Baby Elephants

I’m reading One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer thanks to a spiritual sister, Leslie.  It’s one of those Bible studies that speaks volumes to your soul and you experience the living God at work with every turn of the page.  She told a story about baby elephants.  It grabbed my attention because, although I enjoy seeing animals at zoos and a circus, there is this other side of me that wants to sneak in after everyone is gone and set them free.  Whereas some folks love art and decor with a caged bird, I just find it as a reminder of being “caged” or “in bondage”.

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Elephants being trained for the circus, I discovered, are chained up when they’re just babies.  Not yet strong enough to pull free of their shackles, they eventually get tired of trying, slowly learning to adapt to a life confined by limitations.  So even by the time they’re well capable of snapping the tether and running away, they’ve grown accustomed to a world that stretches no farther than the length of their chain.  After months and years of this, all it takes is a slender chain to tie them hopelessly in place–so close to freedom, yet so far away. (Shirer, 2010, p. 15)

Prior to reading this book, God gave me a few words to think about–

Wait, Encounter, and Opportunities

It’s become so interesting to engage in my day-to-day and see how God is using those words over and over again in a variety of ways.  Very interesting indeed.  Mostly He has used  times in which I sought Him–digging into His Word, praying, reading a Bible Study, and listening to sermons online.  I also, from time-to-time, will go back and read past posts that others comment on to remind myself of God’s faithfulness.  It’s the same thing as picking up your journal and seeing how God has worked over time in your life in situations and circumstances.  Just yesterday I read an old post on “A Fresh Encounter”.  Priscilla’s book proved no different…

Yes, Priscilla, you can be an instrument through which others encounter Me, but only to the measure that you encounter Me.” (p. 6)

“…But it’s not just a life of Bible knowledge and Sunday school coffee.  It’s a life filled with colors and textures and unexpected opportunities.  It’s honey–a life enhanced with all the juicy flavors of the Promised Land–deeply satisfying but, oh so sweet.” (p. 10)

“I’ve been waiting to have this time with you since I was ten years old.  I think God would like us to know that our wait is over.” (p. 12)

I gotta tell ya’ it was late when I realized the magnitude of the encounter I was having with Jesus and could not wait to get my fingers on the keyboard to share!  What is way cool is that God sometimes tells us to “wait in grace”–I’m not ready to move you or change the situation yet; I want to work on your soul–wait.  If you are old enough, you can look back and share so many times you waited then God showed up and moved mountains.  And, then, you marveled at His work, His faithfulness, and His promises.  He keeps His Word–ALWAYS–no matter how long you wait.

So, when I read the wait is over, I knew that big time soul work was going to happen.

Going back to the baby elephants…..

In Galatians 5:1 God tells us that Jesus died for our freedom–“stand firm and do not subject AGAIN to a yoke of slavery.”

God knew we would be like baby elephants– a tendency toward giving up, succumbing to the crowd, giving into the pleasures of the world, settling for status quo.  In fact, when God spoke to Moses and the people He delivered from slavery to the land of milk and  honey, He warned them:

…be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:12

We willingly and sometimes ignorantly chain ourselves because as “babies” we just gave up trying–too tired, too angry, and too uncomfortable.  It’s too hard.

Man oh man that’s deep.  It’s so deep, along about now, your like, forget this post.  Too hard.

First, I pray you can purchase her book and take the road trip with us.  The wait is over.  It’s promotion time.  Don’t be chained by the limitations the enemy has spoken into your life!  You are not limited.  You serve a limitless God!!! A God who wants to place you in wide, open spaces, not a tethered, or caged life.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.  Psalm 18:19

Second, every human needs to take a long look at what shackles us from the true freedom that Jesus died for–blood, sweat, and so many tears just for you–each of us individually.  He wants you to know confidence even when the world has said you’ve failed, how to walk in a sense of self-worth because of your identity in HIM, how to be at peace and in complete joy when chaos is all around you, and to finally break free from the bondage of any generational sin that may exist in your family tree.

If you want to know the Power and supernatural evidence of the Holy Spirit working in your life, you are going to have to have an honest talk with Jesus about the limitations you’ve bought into.

There are places where the enemy rules, and some of them may be places where you continue to hang out.  Perhaps you’re involved in a relationship that’s constantly calling forth compromise from your Christian convictions, but you just can’t seem to leave it behind.  You’re still watching those same movies and television shows, week after week, still reading those books and magazines that lure your away from the purity of God’s ideals and always leave you a little more discontented with your current conditions in life.  Maybe you’re bound by a particular habit that keeps barring your escape from the property lines governed by Satan. (p. 20)

You don’t have to stay where you are!  Jesus is cheering you on to break free from the chains that tether you,  to encounter Him, and to trust Him that the wait is over!

 

 

 

 

The Vivian Story

In honor of my Vivian’s 16th birthday, I would like to reblog The Vivian Story! Oh how I remember those times of miscarriages and fear–God is faithful, gracious, and lifts us up!

ARRESTED BY GRACE

Lamentations 3: 31-33

31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.

Parish desired for me to share the rest of the story.  After reading the post yesterday he desired to talk about God’s faithfulness. Our time of prayer and fasting has proven to be an open door of communication.  He acknowledged with tears how hard the barren years were for him and the losses we experienced.  He reminded me of the Vivian story.

Written by Parish: (1998)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

I John 5:14

I originally wrote this as a letter to some friends, who are missionaries in Mexico, before our daughter…

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My King is Everything

I went back to this post. I read it again this morning and watch the video. Oh how I needed to hear and be reminded of how intimately our Lord loves us and knows us. I pray that you will watch this and rejoice in his love!

ARRESTED BY GRACE

Imagine Jesus sitting at Starbucks waiting for you to show up .  He knew ahead of time (actually before time began) that this moment would come.  He was on the way to have some dinner, but decided to veer off the path and head to Starbucks for a fresh cup of coffee with you.  You show up and see Him sitting there and a dialogue of compassion, conviction, and comfort ensues. Not only does He know your thoughts, your past, your future but He also lovingly guides you to a new life –a start over.  He sees you.  He notices you.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=175800

Jesus met a woman at the well and changed her life ( John Chapter 4).

Jesus Knows:

The small secrets of your heart,

The unspoken dreams of your imagination,

The unrevealed thoughts of your mind,

The emotional shards of your feelings,The paralyzing fears for your future,

The bitter resentments…

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One In a Million: Priscilla Shirer

Wait in grace

Death Defeated

New

Encounter

These 4 words/phrases were repeated or preached about yesterday.  I marveled at how God spoke to my mind and heart.  “Remember these words I shared with you during our time together?”  It was as if they were highlighted on the screen or emphasized in a voice.

“Is there something dead in your life?” asked the pastor.  We then launched into three beautiful testimonies from folks who had an amazing encounter with Jesus and were forever changed.

During worship, God gave me another word, “Conyah”.  This was not a word used in the service but a word spoken to my heart and mind when we worshiped.  I spoke the word out loud.  I wondered what it meant and could not wait to get home and look it up.

Conyah is the Hebrew word/name for a male meaning “Gift from God”.  To me, personally, I felt God was reminding me that He sent His Son, Jesus, so that we would remember that we, too, are gifts from God–He loves us with an amazing, pure, and extravagant love!

God revealed Himself in a mighty way.  In the waiting, I had an encounter with Him.  I was reminded that death has no victory in my life, and He makes ALL things new!  Praise God!

This morning I read a message from a precious Christian friend, Leslie, who encouraged and lifted my soul up!  Oh!  How we need friends like this in our lives!  I praise God for her.  She is solid in Jesus, so this recommendation is trustworthy.  She encouraged me to get the new Priscilla Shirer book, One in a Million, ASAP!

Cloverhill Assembly of God will be preaching on BEING ALIVE AGAIN!  Do you feel dead in your relationships? Dreams? Joy? Physical Body?

I believe the sermons along with this book will be a great place to worship God for the coming weeks ahead!

God you are an amazing orchestrator of our lives!  You take daily situations, messages from friends, Your Word, circumstances, and fashion the God story within each of us.

We serve a LIVING God!

A video on the book:

This is not our home

Last night our family went to visit our Aunt Polly.  My oldest read Luke 24.  Below were the verses we discussed.  Oh to have our minds opened so that we could understand scriptures!  Praise God! Lord, we pray for the understanding of your Word!  AMEN!

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Luke 24

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Lord, open my mind, that I might understand your Word.

The Ascension of Jesus

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Mary Magdalene found the open tomb–Jesus was not there!  The song of the enemy would not win, and Jesus brought us victory over sin and death!

After visiting my Aunt we came home to a family feast.  We all gathered to cook and prepare and my youngest noticed the beauty of the sky in the sun setting.

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Our family gathering filled with joy, peace, and laughter was interrupted by death and sorrow.  The dreaded phone call.  Like the post yesterday, we managed the “chaos”, but this morning–the “after”– I’m struggling with a deep sadness.  I laid in the bed talking to God this morning.  He reminded me of the movie God’s Not Dead and a scene in which someone dies a horrible, painful death, but in that dying moment comes to know the Lord and is ushered into glory.

God spoke to my sadness and reminded me that this is not our home.  Anna, today of all days, remember, this is NOT your home.  My mind was open to understand His Word.  And, for the loved one gone from this temporary place, He is now with Jesus.

Furthermore, He sent us what the Father promised–the Holy Spirit and we are clothed with power from on high!  Lord, Jesus, may we return to Jerusalem with great joy today and continually praise You!  You have made us Your dwelling place–“the temple” –and we choose to claim Your work on the cross, and that the enemy will have no control over us and our minds.  We are clothed with power from on high to accomplish this impossible task.  We need you.

Thank you Jesus for Your grace, love, and mercy.

 

 

 

In the Waiting

The death of their Savior had to be the most horrific day in the life of Jesus’ followers; however, as Saturday rolls in, one ponders the aftermath or “What will we do now?”  We’ve had those moments in which the seemingly impossible has occurred, and we worked through the initial chaos, but the “after” becomes a challenge we can’t seem to wrap our minds around.  Do we give up?  Fight? Move? Follow something else more safe and secure? Do we fall into a depressive state? Does fear become our companion and rule over us?

The disciples left everything to follow Jesus and now he was dead.  Ringing in their minds were the words, “Come, and follow me, and I will make you fisher’s of men!”  Yet, there they were hiding from the world and soldiers who may kill them for following Jesus.

I’ve always thought of the Saturday after the cross as a time of waiting.  It’s almost as if the Saturday is a symbol of our “life wait”–the time before Christ’s return.  Resurrection occurred, and because of this, we have life abundant!  However, earth is not our eternal home–heaven.  We are awaiting greater things to come.

In the waiting, what do we do?  We all know to read our Bibles, pray, share Jesus’ love with others, assemble with other believers, and forgive as you have been forgiven.

This Saturday, Jesus took me to a man you might not know–Joseph of Arimathea.  He was a Sanhedrin priest and a member of the council.  He was a prominent man in society and had the power to negotiate with political figures. Anyone who died by way of crucifixion, was not allowed a proper burial.  Their bodies were typically thrown in a garbage heap and furthered shamed even in their death.

But God used Joseph to do an amazing act of kindness! He helped to remove Jesus’ body from the cross, wrapped him in linen, and laid him in his own tomb.  His kindness and courage allowed Jesus to have a proper burial.

This expensive gift reminds me of the woman who poured her life savings of perfume/oil on Jesus to show how much she loved him.  She prepared Jesus for his burial.  Oh the sweet smell of Jesus as He was abused by men.  I’ve often thought of that sweet smell–the fragrance of Christ–pouring forth with His blood.

Joseph followed her in generosity. No longer did he have a proper burial for himself–he gave away his own tomb!  I wonder, did he come to know Jesus and realize that a tomb was not needed for himself?  My eternal resting place will be with you, Jesus, in heaven, the moment my life ends on earth!

EXTREME FAITH GIVES US THE COURAGE TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE!

This side of the cross we read about these two amazing people of faith, and we are challenged; however, during the act of kindness and generosity, they were rebuked and challenged.  We can’t deny that God empowered them and the Holy Spirit led them.

Today, in the waiting, what act of kindness, or generous act can you extend even if it goes unnoticed or challenged?  It doesn’t have to be a monumental act of bravery–small things matter to God.  Small things are huge in the Kingdom of Heaven.  It could be the very thing that brings joy, provides answers, gets someone through one more day, or maybe leads them to know Jesus’ love for them.

Lacking the motivation or courage?  Remember this….

 Revelation 1:18

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

You serve a God who knows exactly where you are and will give you the strength and courage when it’s needed. He is alive in YOU!

Sunday is coming!  Praise the Lord!