Sold Out!

sold-outRecently, I was sitting in a  coffee shop waiting for my two bible study sisters. Every week for our summer study we meet in a different coffee shop. It was unusual they were running late. I was just starting to wonder if I was in the wrong place when a man thrust his hand out me. “Hi, I’m Glen!” He beamed me a huge smile. His bright purple suspenders held up his blue jean shorts. But, what really caught my eye was the tattoo on his forehead, tucked ever so slightly under a few wispy gray bangs. In faded blue letters I read “Be Love.” It was subtle and yet it shouted out to me!

Now, I started to smile! Seated, I stood up so I could look into his light blue eyes, just about the same color as his tattoo. I shook his hand and said, “I’m Holly. It’s great to meet you, Glen! I like your tattoo.”

He replied jovially, “Thank you! I introduce myself to twenty-five people a day, just making friends.”

“Oh, that is great! I’m just waiting for a few of my friends.” He looked down at my tattered red leather-bound bible. Part of the cover was worn down and was starting to look a bit pink instead of red. Glen smiled and replied, “Oh that’s the good book with all of the truths in it. You can’t go wrong with this book.” I was going to say something in return, but Glen jumped in and whispered, “You know I learned the hard way. I thought BMW cars, fancy clothes and a mansion would bring me happiness. But they didn’t. Happiness and truth. It’s all in this book,” he said, tapping the cover with his finger.

My recent trip to Uganda flashed through my mind. None of those material possessions Glen mentioned meant anything to the Ugandan people. What meant the most to them were people and relationships. It was so evident in the way they would talk, laugh, hug and look you square in the eye when they spoke to you. The smell of my vanilla latte brought me back to reality.

I looked at his t-shirt with purple letters. I read: “To get love, be love.” Just then, my two bible study sisters walked up. I introduced Glen to them and then as quickly as he came he was gone.

In our study that day we were talking about surrendering to God. I had to really ponder the question: “Am I willing to pay the price of full surrender?”  Or, do I want the discounted price of not all in, maybe giving 75% to my Lord Jesus? Could it be the time is drawing short here on earth? I know one thing. God is looking for sold out and completely surrendered people to do His work and Be Love!

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” {1 Cor. 16:13-14}

{originally published June 16, 2013 on  The Tapestry Network blog site}

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Stir my Heart

Exodus 35:21 (NKJV)
21 “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.”
Is your heart being stirred? Is God creating something new in your life? Or, is He asking you to bring an offering to Him? He could be asking for a tithe, but my thought today is He asks for us to give an offering of something else– our hearts. Our heart is where our decisions are made, because we decide out of our affections what we love and what we want to do. Our beliefs create our emotions. Our emotions then create our reactions and our responses. If I am reacting in ways which are explosive, volative or snide and snarky, fearful and doubting, there is something about my core belief that needs to be explored.  I can ask Him to examine my heart, my will, my affections, my mood. I can pray to have Him point out what is the root of my belief. My identity is formed around these beliefs. Instead, I need to let God help me form my identity in Him. God is love and He loves you and I perfectly and unconditionally. When we allow God into our hearts, we can make space for Him to fill us up. Now, we will start to make decisions happily based on His desires for us. heart rose petalsAnd, our identity is based upon His love for us and not upon what the world or others feel about us. Then, we can go about doing God’s work, touching other lives with His precious love and grace.
Thank you, Lord for your loving touch upon my life today. I will empty myself and make space for you to move fully in my heart and life. Amen.

Holy In His Sight

cross image sky

Holiness refers to divineness, or distinctiveness and the realm of the divine. John 17:11,  tells us

 “Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.”

This verse captures beautifully God’s and Jesus’ holiness and intimacy  of their relationship as well as Jesus’ teaching about His Holy Father. Jesus also asks His Holy Father to protect His followers and help them to stay united just as He and the Father are. 

 We are called be holy, just as He is HOLY! Sanctified means to be made holy, purified, consecrated.  Joshua 3:5 “Then Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

God wants to do great wonders in our lives, but our part is to cooperate with God purifying ourselves by asking for forgiveness, walking in His love and obeying His Word.

Deut. 33:3, says:  “Indeed, He loves His people; all His holy ones are in his hands. They follow in His steps and accept his teaching.” How do we be holy in His sight? By following in His steps and accepting His teachings!We also walk by faith in Him and His grace for us.

 Joshua continued on with the subject of sanctification: in Johua 7:13: “There are devoted things among you, O Israel; you will be unable to stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” Ohhh! We want to stand strong and yet! There are things, hobbies, addictions, people, pleasures that we are MORE devoted to, then being HOLY and right before God. Do you have any “devoted things” today, He is asking you to give UP entirely over to Him?!

If we are of God and are to become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ  that they may have the full measure of my joy within Then, we need to learn to strengthen the walls and gates of our lives!  Nehemiah’s story of rebuilding the Wall Of Jerusalem in the Old Testament, is a story of persistent faith because he faced a lot of opposition! His is a story of new beginnings and like the disciple’s story in John 17,  it’s also a story of protection, perseverance and faith.

If we could look through our time lapsed telescope and go back to about 445 BC, we’d see Nehemiah singing: “Staying on the Wall, staying on the Wall!” Ahh, ahh, ahh, staying on the wall, staying on the wall!! And he did until it was successfully completed!  🙂

He saw what needed to be done in the land of Judah. It had been nearly 100 years since the exiles had returned to Judah after being held in captivity by the Babylonians. The Babylonians had devastated the wall and yet, no one saw fit to start the repairs. But, Nehemiah did! Nehemiah had great faith, commitment, and persistence and was laser focused. He prayed consistently and daily for God’s guidance, seeing the need for change! He also asked God for divine protection.  Then, he went to work!

Like Nehemiah, do you see a need for change in your life, in your heart!?

Neh.’s vision, led by God, did more than rebuild a wall. This book is also the story of the restoring of a people from ruin and despair to a new walk with God. Can we see this with the disciples? They had a new chapter in their lives to live, one without the physical Jesus. One where they had to rely on His teachings and His love through the Holy Spirit.

For persevering, rebuilding and repairing the broken pieces of our lives, many of us try to do it on our own and there is no recognition of God and moving in faith as a necessary part of the process!

What are you doing right now that requires faith? And, are you and I praying fervently, asking Jesus for help and protection in His name? I have a  F.A.I.T.H. acronym:

F-favored A- assurance I-In T-the H-Holy of Holies! So IF we have a FULL and “favored assurance in the Holy of holies” why wouldn’t we step out in faith, since He has already given the VICTORY to us? Because, if He is calling you to do something, change something, you will succeed in Jesus!  God calls us to “Be holy as I am holy.”
 Heb. 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Jesus had been faithful throughout His ministry and teachings to the disciples, and He will continue to do so with us! So, I started our teaching today, with the question, “In what ways would you like to glorify God more?” How is He calling you to be more holy? I encourage you to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to Him! Give back to Him what He has already given you, your gifts, talents, time and resources. And, in His precious love for YOU,

Jesus will help you in that one area that you just cannot seem to get past! Ask Him! He will help you, to create the desired change as you seek Him!

 

 

 

Flowers of Joy! (excerpt from my Flowers of Grace book)

Do you  wake up joyful, thankful for a good’s night rest, (because I sure am, when I sleep the entire night! Because…it seems to happen less and less at my age!) or do you wake up, dreading the day?  We know don’t we, it doesn’t take much to steal our joy away! Just turn on the news, right?! Or, a diagnosis from out of nowhere, you receive a call from your child’s principle, you or someone dear to you, receives a layoff notice. There are just a 1,000 different things that can happen daily, that can dampen our mood and take our good/positive God attitude down several notches!

I love to garden! My Spring time just been beautiful so far!  Isa. 5:7 says, “We are the garden of His delight!” I love that! Gardens are walked in, looked at, admired, spent time in, refreshing, aromatic, soothing and delightful. That is how God views you. He likes you and loves to be with you! If you are sad, then He will turn “your tears into shouts of joy, praise and thanksgiving.” (Ps. 42:3-4) Your heart will rejoice and praise Him as He is your Rock, your Strength, your Deliver and your Joy! 

Gardens have such an enticing fragrance to them. The flowers beckon us to come to the garden, to enjoy, rest and stay awhile. I think God created flowers to have such lovely fragrances on purpose, so we would pause and remember Him. Our minds are linked to the sense of smell, as it is the most powerful sense we have. Memories are stirred when we smell certain flowers. Let the flowers in your garden be a physical reminder for you of God’s lavish love, joy and extravagant promises.

So, how do we draw a line in the proverbial garden soil, and allow God the reigns of our lives, so we can go back to our default position of Joy in ALL circumstances?

 

I have to admit, I am not ALWAYS joyful! Imagine that! I tend to keep myself really busy, so I can have delayed grief when something goes wrong. Are you like this? We can “numb out” to the pain! I am a volunteer lay Counselor at a non-profit Christian counseling center. We tell our clients, “if you can name your feelings, then you can help tame them!” But, you need to verbalize them and get them outside of your head!

At the end of a really hard day recently, in my prayers, I had to surrender the circumstances up to God, realizing there was nothing I  really do but RELY ON HIM and the LOVE He has for me! I think it’s knowing and believing Jesus is still on His Throne, He is in control and I can go right back to Him, knowing He, through the Holy Spirit is in me. He’s my Center and I can stay grounded in Him! There is a huge tug-o-war going on to steal your joy! The enemy’s biggest tool is fear, doubt and discouragement! If he can lead you down this path, then he can render you ineffective as a believer, with a tarnished witness, that is joyless, and jaded. God can DO anything! Certainly, He can get you out of a bad mood, out of despair and into His precious light where healing can begin!

 

Do not agree with the doubt, discouragement or fear! It is not of the Lord! It comes from the enemy of your soul.

Heb. 1:9 Jesus was anointed with the “oil of joy!” Jesus is a joyous Savior and He shares His joy with us through the Miracle within, the Holy Spirit! As a result, we have a claim to the consistent experience of HIS undiluted joy and passion for us!

“ And the peace of God, which transcends(surpasses) all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7

God will delight you with His presence. Psalm 27:4

In Matthew 3:16-17, we see God and Jesus receive great joy in their relationship! These verses say: “  After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Isn’t this fantastic!? God let everyone know how much He loved His boy!

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 5:13) Joy and peace are friends! Isn’t it great, they walk side by side each other when we trust God?!

“Everywhere He leads us in triumphant processional, in the fragrance and knowledge of Him.” (2 Cor. 2:14) Breathe in His joy and smell the flowers blooming. This is a sign of God’s favor and love for you. This is His wellness in you. This is His blessedness to you!

Let your spirit of joy soar within you and outside of you, so you may touch others with Jesus’ magnificent and extravagant love. You are the best testament to our dying world of God’s grace and loving-kindness. Like the beautiful shades of pink, red, lavendar and peach roses in my garden, you will refresh and remind someone else of God’s lavish love because you have been filled and touched by Him. Image

Running Your First Half Marathon at 50+

This article was originally published by yours  truly  on http://www.Livingbetterat50.com

It was an early mid-June morning and I had just taught a Sculpting class for women aged 50 something+. The next class offered was spinning. I was about to jump on a spin bike, when I heard a whisper to my heart, “It’s so beautiful out. Why don’t you go for a run?” Hmmm, I thought. Why don’t I go for a run? The high school is so close. In the next five minutes, I found myself running around a beautiful track. I ran series of stairs, then the track again. At the end of the work out, I marveled I just ran three miles!

I felt so good, I ran again two days later around the track and surrounding trails. I looked online for some sort of training plan. The plans were endless but so was my enthusiasm! I wanted to inspire my daughters and son to always exercise and be fit, so we signed up to do a 5K run through Disneyland! The official training coach for Run Disney is Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian. I checked out his training plans and I was so impressed. He touts a run- walk-run program which anyone can do based on how fast (or slow!) you run a mile. For example, I run for 4 minutes and walk 30-60 seconds. This allows you to use different muscles and not over stress your running muscles. The alternate run-walk also allows you to have short goals to achieve while achieving more stamina and a lower heart rate. I also ordered his program for my Smart phone and listened to Jeff’s coaching three times a week during my runs. He gives tons of helpful tips and motivation. He even talks about right brain and left brain motivation and how tapping into our right brain (our creative side) helps us to creatively solve our challenges while we run. As a side note, I finished writing the last two chapters of my new book Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace and Hope in Your Fiery Trials in my head while I ran!

This summer, I started to realize through my training runs, I could actually participate in a half marathon while I was still 50! I ran two 5K runs and two 10 K runs in preparation for the BIG day. The day I trained and ran a half marathon was my greatest accomplishment! I knew I was going to make my goal in the half marathon race.

My best tips for you are: stay as consistent as you can in your training runs. Practice everything you will do, wear and eat before your races. If you have not tried it before a race, do not try it on race day! I wear a hydration belt with two 10 ounce water bottles. I use an electrolyte replacement and eat bars at miles 1,  4 and 8. I also drink water at the last water station. I also take as many people’s prayer requests I can in my head and pray for them as I run. If I start to get tired, I start to praise and worship God for making it possible for me to run. I thank Him for the other runners, for the beauty of the day and for the hundreds of volunteers making this run possible.  I thank Him for greater endurance and strength in Him and a lower body fat percentage because He encouraged me to run!

God speed to you! Enjoy yourself and be blessed as you run your first half marathon!

p.s. I have now ran two half marathons! My second half marathon was exactly 2 minutes and 2 seconds faster! Yayyy, God!

I have another half marathon scheduled March 9th! I’ll let you know how it goes! After recently spending 2 weeks in Africa

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100on a missions trip, I ran four or five times with jr. high kids. Boy, they sure run fast! I am hoping the higher elevation will work in my favor!