Me, JJ, & Jesus

 

 

me and jj 3

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.

jj

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.

child

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 

 

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What Are You Searching For?

Man-searching

We look high and low for something to numb us or someone to fulfill us.

Addictions come in many forms. Drugs, alcohol, relationships, impulse shopping, social media, etc…

Because there is that something in each of us that is reserved for Him. He planted it in us. Because He desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He loves us that much and He is a jealous God, that is why nothing or no one can fill that void we have. He said it is for Him.

The beauty of this is…. what we can not do for ourselves, He can and will do it for us.

Look as much as you want… but until you call His Name, Jesus, you will never find what you are looking for.

Come home to Him. He loves you!

Nobody Greater (click here)

Be Free & Stay Free 

Presence of affliction does not mean the absence of favor

TD Jakes posed the question, can God trust you with the trouble?

Mary, blessed and highly favored, pregnant out of wedlock, the wedding she envisioned… gone, rode on the back of a donkey (in labor), to give birth to a child in a barn, to flee with her husband because there were those who sought to kill her child,  to endure the mocking of the judgmental people because her child was not her husbands, to endure all of this… to watch her son be crucified… and she was favored?

If you were to endure this… would you still believe you are blessed and highly favored?

Thanks be to God, His ways are higher than our ways. Praise Him He is not hindered by our narrow mindedness.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you wont have fear.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you will not face tribulations and frustrations.

You can have visitation from an angel and still ride on a donkey. That which you have received can be of God and you may still be surrounded by the demonic. Your job is to survive it all.  -TD Jakes

Thank You, Jesus. It is not our holiness, it is Yours. Help us to be consistent even when we are confused. Help us to trust you even when all hell is coming against us. Birth in us that which you have planted in us. Strengthen us to be guardians to the vision you have given us. There may be a bounty on the head of our calling, but You alone, O’ Lord, are faithful and true. Let Your will be done and may You find us trustworthy to rest in You even when we are running and fighting. Thank You, Lord, when You trust us with Your purpose, You are trusting us with the trouble. Help us to remain steadfast.

A Strong Foundation

I enjoy walking through neighborhoods with older houses. I appreciate the architecture. Some of them are beautiful. I was raised in a city with very tall buildings. To see the top you have to lean your head back and look up. To me, it is amazing how they were built so tall and detailed. It is not just the outside of the building, it is also the inside, where the intricate details are visible.

I liken a tall building to an iceberg. I can see what is above ground, I may even be able to go into the basement, but I can not see what lies below. For the building to stand and weather storms, high winds, and time, it must have a deep foundation.

I once had a neighbor build a home next to mine. Before they started to build the house, my yard was fenced in with trees. I was disappointed when they came in and cut the trees down. Then they started to dig the foundation. It was a mess! It stirred up the bugs and when it rained, what was once a beautiful wooded area, became a huge mud pit. It was an awful sight to look at.

Slowly, a home was built. The finished project was actually quite pretty. The muddied pit became someone’s home. The dirt was covered with grass, flowers were planted, and I was blessed with new neighbors who became friends.

This is like us. We are a building in progress, aren’t we?

During the season of growth, things can get pretty muddy. To have a strong foundation, so we may be able to stand when the storms come, we must dig deep.

If Christ is our builder, and our foundation, we can be sure when He digs into our foundation some critters are going to scurry. We can be sure the rain will fall and it will create some mud.

We know some things need to be uprooted to make room for what He is building in us. It may look ugly for awhile, but when He is finished we will be a beautiful creation designed by the Master Builder.

I don’t know about you, but I want what He builds to last. I want Him to be my foundation. I want Him to put the shovel deep into me and remove anything that will cause cracks or weaken the foundation.

We have a choice, we can build the house ourself and take short cuts. It will look nice for awhile, but when the storm comes it will crumble. Or we can submit to Him and get out of the way and trust Him. Trust, He always finishes what He has begun.

 [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! Romans 8:18

The Cost of Yes

There is a cost to yes.

When we found love, we say we are blessed. When our wallets are padded, we say we are blessed. When doors open, we say we are favored.  When our friends are at peace with us and our enemies are silent, we say we have His peace. When we throw up our minute prayer and He answers, we say He hears us. When everything is as it should be we feel His presence and we declare His glory with our lips.

But, what about when love leaves us and we are broken? What if the wallet is slim and the bills are piling up and the car just broke down? What if our friends turn on us and our enemies mock us? What if we cannot even find the strength to throw up a prayer? What if everything is not as we feel it should be?

Will we still say we are blessed and favored? Is He still God even then?

So many times I have repeated the words of Jesus, “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.” John 15

What if the furnace you are in is not because the world hates you? What if He placed you in the furnace? Will you still love Him? Will you trust Him?

Can you stand in the heat of the furnace and still believe He will “rescue you”, even when you feel the flames and you cannot feel Him beside you? What if His rescue doesn’t come immediately?

The road to Golgotha is paved in blood, sweat, and tears. The cross is heavy. Can you carry your cross? Will you crumble under the weight of it?

In your brokenness can you pray, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.” Matthew 26:39

Holiness does not equate happiness. Joy is not always without tears. Oh, but can you believe and cling to the peace that will pass all of your understanding and not trust your eyes, but walk by faith, one step at a time?

When you say yes to God, you are saying yes to His purpose, His will. You are trusting Him to take you from here to there and He is the map maker. You will not always understand, but can you still say yes even when…?

He will not leave you where you are or in the condition you are in. No! He will take you and mold you into the purpose He has called you to be from the foundation of the earth.

It is in the fire, where all that is not of Him, will be burned away. Stay there, do not fight it, trust Him. You will come forth as gold. You are more precious to Him than diamonds, and diamonds do not become diamonds without the pressure.

Say yes! Give Him your dreams and your hopes.

Say yes! Even when all others forsake you.

Say yes! Even if you have to walk alone.

Say yes! Even when your pillow is wet from your tears.

Say yes! Even when you have been betrayed by the one you loved.

Say yes! Even when the bills are piling up.

Here is the test, can you say yes without compromise? Can He trust you?

Much is given to a yes and much is required. Beloved, be broken, let His work be completed.  He is with you in the flames and He carries the soothing healing balm that will refresh you, deliver you, and complete you. Surrender to Him and there will be no lack, no scars…

When you cry out, “Why, Lord, why?!” Know the answer is in the transformation, you are being conformed into His image, because when this has passed, people will no longer see you, they will see Him. And isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what you said yes to?

He hasn’t left you. He knows exactly where you are. There is reason in the suffering. Wipe off your face, shake the dust off your shoes, put on the cologne, bath yourself in oil, and say…

Though You slay me, I will trust You Lord!”

To Him be the glory!

Get Out of the Boat

peter and Jesus

It takes a leap of faith and courage to step outside of the comfort zone. Even if the comfort zone is uncomfortable, it is something that is familiar.

There are times God calls us away from what we know. He says, “Come here, I have something better.” I think we want what He has for us, but it requires us to let go of what we have clung to for so long. We perceive it as a loss to let go now, I mean after all… we came this far, lets hold on a little longer.

We resist change because what we think we have is all we know. Even if it is dysfunctional and unhealthy. It is like eating poison when we are hungry. We know the poison will kill us, but we give in to the hunger pangs. We reason at least it will fill our bellies, temporarily.

When God calls us out, He tells us to not be afraid. He tells us to not look around, look only to Him. He knows if we take our focus off Him we will become afraid and intimidated by the storms that rage around us. Don’t think for one minute there will not be a storm when He calls you to lay something down, no matter if its a person, a thing, or a situation.

Trust He will reach His hand out, grab it and don’t let go. Cuddle up next to Him and rest. Trust He will speak to that storm and there will be calm. Trust even more that in the storm you will have peace if you stay close to Him.

Matthew 14:22-33

Then He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds. And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone.  But the boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs [a furlong is one-eighth of a mile] distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch [between 3:00—6:00 a.m.] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid! And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!

Be Free & Stay Free