Transforming Hope!

pink tulips

Awww… lovely spring is upon us! I love the warmer weather and the new hope of growth. I love seeing new, lush grass, fruit trees in full bloom, tulips and daffodils swaying in the gentle breeze. Are you thinking about spring cleaning your garage, drawers and closets yet? I know I sure am! What about spring cleaning your mind? Is it possible that the God of all possibilities has a new work to do in you? In this new season, the hope of growth is all around you and me.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom.12:2 (NIV)

How do you allow God to transform, renew and spring clean your mind? First of all, you place your life before God as an offering. Next, it’s time to surrender and submit with an all-in kind of attitude. Then, embrace and be grateful for what God does for you. Keep looking up to Him and His perfect love, not looking to the world for approval. Jesus, through His loving-kindnesses, mercy, grace and strength starts to change you from the inside out.

You will start to notice you pray more before making decisions. You ask for forgiveness a little quicker than usual. You start seeking His best instead of your good. Mature, well-formed growth begins and you start to notice you really do not want to miss out on your quiet time and the sweetness of abiding in Jesus’ presence. As your mind begins to transform, Jesus cuts away the extraneous from your life that hinders the luscious fruit from growing. As you continue to walk in the Spirit, He will help you through the resurrection power living inside of you and help you to be finished with habits, hang ups and addictions. You are cooperating with Him as He changes you inside with a new way of thinking.

Gal. 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” True transformation is possible in Jesus Christ alone as you offer your life to Him in complete surrender; embrace what He is doing, seeking His approval alone, asking to be cleansed of your wrongdoings and seeking His best while you meditate on His holy Word. Sounds like a lot to do…but it is God who will create the transformation as you walk in the Spirit daily and focus your hope on Him.

He is your Eternal HOPE! You can have H.O.P.E. (holy, optimism, with a positive expectancy!) in Jesus and what He will do in you during the new transforming spring season!

 

 

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

My 2nd book “Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace and Hope in Your Fiery Trials” is ready on www.Amazon.com Kindle!

                I am excited to announce my 2nd Book, “Reigning Fire” is published and ready to download on Kindle!

         {FYI… you can download a Kindle book to your desktop, your Smart phone, or Ipad and of course your Kindle device! You

will just need to download the Kindle app or whatever app you want to read your book in!}

I expect it to be ready in paperback mid November! (just right around the corner!)  Thank you for purchasing!

A portion of the proceeds will benefit A New Day, a non-profit, free counseling center in my hometown.

     http://www.anew-day.com              I am blessed to serve as a Lay Counselor there!

I started this book four years ago! I sure thought I would finish it as quickly as my first book, “Flowers of Grace” but

God had some new adventures in learning and teaching for me to go through first! His timing is always perfect and He is

with us as we go through the fiery trials 100% of the time!

Here’s an excerpt: (copyrighted)

Can God, even in our sufferings, bring something good out of devastation? Yes. God is pure and good, all the time. As we participate with Him, moving in faith and trust (even when we do not know how something horrible is going to turn out), He will bring something good to fruition. It probably will not be what you are expecting, but who are we to decide what our sovereign and glorious God can and will do? His ways are so much higher than ours!

Zechariah 4:6b tells us how to live and move in the Spirit: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” We are to move, act, and decide by His Spirit, not by our own strength or accord. I certainly can tell when I am moving in my own strength or accord! I am confused, and I need His emotional guidance, definitely not the world’s advice. As my emotional counselor, the Holy Spirit helps me to recognize my negative thoughts. He helps me to see and clarifies my thinking when I am acting out and allowing negative thoughts to direct me. He helps me and clears up my erroneous perspective. When I ask for help and guidance, He moves me into healthy thinking and healthy living. I just need to remember to ASK for help! I need to go in His strength each day, not my own. How about you? Do you sometimes forget to ask God for His strength, His guidance, and His presence to go with you? I know I do.

Powerful emotions and feelings of overload, confusion, fear, anger, jealousy, frustration, disappointment, inadequacy, guilt, unforgiveness, and being lost in our sins and loneliness leave us in a place of trying to do it on our own. We habitually make decisions in our own strength and intuition. These emotions are the strongest indicators that we need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and truth in our circumstances. How many times have you heard of a huge fire, burning out of control, and yet, the homeowners will not leave their homes? The authorities have ordered them to “LEAVE NOW. We cannot protect you or your home. The fire is too intense and moving too quickly.” So many of us choose to remain where we are, take our chances and fight. Is this obedience or defiance? Stubbornness? Pride? The enemy of your soul wants you to stay in this stuck mode. Recognize your state and ask God for direction. Pray for forgiveness for trying to move in your own strength instead of relying on Him. Accept His forgiveness. He will set you free, and your spirit will be lifted out of despair.

 

Holy Smokes! (an excerpt from my Book “Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace & Hope in Your Fiery Trials”

In the Israelites’ exile from Egypt into the wilderness, God showed Himself to Moses in the burning bush on Mt. Horeb. “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up’” (Exod. 3:2, 3 nasb). I’m sure Moses must have mused to himself, “This is so weird, even absurd. What does it mean?” God sometimes shows us oddities to get our attention. What is God doing in our lives that we must turn aside to see? Does it take a dramatic fire to get your attention? A burning bush had never appeared to Moses before. This was a truly unexpected event, in which God was communicating directly with Moses. Moses stopped what he was doing and took a step toward God. God sometimes uses unexpected events, people, and experiences to guide us to do His will. Primarily though, He uses His Word, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit’s direction to lead us into the fullness He has for us.

Just as God called Moses by name, He will call your name and speak gently to you, in the quietness of your heart and spirit, and help you discern His will for you. We must be intentional, though, once we’ve prayed to be mindful of what He is doing and where He is working and leading in our lives. Once God shows you what He is up to, you will have to make a decision. Will you join Him in His work? Will you immediately obey? Will you surrender to His perfect love? God knew us before we were born. He knows you now, today. He knows your future path. We can rest in His absolute, perfect love for us. Once you have this fact firmly planted in your heart, you will trust Him and even get excited that He has a plan that includes you! God wants to partner with you in life and ministry! God is looking for obedient followers who love to do His will and serve others.

The hardest part for me is to relax once I have surrendered. I have to remember that if it is indeed God’s plan for me, then He is going to make it (the event, the activity, the work, or the ministry) happen. He will make a way, make the timing work, and create the relationships all in His perfect timetable. I do not have to perform. I have to pray, show up, and be prepared. I have to relax in the Holy Spirit, knowing He will make my paths straight, as I trust Him with all of my heart. He will do the same for you, too!

Have a great day, surrendered and relaxed in His joyous love!

I am now taking  Christmas pre-orders for my book “Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace and Hope in Your Fiery Trials” (My book is due out in early December 2012 and on Kindle very soon!)

go on over to: http://www.HeartForTheCross.com to place a book order. Orders placed by October 30, 2012 receive the “12 Good Purposes Of Going Through Your Pain” email. It’s helpful and hopeful information and oh so relevant for today’s struggles! God bless you!Image

It’s All About the Cross

It’s All About The Cross
Jesus’ life. It’s all about the Cross. Our walk is to be all about Him, wrapped up in what the Cross truly means. The Cross is dying to self, looking to do God’s will, not my own.

The Cross and Jesus’ sacrifice of pouring out His life gives me freedom from eternal death, freedom from living in shame, sin and contempt.

The Cross and Jesus’ life is the true picture of grace, mercy and LOVE. The Cross shows me my real self
and encourages me to live a better way–His way! The Cross gives us:

Peace-He reconciled us to God through the Cross, giving us peace. (Eph. 2:15)

Strength and Victory-His Resurrection power gives us strength and victory because of the Cross. (There is) “His incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand.” (Eph. 2:19-20)

Hope-“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you…” (Eph. 2:18)

Love-“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (and sisters!) 1 John 3:16

Grace-“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Even when we are insulted, persecuted, go through the challenges of this life, feel tired, sick or lonely, His grace and love are more than enough!

Eternal life-“For God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believed in Him should never perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
The Cross demands my all. Am I willing to give it my all? Yes, today in this moment, yes. Ask me later today…and I hope and pray my answer is still yes!

Thank you, Jesus for your life, your love and the Cross!

 

 

www.HeartForTheCross.com

If you give a mouse a cookie…

“If you give a mouse a cookie…the children’s story begins on a rather positive note.
Suddenly, the mouse also wants a cup of milk then a book read to him and so on and on! When I taught Kindergarten, this was an annual Fall read. We would watercolor chocolate chip cookies and then make and finally eat our warm, gooey treats. The kids loved this story. The repetitive nature of the prose helped them memorize the story. Memorization along with rhyming are the keys to learning to read.

This mouse’s desires are never ending. Reminds me of the task of staining our decks, which we are doing right now. My husband and I thought one day process, no problem. Noooo! First of all, he realizes he MUST power wash the deck I am taping off with pretty sky blue painters tape. He sprays most of the tape (accidentally, I’m sure) and it rolls off the side of the stairs. It’s a blazing hot day, so my plastic gloved hands are dripping with sweat and Russet acrylic stain. Thank goodness, it’s a water based stain. How many slats and railings do we have? It is amazing I haven’t noticed the 500 plus railings before! Well, (oh darn!) I’ve run out of paint. I have all the railings inside and out stained. Looking pretty nice, if I do say so myself. I’ll get more paint tomorrow after I teach at the gym and get the biggest latte I can find. I’m going to need it to finish this “one day project.”
2nd day: The hardware store has ran out of stain base. It’s on SALE, after all! (Woo-hoo! I get a break from the blistering heat!) “It will be in tomorrow,” the hardware man tells me. Too bad. I’m getting out of town to ride my bike somewhere cooler. The decks will wait for me, I’m sure.
3rd day: Darn. They have the stain base in so I buy another gallon, more sponge brushes and rubber gloves so I can sweat some more. Hey! I finished the floors of two decks. Looking nice. Pretty blue tape everywhere.
Still 3rd day. Onto the small office deck since I have some stain left. My husband frantically tries to tape off the stairs before I leave little polk a dots of Russet stain everywhere. He is on the front porch blasting it with the water compression thingy. He’s off to the hardware store, again. He needs deck cleaner and some new brushes. Hubby comes back with all the above, plus a new American flag and headlight cleaner for my car. Boy, these decks are getting expensive!
Now, I’m out of stain. Quick, back to the hardware store for more stain and two pieces of redwood board to fix the super warped stairs. Oh, by the way: power outage at the hardware store. Just a slight “delay.”
On the front deck, the deck cleaner has worked amazingly well. Pick out new oil based Sequoia stain. Going to be beautiful. Must buy new oil based brushes, cannot use the water based brushes. What?!
4th day: We are finishing today, come heck or high water! I’m going on a run first and looking for the largest iced coffee I can find. Maybe I’ll add a shot or two of espresso. I’m going to need it. FYI…Training for a 1/2 Marathon is easier than staining your decks.
Well, we are all finished now. Whew! A one day project turned into four days, a couple hundred doll hairs and seriously seven trips to the hardware store. Our decks look beautiful. The really good thing is I have had a lot of time to reflect and be grateful.
Grateful for decks to sit and reflect on God‘s beauty in nature. Our Sierra mountain view is amazing! The hummingbirds that hurriedly come to our decks for nourishment are a stunning iridescent green and glittery ruby red. Our two dogs come and lay at our feet as we drink our morning coffee. Our kitty sits on my lap, just for a moment.  A neighbor whistles nearby. I rest and reflect on God’s love and presence on these decks. They look great. The time (and sweat) were well worth it. Now, I have peace and joy. I muse, I’m like this mouse with the cookie. If I start with one project, I might as well complete the rest of the projects while we’re at it. And so, I persevere, rather hilariously at times.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5 NIV