There’s purpose in the present…


November 25, 2018

 

Dear God,

Where to begin? It’s been awhile since I opened up my heart and let it flow onto the blank page.

If I am finally honest with myself, this year has been fashioned of fewer deliberate Purpose Scripture Image created 11.25.18prayers and more and more silent groanings. Thank You for never letting my needs go unmet, even when I don’t know what they are or are just too tired and distracted to lay them at your feet. Thank You for sending Your Spirit to continuously intercede on my behalf.

Thank You, too, for sustaining me as I have attempted to find a new normal. Losing my job of two-decades-plus, and more specifically the safety net that it provided, has been harder on me than I have admitted. I still believe with all that I am that You did not want me to step back into a full time job, but to remain self-employed so that I am forced to depend on You and You alone. It’s been 18 months now and You are still sustaining me. Though I often fall short month to month, I have yet to want. Still, I have also yet to rest in a place of complete trust in You. I am sorry for that and pray that you will help me with my unbelief.

Thank you also, Lord, for the doors you have opened for me. I never dreamed that I could go out on tour, physically or mentally. But, not only did I do it, it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, even with the bumps along the way. You made it obvious that I was where I needed to be and with the people I most needed—incredible people so genuine

0A9D2BBB-4FA9-477C-999E-9CB2D6310588

Thank you, David and Tamela Mann, for being obedient to your calling and allowing me to become a part of your phenomenal “Us Against The World” family.

and full of love for each other and for You. No pretenses whatsoever. What a rare and beautiful treat and definitely the stuff of which lifelong friends are made. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart, for the doors you have opened and those that I know You will open in the future.

And, thank You, Lord, for yesterday, for instantly answering my prayer to have my passion reignited and ink to begin flowing again. The God moments and ideas started flowing within minutes. So, so many ideas, that I am honestly not sure where to start, but I know I should not worry as You are with me.

I couldn’t ask for a better Muse and Mentor. Ever.

Help me to walk in complete obedience so that the seeds You have planted within take root and bear abounding fruit for Your Kingdom. I love you, with all that I am.

Amen and Ehmen.

 

Dear, Dear Child,

How happy it makes me when you meet me here. I can speak to you anywhere, anytime, but it is in the peace of My Presence where the world falls silent that you are able to hear and understand Me most.

Thank you, Child, for your obedience. I know you feel deep down that you have squandered much of this past year, but I encourage you to not let the enemy twist your thoughts. He’s resorted to the same old tricks since the beginning of time. Attempting to lead you away through guilt; through self-doubt.

He knows your heart is Mine, so instead he has to resort to making you feel unworthy.

Hogwash!

You, My Child, are worthy. I picked you. I equipped you.

You are the only one who can fulfill the purposes I have for you and, as long as you love Me and stay connected to Me, nothing can stop you.

I AM proud of you, Child.

You have done nothing wrong.

That Elevation Church podcast that popped up out of the blue yesterday was no accident. I need you to Job on Purpose Image Created 11.25.18hear and believe that the downtime of the past couple of years has not been wasted. It was necessary. Like My son Steven said, it has all been a divine delay; a delay of My own design.

I am lining things up, Child. My plans for you are even bigger than you know; bigger than you will know while on earth. The impact of your purpose will ripple throughout the generations well into eternity. And, as long as you believe in Me; as long as you trust in Me; as long as you are Mine, you can rest easy knowing that you are called; you are equipped; and you are right on schedule—for nothing, My Child, can thwart those who love Me and are called according to My purpose.

Buckle up. You are in for the ride of your life. While the phrase “it will happen” brings hope for the future, I need you to retrain your brain to this truth that your heart already knows to be evident: Your purpose is present tense; a fluid, living, breathing part of you and it is happening right now!

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

I love you, Child, with a love like no other. Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Every life matters, every purpose precious.


purpose image from internetDid you know that you are just as important to God as anyone that lives or has ever lived? He loves you just the same as He loves the preacher, the president, the Pope or even one of His 12 disciples.

Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. He loves you the same. No more, no less.

And did you know that the purpose and plan that He has for your life is just as important to Him as the purpose and plan He had for Noah, for Moses, for David and anyone else that has ever lived?

The purposes and plans He has for you are just as important to Him as the purposes and plans He has for the famous evangelist, the respected world leader, a well-loved purpose image quote from fred buechnerChristian musician.

Not one of us should waste another minute selling ourselves short or underestimating our value to Him and His Kingdom, for we never know when our minutes on earth are up.

Every life matters. Every purpose matters. Always has. Always will.

Take your place in His story and know to the depths of your soul that His story is the ultimate happily-ever-after story. And, best of all, it’s already written.

And the Word of God says…

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Chasing Peace


 

nature shot at stone mountain

All this time spent chasing peace. The wrong places. The wrong faces. A team of could have beens and should have beens that, in truth, would never be.

A world—both external and internal—rocked by evil and wrong, unfathomable madness and mayhem. So much needless strife and stress. Disappointment and failure. Physical and emotional strains and pains. Needless, but not pointless.

The fact is that it is in the useless that God finds value; in the meaningless that meaning and purpose is birthed. It is in the turmoil of life that we unearth peace; it is in uncertainty that we find faith and what was once exceedingly evasive is finally discovered lying dormant within.

Thank you, Jesus, for not only planting peace inside of our hearts, but for always, always standing guard so that no one and no thing can ever take it away—not even the loss of a job or a loved one that we thought would last forever. My friend Denny and I know this first hand. We have lived it before and are living it now. And it is good.

My prayer today is that you, too, wake the peace that slumbers within, giving all of yourself—your troubles and your victories—to the Prince of Peace, your Father and Mine, the Lord God Almighty.

He loves you and so do we! Amen and Ehmen.

More about Peace from Gotquestions.org:

The Bible has a lot to say about peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Paul refers to “the God of all peace” (Romans 15:13, 33; Galatians 6:16). The term peace is often used as a greeting and a benediction (see Luke 24:36). So what exactly is peace, and how can we have “inner peace”?

A word often translated “peace” in the Bible actually means “to tie together as a whole, when all essential parts are joined together.” Inner peace, then, is a wholeness of mind and spirit, a whole heart at rest. Inner peace has little to do with external surroundings. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” He had also told His followers that “in this world you will have many troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). So peace is not the absence of trouble; it is the presence of God.

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When the “God of all peace” comes to live inside a believing heart (1 Corinthians 6:19), He begins to produce His own characteristics in that life. Inner peace comes from knowing that circumstances are temporary and that God is sovereign over all (Isaiah 46:9–11). Peace comes from exercising faith in the character of God and His Word. We can have peace in the midst of challenges when we remember that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can choose peace rather than give way to fear and worry. Inner peace resulting from a relationship with God allows us to keep things in proper perspective. We can accept difficult situations on earth by remembering that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

We are commanded to “live in peace” with others, as far as it is up to us (Romans 12:18; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 12:14). To live at peace means we interact with those around us in accordance with our own wholeness of mind. Our reactions to circumstances can bring peace to an otherwise chaotic situation. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). And James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” God’s desire is that we who know Him learn to live in peace within ourselves first. Then we can radiate that peace to others, bringing calmness and wisdom to tense situations, and in so doing be lights in the world (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:14–15).

A shadow without a soul, BUT GOD…


Her foundation was cracked, damaged almost irrevocably; my friend’s young life cradled not by warmth and safety as it should have been, but instead rocked by the abusive hands and harsh words of an angry and drunken father; a man that not only cursed God, but who sat himself upon a self-made throne and ruled with an iron fist.

His family lived scared of him and later scarred by him. For, even after his reign ended in death, the roots he had planted continued to haunt and hurt; to break through and crack almost every inch of the foundation upon which they had landed. Over the years, she lost both her brothers to tragic circumstances and she also seemed destined to continue traveling a dark and cursed road, her choices and current lot in life often colored by her distressed upbringing. She says she often felt like a mere shadow without a soul.

But, God…

My favorite word combination in the Bible, two words used together 43 glorious times in Scripture and a phrase that is definitely cause for jubilant celebration. God’s unbending, unchanging response to satan’s relentless challenges. The bottom line. The last word.

Two words that speak life instead of death. Yes instead of no. Can instead of can’t. Will instead of won’t. Do instead of don’t.

Two words that create freedom instead of imprisonment. Victory instead of defeat.

“But, God” is a game changer. A Holy and glorious intervention.

Below is a poem that my friend, Denny, wrote after God lovingly intervened in her life in the late 1990s during a trip to a Women of Faith Conference in Seattle, Washington. She doesn’t know I am reprinting it and I am praying for her forgiveness in advance. It’s just too good not to be shared; the beginning of her new story—one that has still been filled with chapters set deep in the valley of the shadow of death, but with one HUGE difference.  This time she is accompanied by the Father that loves, guides and protects her just as a father should and who punctuates every stormy, tumultuous chapter with the same happy ending. Two words: But God….

Thank you God for saving my friend and for saving me…for introducing us almost a decade ago over an internet scrabble board…and for etching and intertwining a divine purpose in both of our hearts. May we continue to follow You into this purpose and create works that will grow Your Kingdom and forever glorify You and Your Name.

I also pray that each of you reading this now will recognize  your own “But God” moments. If you are in a valley, I promise you that He WILL see you through. Don’t give up. Look up!

You are prayed for…today and always.

Amen and Ehmen.

 

praise God girl and cross in sky

Photo from crosswalk.com

 

Twelve Disciples Plus One

By Denny H.

Twelve disciples plus one boarded a van one day,

Embarking upon a pilgrimage, we were traveling far way.

Headed for Seattle, to praise and learn and pray,

We didn’t know each other well, but they had much to say.


Sharing testimony, their convictions wound in tight,

It bound them all as sisters as we drove on through the night.

They joined in prayer; they shed some tears; they sang with great delight,

They came to know each other well; they whet my appetite!


Women of Faith is what they were, as we joined, the ebb and flow

Of throngs of comrades joined as one to hear the Word and grow

But I was anxious, I had no right, to think that God would care

What am I doing with all these women, “God, why am I in this chair?”


 I’m not like all these Christians who know the love in bloom,

As brides in their relationship to a God who is their groom;

I’m not a daughter of our Lord, I could never call Him Dad

The God I know is an angry God, a God who is always mad.


The God I knew when I was young, my father proclaimed to be

An irate, furious and abusive drunk, the Lord of our family.

Mercy, compassion, love and hugs were not what we were shown,

But vicious, mean and callous words were all we’d ever known…

Both my brothers and myself were rock, not precious stone.


I recalled our childhood lost to scorn and also so much shame,

How we as children yearned for God, but were deluded by his name.

I mused on the brother that still lived and to the one—discouraged—died

If they in spirit had known a Dad, they’d embrace the love denied.


I thought of me, the years misplaced, a shadow without a soul,

Reaching for wrongs to right my life, to govern and control.

How tired I was of drifting along to a future without a goal,

I felt, if I was to truly live, somehow I must be whole.


So here I am, I’m in this seat, and wearily I began to pray,

While I listened to the gentle speakers, and to all they had to say,

As they shared their lives—their griefs and sorrows—yet held firmly to their trust

That God is there through thick and thin; that God is not unjust.


Then something happened while I prayed; I softly, slowly died,

I doubled over in that chair and I cried, I cried and cried.

I cried for me, and for my brothers; I cried for all the years

That we had lived not knowing God; I cried such healing tears.


I prayed for me that blessed day; how I prayed to be God’s child;

I prayed for Him to be my Dad and through GRACE, I finally smiled.

For in my mind, I saw a girl, brand new and she was me,

Finally now I could embrace my promised pedigree.


I joined my sisters in that van, the twelve of us plus one,

Now thirteen disciples heading home, my new life just begun.

How I sang and shared and prayed as I extolled my Dad above

That I am of His family conceived from His own love.


A soothing balm restored my heart, a spirit set me free.

And I am here to testify, I’m His daughter, yup that’s me!

I searched, I asked, and I received; received His guarantee

That I shall live, because He lived and because He died for me.

Memories of Me


I walked into my mother’s old home and, amid the smell of must and dust, I boarded a time machine that would transport me back decades in a matter of moments. childhood-memories

First stop, my childhood bedroom. I reached deep into the closet and right back into history. My memory has always been sketchy at best, but laying my hands on fragments of my past brought a flood of memories of a happy and hopeful little girl that loved to make people laugh and smile. One that loved to play music, to draw and, yes, write.  It was nice to see her again.  

Not that I’ve changed that much in the past five decades. Sure, I’m older and–I hope–wiser, but I still have the same overall traits and passions. It is definitely the way God wired me and it was nice to be reminded that nothing, not even the tragedies and hardships that my family endured, could change that.

Yes, the man who took my father’s life when I was just 8 years old is responsible for turning what should have been colorful, beautiful childhood memories into a haze of black and gray; but today God saw to it that I got reintroduced to the good memories created by that happy-go-lucky, tree-climbing, music loving, creative little girl once again. Thank You, God, for giving me this gift. I will never know what might have been had my father been allowed to stay on this earth with us, but I do know that You have always and continue to have my best interest at heart and this little girl of Yours is very thankful.

Thank You for the bright memories and Your promise to always help me live my life in full, living color. I shall never stop pursuing You, Lord, and the purpose for which You created me. That’s my gift to you. I hope you like it.

Amen and Ehmen.

High-Flying Faith: A True Story of God’s Presence In The Midst of Tragedy


Writer’s Note: Please indulge me as I again share this true story of God’s presence, love and promise during a period of earthly sadness and tragedy. Today marks the fifth anniversary that my friend Neil left us, but it also marks the day that God made it unequivocally clear that His purpose and plan for me is to write. I may not have the book completed on paper yet, but it is nestled safely in my heart. Please give me the strength and perseverance to see it to the end, Lord. And, thank you, God, for writing me into this story and for always “showing UP” when we need you most.  Amen and Ehmen.

vapor-trail-and-neil-for-blog-2

I sat back in the seat thankful, that even on a full flight, I had somehow managed to get a seat all to myself. It sure seemed as if God was looking out for me these days and especially on this day as He knew I had much to think and pray about—how, for example, I was going to get through this trip.

My dear friend, Barbie—Neil’s first cousin and Denny’s best friend—was gone, having just succumbed to lung cancer just a few short months after an out-of-the-blue diagnosis. Denny’s husband, Neil, who had also unexpectedly fallen ill about the same time as Barbie, was in the midst of battling his own recent diagnosis of a rare and incurable disease called amyloidosis.

And, Denny, my beautiful friend to who God himself introduced me was quickly slipping into a pit justifiably described as hell on earth as everything she knew and loved was being stripped away from her. The fact was, Barbie’s death and Neil’s illness were just two of several back-to-back losses that had her looking more and more like a female, modern day version of Job with each passing day.

As the stewardess stopped momentarily in front of my seat to close the overhead compartment, she gave me a sympathetic nod. My pain, obviously visible to even a stranger, quickly liquidated into a stream of tears as I closed my eyes and began to recount the five years that had led to this moment; how an anonymous, virtual game of internet Scrabble, a chance meeting on a social networking site, had led to such a deep, tangible and very real friendship, first between me and Denny and then between our family and friends; a friendship that was obviously God-ordained, God-blessed and God-planned, but still a mystery to our mere mortal minds.

What could He possibly have been thinking when he paired the two of us? From the outside, we were so different. I was a single mom with two jobs and she was a semi-retired housewife. What’s more, we lived what seemed like a world apart—she in western Canada and me in the southeastern United States.

But, on the inside, well, that’s where it all began to make sense. For there, we were practically twins—soul sisters as we later dubbed it—whose bond was quick, yet undeniably powerful and steadfast. What started as a little friendly banter on a Scrabble chat screen turned into hours of truly getting to know each other. Letter by typed letter, we talked about everything, from our childhood to our adulthood, our pain and sorrow, hopes and dreams, and, most especially, about God, who we both loved with all our might, and who continued to make it abundantly clear that He wanted to be at the helm of our lives and that our lives were meant to be intertwined. He would prove that to us over and over again, including on December 8, 2011 as I headed back to Alberta.

The story of this December day had actually started a couple of months earlier when I began searching for air-fare for a pre-Christmas visit with my friends. My plan was to fly in on Dec. 10th, which also happened to be my 50th birthday. I was struggling a bit with this milestone birthday and decided that a day of travel would be a fine distraction.

To paint the picture more completely, I had been bidding on tickets through Priceline in search of the best deal possible. For those who have never used the “Name Your Own Price” feature, one must submit a method of payment along with an offer for airfare and, if accepted, you are rewarded with a non-refundable airline ticket.

Anyhow—after two weeks and a dozen or so rejected offers —I decided to try one last time and submitted an even lower price than I had attempted before. I was both shocked and ecstatic when it was accepted at almost 40 percent less than the going ticket price! When I looked closely at my confirmation, however, I noticed something terribly wrong. The departure, it said, was 7:05 a.m. December 8, 2011. Wait. What? December 8th?  That wasn’t the plan. December 10th was the dreaded birthday and the date my work vacation started. Nevertheless, God clearly had another plan, which I now realized included getting me there in time for Barbie’s funeral.

And, so, in the early morning hours of December 8, I sunk deep into my seat and tucked my earbuds tightly into my ears. Praise and worship tunes playing as soothing background music, there was time for a lot of prayers between the airport runways of Atlanta, Georgia and Edmonton, Alberta and, as the plane took off, the praying commenced.

During a short layover in Denver and before boarding the final leg of my day’s journey, I texted Denny to see how she was doing. She had been pretty emotional the night before, but was adamant that she would pick me up at the airport. I begged her to let one of our other friends do it, but, as per usual, she got the final word and would be waiting for me.  Period. She didn’t reply to my text and I presumed she was probably busy with Barbie’s funeral planning.

Back on the plane, I started to get more anxious. Denny was going through so much heartache and seemed to be struggling a bit with her faith.  She was finding it hard to fight anymore; her strength understandably gone. Just as the illnesses had stripped Neil and Barbie of their physical muscles, she was feeling stripped of her spiritual muscles. She still loved God. She still believed in Jesus and she still believed in heaven. In fact, those were the only things that made any sense to her at all anymore. Yet they seemed so far away and her heart continued to crumble under the weight of it all.

My mind, my heart and my emotions were swirling like a hurricane as the plane taxied down the Denver tarmac and I returned to my music, once again getting lost in my own little world of praise, worship and prayer. About halfway through the four-hour flight, “Hold My Heart” by Tenth Avenue North came on and I was immediately transported back to exactly one summer before when my previously-planned visit turned out to be a time of support as Denny’s brother, Stevie, had tragically drowned the week before.

As the song pervaded my heart on that June day, I had turned every word into a fervent prayer for my friend, pleading with God to please—just as the song beseeches—to come close and hold my friend’s heart. Suddenly, I began to feel a sense of peace followed by an inexplicable nudge to open my eyes and look out the window. When I did, I saw something that I shall never forget. Right there, on a canvas of deep blue sky and billowing clouds, were clouds in the distinctive shape of two strong hands gently cradling a heart. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and quickly reached for my camera, but when I looked back up, the image was gone. I may not have gotten the picture with my camera, but it was forever etched into my memory to be recalled many times in the days and years to come—including this day as I traveled once again to see my friends.

Leaning forward in my seat, I wondered if perchance God might give me another sign. Praise and worship lyrics dancing in my ears, I studied the clouds, but saw nothing. I looked towards the ground. Still, nothing. But, as I sat back in my seat disappointed, I soon felt another inexplicable nudge to take one more look. I pressed my forehead to the window pane and gazed at the sky. It was cloudless and there was nothing really to see when all of a sudden a streak of white shot across the blue sky. It happened so quickly, I almost gave myself whiplash attempting to see what could have possibly left this white mark in the sky. I sat back quite perplexed and more than just a little nervous. If that was left by another plane, it sure was awful close, I thought to myself.

As I continued to ponder what I had just seen, the flight attendants began preparing the cabin for landing. In less than a half an hour, I would be on the ground. My emotions shifted from anxiety to excitement as I knew I was about to see the people who had become so near and dear to me.

Having visited several times before, I had become somewhat of a pro at maneuvering through customs. I breezed through and, luggage in tow, followed my fellow travelers through the hallways leading to the lobby where Neil and Denny usually waited for me.

Walking through the doors, I looked around for Denny. Not seeing her right away, I figured she was probably hiding around the corner and laughing at me. She loved to make me look like a dork and, to be fair, I often did the same to her. I especially loved when we would make Neil laugh with our silliness.

In an effort to maintain at least a shred of my self-professed coolness, I stepped to the side and looked down at my phone. As I peered back up, I saw a couple of familiar faces walking towards me. It was Alex and Trina.

Good, I thought to myself, Denny had decided to take a break and ask for help. We exchanged hugs and I started into my story of how customs didn’t try to give me the third degree for once. As I used Neil’s name a few sentences in, I noticed Trina’s eyes filling with tears. Alex’s face grew dim and right there in the middle of the Edmonton Airport, I heard these words, “Brenda, Neil passed away this morning.”

It was as if the world came to a screeching halt and I began to hyperventilate as my sweet friends, themselves sobbing, guided me to a nearby chair. It didn’t take long after I sat down, however, that it all became clear.

The December 8th Priceline ticket I held in my trembling hands was far from a mistake. My sweet Lord had sent me there on this very day as support for my dearest friend now plunged into the darkest hour of her life.

And that streak against the sky? Well, that was undoubtedly Neil doing a fly-by and letting me know that He was indeed ok.  A pilot, I could always see the passion in Neil’s eyes when he spoke of flying; how exhilarating it was for him to play high above the earth, amid the clouds and along the very threshold of Heaven—a place where he could now enjoy that same exhilaration multiplied by infinity.

As for me, every time I see a feathery white brush stroke painted in the sky, I stop and thank our awesome God for writing me into Neil and Denny’s story and for this new symbol of hope and joy; this reminder that He is oh so real and has a plan and a purpose for all of us; mine being to follow Him and to live and retell stories like this that will, hopefully, lead people to that place inside themselves where He is always patiently and lovingly waiting with whatever is needed.

Oh, and Denny, although there were many days following Barbie and Neil’s deaths in which she seemed to be in a freefall, God lovingly guided her hand to her own parachute’s ripcord and she is today living and loving life once again. She doesn’t even mind being compared to Job anymore, because just like Job, our loving Father in Heaven has fully restored her to a life full of love, blessings and a joyful, ever-healing heart.

From Beyond Human Eyes…


Nov. 26, 2016

Good morning, Father.

I know that I am blessed beyond belief, but God how I am missing something that I have taken for me-and-theegranted all of these years. Family.

Not that I had to traverse this holiday alone. That’s not it at all. In fact, I was blessed enough to enjoy a meal and fellowship with my mother, my brother, my daughter, my son-in-law, my sister, my nieces and nephews as well as a many other extended family members.

And while I know that I should have just been thankful for another year with them, it was really very bittersweet.

The loss of my brother, Gary, has forever changed the landscape of my world; much of that change coming from his mere absence. But even more than the empty seat at the dinner table, it’s the realization that there will be more and more empty seats as the years journey on.

Though you already know everything that I am feeling, I feel the need to admit this morning that I am struggling a bit with all the changes, those present and those sure-to-come. I need your help, Father. I need you to help keep me focused on my many blessings, especially each tick of time that I have left with my loved ones. I want to enjoy the holidays and make them worthy of tucking away in my heart to be enjoyed again and again. I want to enjoy You, Dear Lord, and to begin merging back onto the path that You yourself have laid before me. I’ve been sitting on the shoulder far too long and I want nothing more than to resume my journey; to get back to the things for which You have purposed me and to enjoy the journey along the way. I pray these things in your Almighty and Glorious Name, Dear Father. Amen and Ehmen.

 

Dear, Beautiful Child of Mine,

I love you. I know this last year or so has been tough on you, but I am thankful that you have never lost sight of Me or your purpose. I need you to know, dear child, that it is okay to sit on the edge of your path from time to time; to regroup and refresh; to reconnect. This time has not been wasted as you know that I waste nothing.

The key, child, is doing just what you are doing today. Allowing yourself to feel and nurse your humanness as you sit and rest in Me, but at the same time embracing the desire to keep following the path that I have laid before you. Please don’t fear and don’t try to rush it. The time of resuming your journey is near, dear child, and as long as you stay connected to Me, you will always know when and where to take the next step. That’s the beauty of My plan, child. You don’t have to know anything. You simply have to know Me.

Yes, life is changing, my dear one, but, when looked at from beyond human eyes, it is changing for the better. Every day that you draw breathe brings you closer and closer to spending eternity with Me. And, though I know you will always miss those that have drawn their last, take joy in knowing that those who have accepted Me and completed their earthly journey are now enjoying eternity with Me. The purpose for all of my children on earth is to make sure every living, breathing person in all creation has that same opportunity.

“For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

The Prologue of A Purpose


I realize that most writers are also avid readers, but truth be told, outside of the bible and a blog here and there, I really do not read much. And, when I do read, it usually tends to be books to which I feel particularly drawn or to which God seems to lay in front of me over and over until I pay attention.

A few years ago, it was Seven Days in Utopia.  One day as I was researching something online for work, I seven-days-in-utopia-book-movie-cover_default_550opened a random webpage. Though I had not clicked anything and my cursor blinked rhythmically within the safe confines of the search bar, my screen was instantaneously filled with not one, but multiple video advertisements. Cascading from top to bottom, video clips bombarded my consciousness–each one playing a different part of the trailer for the book’s newly-made movie.

At first I was annoyed, but after the fifth or so video popped up, I was compelled to pay attention. Determined to figure out if this had been a stroke of marketing genius or a simple computer malfunction, I noted the name of the movie and closed and reopened the page to see what would happen. This time the page remained static with just one banner ad across the top. I moved my cursor from the search bar onto the ad and clicked. The movie trailer began playing again, but this time just once. I then went to another computer at my house and navigated to the same page. Again, I had to move my cursor and click on the banner ad for it open a single time. I even had my daughter check from her MacBook and, no big surprise, one banner ad and one click to open.

“Ok, God, I’m listening,” I said as I began researching the book and looking up movie times. I did go see the movie and truly enjoyed it, but it was the story behind the movie that really resonated with me. It was about the author and how, out of nowhere, God let him know with no uncertainty that Seven Days in Utopia was something He wanted him to write and how everything just fell into place. You’ll have to Google the book/movie and the author, Dr. David L. Cook and check out his story or click on this link: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/moviemom/2011/08/interview-david-l-cook-of-seven-days-in-utopia.html. God has done a similar thing with me as He Himself has laid an incredible story in front of me and continues to ignite a compelling passion in me to write it.  In the interview linked above, I can especially relate to the part where the Seven Days in Utopia author said:

“I’m not smart enough to write some of the things I’ve found embedded in this story.  I’m just scribing it.  When other people say it means something to them and affects their life — that’s pretty amazing.”

About a year later after my experience with Seven Days in Utopia, a post by a local Christian bookstore seemed to leap off a very busy Facebook newsfeed. It was about a new book entitled The River by the-river-bookMichael Neale. I was unexplainably drawn to the post and, as I learn to be more obedient, went straight to Amazon, found the book and bought it. When it came in the mail a few days later, I immediately began reading it. Two things stirred me to my very soul in the very first pages. The first was this quote by Barry Lopez in the “Note From The Author”: 

“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

Wow!

The second thing which struck me to my core were the first sentences of page 1, the author’s prologue:

“Every now and then, you have an encounter with someone who changes your life. A conversation or interaction so profound, it seems otherworldly. You can’t get his (or her) story out of your head and heart. It’s hard to explain how powerful stories can resonate within us on many levels, but it’s often because they speak with passion, heartache, or even joy…I don’t think these encounters happen by chance. I think there is a reason, although we will never understand the full weaving of life’s tapestry of events this side of the eternal. I have had such an encounter with someone. It moved me to my core, so much so that I had to share it…”

I had such an encounter with someone as well. Indeed, it was not an accident that I met my friend Denny over a virtual scrabble board and it was not an accident that, since that very day, our lives have been intertwined and interwoven in such remarkable ways that no one, much less either one of us, can refute that there is a purpose behind our predestine. Indeed, I can’t get this story “out of my head or my heart.” It has changed my life, moved me to my core and I know, without question, that there are people out there that need this “more than food to stay alive.”

May God–the author of our lives–continue to nudge me and keep me on the path to putting this story and others on paper.  And I ask that you, too, the reader of this, pray for me as all too often I let satan and life dampen my passion for the purpose He has lay before me. 

I will pray the same for you–that passion for your own purpose is reignited each and every day. Amen and Ehmen!

 Yours in obedience,

Brenda

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.’

Living Persistently in His Presence = Pathway to Perfecting Purpose


Writer’s Note: It’s been awhile since I spent the first moments of my morning communing with my Maker.  But, no matter how much time passes, He is always willing to meet me; to love me; and to lead me.  He SHOWS up!  Thank God.  Below is this morning’s exchange which started with a blank page and an open heart.

June 20, 2016

Dear God,

I often worry that I am being like King Saul and not being completely obedient to your dear godinstruction? I don’t want to disappoint you and have you pick someone else to fulfill this purpose you have planted deep within me. Please speak to me, for I am listening.

Child, you lack only one thing to completely fulfill My purposes for you and that one thing is trust. Like Peter, this is an area in which you waver and is a direct result of you trying to live in your own power.

I don’t fault you or Peter for this as most of my sons and daughters throughout the bible and history have suffered the same. If this human trait kept people out of heaven, there would be no one here. And, that is not what I want.

What I most desire is that you keep bringing your focus back to Me. Learn to recognize the signs that you are taking back control. Feelings of  worry, confusion, stress, and of being lost are just a few red flags that should make you stop in your tracks. Yes, child, every time you feel yourself trying to take back control, stop and simply whisper My name, out loud or under your breath. I will hear you. Focus on Me. Talk to me. Cry out to Me. And then listen.

I am pleased with you, Child. Know that. You never get too far away before calling out to Me. As long as you keep plugging away, I will continue to bless you in the purpose I have chosen for you. Yes, I would like for you to spend more time with Me. Yes, I would like for you to quit worrying so much about your job and your health. I have you in My care and there is no better place to be. Trust me, dear child. Remember that deer that I showed you recently. He signified that no matter what is going on behind the scenes of your life, you have no reason to fear; for I am in control of it all and you live under the protection of My love, power and will for your life. Nothing, but nothing will be able to take you from Me and from My purpose for you. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Trust me, My child. I am the light behind any shadows that may pervade your life. I show this darkness to you so that you can walk around it and into My Glory light. You are never alone, yet you don’t always see Me here. Read 1 Corinthians 2:15-16. Find it in your Bible. Then look at the study notes in your bible. What does it say, child?

***

1 Corinthians 2:15-16: Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

Study note: No one can know what the Lord is thinking, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believers have insight into some of God’s plans, thoughts and actions. They, in fact, have “the mind of Christ.” Through the Holy Spirit, we can begin to know God’s thoughts and prayers. Are you spending enough time with Christ to have his very mind in you? An intimate relationship with Christ comes only from spending time consistently in His presence and in His word.

Oh, dear Lord, how can I thank You for being so patient and loving toward me? The word consistently jumps out at me as I know that this is where I falter. I am inconsistent when it comes to spending time in Your Presence and Your Word. I let worldly worry and worldly life get in my way. I don’t go to sleep soon enough. I don’t wake soon enough. I numb my mind with distractions. I don’t mean to do this, Lord, but it just happens. And, yet, when I do wake up and call Your name, You are there. Patiently and lovingly waiting. You speak to me on this written page. You send me to just the right scripture in Your Living Word. You love me. You lead me. All I have to do is stand close enough to hear You. Lord, I want this more than anything. Help me to stay close to You and live in obedience to Your leading. I can’t wait to see what You have in store for I know in the deepest reaches of my heart that it is what is best and it will be good.

1 Corinthians 2:9 comes to mind.

“That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.’

*Sigh* Again, twice in just a few moments with You, the perfect Scriptures at the perfect moment. Thank You, Lord, for this morning and this reminder. I love being in Your Presence. There is no place I would rather be. I love You. Bring on this day. I can do anything with You standing right beside me. Amen and Ehmen.