Thursday, December 4, 2008

Overflowing with Hope: My Out of Africa Experience

“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:12-13).

It has taken me a week to sit down and compose this blog. During this season, this Holy season as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we will get many emails, Christmas cards, and blog entries that are meant to inspire us, fill us with joy, love and peace. We will go to church more, sing Christmas carols and open packages filled with fun things. We will say Merry Christmas to those we know intimately and to perfect strangers. We will freely share the joy of the season with everyone. Isn't it funny how one holiday can do so many of the things God commands us to do daily?

If instead of saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone from loved ones to cashiers, we said, "Do you know my Christ in which CHRISTmas stands?" or instead of saying "Thank You" we said, "I am thankful FOR you my brother/sister in Christ", wouldn't we be one step closer to sharing our joy and love and fulfilling the Great Commission?

I recently had the amazing opportunity to see the Daraja Children's Choir of Africa, perform. These children were rescued from oppression, disease, illiteracy, famine, and so many unspeakable things. They were plucked out of these terrible circumstances by The 410 Bridge and given HOPE. The Hope of a new life, the hope of being clothed, fed and cared for. The hope of being loved beyond borders and the Hope of a new life with Christ Jesus.

As the music started they swayed back and forth, they clapped, they danced and then they began to sing. It was all I could do to keep the tears hidden. They sang of God's great love and mercy. They sang of peace and joy. They sang of victory from the grave. They shared memorized scripture verse and what each verse meant to them. But mostly, they shared the hope of a life in salvation. One little boy cried with every word he sang and you could feel his love and joy pouring out with each tear. Oh, that we should feel so much joy and freedom. Oh, that we should love without fear and share so freely. Oh, that we should give of ourselves 100% to perfect strangers without shame or embarrassment or inhibitions.

These children are overflowing with hope. They are a living example of sharing so freely the love Christ has for them and their ultimate salvation in His love.

My friends, we are called to do the same. I challenge you this busy season filled with gift lists, shopping, stress of finances, everyday frustrations, to overflow with the Hope and Love of this season. I challenge you to change your way of thinking and how you approach your every day.

I am grateful for those children. For they taught me a great lesson in humility and hope in every circumstance. I want to sing, dance, and shout out, overflowing with hope that My Jesus Loves Me and He loves You and through him we are all free to experience this most Holy Time, His time, His birth and through this our salvation is guaranteed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Squished like a Bug

This weekend my family went to see the movie Madagascar 2. Being that is is a movie about wild animals, it was a clever idea to use a lightening bug as a nightlight. When the mother left the room, instead of shooing the nightlight firefly away, she squished it. At which time my 6 year old yelled out, "she killed it!"
This is so like real life. We are going along shining our light, helping other, burning bright and then in one instant, squish, we go out. This can happen when something unexpected happens in your marriage, your spouse doesn't treat you the way you think they should or your children say something hurtful. It can happen at work when you find out you will be losing your job, or you have a confrontation with a co-worker. In everyday life it can happen simply by someone cutting you off in traffic, or pushing you out of the way in Target, or saying rude things. It can happen in friendships too. You think you are close to someone and have been for years and then realize you have been and always will be several down on the friend totem pole or you call and call and extend friendship to someone only to have it unreturned. Any or all of it can make you scream out, "you just killed it!"
I don't know about you, but when my light is dimming or even squished all together, it is such a lonely, dark place to be. Every little thing seems like an injustice pointed directly at you. It is hard to focus on the good when the negative is building up. Sometimes we squish our own light by being disrespectful, jelouse, envious, spiteful, etc... and not cultivating the fruits of the spirit which are joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness... (Galatians 5:19-22)
I am so thankful that when I am in these dark times, there is light. The word of the Lord. In (Psalm 119:105) we are told, "thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Yes, THE LIGHT. When you lose it, there it is!! WOOHOO. Even better (John 8:12), says, "Jesus said, I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will NEVER walk in darkness."
The Lord has provided me an excellent tool to reignite my fire, His Word. I am guilty of when I feel my worst, not going directly to the word. That is exactly what we should all be doing when our light is dimming or going out.
So my friends, don't let anyone "kill" your light. Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

Friday, October 17, 2008


1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

It is amazing what we do to ourselves. Isn't it? We can beat ourselves up over and over and over again for something we did wrong in our past. We can hold onto it for years and never let it go. We can even justify it, roll it up in a pretty package and put a bow on it. But inside we know that if we untie the bow and look in the package the sin is still there.

My pastor, recently spoke about giving up the sin that has been eating away at us. He said that often we go to the altar, repent, lay it at the Lord’s feet and then just as we are about to stand and leave…we pick it back up and take it with us. I am totally guilty of this!

One of my favorite songs is by Casting Crowns and is called, between the Altar and the Door. It is exactly what my pastor was saying, don’t lay it down at the altar and pick it up before you leave the doors of the church.

The wonderful thing about my Lord, Jesus is that he has forgiven me every sin. It doesn’t matter what I have done in the past, his blood has covered it all. It has taken me a long time to realize that since I have asked my Lord for forgiveness, I don’t need to dwell on it, feel bad about it, or even give it another thought. It is gone, washed white, cast as far as the East is from the West. Hallelujah! I don’t know about you, but that just makes me feel amazing.

If you are holding onto something, ask forgiveness, and let it go. Your Lord has forgiven you. If you are having difficulty moving forward in your relationship with Christ, ask why? The Lord has an amazing way of letting you know what things are still holding you back. Sometimes, they roll out like a scroll in your mind. Is there someone YOU need to forgive? Perhaps there is someone you need to ask forgiveness from? Or finally, perhaps you need to forgive yourself and ask your Lord to forgive you. By denying yourself true forgivness, you are denying that Christ's sacrifice was big enough to cover a multitude of sin. You are basically denying Jesus in your life. WOAH! I don't know about you but I don't ever want to deny Jesus or tell him, "Hey, you're big enough to cover this one sin, but sorry JC, you aren't big enough to cover all of it."

They say, “The Truth will set you Free” but I believe it is because of the Truth that we are Free. The truth of everlasting love and life beyond this Earth given to us Freely but at great cost to Jesus Christ.

My friends, set yourself free today. Break the chains that bind you. You are a precious, wonderful, child of God.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Do you know MY Lord?

I thought it was important since I am writing my very first blog to help you understand where I am coming from. I am a Christian but more than that, I am building a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. I was asked this last weekend if I was prepared to answer the question about Why and What that means to me. As I pondered the answer, I was given a beautiful gift. This gift came in the form of a guest speaker that was brought in as part of a Spiritual Women's retreat of which I was co-chair. The guest speaker was a former Survivor China contestant and was a local radio host. She shared that being a Believer meant: Having a Firm Conviction, A Full Surrender, and a Life Style that Reflects that Surrender. I had a Holy Ah-Ha moment, as my friend, Kim would say. It was as if I already had these things but could not put them into words.

Having a Firm Conviction: Check: Yes, I have a very firm conviction. Jesus Christ officially entered my life at the age of 8, however, I don't think I fully understood what that really meant. I had a beautiful baptism. As a matter of fact, my Daddy baptised me. I still remember being dressed all in white and being led into the baptismal fountain. I remember as I held my nose and was dipped back into the cleansing waters. But, as the years passed and I became more free in my life, I adapted into normal "church" behaviour you know, attend on Sunday, go to Sunday School, etc... I never really started to build a true relationship with my Lord. As I aged, I realized that I have a Peace and Grace and had been carried through so many major obstacles in my life. There is no way that I could have been carried through these times unless someone else was doing the walking! In my full testimony, I say that the Lord saved me time and time again. Conviction, yes.

Fully Surrendering: Check: It was about 11 years ago when I decided to give my life fully over to Christ and strive to build a very personal and deep relationship with HIM outside of my "normal" church routine. It no longer was good enough to just go to church and be a good person. I started being more active in His word, I started to pray more and I started to seek God's will in my everyday life. Part of this full surrender included asking the Lord to identify sin in my life and in turn asking for forgiveness of that sin. Isn't the Lord wonderful? He forgave me the day he was nailed to a cross and his bloodshed covered every single one of my sins. Even if it would take me years to know it.

Having a Lifestyle that reflects that Surrender: Check: I am NOT PERFECT. I still mess up. I still sin. However, the beauty of being forgiven is the opportunity to start over again with God's Grace. I not only attend church but invite others to come and visit my church. I not only lead small groups, but I am on a committee that helps oversee and form small groups. I portray a joyful spirit in all I do. I give Grace to those who have wronged me and I ask for Grace in those I have wronged. I have a repentant heart and a great big ole loving Spirit. I have dug my roots deep in the ground so as not to be ripped out or shaken when adversity strikes.

So yes, I am a Christian with A firm conviction, A full Surrender, and a lifestyle that reflects that surrender.

Jesus died for me on Calvary. It is not something that I believe because I read it in a book. It is not something I believe because I have always been told it is the right thing to believe. It is something I know, deep, strong, burning and constant.

Guess What? He died for YOU too. Do you know my Lord?

This blog will be a testimony to my everyday life as well as serve as a soundboard for my convictions and beliefs. I hope you will find it inspirational and if you come to know my Lord, I will rejoice with you in Heaven.