Victorious Action: Have a Happy Face!

 

“A warm, smiling face reveals a joy-filled heart, but heartache crushes the spirit and darkens the appearance”Best_Friends_Holding_Hands (Prov. 15:13 VOICE).

Let’s Talk: Have you ever noticed how someone’s smiling face is lit up with light and joy? Do you wonder if they have always been this way? I bet if you asked them, they can tell you about some pretty horrible things that have happened in their lives. But you secretly wonder, you are smiling still. They might not be able to describe what has happened to them, but I can. It’s called grace and transformation. Jesus upholds us with His righteous right arm. He gives us free grace; unearned and undeserved. He transforms the bruised and hurt parts of our hearts and gives us a new heart when we open ourselves up to Him.

Let’s Glorify: Lord, please make me new! I give you my heartaches, my challenges and the things that are causing me discouragement today. Brighten my heart Lord and give me your precious joy as I live and move in you. I desire a close and intimate relationship with you Jesus, the Lover of my soul. Let my face reveal the joy I feel in your home; my heart. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Let’s Go! Remember a time you felt great joy as a child and now as an adult. Why did you have such great joy? Describe in detail with your mom, daughter or friend.

{excerpt from Holly’s new book, Victorious Mom, Victorious Daughter due out anytime!}

 

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}

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!

 

 

 

Jesus came to set you free from the Law! Gal. 5:1 “So Christ has truly set us free.”

   old camera Gal. 5:1 “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up (or harnessed) again in slavery to the law.” (rules, regulations)

   Jesus’ righteousness imparted in YOU means:

    1.         You do not have to isolate and hide in your pain, shame or guilt.

    2.        You are righteous by faith, so take a step of faith and approach Him when you feel shame. You do not have to earn your righteousness by keeping the laws.

    3.       Learn to call on Jesus first in your troubles, addictions and pride!  He will personally and divinely deliver His love to you!

4.         He is the God of heart healing transformation! He has a new photograph to show you of YOU!

5. Let Jesus bury your old life and thought habits. Receive His righteousness as an act of faith!

Romans 6:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.”

What’s your most prized accomplishment? Many will say the day that got married, had children, got a promotion at work.  Invite Jesus into your happy place too! Thank Him for making ALL things possible! Thank Him for what He is doing in your life! Thank Jesus for taking on our sins so we can live without shame, blame or condemnation! We are so blessed!

What about those not-so-great-days? Invite Him into those days, where you isolate, hide and feel shame or guilt. A lot of your shame was never meant to be taken on. For most of us, research has shown, shame was taken on from your family of origin.

In addictive personalities, because people cannot or are not facing their addictions, someone has to take on the feelings, the mantle of shame. It is usually the innocent children, who because they do not understand what is fully happening, will take on the shame. Then, we try really hard to follow a set of rules, trying to be better and make ourselves clean. This is just not possible. We try being religious and somehow still feel hollow and empty. What is missing? We need real Love and a Real Savior to cleanse us and release us from our past.

Were your growing up years marked by: alcoholism, workaholism, pornography, eating addictions, gambling, sexual abuse, verbal, physical abuse  and rage? If so, you have to get real and clear about what your identity is based upon. If you base your self-worth on your past and the lies of shame and guilt, one would never become what God is asking and moving you  to do.  Because it means if our identity is based on untruth then we will make decisions that are out of line with God’s best for us. Often it’s what we believe about who we are, we are! That is why it is so IMPORTANT to believe Christ: what He’s done for us in love, and that He does indeed make us free and righteous! In our fiery trials, Jesus covers us in His fire suppressant gel called grace.

Did you see that fun, old camera? Smile and see Him!  God is smiling at you right now, too because He knows how your photograph, your life will be developed in Him! He is the One that is transforming you into His image as He imparts His righteousness in you! We can stand at   of a new day together TODAY and say, “This is who God says I am. And because of that, I will be different today, because I am free indeed!”

The Alabaster Jar

The Alabaster Jar.

While Jesus was in Bethany, a woman came to Him  with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as He was reclining at the table. The disciples were angry. “Why did you waste this perfume on his head?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold for a very high price and the money given to the poor.” (Matthew 26:6-9) Jesus knew their thoughts and where their thoughts came from. He asked them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a
 beautiful thing to me.”
This woman did not hold back what was hers to give away and neither does Jesus to us. What is your Alabaster jar of costly perfume? What do you love and what is more precious to you possibly even more than Christ Himself?
Is it your husband, your children, your career, your education, your status, your pets, your hobbies or worldly possessions? Nothing compares to the great love of Jesus! He is the Lover of your soul and the lifter of your head. He is your Redeemer, your Deliver and Healer.
 He is your Shield, your Strength and your Rock. He is your EVERYTHING!
The woman in this passage showed an extravagant love to her Lord. In Jesus’ day, this perfume or nard was most likely a costly heirloom, passed from generation to generation. It was a precious commodity to this woman. Nard was sealed in a  one time use, marble like container.  The vessel had to be sealed well, so the perfume would not evaporate. You had to break the neck of the container to pour out the contents. Once the vessel was opened, there was no turning back. It had to be used up all at once or be wasted.
We are so blessed that Jesus’ love does not evaporate when we mess up our lives! Quite the contrary, really. He is just waiting to flood us with His loving presence and forgiveness. He woos us back to Him with an everlasting love. We just simply have to ask His forgiveness and turn away
from our sins.
This woman gave all she had to Jesus. She knew once she opened up the perfume, it would all be gone. None of that mattered to her. What mattered to the woman, was anointing Jesus and being obedient to what she was called to do. She was not seeking to take from Him as many believers do today.
Am I giving all that I am to the One that is All?  Am I serving others or or just seeking to be served?
 Am I giving out of a heart filled with love or a heart desiring to receive all that I can get? Am I surrendering, submitting and
giving my ALL to the One who gave His ALL?
As a result of this woman’s faithfulness, love and kindness,
Jesus states: “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
(Matthew 26:13)  We’d all agree, “Well done my faithful servant!” is the blessing she would receive.
Lord, help me to give of myself to those around me. Help me love others deeply and use the gifts you have blessed me with,  faithfully administering God’s grace and love.  (1 Peter 4:8)
(excerpt from Holly’s book, “Flowers of Grace: Discovering
God’s Lavish Love and Extravagant Promises”)