Monday, January 26, 2009

Promises, Promises

I've made them; I've broken them. I've also just plain forgotten them. I've been disappointed by broken promises made by family, friends, coworkers and those I barely know. Yet, most people sincerely intend to keep the promises they make (don't they?!). We're successful at times and other times, we're incapable of coming through before we even make the vow.

God's been reminding me of some of His promises lately. Isn't it so comforting to know that He keeps His promises...all of them. His word is chock full of them but let's examine a few:

#1 Philippians 4:6,7

"Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

God promises us when we pray and give thanks we can expect His peace. We don't have to understand it, just expect it. His peace is something I've come to value more and more the older I get. Boy, do I love that one!

#2 Romans 8:38, 39

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Did you hear that??!! Do you get that???!! His love is so great for you, for me, that NOTHING can separate us from that love! Whew, what a promise!

and #3 Philippians 4:13

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

That one is both encouraging and convicting. When I want to give up; when I think I just can't do it...He whispers or shouts (whatever is needed at the moment) that one to me. I can't do it on my own. I can do nothing without Him. AAAHHHH, but with Him there's nothing He's ordained for me that I can't accomplish.

We'll take a look at some others in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, I challenge you to pull out a few promises from His word and really dwell in them. Ask the Lord to remind you of one of His promises each time a friend, family member or coworker makes you a promise. Write them down on an index card and post on your mirror or daytimer. Ask Him to pour a little more cement on your footer of belief through His promises. You'll feel more solid in your knowledge of Him. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Do It!

In my previous post I shared that God was not so gently nudging me to "get off the couch" on some areas of belief, to get active. He's really been challenging me to do the next thing with regard to some things I'm believing for, things I know He put in my heart.

When my mentor sent me scripture references for "active belief", James 1:22 was an obvious connect..."But be ye doers of the word and not hearers". Another reference she sent to me was a word the Jewish Sagesgave for our word proactive. The word "Zerizus" can be translated as enthusiastic diligence, joyful willpower. I have needed some "zerizus" in a few areas, how about you?

In today's post, I'm posing some questions to us all:

* What has God been nudging you to do?

* Who has He been asking you to forgive?

* What has He been daring you to dream and what's the first step He wants you to take toward that dream?

* What's He been asking you to lay down?

* Has He been asking you to trust Him with your finances through beginning to tithe?

* Has he laid a person on your heart who needs salvation?

* Who's He be leading you to ask to church?

* What old wound has he been wanting to heal but you won't look at?

Whatever it is, JUST DO IT!!

In our country right now, you can't turn on the tv or read an article without the word CHANGE coming up. What's God calling you to change so that you may experience a new level of closeness to Him; a new level of peace, a new level of joy, a new level of freedom. Change is almost never comfortable. Much like starting a new exercise program, you get stretching and pulled in unfamiliar directions. Most of the time, to get to the next level of where God is leading us, it requires some discomfort. I don't know about you, but I sure am ready for that next level.

"NIKE" is literally the greek word for action. So, let's borrow the tagline from the famous commercials, and JUST DO IT!

Monday, January 12, 2009

No More Couch Potato Belief

After the holidays, I asked God to direct me in setting goals for the New Year. I felt Him lead me to set several goals for work, for home, for the family and for finances. Of course spiritually, I wanted to deepen my relationship with Jesus, to spend more time in prayer, to read the Bible more and become a better servant. However, the phrase I felt like God kept giving me was "ACTIVE BELIEF". The word "action" kept coming up in my thoughts and prayer time again and again. When I began imagining a Rambo-esque, spiritual action hero, crawling through the muck with a fish sign dangling from his bandanna, a dog tag embossed with a cross and a bedazzled spiritual bowie knife, I knew it was time to rein in the imagination and get on my knees to ask God what He meant.

I must admit though, I asked for some help from my mentor in searching out some scriptural references for active belief before going to God on this. I had done a few google searches here & there and kept coming up empty based on what I was typing in. My mentor is an incredible Bible scholar & very quickly had returned tons of information to me via email (she was being a great example of the word). Tomorrow we'll really dive into some of the things she sent me. Anyway, on the way home tonight, I asked God to just spell it out for me. This is what I sensed... now it not the time for couch potato belief; now is the time to believe for the things that I have put in your heart and ACT on them.

Okay, that seems fairly clear. Hear what God is saying & do it...pretty simple huh? Not quite so simple. I believe we're in a time where we cannot just be satisfied with praying the same old prayers, half-heartedly expecting God may or may not show up. I believe He longs to move and He is awaiting His people to position themselves for Him to do so. For me that means digging deeper into His word, committing to a time everyday where I listen to Him instead of talking - even if I don't hear anything specific. It means acting immediately when the Holy Spirit prompts me; it means getting outside of my spiritual comfort zone and allowing God to reveal Himself to me any way He would like. It means applying my time & talents in a very focused direction toward expanding the kingdom as Holy Spirit directs. It means even when it's not convenient, even when I don't feel like it, I hear Him, Believe Him and ACT!

So, here's the drill...

Step 1: Get off the couch.

Step 2: Get on your knees.

Step 3: Get up & do it!!!

ACTIVE BELIEF - Couch potatoes arise and put on your spiritual NIKE's - just do it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

She'll be comin' round the mountain....

Another 2 weeks have passed!! Iactually started this post on Dec. 15th but it's not getting posted until tonight - 12/28. The holidays are just such a whirlwind around our house. Work seemed especially hectic this year. I work for a nonprofit that provides food & emergency assistance to the needy and the needs in this economy have been great. It was a wonderful Christmas though. I hope it was miraculous for each of you. However, I have found myself once again going round and round with things & situations I said I would not do again, plan better for, etc. Am I the only one that gets frustrated because I get into situations where I know I should know better??!! I didn't even get a single Christmas card sent because I was so behind.

It's not just Christmastime. As I listen to conversations going on while waiting in the grocery line, in the aisles at Walmart and at church, I hear many experiencing the same. Why do we keep ending up in the same place? I thought I had gotten past some of the actions that get me to a place of franticness. I thought I had buried some of those habits that eventually bring me to a place that is unhealthy. I was sure I had conquered that old thinking pattern or gotten past that old wound.

After I got back from my youngest daughter's chorus program I thought about this. A mix of 3rd thru 6th graders belted out updated versions of "Jingle Bells", "The Holiday Season" and "Feliz Navidad" to name a few. Everyone loves to hear kids sing at Christmastime (okay maybe not everyone) but I have to admit, some of those songs seem to go on and on and on and on!

There are challenges, habits and patterns in my life that do the same thing...go on and on and on. They seem to keep creeping up even after I thought I learned that lesson or mastered that challenge. Areas like knowing when to say "no" and not overfill my schedule, like not feeling guilty when I do say "no", like not being disappointed when a family member runs over my feelings. Here we go again!

The reality is that on our own, left to our own way of doing things, we'll never move forward. We'll never break out of that cycle of going round and round the same thing or situation. Thankfully, God knew we'd get stuck and stay stuck and He loved us enough to provide a Holy GPS to get us off our redundant human traffic circle. If we'll listen, if we'll ask Him to, the Holy Spirit can and will guide us to break those cycles. He'll show us how to not be wounded by the same things, to prioritize they way He wants us to and thereby allowing for peace in our lives. Deuteronomy 2:3 says, "You have circled this mountain long enough, Now turn north."

Are you ready to listen to what Holy Spirit has to say about the holidays, your schedule, your priorities, YOUR LIFE? Are you ready to BELIEVE that 2009 can be a better, more peaceful, more productive year...a year of getting to know our Lord more intimately... I certainly am!

I have desired to live to please God for many years, but I'm ready for a new level. I'm committing to a new level of AUDACIOUS BELIEF. I'm tired of compassing some of the same mountains and excited that God is allowing me to see it and with that drawing me to BELIEVE for different...for new mountains.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!

Here's to us all leaning into the Holy Spirit with a kean ear. I BELIEVE we'll hear a new song. For me it definitely will not be "She'll be coming around the mountain when she comes..."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well, it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. More than usual busyness at work + school holiday programs + a child with pneumonia + Christmas shopping + husband's company functions + being under the weather myself all add up to a frustrating period of no blogging! I actually worked on a post 3 different times, only to end up with incomplete thoughts and cramped up fingers. Sitting down to a quiet moment this evening though, I am realizing just how therapeutic being able to pour out onto paper (or computer screen) is.

During the past week God has reminded me of His love for me and all mankind. He has shown up in the kinds words of a stranger in the grocery store. He has shown up in a verse on a Christmas card from new friends. He's been there as I prayed for healing and strength for my daughter. He's been there in the conversation with a grieving friend. He has been in the smallest moments and the biggest events, intimate and close up.

The holidays are the time for "wonder and BELIEF". That may sound cliche' but even as our world seems so uncertain, the Lord's love for His children becomes more real. Ask Him to give you something to BELIEVE Him for this season. He will lay something on your heart and He desires to bring it to pass!

Believe in how much He truly loves you. Believe Him to reveal something new to you.

My girls went on the Polar Express trip in Bryson City, NC a couple weeks ago. They brought back their train ticket and it had the word "BELIEVE" printed along the inside border. I kept that ticket as a reminder of what the holidays mean to children and adults alike. Where there is hope, anything is possible!

Tonight's post is short but filled with dreams, BELIEF and expectancy for miracles this Christmas season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Will you be checking any baggage today?

I had lunch with my dear friend and mentor today. As always, we covered more topics in one lunch hour than a week's worth of 6 o'clock news segments. I'm sure to the patrons at adjacent tables, it's like watching a very animated tennis match. Two expressives, over fries, discussing the lastest happenings and what they mean...good stuff, God stuff!! After leaving the restaurant and getting back to work, I thought back on some of the things we discussed; world news, local news, both of our families, the economy, etc. Boy am I glad I'm a BELIEVER or I could have come back very depressed. And, even as Christians, we can get depressed. Especially when we attempt to carry it all.

A few years back, I spent an afternoon with two of the most Godly people I have ever met. Dr. & Mrs. Slade were introduced to me by a mutual friend and they helped me talk through some very challenging things in my life at that time. They petitioned God on my behalf and helped me to see that "God had it covered". That day and frequently since, the Lord has shown me all that I have tried to carry. I can remember at one point I counted it a badge of honor to be able to carry the load for myself and those around me!! I was a blond Wonderwoman...cape, belt, gold bracelets, invisible jet...yes, the whole package. What I didn't see though, was that all that weight, all the luggage, the baggage, I was never meant to carry. The Lord showed me that I needed to go back to the playground. I needed to check all those bags at His terminal and trust that He had it covered. Visually, He gave me a clear picture of a 5 year old girl going down the slide, then moving to the merry-go-round, then the swing. Carefree, blissful in every moment, all under the watchful eye of my Heavenly Father. That little girl wasn't carrying a Samsonite. When's the last time you saw kids on the playard pulling a "carry-on bag"? If I needed to pick up a bag, He would let me know.

Because of the drama/trauma I grew up in, I don't know that I ever really felt carefree, so that was an incredibly powerful image for me. One that He reminds me of consistently now. It is a choice though. We can certainly continue to stack on backpacks, suitcases, trunks and cases of worry, stress and anxiety. We can gain imaginary valor and take pride in our Super Hero-ish baggage-toting abilities but eventually that will suck the life (and joy) right out of us.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do not for a second think that God wants us to abandon our responsibilities and go on a permanent trip to the amusement park. He wants us to be moved by compassion. He wants us to take note of circumstances that He may be using to direct us to change. That is where we must be atune to His unctioning. However, He does not want the troubles of this world to consume us. He wants to consume us!

Amidst all there is to worry about these days, let's BELIEVE that we can "check our baggage" and visit the playground more often. Let's BELIEVE, audaciously, that His plan is at work & we can trust in it. Happy flying everyone (luggage free)! ~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tick Tock...Tick Tock

Today, in a series for women, our pastor touched on God's timing and us being willing to surrender, to submit that. It got my wheels turning on the time limits we put on God and the time limits we put on our BELIEF. Pastor referenced Sarah and Abraham and how long Sarah had prayed and asked for a child, probably as early as her twenties. Sarah most likely prayed for decades for a child. SHE WAS 90 when God told her she would have a son!!! Do you think there was some slight disBELIEF there??!!! DUH!! The bible says she laughed. I've made that sarcastic "ha ha", how about you? By human standards, she had every right not to BELIEVE at that point.

So, if Holy Spirit has laid something on our heart to believe in, what's the time limit? When do we start tapping our watch, look toward heaven and say "Allright God. Time's almost up!!" We've all been there. We've all come to points where we had our own time frame for what God asked us to believe for or for what we've asked God to do. We've all looked at circumstances, days, months and years later and thought, "God just isn't going to show up" or "I don't have it in me to believe for this anymore". We all have that friend or loved one that we are believing for to be saved. We've all had a situation or circumstance that drags on, that wears on our faith and dashes our hopes. It is then when we must ask for a renewing of our belief, a restoring of our faith.

Romans 4:18 says, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations...". My brother and I were talking the other afternoon, discussing what God had been showing him during his Bible study time. He said that very clearly God had him to write down, "Hope is evident". That drew my memory back to a verse that I had written down and pinned on a small slip of paper on the bulletin board in my office. I had written down the first seven words of Romans 4:18 over 3 years ago. I had completely forgotten about that verse written on a little scrap. EVIDENCE! Cofirmation! Renewed belief and restored hope! It's those small notes, tiny jottings down, momentary snipits that don't let the clock run out on our faith.

A dear friend of mine BELIEVED that her husband would come to the Lord for over three years. She had an unwavering faith, a rock solid belief. God had let her know that her husband would surrender his heart to Jesus. I watched her stand on that BELIEF when it seemed ridiculous. He did come back to the Lord and passed away shortly thereafter. Watching this friend has served as a memory that "shores up" my faith at times when I want to doubt. Who do you know that has exhibited such audacious belief? I would suggest writing that person's name down or even a short memory of the situation that you can quickly turn to at those times when your ladder of belief is feeling a bit shaky.

I have two things that I am believing for right now. Do I want to get out a megaphone and yell toward the clouds, "TICK TOCK...TICK TOCK....GOD!!" Sometimes. Will I give up on God's timing? Never.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Which comes first..the chicken or the egg?

I remember bits of a wacky little song from childhood with that phrase in the title or at least in the chorus (maybe from Sesame Street?). It was one of those annoyingly catchy tunes that once heard would run circles in your head for hours. When I began to think about the word "Belief" as it pertains to this blog, the word "faith" followed closely behind. Some use the words interchangeably but in the process of digesting both meanings, I began to wonder if one wasn't a prerequisite for the other. But which comes first, the belief or the faith? There goes that tune again!!

If you have the faith of a mustard seed, can you believe for great things? If you believe what God says, do you have the faith to move in the direction He asks? Maybe the words are synonymous or perhaps the Holy Spirit must open our minds before we have either one. Personally, my level of FAITH seems to hinge on what I BELIEVE and I tend to believe in things I've seen evidence of. The Lord has continually shown me that evidence of His presence, His love, His compassion, His grace and more. Sometimes in very unusual ways and some simply through an answered prayer. I mentioned one such specific answer to prayer in the previous post.

Recently I had moment that gave me another piece of evidence on which to base my BELIEF. It had been an unusually hectic week, tons going on at work and both children with various projects to work on. I began to have feelings of frustration and a sense of being completely overwhelmed. I felt like I had nothing left to give to anyone or anything and yet there was no end to all that had to be done. I was smothering - could not breathe and wanted to throw my hands up and say, "God, I can't do all this anymore!" When I went to bed I got out my journal and wrote angrily, " Lord, I don't feel connected to you lately. I feel frustrated, overwhelmed and worn out......I CAN'T DO IT! If you don't show up Lord, then I don't have anything - I have nothing left to give. LET ME KNOW YOU HEAR ME!" I wrote a few other lines and then ended with "I don't even feel like reading the Bible, so you're just going to have to show me what to read!" Then Psalm 201 came to mind. What?? There is no Psalm 201??!! "Try Psalm 20:1, Laura" I felt the Lord say. Well, I read the whole Psalm. You read it, too and you'll see why I call that evidence to Believe.

Some may call that hokey, but God has proven Himself to me in little ways through the years, and I now trust that little voice that directs me to a verse. Does it always apply so perfectly? No. Do I miss what God is saying to me sometimes? Definitely. But those times where it couldn't fit better sure do build up my evidence reserve!!

I think maybe the term evidence is relative. What I consider to be solid reasons to believe, others may not. You'll just have to determine what qualifies for you. I am sure though, that God knows what it will take for each of us to believe. We all have our own perfect little package of evidence that was created when we were.

I BELIEVE God answered me directly the other night. That now gives me the Faith to know that God cares about me personally and all the small things (and not so small) things in my life. Thinking back my little "whine fest" was mimicked the tantrum of a 2 year old. I have tons to be thankful for and in the grand scheme of things my situation paled in comparison to those dealing with real issues. But even so, He cares. Yes - for me at least, the Belief comes first then the FAITH, to act and live as God directs, grows. How about for you? Give me your thoughts.

I'm going to hunt down that song now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Belief - one layer at a time

Today I spent some time thinking about the word "belief". Webster's dictionary defines it as "a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing". More than a few times over the last few years, God has communicated with me with that one simple word. A dear friend and mentor recently highlighted in her blog, the power of one word. She mentions 2 young people that she recently counseled who were able to break down their life's call to one root word. I guess for me, "Believe" would be the one word that continues to define my spiritual journey. I don't know if that word actually qualifies as a call but it certainly comes up a lot in my time with the Lord.

"Of course it does" you say, "We are believers - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved... is what Christianity is all about". Yes, but in my life the word seems to have more layers than my southern mother's italian cream cake. In some research I found that "believe" is used in the Bible 143 times (my mom's cake has almost as many layers). The Lord has used it at least that many times in our communication in the last 2 years alone. It comes up in ways I don't expect. For instance I have felt the Lord say to me, "Do you believe I am who I say I am?", "What do you believe I am capable of?", "Who are you going to believe & why?" Some of those questions have stopped me in my tracks. Being a creative sort and having a vivid imagination, I am thankful for those times when God interrupts my snowballing thoughts and brings me back to His reality with those questions.

I remember a specific time in July of 2006, when a situation within my family was at a critical point. By all appearances, God had not answered fervent prayer and the situation could only end gravely. That day in prayer, the Holy Spirit led me to pray something so bizarre for this person, it was apparent that I could not have come up with it on my own, and from there He asked me to BELIEVE. The devil really attacked my thoughts after that prayer and infiltrated my mind with gloom, depair and no end to the situation. That attack became so intense that it consumed me for several hours. Then just before going to bed that night, the Lord said to me, "Are you going to believe me or the devil...what are you going to believe?" It was spoken so clearly, it caused me to get up from my chair and begin to walk about, saying out loud, "I believe YOU Lord, I believe what you have said, I believe the things you have promised". If my family had been awake, I'm sure my pacing and chanting would have frightened them a little. The short version of the story, is that a phone call at 6am the next morning came to verify that God had in fact, called me to BELIEVE that night. He had answered our prayer. I don't know that I can give accurate description to that one, very intense, call to belief but it was just that...a call to belief.

In retrospect, that was one small layer of "belief", that God introduced me to. A layer that I could not reach on my own, one that the Holy Spirit had to guide (or thrust!) me to. So to have "Audacious Belief"...what does it mean? Webster defines "audacious" as intrepidly daring, adventurous, or recklessly bold. Wow - that sounds really exciting. It could also be really frightening if I let my own thoughts take hold. I feel sure that iAUDACIOUS BELIEF is a journey, meant to be digested one nutty, sweet, overwhelming, yet fulfilling layer at a time...much like mom's cake.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The idea of blogging has intrigued me for some time. I'm not sure what has taken me so long. Busy work schedule? Hectic home life with kids? Attention Deficit Disorder? Fear? Ouch(that one hurt)!! Whatever the reason, tonight I felt compelled to BEGIN THE BLOG.

I've actually been mulling over the name of the blog for months. Nothing seemed to quite fit. I even plugged in a handful that came back "unavailable". I then decided to let Holy Spirit direct my fingers and "Audacious Belief" is what came out. What?! Where did that come from?! I must admit I hesitated for a minute and then surrendered to "Okay God - whatever??!!" (Yes, I talk with Him like that).

So, Audacious Belief, it is. Let's see where this journey takes us.