Monday, March 28, 2011

You're Beautiful

Photographer, graur codrin

I will admit that I find it difficult to read the directions for the tabernacle, the alter, the courtyard, the lighting and even the clothing for the priests found in Exodus 29-30. I caught myself wondering “how can I apply this to my life?” I had to take a step back. All scripture is God breathed. There must be a reason it is located in the Bible. There must be something here that I can learn. “Ok Holy Spirit, where is it?”

I love being around women. It has taken me a while to find true friends and to learn each of their special qualities. I have learned to appreciate each of them for their uniqueness. Loving people exactly as they are, is a gift from God and it takes practice. I am not always good at this, but I am learning. There is one thing, however, that still bothers me about women. I don’t like to hear anyone cutting themselves down.

“I’m too big (or fat).”

“I’m not pretty enough.”

“I can’t...”

“I’ll never be able to...”

God does not make mistakes (Numbers 23:19). He is perfect and does everything for His specific purpose and according to His plan.

We are His creation, made in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27). He knit us together (Psalm 139:19) exactly the way He wanted us. Why do we question God and His work?

Believing these lies keep us from fulfilling the plan that God has for us. These lies keep us captive and keep us stuck. These lies combat our faith. By holding on to these lies we are trusting in them rather than trusting in God.

So what does this have to do with the directions for the tabernacle? The tabernacle was a holy place. However, it was a tent, a structure where His spirit would be present. How much more does God care about you? If He put that much time into the planning and the specifics of a tent, how much more did He put into the planning of you? If He was that detailed and careful and creative about the clothing of the priest, how much thought did He put into you, a person that He loves totally and completely. He loves you, just as you are and He sent His son to die for you, just as you are (John 3:16). You are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) and He created you, knowing that His spirit would live in you. You are His child and He is well pleased.

What lies are you believing? 
What lies are you holding on to? 

“Beautiful” by Mercy Me

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His

You’re beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight

Cuz you are more than what is hurting you tonight

For all the lies you’ve held inside so long

But they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

Father I know that You love me just as I am. I am sorry for speaking against and questioning Your masterpiece. Please show me the lies that I have been holding on to. Christ died to release me from everything that is holding me captive. I want to leave all of the lies behind me, but I am not strong enough to do it alone. I need You. Please help me to move ahead. Give me eyes to see me just as You see me. I love You and I love everything that You have created. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Packing My Baggage

Photographer: winnond
Just over twenty four hours ago, I received the most amazing news. I started the morning dealing with the emotions of not winning the She Speaks scholarship. I was disappointed, but I went back to the words God had spoken to me last week, "Go. I will make a way".

God is not human, that he should lie, 
not a human being, that he should change his mind. 
Does he speak and then not act? 
Does he promise and not fulfill?

-Numbers 23:19

I believed Him. If it was not through the scholarship, it would be through another source. As I was working on some writing, I received a message on my blog:

Hi Lynnette,

I have some wonderful news for you :)

After reading your scholarship entry, someone felt God nudging she and her husband to pay your registration fee so that you can attend the conference this year! This anonymous donation is clearly God's provision, and His intent for you to attend She Speaks this year.

Please email me as soon as you can so that I can get you registered :)

And... congratulations!

LeAnn Rice
Proverbs 31 Ministries

I was shocked! Somehow, my best friend has a sense about these things, she called me at the exact moment I was reading the message. She and I laughed together and praised God for His provision. My mom was the next call followed, of course, by my sister-in-law. She was driving back to work from lunch. Just a minute she said, "I have to pull over. I can't see." She and I talked for a few minutes and cried for a couple. Even though we were thousands of miles apart, I have never felt closer to her. "Keep me updated on everything," she requested later, via text. "Of course I will," I responded. "You are part of this now."

It is so easy to get sidetracked by negative feelings, emotions and thoughts. These are the times we need to draw closer to God and His truth. In our Bible Study yesterday, Beth Moore said, that the enemy wins when he silences our testimony. When we are quiet about the great things that God has done, when we don't share the amazing gift of our Savior, the enemy speaks. The devil will do anything to undermine our personal testimony and witness because he knows the power that it holds. Beth went on to say that while we are waiting for the big victory, we should look for the little battles where the enemy is defeated. We are more than conquerors. We are more than over comers. We are not fragile. Although we feel insecure, we are victors!

That is why Christ died. So that the victory would be ours!

I encourage you to think about your testimony. Look at the little battles where you have been victorious. Think about the times that He has been faithful when everything else seemed to be crumbling around you. You were made to be victorious. You were made to be blessed and highly favored. No matter what the world is telling you, the truth comes from Him.

Heavenly Father, I am humbled by Your blessings this week. I am in awe of You and all that you do to meet my needs abundantly. I confess that there are times I forget that You are in control and that everything will work according to Your purpose and plan. Teach me the way to be strong in Jesus. I know that I am not capable of accomplishing great things on my own, but, with You, nothing will be impossible for me. I love you with all of my heart. Amen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm not a writer, I'm an artist!

I went to school for art. Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in art. I have entered many pieces into many art shows. So where did this come from? I have asked God that question so many times.

About a year ago, a friend in Bible study set up a blog so that our group could communicate throughout the week. I will confess that I did not know much about blogging. I glanced at the blog she had set up for us and didn't give it much thought. Later in the week, however, it came back to me. I was studying and found something that I just had to share with my friends. I was hooked! I immediately set up my own blog and began sharing on a regular basis.

My thoughts are simple. I won't be solving major world issues anytime soon, but I share the stories and lessons that God has taught me. I know I am not the only one working to live a life that pleases Him. I pray that the words will encourage or shine a light into another life.

As I became more interested in blogging, I came across the Proverbs 31 women and I learned about the Annual She Speaks Conference. "That's interesting", I thought. The seed was planted. Every time I dared to dream, however, the enemy would whisper,  "You're not a writer." "What are you doing?" "That is a waste of time."

Or perhaps, it was my own insecurity.

In September of 2010, I made a new friend. She had attended She Speaks that summer. She offered me her notebook and all of the information she had received. She lit up when she recounted the time she spent with other women who were striving to learn and share His Word. She mentioned her desire to attend again. I dared to dream, and the whispers returned.

I continued to write. I love the preparation spent in quiet time and in prayer before I write.

Please God, use me as your voice today. What do you want to share? There is someone who needs to hear from You. What do you want me to write?

He is so faithful in His answers. I began praying about the conference. As a stay-at-home mom, we are raising a family on a single income. The thought of taking the money from our family was too much for me to imagine. I prayed more.

Last week God answered, "Go, I will provide the way and I will bless your time spent there."

Ok, God if you want me to go, I am trusting you. I began my "faith and footwork" (a quote from my favorite cheerleader). I sent a prayer request to my best prayer warriors. The responses were filled with encouragement, hope and faith. I was so grateful to my loving family. But, among their support, the whispers were still there. "This is silly." "What will this accomplish?"

Yesterday, as I was talking to my best friend on the phone, I began looking through the mail. There was an envelope from Tennessee, my sister-in-law. I wasn't expecting anything. It is always nice to get a real letter for no apparent reason. The front of the card said, "Faith". I opened it up and there were only a few short sentences:

I prayed...
God said "Give"...
So you can "Go"....
And follow the plans He has for you!

There was a check to get me started. I was stunned. I was speechless. My poor friend was on the other end of the phone trying to figure out what had happened. "Spit it out" she said. "I can't I replied". Tears filled my eyes until I could no longer see.

Her words meant more to me than I could ever express to her. I am so thankful that she prayed. I am so thankful that she listened and obeyed. But I will forever treasure her support. I believe in you. They are such simple words and they came at the moment that I needed them most.

Why do I want to go to the conference? I believe I am meant to be there. I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for me. I believe that God likes to use the least likely to accomplish great things. Because then all will know it was God that made it happen. The glory belongs to Him.

I would like to tell you that the whispers have stopped. They haven't, but I have started talking back.

Forget the former things;
   do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
   and streams in the wasteland. 
-Isaiah 43:18-19

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spiritual Poverty

Last month, our church provided a service opportunity that our family could not pass up. Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Christian organization committed to feed God's starving children throughout the world. They shared a story that has stuck with me and came back to my mind recently. The speaker told us about Haitian biscuits. The biscuits are made of mud, mixed with water, salt and vegetable shortening or butter. The biscuits are dried in the sun and have no nutritional value. Desperate women who cannot afford rice, have started feeding these biscuits to their babies. The mud does not give the baby any nourishment, it tricks the stomach into feeling full, therefore, the baby stops crying.

FMSC is a great organization, and I encourage you to help those in need, but that is not the purpose of this blog. God has been talking to me about the idea of Spiritual Poverty.

It wasn't long ago that I felt I was not getting all that I should out of my walk as a Christian. I read the Bible and began to understand more. I read about the fullness of God, abundant living and unmeasurable joy. Why wasn't I experiencing any of that? I wanted more! That is when I began my journey of studying, reading and searching. I felt like a sponge soaking up anything I could get my hands on that came from a trusted source. I wanted to drench myself in the living water that I had read so much about and I couldn't get enough.

This is when I noticed the biggest change in my life, and I was not the only one who sensed the change.

So what was the difference?

I was looking for my own faith. Living on someone else's faith will only get us so far. If we are not experiencing it for ourselves, we are not really living in the abundant blessings that God has prepared, just for us. We are living on the leftover blessings of another person.

There are so many people who go to church and leave feeling empty. They put their time in and leave unchanged, not encouraged to do more, they are still hungry. I beg you, do not ignore this feeling! God has created you for so much more. He has given you so much more. He does not want you living on empty.

Living on empty is a dangerous place! When we are not filled with Him, we look to other things to fill us up. Bad relationships. Pornography. Shopping. Alcohol. Affairs. Drugs. Food. TV. None of these things  will truly fill us. They will trick us into feeling full, but there is no nutritional value in these things. Once the high is gone, we are looking for more.

So what are we to do?

First, look at your church. Is the Holy Spirit present there? A good church will produce abundant fruit. Before anyone gets upset or concerned, I am not telling you to leave your church! But, there are times that God wants us to move. I have a good friend that was very involved with the Women's Ministry at her church. She was the leader of this ministry and doing great things. Not long ago, she began feeling unsettled and she felt as though God was preparing her to move. She met with her Pastor, her mentor and other people she trusted. She and her husband prayed and fasted before making any decisions. This is not a decision to take lightly, significant prayer is necessary.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. Are you being fed on a regular basis? Not every message will stir you into action, but more often than not, you should feel the message speaking directly to you. Is there encouragement to deepen your relationship with God and others? Are there good Bible based studies and fellowship opportunities for you to be involved with? Are there service opportunities? God wants us to reach out to others, we should be serving people in the name of Jesus. Are there Godly people in leadership? What is their relationship with Christ? What fruit are they bearing? Are they teaching you how to find your own relationship or are they feeding you the leftovers of their relationship? These are questions to help you, but ultimately, you need to seek God and his direction. If He is leading you to move, He will bless your obedience!

If you are pleased with your church and all that it has, then I encourage you to try something nes! Ask God to show you where He wants you to go. Ask a reliable source what they are doing to strengthen their relationship with Christ. Call your church and get information about the different classes or groups that are available. Start a Bible study on your own. God is the best teacher! He will show you things that are specifically for you and your current season. There are great resources online for Bible reading plans, the one that I use, is from a friend's website.

I encourage you to step out on faith! God has given you the hunger for more and He will feed you! He does not want any of His children to be looking elsewhere for nourishment. He has exactly what you need.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” - Luke 11:9-13

Father God, you are the giver of all good things. I confess that I have not been living my life to the fullest. Lord, there is something missing, and I know that it is You. Guide me in the direction that You want me to go. Lead me to the place where I can find You more fully and more completely. I do not want to fill my life with the things that don't satisfy me. I want to be complete in Christ, just as you promised in Your Word (Colossians 2:9-10). I believe that You will give what I ask according to Your Word and I thank you for that. Amen.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Photographer: Suat Eman

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors 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.

Deuteronomy 8:3

For those who have been following my blog for awhile, you may remember that last year I decided to read through the Bible in 90 days. I started June 1 and finished on August 28, 2010. I love a challenge and I wanted to read through the Bible. This challenge was a perfect fit for me.

I will admit that I did not gain a tremendous amount of knowledge during this reading. There were scriptures that jumped out that I had to hi-lite, but for the most part, I was reading to get through it. I know that this sounds bad, but the organization that wrote the challenge actually encouraged this. Their reasoning was, that while we could/should enjoy the experience we could easily get discouraged if we spent the time on comprehension and digging deeper. I needed the permission, to just read and not worry or feel concern for the things I didn't understand.

I cannot tell you the sense of accomplishment that I had, after completing the challenge. I did a little research today. 100 million Bibles are sold each year, throughout the world. As of 1992, there were an estimated 6 billion Bibles in the world. 92% of American homes have at least one Bible, but the average number of Bibles per American home is three. These numbers amazed me. The numbers are estimates, apparently, there have so many Bibles printed, they do not have specific numbers. Wow! How cool is that? I love that God's Word is so accessible.

Unfortunately, the good news ends here. I had a lot of trouble finding accurate information regarding people actually reading the Bible. The most reliable information that I could find, reported that only about 10% (or less) of church attenders have read the Bible in it's entirety. Approximately 37% of church attenders read the Bible weekly and average about 50 minutes per week.

I don't want anyone to feel bad or guilty about where they fall within these numbers. Please remember that I read the entire Bible for the first time, less than a year ago. I am not trying to point fingers or call anyone out. I want to encourage you! As I journey through the Bible for the second time (more slowly), I realized that reading the Bible has changed my life in so many ways.

We are bombarded with information and so much of it is not healthy for us. There are so many sources that fill our mind; news, television, radio, movies, books, magazines. If you eat bad food, your body will not work properly. Likewise, what you are putting into your mind is going to be evident in your words, deeds and actions. Garbage in, garbage out.

I know some people will disagree with me, but the Bible is my dose of reality.

The Bible is what I want to base my life upon. It's better than the "reality" of TV that could lead to the demise of my marriage or family.

The Bible is what I want to teach my children. I want them to treat others with kindness and respect, not learn that the only way to get ahead is to step on the people around them or degrade them.

The Bible is what I want to believe about myself. God looks at my heart, not my outside that does not look like a supermodel. And, no matter how many times I mess up during the day, He still loves me, exactly as I am.

The Bible is what I want to use as my compass. I don't want to make decisions based on what the most popular talk show says is "right".

I would encourage you to get your Bible out, dust it off and open it up. Watch one less show per day and read a couple of chapters. It won't take much for your life to be influenced for the better. No time spent with God will return void. He will bless you!

Don't be afraid of what you don't understand. If you want, you can look it up. If you don't feel led to do research, move on. There is something that God wants you to know today and He will provide the wisdom you need to understand it and apply it!

The more time we spend in the Word, the more we will reflect our Father. To me, that is an awesome promise!

Lord, you have made Your Word so accessible and I confess that I have taken that for granted. You have given me a road map for my life and I have not looked at it as much as I should. Please give me a hunger for your word. There is something missing in my life and it can only be satisfied with more of You. Please teach me and show me Your way. I will do my part of making the time and reading. I know that you will fulfill Your part, of teaching and supplying the wisdom I need. Thank You Lord for my Bible. Amen


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