Fruit That Remains: Excerpts from my journals that nourished me and might encourage you, too!

grapevine-with-detail-of-grapes-picjumbo-com.jpgFruits That Remains: Lessons from my journals. These are excerpts from journals over the years.  Some are more current than others. I love going back into my journals because I always get refreshed and re-learn the lessons that the Lord has taught me and that I have faithfully scribed.

Strategies for spiritual warfare and for staying refreshed under pressure:

I must sing worship songs and make melodies in my heart to the Lord in the midst of spiritual warfare.  The Lord will speak to me and peace will come over my soul.  Worrying won’t change my situation so I might as well feel God’s peace while I’m going through it – and He may speak to me solutions and strategies.

Forgiveness is another weapon; no matter how feeble my prayers start out, God won’t turn me away.

My body, mind, and spirit must be united.  If my mind is worrying, my body wants to sleep, and my spirit is not leading, I will be divided, my prayers won’t be fervent and I won’t get results.  During spiritual attacks chaos hits.  I must be led by my spirit and bring myself back in line.  Wounds left unattended attract evil spirits.

Goals:

  • Speak the Word to keep my faith level up. Keep doing it until there is light in the darkness.
  • Pray until I hear from God. God can raise dead things to life, but we cannot consider the deadness but put our focus on the One who can resurrect the dead to life.
  • The person who will consistently get alone with God will never go under. Trials will come, but this person will never be overcome! I will continue to be faithful to my time with Lord even when I’m so tired that I want to stay in bed.

Continue reading

Unqualified (Part 2): Don’t let what you lack hold you back

impossible

What things are you called to do that you are unqualified to do? What deep waters has the Lord called you out into that you know are over your head? Are you facing situations that are completely our of your league and beyond your experience? If so, you’re in the situations where God shines!

What things are you called to do that you are unqualified to do?  What deep waters has the Lord called you out into that you know are over your head?  Are you facing situations that are completely out of your league and beyond your experience?  If so, you’re in the situations where God shines.

Like Paul, we can say, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Paul doesn’t say, “When I feel weak, I push those thoughts out of my head and tell myself that I am actually strong.” No, he says, “When I am weak…” He admits that there are situations where he is legitimately weak.  Yet because he is in Christ who is never weak, Paul’s weakness and lack of ability is of no consequence.  He is both weak and strong at the same time.  One is a condition of his humanity and the other is a condition of his connection to an unlimited supply of whatever he is lacking.

Don’t let your feelings of being unqualified keep you from taking the risk and stepping out where God has called you.  Stop playing it safe and start walking in faith and obedience.  What God calls, He anoints.  Who God calls, He qualifies.

And if you’re scared about taking the steps that you know the Lord has put in your heart, good for you.  You should be cautious.  You’re counting the cost.  The Bible says that it’s the foolish king who goes to war without first counting the cost and making sure he has enough resources to win.  But I advise you to remember how to count in God’s kingdom.  If you count YOUR resources, you’ll never get out of the starting gate.  But if you count using His resources, you will have nothing to fear.  All you need to know is that infinite resource is found in a person.  It’s found in Jesus Christ.  Whatever you ask the Father in Jesus’ name, he will give it to you. John 14: 13-14

Continue reading

Unqualified (Part 1): Don’t let what you lack hold you back

PizzaPart 1

Dinnertime with our six children was a circus.  If any of you grew up in a large family, you know what I’m talking about.  We had a Lazy Susan in the middle of our big round farmhouse table and I’d put the food on it.  After we prayed, that Lazy Susan was far from lazy.  That thing spun faster than the Zero Gravity Ride at Six Flags.  It’s amazing that the dishes didn’t fly off. The reason why there was a shark feeding frenzy was that 3 of those 6 children were boys with appetites that rivaled Rob Gronkowski, and the girls knew it.  So because there was only a certain amount of food, especially if it was Taco Casserole night, they wanted to make sure that they got theirs.  The boys wanted to make sure that they got a big piece and the girls wanted to make sure that the boys didn’t get served first and leave nothing in the pan.

But this was ridiculous because I always made plenty.  No one starved.  But the kids still felt that there was a chance they could get less than someone else, and they acted as though there might not be enough to go around.

And while I can joke about those crazy nights now, I realize that this scarcity mentality is prevalent in me as well.  And I’m sure I’m not alone.  We struggle to get our share as if someone might take what we feel entitled to. We worry that our lack of qualifications will cause us to be overlooked when the goodies get handed out so we fight and scratch and strive to make things happen for ourselves. After all, God might run out of blessing and favor by the time He gets to us!

Continue reading

Memorial Stones: Look Back to Move Forward

tower-of-stones-2

Joshua 41 – When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

I really struggle to remember names.  I can meet someone, exchange introductions and as soon as I walk away, the name is GONE out of my head.  I have started writing names down with a brief description of the person in my phone as an attempt to stave off the impending embarrassment of meeting that person again and not knowing their name.  It’s working a little bit. But I’m finding that memory problems are not unique to me.  Lots of people struggle with this and with other memory issues.

The Hebrews in the Bible struggled with remembering important things as well  In fact, God gave them a strategy for remembering that we can employ.  There are some things that should never be forgotten and God knows how we can retain those things in our minds. To discover this memory exercise, let’s take a look at the book of Joshua.

In Joshua chapters 3 and 4, we read the amazing story of how the Lord parted the Jordan River so that the people of Israel could cross over on dry ground and begin to take possession of the Promised Land. If this story about a river being parted sounds familiar, it should.  The fathers and mothers of this generation of Hebrews had seen a similar miracle at the Red Sea; but they had blown the opportunity to enter the Promised Land due to complaining and rebellion against God and Moses. So this generation was determined that they were not going to repeat their parents’ mistakes.

Continue reading

Memorial Day Message: Can you give three minutes?

flagsin

Dear Readers,

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  For those of you who are readers from countries outside the US, let me explain what this day means to us.  This is a holiday (now  a Federal holiday where most stores, businesses and banks are closed) that is celebrated on the last Monday in May to honor those who have died in any military service. Its origins go back to the years after our terrible civil war in the mid-1800’s when our country wanted to remember the hundreds of thousands of our men who died supporting their cause either from the North or the South.

No one really knows where this day originally became celebrated, but we know it started out being Decoration Day because thousands would arrive at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the gravestones of fallen soldiers. After the US came through World War 1, the day became a Federal Holiday, celebrated by both the North and the South and was named Memorial Day.

For information about Memorial Day, you can visit this site: Memorial Day History

My family, sadly, has no military background.  No one that I know on either side of my family has served in the armed forces.  While that provides us with a sense of security that we are never going to get “that visit” where fellow soldiers appear at your door to give you the dreaded news that your loved one has died in service to their country, it also disconnects us from the reality of the cost of service.  Most families are disconnected from this cost – the cost during and after a loved signs up for military service and the cost of surviving their death.

Today, many Americans will be firing up the barbecue grills, inviting friends over or simply enjoying a relaxing additional day off.  Most of us will not really be considering what it is like for our military personnel to give their lives for our country and for our freedom.  We won’t be thinking about the physical pain they endured, the mental anguish of knowing that they were leaving their families behind to mourn them, the emotional turmoil of battle and the fear of death that they had to push aside to execute their mission.

I pray today that all of us reading this post will take three minutes to ponder what battle is like, to meditate on the bravery and valor that was needed for our soldiers to perform their duties and the cost of the loss of their lives to their families. Please allow your emotions and imagination to conjure up the depth of the reality that our soldiers endured and their families continue to endure.

Our soldiers are worth three minutes of your day today.  And if you’re reading this post after Memorial Day, you can still participate.  There is never a bad time to show honor.  Thank you.

Father God, thank you that You endued our soldiers with the bravery, the courage and the fortitude to stand their post even until death.  Thank you for keeping our country safe and for providing us with the men and women who support and maintain our freedom in ways that we can never fully comprehend.  We ask for Your hand to be upon those in service today, for wisdom, intelligence, insight, courage and safety. Please help us, Lord, never to take our soldiers for granted or become apathetic to the freedom that they purchased for us with their lives. Amen.