Thursday, December 31, 2015

To live by what we believe - not what we see!

In my morning time today --  I was thinking of a special woman that has a 'crisis moment' ever present and she is trying to make the decision that God wants her to make.......

As I was thinking of her and praying -- I was reading some blogs and such and came across this blog written by Sabrina Moore.  She works for Living Proof Ministries and is no relation to Beth, but has indeed a very important testimony to share:   

After reading it twice...I knew I needed to share it.  
We must walk by what we believe and NOT what we see.   - michelle 
PS, to my sweet friend - I prayed for you yesterday and last night - praying again this am that God has given you the peace to know exactly what to do -- 
It may be to wait...
it may be to walk away....
Or.... He may want you to stay and FIGHT! ....But I trust the HS in you -- and HIM.    Either way, HE will give you the peace You desire - so seek HIM for the right choice and what to do, and I will continue to pray believe that no matter what -- Your name is in that book of life....and THAT is indeed the BEST answer!   I love you!  

Title: We live by what we believe – not what we see
We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
For so much of my life I’ve made decisions based on the available options. Learning the options, weighing the options, talking about the options, all of which derived a final decision based on the available options: Option A or Option B, and on some occasions there would be an Option C, D… We can live one moment to the next with endless options and, truth be told, we are conditioned to it. We like it. In fact, we like our options so much that we are sometimes disappointed when there are too few of them. Simple case in point, the “frig option”. We need something to eat. We are starving, well kind of, but for what?  Then we take that notorious, well-paved trek. We start making our way to the refrigerator, open the door and stand, staring.Hmmm. Then, like a judge with gavel in hand, we let loose of the door with a final analysis there is nothing – not one thing – in there to eat. When, really, the whispering truth is, there issomething, but we do not want that something. We don’t like the options, therefore, we conclude there is nothing.
The same could be true for the insanity that takes place during every typical “what to wear” drama. Oh, my soul! How many times has this one caused us to miss half the worship portion of the service on a Sunday morning? Just last week I walked into church a little late, so thankful my oldest had me a seat saved next to her. I scooted in, leaned over and said, “Good morning darling, is this the last song?” Have mercy and forgive me, God. The irony is that the time I risk missing really is my favorite part of Sunday morning church! Fortunately, I came in during the first song. Anyone know what I’m talking about? Be honest, how many times have you stood, staring at the clothes in your closet, “hmmm…”, and said, even out loud, “I have absolutely nothing to wear”? AKA: I don’t like any of these options.
Options can be okay. I am not aiming for a boring stringent-living mandate. More times than not, my family is a swirl of option-pitching: restaurant options, movie options, time frame options and countless others, all with a sincere kindness and effort to do whatever fits for everyone.   Much of life is lived by options especially in American where we have an endless surplus. The culture once dictated that a person purchased items based on the options his or her budget would allow. Then the credit era seduced Americans into the scheme of “have it now” and nonstop options popped wide open. But the endless options came with lies like,
You can have anything you wantHave your choice. Have it all.
Not all choices are visible. There are times to ditch all our seen-options and cut new ground based on what is unseen.  True, that new road building is not nearly as easy. It can be – and usually is – the very intense “give it all you’ve got and then some” kind of work. The kind that may even come with heart-hurts that send shocks of pain to every nerve-ending in your body. The truth is, it can be really lonely to go a new, uncharted way, but, if it’s of God, the reality of it is bigger and better than every concrete, sure-fired option we could ever choose.
I was right there, living my life by what was available, all that was logistical, logical, my attainable reality.
My options. My choices.
Until, on one normal morning, on a normal day, doing my normal routine and activities I felt the press of God and it came with a sense of doing something that had no logistical steps. It didn’t seem at all logical. The press of God was so undeniably real and powerful that I remember it today like it happened this morning.
My thoughts were a mix of perplexed and pondering.  Perplexed in a way that almost seemed to communicate to my human rationale, “That isn’t true” not as an argument so much as a means to clarify, understand and assimilate. At the same time, the spiritual and practical side of my understanding began pondering how I could obey. There was no attainable reality to form an action plan. It was so vast it could be compared to snowing skiing in Galveston, Texas. So not a reality!
I had recently fallen seriously in love with Jesus, having spent so much of my life knowing Him as my Savior, believing He died for me and believing He loved me. And, yet I had just awakened to His living and active Word (Hebrews 4:12), with freshly opened eyes to who He really was, how He loves me and how His captivating presence compares to nothing else in this journey of life.   I wanted to say “yes” to Him, even if I didn’t agree, understand or know what, when, or how.
So I did. I said yes – “Lord, if You want it, You do it”.
Sometimes God’s plans are so far beyond our everyday thinking we don’t even entertain His truth as our reality. Without exception, His plans are always our reality. He is so much bigger than the “Genie” we ask for, so much more compassionate than just waving a magic wand and dropping the great and wonderful plan into our lap. He gives us the free will and the choice to participate. Priscilla Shirer puts the reality in this perfect wording: “God doesn’t drop __________ in your hands, God puts it in your reach”.
When our second daughter was born, my husband and I intentionally decided to change our lifestyle and live on less income (like to the penny) so I could stay home with both girls. It was a challenge, but it was our chosen challenge and so worth it. When our youngest went to preschool at a church near our home, I began to volunteer at LPM. A couple of years later my life went from the “chosen challenge” to an intensely hard season that made it very obvious I needed to get a job.   Well, LPM was growing and there were possible opportunities not too far off, but nothing presently available. I freshened up my resume and started the hunt.
Checked back with LPM. Made a few calls toward other jobs. Checked back with LPM. I went on a few interviews at other places of employment. Checked back with LPM. Received an offer from somewhere else. Checked back with LPM. Nothing available yet so I accepted the other offer. With tears I resigned from my volunteer work at LPM.
I just couldn’t understand it. I was sure I was suppose to work at LPM but I was more sure I was suppose to work. And work I did. I went to work for a great company back in the corporate world. I loved it. I love it on the hard days. I loved it on the busy days. I loved the challenges. I loved new learning. I loved getting a few quiet opportunities to point people to Jesus. I loved all of it. At the same time I never stopped loving the ministry of LPM. I stayed in touch with my LPM friends; they were my partners in prayer, in faith and of heart.
Though it was faint, my heart still held hope that I would understand the pull that laid deep inside of me and the desire to return, a desire I prayed hard to keep down. About a year later, the day came. I was offered the “name your price” corporate position. My heart was still so connected to the ministry of LPM, I stalled in giving any answer. And yes, I checked in with LPM but things were still “holding”. So I replied to the corporate offer with an unheard-of price. They accepted it! What?! Why? This definitely qualified as one of those huge life options that leave us with no other options than to a “get on your face” and seek God!
I was grateful for the offer, it looked like a good thing, but I flat had no peace. It made no sense. I wanted to be excited but I couldn’t get there. My heart was “fine” but not at peace and my joy was flat-lined. Even with my next steps going against every logical point on my checklist, I declined the promotion and not because I had a better option. I had nowhere to go. So, Sabrina, decline a better opportunity to stay at the same place in my current position? Yes, that is exactly what I did. So odd, right? The best way I can describe it is like someone giving me an all-paid dream beach vacation but I’d have to leave my family at home. Even if that were my only option, it would not be the one I’d want to choose. It felt to me like an Exodus 33 moment…
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you…”

God tells Moses, I will give you everything you need and flowing blessings but I am not going.
Blah! No thanks.
About a week later, LPM called me and offered me a position. It wasn’t the “price” I had given corporate. Actually it was less than my current price but it was the fullness of my God. The pay wasn’t the prize; LPM wasn’t the prize nor was any other achievement. Jesus is the prize! Nothing is sweeter to me than believing He took me out of LPM, He gave me a job I would love with good pay and then called me to release it and to follow Him. He set me in a place to make the intentional choice and a defining mark in my “yes” to Him. His options include the show stopping. There we encounter relationship with Him, participation with Him. This is the stuff we remember all the days of our lives.  He makes the call, He gives the call, He defines each detail specially and individually for each of us. He creates the timing of bringing the call to life and He gives us the option: the option to believe Him beyond all visible options and, yes, even when there are no options. The option to say “Yes, Lord. You want it, You do it”.
I have been at LPM for 15 years and I dare say – it is rare for me to go any length of time without saying afresh and full of heart, “Yes, Lord, You want it. You do it.” I said it 5 days ago. I said it this morning!
The warning in this time is vitally important. We travel a new road and, in blind faith we encounter
the better than life,
the all in all,
that consumes every part of our heart, soul and mind, surrendering with a trumpet sounding “yes.” Track the journey with Him and His mind-blowing ways. We are all in and boom! He rocks our world. And when we catch our breath, we stop for a moment, reliving the wonders. Be very aware, it is not time to set up house and decorate it. It is the starting line, not the finish line. Don’t default to thinking all is good and the mountaintop was the ride of my life and now it’s time to settle and live off the “remember when”.
No ma’am. He isn’t done and neither are you. This may look like an option but it’s not His way. We walk by faith not by sight. Get up! Drag yourself, crawl, increase your B12, whatever it takes. Fight yourself for yourself, fight the good fight, but keep moving,
keep learning,
keep dealing with the hurt, the challenges, the hard days and the harder days,
believing for the better days,
choosing joy, waiting for the season of change and believing God.

Some options are okay, sure. And, then again, there are times where option-living is anything but okay.
Make the choice, cross the finish line. There are no better options.
With love to all of you in the name of Jesus,

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thankful for the pain in the neck --

This morning, I was reminded that Beth Moore is celebrating her  wedding anniversary.  I am unsure if it is today or tomorrow, but I remembered  back to  2008, 2009, and 2010 when I was in my OBSESSIVE Beth Moore mood....I would read and reread her 'anniversary' message and delight in the family tidbits she would add in there and just dream and pray that one day....I would be able to say THOSE things about my marriage, my husband and my Lord  ..... as those years and that  season was painful for me. 

I was in a funk or on a roller coaster where I knew something was wrong but I was spiritually immature to do anything about it.  I remember laying under the Christmas Tree's of those years and allowing the tears to roll down my cheeks as I would look up into the twinkles of the lights and just cry out to God -- to please hold me and help me.  Where were my kids?   Unsure, probably at friends houses or in their rooms.  Where was my man?  In his cave, watching TV and in his own world.  As I reflect now -- I spent a LOT of time alone in those years -- if I was not at school working, I was putting extra hours in at our Insurance office, doing data entry and work that  was needed. We needed those extra hours to help finance those LONG soccer and volleyball trips and weekends.  I just kept busy.  I probably was so numb that each day just went by and I just survived.  

  I was blessed that I could work after hours, be  by myself and listen to praise and worship and then stop and read a blog from Beth as back then, she was blogging about every 3 was my lifeline.  It really was my therapy in those years.  But I was also seeking counsel with a godly mentor, I met with her weekly.   It was those years that God was growing me.    I share all of that - NOT to bring up the past or to have you question ..."what on earth?"...but,  so often  we want QUICK fixes and circumstances to change.  However....most often it TAKES time...and it does seek some  real changes - like maybe actually - seeking some professional help.  

It was in this time...that God was truly GROWING me and changing me from the inside out.  It was ME that needed JUST as much help as anyone else around me.  It was me and my prideful self.   I know now...there is NO way I would of survived the earthquakes and storms of 2010, and 2011 unless....there was a solid assurance from MY LORD that -- I was perfect in HIS sight. 

 Today, I was cleaning out emails and found a Beth Moore blog I had sent to my 'save' file back in September of 2015.  I read it and marveled the Holy Spirit brought to remembrance the thought of Beth   today and I did check her blog and there is no 'Christmas blog or Anniversary blog'...yet....

But, in my email...there was this blog:  

I have copied and pasted it here - THESE are Beth's words...but they SPOKE volumes to me today. 
I highly suggest you get come coffee and allow the words to sink in....  and perhaps you will want to do as I have done....I printed it out so that I could read it and take notes...and then pray. 

As the year ends....   and people continue to make New Year's resolutions - I pray that THIS will be helpful as you THRIVE in 2016!  -

- humbled, Michelle

LPM Blog: 

I had an interesting moment with Jesus a few days ago and I can’t quit thinking about it. It followed these three related entries I’d posted right in a row on Twitter:

(1) “I don’t care if it sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime, if they say, ‘But we need your answer right now,’ it probably needs to be NO.” (2) “One of the opportunities I most regret taking was a snap decision over the offerer’s insistence on an answer NOW. No time for prayer? Uh, NO.” (3) “Gah. If I can save you the pain in the neck that decision has continued to be to me for a solid 10 years, please let me.”

I meant every word. Still do.  Good grief, it’s been a pain.  A lot of people hopped on board in response to those tweets and my misery found some good company and, in turn, a few good laughs. Man, I love when that happens.

A few hours later while I was on a walk in the woods, a deep and specific conviction of the Holy Spirit welled up in me unexpectedly. It was a conviction of gratitude: the leading of the Holy Spirit for me to, right then and there and henceforth, give no small thanks to God over the very situation that had been such a pain. If I had to wrap English language around a conviction of the Holy Spirit, it would go something like this:

“You really ought to thank Me for that.”

Sometimes the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes so unexpectedly in an area that we are taken aback. I know. I know. You’re wanting to quote me 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I get it. And I know it by heart. But we can read those words, quote those words and believe those words to be absolute truth, absolutely appropriate and even restorative and yet have a treacherously hard time applying them to situations that have nearly perforated our stomach lining. Circumstances get infinitely harder to be grateful within than the one I’m talking about in this article. Still, call me superficial but I can’t say I’ve thrown my back out with cartwheels for a thorn in the flesh that got stuck in my skull from diving headlong into an instant yes. It’s been a gift that just keeps on giving.

But that’s just it. I think God wanted me to stand there in those piney woods and consider what a gift that situation had been to me. Of course, for the sake of humility. Nothing’s wasted if it works humility because nothing will get us into deeper trouble or set us up for a steeper fall than pride. We have no greater obstacle to our divine callings than our egos. But that pain in the neck also offered me a second gift. It taught me a lesson I’m pretty sure I won’t soon forget. It seeded a hyper-phobia of snap decisions made under human pressures. These days I can’t shake the word “no” out of the word “now” to save my life.

Pain is the superglue that makes a lesson stick. That’s nothing new. The most basic one-word synonym for “disciple” is “learner.” Maybe you need to know today what I’ve needed to know so many days: learning, for a follower of Christ, is still a mark of discipleship even if you learned some lessons the hard way.

Or the excruciating way.

Or the embarrassing way.

Or the exasperating way.

Or the explosive, expensive or excessively long way.

If it attached you to the Teacher, if it marked you with Him and caused you at all to imitate Him, that’s the beating heart of discipleship.

Here’s the thing. The lesson wasn’t to try hard to dodge controversy. That’s not character. That’s cowardice. Those early followers of Jesus were nothing if not controversial and not just to the world but also to the religious establishment. The lesson was the idiocy of doing anything like that without taking the time to seek the will of God. It sure seemed like something that would be His will. And the folks needed an answer right then. And goodness knows everybody around me was all excited about it.

“Therefore do not be foolish,” Ephesians 5:17 says, “but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Because that’s the game changer. If we know – I do mean KNOW – we are doing the will of God, if the step we are taking is – to the best of our prayerful understanding – in obedience to Christ, the fallout falls into His very capable lap. We walk in the shadow of the Almighty wherever Jesus leads us. We may still get hit. We may still be hated. For Christ’s sake, we could lose our earthly lives. Jesus did the will of His Father from first breath to last and was hit, hated and crucified. But He was resolute. He knew nothing He could lose would compare to what He’d gain. What we’d all gain. Nothing could stop Him. No demon. No disciple. No dread of death.

There is a key word in this segment of Matthew 16 that stands out to me on the page every time I read it:

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Of course, there’s always somebody close by who will try to talk you out of doing God’s will and with good reasoning and excellent rationale.

22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

The “learner” part of the disciple Peter might have suffered a few developmental delays but the lesson took. Here’s one way we know. From Acts 4…

17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us (rulers, elders, scribes) warn them (Peter and John) to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

We’re not Jesus. Ours is finite understanding. We can’t always discern the exact will of God in every detail of a drastic decision. We’re not Peter, who, in his own words was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty and heard “the voice” of “the Majestic Glory.”  (2 Peter 1:16-17) But we are Christ’s followers now, called to pore over the Scriptures, to seek the beautiful face of God and the saving will of God. And, then, to the best of our understanding and with the fullness of our God-given ability, to DO the will of God.

Gravity holds the soles of our feet to a spinning blue globe. Because all authority has been given to Christ, we can exercise the audacity  to “go therefore into all nations.” With the wide waistline of this globe, why would Jesus send us to the same places with the same gifts to do the same things the same way? Part of His perfection is His pure practicality. He calls this one there, that one here, this one to do that, that one to do this. Mind you, audacity out from under authority is lunacy. But Jesus sent the promised Holy Spirit for the purpose of leading us from the inside out. He makes His will known if we’ll seek Him with all our hearts.

I’m going to be straight with you here after thirty years of ministry and a heap of observation. If you make your secret goal to sidestep controversy and to keep everybody liking you and nobody misunderstanding you, you’re going to lock yourself into such a jail cell of stale air that you will suffocate every last breath out of your calling. Your soul was made for more than three square inches of breathing space. If you’re trying to avoid a label, good luck with that. Social media has sentenced us to label hell. And, since there’s not much changing that, this is the one label we Jesus-followers can try to avoid: disobedient.

Whatever your calling is, it takes guts. Jesus didn’t call us to follow Him to the chaise lounge. We’ve got a globe to cover. Not a couch.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re here on this planet to do one thing: the will of God in the spread of the gospel. So am I. We must take the time to seek how. Then, with some hint of clarity, we must do it. Come what may. Whatever others say.

And there we’ll find protection in the secret place of the Most High. There we’ll have confidence even should it get brutal or controversial. There we’ll have comfort when it hurts. There we’ll have fellowship, entering into Christ’s own experience until we make it safely into His arms. There we’ll have the pleasure of God. And nothing is like it. A lifetime of man’s approval can’t compare with a single moment of God’s.

So, you see, that was the missing factor in that ten-year pain in the neck. That was the frustration. I forfeited the confidence and comfort and companionship that would have come with knowing I’d followed Jesus – the best I knew how – where He wanted me to go. Those things would have carried me. Given me peace. Been worth any criticism. Every inconvenience. Or the thousandth explanation. I know that because they’ve carried me other times. They’re carrying me now into entirely new territories that would have terrified me before.

And they’ll carry you because they’re bound up in the heart of Jesus and He, Himself, carries us. Let’s be terrified of this: of missing Jesus. Of missing His will. Of putting the soles of our feet on a safe tidy path undisturbed by His valiant footprints.

Anyway, I’ve got a new outlook on that old pain in the neck. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. Maybe God used it to save me from a dozen other missteps. In fact, maybe – God help me – just maybe, for the very first time, I’m the least tad thankful for it.

Be brave out there. - Beth

Sunday, December 27, 2015

God if you are really out there?

 To WHOM it may concern:

I found myself asking that very question of HIM a few days back.

Now, if you read this or know me -- you may be asking yourself, "really Chell?  Can the enemy still get to you?" 

I know the Lord has asked me to give Him time.  I believe I know HIS purpose for my life and I believe I am in a time and place where I am 'equipped' to do it - but ONLY because of HIM.  He has given me dreams and visions and a passion to help women  be set free -- to truly experience the LIFE that God intended them to have.

 I can get VERY excited and I am passionate about hearing that 'atta girl' when I finally meet Jesus. 

But, "Yes!"...... if I allow my thoughts to ponder and think about something .....without allowing God's Word to be the promise to which I run too -- the enemy can whisper so quickly to me and I doubt.

The enemy can also use another  -- this person got  mad at me and began  to 'verbally vomit' and then a word is spoken and all of a sudden,  you can find yourself questioning.  Especially if the person hits you  LOW, below the belt,  and tells you -- "You USE God like a crutch".  I think sometimes the ones that really believe they are speaking with a godly intent --  can hurt the worst.  But, I have to remember that hurting people, hurt people.

I read the book of James over and over for 2 days.   Making sure -- that WHAT God has me doing -- is HIS will and not mine.   And with that --  I prayed: 

 "Lord, if you really WANT me to continue speaking life into women and praying with them, encouraging them to believe in the impossible....then I need some reinforcements, I need to be WOW'd and reminded that YOU are pleased with me".  

I am being transparent -- perception is not reality at times.  I believe that even the strongest of people, need God as much as a new believer!  

"Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you." Matthew 8.13

God was so gracious and gave me not one but a total of 4 - FOUR - confirmations  -- and this blog is not about me going on about how sweet God is to me -- but to remind You, the reader, that HE will do the same for you.

Today, my Pastor reminded me --that many of us don't live within the freedom that God intended for us.  No where in the bible, does  it say that "its OK" is what God wants for us.  "OK" is not HIS best.  In a study he mentioned,  90% of  the people surveyed ( that were Christians)  claimed  they were  only 'surviving'...and not 'thriving'.   So therefore only 10% are thriving.

  Again, that "OK" seemed OK for 90% of those surveyed.     I declared I wanted MORE than OK.   I declared myself as a part of the 10%.

I believe I am in the 10%.  I am thriving -- excited and believing that Jesus is not an imaginary friend of mine -- HE is God!   And, when I needed the re -assurance from God -- HE gave it to me - 4x over!    HE will do that for YOU as well!   Just ask. 

We want God to be able to do wonders and yet...many times our prayers are so wishy washy.  I am determined and I know, that prayers do work and the more bold and specific I am -- the more HE answers.

Matthew 9.29  "Let it be done for you according to your faith".

John 20. 27  "Stop doubting and believe."

Even the prayer in my 'needy moment'...."Lord, am I really doing what you want me to do?"...... HE answers.  ( Read the book of Titus)  

Matthew 8.13 says:  "Go, As you have believed, let it be done for you".

This is an excerpt from Audacious by Beth Moore:
  •   Let's let go of Jesus as our imaginary friend.  let's exercise a fiery faith fed by the facts of Scripture and approach the genuine HIM - God;  He's not the conjured-up answer to our need for a crutch. HE is God.  
  • The One who can change everything.
  • The One who can do anything.
  • The One who is closer to us than our lungs to our ribs, than our joints to our ligaments, than our bones, to our muscles, that our muscles to our skin, than our eyes to our lids.
  • This is God in our immediate midst, ever present, ever able, ever active and no less willing that He's ever been.  
  • God who is completely acquainted with the roots of all our fears and reasons for all our tears even when we ourselves have no idea why we are crying.
  • God, who can impart wisdom to us beyond our years and our experiences just because we asked.  ( James 1.5) 
  • God, who can infuse us with supernatural stamina to climb over insurmountable obstacles and use our very voices to move mountains from here to there.  
  • God, who can gift us beyond any conceivable explanation and accomplish works through us with ramifications that will outlast time.  
  • This is God who can make us feel what we don't.

I read that chapter earlier last week and again the next day and the next and tonight after I reflected upon the Preacher's message today , I read it again.  I WANT that in a painting or a BIG wall poster -- as a reminder -- and I want to read and reread it every day!
 The Preacher today -- he was in Joshua.  Chapter 22 - verse 43 --

The LORD gave Israel all the land that HE swore to give to their fathers.   They took possession of it and lived in it.  The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He swore to their fathers .  Not a man among their enemies stood before them, and the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hands.  Not a single word of all the good things that the LORD had spoken to thei children of Israel failed.  They all came to pass. 


So, will you be in the 90% or the 10%?

If you want to thrive....  and you have not been broken and poured out before HIM.  Do it...  seek counsel.    You may even need to be baptized.....

If you want to thrive.... 
then be obedient to WHAT God has asked you to do, change, or move.....maybe it is time to join a body of believers...or return to attending a church home instead of the church of your convenience....

( I just must add in there -- ask me sometime how the enemy got in between us and into our marriage -- one of the places was our busy -ness and our prideful belief that we could 'get enough' of God from the computer...a TV show...and our OWN worship service.) 

If you want to thrive....then pray that scripture prayer over your life...over your children....over your husband... over you.....

 The LORD gave Michelle all the land that HE swore to give her ancestors.  SHE took possession of it and LIVED in it.  ...... and all the good things.... They all came to pass!   .....  see what I am saying?  

Will you Thrive or survive in 2016?

I pray you know exactly WHAT to do --

Humbled -- Michelle

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Do we really LISTEN to God?


Sharing some of God's Word here --  from LUKE chapter 2:   
I am adding in a bit... read my thoughts with the BLUE, and then read till the end..... 

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,[a] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.    Walking blamelessly before the Lord -- can that be written about me?  What is being recorded within my 'book' with God at the moment?   What can be written about you?  

 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot   I am not positive, but he was chosen just by chance or "lot"....  what would of happened if another was chosen.  I guess, the words say he was chosen by "lot".....but, God orchestrated it.  Or so -- I believe.   I don't believe much is to chance anymore.  I have to believe that even though the enemy certainly seems to run free within our earth...that God is still on the throne and watches and uses his angels from heaven and hear on continue to speak to us and intercede for us.  I believe God's word when it says, "he wants not ONE to perish but have everlasting life."     to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John....So, what about having a visit from an angel?  Would you be afraid -- question it?  I believe I would, but I also believe the HOly Spirit in me would confirm quickly and I would have peace..... 14
 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. This is really significant -- as no one had the Holy Spirit yet... Jesus had not gone back to heaven ....  I read this today and read it over again.  And I thought about HOW many times I have read this scripture and not noticed that ....this baby had  HOLY Spirit within him in the womb wonder he LEPT for joy when Mary visited.   16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  John certainly had a purpose and a destiny --
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19  Now.... Here, Zechariah doubted and then questioned...and what happens?  God SHUT the mouth of Zechariah.  I thought about HOW many times I know that the LORD has asked me to SHUT my mouth but I didn't.  Or even how many times I know I was to speak but I did not.  And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And maybe...if God 'shushed' us a bit here and there -- some of us would be quicker to really LISTEN!   ....Just saying... 

Because we did not believe the words....Bren and I were talking about that...what part of 'the words' did we not believe?  
That God will come again? 
That sin is sin?  
That God would answer?  
That lusting within our hearts and head is just the same as breaking a marriage vow?  
That manipulating God's word to fill an agenda or 'prove' a point and not show love... is what we should be doing ?
What other words don't we believe?   
That cheating is OK, if you don't get caught?  
That cheating God of His tithe won't be that big of a deal?  
That cheating your income tax would be OK...cause You never really got the RIGHT tax break while you were working?  

Bren and I made a HUGE list....  so often, as we are JUST as guilty --- we have justified our actions based on what we felt GOD owed us -- not according to WHAT God did for us...

We were humbled....  we are humbled   and reminded - and praised God for our many years of being a 'shallow believer'....not because we are proud of this fact, but because HE extended His grace and mercy and waiting on us.  

Unfortunately....  we both agreed...time is short.  Our children and grandchild won't have the time to be 'stupid'.   And we thought about that -- there is no longer the luxury of being stupid.    And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. Visions....I believe these visions are JUST as frequent now -- but many don't see them, cause we don't want too. 


 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 ...... and his name was discussed -- THEN, Zachariah tried to write  to confirm his son's name, and when he did -- his voice returned...and the 9 months of silence SPOKE volumes......  

I believe our silence CAN speak volumes.  
When was the last time Your silence spoke GREAT truths about God?  
God does not need to be defended and when we are walking in and living within God's will ....HE will be there before us and behind us....and we won't have to explain anything...

..... We won't have to send text messages in ALL Capitals.....
.....or even pester our fellow God will do the rest.    We won't have to be the Holy Spirit of another;  and, we might have to delete our snap  chat account or even our Face Book account.  

We might even have to change something.  

 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,

75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

It is certainly because of the GRACE of God and HIS mercy that --- John the Baptist came first and then...Jesus... 

I have been thinking about this all day and asking God as to WHAT I was to say and share.  

  How many times do we NOT listen and have excuses...and  put our own 'twist' on  the WHAT ...WHY and HOW.....  

I will stand accountable before God one day -- and have to answer for EACH and every word...every idle word, even  every word said in anger...and every word period.  

 Now, I believe that my relationship is strong with Jesus and when I face God, the 'list' will be accessible...but Jesus will stand up right then and there and say -- "she is covered".    

But this DOES NOT give me an excuse to do or say whatever I want, nor does it take me off the hook  to suffer the consequences of my words-- 

- but when the words come into fruition and God is certainly reminds me -- I can listen to God and obey.  

I have NO idea of HOW  God is going to 'do it' - but I trust that we, God and I,  will have a conversation and talk... 

Today, I got to thinking -- 

Zachariah's voice box was silenced.  I am positive he spent the next 9 months in deeper prayer and conversation with the Lord.  I am positive that his wife probably  looked at him and questioned  and yet....maybe  she just enjoyed everything even more as she had a baby in her womb.  Then Mary visited and stayed for three months and she too was pregnant and it says in God's Word that the Holy Spirit was within Elizabeth the HS was within the baby within.... and she spoke a blessing over Mary.   Now she was speaking -- for HIM.  

Our tongue has the power of life and death.  
What we say, brings life or death.  
We will be held accountable.  

Lord, I pray that always, my mouth speaks blessing ---

Lord, for YOU are my Savior and my best Friend.... show me where and if I have not been a faithful servant and have hurt or harmed another -- allow me the time and place to seek their forgiveness.  

Lord, for YOU are my Savior and my best Friend... when You have asked me to share a word of knowledge or a word of encouragement....and I did...  I thank you  for  blessing  it.  

  When there has been a 'hard' word because You orchestrated a divine appointment ....for those times...I thank you,  but I need you to cover them.   I am not asking for you to make everything better - as if someone is upset with me, I won't be ruled by emotions and feelings but....I do wish to do your will.  And I pray the enemy won't use it to hurt and hold them from getting a blessing. 

 The enemy wants to use it to hurt and harm and set another BACK....   so, I will ask  you to protect  their mouths until they are ready to SEE YOU in it...and I will ask You to speak to them.... where YOU are within this.   Remind them ....that sometimes...YOU say "no".  

 And I ask You Father to  protect me, as I have stated and told you -- I would never want to be a stumbling block for anyone's faith and journey.  Lord....I need  You to fight for me -- open the eyes and hearts of those  who don't 'get it' yet... and just show me -- if I need to do anything different or just be silent -- even for some time.  

Lord, You understand and realize my  request...   
Lord, for the Zachariah's close by -- may they see and understand YOUR will be done.  
Lord, for the Mary's --  who You have asked trust You....may they truly trust You in a new way.  
Lord, for the husbands and wives that are barren right now -- and don't understand..... may they SEEK You and be satisfied in YOU for now.  Lord, I pray each finds You  and trusts You.  

Lord, for the one this eve, that just had to bury her son - comfort her and I pray that one day, when you bring her another little one .... she will indeed know, that You are the good good Father.  

Lord, for the one today that used words to hurt or harm another - may they seek YOU and seek Forgiveness.  Lord, may I not allow the hurt of it to stop me ....from being a servant to You.  I don't wish to be used by the enemy for anything....

Lord, you will do the judging and You will reign over all of heaven.  I pray that when I am there -- I will hear, "well done, by good and faithful daughter".  I am praying and believing.  


Monday, December 21, 2015

Mary did you know?

I LOVE the song....Mary did you know?

I have heard Pentatonix's version...
and Donny Osmond has his -- which is VERY nice! 
=======and most recently there is  Matthew West doing his version on XM the Message/Christian Radio.

  Either person or group  singing it -- takes my thoughts to another place.

Mary did you know?    That your baby boy ...would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know?   ...  he would save our sons and daughters?

 Mary did you know?  ..... he would give sight to a blind man? 

At one point in the song, it says, "did you know that when you kiss your little baby - you kiss the face of God?"

Powerful song.  Powerful performance.  I have placed the link on this site for you to go to it --  as I said, as I listen and watch -- the song takes my thoughts and dreams to another place.

I wonder if there is a song....

Michelle did you know?   ______________________________
Michelle did you know?  __________________________________
Or how about your name......   (Susan) did you know?  _________________________________
What does or has our 'baby' done --- within God's Kingdom? 

Our children, whether we gave birth to them, or they were brought to us by God --

What do we sing over our children? 
What will they do?

Christmas is about children -- coming to the belief that on this day, a child was born in Bethlehem...
A child that was prophesied about  ---
A child Herold wanted to kill ---
A child that would set the captives free --

Jesus is that child and no other human could ever live up to his life here on Earth, but we are  joint heirs  with Jesus  and we shall inherit  all that is   HIS when we reach heaven.

I stop to think.... about the mother's that are about to give birth --
the mother that just lost an unborn child ---
---and my own mother.

I stopped and thought about Christmas's in the past where I was so frenzied into cookie making and making sure that the right gifts were received for each of my children-- by Christmas Eve.

I stop and think about the 'traditions' we put into place -- all of which give me great memories and happy thoughts!  

I stop to think and pray - for each of them -- my children and now my new son - n - love, to be completely full in Jesus and then share that love for their Lord with their  children -- in the future.

And then I think about other children --
children from church....
the ones I see on Instagam and FB videos....

....children --


I stop and pray - Lord....tend to all of our children --- the neighbor's kids, the kid's next door,  kid's that have no home this Christmas and those that do --  and for those children who are in unsafe situations and places this evening.  Lord, for the many who have no idea of  what lies in wait for them tomorrow. 

Lord for the ones around me fighting cancer --
Lord for the ones battling a childhood disease --
Lord, for the ones that are just being ignored.

We are so blessed and sheltered here in America,  we don't  truly realize WHAT how blessed and sheltered we are at times. 

And then, God gives us an insight into someone's life -- or one's turmoil....and perspective happens right away. 

Lord forgive us --

IN Jesus name. 

An Event for Everyone luke 2...from the Message Bible

8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fresh words -- Traditions, BOLD prayers, quiet time, and Teenagers!

I am  enjoying this week before Christmas with my students.  What a tremendous opportunity I have been gifted with.  I am allowed to speak life into 10 and 11 year old's  around me every day.  I don't take that responsibility lightly.

We have studied  Christmas Traditions around the world and I have communicated  the traditions that are special to me.   We've cut  paper crafts, watched some tearful movies that show the spirit of Christmas,  read about  the Herdmans and how they put on a Christmas pageant and then we watched it come to life on the screen.    I was floored to realize how many of my students had never been to a Christmas Program of some type at a local church.  We created ornaments, sang Christmas Carols,  and shared stories as well as  blogged  about  their family  Traditions.

It has been a busy week.

I LOVE my job.

  In all of this, I have discovered which students don't have family traditions and a legacy of Christmas programs and such.  That  opened my eyes.  I knew this and yet, I did not know the extent to which it was reality. 

I thought about  the holiday  traditions my hubby and I did with our children.  Now, that they are adults,  and living away from us, we discussed  WHAT we can still do or new traditions to begin now with our married first born.   Today, I pondered about the  traditional way I come to God.

The Lord has asked me to UP my reading and prayer life.  HE wants more from me.  As I was preparing for our HOPE in HIM Encounter,   HE  clearly impressed  upon me that I was no longer a babe in Christ, nor a toddler...but an adult that was needed and no longer could  I just wait for HIM....but to SEEK HIM more. 

I fall in love with MY Lord even more when I know that I know -- what HE is speaking to me.


 Thus, I believe, he has changed my sleeping patterns and has awoken me almost every day since at about 4am -- to get my quiet time with him done first -- otherwise it usually happened throughout the day and here and there.  No judging there -- I have gone in spells where it was always first in my day, and or at a certain time.  I have even had my quiet time in my car - driving.  I believe I speak to God throughout my entire day - without ceasing. 

So, with that --

I was a seeking him for some fresh words and HE brought me to this, from Isaiah 55 in the ESV bible.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

 AS to the people I am crying out for, presently in prayer -- I have released  them all to HIM and I am not taking the back  the stress of those burdens; but,  I believe  God's hands are big enough now to hold them.   Clearly,  God's word says in the second half of verse 7;  .LET him return to the Lord -- that the LORD would have compassion....

It is clear that IF the returning does not happen -- then there are consequences.  From just context clues, I can guess...that if the Lord does not have compassion on him or her....then what is the alternative?

  Hell ... suffering?
  Would I want to be standing before the Lord and not have His pardon?

No way.

That brings me to the word OBEDIENCE.

A  church service  just recently had  the Pastor giving a word of knowledge from the Lord -- his word from the LORD was Obedience.  That Word has stuck in my thoughts and head for the past two months. 
How many of us are not obeying....
Am I obeying?  

  Oh sure...maybe I am not cheating on my taxes.....but am I cheating my Lord from my tithe?  
And...  maybe I am in church and sitting in a pew -- but am I activly serving or working with the body of Christ?  
Or perhaps, we have checked out cause we are just tired of it all.....?  And so we quit to have 'church' on the road for a bit -- what does God's word say about 'forsaking the assembly of ourselves'.  
And what about those thoughts -- am I placing HIM first or my needs and wants an desires first?  
How about our plans....are they being laid out by Our Lord or are we manipulating them and THEN seeking HIS forgiveness?  

Believe me -- I am asking myself EACH of these questions as I  think.  

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 I asked the Lord to forgive me again when I read and reread these verses.  

How much do I dictate to God HOW the prayer is to be answered and  then I mourn or question when something is hard and it does not seem to be 'the way' I planned it....

And yet..... God knew. 
 HE is the one that created the heavens and the earth and HIS ways are higher than my ways.  

When I get to see HIS  glory -- I have NO problem saying, "that was merciful and faithful You are God".  thank you thank you --
...but when HE has me waiting,  as maybe I won't see the end of something until I patience, kind, and loving in that waiting...?   

Are my thoughts towards the heavens showing I have great faith and confidence in my Lord?  

Forgive me Father...     
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

God's promises are new every morning.  
Every morning, I expect Him to forgive me again.
Every morning, I expect Him to provide and answer prayers.  
Every morning, I come to him with praise as I sing in my car.....  

Traditions - do I just continue to live and not move forward ??  That could become a tradition and a rut in my walk with God.  

Traditions - do I just continue to walk out this life and not OBEY what HE has asked me to do?  

Am I needing a fresh word?  

And yet... every morning,  I could allow  the enemy to cause me to doubt --  I could  go backwards.  

Don't go backwards.  
Don't disobey.
What has God asked you to step it up in?
What needs to be forgiven?  
Who needs to be forgiven?  
What are you doubting?  

Have you read God's Words today?  

Lisa Bevere says in SEE IT: 
"I believe  we underestimate the power of what the enemy sees when he looks at us."

I believe I underestimate the power of what the enemy sees when he looks at me -- 
I believe that there is one reading this that has never thought about this before and is now realizing that the enemy is real!  

I needed to be reminded of the power I have in HIM -- I can do all things through Christ Jesus...!!  

I need to live in that freedom and liberty -- as time is short.  
I know God is going to win ...but I want to WIN with HIM  and when I get to heaven and I see him there on His throne, I am going to hear, "well done my good and faithful servant".  

I like hearing those 'traditional' words..."well done".  !!!  


Heavenly Father, I come to you and KNOW that I KNOW you hear my voice and my prayers as my relationship with you is healthy .... a working and viable relationship.  I praise you for the answers today and what you continue to do within my family and circle of influence.    I praise you for my NEW grand-niece and for Jaiden's two pushes!  I praise you for the covering I have under my husband and You...I praise you for -- being able to use this medium for YOUR voice...and I pray that it reaches the right one -- and that they will draw close to YOU.

I pray  for the loved ones who need you Jesus.  I pray for the loves ones who believe they have you Jesus and have NO clue that there is more.  I pray for the women that attended HOPE in HIM and that they will continue to walk in that liberty. 

 I pray for the next bunch of women for the April Encounter and the one in January.  I pray for the teenagers around me, not only in my church body but in the body/community of Okeechobee - that this generation would see and understand their identity in YOU and be affirmed in Your Word and NOT in their peers.  Lord, I cast OUT any confusion of gender...I cast OUT ANY rebellion ....Lord, that the parents would be parents and parent their children and be in their lives....Lord, I pray for the specific marriages and families that are seeking restoration, redemption and answers.  

Lord, for that special request -- that eyes would open.  Lord, that anyone reading this -- would see and understand that THEY must seek YOU and make sure the relationship with YOU is healthy ...that there is obedience...that there is no secret sin...and that there is no pridefulness....  God --keep me humble...Guide me.  

And bless my socks off Lord -- You know the secret desires of my heart -- I am holding you to them!  
IN Jesus name, Amen.