Blessed Roaches

We know God made all creatures, right? So why not love and bless the roaches?
If I had been brave perhaps I’d have a picture of my blessed roaches here. But, I was too preoccupied doing the “hop around and run from the roaches” dance to snap any photos. Somehow I believe you might be familiar with the same dance steps. Just hang on and go there with me.
These blessed roaches were 30+ strong in number in various sizes ranging from babies to adults; plus they came in a nice variety of black and brown shades…WITH WINGS!!
Are you dancing yet? They are better known as tree/wood roaches. They live and breed in wooded areas and love trees. They thrive in decaying wood.

They are attracted to the light, but they hide in darkness.

So my prayer box was the perfect safe harbor for them to take up residence. Not only was it attached to a tree, but also dark and filled with prayer requests and praises on lots of paper. Some papers even had the sticky note adhesive – must have been like the icing on the cake for a roach!

In the prayer box they were comfortable. Here they were protected. Safe. Sheltered. Secure. And although it may be a stretch, I’d like to believe they were also blessed. I mean it is a prayer box! Blessed roaches? (Sounds like an oxymoron to me!)

But sometimes God may ask us to step out of our comfort zone into the light because He has a different plan for us

While opening the lid, the sound of rustling paper had me quickly hustling with backward steps. What’s hiding in there? A snake? A bird nest? Knocking the prayer box off the tree with my walking stick prompted a frenzy of scattering flying roaches. As they kept trying to escape I kept “dancing” while poking and pounding with my walking stick. Harmless? Yes. Frightened? Yes.

The lesson from the blessed roaches? There are people who carry heavy burdens and hide in darkness. Harmless? Yes. Frightened? Maybe. Some may fly away and scatter when exposed, much like the roaches. Some may try to keep hiding in the dark in avoidance, hoping not to be noticed.  We, as Christ followers, should reflect the Light that attracts them, and draw them out of darkness to the ONE True Light. We can’t share our light if we run from the darkness.

We are commanded to love others; and we don’t get to pick and choose who we love. We simply obey and love like He asks us to.

We don’t get to choose the “beautiful butterflies” over the “roaches”.  

Remember – Jesus came to know:
-An adulterous woman
-An insane hermit
-A poor widow
-Government officials
-Fishermen
-An enemy who hated him
-A despised tax collector
-A crippled beggar
And the list goes on…TODAY.

Some of them reached out to him; and He reached out to them all. Jesus still reaches out today, and it surely doesn’t sound like He always chooses beautiful butterflies to me.
The greatest FOUR LETTER WORD in the Bible?
LOVE

JUST LOVE!
Love your brothers and sisters. 1 John 4:21
Love your enemy. Matthew 5:44
Love your neighbor. Galatians 5:14
Love one another. 1 John 4:7-8

Share His love and scatter His hope in the darkness!

 

 

 

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Let it Go

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

I fully intended to carry my burdens and the requests of loved ones to the cross to lay the burdens down. It was the third day of the Three Day Journey to the Cross. Our three word focus for this day: Let it Go. 
I had many rocks with prayers of hope and praises to plant in the rock garden.  These rocks came in various shapes and sizes. But I intentionally chose larger, heavier rocks to carry; therefore I could feel the burn in the load that I carried and rejoice in the release as I let them go to the Lord at the foot of the cross.

There was a nicely paved path to drive up the steep incline of the mountain to reach The Empty Cross. Yet, my plan was to hike from the bottom to the top carrying the load alone.

On the other hand, that wasn’t God’s plan. 

The entire experience humbled me and taught me a valuable lesson about how our plan isn’t always God’s plan. It was His lesson about letting go and releasing control.
There we sat, four friends and me, at the bottom of the mountain beside the awe-inspiring statue of Mary where we shared our Let it Go devotional.  I turned to the four friends and reminded them that I intended to walk from the bottom to the top but didn’t want to force my plan upon them, so they could drive if they chose to. Immediately all four friends said they would walk with me. Jokingly they said, “Will you carry our rocks also?” “Of course,” I replied, “Bring it on.” One friend then offered her sturdy backpack to replace my flimsy sack of rocks. We started dumping all of our rocks (burdens) into that backpack. The load became heavier and heavier.  I really wanted to carry that backpack. And then a God thing happened.
One friend said let me start and carry it part of the way for you. I literally almost grabbed it away and said no. I wanted that burden back in my hands.

Then, all four friends wanted to help. Each wanted to shoulder the load and carry it up the mountain path. But my plan. It’s MY plan. I want to carry the load! Wait y’all. It’s MY burden to carry. Yet, four friends carried the load. Four friends helped each other and me.  God brought to mind a familiar account in the Bible about four friends who helped carry “a load” and dropped it right down on Jesus. (Reference Mark 2:1-12)

Each friend carried the load for a portion of the path. I stopped in my tracks and heard God tell me to let them carry that load. He spoke about releasing my plans into His hands. I slipped behind my precious friends, with joyful tears sneaking down my cheeks watching each one help shoulder the load.

Each friend supported and encouraged one another, helping lay the load onto the next friend’s back.

I was eagerly awaiting MY turn. We couldn’t see the summit until we rounded the last bend. It was then I realized we were there.

Four friends carried that load all the way.

The Lord had taken MY plan, and put His Mighty fingerprints all over it.

At that moment I knew I wouldn’t carry the burden at all; for I wasn’t meant to carry it. HE was.  He IS. HE ALWAYS WILL BE. He had it all along! 
There we stood at the summit – the foot of the cross. That seed of stubborn determination prevailed. I just wanted my moment with those heavy rocks. So my friends helped load them on my back and I took one small flight of steps, so I too could feel the weight. Oddly, it felt weightless. More like “GODly”… it felt weightless. Ok, so maybe I could walk back down the mountain a bit and come up again. “Wait!” God spoke, “Do you hear me, my stubborn child? Don’t miss my lesson. Allow others to help, trust my plan and let your plan go. YOU cannot control everything, nor try carrying it all alone. Let it Go.  I’ve got this.”
Was it weightless? Yes indeed–the weight of the burden was gone,

Shouldered by friends

Carried by HIM

“Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Humble yourself before His plan- He can take the load.  Learn to Let it Go. 

 

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Tears came quickly and briefly. I knew God was speaking to me when I heard the Pentatonix singing their version of Hallelujah. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LRP8d7hhpoQ

Thankful tears slipped down my cheeks. God spoke as the background sound of wind chimes gently rang in the blowing winds.

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I could hear God saying, “Listen for the beauty. You don’t have to see the beauty to feel it. Just listen for it. Tune in. Pay attention.”
I knew why the faint background noise was so powerful. He was clearly telling me to listen, and to listen for more.
That’s when the power of the sound displayed His glorious message. The muffled sound of wind chimes was ringing clearly behind the sound of my dad’s voice. I still get to talk to my 87 year old dad. I still get to hear his voice loud and clear. He sounds well and seems to be healing after his surgery. He speaks of the snow falling in Dallas. He tells of his kitty’s persistent personality and how happy she is to have him back home. The sound of my dad’s voice. Loud and clear. God said that’s the joyful tear that slipped down your cheek. So keep listening.
Moments later more tears snuck from the corner of my eyes. The background sound of Hallelujah being sung was a beautiful sound too; yet the beauty of the sound was in my mother’s voice. I still get to talk to my mother. I still get to hear her sweet voice loud and clear. My 86 year old mother. My mother who was perusing Facebook on the computer to “catch up with everyone” while she was listening to the Pentatonix sing Hallelujah. Whoa…hallelujah, indeed! Though the faint background song is moving and powerful in and of itself, the true beauty of my tears was in hearing my mother’s voice above the music. The blessing was in the conversation.
A casual conversation on a blustery cold night with both of my parents, still lucid and wise. That was the beauty of the sound that slipped down my cheeks. That’s how God speaks.
So tune in for the true beauty of the messages God sends your way. He always speaks. We simply have to listen. Tune in. Pay attention. What are you listening for?

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.” Mark 4:24

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In His Eye

What lies in the eye of a storm? In the center of the churning high powered winds and blasting rains of a hurricane lies a place of peace and calm.
-THE EYE OF THE STORM-
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How do we learn to stay in the eye and experience peace when surrounding circumstances may seem hopeless?
Only God can be our eye through life’s storms. Only God can bring the peace we long for.
If we would trade the wasted effort spent in worry for time “better-spent” in honest prayer, oh how our storms would diminish. Imagine our category 5 hurricane being no more than a passing shower! It’s possible when our eyes stay fixed on God’s power and we surrender to His plan. Matthew 19:26 reminds us that with God, ANYTHING is possible. We should take him at his Word. Literally.
Psalm 107:28-30 reads
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then he guided them to the harbor they longed for.”

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So, let us find rest knowing the storm lies in His hands, and no matter the size of your boat or the severity of the storm, you, too, can land safely in His harbor.

             JESUS CALMS THE STORM

Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.img_1547

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Three Days


Three days. Just give me three days. Three days to seek me. Three days to find me. Three days to hear me. Three days to feel my presence. Three days that I will bless. Three days of my plan to meet you in amazingly powerful ways. In obedience to My call, I will be there and you will be blessed, enriched and covered by the Spirit. My Word will fill your lips. My Spirit will guide your steps. My love will fill your heart. I will surprise you and you will delight in Me. Don’t miss me; for you will be changed. When you study My Word  you will discover “three day” experiences.
Exodus 8:27 “We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands”

Remember when you felt washed clean by the refreshing crystal clear water in the stream? That was me. image image

Remember the laughter of fellowship and the natural beauty along the rocky trail? I guided those steps.
Remember sharing your prayers and shedding tears with friends on the hillside? I sat beside you.
Remember finding the unburied exposed Prayer Box? I was expecting you. image
Remember the Prayer Box stuffed with hope? I know each and every prayer.
Remember studying my Word and sharing your heart? I was there at your round table.
Remember the beauty of The Empty Cross? That was me.image Remember the mighty sound of the shofar calling you to worship and prayer? That was my perfect timing.


Empty Cross
Remember the humbling gaze upon the statue of Jesus washing Peter’s feet? That was me. imageRemember the power felt throughout the prayer garden? I met you there. Remember the thousands of rocks with hopeful prayers and praises lining the path? I know each one by name.image

Remember the comfortable breezes? That was me.

Hosea 6:2 “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.”
Remember the daunting view of Prayer Mountain’s hilltop steps? I was there.image
imageRemember conquering your way to the top of that mountain? My strength lifted you.image
Remember pausing to share special Scripture near to your heart? Those were My Words for you.
Deuteronomy 11:18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.”image

Remember my presence in the rays of “SON”light behind clouds? That was me. image


Remember the purple vision at the summit of Prayer Mountain? That was My presence.image

Exodus 19:11 “…and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”

Remember finding that “surprise” memorial garden? Yes, I planned that too. There are no surprises with Me; because the whole world rests in My hands. image

Psalm 95:4 “He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.”

There is no doubting My presence.

So just give me three days. Three days.
Then, keep moving forward, boldly renewed and filled with My hope. Share the GOoD news.
Don’t forget me and what I have done for you in those three days. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; and humbly proclaim-
What   I    STILL    DO…

with   three    days.  – Love, God


“He was buried and he was raised from the dead on the third day just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Corinthians 15:4

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Chain Breaker

In God, you can find protection and peace even when the world around you seems to be crumbling. Our God is the glue that holds all the tiny pieces of life’s journey together. image
Even when things seem to be crumbling and crashing around you, He is there. He is there in the every day and the mundane. He is forever faithful when we trust Him with our BIG and small things. image

 

I walked back to the crash site early this morning. Key word: “walked” 🙏🏼- all the while praising His mighty protection. I carried home the last bits and pieces of my car parts as praise reminders. I’m left with broken pieces. But I’ve walked away restored. Walking the sidewalk path carrying a large piece of black, bent, twisted metal,
I keep hearing the song that was playing on KSBJ when the vehicle came out of nowhere; the praise song that reverberated with the sound of crushing metal; the song that continued to play in the minutes following the crash as I caught my breath and gave thanks I was alive. I’ll never forget the mix of those two contradictory sounds in those few seconds. This had me thinking that perhaps there are places in your life where the frightening sound of crushing metal drowns out a song of praise. Just lift those places to Him. In Jeremiah 17:14 His word says, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed. Save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.”
Have faith that God knows all of our “accidents” and He is the only claim adjuster you’ll ever need.image

So, the voice of Zach Williams singing Chain Breaker will forever be a praise song close to my heart.
He’s a pain taker. He’s a way maker. He’s a prison shaking savior. He’s a chain breaker.
Will you take a minute and listen with me today?
Let’s praise God for breaking the chains and restoring all of our crumbling pieces.


 

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Washed by the Water

Sometimes you have to walk a dirty path before you get clean.
Often the mud is so thick the path can’t be seen.

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Flooding rains can come suddenly and muddy the way,
Yet there’s hope in The Living Water to wash it all away.

He gives strength for your journey as you pray for the rain;
You trudge through the dirty path and you conquer the pain.

When you learn to surrender and let God take the lead,
His rain falls to cleanse you; HE IS ALL that you’ll need.

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Jesus is the bridge between God and man.

Guiding you safely over troubled waters, is part of His plan.

You trust in God’s timing and you know without doubt,
He will clean up the path and he’ll come you lead you out.


“The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” Psalm 145:18-19

 

 

 

 

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Dirty Little Places

Spring break cleaning always makes me feel good. “Whaaaat?” Some may ask, “You get a week off and you enjoy spending time at home cleaning! Seriously?” Yes, seriously. And today God spoke to me in the dirtiest hidden places.

I dove into the cracks and crevices. Stringy cobwebs came down. The corners and baseboards behind doors were revealed. You know what I’m talking about? There’s those dirty little hidden corners that seldom get the attention they need.
While wiping dirt and bugs from a windowsill I felt God speaking about His amazing grace.
imageSo many of us walk in shame and drown in guilt because of those dirty hidden places in our own lives. I’m one of those people. What about you? I think that’s why it feels so good to clean out the dirt. Because God’s promises assure us that He steps in and cleans up all the dusty hidden corners in our lives.
What a good feeling it is to feel “clean”. Sins washed away. Praise Him for the amazing sacrifice God gave us through His Son, Jesus Christ, that says Grace steps in and washes all the dirt away.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

I’m humbled to find God in the trenches of my dirtiest places. I’m thankful for the dirty, dusty windows that once obscured my vision, for today I clearly see “The Light” because of Him.
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Got dirty windows? Maybe some cobwebs in a corner? Or perhaps you have a door or closet that stays closed so you don’t have to step into the mess it’s hiding? Just lean on God’s promises and remember this: OUR GOD IS IN THE CLEANING BUSINESS. There’s no place too dirty for Him.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
So go grab the Windex and Stay in HIS Grace.

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Stuck on You



Amazing webs – in abundance.

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It seemed that everywhere I glanced the path offered a glimpse of a uniquely designed glistening web. It was one of those fog-filled mornings that greeted me with “a wonder” that ONLY GOD can bring through spider webs. Truly remarkable sparkling works of art were everywhere. Why had I not noticed them before? image
It’s the regular routine on the walking path, but these amazing works of sticky art went unnoticed and unappreciated…until today. image

Often the only time I noticed any webs was when they invisibly draped themselves across the path; then suddenly I’d realize I had barged right through one. No, I never saw it coming but I could feel it on me. It stuck to me, just traveling along with me as I walked on. I could just FEEL it – you know, like an invisible thread.
Even when I tried to wipe it away with fumbling fingers attempting to get a grip on it, I could never find it or remove it. Nor could I ever see it.

I JUST KNEW IT WAS THERE.
Romans 1:20 reads, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

Isn’t it just like our God to share powerful messages like that? Messages that remind us that though we might not “see” God, we can appreciate Him through nature, feel secure in His constant invisible presence with us, and trust that He’s ALWAYS there…especially through the “stickiest” of situations.
Praise Him. He’s the best web to get stuck in.
-Trust me. Jesus loves YOU and He’s stuck on you! –
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 (ESV)

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Broken Messages

I watched hopefully as he and his girlfriend approached the bridge along the chalk walk prayer path. I, on the other side of the lake, just watched. I watched them. I watched him. Yes, I watched him pick up the chalk jar as I waited hopefully for the moment he might share his own chalk message.
He picked it up, held it for a moment to read the scripture, and rared back– throwing the jar.  It flew through the air like a touchdown pass.
I just stopped in my tracks. Stood still.  Stunned.  While puffs of smoke danced around their heads, they finally noticed me. There I stood just staring from the other side of the lake. They carelessly stared back for a brief moment.  My hope was crushed by shock.
Broken. Shattered. Pieces of glass lined the pathway. Scripture messages rested in the dead dry grass, while colorful pieces of sidewalk chalk rolled along the edge of the pathway.broken jar
As they continued their journey around the lake I knew I could wait to cross paths with them. But, should I? Did I really want a face-to-face confrontation with “this type” of person?
I made my way around to the broken pieces of the chalk walk jar. I carefully picked up the scripture reference with shards of glass still attached to the tape. Gingerly carrying that scripture message with me ~ “Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always” 1 Chronicles 16:11, I knew I had to live it out.  I needed to confront them.
Confrontation is not my thing. This was way out of my comfort zone for sure! But, sometimes we must stand up for what we value and believe.

                                         Sometimes our silence can be perceived as approval.

Holding the chalk, scripture and pieces of glass in my hand, my question was a simple one, “Why did you throw the jar?” His defensive voice fired off, “I’m tired of coming out here and seeing all this Jesus’ stuff and it offends me.” My face surely reddened with anger, and my shaky voice replied, “I’m sorry you feel that way about Jesus. That’s disappointing. But, now YOU have offended ME, because I love my Lord, and I’ll be praying for you.” There was more said in those moments, but the rest was not really important.
Twice in that uncomfortable conversation I said I would pray for them, especially him. But, am I? I admit I am struggling with praying for this broken young man, and this silent young woman whose angry glares cut right through me. Yet, through the struggle I know that there are too many lost and broken souls that need to know that there is nothing offensive about Jesus, and there shouldn’t be anything offensive about His followers who want to share His unconditional love. And, if we are to be His hands and feet, then “WWJD” really needs to park in our hearts and take control of our tongues, our thoughts, our actions and our voice.  All.  The. Time.
The TRUE message was in the BROKENNESS. Shattered shards of glass. Scattered chalk and scattered scriptures.  BUT…that wasn’t the point.

The real message is for us to share “The Message”, by forgiving and praying for others; especially the broken, and those that may frustrate us, those that we don’t understand, and those that think differently that we do. It is then that they might see “The Message” of Jesus in us. Even through all the brokenness.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15Glass jar

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