Swallow It

Yesterday while I was drinking my coffee and praying I watched three birds on my fence jumping over each other and switching places. After a few minutes they looked like they were dancing together one on one. I said “Tommy, look at those birds dancing.” He giggled and said “Mo, those birds aren’t dancing they are fighting. Fighting for dominance.” As I watched more carefully, I thought “ooh, you are right.” They were in a serious pride fight. Have you ever been in one? Have you ever spent hours of your day rehearsing words to say next in the argument? Have you lost sleep holding onto pride that is stealing your joy and robbing your peace? I know I have. My selfish nature has caused me so many times to want to be right more than want to be at peace. But, thank God my Holy Spirit, who craves peace, is stronger than my mind, body and emotions. Thank God that my Holy Spirit gets the last word.

I have learned that humility brings peace, pride brings strife. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”

I think I try to do this a lot, but sometimes when it comes to an argument about something I feel strongly about, I have to purposely remember that I need to value other people’s opinion’s as well as mine if I want to remain in the perfect peace God has for me. It truly is a decision. My flesh hates it. But then again, my flesh hates anything good and healthy for me. Our flesh wants selfishness and sin. Our flesh doesn’t get a vote. We have to submit to our Spirit, The Holy Spirit. So, I swallow my pride. 

God said to me this morning while I was just waking up, “Pride goes down much easier if you swallow it quickly. If you let it linger, it grows.” Ever noticed that? Ever noticed the longer the pride fit, the harder it is to swallow and forgive? Pride is ugly. It’s nothing that we should desire to walk in because in the end it leads to destruction in some way. Humility comes before honor, pride causes destruction. I want honor, I don’t want destruction, so I choose to humble myself.

I really don’t know what those birds were fighting over and I really don’t know who won. I guess the truth is, in arguments like that, nobody really wins, until we forgive and forget and let God teach us a lesson. Yes, we can win a new sense of brotherly love every time we choose peace over being right.

Peace is so worth it. I don’t need to be right. I need to be free. Do you need to swallow something prideful today? Let me encourage you to take a big drink of Living Water and mix it with a large portion of The Bread of Life. That perfect combination can help you suck anything up.

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I Mow, He Edges

I was mowing the lawn today and as I pulled around a corner I saw Tommy coming around another corner with the edger. I said “Thank you Jesus for a partner.” I am so thankful for my partner in life Tommy.

I thought, I mow, Tommy edges.

When we paint, I roll, he cuts in.

I cook, he helps me do dishes.

I fret, he talks me down sometimes.

He feels tempted to yell, I encourage him to let it go.

We are partners and we share a goal. Our goal is to love God, love people and make disciples. Of course we want to disciple our children first and foremost and then we desire to love and disciple everyone else God has for us to reach. Our mission is the same, our God is the center of our lives and our home is the place God has given us to invite people to so that we can share Jesus’ love with them.

I’m so thankful for my partner. Tommy makes me a better version of myself because he holds me accountable and keeps me grounded in Christ. I thank God that in Genesis God decided it wasn’t good for a man to be alone so He gave him a helper. I’m thankful to be Tommy’s helper and he is amazing at being mine.

I guess I just wanted to encourage you to thank God for your partner today. If you do not have a partner, thank God for Christian friends who come alongside you to  hold you up. I know I’m thankful for my friends as well.

Yes, it’s not good for a man or woman to be alone. We truly were built for community. It’s helpful and efficient. I mow, he edges.

 

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Ignore Every Frog

Frogs gross me out! Ok, I said it. I probably will lose a couple animal loving friends for this post, but I have to be honest. I love nature. I love animals. I love almost every living creature. But, frogs (oh and skunks), I have no love for. It hasn’t always been this way. This is sort of a new yuck, yuck, relationship I have with frogs

Frogs seem to be what the enemy will use to keep me from complete surrender to outdoor worship with Jesus. Ok, you knew there was a story, so here it is.

I love my prayer swing on my back porch. It is a place I go to when I need to spend quiet time with Jesus or to have a nice talk with someone else that I love. Well, my Tommy and I were talking one night on the swing about how happy we were for our Pastor and his wife Caroline to see the church growing like it is. I am not kidding you, I spoke out the words, “I am so happy for Pastor Jason and Caroline, I love how God is blessing them.” Then immediately, I felt something wet and slimy slide down from my head to the side of my cheek. No, the frog didn’t jump on me, it pooped on me! I KNOW RIGHT????

I looked up and saw a giant frog immediately above me and I realized the disgusting thing that had happened. I ran straight to the shower. I was so grossed out. When I got out of the shower Tommy and I giggled and said, “Satan did not want to hear us happy for our pastor or church and he sent a nasty frog to tell us”

I know some of you analytical people will say, “Oh Mo, that’s just a coincidence.” But, I’m telling you, this isn’t the only time frogs have interuppted a sacred time with me and Jesus.

Today as I was studying about abiding in Christ, I kept hearing a gurgling sound outside the screen. I ignored it a few times and went back to reading. Then it gurgled again. I looked out at my pool, and of course a huge bullfrog was doing the backstroke in my pool. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not scared of the thing. One big pool net will scoop that thing out in no time, I’m just annoyed by it, because it kept distracting me from studying.

Listen, I sat back down to talk to God and He was like, “Mo, ignore it!” I am serious. I think God was laughing at my inability to focus. I mean, it was a frog, not a bullhorn being blown. I am able to overcome way bigger distractions than that. But, these frogs… they have been bugging me.

Isn’t this how we can get? We can let the dumbest things interfear with our time with God and doing the things we are called to do. We can let notifications and phone calls and texts and doorbells keep us from our mission and purposes so easily. Our abiding can get interupted by our networking. It literally has to be something we purposely stand up against.

Distractions are the devil’s favorite tool. He is able to stay hidden so well from his agenda as it’s tough to blame the devil for a frog peeing. But, when you know you have God’s agenda as your agenda you better expect that there will be a ton of distractions to overcome and ignore. You better get really good and saying “Not today devil.”

So yes, now I’m back to my prayer swing and back to studying. I’m not even going to scoop him out of the pool yet. Let him have his little morning swim. I’m busy abiding in the vine! I’m busy spending time loving my Jesus. But, to be honest,  every few minutes, I do look up, just to make sure nothing is hovering over me. “Not today froggy!”

 

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I Don’t Care

I was just walking Tyco and I had a revelation. It was a serious moment between me and God where I said “Yes, Lord, you are right, I really don’t care.”

What don’t I care about? I’m glad you asked. Well, for a second I thought I cared about one of the yards in my neighborhood looking overgrown and messy. I had a moment where I formed a judgement about their yard skills immediately in my head. Then The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me and I realized that I don’t know them at all, and I have no idea what is going on in their lives that could be contributing to the neglect of their lawn. Then I quickly repented and said “Yes, Lord, I really don’t care about their lawn. I just care if they know Jesus.”

Then I realized, that’s really all I care about. I know that sounds generalized but it’s true. I actually thought about it and I used to care about so many things that don’t matter.

I used to care about your political opinions. Not anymore, I just care if you know Jesus.

I used to care about whether or not you had a natural birth or a C-section. Not anymore I just care about whether you teach your baby about Jesus.

I used to care about whether you choose to homeschool or send your kids to public  school. Not anymore, I just care about whether you and your kids know Jesus .

I don’t care about what church you go to, though I would invite you to my church anytime. I just care that you know Jesus.

I used to care about clothes and cars and whether I have a tan or if my roots are showing but not anymore, I just care about everyone I come in contact with knowing I love Jesus and that I’d love to share Him with them.

I am able to drop my opinions and preferences about things so quickly now that I have a new perspective. It’s the “I don’t care” perspective. I think it comes with spiritual maturity. You see, I don’t care about things that won’t matter in eternity. Life is too short and I want to have and enjoy every minute that God has for me while I am here.

I care about loving God and loving people and that’s really it! I care about making memories with my loved ones that will last well beyond my time here. I care about leaving a legacy for Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is truly who I’ve learned to cast all of my cares on. He takes what I don’t need to think about and He leads me minister to the people who He cares about reaching. It’s truly a perfect exchange. He cares for me and I care about His plans and purposes.

Y’all, today, if you are burdened by details of things that are not going to make a difference in the population of Heaven, I have some advice for you. It will lead you into so much peace. Right now, learn these simple three words. They really are freeing.

I don’t care!

I hope it’s a blessing, because I do care about you. 🙂

 

 

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There are always weeds to pull

I love working in my garden. It’s so peaceful. I usually listen to the Word of God while I plant, water, trim and weed.

I looked out the sliding glass window today and I thought, there’s nothing to do in the garden today.  Then I felt like walking out and getting a closer look. Wow, I was wrong.

I heard in my Spirit, there are always weeds to pull. So I turned on the Book of John and I started pulling weeds.

I thought about the spiritual weeds I have been pulling lately. I thought about the doubt that was creeping in at the door yesterday for someone I love and have been studying the Word with. I thank God that we rebuked that ugly spirit of doubt together and moved on quickly in Faith.

I thought about the weed of fear that was pushing up through the garden of blessing  for someone else I love. I thanked God  that I had been able to pray with him, talk with him and extinguish that flaming arrow of the evil one, by his side as he returned to faith.

I thought about the weed of distraction that I had to pray off of myself last week as I was knee deep in a writing deadline and all my flesh wanted to do was everything, except writing. I thanked God that He reminded me that I have the fruit of Self-Control and that I was able to push through the distractions and finish my work.

Yes, I realized, even when the garden looks great from a distance, there are always weeds to pull. It’s kind of the same in life. We can put on a happy face to the world, but inside, when we are too long from out last talk with Jesus or too long from a bath in His Word, the weeds and thorns of life will try to creep in making us unfruitful.

But when we realize where we are at, we can quickly say, “Not today Satan! And yank out those weeds quicker than they can take root. All we need is the power of The Spirit inside of us keeping us on track, and The Name of Jesus and The Word of God On on our tongue. There’s not a weed in this world that can stand against those gardening tools!

I love working in God’s garden.

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Fasting Makes Me…

Fasting makes me:

-Pray for people getting chemo therapy who still have to cook for their family, no matter how they feel.
-appreciate all types of food
-pray for people who can’t count the hours until they eat again.
-pray for people who aren’t eating because they don’t have food to eat.
-appreciate breakfast
-appreciate lunch
-get excited about cooking dinner when my fast started at dinner time the day before.
-pray for people in the hospital that aren’t allowed to eat
-pray for people in hospice
-pray for the hurting that I’ve planned on praying for, but sometimes get busy and forget.
-realize I can walk in self-control
-realize my ugliness I can walk in sometimes and blame it on being “hangry”, is something I am able to crucify
-thank God for a stove that works, a cold fridge with food in it to prepare, utensils, seasonings…
-trust God is going to speak to me
-trust God will get toxins out of me to keep me well.
-think about hungry people who wait in lines for food ministries to feed them
-never want to eat food I don’t thank God for again
-feel good I obeyed and didn’t bargain with God, like I often do
-Be more patient, with everything and everyone that seem to take too long
-Realize God is right here! I am Unforsaken!!!!!
-Never want to cheat one bit! Because I love Jesus too much!
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“He must become greater; I must become less.””
‭‭John‬ ‭3:30‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
‭‭John‬ ‭6:35‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:24-25‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”
‭‭Ezra‬ ‭8:21-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬
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Keep Your Eye On The Ball

Eli just started playing spring baseball. He hasn’t played baseball in a league in two years as he was mostly focusing on basketball. Tommy and Eli discussed playing this season and before I knew it, last night I was sitting at his second practice.

This season sort of intimidated Eli. He was  nervous about coming in after two seasons off and not being at the level he felt he should be to play with these other kids. Tommy and I just kept telling him, “Eli, you are going to do great. You are a natural and God is going to use you on the team.” I could see Eli’s anxiety welling up during the first practice and going into the second. He wasn’t nervous about fielding. I could tell, he was nervous to get into the batter’s box.

As batting practice went on last night Eli kept fielding the ball as each player took their turn stepping up to hit. I kept thinking “ok, maybe he’s next.” Turns out Eli was the last hitter to hit. By the time Eli was in the box I am going to tell you, Jesus and I had been talking for a while.

I just kept saying, “Lord, give him your strength. Give him your grace. Lord, help him to make contact. God, help it to feel good to him.”  Oh… I just kept praying.

When Eli stepped up to hit, one of his coaches kept repeating, the same things, “Eli, see the ball. Eli, don’t take your eye off it for a second. Eli, stop dancing in the box and just watch it.” E did just what he told him and after about three misses, the hits started coming. First they were fouls, then boom straight on. The coach kept saying, “There’s a hit! That’s a base hit. Keep your eyes set.” Just like Tommy thought he would be, Eli was hooked on baseball again. Our boy who walked out on the field full of anxiety, walked off of the field full of courage. There’s something about keeping our eyes on the ball.

Of course, it hit me in my Spirit that this is just the same in our walks with Christ! We have to keep our eyes on the prize, Jesus! We have to fix our eyes on Jesus and not lose our stare for a second. We are going to swing and miss a lot, but if we can just stay in the race, relying heavily on grace, we are going to hit some base hits for The Kingdom of God.

We all want to be home-run hitters, but base hits win games. What are some base hits in our walks? Maybe it’s, complimenting someone or encouraging  someone in their faith, or maybe helping a single mom change a tire. Maybe a base hit in the Kingdom is inviting an unbeliever to church and they actually say yes and join you.

You know, all we really have to do to experience victory in this life lived for Christ is to keep our eyes on Jesus and keep swinging. Keep on loving God. Keep on loving people. Keep on making disciples. It’s not a home-run hitter that gets us wins for the Kingdom. It simply a lot of us stepping up to the plate and keeping our eyes on Him! We have to stop dancing in the box and just keep our eyes on Jesus!

 

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What Do You Smell Like?

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I was out walking Tyco this evening and I smelled a familiar smell that immediately brought back a fond memory. One of my neighbors was obviously starting a charcoal grill with lighter fluid. I could smell the coals being prepared for them to grill on. It took me back to my childhood winters in Florida, staying at Vacation Village.

Our family would stay there every winter, from January until around Easter time when we would return to our NY home. I had no idea what a blessing that was that in some way, my siblings and I were the youngest snowbirds ever. We went to school in NY half a year and Florida half a year. We did this so that my Dad who was a contractor could build homes all year long to support our big family.

I look back now and realize how God used this unique situation to enable me to learn how to make friends easily. It was sink or swim. You either learn how to say, “Hello, my name is Mo,” or sit alone at lunch. I quickly learned this helpful greeting. The smell of the charcoal made me smile as I recalled this childhood memory.

I immediately started thinking of other smells that made me smile. The smell of fresh lumber being burnt in the fireplace at Christmas time and the smell of a pot roast cooking all day long on low at my Grandma Lawrence’s house every Sunday. I could never forget the smell of orange blossoms and homemade taffy and chocolate that signified a memorable trip to The Citrus Tower as a child. Oh how I loved watching them do the glass blowing and a window away you could see the ladies making the candy, like on the infamous “I love Lucy” episode where she and Ethel were sorting chocolates.

There was the smell of our horse barn in NY with the fresh cut hay and horse grain which always smelled comforting to me. Too bad my allergies kept me from fully enjoying one of my favorite pass-times, sitting on the fence watching my Dad ride and train horses on our land. I kept recalling memories of smells that were making me happy as Tyco and I rounded our last turn home.

I thought, to myself, what do I smell like to the world? Do I have an aroma that would make someone stop and say, “wow, I really enjoyed my time with her.” Or do I have a stench of self-righteousness or pride that would cause someone to happily not have to recall that smell again. The bible says that we should have the “aroma of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 New International Version (NIV) reads:

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

We are supposed to spread the aroma of Christ everywhere! Do we? Do people walk by us and say, “There is something different about her”?  Or, are we simply blending in with the smells and sights around us? Do we look different than the world? Do we act different than the world? Are we making an impact for Jesus? Or is our aroma forgettable?

Oh how I want to leave the scent and aroma of Christ everywhere I go. I want to obey the instructions I felt Holy Spirit give me one day in my quiet time, “Everywhere you go, everyone should know, you belong to me.” Oh friend, I want my love for Jesus and my dedication to His commission to be so obvious to everyone that they can even smell it on me.

Do you? Do you desire a scent that will draw lost souls to a Savior? Oh, I do. How about we ask God to anoint us with His aroma everyday as we pursue looking more and more like Him. This way we can leave a trail of beauty behind us as we also look forward to the beautiful aroma of Heaven someday, in which I have no doubt, no scent here on Earth will be able to compare.

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Seeking His Voice

 

I heard a woman with a prophetic mantle on “It’s Supernatural” speaking about how to hear from God. It was so helpful to me and I have been spending a lot of my quiet time with God lately, doing a lot more listening than speaking.

Here are a few things I believe God has been saying.

1) May we always be a people who bow. Bow to The King of Kings and to The Name of Jesus and not to making a name.

2) Sorrow upon sorrow it causes Me when My people are cast into Satan’s net that he is using with the bait of popularity and fame.

3) My Name and renown should be the joy of your heart.

4) Exalt yourself and you’ll be humbled. Humble yourself to exalt Me and The Name will be glorified.

5) Snore Mo! Rest to the point that you snore. You don’t have to keep one eye peeled at all times. Snore a good snore.

6) Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice. I desire mercy from you, not sacrifice.

7) My people perish for lack of knowledge. Fill The temple with knowledge.

8) Train yourself to be godly. Research and study.

9) Love is the key ingredient in obtaining a life lived for me. If love is absent, it will fail.

10) Raise up a banner. The key to witnessing my heart is by soaking in my presence and my Word. Soak and sit.

The Word is very true. Seek Him! He wants to be found by us. He has so much to say. I’m learning to just be quiet and listen.

Love you

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Be Holy!

When I first started reading the Bible and studying it, I would get hung up on this scripture often. Until, I realized I was reading it out of context. I was reading the word “holiness” and translating it as righteoussness and it wasn’t making sense.

Is holiness righteousness? I actually had to study this out a few times to figure out the difference between holiness and righteoussness.

The truth is, we cannot stand in front of a Holy and Perfect God without righteousness. Righteousness is right standing with God. And, quite honestly, we can’t ever be righteous enough on our own to pull this off. That’s why we need a Savior.

When we make Jesus Lord, we recieve His righteousness. We become right with the Father, only because Jesus is right with the Father and His blood makes us right.

As far as holiness. Holiness is a choice. Holiness is choosing to be set-apart for a purpose. Another definition of holiness is perfection, and quite honestly, perfection isn’t something we will ever attain to, but we should always be pursuing.

In a nutshell, the difference between righteousness and holiness is, we are righteous because God counts Jesus’ goodness instead of our sins when we have faith in Jesus. We are becoming holy as we obey God more and more in our lives.

When Peter is talking about holiness in this situation he is quoting from Leviticus 11:44, which reads, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” The Israelites we’re being taught not to eat any creatures that slither on the ground, like snakes. God was reminding the Israelites to be set-apart from unclean things, and to not defile themselves. Peter was teaching on obedience and self- control and not food choices, but the point was being driven home. We are to be different than the world. We are to be set-apart for Kingdom uses.

This concept, is still true for us today, as we should strive to be set-apart for God’s use and not allow ourselves to get entangled in the detestable things of this world. Yes we have to live in this world. But, we cannot allow the world to pollute our souls. We minister to the broken, but we cannot allow the broken to break us. We sit with sinners, but we can’t be yoked with sinners. It’s a fine line to walk when consecrating ourselves unto The Lord.

So… I hope I haven’t confused you. I hope this actually helped you. It was a good refresher lesson for me today too. The cliff notes of this blog would probably read, “We need Jesus to be righteous and because we are righteous, we pursue holiness to be like Jesus.”

Be Holy because He is Holy!

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