Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let Me EXCLAIM Something!


“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!’” Luke 1: 41-45

I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament that leads up to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I absolutely love how Elizabeth greets Mary. I mean, to me, this was the ultimate greeting. It’s always exciting (well, sometimes) to see a relative that you haven’t seen in a long time, and the first greeting can instantly make up for the lapse in time since the last visit. However, this specific greeting, between Elizabeth and Mary, was more than just a gentle hug and a kiss after a prolonged absence. This greeting filled Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit, and caused baby John to leap in her womb. It’s so refreshing to hear how that little baby just jumped for joy because he knew that his Savior was being developed in Mary’s womb. Wow. That just gets to me. I can only imagine the joy Elizabeth had when she felt her baby kicking up a storm at the sound of Mary’s voice. I’ve never been pregnant, but because it doesn’t specify in the Bible that Elizabeth immediately ran off to the little girl’s room after John’s burst of excitement in her womb, I’m sure that means that God had spared Elizabeth’s bladder for this holy greeting. *wink*wink*

It doesn’t stop there for me though. I just love every piece of this passage. I love how it says in the NIV that Elizabeth “exclaimed” when she spoke to Mary” That’s right…exclaimed…as in ending with an exclamation point! She was absolutely thrilled that “the Mother of her Lord would come to see her.” Who wouldn’t be? If it were me, it would have been one extreme or the other. I’d either be super-hyper and bouncing all over the place or I wouldn’t be able to talk at all. But with Elizabeth, I can just picture her shouting with a big smile on her face and rushing up to Mary’s side and putting her hand over her belly while saying, “ Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” I just figure she put her hand on Mary’s belly, because that’s what we women do. If we see a girl friend or family member who is expecting, that’s the first thing we do…we touch their belly. It’s like some kind of magnetic law or something. I mean, who doesn’t want to touch the tummy that holds a growing baby? Anyway, maybe it’s just a southern thing, but that’s still my theory.

Let me get back to the point (of the exclamation, ha!)…Elizabeth was tremendously excited!! Wow. I am not sure what kind of excitement could top being able to have one of the first encounters with Christ… the Messiah... .the Savior of all. The cool thing though? Although we weren’t able to encounter Mary while she was pregnant with Jesus, we are still able to have that kind of excitement in our lives when we encounter Christ on a day-to-day basis. I heard Beth Moore say one time in her “Living Beyond Yourself” bible study that she is an exclamation point for Christ. It was so funny when I heard her say that, because I AM TOO!! I’m always saying that the Lord has brought me to exclamation point living. However, you have to be careful treading on those words, because it doesn’t mean that my life is without sadness or tears. The thing is, being in Christ, there is a certain joy wrapped around the hope that you’re able to hold through everything…even the trials. I told a friend of mine one time (when I was going through something,) “once you get past the fear, it’s kind of exciting to see what God is going to do.” If you stop to think about what God may be “working out” in your life, it is definitely exciting. If you allow it to happen, there can be joy through the tears.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, “ Now faith is being sure of what we hope and certain of what we do not see.” We have faith to know that things are going to work out for our good. (Another promise, Romans 8:28) Now listen to the same verse, in Hebrews, from The Message, “ The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Do you see that? Life worth living is also known as the firm foundation that brings us to exclamation point living.

Elizabeth already knew this when she made her exclamation; John knew this when he leaped in her womb. The moment that they heard Mary’s voice, as she carried baby Jesus, they knew that the world was about to change...their world was about to change. It was about to change for the good of sinners. One little baby changed the world. One little baby changed my world. This Christmas, won’t you greet the Lord, and let Him change yours?

“His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.” Luke 1:50

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I really should be cleaning and organizing things to get ready to pack up and leave my college town of Augusta. However, there's a specific verse that has been laid on my heart for a few days now. It’s one that we’re all familiar with, but this time I was able to relate it with something new.I also was able to share my thoughts over the verse with a professor, who I’ve grown to love as a friend and sister in Christ, and we were able to shed some light over it's encouragement value. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself, so I want to share. This is the verse that has been playing in my mind over and over again:

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish thing. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Cor. 13:11-12, NLT

It is so cool how a verse can theologically represent one thing, but then God can totally use it to relate to specifics in your own life too. For example, I’ve never graduated college before…this is my first time. (HA!) It’s also the first time for our family. So you can see that this is an entirely new experience. It is the most thrilling and nerve-racking occurrence I’ve ever gone through. Thrilling because I finally made it, and I’m going to have a college diploma with my name on it. Nerve-racking, because I have no clue what the future is going to hold for me, and I’m not sure what to expect. I am SOOO nervous! However, I can find rest in the arms of the One who has gone before me, because He has already laid out the path that I’m to take. Yes, there is one that has my name on it! The only thing that I have to do is to trust and have faith in Him and His will for my life.

That takes me back to my perception of 1 Corinthians 13:11-12. I am 23 years old, which classifies me as an adult. I am a woman. I am not a little girl any more, so it is time to focus. You could say that this verse is implying that it’s time for me to put my big girl panties on and cowgirl up. *wink*wink * Yep I said it.

What really touched my heart, though, was the part that speaks over seeing things imperfectly right now. That is totally true, because I see an image in my mind of who I want to be and what I want to do…it’s all still a dream. However, it’s still just a cloudy mirror I’m looking into. I am not able to fully understand what it is God really has in store for me in my life until I go out there and pursue it. If I just continue to walk side-by-side and hand-in-hand with Him, then one day I will see it all clearly. He will fill my life up with the opportunities that He has created me for, there will be no void….it will be complete.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Dream is Coming True!!!

I can’t believe that I have finally finished my last final of college today. I can’t believe this is what that feels like. All butterfly flutters, happy, giddy, nervous, and disbelief all at once. I can’t believe that next week, on December 15, 2009 (if all goes well *wink*wink*) I will hold my very own Augusta State University diploma.

My diploma.



My diploma that I earned with my own hard work and determination.


I’m gonna have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Television and Cinema. That just blows my mind!!! This is so incredibly cool, because I’ve really accomplished this. This first generation college student has raised the level of education within her family! I’ve kept with it and persevered through the chaos and now I’m finally graduating!!!!! I didn’t quit! I did it!!!!! I made it!!!!

I’M GRADUATING!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’M GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Me. Worried? Nah!

I am sitting here with lots of thoughts going through my mind. I can’t seem to grab one thought and hold onto it though. Lately, my life has been in the fast lane. I’ve hardly had anytime for myself. I have been going and going and going (sounds like the energizer bunny, huh?)

I get up in the morning, I love on my Tipi girl (my doggie), I eat a bowl of cereal, I go to classes, I come home and walk Tipi (she’s a little overweight, so I’m trying to change that so she will have a longer healthier life…and for your information, her obesity is not my fault. It’s my grandparent’s fault. My Pawpaw STILL slips her bacon under the table.) Anyway… after I walk the dog, I normally trot back up to the school to spend the rest of the night in the library working on some type of project. I’m in Advanced Public Speaking, so we have a lot of speeches to present and guess what?…..They’re advanced! Advanced is another word that means… time-consuming to the point of insanity. Then on top of that I have my senior project that is progressing, and I have my Spanish class that is the devil incarnate and 3 other classes that would make Obama write another stimulus package.

So anyway… when I do have a little extra time I will go to the gym to work out. Why? Because I live in a society that reflects highly on image, and I just so happen to pick the career field that is the most tedious of all on image reflection. However, I am not a gym lover. I’m not an exercise freak, and I’m not a health food junkie. So you can see where my problem lies, right?

Anyway… I am sitting here on the couch tonight… Tipi Tot is at my feet (she was at my side…but both of us can’t sit on the couch side by side because half of one of us is always hanging off.) I am trying to grasp hold of a few things in my mind. Most of it reflects on my career. I am not sure which area to shoot for first. I have an idea, but is it the right one? Will I be accepted? Will I make the most of it? Or Will I even get a job? Will it be the right one to start off with?

All of these questions are making room for “fear” to arise. It’s in my throat. To know that I only have two months of school left, and then I have to make a decision. I have to sort out all the files in my mind and prioritize them. I need a starting point of where I want to go in life. But where? I have an idea, but is it right?

Then it’s the worry of being 23 and knowing the last time that I dated a guy was back when I put little circles over the tops of my lowercase “i’s.” Mostly all of my friends I went to school with are married with children or engaged or in an extremely serious relationship with a guy and engagement is just around the corner for them. Me, however? I had planned to be married by 23 and kids by 24. Well… I’ve already passed my time limit… well for one of them anyway, however, one ain’t happening without the other! I can sure tell ya that much!

But anyway… amidst all of these chaotic thoughts, there’s something that always restores my peace-of-mind.

In Matthew chapter 6, verses 25-34, Jesus talks about worry. In fact, He even accuses His disciples (the ones who left everything to follow Him) of having little faith. Well, I can’t really say accused… because He KNEW they did. Imagine that, disciples of Christ failing on a daily basis. Who would have thought? :)

But Jesus teaches in this chapter that we should not worry. That God will always provide for us. He will always lead us to where He wants us to be.

What spoke to my heart tonight though, is that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I don’t have to worry about my next step… because I have the ultimate muscle that is going to take it for me….faith in God. He will not let us grow tired, and He will not let our lives be lived with anything that falls below abundance. My God is mighty to save and our fortress in time of need. He will direct our paths and give us a hope for our future. And He will impregnate our hearts with His desires for our life….and He will do it at just the right time. All we have to do is keep the faith and press on.

So do not worry…your heavenly Father knows what you need. –Instead of getting caught up in worry, -- seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:31-34

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crazy for Jesus!

"If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit." 2 Cor 5:13

Have you ever been called crazy? If you're a woman and you happen to drive...maybe you've been called it once or twice? It almost seems as if any driving mistake gets blamed on us for some reason. Not sure why...I mean, it's not like I meant to back into my sisters car when it was parked in the driveway. Then she backed into my Dad's truck when it was in the driveway. But still, I don't think that puts us in the stereotype. Ha! Just don't let us park in your driveway.

But anyway, that was crazy, I'm not sure why I said that...

Aside from that....

I watched a video by Louie Giglio tonight called Fruitcake and Ice Cream. And I am really not giving anything away by telling you this, but he explained 2 Cor 5:13 in his message. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.

In other words....any one who has been saved by grace, having Jesus Christ in their heart, should get extremely excited about things, and to have random outburst of excitement (whether it be during a worship service or the privacy of your own home) that bring Him glory. Praise that makes you think you can fly or praise that takes the strength from your legs so you fall to your knees....

Okay pause... you have to know, well before Louie began to talk about this verse, he said other things that had already blessed me beyond measure and (sshhhh don't tell anyone *wink*wink*) I had gotten up and danced around my apartment with my hands up in the air praising His Name! (Yes. I'm crazy. Absolutey Insane. Flat out wierd when it comes to Jesus!I'll be the first to own up to it!)

...Resume. Okay, so Louie was mentioning that people who are in Christ will absolutely go nuts for Him, and then I had to laugh because I had gone nuts just a few minutes before he said that! Ha! Who knew?

But then it was really cool, because he went on to explain the second part of the verse.

And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.

We all want to go absolutely CRAZY for Jesus, but we don't always because we don't want non-believers or Christians who aren't fully "there" yet to think we are crazy. Whenever we are in our right-state-of-mind, it is for the benefit of the person who is searching. And a person who is searching, doesn't "get" our outlandish excitement for Christ..... yet!

So.. it is for their benefit that we contain our random outburst in public. Else we would all be walking around the mall screaming at the top of the escalators JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But we don't... why?? Because we want people to think we are normal. (To Think is the operative phrase there! Ha!) Because we aren't normal. We're the righteousness of God in Christ, we're above average! But still, we want to carry on casual conversations (seasoned with salt) so that people can see a glimpse of the hope that we have. So they will want it. Then when they get it.... they will come to Christ... and then we can all be wierd for Jesus together and be one big happy family!

Anyway... I just thought that was kind of cool.....God can use us to advance His Kingdom if we're just our normal everyday self. That doesn't mean I'm saying don't express your excitement for God. By all means do!! Do cartwheels, stand on your furniture, cry out His Holy Name!.... BUT... the reminder is...there is a time to do so.. and a time to not. If we are in our right minds.. it's for the benefit of the person who hasn't fully "got it" yet. So we stay prepared, and in our right minds minister the message of grace to them. But none-the-less... if it seems we are crazy... it's to bring glory to our Father!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Moving On

Hey y'all! Well... the time has come for this season of internships to close. I finished my last day at Fox this morning, and I will be headed back to Augusta on Saturday to start school on Monday. It is a bitter sweet moment, because I am going to miss all my friends up here in Nashville like CRAZY. Just crazy.... but at the same time I am so pumped for school to start back. I feel very blessed to have stories to share of what I've learned with other students in my field. Too, the quicker school starts back.... the quicker December will come....and the quicker I will FINALLY GRADUATE COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh Lawd.... it's taken me almost six years to get a four year degree. Ha! So that will be a happy moment. The Lord has been so wonderful throughout this season, especially with the wonderful people who opened their homes to me. I am praying the Lord blesses them beyond measure. I know that everything that I have done was so ridiculously awesome..... and only God can be that cool.

I have all my boxes packed up. Wondering how it's going to fit in my car. Ha! But then tomorrow I get to hang out with all my gal pals from church and live it up for one more night. Jesus and Karaoke.... that's what we're doing! Also.... I want to remind you that my national tv debut (HA!! j/k) will air on August 21st. Remember??? The CMT Invitation Only Reba Special that I got invited to attend and got to ask a question (on camera) at? Well... that finally will air August 21st (Friday, I think) at 9pm Eastern/ 8pm Central on CMT. (Country Music Television) I have no clue what I sound like.... so I'll go ahead and ask you to pardon me if I sound or look embarassing in anyway. Ha! (They told us to be I was! LOL)

Lastly... I decided to share a couple of the stand-ups that I did at Fox with y'all. These will go on my resume reel (when I make it) to send out to all the places I'd be interested in working at. They are all different and about 12 seconds each. Also... I created the "script" all by myself on these.

Any favorites? Let me know what you think?..........unless you don't like it. Ha! But I feel these were okay. Remember that I am still brand spankin' new at this... and time and experience will only make me better. I look in the mirror everyday and tell myself that! (Ha! I'm totally joking!.......every other day.)

Thank you so much for being my friends and caring about and being interested in what happens in my life. Now on to the next phase. Love y'all!! Miranda

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

It was the last night of the week, the night in which the Spanish language calls Viernes. When we arrived the children were all smiles and their eyes beamed with anticipation of what we were going to do next. I remember when I stepped out of the van and walked around to where the kids could see me, I was flooded with several little brown hands wrapping themselves around my waist. Their voices floated through my ears as they were calling out to me in their language. What a sweet sweet sound.

I remember meeting those same precious children early Monday morning, July 20th, in the countryside outside of Acuña, Mexico. It’s amazing how kids will warm up to you. I walked in there trying to high five the kids and pull them up to dance, but all I got were stares that seemed to say “who is this crazy white girl?” But as the week progressed, the excitement surged and the crazy looks became anticipating smiles! I could walk in there and just high five rows and rows of anxiously awaiting kids!

I had been praying all week for the Lord to use me to minister to the children and speak of His Name in a way that they would understand and be attentive. Well, each morning we would have the kids do a craft. It was really hard sometimes, because I couldn’t say all the things I wanted to say. Thankfully one of the little girls in my group-Emily- could speak English. So I would have her translate a few things to the rest of my group. One day we were making these little “clapper” instruments. The clappers had three parts to them. The kids were decorating the outside of the instrument, and then I realized that the middle of the clappers could be decorated too. However you couldn’t see the middle unless you shook the clapper back and forth. Then it occurred to me that I could draw a cross on the inside! Then a sweet little ministering moment came to my mind and I pulled aside one of the translators that came from our church, James, to translate. I told the kids that I chose to draw a cross on the inside of my instrument; so that whenever I played it everyone could see that Christ is the center of my life. And wouldn’t you know, just about every child in my group chose to do the same thing. It was so precious to see those little hands drawing crosses!!!

Normally after dancing to Spanish praise songs, having the kids recite a Bible verse, and making a craft we would send the kids off with their instruments and remind them to meet us again in the evening. After eating lunch (which was sandwiches that we had packed) we would walk the streets of the neighborhood to seek out families in need of prayer. This was so wonderful, because at each house we went to, we were welcomed to invite the name of Jesus Christ and to pray in unison over various situations. One lady’s husband was in an accident and on top of that she had complications in her body. One man had an infection in his eye and was praying for healing. Others wanted prayer for their families and their children. One 20 year old wanted prayer for the baby inside her womb. Another lady was desperate for prayer over her husband who needed to have open-heart surgery and she was asking for peace of mind. There were two older women whose knees were weak and they were believing God for pain relief and restoration. The Spirit of God was just alive and moving amongst that little village in Santa Monica.

Not only did I witness the Lord working in the hearts of the people we were there to bless, I also noticed Him working in the hearts of all of us from the church. Especially me. One specific situation comes to my mind. There was one night that a little girl came up to me and told me that she was thirsty. Well… all I had was my water, and it was still early in the evening. I knew if I let her drink out of it then that was it… I wouldn’t drink out of it anymore. I really didn’t want to give it to her. I had been told that there was a water spicket around there somewhere, but I had never seen it and I didn’t know where to direct her to go. But just looking into her precious little eyes I couldn’t just tell her dry little mouth that I didn’t have water to give her…. I remembered the scripture in Matthew that says, “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink”….then I knew that I couldn’t let that precious angel go without a drink of water. Soon after I gave her a sip a few moments later a couple other children came up asking for water. Then it really touched my heart when an older lady came up and asked for water. Within moments my water bottle was empty…..I didn’t fear for my own hydration, because I knew in my heart that the Lord was pleased and He reminded me that I had Living Water flowing through my soul that would quench my thirst for the night. I knew that because I did it for the least, I did it for the Father.

Throughout the week, I was believing the Lord to reveal Himself in a new and refreshing way. As the scripture in Psalm says, “He is faithful to the faithful” and oh was He faithful! He completely surrounded me with His presence and decided to deepen my walk with Him a little more. I had been praying for an outpouring of His spirit to just move in my life and this trip to Mexico was the perfect place to for that to happen!!

One of my favorite moments was on the last night when Pastor Larry had called every one of the Mexican adults to the front for prayer. Then he called all of us Americans to lace the outside of the circle and to just pray for the people. I prayed and I prayed for those around me, but the moment I looked up I saw a lady that I had remembered seeing at the beginning of the night. When I had saw her earlier I remember thinking that she looked desperate for a touch from our Father. Since I was to go outside with the children, so when I walked by her, I just wanted to give her a Word….but the only Spanish phrase I could think of was “Mucho Bendiciones Senora”….. which was my way of wishing her many blessings.

So when back to when Pastor Larry was having us circle around the people….I saw this woman again. Though I couldn’t see her face, because I was behind her. I could read her body language. Her left hand was held up in front of her body close to her heart, and her right hand was just trembling in the air. Again, I sensed that she was desperate for a touch from the Father. So I broke out of the circle and began weaving through the people to where I was directly behind her. She never saw me, but she felt “the touch” of when I laid my hand on her back. It was almost instantaneous when I laid my hands on her, it sounded as if she just completely broke down. As if a big relief was lifted off of her shoulders. I began to pray under my breath for her, and then I began to move my hands from her shoulders to the top of her head. I’m not really sure why I did this. I could blame it on being a touchy-feely person…….. and it was a big risk, because this woman that I didn’t know may not have wanted me to touch her head. But I tell you… the moment that I did, she just started trembling. Again I couldn’t see her face, because I was behind her. But she started shaking and I could hear the sobs coming from her. Only the Lord knows what He was doing in her that night, but it was so amazing that she was able to feel Him…..not me……but feel Him and His love…His touch… all around her. It was Amazing.

Another story was when we had finished performing our dramas out in the plaza of Mexico. This short little Mexican man in a blue and white striped shirt approached a small group of us. He was probably in his late 30’s but looked as if he was much older. He just looked like a man who has had a hard life. And come to find out he had. He approached us seeking out prayer for his wife who has breast cancer. But then it became more of a confession time for him, he felt as if the enemy was attacking him from all areas and he couldn’t escape. He said that he wanted to live for the Lord and he wanted to do good things. He said he didn’t want to steal things; he wanted to pay for them. However, he can’t seem to break his cycle of sin and didn’t feel worthy. So, through the translator, I told him how our God is one of forgiveness and love. He erases the past and allows you to step foot into abundant living. That he could live in righteousness with Jesus.

We asked the man if he had Jesus in his heart…that if he had specifically prayed to receive Christ. He said he did, a long time ago… but it was almost as if he had closed the Lord off and wouldn’t let any of Christ live through him. So we prayed for the guy over everything specifically that he had asked for, and then we told him that God wanted him to recommit his life to Him. That from that moment on, everything bad he had done would not matter anymore, that Christ would take up his burdens and He could walk in freedom from sin. The guy was completely in tears during his confession, but after we prayed he seemed to have hope that the Lord would work in his life from that moment on. He walked away excited and eager to get into the Word and into church.

The Lord did some wonderful things in Mexico during the week of July 19, 2009. I am forever grateful that he provided through someone $400.00 to pay my way, and then another $100.00 for food and spending. But the most precious things I took away, money can’t buy. The special letters written in Spanish that the children wrote to me, and the things that have been written on my heart. Oh how I bless His name for that. I am so grateful that He chose to send me. So I will forever say, like Isaiah…”Here Am I! Send me.” Never underestimate what God can do and how He can provide. I thank Him so much for blessing me with this trip! I pray that the people who provided money, medicine, bedding, etc….. will be blessed 100-fold over. I look forward to going to Mexico again next year, should it be in His will, and I believe this experience has opened the door for many more mission trips. So here I am Lord! Send me!!!

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me
to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives… And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19

I have a couple of links for you to go to. One of them will direct you to a photo album of Mexico that is filled with several pictures that one of the guys on the trip took. BEAUTIFUL pics! I hope you will take a peek!

Also, here is a link of the drama that we did in the plaza!

It was truly an A-mazing week! Love y'all!Miranda

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I was asked a couple weeks ago to speak at the Young Adult gathering. I decided to tell my testimony and what the Lord has done in my life.

It's fun, because I've noticed that my testimony keeps getting longer and longer each time I tell it or each time I think about what the Lord's doing in my life. I know that it's not just because I'm long-winded, but He truly is working that much in and through me. Then He works all around me and gives me the priviledge to "see" the work of His fingers. Just AWESOME! I sure serve a wonderful God!

I feel like the Lord has done so many wonderful things, I just can't help but want to give back to Him. Wow, why would I not want to bless Him right back?! He blesses me so much, I want to almost "out-give" Him. Ha! If that even makes sense.

Okay, well I've been wanting to share with y'all ever sense it came to me to share at the meeting, because it really is something to think about. A few weeks ago, while I was washing my hair, I had this kind of epiphany...if you will. (Just stay with me here )

So.. I'm washing my hair and as I look up, I can see the shampoo bottle. Okay. It's Dandruff Shampoo, the Kroger brand.... and just for the's not because I have dandruff. We'll just say that I use it once a month because it smells too good to use it more. Ha! But I don't have dandruff.. just this little .....oh nevermind...that's besides the point.

Moving on! I was looking at the back of the bottle and because I'm bored.. I just start to read it. You know the Active Ingredents, Uses, Warnings, directions, inactive ingredients, all those things on labels like that.

Okay.. well it occured to me that the ingredients in that shampoo bottle are much like who we can be in Christ... how we can grow. So, imagine with me....let's just say we're this little molecule in the bottle of shampoo. So.. yes, once we've accepted Christ we're in the bottle! That's done! We're in Christ. WOOO HOOOO!!!!!!! Happy dance!

Then as we begin to walk with Christ.... and start to come out of the shampoo... we have a choice to make. We can be active or we can be inactive. It all works together to make the suds...but it's only the active ingredients that perform the desired function. The entire purpose of the product.

I've learned that Faith is a like a muscle and we can grow it if we want to.

We can choose to be the active ingredients that accomplish the purpose of the Lord in our lives.... or we can choose to be inactive. We're still going to heaven, but we choose to not bear fruit in our lives..we choose not to grow our faith or live closely with God. All we're doing is creating suds as the body of Believers but not anything more than that.

However, with being an active ingredient we choose to be fruitful and to perform the desired function. Not only are we creating suds as the body of Believers, but we are getting down and dirty and fulfilling our purpose!

God's "desired function" in our lives is to trust and obey Him and to live out the Great Commission and spread the good news of His one and only son, Jesus Christ who came to Save us and give eternal life to all who call upon His name. As a product of God, that is our be ACTIVE in our walk with Him!!

If we're not active.. we're still going to heaven. We're still getting all the benefits of eternal life.

But wow, to bless the Father and to be ACTIVE in what He wants and to experience the abundant living that only He provides in the here and now. It is just a wonderful way to live!!! And not only that, we are storing up our treasures in heaven. logic is... if I'm only here for a little while.... and I'm in heaven for eternity... why not bear fruit, please the Father, and store up treasures in Heaven. I mean... I want the whole shebang! Ya know? So.. I'm choosing to grow my Faith and be an active ingredient in the body of Christ and just dare to serve the Lord with everything that I have!

Wow! Isn't that so cool!! Now, you'll never look at the back of a Dandruff Shampoo bottle and not think of this e-mail. *wink*wink*

But it's simple..... Do you want to be active or inactive?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dribble it, pass it.....we want a basket!!

Have you ever been so caught up and consumed with everything that is going on around you? Getting so pressed down by life that it seems to overwhelm you and you feel like you're only just existing ...instead of living?

It kind of goes back to that age old feeling of standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming, yet not one person even flinches. The fake smile that you've painted on your face to walk around with, but the yearn to tuck away and hide so no one will get wind of your broken places.

However, a wise man once said, "There is no brokenness of heart of which Jesus cannot bind up." Wow. I don't know about you, but that is so incredibly reassuring to me.

There is no brokenness of heart of which Jesus cannot bind up. Just think, everything that we are going through, whether it be bad or good, crazy or calm, sad or happy, the Father will use to shape us into what He has planned for us, so that ultimately we may have the image of our Lord and Savior created in us. There was a passage of scripture that really just ministered to me this weekend. It's Deuteronomy closely,

"Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you."

Those verses just completely touched my heart. And this is why:

My life feels like basketball. (Not that I'm full of hot air either)......but that I am thrown from one place to another... and in between passes there is dribbling. I'm talking about some hardcore bouncing. Going from hand to pavement... from the palm of a hand to the pavement, dribbling up and down. Then a pass.. then dribbling... then a pass... then dribbling.

And over a period of time... we know the basketball will eventually begin to slowly deflate. Then someone has to pump it up again.

If you will "picture" with me for a second...a pair of hands and a basketball. Got it in your head??.......Good.

Imagine the pair of hands being our precious Father in Heaven. And of course the basketball represents us.

Well.. imagine the Father's hands passing the basketball (us) to its intended destination. Then there is dribbling and pounding and ups and downs. Then we are passed again..... Following me here?

Okay... well as the verses in Deuteronomy point out, the Lord instructs us to follow His commands. If He wishes to "pass" us around, He is going to pass us, and it is up to us to not let the other team knock us out of bounds but to stay in line with the primary will of the throw. We are to reach that destination that He intends for us to reach. I don't know about you, but that could seem like ALOT of pressure on a little ole basketball! But there should be no pressure... because with faith we know that the Father will be on the other side of the pass to catch us.

But even when we follow His command.... there is going to be some dribbling, HOWEVER; ya gotta catch the promise!!!!

The promise is... although there is going to be dribbling, He is wanting to see if we will obey. Testing our obedience to Him. He KNOWS that we will deflate a little over time, but He wants to see if we will obey, respect, and honor Him through the deflation and trust that He will be the one to fill us up when we honestly need it. He will cause us to hunger, but then He will feed us with manna. Oh wow, that just gave me chills!!!

And that's not even the end of it. If you will skim back to verse one.... we remember.....should we follow the LORD's commands...the bigger promise is that we will live and increase and will enter and possess the land that was promised to us. Now don't just think eternal life here (we are promised that with professing Christ as Lord... ka baam...that's a done deal)... but with obeying His commands while we're walking out our Christian walk, we are promised abundant living on earth. For the measure you use; it will be measured to you. (In Basketball terms.... we've scored a basket!!!)

If we will just obey and follow and trust.... we know, through the Word of God, that our clothes will not wear out and our feet will not swell.

As overwhelmed as I may get sometimes, I know that if I will just listen, trust, and follow the Lord... my God.... I will get one step closer to the promised land He has intended for my life... and I will experience His great plans for me.

He does His greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts.

Love y'all.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Need A Drink?

As the deer pants for streams of water; so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

Independence is, at some point in our lives, what we all strive for. Think about it… My four-year-old niece constantly tells me “I can do it Aunt Ran, I can do it by my own self”…. When my sister and I were younger and we were starting school there came that first day of school where we no longer wanted our parents to tag along with us while we entered into our new classrooms. As my niece would say, we could do it by our own selves. Ah yes,… then comes the time when we became teenagers and we worked to get our own cars, make our own money. Eventually we couldn’t wait to move out so that we could truly experience freedom……Independence.

Independence: Direction of one’s own affairs without interference.

Well.. It occurred to me today that I really am not an independent person. I rely heavily…and when I say heavily… I mean HEAVILY on my Faith in God. (I mean, who says yes to an internship without figuring out a place to live, how classes will work around it, or even if I’ll have enough money to do another unpaid internship….I mean, who in their right mind does that sort of thing?) Everyday I find myself more and more dependent on the Lord. I depend on His Word to get me through the day and direct me. I depend on that still small voice to lead me and correct me. I depend on my faith in him, I depend on His promises, I depend on His answers, and I depend on His love. Yep.. I’m very dependent…I totally count on God to lead me. I don’t fight for independence in my spiritual life, because I’ve realized that when I try to do things aside from Christ, I’m no good. Like.. for real. I stink. But yet… I can do all things through Christ (and then I have the wonderful fragrance of Christ!! *wink*wink*)

I’ve realized that the deer and I are very similar. Yep…besides us both being slim, sleek, muscular, and not to mention cute (ha!)….we both pant after what will replenish us. Especially after a strenuous run through the woods….just as the deer can’t live without water…I too am in need of a refreshment… I’m in NEED of God. I can not live with out Him. I can’t even stand with out Him. I look forward to revitalizing my spirit with His every day. Connecting with Him through quiet worship and alone time with Him. Now, I’ve already taken a drink of the living water that Jesus promised, so I‘ll not thirst for that any longer…that is a done deal.

In case anyone is wondering... I'll elaborate a bit …Just as we would be dehydrated without earthly water… we will be dehydrated without living water. Jesus is the only way to have living water (a.k.a. eternal life) ...In fact…. if it were to go long enough and we didn’t drink in the living water… we’d be a little more than dehydrated….we’d be suffocating in flames. (Whew.. glad that ain’t happening to me!)

I’m so glad that I have had a taste of that living water that my sweet Savior supplies. So I know that I will never be dehydrated again. I will never fall short of salvation. I will ALWAYS have that. AND it just blows me away that I can still have those rivers of living water flowing through my soul so that I may constantly have my spirit washed and full. Jesus will always be enough for me. He will always be the One who makes my cup overflow, and He will always be the One who lights my fire on a daily basis. He will always be the One that I love, and the One who will supply my every need according to His riches and glory.

So Yes….I’m happy to announce that I’m dependent on Him. I have complete faith that He has a purpose and a will over my life. So…with knowing that… He makes me just race towards Him… He makes me want to run as fast as I can to His feet…He makes me want to just run the race and fight the good fight and live according to His plan.

...just as the deer pants for the my soul pants after my Lord.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

~So...this is love~

I can’t explain why… but I feel embraced by the Lord tonight. I’m not sure why, because I’m not sad or upset….but, wow.. I can barely stand. I have tears that are just streaming from my face, because I can feel the presence of my Lord holding me and telling me that I am His child. Kind of like I'm in the garden alone with Him. It's so wonderful...

You know? Being younger… I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced real love… that is….until the sweet day that the Lord called my name and chose me to be His. Ever since then my heart has been given away to the One who makes me feel whole. That kind of Love just scoops me off my feet and makes me want to be a better person.

The way He chooses to speak to my heart, the way He chooses to direct me and guide me, and the way He lets me know that I am His…….wow… it truly just makes me weak in the knees. My knees get so weak that I can’t even stand… I’ve finally realized why the common prayer position is on your knees, not just as a way to humble ourselves before God….

…but....with me...because He just makes me want to surrender everything that I that I may embrace the comfort of His unfailing Love ….and, WOW, it‘s a Love so strong that... moments like this, I can‘t even stand… but He catches me when I fall. I’m convinced that He catches me with His hands…only His hands are disguised as my knees, because when I‘m on my knees… there is this strong sense of enveloped comfort that I feel....truly an amazing grace.

I am not reluctant...AT ALL... to say that He has my heart, my whole heart…. And the way that He can strum the strings of my heart…..brings passion unlike any other. Makes me want to stay in the garden with Him. Always.

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ea
rThe Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him'
Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Work of Your Fingers

I love looking at the clouds. Each one has a unique shape, and a unique form. Some are beautiful, full and fluffy. Some are long, elegant, and whispy. And some have shapes that cater to each imagination that dares to dream upon it. I guess the phrase “head in the clouds” can be tacked to me. I’m always staring up at them… always looking at the shapes… always admiring the beautiful creation that forms in the sky each day. Oftentimes, I’ll pretend that it’s a canvas. Sometimes when I look up… I don’t see the sky. If I close my eyes and re-open them…. There is the most beautiful ocean that anyone has ever seen. The white ripples of the tide lay stationed in place, adorning the sky with its ever still, breathtaking beauty. Isn’t it wonderful? The Artist who formed man from dust and fashioned woman… is the same One who created the beautiful masterpieces that frame our lives every day. The One who is the Keeper of all creation and the One who lets His wonderful works be displayed throughout all the nations. He chooses to let His splendor linger everywhere.....even in the clouds!

Everywhere. Wow, think about it? That is a vast range of places, yet it is where we can always find the presence of our LORD. In Psalm 139: 9-10,

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

King David, Israel’s greatest King, revealed that God’s presence isn’t that of a spectator. He doesn’t just stand on the sidelines...instead…He prefers to be attached at the hip, I think! God was always at David’s side with extended arms. He was always there to lead, guide, correct, and direct him. God’s right hand was right there… ready to hold him up. Isn’t it awesome that He is the same way with us!! One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 41:10 (the second half)…

“…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I want that kind of strength in my life! You want to know something funny? Just yesterday I saw a cloud that reminded me of this verse! Ha! No joke... it looked like a hand… and the way it was angled... you could so tell it was a RIGHT hand. And it was ironic that I saw that and was reminded of that verse… because I was driving from Milledgeville; where I had met my friend who is watching my Chihuahua, Tipi, for the next four months. It was a very hard drive for me because I LOVE that dog. She’s my baby, and it was just tearing me up that I had to send her away. But, in my heart, I believe that was God’s way of reminding me that’s He is everywhere, that He is with my doggie and that He is with me, and He will hold us both up as I venture off and try to live in His will.

Get this.... this is so fun!! Did you know that God is omnipresent?! God’s omnipresence means that God is present in ALL places. There isn’t a place that doesn’t have the presence of God, and not only do all places have the presence of our great God… but He is completely present in every place. You don’t just have Him there half-hearted upon your life. He is right there, and He has His whole heart wrapped around your life and wrapped around my life. Yeah, don’t even try to think about it… it is beyond us and you’ll probably get a headache if you try to understand it with human reasoning. Ha! It’s not just what King David penned through the words of the Holy Spirit upon him….it’s the same thing our Savior said to the disciples before He descended back to heaven after His glorious resurrection that gave us His righteousness and freed us from the bondage of sin. Jesus said,” And surely I am with you ALWAYS, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:20 ……

Immanuel: “God with us.” Isn’t that awesome?!?!?!

That is definitely a Word of encouragement as this New Year begins… to know that no matter where this year takes us… God is always right there with us, so why worry? Just listen to the first half of Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God…”

Lord, The work of Your fingers (Psalm 8:3)...even in the clouds... is SO incredibly awesome to me! Thank You so much for everything that You are and everything that You do. Thank You for Your awesome omnipresence. Lord, may I always remain in You, so that You will remain in me (John 15:4). May I always draw near to You, so You will draw near to me (James 4:8.) May my eyes remain fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2) so that I may never miss a moment to recognize His splendor or bring glory to His Name. May I remain in Your Word to receive direction this next year, and may I not just be a “hearer” but a “doer” (James 1-22.) As Beth Moore says, I want a Jesus-year! Lord, I want to witness scripture being fulfilled in my own life and being obedient and faithful to Your Word, living it out, and trusting Your commands …and by doing keeping at it… I know that I will receive the blessings that You have to offer! So, I will not fear what this New Year brings…for I know that You are MY GOD! WoO hOo!! In Jesus’ name… Amen!