It Takes Time

We have lived in Florida for twenty years now. I couldn’t be more grateful to God that He allowed Tommy and me to raise our children here. It has been the joy of my life watching my children grow up near their cousins and grandparents in a warm climate that has allowed them to play outside everyday of the year. I am a big outdoor person, so this has been so important to me as a mom.

As I was walking my dog this morning along our normal route I stepped on a few fallen acorns. I actually like the feeling under my feet as they smash and all of the seeds come out. It reminds me of when my Sara was little and we used to take walks in the fall just so she could smash acorns under her little feet.

I kept walking along and lizards kept darting in and out of the path before us. I giggled to myself thinking how scared I used to be when I would go on walks years ago and they would do this. I would think it was a snake slithering out of the bushes or something. Now I just smile at these crazy things and thank God that they eat all of the nasty bugs off of my prayer porch. They really are nice to have around.

Yes, it has taken time to get to know the ins and outs of living in Florida. It’s taken time to learn what plants actually grow here and what ones look pretty at Lowe’s but are destined for destruction the second I put them in the ground during the wrong season. It’s taken time to learn that our 4th of Julypicnic should start at 5 Pminstead of 1 Pmunless I want a house full of people escaping the inevitable afternoon storm that is carrying off pool umbrellas and tents with it’s crazy force.

Yes, learning the Florida lifestyle has taken time. Great time, but time. So does developing a relationship with Jesus.

A true, love relationship with Jesus, one that knows when Holy Spirit is beckoning, calling, leading and guiding you, takes time. This time involves time in the Word and time in prayer.

Moses knew this sort of relationship with Father God! Moses spoke with God one on one. God spoke, Moses listened.

Moses spoke, God listened.

That’s a relationship right there.

Moses’ relationship with God was so precious to God that He spared the Israelites’ disobedient lives over and over because of Moses’ obedience. In Exodus 32 and 33, we see this grace poured out on the Israelites to honor Moses.

Exodus 32:7-10 reads, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.””

‭‭God is ready to wipe them out. Their idolatry has just about made God lose His cool. But Moses talked to God. He sought the favor of God, asked God to spare them. And…God did.

I love chapter 33 because God spared them. He told them to go on ahead and go into the land He promised their forefathers they would get, but He said, “I won’t be going.” He actually says in vs 5, “if I go with you for even a moment I might destroy you.” Lol… I love God’s honesty. He’s like “listen Moses, I’m sparing them for you, but they still bug me.” That’s the “Mo Version” translation here.

Yes, my friend, Moses’ relationship with God meant so much to God, it actually saved the Israelite nation. Do you see how much God desires communion and a relationship with us? It’s His heart’s desire.

This relationship didn’t happen overnight for God and Moses, it took time to develop. So does our relationship with God. Becoming one with The God of the Universe takes time. Yes, we are saved immediately when we accept Christ, but just like learning to live the Florida lifestyle took time for me to learn,  learning to live according to God’s Word and Will, takes time as well; time in prayer, time in worship, time in communion, time studying The Word and  time loving on God and learning to receive His Perfect Love which casts out fear.

Let’s spend some time building that relationship today. It’s the most valuable friendship you will ever experience. And, you don’t even need a to have a burning bush experience to have it.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s Always Someone Watching

This morning my daughter Sara came out to join me on my prayer swing. I was doing my bible study and spending quiet time with The Lord, and my girl came out to do the same thing. As she sat down next to me with her journal and bible, my heart smiled. I silently thanked The Holy Spirit for her decision to start her day in The Word.

The funny thing is, it reminded me of something. It made me think of her at 3 years old. I was a stay at home mom and Sara was with me non-stop. She was like my little shadow. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without little fingers opening up the door or talking to me through the door if the door was locked.

Once a week my best friend Mary would come over to hang out with me in the evening to do bible study together on our back porch. Tommy would hang out with the boys and Sara in the house, but Sara always managed to make her way onto the porch with Mar and me. I can still hear her little baby voice say, “I do baa -bull study.” I would say, “Sar, go back in with Daddy, me and Miss Mar are having Mommy time.” But, she would keep persisting until my friend Mar couldn’t take the cuteness anymore, and she would pick her up and put her on her lap. Needless to say, Sara always found a way to make her way into “Mommy time.” I look back today and thank God that she did.

How precious it is to me as a mother of a grown woman to watch Sara choose to study God’s Word daily, follow His commands and choose to walk in obedience to Him. My heart almost bursts thinking about it. This morning as she sat next to me, I prayed silently to The Lord,  “God, someone is always watching aren’t they?”

Yes, our children are watching us. They learn what they live. Children copy their parents until they find their own way of doing things in this world. Our children are the most important audience we will ever have and we must protect and respect that gift with all that we are.

Others are watching too. People are watching to see if our lives line up with our sermons. People want to see if we practice what we preach. People are curious to see behind the closed doors of our homes and hearts. Are we truly who we portray ourselves to be on our social media accounts and out in public?

I pray that I am. I mean, I think what a travesty it would be to spend your lifetime on mission to save souls, but in the meantime, find out that your family barely knows who you are, or even worse, recognizes a hypocrite and decides that this “life lived for Christ” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. To be real and raw and trustworthy is something I strive to be each day in front of my family and loved ones. Do I mess up? Oh heck yes. Thank God for His grace and mercy.

As I asked God today, “”God, someone is always watching, aren’t they?” I felt Him comfort me and encourage me to just keep pursuing Him, trusting Him and honoring Him, and those onlookers will have no stones to throw.

1 Peter 2:12 actually says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. ” As Christians, that’s truly the goal, to live in such a way that glorifies God and causes others to want to glorify Him. You see, none of us are perfect, but if we can just keep on keeping on, loving God, loving people, and making disciples, and living God-fearing lives wherever we are,  those watching us will hopefully want to join us.

Yes, there’s always someone watching.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Spirit is Stronger

Lately I have realized that life is all about disciplining ourselves. Discipline isn’t a word we all love to hear. It’s kind of like words like diet, work, exercise, budget, and study. We all prefer words like Oreos, vacation, naps and shopping. But, the truth is, without discipline in our lives, we become luke- warm and lazy.

The Holy Spirit showed me this, and I shared it at Unforsaken Women. He taught me to say, “My Spirit is stronger than my soul. My Spirit is stronger than my body.” Go ahead and say that out loud, because it’s true. Well, it’s true if you carry The Holy Spirit. The truth is, our Holy Spirit is stronger than our soul (our mind, will and emotions) and our body, because our Holy Spirit is just like Jesus and just like Father God.

Do you know that? Do you know that as a born again believer, you have the same power on the inside of you that raised Christ from the dead? Do you know that when you carry The Holy Spirit, you carry the ability to do whatever Jesus did while He walked on the Earth? Well, actually, you have the ability to do more. Jesus actually told the disciples, “you will do greater things. John 14:12 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to The Father.” That right there should make you elated about carrying The Holy Spirit.

We have resurrection power living on the inside of us. We have the power to speak to dead things and make them come alive. We have the power to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. We have the power to cast out demons, heal the lame, the blind and the mute. We have this power on the inside of us, only because of Jesus and always because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

So, if we are carrying so much power, why are we walking around weak? Why are we bound in addictions, fears, anxieties and struggles? Why do we lack the excitement to read the Word, study the Word, and apply it to our lives? Why? I believe it’s two things, a lack of knowing you have the power, and number two, a lack of discipline needed to walk in this resurrection power.

We need to know that our Spirit is stronger than our soul and our Spirit is stronger than our body. We need to know it like we know our name. We need to know that our Spirit is stronger than our soul and our Spirit is stronger than our body, then, we have to walk in it. Walking in it is the part that takes discipline.

We know that  we crave Oreos, but blueberries are better for us, so we have to choose blueberries.

We know that we want to nap and not exercise, but exercising is going to strengthen our frame so we have to choose to exercise.

We know that we want to complain about studying the Word of God instead of actually digging in and disciplining ourselves to a time of study each day, but we know that only by studying the Word can we actually be transformed by the Word so we must choose to study.

It really is a choice. A choice to choose to do what is glorifying and helpful in the long run or a choice to choose what is satisfying for a moment but deadly in the long run. Once again God leaves it up to us. We must choose to discipline ourselves if we want true and lasting freedom.

Once we make the choice, we are able to walk in victory. It’s not a question of “maybe” we will have victory. It’s guaranteed. We only become victorious over the lust of the flesh by remembering that our Spirit is stronger than our soul and our Spirit is stronger than our body, and then walking it out in obedience.

There’s the big O word. Obedience. We must be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in order to walk in victory. Obedience to The promptings of the Holy Spirit is how we secure our victory.  So, I’m sorry there isn’t a pill or a “get free quick scheme”. It’s a daily choice to choose to obey. It’s truly the best choice you will ever make.

Your Spirit is stronger than your soul.

Your Spirit is stronger than your body.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It Shows Your Character

You know, funerals can be a beautiful thing. When a believer in Jesus Christ dies, there is something so precious about their funeral. It’s almost as if people don’t know whether to laugh or cry, celebrate or mourn. Yes, we who are left behind are sad to have to say goodbye to those we love, but when we know that goodbye is really, for us as believers, “see you soon”, it makes the separation that much sweeter.

My son Jake’s girlfriend Darcie just lost her grandpa. Today Jake and I attended the funeral and wow was I moved in my Spirit by this service. Three people spoke. One was the pastor who impressed me so much with his attention to the details of her granddaddy’s life. He didn’t just throw together a generic eulogy, I truly felt like this man had known him his whole life, the way he spoke of him. It was excellent.

One thing that he said struck me. He shared, “The Lord spoke to me a couple years ago and said, “You need to help people finish well. That’s your job.” I nodded my head in such agreement. You know, that’s our job as clergy, to equip the saints for works of service so that the body of believers may be built up. We are supposed to help people start their walk with Christ, and then we are supposed to disciple them and show them how to stay in the race relying heavily on grace, until they finish well. You see, the truth is, we don’t always start well. We don’t always race well. But, with The Word of God planted deep into our hearts and with the help of The Holy Spirit encouraging us, we can darn sure finish well. The Pastor spoke of Darcie’s grandpa’s walk with Christ and he said, “I promise you, he finished well.”

Another speaker at the funeral was his best friend since grade school. I thought to myself, if they were both 80 years old, that means that they had been friends for probably almost 70 years.  He told stories of them growing up together, getting married, raising their kids together and both working hard as plant managers at different plants for their entire working lives. My heart was so moved by the beauty of their steady, stable lives. They lived lives centered around serving Christ and loving their wives, children and grandchildren. They weren’t trying to strike it rich or get their names in lights. They simply enjoyed a lifelong friendship, choosing a life well lived, loving God and loving people.

His best friend said something that made the lump in my throat finally release the tears that began rolling down my face. He said, “you can make a lot of new friends, and new friends are great, but an old friend, you can’t just go out and get, old friends are rare, and he was my old friend.” Yes, my heart leaped in love for this 80 year old man of God. His wisdom was beyond anything anyone can gain through years of study. Wisdom is proved right by her children. That’s what the Word says anyways. We were actually able to later share at lunch our similar love for the people of Haiti, where he had been four times on mission. I knew I liked this guy. 🙂

Yes, the speakers were amazing. Were they anointed authors or poets? No, they were hard working, dedicated to living right, just get out there and do the right thing, people. I have to say, those are my favorite kind of people right there. I can venture to guess they didn’t get up for work and complain all day about work, only looking forward to weekends and holidays. I bet they actually did what the bible says to do, which is find satisfaction in your work, since this is a gift from God. Yes, work is a gift. Remember that.

The service was memorable and beautiful. But, I have to say, the best part of the entire day for me happened after we finished lunch and Jake and I were leaving. Jake was saying his goodbyes and thanking people for having us and I heard Darcie’s Dad, who had just lost his father reach over, pat my son on the back and say, “It meant a lot that you were here for us today Jake. It shows your character.” And, here comes my tears again. I thought to myself, this day is an answered prayer for me. My son has chosen a future wife who has a family whose roots run deep and are grounded in character, love, hard work and service. I guess I’m an old fashioned girl, because I think we have so much to learn from our elders. I know I felt like I was taught an amazing lesson on love today. I’ll never forget how this felt.

As I write this, I’m smiling, because guess who the real winner is? Darcie’s Grandpa. He’s with Jesus right now, and there’s no better place to be. Just like Darcie’s Dad said to Jake, “It shows your character”, the joy at this wedding, and the blessed assurance of where her Grandpa is right now, shows us all his. His character was strong because he carried Christ.

Oh Yes, funerals can be a beautiful thing.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Relationships Require Repairs

I was outside in my garage painting some furniture like I often do. I could hear a couple houses down one of my neighbor’s roof being tore off and replaced. It is just one of the many roofs (including ours) in our neighborhood that has been replaced in the past year. The Florida sunshine and tropical storms require our houses to have strong roofs to protect us from the elements. I am happy for my neighbors.  It will look great when it’s done.

I was painting a chair and dipping into areas of the chair with the paint that were hard to reach, and I thought, just like this chair has weathered, and my neighbor’s roof has weathered and requires repair, many relationships are in need of some TLC to be repaired and preserved as well.

Marriages for instance are kind of like furniture and homes. If you just ignore the upkeep necessary and ignore the signs of weathering, decay will set in. Homes and furniture require attention and people require attention. Homes and furniture require time and work. Marriages require time and work.

The Word encourages couples to submit to each other out of reverence for the Lord. Submitting doesn’t just mean sex. Submitting doesn’t just mean letting the other spouse win in an argument. Submitting is a heart issue. Submitting means, I sign over my own agenda sometimes, to make yours feel important. Submitting means, not always having to get your own way and not always needing to have the last word.

Submitting to each other out of reverence for the Lord, lets God know, that you are thankful for the partner that God gave to you. We not only should thank God for our spouse with our mouths,  we should show God how thankful we are for our spouse, by loving them and submitting to their needs.

I love redoing furniture. With every move of my arm in sanding, with every stroke of the brush in painting, I am able to watch the old become new. This can happen in relationships as well. A little extra attention to your spouse’s needs, a little extra encouragement in what your spouse is doing, and a little extra time spent together, can completely transform a marriage or any relationship.

It’s a beautiful before and after.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m So Thankful for Noble Friends

Proverbs Women

““Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:29-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When God gave me the idea to honor Godly Women through my Proverbs Women posts, I had no idea it would be such a God ordained thing. I literally would wait until morning to see who God had in mind to bless and by afternoon, the woman it was honoring would text me, saying things like “you have no idea, how this blessed me,” or “I’m in tears feeling so loved by God.” The truth is, I think God wanted to remind His girls how He feels about them.

The other amazing thing that came from the past few weeks studying Proverbs 31 is, I realized how amazingly blessed I am to be surrounded by such graceful and dignified women. I have sisters by blood and in the faith who are such a blessing to my life in so many ways. God has truly given me a shield of intercessors and warriors to march with.

Yes, this scripture says, “many women do noble things. As I close out this series I think of many more of the women who I am honored to know.

I think of my friend Dana who not only has the Spiritual gift to lead worship powerfully, she is a friend who has always spoken the truth to me, and encouraged me in my calling. I think of Lesa who I think was handed all of the gifts when God was handing them out. She pretty much can do anything needed for any Christian opportunity, at any time and she does it with excellence.

I think about my friend Jodi who has taught me to have reckless faith, perseverance in the gospel and I’ll never forget her saying to me, “Mo, always have your teaching be helpful.” I always tell Jodi that I’ve already asked Jesus for us to be neighbors in Heaven so be prepared for me to be borrowing sugar.

I think about my sister Kimmie and my niece Angel and my sisters Cheryl and Char, who have taught me how to overcome difficult circumstances that life brings and to always fix my eyes ahead, pressing forward, following Jesus, no matter what comes.

I think about my mother in law Annemarie, who pretty much taught me how to love my husband and kids unconditionally. She’s one of the most naturally loving women I’ve ever met.

I think about Robin Miller and Caroline Hitte who are so extremely different but both make being a Pastor’s wife look so easy, even though I know, it is one of the hardest positions in the ministry. I think about the lessons I’ve learned from them women in boundaries and I thank God for these lessons daily.

I think about my friends Amy and Pammy who homeschool and devote their total existence to schooling and disciplining their kids. Their selflessness is inspiring.

I think about my sister Tammy who is one of the most intelligent women I know. Her attention to details is one of the reasons The Vineyard is what it is today, as she ministered as a founding board member, by Skype all the way from Upstate NY.

I think about all of the retired women who Volunteer at our store each day, not because they have to, but because they love to. They could be golfing or shopping, but instead they are serving.

I think about my friends Kristy and Jean and Jill and Stells and Mar who have been friends with me since our girls were babies and now we are seeing our girls become Godly Women.

I think about Barbara Beck who I am blessed to serve with at the TV station. Her humility is so inspiring. She is the most loving, selfless person. Many people in the public eye can get so confused and puffed up, but not Barbara. She’s the epitome of grace and humility. It’s so beautiful.

I think about neighbors and friends and church family and friends from the past and I’m blown away in God’s attention to giftings, details and the writing of His story. He has penned the story of my life laced in grace and truth, displayed by many noble women I’ve known and loved. Those alive today and those of the past like my precious Grandmothers and Aunts.

The truth is many women do noble things. But altogether, unified as women of God we surpass them all. You know, that’s who the Proverbs 31 Woman actually is. She is a conglomeration all women who call Jesus Lord and follow Him closely as His disciples.  I thank God for the Bride of Christ. She is altogether wonderful. Together we are a powerful force in growing Heaven.

Let her works bring her praise at the city gates.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

She’s A Gift To Many

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When I think about someone who adds joy to many people’s lives I think of my sweet friend Lindsay. Tommy and I joke and say that she may be the nicest person we have ever met. Kindness just seems to come easy for her. She ALWAYS is positive. She ALWAYS encourages and she ALWAYS loves. At least when I have been around her.

Lindsay is a wonderful mom of three amazing kids. Her husband Derek knows what a gem he has in Lindsay. She honors and respects and builds him up constantly . I truly am in awe of her gift of encouragement.

Lindsay is a student of The Word. She studies and she attends events where the Word will be taught. She is diligent about her walk with Christ and it shows in how she lives. The Word says to be thankful in all things so Lindsay is thankful in all things. The Word says to be gentle and kind, so Lindsay is gentle and kind. The Word says to encourage one another as long is it’s called today, so Lindsay is an encourager. She is obviously a doer of The Word and not just a hearer.

I know by now you are probably thinking “wow, she sounds like a great friend, I would love a friend like Lindsay.” Well, you are right. I just can’t help but speak of her kindness, and neither can her family. She makes this verse come alive, “Her children arise and call her blessed. Her husband also and he praises her.” I love you Linds, you are a Proverbs Woman.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment