In A Moment……

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A phone call comes and a voice on the other end says that your loved one has been in a terrible accident. At that moment, your life changes.

A husband gets home from work and when he sits down to the dinner table to eat, what is sitting in front of him but a note that says, “You are going to be a daddy!” At that moment, his life changes.

The woman with the issue of blood comes to Jesus and touches the hem of his garment, and at that moment she is healed.

Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed, at that moment.

Time and time again, we see in our own lives, as well as in scriptures, that it only takes a moment for everything to change.

I want to encourage you that, if you have been battling something in your life, physical, spiritual, or financial, it can all change in a moment!

So many times in our struggles of life, we focus on the battle, on the challenge, instead of focusing on the moment; the moment when everything can change.

It only takes a moment, a second, and a word from God, and your circumstances can all change. Focus on the Father above who can bring that change.  Focus on the creator of the universe, the giver of life, and the Lord above.

Some of our lives are great; we are blessed far above what we deserve.  Does that mean we should look to the Lord any less? No! In the good and the bad, our focus has to be on Him. It is important that we focus on God for the blessings He has given us, because in a moment it can all change. We can always look around and see someone less fortunate than ourselves. God expects us to love them with His Love. We must be thankful for what God has given us.

When we feel like our world is coming to an end, we have to remember … in a moment, everything can change! Let’s not get so wrapped up in what we have or don’t have, but let’s get wrapped up in, and focus on, the moment: the moment that Jesus shows up!! Because, if we are looking for Him, He will show up.  Are you looking for your moment???

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What To Do When God Puts You Where You Don’t Want to Be

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Recently, God pulled up my deep roots from the place where we had been living for thirteen years, and moved us to a new place; one that is totally the opposite of our previous home. Not that there is anything wrong with our new location – it’s just that 10 months can’t compare to 13 years! There doesn’t seem to be anything terribly right about it at this time!  By that I mean, you can sometimes feel like a foreigner in the land where you know God has sent you.
You see, after living in a small town for 13 years, we knew just about everyone and just about everyone knew us. A level of comfort comes with that.  Especially for a preacher’s daughter who had gone to 9 different schools in 12 years! You know where to go to get your groceries; you know where your favorite stores for dress shopping are, and the place to get your favorite Chinese food. You have your close group of friends you know you can depend on. You become comfortable in your surroundings and that brings a level of familiarity this preacher’s daughter had never had before.   I know that God allowing us to stay in one location for such an extended period of time was nothing short of a miracle.
But, the funny thing is, those 13 years were probably the most trying of our lives. Spiritually, physically, relationship-wise in our family, and financially, it was a complete mess for us personally! We were like the children of Israel who were slaves in Egypt. And yet, like Moses, we knew without a doubt God had called us there! So why would God call us to a mess where He knew our feet would touch the fire? Where He knew our relationship would dangle over the edge, almost to the point of no return.  Why?

The children of Israel prayed to be delivered by the hand of God out of Pharaoh’s control. So in Exodus 9:1 it says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and speak to him…”. But the Bible also says in Exodus 9:12, that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  Now why in the world would God send Moses if He knew Moses was going to hit a brick wall when he got there? I don’t know about you, but that just seems like God is setting himself up for a lot more work. I mean, God could snap his fingers and Pharaoh would release the children of Israel, they would walk into the Promised Land, and – bottabing, botta boo – it’s over with! End of story!! Done!!

But, no! See, God wanted the children of Israel to trust Him. He wanted to give them an example they could look back on and know that God was with them. He wanted the children of Israel to be able to see every trial as a testimony of His faithfulness and love for them so that, when they came to the battle of Jericho, they would have the faith to withstand and follow what he had called them to do – which was . . . nothing. See, while they were slaves, they had had to work (fight) for everything they had ever been given, and to struggle (fight) with all their might just to survive. Many of them may not have even known what it was like not to have been a slave. But God knew what laid before them at the battle of Jericho and to get them where He wanted them to be they were going to have to completely trust in Him – and not fight! So he laid out a plan that would take them through various trials and temptations, just so he could prove himself to them, time and time again – beginning with the 10 plagues.

But they had barely gotten out of Egypt when they began to moan and cry, “Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:12)  They couldn’t see the something greater God had for them, because although they had been beaten and abused in Egypt, it had become a comfortable, familiar place to them.

I wonder how many times God looks at us and sees the same thing. He is trying to move us out of our comfort zone to take us to a higher level that will draw us closer to Him and yet we are content to be the slaves in Egypt.
God knew what was ahead of them at Jericho and was trying to prepare them for the Promised Land; for something they had never had before; for a way that a war had never been won before. They were simply to march, to stand, and to praise! Just walk around the walls of Jericho for seven days!

I don’t think it is by accident that all of the men of Israel were circumcised not long before they were to walk across the Jordan River to take Jericho. It wasn’t an accident that for forty years God covered them with a cloud by day and gave them a cloud of fire by night; and it wasn’t because he didn’t love them that He supplied manna to them every day!  God didn’t just sneeze and the Red Sea rolled back when they got to the edge of it, either. God wanted them to learn to trust Him and let Him do His work.

I don’t know about you, but I think the society we live in today is no different than the slaves in Egypt.  So many of us feel we have to fight to survive; to pay the utility bill, to put food on the table. We might even feel like we are fighting to survive to do God’s work. But I want to propose to you today that perhaps, like the children of Israel, God is saying to us, “Give up! Surrender your ideas, your ways, your thought’s, your plans, and just stand firm and march around the walls you are trying to tear down. Just march around these walls in silence, carrying me!” That is what the children of Israel did. They walked around the wall of Jericho carrying the Ark of the Covenant.

Maybe the new level God wants to take us to is just for us to walk around carrying Him, to let the love of Jesus inside us be all the weapons we need.  Sometimes we just have to let go – give up everything that is familiar to us, that makes us feel comfortable – and walk in a way that can feel totally different and uncomfortable, in order to get to the place where He wants us to be. I don’t know about you, but I want to always go to the new level God has for me, even if I find that it is taking me out of the comfort zone in which I have been living.

I am not gonna lie: I have looked back since our move and said ”What are we doing here?” Then I begin to list off all the highlights and accolades that happened where we came from as I try to convince myself, ”Would it not have been better to die in Egypt than in the desert?” But then there is that quiet voice in me that reminds me of the things that were not so sweet, those secret things which I never let the world see – of my heart breaking, the fear of feeling my world was falling apart, and my marriage almost crumbling. If I wanted to deceive myself, like the children of Israel did, I could convince myself that going back to the bright lights of the big city would make me happy. But the truth is, the only thing that will make any of us truly happy is walking in Gods perfect will for our lives. And for me, and I am sure for you, failure to do that is not an option.

So if I have to give up all the conveniences of being near a big city to walk in a new level of relationship with Christ, so be it. If I have to give up Macy’s and familiar surroundings to see God use me in a mightier way than He ever has before – bring it on!! Because I have found that, in this life, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that can replace the peace of walking in God’s will and doing His work.

I firmly believe that the trials of my past were only allowed to come into my life for the same reason God hardened Pharaoh’s heart: to teach me to trust in Him.  I am thankful for the hard times in my life, because without them I would never know that I could make it through whatever comes my way. I have learned to trust in the creator of the universe and know that He is working all things for my good!

So I hope today, if you are feeling like a foreigner in the land God has sent you to, you will know that He is not punishing you but is simply taking you to a new level of intimacy with Him. He wants to bring you closer to Him in a way that will probably look very different than it has before. God never wants to leave us where we are! God never wanted the children of Israel to die in the wilderness; He only wanted them to trust Him.  Will you trust Him today?

Change – Oh! What a difference 9 months can make!

1150610_10153099280955487_1585285912_o Oh what a difference 9 months can make!  As we come to the close of our only daughters first year of college, it has been exciting to see the joy on her face; to witness her eagerness to get back to the college after a weekend at home; to hear her tell about the fun times she is experiencing at the college, hanging out with her friends, and talk about her favorite teacher and how awesome he is! It makes a momma’s heart feel good to know her baby is happy and enjoying her life. In fact this last few days of school, all I have heard from her is ” I wish I could go to school all summer!”

But if we could hit the rewind button to just 9 months ago, we would see a scared young teenage girl on her parents couch, crying her eyes out because she wanted to stay at home. She stomped and snorted and even called her big brother, all to try to convince us that college was NOT the right place for her!  As hard as it was for us to see her miserable for that time, we as her parents knew it WAS the right place for her to be. Did we want to tell her to come on home and stay in her bedroom and never leave again? You bet we did! But we knew that was not the best thing for her. We knew that she couldn’t live the rest of her life shut up in her bedroom; that she couldn’t be at home with mom and dad forever. As much as we would love to keep her at the age she is now and have nothing ever change, we know that isn’t reality or what God wants.

Reality is – things change. Reality is – God expects us to grow up! Reality is – if we never change we never grow! Reality is – change is sometimes hard!

We know that a piece of coal becomes a diamond under pressure. A pearl is made by the irritation of rubbing up against a piece of sand.

What makes us think we can grow without some kind of pressure or irritation in our life? But we have to choose. We can choose to stay the course, and walk through the pressure that is placed before us, or we can choose to walk away from the pressure, go back to our bedroom, pull the covers over our heads and let the world go by us while we sit in the pit we have always been in. It is our choice!

This year as we have watched Amy grow and mature, it has been a joy to see her take on more responsibilities and excel in her studies. Has it all been easy? Absolutely NOT!! But is she now a stronger more mature person because of it? You bet she is!! Is she better for it? ABSOLUTELY!! Are we glad we forced her to stay and finish the course? Yes we are, even though we now see her taking the next steps that will eventually lead her out of our home for good. It brings us mixed emotions, but in our hearts we know that this is the best thing for her. So, we choose to give up our desire to see her be our baby for the rest of her life, and encourage her to grow and be all that God wants her to be.

If you are facing something that makes you feel like going back home and pulling the covers over your head, just remember: growth doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. Some of God’s most expensive jewels are created under pressure.

God’s Word promises that if we will not get weary in well doing, we WILL reap a harvest! Before we know it, 9 short months later, we will be looking back and everything will be totally different! We will know that without us keeping on, with God, we would not have made it, and we will be able to say “Oh, what a difference 9 months makes!”  Praise Be To God!!