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!

 

 

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}

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

Riches in His Glory!

Did you know  your gifts of generosity to others are a sweet-smelling sacrifice going up to God?

At Christmas time, I think of all of my favorite aromas: cinnamon-clove spiced candles, baking cookies and fresh cut Christmas trees! What are your favorite fragrances of Imagethis blessed Season? Doesn’t the memory of these delicious smells make your heart smile?! My daughters and I have an annual BIG Baking Bash we do every mid December. It is 24 hours of glorious fun and yummy treats! We load the desserts in dozens of tins, bags and boxes to give away. I am reminiscing right now and anticipating our baking day. The time we spend together is so precious to me!

 You remember the Lord Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Have you experienced this? Have you witnessed the joy on someone’s face as they opened the gift you lovingly made them or carefully chose for them?

In Philippians 4, Paul said to the Philipi church, as you give to me there is a blessing you receive which is building up your kindness account. This builds up your own joy! Do you want to feel God’s pleasure in you?

Do you want to feel His favor and blessedness? This occurs as we serve and give generously, with our time, energy and passion. We can serve generously out of the heart attitude that says, I want to do and know what’s on your heart, God. I want your attitude and your purpose in my life.

Paul did not need a gift from the Philippians. Instead, Paul wanted them to be blessed in their giving, and that is why he so gladly receives their gifts from them.

Do I have PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE to Jesus?

Do I notice what He has done for me? Saved me from?

Our generosity flows out of a heart that is grateful to Jesus for all He has done for us and will continue to do for us!

I have praying lately as the Season has begun to ramp up.  God, help me to have your heart attitude and remember what my purpose is!  Think about what is God’s heart attitude. (1 John 4:16) He is LOVE and He first loved us. What is your purpose here on this earth? I believe it is to be in a loving and close relationship with Jesus and to share His love with others, to witness, be salt and light to our dying world. And, to bring others the Good News and encourage them to accept Jesus Christ! Once you clearly understand this, it frees up your heart!  In the hard situations in your life, you can go right back to these truths and have JOY in His loving purposes for YOU!

  Phil. 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Can you say in this moment and this season, I have all that I need?”  This verse means He is able to give us much better than we ask because we just cannot out give our generous God! 

This also means when God gives according to his riches in glory He will often give an answer quite different and even unexpected from what we have asked! God gives us “huperlian”: (Greek) which means beyond measure and exceedingly.

I cannot tell you how many times God has done something bigger, better than I could have imagined or asked for in planning one of our Women’s events! Over and over again! He is such a gracious and generous GOD!! 

Because it is not according to what we have asked, but according to His riches in glory.

As Christmas time draws near and throughout the year, we can thank  Jesus for being the Perfect gift that always fits the size of our heart! He is the anointed One that came to set us free, emotionally and spiritually. He is Our Prince of Peace and Everlasting God. He does supply all of our needs out of His glorious riches! This is a fact that we can count on, according to His perfect will in each of our lives!

You might be thinking, will He give me all the riches or money I think I might want? Not necessarily, unless He deems it necessary to carry out His perfect will in your life!

He is acting on our behalf, loving us, saving us, redeeming us. I could not ask for a better gift!

Have a blessed Jesus filled Christmas!

p.s. My book, “Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace and Hope in Your Fiery Trials” is available now in paperback, just in time for Christmas gifts! http://www.amazon.com or email me for a signed copy:  holly@heartforthecross.com

 

“For-gift-ness: The Gift Everyone Needs Year Round!

“For-gift-ness: The Gift Everyone Needs Year Round!

(Published initially on http://www.Livingbetterat50.com  Nov. 2012)

by Holly LaChappell

The Holidays are almost upon us. What are your family dynamics? Emotions can run high and getting together with extended and immediate family can create stress, dreg up a lot of emotions and hard memories of holidays past.

What if we started our gift giving early? What if you gave the generous gift of “for-gift-ness” (forgiveness) before you got together for the festivities? Could there be a change in your attitude and also possibly in the attitude for who you are praying and forgiving? I believe so! Think about what has bothered you about a certain person’s behavior, their words and their facial expressions. Pray, asking God to help you forgive them. Pray, Lord help me to let go of the past hurts and embrace your love and acceptance for me and the person I am trying to forgive.

Some forgiveness tips: remember no one has lived a perfect childhood or life. Things have happened in our past to shape us into the person we are today. Many of us are responding out of a five year old’s body and mind, because when something traumatic happened to us, our bodies stored the memory. Your five year old self formed a defense mechanism (or survival mechanism) around the hurtful or traumatic experience.  When your Aunt gives you a disapproving look, remember you are not five years old anymore! Your adult self can shrug it off and say, “Really? What’s the matter here?” and they will probably back down and say, “Nothing”.  Or you can just choose to ignore the look that was probably not intended for you anyway! So much of how people respond is about them and how they are internalizing something. It’s not about you!

Tips for a more pleasurable Holiday experience: Pray, asking God for His outcome in the event. Try building rapport (again) with family members ahead of time by giving them a phone call or mailing them a postcard. Let them know the details of the day, mentioning a family walk, a game or they’ll have an opportunity during dinner to say what they are thankful for. I also have activities for the younger children such as coloring, simple crafts, books and games. Let them know you are looking forward to celebrating the Holidays with them.

Do let your family members have a say about what the menu will be and what they can bring to contribute to the meal. Everyone needs to feel a sense of control and a sense of security and belonging. Letting everyone know your expectations helps to minimize unfortunate surprises. Ask if they are bringing anyone else with them to dinner. Let your family members know what time they can come to help set up and what time dinner is served. I suggest keeping the dinner time as close as possible. If alcohol has been a past problem, I suggest opting for non-alcoholic drinks to help reduce quarreling and potential violence.

As the Hostess, you help set the tone of the Holiday. If you are uptight and anxious, you will put everyone else on edge. Remember the reason you are gathering together in the first place: to celebrate God’s provision and His 10,000+ blessings! At Christmas, we celebrate the most important gift we have ever received: Jesus! His love and forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving! Knowing He is with us gives us peace and contentment. We are anchored in His love no matter how our families act! Ps. 16:11 “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence.”  Let the “for-gift-ness” begin!  Merry Christmas!

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.