Monday, January 29 2018
I just finished a 21 day Daniel Fast. Susan Gregory's plan ( www.faithdrivenlife.com or www.daniel-fast.com) provides rich guidence and insight. Saturday, being the last day, was one of the most difficult. The knowing that all food is soon to be back on the table. I eagerly talked about what I would add back first and how tea would definately be on the menu for breakfast. Sunday morning came and all eagerness to regain what I had "lost" for the fast was not felt. I felt rather unsure if I was to break the fast. So I didn't. This was my first multi-day fasting experience. I went into it for deeper insights from God on the path I am on. Yes, clarity that needed was given. Great battles raged for my fleshly desires and for my mind. I stood strong and leaned hard into the Holy Spirit and declare victory in the battle over food. My mind however didn't fare as well. I was sick for several days and did what most do, just vegged out and binged watch tv shows. BAD IDEA! I let my helmet slip and gave access to the enemy. The distraction, the darkness and the immorality felt like it had flooded my brain. I gave him an inch and he took a mile. For days after, I felt like I was in a fog. Doubting what God has asked me to do. Dragging my feet to get it done. Distracted by the draw to watch the tv show. Desperatly clinging to the fast as a lifeline to a drowning person.
Today, helmet in place and armor on, I move forward. Fasting has been one of the most incredible spiritual experiences I have ever had. The battle I lost has, becausing of fasting, gave me a new understanding of how the enemy fights in my life and how to "batten down the hatches" so he does not gain entry again. Nothing we watch, listen to or take part in, apart from God, is harmless. We must take every thought captive and focus on what is true. The enemy goes around roaring like a lion but he is not a lion. Jesus is the Lion of Judah. The characters on these shows are not real, the situations are not real and the people playing them are trained in the art of believability. The enemy wants us emotionally connected to these characters to distract us from the life we are called to live. I will be choosing not to participate any longer.
Time is short. Jesus is returning. We must seek Him with all our heart, with all our mind and strength. Only then will we be able to stand against the evil one.
Wake.Pray.Fast. and Slay!
Monday, January 22 2018
Looking at this big blank page, thinking "what can I say that matters?". It seems like such a daunting task. It begs to be filled with words, pictures, anything really that replaces the vast emptiness. Why do empty spaces intimidate us? Can we be comfortable in the silence? The lapse of a conversation. Can we rest in the lapse or are we quick to say something just to fill the space.
We are told to "be still and know that I am God". Be still. Still as in not moving or still as in silent? Either is challenging. I get up an hour before my husband to have time alone with God without any interuptions. My schedule this morning turned into "last minute rush". I quickly moved through my list with God ,finished with a hurried amen and moved on to what need to be done. All day I have felt hurried and distracted. No praise music playing in my head. No communication with God as I have gone about my day.
Facing this big empty space, I took a moment and asked for God's wisdom. That's when it hit me. I had come before His throne with my agenda, not once seeking His for my day. Disconnected from the source of Living Water. Disconnected from the One who gives me breath. Forgive me Father.
This space is never to be filled by me. Father, I surrender this to You. May You write the words that need to be said. heal the hearts that need Your touch, quiet the turmoil within us. Teach us how to be still. To be comfortable in the stillness before You. You are the author of my life and it is Your words that fill the pages.
Wednesday, January 17 2018
Four years ago, my mom passed away. It sounds like a long time yet there are moments when it feels like yesterday. Grief is funny like that. It comes at you like a thick, dark cloud stealing your breath, your stength and your ability to think. Grief is not a "get it over and done" thing. Grief, I think, is a process much like amputation. You are looking for healing to be able to move ahead but you now have to learn how to live without what was there. Memories pop up that bring tears to our eyes and a smile on our face. We remember, we miss and we yearn for that elusive "one more moment".
My mom fought hard against Lewy Body Dementia. Towards the end, she had lost the abilty to eat or drink. As we gathered to her bedside to share are last few precious days with her, she was incoherant. As I was sitting with her, holding her hand, just sharing what was on my heart, she opened her eyes and looked right at me and as clear as a bell she said "I just want to go home." She closed her eyes and slipped back into her coma like state. I gently replied to her that she is free to go home and Jesus is waiting for her.
We hold on to so much of this world, buying, saving, planning, working, yet none of it matters in the end. My mom wasn't asking about her bank account, she was asking to go home to Jesus. The bible teaches us that where our heart is, there is our treasure. In reflecting on my mom's life today, I am pondering what is my treasure? What am I focused on more than Jesus? How am I spending the time He has given me? Life is precious. Let all I do be for the One who gave His all for me. When He does call me home, may I hear "Well done my daughter."
Friday, January 12 2018
I enjoyed a wonderful, long overdue, time with a friend yesterday. We shared what God has done, what He is doing and our hearts for what our future holds. It was so filled with Ps 34 without us ever quoting it. "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be continually on my lips. My soul shall make it's boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together." In the midst of our conversation, a thought slithered into my mind, "You are not enough". I didn't do anything with it. I should have immediately rebuked it, covered it with scripture and claimed truth, but I didn't. I let it sit sit there. I actually forgot about it until this morning. My alarm reminds me at 5 am that it is time to hang out with Jesus. Normally,a smile comes to my face and I begin to thank Him for many things. This morning, I lingered under the covers and thought he won't miss me. I did regain my sanity and got out of bed. I felt heavy and stiff as if this was something I never do. Seeking an answer for this mood, I was gently reminded of the thought from yesterday. I had not dealt with it and by letting it stay, I had let my old self doubt of unworth to resurface.
I was ,once again, shown that when I think I am not enough that God likes to use what looks like "not enough". Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Hagar, Ruth, The woman at the well, the little boy and his lunch of five fish and bread, Peter and so many others.
My prayer for today is "God, I ,by myself, am not enough, it is only through You and Your help that I am able to walk where you ask. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me. I surrender my "not enoughness" to You, You are the Master Craftsman and I am clay, mold me into what is Your will. Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Open my hands so I am ready to serve You. Thank you for every breath, every day and may I take every thought captive and praise You all day long.
Colossians 1:9-14The Message (MSG)
9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
13-14 God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.
Thursday, January 11 2018
Watching the movie "The Man from Snowy River" last night. Not to spoil the movie for you if you have never seen it. After Jim's father dies, the other men who live up in the mountains come to tell Jim that he cannot stay. Jim is upset and doesn't understand. It's his home, why should he leave. One of the men tells him sternly "You have to earn the right to live up here." ( add an angry Australian accent here to get the full effect
Ps 24 The earth is the Lord's, and all of it's fullness. He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
"Who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully."
As Christ followers, we all want a "mountain top" experience. We bemoan our time in the valley.
I love mountains. We were given the opportunity to go up Ben Nevis when we were in Scotland. The ride to what we thought was the top there was beautiful! Disembarking, we discovered that the top was about an hours walk up a rocky path. We crossed streams, climbed over rocks, many times needing both hands to help pull us forward. The path was narrow! We watched people trying to push strollers, carrying large backpacks and the physically challenged try to make the climb. You needed empty hands, a light load, and sturdy shoes. The thought "how do people survive up here?" ran through my mind. Yes it was worth it! Sitting on the rocky outcrop, what had seemed so big below, now was just a dot. You literally could see for miles. We didn't get to the top without doing the work.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? One who has clean hands and a pure heart. We must put Him first. Evaulate every area of our lives against His word. This world and God does not share the same view of what is clean and pure. His view is the only one that matters.
Ben Nevis was available for all. Many choose to be satisfied just looking at it. Others go, but stop part way up. Some decide to make the climb but falter along the way. Few give all they have and make it to the top.
Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." You do have to "earn"it. You have to surrender the "easy, comfortable wide path" this world wants you to be on. The streams of Living Water that flow from the mountain top are calling. Are you coming?
Tuesday, January 09 2018
Do you remember when you were in school and you had a substitute teacher? Everyone was excited! You know they don't really know what goes on in class and they don't know you. Let the games begin! I walked into one of my regular classes at the gym to find we had a sub. She had signed up to sub for our instructor who has had this class for years. Many in the class have been with her for years. Not an easy assignment.
I go to this class for a few reasons. First, it is easy to modify to whatever level you want and second, it's fun. I felt a little sorry for our sub, some of the ladies were circling like a shark. Blood in the water, nothing was going to make them happy. She set up different, her music was different, the workout was different, one thought it was too hard, another thought it wasn't hard enough and on the conversations went. Yet, there wasn't going to be a sub that does it exactly like our instructor. Not going to happen.
Having been in the class for about 6 months, I know the changes, how she ques, what the inflections mean, what equipment I have to have and where everyone likes to stand. I know because I have spent time there. I have invested time and sweat under her teaching. This sub wasn't her.
Jesus tells us in in John 10:27, "My sheep know my voice, I know them and they follow Me." We only know someones voice by listening to it. "The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." John 10 :3 Jesus calls us by name. We follow His voice because he is our shepard.
When we follow substitutions instead of Jesus, we get led astray. I f we follow them long enough, we turn aside from Jesus. In life Jesus has no substitute, there is NO ONE else that brings us to the Father. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He is our cornerstone. We must spend time with Him so we can hear His voice.
We all survived the class. We survived the sub. Today, our instructor was back and we were all very glad to have her. Watching the new ladies in the class try to figure it out, I thought, they just need to keep coming so they get to know her voice.
The Lord is my shepard. Jesus is my cornerstone. He calls me by name and leads me beside the still waters. I listen for His voice. I will go where He leads.
Sunday, January 07 2018
I have been surprised this week at the attendance of the gym I go to. I was expecting a large increase of people, after all it is the first of the year and everyone has decided to get in shape and lose the weight, right? Yet, each day , there were less than average attendance in the classes. Why? I wonder if the frigid tempuratures we are experiencing keep them home.
Yes, our weather has been frightful and the snow really isn't delightful. On Tuesday morning, with the windchill at about 10 below, I was telling myself that I am crazy for going out in this. Yet, if I only choose to go workout when I am comfortable or the weather is lovely, how often will I go? Most likely never! We are creatures of comfort and habit. We are in the habit of being comfortable! Growth never happens in the comfort zone.
It applies to all areas of life. We have to push through the challenges. If you never dig in to learn a new skill, you'll not achieve it. This is repeated for as long as it takes. Think about an olympic athlete, yes they are at the top of their sport. They won't stay there if they do not put in the work to stay there. Tiger Woods still picks up his golf clubs outside of a tournament.
I ran from my house to the car, looking like the "Staypuff Marshmellow" man. Layers, it's all about the layers to stay warm! I ran into the gym the same way. In class, no one was in a hurry to loose their sweatshirt as we complained about the cold. By the end , we were all glad we had braved the cold to come and said " I will see you tomorrow!"
The weather in our life will never be perfect for what we want to do. Putting on the whole armor( layers!) will help protect us from the elements. In the book of Matthew, Jesus' disciples were in a boat when a huge storm arose. They just wanted to get to the other side of the lake. That happens to all of us. Don't let a little turbulance keep you from flying. Remember, just because there is a storm doesn't mean you won't get to where you are going. Jesus was in the boat with them. He is your cornerstone. He is always with you in life regardless of the weather.
Wednesday, January 03 2018
For the past few years ,I have spent time in prayer, study and writing seeking from God a word to focus on for the upcoming year. About mid way into December I thought I knew what the word would be. I even wrote it in bold letters on my roadmap wall. Got to love it when I get ahead of God!
Brian and I went away for a weekend to lay out the upcoming year. What priorities, projects and growth do we want to happen. Yes, we talk about everything. Our relationship, finances, hopes, goals, dreams ect.... nothing is off the table. We walked through the process of discovering a word for this year. I love how God, if we are paying attention, always shows up. Brian is an overachiever! He picked a scripture because , as he put it, it's everywhere he looks. There is nothing "magical" about this word or the process. If your word is Money, I am telling you, money is not going to start falling from the sky. What you do gain from this is Clarity. You peel back layers to dig down deep into your soul and seek the Creator of your soul and tune into His voice and direction.
Clarity- the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.
You gain Clarity by spending the time. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days for prayer and fasting before He started His ministry. He needed time alone with the Father. He regularly withdrew from His disciples to pray. To accomplish the work God has created me for, I have to follow Jesus' example. Spending time one on one with Jesus. That is where Clarity comes from.
Yes, my word I was so sure of was not what God had for me. His is so much better ( of course!) I am excited about this coming year and the very clear roadmap He gave me. It will stretch me in many ways, which is good because if I am not 100% relying on God for this, than it's just all about Kate and that's not His plan!
If you are reading this and are thinking "Clarity? I have not had that in a while" I would love to help you. You need Clarity in your pouch to successfully slay the giants in your life.
Tuesday, January 02 2018
Everyone has the secret to your success for the new year. Everyone! They are all lined up to tell you how to lose weight, have your "best year" ever, or land the perfect job.. What if there is more to it than that? What if there is fear, doubt, lack of self worth, or poor self image hanging out trying to hold you down? Losing the weight ,or a new job will give you a lift but doesn't tackle the giants behind the scenes.
So what's in your hand? What are you carrying with you to defeat these loud mouth giants who want you to give up? They want you to feel defeated. They want you to feel like they are unbeatable.
In 1Samuel 17 The army of Israel was being challenged by the Philistines. There was one among them, Goliath, who was quite bold. He was HUGE and intimidating and he knew it. His mouth never stopped challenging the Israelis. It went on for 40 days. The Israeli army was defeated mentally and they hadn't picked up a weapon yet. Along comes David. He was delivering food to his brothers. He heard the challenge from this giant Goliath and asked what will be done for the man who defeats this giant. The rest of the army thinks he is nuts. Goliath is too big, too strong, it's hopeless.
We often have the wrong perspective of the giants in our life. They seem so big, to big for us to tackle. We give them their power. The more power we give them, the more they look like they grow. We look at one who has victory over a giant in their life and wonder how was that possible.
David picked up 5 smooth stones, put four in his pouch and one in his sling, and took Goliath down.
We need to remember what we carry in our pouch. We carry with us the weapons needed to slay the giants in our life.
5 smooth stones.
Cornerstone, Clarity, Confidence, Committment and Commission
Let's tackle your giants together. This can be your first "giant slaying" year!
Monday, January 01 2018
We as a nation celebrate the new year coming in. Millions watch the big ball drop in Times Square. We make our New Years Resolutions and declare this will be our year. What did you decide was your resolution for this year? Lose weight? Quit smoking? Married? Divorced? The follow through on these resolutions are terrible. Only 50% are still focused on it after 3 weeks. Within 6 weeks 95% have let it go. Why? We want to change something in our life.
Change only happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
Jesus loves each of us and wants all of us to be saved. I have heard many say," Jesus loves me just as I am", this is their reason for not changing. Yet we are called to be changed into His image, this transformation brings us into deeper relationship with Him. Transformation isn't a New Years resolution, it's the surrender of self to the Maker of the universe. It's the day by day, step by step, decsion by decsion attitude to get to the end of our life and hear "Well done."
2018 the year to surrender your life to Jesus and watch the transformation of your heart. I know if you choose today to follow Jesus with everything you have this year, you will not regret the journey when you see the person you have become.