what I say, how I say it, and what my motives are for saying it. God knows the heart and we can’t hide anything from Him. The only way we can change our words is by changing what we put into ourselves. When we are so filled with Him, that’s what will come out of us!

So let me ask you this: What are you filling yourself with? Junk food or Soul food? God wants us to limit our diet to more of Him and less of the world. He wants us to make wise choices that will build up the Body of Christ-not the choices that tear people down. He wants us to pursue Him with passion everyday of the week-not just on Sunday! Let me encourage you to find a version of the bible that you ENJOY reading! This will change how you read and how MUCH you read! So this week, I want to challenge you to spend 15 minutes a day reading about the Words of Life, Light and Love from our heavenly Father and let Him refresh your soul! And if you already do—then I dare you to double your time!  In fact, I double dog dare you!

Smile

The Gift of Life

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I spent some time visiting people this week and during one of the visits I received the beautiful gift of this July Cactus!   It is a clipping from a larger plant and when I got it-it was just a bud.

Look at her now!

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Just as I enjoy watching flowers bloom and come to life- I love watching people fall in love with God and discovering who they are in Christ! 

THIS is why we pastor, preach, pray and persevere.  There is an extravagant love just waiting to burst on the scene through each person ( bud) .

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So, for all of my Pastor, preacher friends-keep on keepin’ on-because this is what is being developed and eventually it WILL come to life! 

 

The seed hits fertile ground

God waters and nourishes

the Body of Christ tills & fertilizes

it takes root

no job any more important than another

all working under the head of Christ

in unison with the Holy Spirit

to produce a beautiful harvest

and GOD gets ALL the GLORY

forever and ever

AMEN!

 

 

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If you are reading this…take a minute and pray for the Body of Christ today…

the lost,

the homeless,

the broken,

the needy,

the lonely.

 

janitors,

cooks,

bottlewashers.

 

leaders,

teachers,

preachers,

bishops.

 

Pray for your church,

your home,

your husband,

your wife,

your sister,

your brother,

your mother,

your father.

 

Pray for your sons,

your daughters,

your children

your family.

 

We are in the fight of our lives. 

Don’t be afraid.

God is always with you,

around you,

and in you.

when you call to Him

He will hear you…

 

blessings,

glory and honor all to God.

July 15, 2012 Cox Reunion Sermon

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Family Reunions

We come together today to celebrate the annual Cox reunion. When we gather for family reunions we re-unite, we re-member and we re-joice! We embrace, we share stories and we laugh. The whole purpose of a reunion is to get to know each other again! Some people live far away and others are right up the road.

When I was a kid we used to have our reunion on the 4th of July. We had tables filled with food! We celebrated and enjoyed each other’s company into the night-often ending the reunion with fireworks! Today, everyone is older and has moved away and we don’t get together as often as we should. We have lost touch with each other over the years. This happen in our relationship with God too. Sometimes we need to take some time to re-unite ourselves with Him by getting back to church or pouring God’s Word into us.

This morning I want to talk about DIRT and LIFE!

Let’s look at Genesis 2:4-7.

It says: When the Lord God made the universe, there were no plants on the earth and no seeds had sprouted, because he had not sent any rain, and there was no one to cultivate the land; but water would come up from beneath the surface and water the ground. Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.

Life.

We come from dirt. Dirt is filled with LIFE. That life was breathed into us by our Creator God, Father, Daddy. Most of us think of dirt as being dirty, but I don’t. When Spring comes and the ground is soft and pliable there is nothing I like better than getting dirt under my nails. I love the smell of dirt. It smells like LIFE.

Ecc. 3 says “ For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

We are in a new season here at Glenwood. A season of change, a season of healing, a season of love. Christ came so that we might live again and live this life to the fullest. We are to live it to the fullest while we are here, under heaven , and there in heaven. God has purposed us to faithfully plant His seeds of love. We are called to nurture them, to fertilize, to water, to pray for the harvest and then wait in great anticipation for them to bloom! God is our Master Gardener and we are His workers. He gives us instructions to till the soil, to break up the hard rocky places, to rake, to dig, to haul off debris and to do it all in joy.

I have seen all of this activity in the past several weeks in and around the church. It is a wonderful representation of the love and care that lives inside. Just as the OT Temple was filled with generations of family so is Glenwood.

God gave us the job to be good stewards of the earth and everything in it. This includes the land, the animals, and the people. God has left us with this responsibility- to care for the earth and the people so that they might come to know Him. How do we do this? By seeking Him in all that we do and say. When we seek the Kingdom of God first , above all else, and we live in right standing with Him, He will give us everything we need. ( Mat 6:33) Like a vine-we are to be so entwined with God that people cannot tell us apart or tear us apart!

Romans 12 says we are to dedicate ourselves to God. ..

Brothers and sisters, because of God’s compassion toward us, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. 2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.

We are to be holy and pleasing to God- a LIVING SACRIFICE. How do we do this? By transforming our mind-changing the way we think, talk and act. When we do this-it is an act of spiritual worship. We are to fill ourselves with God’s Word -eat it, breathe it, live it, walk it, work it and love it. It takes work! A lot of it! Romans 12 is my life verse.

I have often asked myself this question:

Am I, Donna Godwin, holy and pleasing to Jesus Christ? Am I like the world? Do I need to change the way I think, act or speak? Am I good, pleasing and perfect?

My answer is NO! I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination-however I do keep trying and God keeps teaching, encouraging, disciplining, and loving me to the place where I need to be. He woos me closer everyday, never giving up on any of us!

The Good News is this: No one will ever be perfect and all IS forgiven when we seek forgiveness. God sent His Son to save us from our sinning selves and it is through His dying that we are able to have eternal life-all we have to do is ask. He loves us because He loves us. We don’t feel worthy and we don’t understand why He loves us the way He does-He just does. It’s mystery!

Like a gardener tends to their garden , God works in us, on us, over us and through us to produce a beautiful bloom that is filled with a sweet aroma!

 

Do you remember the question from last week? “What breaks your heart?”

This week my heart was broken for a friend who has been battling cancer.  Through this friend- God has shown me what breaks his heart.   My friend’s pain and suffering. Life is not fair and life can be very difficult as some of you well know. We cannot do this alone and we need God in our lives to help us along the way. Our hope is in heaven. Everlasting life will not be anything like this life. We know this is not our permanent home. My friend is running the race of his life, and some of you might be too. He knows that his prize is not here on earth-it is there with our Father in Heaven. We have to help people get this Truth into their bones.

Through our time together, I was reminded that life is but a vapor and time is short.  I thought about this scripture:

Hebrews 10:24-25

We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.

There is no time to waste. We do not know when the Lord will come back and we must be ready to take as many with us as possible. So, let us not give up running this race and let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus! When we do what He has commanded us-to LOVE God with all our being, to Love one another and to love our neighbor as ourself- -then the world will be re-united with their Creator.

The ultimate reunion!

When I spoke with Missy about the reunion she told me she had lived here all of her life and I said, ‘ you are part of the ground, aren’t you? “ What I meant was that her roots are in the dirt. There is beauty in the dirt and it is God who makes all things beautiful .

There is a song called “Something Beautiful” that goes like this:

All this pain

I wonder if I’ll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth

Could all that is lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

All around

Hope is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found in You.

We go back to Genesis and we read it again-

Just as it was in the beginning- the earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Spirit of God was hovering over the water, and then God said, “Let there be light!” And there was.

Out of the chaos came forth Light and Life.

Did you hear that? Out of the chaos came Life and Light. God took a hand full of dusty dirt, formed a man and breathed life into him. There is life in dirt. Scripture says that we are a workmanship created in Christ. I say we are a beautiful, holy, and pleasing workmanship created in Christ to do good works! God has ordained this from the very beginning.

So, let us gather together to re-unite with family and with God. Let us re-member good times and what Jesus did for us on the cross. Let us re-joice in family and in knowing that Jesus Christ IS our Lord and Savior!

God truly does make all things beautiful!

 

Let’s pray.

Father, you make all things new. You have created us from a lump of dirt and you have breathed yourself into us. May all that we speak and do be a reflection of our love for you and may we be acceptable in your sight. We love you and we praise you. Amen.

What can Nehemiah teach us?

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An excerpt from today’s sermon on Nehemiah and his broken heart from Nehemiah 1.

Here’s the question:

What breaks your heart for God?

This is what breaks mine: People who can’t see Jesus and the breakup of the church family from within.  Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy and he is getting away with it because we don’t know how to fight.  The Book of Nehemiah shows us how to fight the opposition. 

This is the way I see things: The church is like my home. We come together as family and we love one another. When we have problems, we have family meetings and we work things out together in love. We will do anything to protect our family and keep them safe. We don’t leave our families just because we disagree. We work together to overcome our problems. God has made us to be overcomers. There are more church “breakups” today than ever! Satan is working from the inside out to break down the Kingdom of God and we must be like Nehemiah and stand tall and fight and take back what is God’s! God has given us a Spirit of power, of love and of discipline. Let us call on the Word of God to move forward and take our church back. Let us link arms and be bold! Let us come together, as one Body under Christ and seek God’s vision for the church. Let us share our concerns with God and ask for His success and favor and when the time is right He will move us to ACT and when we do we will move forward to build up the Kingdom of God. 

 

In Nehemiah 4:14 he says this:

“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”

And this is what I want to say to you today: Don’t be afraid church! Remember who God is! He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the God who raised His Son from the grave, He is the breath of life that is within your lungs, He is the DNA in your skin. Fight for your church! Fight for your family! Fight for your community! Fight for your homes! To GOD be the GLORY!