Purpose in the Present Tense


Good morning, child.

I woke you up this morning to talk about purpose.

You have developed a tendency to see purpose as something that you can postpone until you think the time is right; when you feel you have the time to commit; when you no longer havedear god to worry about how you will pay your bills or when you will be able to retire.

But, child, I tell you in no uncertain terms that this is the wrong way to look at your purpose. You should not shoulder so much burden; for when it comes to your purpose, nothing will ever happen in your power. It is only possible in My power through you. Remember that.

Secondly, purpose is not about tomorrow. It is about the present. It is about My presence. Understand, My child, that because your purpose must be fulfilled with Me by your side, your purpose is meant to be lived and fulfilled in the present, the only place on earth where you can come into My Presence. Resist the urge to wait. Preparation and planning are important, but at a certain point those things can turn into procrastination and procrastination is a tool of the devil.

Stop putting off your purpose. Unfurl it at My feet, today, and jump in. If I have planted the seed, you must trust that I will provide everything that seed needs to not only survive the elements, but to thrive and to grow and produce great fruit.

Remember the parable of the talents? When you put off your purpose, you are like the one who buried his master’s talent. That is not My desire for you. Keep your purpose in the present where I meet with you, child. Keep tending it. Keep adding to it and it will be added unto you. Today, not tomorrow. Don’t worry about tomorrow for I have tomorrow covered and will always walk with you into it so that we can face whatever is there together. Trust Me, child. Trust Me and take a deep breath and dive in. Oh what joy awaits those who fulfill their purposes in Me.

Thank you, Jesus, for continuing to find me worthy of your teaching and purpose. Help me to stay in Your Presence and to follow only You. May Your will and purpose be done through me here on earth just as it is in Heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

Matthew 25: 14-30 (NIV)

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

He Chose Her Before She Was Born


Writer’s Note: For those of you who know me, be warned, there may be things in this post that you may not know about me, things that I am not particularly proud of; however, as I continue to watch God take both the good and the bad and weave them into the most incredible stories–such as the story of my little girl–I think it is important to be real. Our world today is too much in need of hope to not be real and to show how God is always and in all ways looking out for us. Even when our situation looks like a complete mess, God is busy behind the scenes. What looks like rubble to us are building blocks for our Creator. We just have to get out of the way and let Him work!

Billie was far from an ordinary kid. To tell the truth, she has never been ordinary a single billie preachesday in her life. Even before she had made it out of the womb, this wee little girl had begun spinning a story of goodness and love that, looking back, could only have been penned by the master author Himself. Not to say that God doesn’t leave His fingerprints on all his creations, but with some it is just a little more obvious. Such is the case with my daughter.

Just the knowledge that she existed had lifted me out of the downward spiral my life had taken when I turned 30. Always the responsible, level headed one, something about turning 30, combined with a devastating turn of events in my life, had put me on a path of self-destruction. Alcohol. Gambling. Even drug experimentation and unprotected sex. Things I never thought in a million years I would do. But, for a short while, as a lost soul trying to find my way, I did them.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God. In fact, with the help of my college roommate, a sweet and kind preacher’s daughter, I had accepted Him as my Lord and Savior back in college. But that’s about as far as it went. I did consider myself a good person and, upon occasion, would even shoot up a prayer or two when things got tough. Saved or not, however, sitting in a pew was not a place you would find me on Sunday morning at that time in my life. Churches, I felt, were just too full of hypocrites.

And, in my heart, I fully believed that to be true as that had been my experience with the church when I was growing up. Being pushed to the altar by friends who had just the night before drank themselves into a stupor made absolutely no sense to me. Not to mention that it seemed like the preacher was always preaching about hellfire and brimstone; the fearsome, formidable God he painted in his sermons not leaving much room for the loving God of reality.

Yeah, I believed in God, but I didn’t truly know God yet and I certainly hadn’t learned what it meant to fully give my heart and my life to Him; to have a personal relationship and to walk with Him in complete faith.

From my limited perspective at that moment in my life, I was—as I had been for some time—alone. My earthly father had been killed when I was just a little girl and I didn’t yet understand the extent of love, forgiveness and purpose my Heavenly Father had for me. In my mind, I had no other choice but to take care of myself and to be my own safety net. Seeking God’s guidance for my life wasn’t even a consideration at that point.

Fortunately, God intervened anyway.

Enter Billie—the answered prayer that I didn’t even know I needed.

Having veered so sharply off the path, it seemed as if baby Billie truly was God’s way of reeling me back in, bringing the poor choices I was making in life to a screeching halt and replacing them with proof that He could take the most troublesome of situations and use them for good. This yet-to-be-born baby was was a living example that would continue to prove this most wonderful promise over and over as the years went by.

I pretty much did a 360 and began trying to live as healthy as possible, following my obstetrician’s advice to the tee. I quit drinking, smoking and any other dangerous habit I had been dabbling with for the past few months before her conception. I quit not because I thought it would keep me out of hell, but because it was the right thing to do. I had a baby on the way; a life that depended solely on me to survive and I didn’t want mess that up.

I even agreed to marry her father, though we had known each other less than a year. I just seemed like the right thing to do. I can’t really say that I loved him, but I figured I’d eventually fall in love with him. After all, we were having a baby together.

Needless to say, without going into details, our marriage was like the house built on sand. When storms came that first, emotionally-charged and stressful year as I also dealt with health issues and worries about getting Billie into the world safely, the marriage collapsed and we gave up on one another.

God, however, did not give up. Not only did he bring Billie into the world and keep her safe, but He made it more and more obvious that He had a plan for her. And, like David of David and Goliath fame, He had no plans of waiting until she was an adult to use her. Truth was, He started using her before she even exited the womb, making sure that this new baby gave both her dad and I exactly what we needed in our lives at that point. Billie’s dad actually credits her arrival for finally facing and defeating his own demons.

All that said, I still didn’t attend church as Billie began to grow up. Until, that is, the heart-wrenching devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, a day that rattled me to my very core. All of a sudden, I realized that not only had I been holding God back in my own life, but I was keeping the greatest blessing He had ever given me away from Him as well and was compelled to do something about it. We began visiting churches, but none felt right. They didn’t feel welcoming, which I equated to being full of hypocrites. I didn’t yet understand that many people attending church were just as confused and lost as I was; and that it wasn’t necessarily hypocrisy they exhibited, but the same ignorance and stubbornness I had been carrying for years.

Long story short, I continued to search for a church for both me and Billie, who was now in second grade. We ultimately made our way to Harvest Church and—from the moment we crossed its threshold at the Ramada Inn where it was meeting—I knew that we were finally home.      It was an easy choice to make sure that she and I were there every time the doors were open and, with Pastors Jim and Jen as our teachers, we both began growing UP. Billie loved the kids program. She adored the Pink Carpet and her carpet leader, Mrs. Mary. We both loved learning about and getting to know God.

Truthfully, I couldn’t believe the difference it made to know God personally versus simply knowing of Him. He started showing up and showing out in both our lives and it was exciting. It’s still exciting. Even though He has performed and showed me many miracles over the past decade and a half, I still cherish those early God moments that changed my life forever.

Indeed, Billie did grow up at Harvest and I will be forever convinced that Harvest was always a part of His plan for both of us, and most especially for her. In fact, this morning as I watched her—now 23-years-old and the head of the church’s Children’s Ministry—give the message in the main church service for the very first time, my mind rewound itself to a Sunday about 13 years ago when my 10-year-old baby girl leaned over while listening to Pastor Jim preach and whispered this into my ear: “Mom, I know what I want to do when I grow up,” she said excitedly. “I want to preach.”

Well, my sweet baby girl, you did it and you did it good!!!! I love you and I love God for picking me to be a part of your story and, most importantly, for allowing both of us to be a part of His. I thank Him for making you a living, breathing example of how miracles and beauty can come from even the darkest, seemingly hopeless situations. I thank Him for Harvest Church and for making His presence so obvious in the church as well as in both of our lives. May we all continue to fulfill His will and purpose until His Kingdom comes. Amen and Ehmen.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

Night Lights


 

moon-and-stars-in-the-sky-25176-1920x1200

Although I stepped outside to complete a chore, I was instantly captivated by the sweet sounds of a world preparing to slumber. On this beautiful clear night, a gazillion stars gather around the quarter moon like groupies at a rock concert. Nature’s own night lights illuminate the sky and world below with just enough light to enjoy this summer night. I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed several of the stars perched atop the palm tree as if God himself saw fit to decorate its branches. God thought of absolutely everything and tonight as the beauty of His creation enveloped me and stopped me in my tracks, I praise Him and His Holy Name. Thank you, God, for absolutely everything. Amen and Ehmen.

Psalm 8: 3-5

3When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? 5Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!

 

How Hot Is It?


Writer’s Note: Just for fun….sing to the tune of The Devil Went Down to Georgia…and feel free to add a verse or two! Have a happy and, hopefully,  cool day!

The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to grill.

hot photo

Ok, this isn’t his year….but it sure feels like it’s THAT hot outside. Not a fan of southern summers!

He was in a bind ‘cos hell was too confined and he was willin’ to make a deal.

When he came across some Georgians fanning and and complanin’ it’s hot,
the devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said: “let me tell y’all what:

“I guess you didn’t know it, but I’m heat lover too.
“And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you.
“Now you can say it’s way too hot, but give the devil his due:
“I bet a big ol’ ice cube against your soul, ‘cos I think I’m hotter than you.

The southerner said: “My name is Bubba and it might be a sin, But I’ll take your bet, your gonna regret, ‘cos I’m the hottest that’s ever been.”

Bubba you wipin’ off your brow and show how hot your are,
‘Cos hells broke loose in Georgia and the devil deals the cards.
And if you win, you get this big ol’ ice cube made of cold.
But if you lose, the devil gets your soul….

Happy HIMdependence Day!


Happy HIMdependence Day! Final

The older I get, the more and more truth I find in the old saying, “time flies.” In fact, every year the old tick-tock seems to sprout bigger and faster wings, hijacking the moments and carrying each one of them far, far away.

If we’re lucky, the good ones land somewhere in the recesses of our memories to be retrieved and enjoyed many times in the future, while the not-so-good just keep floating into the dark abyss of time never to be recalled again. Better yet, they wind up in God’s toolbox where He repurposes them and turns each into something useful.

Actually, the truth is, God promises to always use our stuff. He says so many times throughout the bible and most expressly so in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to his purpose.”

I hope you’ll notice that He says ALL things; not just some things, but ALL things. All He really wants in return is our unwavering love, another fact that He reminds us of throughout His word, such as in Matthew 22:3, when Jesus himself spoke the greatest commandment of all: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

My prayer today is that all of us learn to love God just like that—with all our heart, soul and mind—for I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is that kind of love that leads to full trust, obedience and dependence on Him and full dependence leads to guaranteed fulfillment of the purpose for which our Father created us.

And that, my dear friends, will ultimately lead to the words we all long to hear straight from the lips of our Awesome God: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!” Oh, how incredible that will be! I know it’s July 4th weekend here in the United States, but this year, I say let’s forget Independence Day and start celebrating Himdependence Day!

Amen and Ehmen!