You Can Because I Am

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Her life didn’t turn out the way she planned. Everything was a struggle, from childhood to adult, it was a constant struggle; as if she was under a curse.

All her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

As a child she would envy other children who had parents who loved them. She wanted to be like the other girls who walked with their heads high and carefree. She wanted friends to laugh with and parents to ask her how her day was.

Of course, she over compensated for the affection she hungered for, her flirts for love and validation only left her with deeper wounds. She was misguided by her skewed perception of what love is, mistaking touch and empty words from lovers as the real; even though, deep inside, she knew…

Yes, all her life all she ever wanted was to be loved.

Years have passed, five husbands and the lovers in between have come and gone. Resolved in her belief that it was too late for her, she settled and accepted this is as good as it will ever get.

Everyday she would go out of her way to avoid people. Her dreams were replaced with shame, regret, and disappointment.

But…

A day, a Man, a God, that changed her life forever!

There He was at the well. The audacity He had to even talk to her. Didn’t he know who she was? He must not be from around here, because if He were then He would know to not talk to her; if He wanted to save His reputation.

But…

He did talk to her!

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He asked her for a drink? Really? The nerve! She had nothing to give and she was on guard because she couldn’t trust the kindness in His voice. There was definitely something different about Him. He wasn’t undressing her with His eyes. He didn’t talk down to her or try to puff her up with flattery and false compliments.

He didn’t even seem to notice her uncomfortableness (even though she was intrigued, there was something about Him) He talked to her with respect and dignity. Ah, yes, dignity… as if she was someone.

She felt drawn to Him, but she needed to be on guard; she couldn’t trust men.

No matter how she tried to talk circles, He brought it back to her; her need.

She learned to never look a man in the eyes. She had been cast down so low she couldn’t even look up.

But…

This man! There is something different about Him. He told her everything about her and for the first time she didn’t feel judged. It was as if He knew her personally and still He was not ashamed of her.

She felt it in His words. She felt it in His tone.

Her eyes went from looking at her feet, across the ground, to His feet and then up, slowly up… to His eyes.

He paused.

She paused.

He smiled.

“I Am.” He said.

It was then she knew… she was looking into the eyes of God!

Her life will never be the same. She no longer looked at her past with regret and shame.

I Am set her free!

I Am wants to set you free, too, Beloved.

Are you at the well of decision? Have you been beaten down? Do you feel like this is as good as it gets? Oh, my friend, there is a more abundant life waiting for you at the well.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Read this and listen to this while you read and let it sink in! There is no chain His love can’t break!

Be Free & Stay Free

Come Home

 

 

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I can’t think of a worse place to be than in a backslidden state; to know Jesus and then try to hide from Him.

It is folly to think we, His children, could hide from Him. He promised He would never leave us. Seriously, it is impossible to not be in His sight.

But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it?

A few years ago I was foolish enough to try hiding from Him. When it seemed everything in my life was coming undone; I grew weary and began to rely on myself instead of trusting Him. In disobedience, I made one bad decision after another. I was on a slippery slope and boy was I sliding back fast. What a mess I made!

imagesYou see, that’s what happens when we give in to “thoughts” and emotions. The enemy uses our injuries to drown out the voice of God and then we find ourselves in a dark place, believing lies, and hiding from the truth.

I was once like Peter. Remember when everyone was running from Jesus and He turned to His disciples and asked them, “Will you also go away? Do you too desire to leave Me?” And Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

After we have tasted and seen that God is good, it is a bitter pill in our bellies when we walk away.

I had mistaken conviction for condemnation. I was living in fear and depression. I opened myself up for all kinds of demonic attacks. Because of my injuries, I injured others and there was nothing I could do in my own strength (or cleverness) to stop it. God’s love for me allowed me to come to the end of myself.

I do not recommend backsliding. But, if you are already there, if your feet have already begun to go in the wrong direction, stop! You can turn around now. You do not have to be afraid or think you have committed the unpardonable sin. God is not angry with you, He is for you, not against you.

He loves us enough to give us a free will to choose. It is not His will or purpose for us that we should be in a position of injury; it is by our own choice.

Even though Peter was so confident he would never leave Jesus; he did. The same Peter who said he would die for Jesus still denied Him; not once, but three times!

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Did Jesus stop loving him? No! Did Jesus know Peter was going to deny Him? Yes!

We can learn much through Peter about the love of Christ.

Can you imagine for a moment? Peter walked with Jesus His entire ministry; side by side with God. He witnessed the miraculous! He watched Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead! Peter walked on water with Jesus. Now you would think there could never be a way for Peter to deny Jesus, but he did.

Before we can come down so hard on Peter and naively declare, “Well! I would never deny Jesus after seeing all He had done;” take an inventory of how many times God has answered our prayers and still there have been times of doubt in our own mind.

Peter was broken. Strong, boisterous, quick to speak, Peter, was broken. But he didn’t stay broken. He grieved, repented, was forgiven, and then was used mighty by God.

I had finally come to the end of myself. I was so low the only way to go was up.

One night I was awakened by a clear voice, “Romans 8:28.” I tuned on the light, grabbed my Bible and read:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

In brokenness and repentance I cried out to God and in mercy and love He answered. This was the beginning of my restoration. There are no surprises with God, He knows it all, He knows our coming and going, our sitting and standing.  Where can we go that He is not already there? (Psalm 139)

Where could I go from Your Spirit?

Or where could I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139: 7-14

Beloved, where are you? Are you ready to lay down the guilt and shame? No matter what you have done, there is no sin greater than His forgiveness. Confess your sin, He knows it anyway, repent and turn back to Him. This is the Father’s heart; to leave the 99 and go after the one lost sheep.

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There is no condemnation for those who are in Him. His forgiveness is available; His love is without measure, unfailing, and never ending.

Search me, Father, know my heart and renew a right spirit within me. I confess my sins to You and I thank You for Your forgiveness. Fill me, God, with Your Spirit and steady my feet on Your straight path so that I will not stray away again. Hedge me in so I will know Your borders and boundaries. Thank You for working in me for the good and for Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Me, JJ, & Jesus

 

 

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The best gift I ever received is JJ; my little four legged buddy. He was just a puppy, barely able to climb a curve, when he moved into our hearts. He is three years old now; I think that is 21 in dog years.

I was never really a fan of small dogs; until now. Perhaps it is because I always viewed small dogs as just little yappers. At least with big dogs you can have some kind of protection. My view has certainly changed since JJ.

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JJ follows me everywhere. If I sit, he sits beside me. He presses himself up against me, or hops on my lap, and there he will rest. When I move, he moves. When I go to bed he follows me into the bedroom and hops on his pillow and sleeps on the floor beside me. He seems to have a sense about him, no matter how deep asleep he is the moment, I get out of bed he is right there beside me following me around the apartment; watching and waiting.

He enjoys car rides; he has traveled across country several times. No matter if it is a short ride or a cross country trip JJ is right there beside me, sitting on the middle console looking out the window, happy to be with me. When he was a puppy my husband and I would sneak him into stores with us, he fit perfectly inside my bag.

drive 9When he can’t go on outings with us, we return home to him waiting by the door for us, tail wagging, smile on his face, and usually with one of his favorite toys in his mouth.

Everyone knows JJ, he is friendly and happy.

This morning JJ was sitting in front of me, his head tilted, looking at me with his gentle black eyes and a smile on his mouth… he had a look of anticipation, yet he seemed so content to just be with me. I had to smile, pat him on his head, tell him what a good boy he is and how much I loved him and then I had a thought; be like JJ.

Stay with me here…

JJ knows I love him. He feels safe and has never experienced anything but love. I supply his needs, feed him, love him, and care for him. He could be spoiled, but he doesn’t know he is because this is all he has ever known. Even when he has been corrected and disciplined he is still confident in my love and care for him. And if we cross paths with a bigger dog who is not very friendly, JJ finds his refuge hiding behind my legs.

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I am learning an important lesson from JJ. His complete trust and faith in me raised a question in me…

The moment he tilted his head and his eyes met mine I heard the question; “Do I trust and love God this much? Is He truly the center in my life and does everything revolved around Him?”

You see, even when I walk in the door without a surprise treat to give JJ, he is still happy to see me. Or when I have to discipline him, he does not cower from me, he immediately jumps up on my lap safe in my care for him. When he can’t see me, he knows I will return and I haven’t abandoned him.

Simply put… he trusts me.

My question to you is… Do you trust Him?

A rescue dog who has been abused can still heal and thrive and learn to trust, in the care of a good owner. (I am in NO way comparing us to dogs, I am just using this as an example. Although I do think we could learn a lot from them) Most of us have been deeply wounded and we carry the injuries like a badge. We are afraid to trust and let go.

But Jesus says, “Trust Me. Come to Me.”

He will never abandon you, He will never forsake you. He will deliver you. He will provide for you. And yes, there is always room for you in His arms and on His lap.

Pray this: 

Father, heal me, lead me and reveal Yourself to me, give me the revelation of You and help me to never stray, but to always stay close to You, not relying on my own sight but in complete confidence You are with me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Be Free & Stay Free 

 

Spiritual Father’s Day

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This is for all the Spiritual Fathers out there and to all the men who answered the call and gave…

You may never know on this side of eternity the impact you have had and the difference you made, but God knows, and the fatherless children know.

Thank you for standing up and being the face of our Father when there was no father. You have never looked more like Christ than when you loved a child that was not your own, or when you came alongside a young man to mentor him, or gave validation to a young girl’s worth.

When you chose to stand in the gap and love, sacrificing time, life, finances, and sleep…

You became the shield between the fatherless and hell; you led them closer to the Father. You taught a young boy what a man is, you helped a young girl know her worth, you impacted a generation for the Kingdom of God. It may have seemed like such a small thing at the time, but believe me… nothing done for God’s children is small or insignificant.

To all you spiritual fathers who may or may not have had children of your own-

Thank you! God Bless you!

I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you. -John 14:18

“I will establish My covenant (everlasting promise) between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly [through your descendants].” – Genesis 17:2

 

 

 

 

 

Real Love, His Love

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There is comfort in love; safety and freedom.

What freedom and security to be completely vulnerable and naked, knowing you are loved and cared for, no matter the flaws, because your Beloved loves you unconditionally.

Such love is willing to lay His life down for you, defend you, hold you, care for the things you care for- never looking at your concerns as trivial.

This love holds you when you are sick, walks with you, leads you, and wipes every tear from your eyes. He rejoices with you, celebrates you, encourages you, and loves you for you, because He knows you (even the things you try to hide). He is quick to forgive, never keeping tallies of your wrongs, and sees the best in you.

You trust this love, because He always keeps His promises, He is never late, and gifts to you more than you could ever hope for.

He never rejects you, ignores you, or is ever too busy for you. He speaks tenderly to you, His voice resonates within you, His voice is the sound of mighty rushing waters washing over you with waves of peace.

Every need you have, He provides. Every injury, He heals. His love is the most intimate of all loves.

Accepting and knowing His love frees you to love others; including yourself. It chases away every fear and you rest in the knowing, He is always with you. There is true protection in His love.

My friend, do you know this love? Are you truly experiencing the intimacy of Him? Do you desire His love to wrap around you like a warm hug that never lets go? Because He is here and His desire is for you.

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There is no need to search for people or things to fill this need for love. Even mans best effort is nothing in comparison to Him. Once you know Him and how much He loves you, you will no longer be afraid to let go of some things or people. You will humbly hold your head high and walk with dignity, because when you know the King’s love for you you will reject every thought, anything, or anyone who dares to entice you from your birth right as a daughter (or son) of the King of Kings.

The Lord appeared to me (Israel) from ages past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you…” Jeremiah 31:3

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Why Forgive?

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This is what forgiveness does…

… it frees us!

When we can see the offender as someone trapped in their own nightmare, a victim (because without Christ that is what we are) then we have better understanding.

When we suffer for Christ, we suffer as Christ did, for a people who had no light or understanding.

Forgiveness does NOT excuse the offense, it frees you to move on pass the offense, it breaks the chain of bondage. It is freedom!

Forgiveness is the language of God, It is a blueprint to your future.

Beloved, I know you hurt, but it was not from God. Give it to Him and He will turn it into something beautiful! He promises!

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Lily of the Valley

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I am sitting at my laptop and wanting to write a post to inspire and encourage. You ever have those moments where your thoughts are being so consumed with the love of God and you want to share it? Such love can not be contained.

I can not put my thoughts into a single coherent post, but I know there is someone out there who just needs to be reminded how much He loves you.

I submit this to you and I hope as you listen to this, you allow yourself to meditate on our One Hope and Redeemer and Lover of our souls.

 God [in His eternal plan] chose to make known to them how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in and among you, the hope and guarantee of [realizing the] glory.

Colossians 1:27

Be Free & Stay Free