When God qualifies you…

A little over a year ago, I was driving home and I was thinking about a position at work that was going to be opening up soon. The position was for a Program Director in my division. This was a position I never aspired to and never pictured myself in. On my drive home that day, the Lord whispered to my heart that I was supposed to put in for the job. To say that I was absolutely terrified is an understatement! Lord, I can’t put in for that job! I’m not ready for this…and I’m not ready for that. Lord, I’m NOT qualified!! Over the course of the next month, the Lord worked on me in a powerful way. He reassured me that when I got this job, that He would be there with me…walking beside me every step of the way. He reminded me that although I in my own flesh was not qualified for this position, that He most certainly was. With Him guiding and directing me, I was sure to see a victory. He used that time before the position opened up to open my mind and soften my heart to His plan for the next steps on my path. 

By the time I was offered the position, my heart was willing and humbled that He would want to use me for such a large assignment. He had brought me through the forest of fear to the clearing of trust and faith. My flesh still didn’t like it…but I was ready. I’m your servant Lord, send me. 

The last year of my life has been my hardest yet. Thankfully no blood, but there has certainly been sweat and tears. I came in the position with a severe shortage of staff, an enormous learning curve, and people that were resentful that I got the job. The valley that I walked through was far and wide at times. Every time I would think oh well at least I have this or that person to help with that, the very thing or person that I thought I needed would leave or be taken away. As we lost other Directors within the program, the number of my employees doubled and I was now responsible for three field offices in addition to my two program areas. 

I’ve had no choice but to trust God through it all. To lean into Him harder than I ever had before and ask Him for daily provision. Provision for that big meeting or that hard conversation with an employee…physical and emotional strength to keep pushing through as hard as I have been…every step of every day. 

So why do I tell you all that? Because God PROVIDED! With everything I thought I needed but lost, He has provided. Every day I ask Him for my daily bread…wisdom, knowledge, discernment, strength, the words, the actions, direction, guidance. He’s never left me and He’s never forsaken me. A year later, I realize that I am qualified. I always was…because He has qualified me! 

I think about the story of David and Goliath. From human eyes, David was no match for Goliath, but He trusted God. 1 Samuel 17:37 says “And David said, The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David prevailed over Goliath with a sling and a stone. It wasn’t David’s abilities or qualifications that gave him victory over the Philistine that day, it was God working in and through a willing vessel. In verse 45, David says to Goliath, “You came to me with a sword and a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…”

Taking this position was a huge leap of faith for me, but it wasn’t for God. God knew exactly what He was doing. He knew that He could work in and through me even when my eyes could not imagine the possibility. Trust Him, my friends…trust Him. When He speaks to your heart, look past your own strength and your own abilities and remember that He is an infinite God and nothing is impossible for Him. If we are willing, He is able. When God qualifies you, you ARE qualified…

Standing on God’s Promises…

I was recently promoted at work and I’m now in a supervisory role. I knew coming into this position, that there were going to be numerous challenges and issues to deal with right off the bat. I knew about the staffing shortages in each program, the HR challenges I’d be facing with the employees, the fact that I would now be directing a program area I haven’t worked in years, new employees that need training…the list literally goes on and on. I also know that God specifically called me to take this position. He encouraged me and opened doors every step of the way while I was making the decision to even apply for it. Now I’m here…and just as I expected going into it…I’m feeling completely surrounded!!  Surrounded by issues and challenges and enemies. I see my enemies all lined up in front of me…ready to attack. BUT…I know that the Lord is also there!! Every step along the way, God brings a certain scripture or a song or a word of encouragement to continue to light the path in front of me. Last week, He brought a Psalm. Psalm 23 took on a whole new level of meaning for me. 

Psalm 23: 

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” 

So…you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death…so something really hard in your life right? Whatever that is for you – fill in the blank….illness….addiction….relationship problem….for me right now it’s work. The scripture says “You prepare a table before me” so God PROVIDES and not only that he blesses us…but don’t miss the word before! He prepares a table BEFORE me. God is not only walking beside me through these struggles…He goes before me. Now here comes the part that really hit me…IN THE PRESENCE of my enemies. How beautiful is this? God goes before me and prepares a table/provides/blesses me…in the presence of my enemies/problems/challenges. Even though I may feel completely surrounded and overwhelmed right now with all my enemies staring me down…God is going before me….he’s providing for me. The next part says He anoints my head with oil. So he’s preparing me, right!? Next…my cup overflows. So it says He’s leading me to GREEN pastures and STILL waters…He’s going BEFORE me…He’s PROVIDING for me…He’s PREPARING me…all in the very presence of all the problems that are surrounding me. Praise God…He makes my cup overflow with blessing!! That’s a promise from God I’m standing on!!! When I start to feel under attack and overwhelmed …I’m going to repeat this over and over if I have to. God is FAITHFUL and He CAN be trusted. His promises then stand true now still!! 

He WILL provide. Whatever you’re walking through…keep going!! SEEK Him through the struggle and ask Him to provide you with daily bread…whatever that is for you. His promises are true and amen!! 

Lord Jesus…It may LOOK like I’m surrounded…but I’m surrounded by YOU. 

Bring it in to the light…

God is the Master of light and our enemy Satan is that of the dark. This light and dark exists in both the natural and the spiritual. Anything that is not brought into the light, remains in darkness. In the  darkness, Satan can use it and twist it from something that God meant for good to something that is bad. A good thing must be kept in the light for if it is hidden, it will then appear dark as the light is unable to shine. 

Friends, if there are situations where you are keeping something in the dark…it must be brought into the light. Things kept in the dark appear dark but when they are brought into the light and exposed for what they are, you can then start dealing with them instead of hiding them away. 

Mark 4:22 “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.”

Praying God’s will…

God recently answered one of my prayers and taught me a life-changing lesson along the way in praying His will. 

My husband Craig had not had a job with a regular schedule that would allow for regular family time in the almost seventeen years we’ve been married. It was really taking a toll not only on our marriage but also our two girls were craving some time with their dad. My oldest daughter had come to me on several occasions in tears because she was needing some quality dad time. Craig and I were also drifting apart. 

Last month Craig’s schedule rotated to where he had every Sunday off for the month. That first Sunday that he sat beside me in church I felt a closeness to him that I hadn’t felt in a long time. The second Sunday was the same thing. I had such a strong feeling come over me and I spent some time with the Lord in prayer after that and prayed in a way I had never really prayed before…I prayed what I knew of God’s will from the truths I knew from His word. This time my prayer was not based on what I wanted, but what I knew that God wanted for us and for our marriage. I declared the truth that Gods will is for Craig to grow in His faith and relationship with Christ and I knew by that closeness I had felt with Craig next to me in church that Gods will was for Craig to go to church regularly. I declared the truth that Gods will is that our family would be strong together and have time to spend together because marriage is a covenant that God takes very seriously and the family was His plan for us. I declared the truth that He put Craig and I together and it’s His will for us to continue to not only grow closer to God but to continue to grow closer together in our marriage. 

About a week later Craig came across a job posting for a job that, for him, sounded too good to be true. It was a job working outside which he enjoys that would give him every evening and every weekend off. He submitted his resume that night. The next morning he got a call for an interview…praise God! Craig has now been at this new job for two weeks and I can already see a difference in him and in our family. 

After talking to him later about everything, he told me that he hadn’t been actively looking at other jobs for at least a month. The day he came across this job posting, he felt like he was supposed to go on and check out the listings…this job was at the top. 

Friends, we have such an awesome God! You will NEVER regret learning the truths in His Word, the Bible. I’ve learned such a  lesson through this about praying God’s will. When we align our requests to the truths in His word, we are asking according to His will and not ours…and He is faithful! 

What if…

So what if you’ve gotten on the wrong boat? What if you thought all along that you were headed in the right direction but it turns out that the course you’re on isn’t taking you where you thought it was going to take you?

Let’s talk about religion for a minute…my heart has been so troubled for the people that only know Jesus through religion and not through a personal relationship. There are so many people out there that are steeped in their religion and the traditions of that religion and as a result are completely missing out on what God really intended for them…a deep and very personal relationship with them through Christ Jesus. Religions are man made. Religions are based on people’s own efforts to be made right with God. Gods plan was not based on people’s efforts and works, Jesus was and is the plan! He made each of us to be in relationship with Him. Jesus bridged that gap and allows us to have a relationship with God the Father. 

Religion says pray this prayer – Relationship says just talk to Me

Religion says do this or say this at this time – Relationship says follow the Holy Spirit that I’ve given to guide

Religion says you can only take communion if you’re in right standing – Relationship says all are welcome at My table, My blood paid the price for all and if you believe I died for your sins, you are in right standing

The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus must be the cornerstone that our faith in God is built on…no one else and nothing else. John 14:6 says Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

What if you’ve been on the wrong boat this whole time and you just didn’t know it? Afterall, you don’t know what you don’t know…

Friends, this is something that has been constantly on my heart for the past couple of years. There are people that are on the wrong boat or have missed the boat completely and it saddens me so much that they are not able to fully experience all of what God has for them. I’ve started many blog posts on this topic over the past two years but the words never fully came together. A few mornings ago, I was in my prayer time and this sadness came over me again and the phrase “it’s like they’ve gotten on the wrong boat” came to mind. I guess it could have been the wrong train or plane or pathway, but God chose the word boat…haha! In any case, if this message spoke to you, then it was for you. 

God is inviting you into a real relationship through His Son Jesus…make sure your current course is headed in the right direction…

What if…

He works all things together for good…

I want to share something with you friends…a real life example of Gods provision, His answer to prayer and how He truly does work all things together for good. 

My church has an outreach program called Second Saturdays. The second Saturday of every month, the church sends a group that has signed up (usually about 250-450 people) to help out and serve the local community in various ways. Last month our group served the Phoenix Rescue Mission by cleaning and  painting a new kitchen space that would be used for in house job training for the women’s facility to train the ladies on a skill that could be used to find employment, we also did deep cleaning of their main kitchen and cafeteria as well as packing 1,000 lunches for the homeless downtown and making gift bags for the staff and residents of the mission. I had a great timing serving at the mission that day, fellowshiping with the residents and fellow volunteers and being the hands and feet of Jesus! Today at church, I found out the rest of the story and how God had even greater plans for what we were doing there that day. 

The 1,000 lunches that were packed were supposed to be picked up by someone that day and distributed downtown Phoenix but the man that was supposed to come pick them up never showed up. The outreach pastor from our church was sitting with a van loaded with 1,000 packed hotdog lunches and now had no idea what he was going to do with them. As he sat in that van, he asked the Holy Spirit what he should do and was guided a few blocks away where he came across a team of people in matching t-shirts from another church that were downtown sharing the good news of Jesus with the homeless. You see, this group had been praying for food that morning so they could feed the people that they were trying to share the gospel with. Praise God!! I mean come on people…Praise God!!! He is so great and is always faithful!! What the enemy means for bad, He always turns around and works every little detail out for good. 

Thank you Father for Your constant  provision and your faithful answer to prayer. 

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”

Chasing after God…

“There is much more of God available then we have ever known or imagined, but we have become so satisfied with where we are and what we have that we don’t press in for God’s best. Yes, God is moving among us and working in our lives, but we have been content to comb the carpet for crumbs as opposed to having the abundant loaves of hot bread God has prepared for us in the ovens of heaven! He has prepared a great table of His presence in this day, and He is calling to the Church, “Come and dine.”                 -Tommy Tenney 

Are you satisfied where you are with life? Friends, He wants so much more for us! We have access to our Heavenly Father’s full abundance through Christ…are you seeking it? Are you content with your life and your relationship with the Lord? We should never be satisfied or comfortable…we must always be chasers of God seeking new instruction for our lives through the Holy Spirit. 

God wants us to want Him. He wants us to know Him and seek Him in all things. Pressing in to God’s best starts with pressing into the truths spoken in His Word and through sincere prayer. Open your Bibles…speak to Him…continue the chase…be blessed. 

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

The breakthrough is coming…

This thing called life is a real struggle sometimes, isn’t it?! We go through seasons in our lives when things are going along great and we’re on top of the mountain and we go through seasons where we can feel like we’re wandering through the desert. I’m thankful for those mountain moments but I’m also thankful for those moments in the desert because they bring me back to Him. 

I don’t know if you’re like me or not but it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in the undertow of life…it can start to sweep you under. I believe there are times that our Heavenly Father allows us to feel overwhelmed. He wants us to need Him! He wants us to KNOW that we need Him. He wants us to ask for His help and rely completely on Him! I have this verse on my desktop right now: 

Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” 

This is such a good reminder for me and I hope it will be for you to on those days when you start to feel like you’re walking alone in the desert. He’s right there with you…but He’s waiting for you to ask for His help. He’s waiting for you to KNOW that you need Him. He’s waiting for you to literally raise your empty hands up to Him and say “Father, I can’t…but I know you can.” Jesus is not only our Savior…but also our Lord. He IS our Rock that is higher than we are. He is the one that we must cry out to when our hearts feel overwhelmed. He wants to help us…but He wants us to ask Him. He wants us to have enough faith to truly believe that He’s working it all out for us. He wants us to trust Him and completely surrender it all over to Him. 

Oh Father, I can’t…but I KNOW You can. My breakthrough is coming…

Nail it to the cross.

You’re struggling with something right now, aren’t you? Pain, fear, depression, financial issues, anxiety, loss, addiction, worry, illness. Maybe it’s not you but a loved one. Nail it to the cross my friends. Right now I want you to picture in your mind writing down everything on a sheet of paper that your worrying about right now. Write down your struggles, write down your pain and your addictions, your anxiety and your fears…write it all down. Now I want you to picture a large wooden cross in front of you and a hammer and nail in your hand. Now take that list of all your struggles and nail it to the cross. I want you to picture every hurt, every illness, every doubt, every worry literally being nailed to the cross. As you take that hammer and drive the nail into the wood of the cross, I want you to picture surrendering every single thing on that list over to Jesus. When your done, step back and take a moment to soak in how it feels having just lifted every burden off of your shoulders. Picture the relief you now feel that the weight of the world no longer rests with you. Look at how much more comfort and peace you now have and notice how strong that cross holds everything you once held. You didn’t hurt the cross, the cross is unchanged by the weight of what you’ve just nailed to it.

Jesus can not only handle the weight of everything you’re carrying around…He was born to carry it. God sent you and me a Savior…His only Son to carry it for each of us. We have pain and illness, depression and anxiety, loss and hurt because we live in a fallen world that is full of sin. But Jesus…Jesus died for ALL sins. He took on everything for you and for me. It’s done friends…every sin has ALREADY been accounted for. He took on it all when he died on that cross for us…It is finished. If you have faith in Jesus and that He died for your sins…it is finished for you too. 

The next time think about the struggles you used to face, go back to the cross. Remember you nailed everything to the cross, it’s no longer your worry. Don’t try to pick back up what was too heavy for you to carry the first time. Jesus paid it all…paid in full. 

Friends, I once struggled from food addiction. For me, it took hitting rock bottom to realize the end of myself and to reach out for His help. Jesus will meet you wherever you are. Take a step in faith…pick up the hammer, reach out…nail it to the cross, surrender your life and all your worries to Jesus and He will gladly take them on and carry them for you. Paid in full. 

Colossians 2:13-14 “And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside nailing it to the cross.”

Thank you Jesus!! I will praise you forever…