The Empty Box

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I got this prayer box necklace from my aunt years ago and recently it got me to thinking.

Looking at the empty box, I could have worn this as just a pretty necklace over the years, or I could take my prayer and place it in the box, close to the heart. I chose to write my favorite scripture and put it in the box and whenever the necklace moved or I saw it in a reflection I would meditate and believe that word was qualified in my own life.  The empty box did not remain empty.

I use this, as an illustration, to show how we may take the time for our empty box during our downtime. We have spent all day, pouring out our energy and when we stop we are depleted. When we take the time to recharge,  we make choices. Those choices are to leave that box empty, fill it with distraction, or fill it with life.

For a season I found myself filling the empty box with distraction. Such as binge-watching Netflix or spending hours on my social media accounts when I wanted to just ‘chill’. Not before too long it became habitual and without any thought, I pick up my phone first thing in the morning and throughout the day, all day, and mindlessly scroll.
Then there is the other box in the room that grabs my time. As soon as I sit on my couch I would reach for my remote and scroll for an hour looking for something to watch.
Then one day it hit me, did I really just waste an hour (or hours)  scrolling nothingness?

There is a danger for me personally to use ‘nothing’ or distraction during down time. Before too long it becomes same old’ same old’ and if not careful I slip into the melancholy of nothingness and the empty box turns into a life of meh.

Think of your own life, are you working and going home and doing nothing? Is the place that you want to be in 5 years? I ask this because if you are filling your free time with nothingness or distractions, then in 5 years time, you will accomplish only keeping your box empty.

I know this may be an extreme thought, but for me it became extreme. I was created to write, paint, minister and to be present, yet I filled up a season of my life with nothingness and wondered why I was not getting anywhere. It all turned so quickly and without notice went from a few minutes of decompressing daily, into a lifestyle.

I am being exposed here. Not because it is fun to admit it, but because I know I am not alone and my hope is that others will see before the melancholy or time thief sets in. The thief of your time can also be a thief of your joy.

So what can you fill the empty box with?

I am determined to fill my life with things from the Lord through prayer, worship of all forms and pursuit of my future that He has planned for me. I want my empty box to become filled with life. So that I may pour it out onto others and not be running on a nothingness.  So that I may remain young and strong.

Psalm 103:5- He fills my life with good things so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.  

Fight the Battle

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One thing I have discovered with life… there is always something.
There is always an opportunity of one kind or another to fight the battle ahead.

When the battles seem overwhelming our nature may be to retreat. Some of us are fighters and some of us need to learn how to fight. Others are natural warriors that don’t see anything but victory ahead in the midst of it all. This is how I want to fight the battle.

I want to be the warrior that sees their victory ahead of the attack. Just as a good coach, sees victory for his team and focuses on the win rather than the idea of loss, I want to set my sight on a glorious outcome rather than the moment I am fighting the battle.

How do I walk this out? How do I fight the battle, when I feel the onslaught of ‘life’ coming at me from every side?

*RECOGNIZE
I used to bury my head in the sand, instead of looking at the battle head-on. I used to make excuses, and except the battle as just a part of life. Yes, our battles are a part of life, but I don’t have to accept the defeat before even entering the ring. I can’t roll over and just keep getting kicked while I am down. I must stand up and fight not only for myself for all those around me that a defeated outlook or blindness to the situation will effect. If I roll over and am exhausted by the battle, with just a smile on my face, I am affecting my family, my ministry team and others the Lord has placed in my life. It is like a soldier watching everyone get shot around them with a smile on their face that all is fine. NO, it is not fine. It is a battle and I am going in!! This is how we fight the battle. We recognize we are in one!!

Ephesians 6:12- For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

*EQUIP and Position

This is the time to take out all the resources in your tool belt! A soldier going to war would not do well if He forgot all his equipment, and just showed up for battle in his shorts and flipflops.
In this same line of thought, a soldier or a team needs all their partners in the battle. Know your team members. Share your heart, let them back you. Know your source of support. This is key to fight the battle. The most important member you can have to back you is the heavenly creator, that has purposed for you to be victorious. He has a battle plan. He has the equipment ready for you to put on and take your stand. Even if all the other team members have run from the fight, you still have that coach pushing you on. He is ahead of the battle. The battle is HIS to fight. We need to ready our ears and hearts to listen and fight the battle.

Ephesians 6:13-18 

The Whole Armor of God

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

* FAITH
Be ready to fight! Posture your heart in readiness. Walk in boldness that you are mighty in victory. Know that the battle belongs to the Lord and the outcome is always victory. It may not look like it at the moment, but the battle is won, when we are ready to win. When we are ready to fight the battle when we are ready to take ownership of victory. We have won. It does not matter what we are seeing. We see with a different lens. It does not matter what we are feeling, our feelings are fleeting. It does not matter that it all is crumbling and falling down around us, we have a master builder, that is ready to remodel and build fresh and new. The fight in the battle is knowing we have won!

Proverbs 21:31- The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.


*CELEBRATE- 

Rejoice in your victory! Be thankful the battle is won. You may not see it yet, well, set your eye on the other side. Celebrate your last victories! See what has worked in your favor. Celebrate how you have come out a victor before in your battles. Your battle does not own you. Your battle does not define you. Your battle is what you walk through and you already have the tools to overcome! Celebrating the one that sees you through, is a mighty weapon in the fight of the battle. Praise and worship, it goes before me. I am equipped and ready. I am the victor and I am seeing the victory ahead! I know the victory may look very different than I expect, but it is mine and I will take it and praise Him for it.

2 Chronicles 20:21- Jehoshaphat asked the people for advice. Then he appointed men to sing to the Lord. He wanted them to praise the Lord because of his glory and holiness. They marched out in front of the army. They said,

“Give thanks to the Lord.
    His faithful love continues forever.”

BE ENCOURAGED WITH THIS ONE : This is how I fight my Battles

Dreams: prepare in the waiting

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“There is just a moment between the mundane to the extraordinary. Don’t give up the pursuit before you reach what is intended for you: Press in faithfully and see what He will do.” SA

Where the God-given dreams are concerned there is a time to pursue in the waiting.
We are called to sow and cultivate those promises in our hearts. Those dreams will come to pass in their due season if we do the work in the waiting. If we try to hurry that which was planted we will end up with underdeveloped fruit that doesn’t reach its full potential.
If we give up and walk away we end up with a fruit that is rotting and laying waste.

I don’t know how many times I have had a dream for my future and taken action thinking it was for right now, only to find out I was in the wrong season of that dream and the actions I was taking were nothing spectacular. Literally, I have sat looking in the emptiness wondering how in the world did I miss it? Only to realize it was a dream not for that moment but for a time to come. I should have been preparing in the waiting instead of jumping ahead.

The dreams and passions that the Lord has placed on your heart and have been there for so long you may have even forgotten them or let them go, have not been placed there in vain. Often when we are dreamers, we see long before it is time to walk in that dream.

The Facebook LIVE  yesterday was about seasons and perfect timing built on Ecclesiastes 3. I shared how some of the things I was believing for, for over 20 years, are finally starting to gain momentum. Talk about seasons of waiting! I fully believe if I would have prepared and pursued the Lord more in the waiting, I would have walked in more confidence and joy, than I did when I let the enemy rob me of what was planted deep in my heart. NO MORE, I will keep walking with expectation, knowing the dream is being going to flourish at just the right time!

I urge you to meditate on the word and allow the Lord to work in your heart concerning the dreams that you are called to pursue. Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged in the waiting but keep working at it. When you, put the time in, it will be beyond what you, yourself could have imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3: 3- 15

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

 

 

The Sparrow

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The Sparrow has been on my mind so much lately. In fact, I drew this Sparrow weeks ago when I gave one of the characters in my Middle-Grade book that I am currently writing a mark of a sparrow.
I find it interesting as I looked up sparrows, once I knew my main character bore the mark, that a sparrow often symbolizes joy. This is perfect, as it lines up with the call of my character in the story.
Here I have had sparrows on my mind, and they can often symbolize the very gift of Joy the Lord has given me to share with others.

Today I discovered, I have a new Facebook friend that calls her ladies, Sparrows. I asked her why the sparrow was so relevant to her and she stated;
“Knowing that when God takes care of the Sparrows as they didn’t value much according to man; HE would always take care of us the same.” (Valerie Miller)

Luke 12:6 –  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
This verse turns my mind to think about one of the causes of depression. Not knowing our worth. Not seeing ourselves through the eyes of the creator. How often can we look at nature and think it is so beautiful, or look at a young animal and think how precious, yet we can not look at ourselves with the same value?
Has not the masterful creator held you with a great value?
How can you look upon the face of His wonderful creation and only see the lack?
He only sees the great value, not the flaws.
He sees your full worth and call.
A call He set aside only for you to do, and if the enemy can entrap us in feeling like we have no value, then we hold back from doing all we are created for.
What if the sparrow, saw her wings, but never understood their value?
What if she never put them to use because she thought they lacked worth?
She would be a target for prey as she would sit vulnerably and not fly away.
She would miss the beauty her wings would bring her as she took flight, soaring over the earth.
What are you missing out on today, because you are not seeing your full value of your gift?
What part of yourself are you hiding because you think it lacks worth, that another needs to see in order to find their own?

Today my friend is the day you see yourself in the eye of the creator.
Far more valuable are you to Him than even the sparrow who is remembered and cared for.
Ask Him today, to see yourself with new eyes. Hold fast to what you are shown and take flight!

Matthew 10:31- “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Song: His eye on the sparrow 

 

Living in Thanksgiving

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We are getting ready to move from a home that has been a sanctuary in a dark time in our lives. The property around us is beautiful and we will be moving into town, where our views will not be acres of trees and greenery. I had always wanted to stay in one location and raise my children. We lost our home in the fall of the economy and this rental was our Godsend at just the right time and we have been able to spend the last six years here. So many great memories but the newest chapter of our lives as empty nesters has us moving.
It is in this transition that the Lord has shaken me in new ways to live in thankfulness.
He has me focusing not on what we ware leaving behind, but to be thankful in all that we are gaining.
Many times in the transition of life, I have looked at the have not’s instead of the what I have.
We are called to thank the Lord in all circumstances. When we walk out our lives living in thanksgiving, we walk in the plan of joy for our lives. Our sites are on all we have and not what we lack.
What if instead of a well of thanks for the big things in life, we walk in a well of thanks for everything in our life, big and little?
I can choose to rise each morning with thankfulness on my lips or walk in the negative.
It begins with the heart change. For out of our hearts our mouth will speak.
I want to be living in thanksgiving, not just a moment but a lifestyle.
I will rise and know I am blessed.
He is worthy of my thankful heart!
It is in the walking in it, that it becomes my everyday.
Living in Thanksgiving will become my habit, not my moment.

Thank you Jesus : Worship Song

Obtain the Promise Land

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Lately, I have been feeling in my spirit over and over, the promise land. Obtain your promise land. I ask the Lord, what is my promised land, and just how do I obtain it? At the moment, I feel my promise land is my healing. 

For some time I have been wandering in the wilderness like Moses. I have been crying out for what the Lord has promised is mine, but for some reason, my healing hasn’t been instant and miraculous, as I have seen with my own eyes, happen for others. I only saw their moment, however, I didn’t see their journey. The process of faith and obedience that has taken root in their lives, or the lives of the ones praying over them. I didn’t see how they obtained their promised land, just that they had.

So I have been like the Israelites, wandering around and having no clue at what my disobedience and whining have done. Complaining where there are victories, forgetting to hold on to them in the midst of the trial.  Each time a new trial would arise I would deflate and lose hope, not looking at the fact that I was obtaining a piece of the puzzle to my full healing. I know the Lord can do the quick and instant, but He has me walking a different plan for His purpose and I need to trust in His work no matter how I see it working out.
As I was praying, and meditating on the things the Lord was showing me,  I saw clearly that Joshua ready to obtain the Promise Land was given divine instruction by the Lord. An instruction that would seem absurd to obtaining a land being held by an army behind a great wall. But by following those directions, by obeying the Father, and walking in Faith what God has placed within, Joshua and his limited (by our standards) army, obtained the promise land in the miraculous.
Study Joshua Chapter 6 to see how he obtained the promise land.

I was shown, that it was out of the following of instruction, the Lord was able to give Joshua the Land. If Joshua would not have acted, if He would have grumbled or complained or sat on his heels, they would not have obtained the promise. The people would have continued to flounder in the wilderness until someone ready to obey would rise up.

I find it funny this revelation came to me before my instructions came to healing. I recently found out all my dizziness is a result of a disconnect of my eyes and my vestibular system. I found out that there is work to do, ocular therapy and a lot of it. Commitment, time and even some discomfort will be my instructions. I will obtain my promise, but I must first follow the instructions. God can do the miraculous, He could have given the land over to the Israelites with no effort, but He didn’t. He instructs us to hear His voice. He instructs us to walk in obedience. He wants us to trust in Him. To not lean on our own understanding but to walk out what He has for us to do.
Some of the therapy seems silly and I ask, how will this really work. But if I sat and did nothing, didn’t even try, I would never get better. If I hadn’t known what was wrong, I wouldn’t know how to get help. The Lord lets us walk through things in our physical life so that we can see the link and process in our spiritual life and the work He would have us do for the Kingdom. This is my training ground! To follow instruction and see it through to completion.

 How many times have you had your promise in your grasp but you let go before you saw the fruition of it? I know I have too many times. I ask God, “why not me?” And feel He answers, “have you obeyed being faithful to follow through?”
I have to be honest, so often I let go before I see the harvest.

Perhaps you are feeling inadequate as I do, but I see time and time again in others, He uses the unqualified, He can use me too! He can take me beyond my ability. I need to not lean on my own understanding. To trust in Him and submit. He will make the path straight. I say YES Lord, I will obtain the promise Land!


He Says

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You believed for your miracle far longer than you ever imagined you would have to. You have yet to see the fruition of your faith. You called out to God in your trial, the struggle weighing heavy on your shoulders. You say, “God please, I can’t take this anymore. Where are you?” 
You are tired. You are weary. You ask, “Why am I still waiting?”
You look at your every fault. You look at your every lack. You see only pain and heartache.
“You say, I am done.”

He says…
“I hear you!  I see you! I have not forgotten you. I will cover you with my Grace and walk with you in this season. You have much to learn and you are more than able.

He says…

You will see the fruit of the promise, but you must stay steadfast. I am building a stronger you. I am building my child that does not waiver in the storm but stands strong, with my banner lifted high.

He says…

You will declare my joy in the midst of your pain. You will declare the promise before you see it. You will believe your promise once again with a great faith that you have yet to know.

He says…

Your faith will rise into the new places. Hold on to that which I have promised you. Don’t let my truth fall to the wayside. Seek me first and I will meet you. Call to me and I will answer you.

1 James 1:2-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

  He says…

You are not weak, for I have made you strong.
I have not created a child of fault, I created a child that is an overcomer.
I have not created a child full of lack, but a child that is more than able to do all that is required.

I have created a child I hold dear. My love is unwavering. I am a God of the impossible.

I am the God of miracles.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will keep my promises.

Now let your faith arise!