Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Tuesday Night

Hi everyone. It's late - 11:19 p.m. according to the clock on my computer. Before I go to bed, though, I just wanted to stop by to say hello and goodnight to all of you.
I'm so grateful for all that we have this day. I'm grateful to GOD for His blessings that flow ceaselessly throughout my days and nights. I'm grateful for our home, the food on our table, the beds we have to sleep in, the little cats He's given us responsibility to care for. I'm grateful for the love of family and friends. I'm grateful for the life He's given me and the talents He's so generously poured into the lives of everyone I know. I'm so grateful for the mercies that are new every morning - GOD knows that I need those! I'm so grateful that He supplies everything I need and that it is done through His riches in Glory! It occurs to me that JESUS is GOD's "Riches in Glory". Never thought of Him in quite that way before, but it sure makes sense to me. How I love the Lord! How I love the Lord GOD Almighty. I'm so grateful that He is GOD!
Most of all, I am grateful for the sacrifices that were made for me. Maybe that sounds selfish. Maybe it is, I don't know. I just know that I am so grateful that Jesus came and lived and died and rose again without ever getting it wrong - without ever sinning - without ever giving up. I'm so grateful for HIS obedience to GOD. And I'm so grateful for the undeserved Gift of Holy Spirit in my life. These are the things I am most grateful for. How I cherish these gifts from GOD!
So, even though the temps outside are in the 20's and the trees have no leaves right now, I will rejoice! MY GOD IS AWESOME!!! Even though there are many things that need to be changed and fixed and all that, I will still rejoice, because MY GOD IS ALWAYS AWESOME!!!
I just wanted to stop by and tell you that I love Him, I guess. I just wanted to rejoice with you before I go to bed.
Happy Tuesday Night, my friends.
Sleep well.
Vicky

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Sunday Night...

Hi everyone! Haven't been on here for a few days and thought it would be a good idea to check in with you before heading off to bed. It's been a very full day and it's already midnight. I'm convinced that sometimes the clock just jumps forward about 10 hours without so much as the blink of an eye and I totally miss it. How does it DO that?!

It seems like so many things have changed these past two weeks. The earthquake in Haiti, for example. Lives lost. Lives found. Heartbreak beyond comprehension as the graves continue to open their mouths wider to receive the tens of thousands whose lives were snatched away in a few short seconds of time. Joy unspeakable as some learned that a loved one made it. Still, things will never be the same in Haiti. I would dare to say they will never be the same anywhere else in the world, either.

Agendas changed - mine included. Not that I actually have an agenda, but for lack of a better term, I'll use that word. My 'agenda' is to do the will of God and to get better at obeying Him, for one thing. Some days I seem to do better than others. Some days I am astounded by how much I need His grace to cover me. And now, God chose to put this catastrophic occurance in Haiti on my heart in such a way that made it necessary to seek Him for understanding about my involvement and the involvement of the ministry and the music. All of that happened because of events that took place over the course of a few life-changing seconds. Isn't that something?!

Heart Notes for Haiti is slowly taking shape and to me that is wonderful. There is still a long way to go, but I'm so encouraged by the people who want to be involved. Some of you know that there is a Heart Notes for Haiti group on facebook now. It's been up there for less than a week, I think, and we already have over 80 members. Hallelujah! My hope and prayer is that many of them will want to be involved in some way. Although many have made contributions to help Haiti through other organizations already, it seems that there is a hunger on the parts of people to be able to do more. If they are interested, there are plenty of opportunities to do more through Heart Notes for Haiti. If you are one of those people, then don't be shy! Join us!

Well, dear friends, my brain doesn't want to focus on this blog right now. It's been a terrific but also very full and very long day, so I'm going to sign off for tonight. Thanks for visiting and thanks so much for following. I truly hope and pray that the things I share on here somehow bless you. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers. Until the next post, be encouraged, be still and KNOW that He is GOD! :)

Vicky

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heart Notes...update


Good morning everyone! I've been quiet for several days, just asking the Lord how to proceed. Still continuing to get input from some folks and still looking for more direction from Him. It's sort of reminds me of the Lord telling Moses to get the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses went, as we all know, but didn't know how it was all going to work out. Now, obviously I'm not comparing myself to Moses. Just saying that sometimes the Lord calls us to do things that we have no idea how to accomplish initially. Well, I have been and am still in the 'initially'!


Some of you are on Facebook and have joined the Heart Notes for Haiti group. For those of you who aren't, I invite you to join. There will be ongoing updates here, but it would also be great to see that group grow and for all of its members to be able to connect there. Below is what I posted to the fb group this morning...


Making calls - looking for locations for concerts. Thoughts? Suggestions? Helpers? Hmmm...hello everyone! Some of you have already let me know that you have clothing, household items and furniture to donate. I think that's wonderful, but we don't have a place to store those items until they can be sold and conver...ted into cash. My sis, Linda, suggested that people have garage sales, then send the proceeds to Heart Notes for Haiti. I sort of stretched the idea out a bit and came up with having huge Heart Notes for Haiti Garage Sales this Spring, combined with an all day concert - many artists and a gigantic cookout. There may be someone with a good sized piece of property or land who is willing to offer their location to host the event. It could be like a giant all-day party, with wonderful ministry and networking opportunities. Some of you could also organize a community or neighborhood garage sale in your cities or towns, if you're not in the KC area. Anyone interested in any of those ideas? If so, let me know. Obviously, there will be relief efforts going on for a long time. Or, if you want to make a donation now but don't have funds to do so, why not put those garage sale items on craigslist or ebay and then donate through paypal? We already have paypal on the website, so it should be very easy for anyone who's interested. Just go to the website, www.heartnotesforhaiti.org. There are links on every page. Okay, back to brainstorming and calling. Hey, is anyone out there interested in getting on the phones and promoting our concerts? If so, please let me know. :)


So there you have it. This is where we are right now in our fundraising efforts. To do a concert, we need a location. Anyone out there have a location? Let me know! Hopefully, some of the other fundraising ideas listed above will spark your interest or springboard you on to other ways to help.


Blessings to all of you. Thanks so much for following these little posts. I appreciate, love and pray for every one of you. Have a fabulous day! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Heart Notes for Haiti


Hi everyone. Some of you may have already seen it, if you've been to my website today or are following me on facebook. The site is live now! Hallelujah! So, it's time to get busy. Oh yeah. Right. Busy doing what?


(For those of you who haven't, the web address is http://www.heartnotesforhaiti.org/ . Go see!) :)


As I sit here wondering how on earth this ministry/relief effort is going to come together, there's no doubt in my mind that the whole thing is way bigger than something anyone should try to accomplish alone - and since I'm an 'anyone', that includes me. There are so many things that need to be done and my plate is already full. Therefore, I have two options: I can either burn myself out trying to make something happen, or I can wait on the Lord's direction for the next step and then take it. After less than a split-second of consideration, I choose the latter. I'm waiting!


Oh, yes. Rest. Wait before His throne for His direction. Hmmmm. I like it. Otherwise, I'll just be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, accomplishing some things, but most likely out of the plan that God has for me to do in all of this effort. You know - it's like the saying, "Work smarter, not harder". I want to work smarter. Only way to do that is let the One in charge of this ministry tell me what to do. And then my responsibility is to do it. That's the call for all of us, isn't it? Follow the direction of the Lord. When He speaks and says 'go now', we 'go now'. When He says wait, we wait.


There is a great deal of peace that comes with knowing that God has all of this in the palm of His hand. He has the people whose lives have been turned upside-down in the palm of His hand. He knows what He wants our little portion of the relief efforts to look like - and how - and when - and where all of that will play out. And, by the way, that's where I'm sitting, too. Right smack dab in the middle of the palm of His hand. I pray that all of you are there with me.


I'm not suggesting that we just sit back and let ourselves become hard-hearted or that we stand on the side-lines and say that we just don't have the resources or time to respond. I'm just suggesting that we all need His direction in order to be as effective as we possibly can. That goes for everything we do, I think. There are good choices, but there are best choices, too. May we always seek His face to find out what the best choice is in any circumstance!


There are people that are supposed to be a part of working with Heart Notes for Haiti and the relief efforts we feel so called to be a part of. So while I wait quietly in His presence, my heart trusts that He will be moving in those lives and encouraging them to get involved. I've already had a few of you contact me. Thank you so much for that! If you've checked out the website, you see what we need. And for the rest of you who may want to get involved in this, let's just agree to pray together and see how God leads you. If, when you do pray and get direction from the Lord, then contact me. We'll go from there!


For now, though, it's time for me to sign off. Here's my very small and simple prayer for Heart Notes for Haiti, you, the Haitian community around the world and me...


Lord God. Lead us all. In Jesus' name.

Amen

Friday, January 15, 2010

Heart Notes for Haiti


Hi everyone. I've been working on a plan for the benefit concerts for Haiti and the setup for the relief efforts. I'd like to fill you in, especially since several of you have contacted me and expressed an interest in being involved in some fashion. I've asked the Lord how He wants this handled, so the information is included below. To make everything clear, it's necessary to start by telling you about FIJC...

Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust (FIJC), a 501(3) public charity, officially received non-profit status in 2004. I am the main trustee in the organization and my husband Alan is co-trustee. For the last 5 years, FIJC has provided assistance to individuals, families and organizations here in the U.S. and abroad. FIJC has distributed food, clothing, transportation, utility assistance, furniture and other household items, including books, cd's and gifts to the elderly and others in need. Abroad, FIJC supports orphanages and the ministries of several organizations dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ as they help the impoverished build healthy lives.

Since FIJC is a public charity, contributions made to the organization are tax deductible. Funds received for the relief effort we're setting up for Haiti will need to be made to FIJC in order to be eligible for tax credit.

Now, for the relief efforts of FIJC. The name the Lord gave me for this work is Heart Notes for Haiti. He is the HEART in the name. Beautiful, huh? NOTES has several meanings... As stated earlier, one of the main ways in which we will be raising funds is through concerts - hence, music notes. (Isn't God smart?) There will also be a place on the website where people can write notes to encourage Haitian families and friends. (I love this part.) And money is often referred to as 'notes'. There may be more that He hasn't told me about this, but I love the direction so far, don't you?

The main ways that we will be trying to raise money will be through benefit concerts, which will also include silent auctions. We are going to publicize our efforts to raise as much awareness about Heart Notes for Haiti as possible. We know that there are many organizations already involved in this work and I think that's wonderful! Ours is one more added to the list. You must decide for yourselves if, how and where you want to support it.

We are building a website for this project, but it is NOT up yet. I will post here the moment it's up and running. Please give us a few days to get it ready and online. The address is:

If you are interested in finding out more information about how to be involved, please contact me through this blog or at:

If you have any questions, please use the email address above to get in touch with me. If you or someone you know is interested in making a financial contribution now, then write to:


We will be using Paypal for our online donations. Someone will contact you with more information about that. If you or someone you know would prefer to make a contribution through regular mail, please send it to:
Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust
P.O. Box 3182
Independence, MO 64055

If you're making a donation, please be sure to put 'Heart Notes for Haiti' on the memo line of your check, so that we know where you want the funds to go. We cannot cash checks made out to 'Heart Notes for Haiti'. We are not setting up a bank account under that name, as that is just the name of this project. The IRS will only recognize income to Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust as being tax deductible, so if you choose to make a financial contribution, please write your check to Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust.

I want to assure you that all monies donated to the Heart Notes for Haiti work will only be used for that relief effort. If you would like to support our work in general, just leave the memo line blank and we will know that your donation goes into our general fund to be dispersed as the Lord directs.

We have need of assistance in many other ways, too. We need free advertising, gifts donated for the silent auctions, locations for concerts, event workers, music artists, go-fers...actually, we need volunteers in general... And, if you have any ideas you'd like to share with us to help enhance or expand our efforts, please let me know. This isn't a one-time event I'm talking about. There are lots of really good music artists out there who may want to donate their time, talents and possibly even a few of their cd's for this cause. It doesn't have to be about having a great deal of money - or even any money at all. You don't have to be a musician or singer to be involved...as a matter of fact, if you aren't, then let's find out what your real talents are and put those to use!

Thanks so much for reading all of this. I encourage you to pray about what the Lord wants you to do. No matter what you decide about involvement in Heart Notes for Haiti or Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust, please keep the work in your prayers and tell others about what we're doing. As far as your involvement, do whatever you feel Holy Spirit is leading you to do. There is no pressure to be part of this - I don't believe in pressuring people for donations. Our gifts should come from our hearts - just as God freely gives His gifts to us. Those are the very best gifts!

We trust God for all that we do. I'll be in touch soon. Now, I have to get started on that website!

Blessings!

Vicky

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Times Like These...



My fingers rested on the keyboard for awhile before I could find words with which to start this blog. Still, I am at a loss for ways to express my thoughts about what has happened to the millions of people in Haiti these last 24 hours. It's beyond comprehension for those of us who have never experienced the kinds of devastation and loss that impoverished country is experiencing this very moment. Times like these are beyond difficult to deal with or explain. I'm not even going to try, because I could never do justice to the magnitude of physical or emotional loss of those who have been impacted by the violent shaking that destroyed so many hopes, dreams and lives.


I think about the people who are still trapped - alive - hoping and praying to be rescued. What must they be going through? And then there are the loved ones who cannot reach anyone by phone - hoping and praying that their brothers, sisters, parents, children and friends survived the earthquake that rocked the nation so powerfully and unexpectedly not so very many hours ago. Their world has been turned upside down. And the grief that pours from that nation across the planet is almost palpable. As I said, beyond comprehension.


Like many of you, I also have friends in Haiti. A wonderful man by the name of Pierre lives there with his beautiful family. He is a minister we met about 10 years ago when we lived in Florida. Loves the Lord with all his heart and serves Him and the people of Haiti with full devotion. And then there are our Haitian friends here in the U.S. Our hearts go out to them, as I'm sure yours must, also. Glory hasn't heard anything about her family yet. I met her mother last year while she was here for a visit. I wonder what they all must be going through right now. I cannot imagine. Help, Lord God. Help them all.


So, what can we do? That's a question many are asking right now. Of course, we can and should do whatever the Lord leads us to do. You may be just one person, but you have something you can do. God knows what that is. Go ask Him...He will surely tell you. He knows the best way for you to use the resources that He's entrusted to you. I'm going to call Hubner and Joseph - two of my Haitian friends who live here in the Kansas City area. I have a plan...


The one thing I can do is sing. I, like many others, don't have money - but there are folks who do. As quickly as we can find a facility and organize a concert, I want to do a benefit to help the Haitian community. I can't do this alone, either. I'm also looking for volunteers to help with this project. If you want to help, then get in touch with me through this blog. We'll find a way for you to be involved. People from all over the world are reaching out to help. If you want to be part of it through this ministry, come on board. Let's see what God will do!


Please don't think you can't be part of this or that what you would have to offer may not be big enough. Remember the verse in the Bible where Jesus said, 'And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.' That's from Matthew 10:24. No matter how large or small, your gift is important.


I almost forgot - for those of you who may want to help financially, we have a non-profit organization called Freedom in Jesus Christ Charitable Trust, so your contributions to this ministry to help the Haitian community will be tax deductible.


God bless you. I encourage all of my musician friends to consider hosting a benefit concert to help, too. If you would like to be part of what I'm planning, then get in touch with me. Whatever you choose to do, let the Lord direct you in how to use the funds you receive to bless the Haitian community.


Until next time, much love to all!


Vicky

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bold Up! (Catchy, isn't it?)


Hi everyone! It's so wonderful to have friends in the Body of Christ who will encourage us, isn't it? If you or someone you know is having a difficult time right now, then today's blog is for you - or them. Or maybe it's for you and them. ;)

When someone is truly your friend, TRULY, then that person wants what God has for you and your family. If he/she is truly your friend, he/she would not want to hinder the ways God is using you at your church, on your job, with the kids down the street, at the gas station or at WalMart! Instead, that person would pray over you and and ask God to bless and direct your endeavors for Him in Jesus' name. Do you understand why some folks can't do that? If they are professing Christians but they are trying to prevent you from moving forward for God, it is most likely because they are bound by religion.
Religion other than what the Bible describes is just plain mean and controlling. And those verses that do talk about religion say that true religion is to visit the widows and care for the fatherless, etc....they don't say anything about the kind of stuff we see and hear going on in the name of 'religion' - the stuff that seeks to destroy, divide, and divert the attention of God's people from the true call to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel, raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out demons in my (Jesus') name.' It doesn't matter what those things are, if God isn't allowed to move in and through us to do the work to which we've been called, but instead some one's agenda is being used to dominate us for the sake of religion, then we are being controlled and manipulated by the enemy through that person or denomination. Control. Oppression. Witchcraft. Take your pick - call it what you like. It's wrong.

So you want to venture out to do the work of the Great Commission - which are your marching orders - and your best friend or someone else tells you they want to see you stopped in the work God is doing through you somewhere besides at their little bitty congregation/denomination/ministry? They want to see you stopped in your tracks because you are not bowing down to their little bitty understanding of religion and because you are choosing instead to follow the call of God in your life without first checking with a human being to see if that is okay to do - receiving their stamp of approval before you dare to go and obey GOD? Exactly who is seated on the throne, anyway?

Whatever happened to getting into a relationship with God (see my blog from yesterday) and then trusting Him to direct your path, even as it says in Proverbs 3:5,6? If you are being oppressed or prevented from moving forward with the Lord in the things He's made known to you, or if that is happening to you or someone you love, then that 'best friend' is fast asleep in the Spirit of God. Once you are strengthened and can see clearly, then love those folks enough to ask God to help you WAKE THEM UP! I am encouraging you, my dear friends in Jesus Christ - you 'heirs of the kingdom' - to stop letting the oppression of the enemy through anyone or any institution, limit the call of God in you!

Of course Satan doesn't want to see you step out and go do what you've been called to do. He's not sure exactly what that is, but he definitely knows that you can cause a lot of trouble in his kingdom if you wake up to his tactics, stop being afraid to move out, pick up your sickle and start harvesting. Of course he's going to try to scare you off the plan that God has for you. Of course he will try. He sees the gifts and talents in you even more clearly than you do! He sees the Presence of God with you and is completely threatened by the possibility that you might do something crazy - like follow JESUS wherever He decides to lead you...even if it is right out the door of a little bitty denomination into the wide open spaces of a harvest field that reaches so far beyond your limited vision that it would stagger your mind to realize it! Stay in your little bitty denomination if you want to or if you feel that God has called you to stay there, but don't let anyone dictate what your work will be or how you will do it. Only follow YHVH!

If you are in a personal relationship with the Lord, if you spend time with Him and His word, if you continually seek His face, living in humility and with a repentant heart, then you are probably going to be willing to hear His voice in any way He chooses to speak. In addition to hearing from Him through the Bible, sometimes that voice will come directly - at other times it will come through other folks. If you've been smothered by religion and religious leaders who don't follow God in the ways that He wants them to follow Him, or if you have been swallowed up by the garments of religious doctrine, man made traditions and such, then you'll probably go through a process of getting all that stuff peeled off of you with the help of the Holy Spirit. It's so hard to see where we have believed falsehoods! We have to ask the Lord to bring us into all truth. His truth IS truth. Pray for it. Ask Him to show you every false thing you've been taught or believed. He will, you know. It will take time to clean all that stuff out of your thinking, but He'll most assuredly do it!

Remember, if you are bold enough to follow the Lord wherever He leads you, then you are a threat, dear one. You're a threat to satan and his kingdom. You're a threat that has to be stopped, as far as he's concerned. "Keep that one quiet", he says. "Keep her tucked away and fearful, in confusion, worrying about how to pay the bills, worrying about what will happen with her authority or church responsibilities if she doesn't stay submissive to the humans around her. Keep that one from moving forward. Keep him very very small - don't let his ministry get outside of the church walls. As long as we have that one in there, we can control him through other humans." I can hear him whispering it right now. "Keep them afraid. Keep them terrified about what is going to fall apart first: their reputations, their marriages, families, finances, homes, health, the health of their loved ones, the dangers of being sucked into false doctrines, false ministries, cults, whatever....just keep that one off track and terrified." That's what I am being allowed to hear right now. Do you see the deception? Wake up if you are sleeping! Come on...I'm rootin' for ya!

While I was writing the following prayer today, the Lord strengthened me in my spirit - which is wonderful - especially since I was writing to share/pray it with a friend. It was for both of us - and the Lord definitely moved in my spirit to strengthen me through it, too. I love how the Lord encourages us even while we are encouraging others! As I was writing, He told me that this is a prayer that should be shared on my blog and that the readers are invited to share it with others, also. So, if you want to share it, don't wait for a lightening bolt to strike before you do. Step out - BOLD UP! - and share it. It's time to 'Bold Up' even more than ever before!

Before I get to the prayer, though, I want to tell you what happened yesterday. I received an email from one of you who said the Lord said to put this scripture in my hands. Actually, since I'm not identifying anyone, I think it would be okay if I just quote her... She wrote:

"I HAVE A SCRIPTURE FOR YOU THAT THE LORD QUICKENED IN MY SPIRIT FOR YOUR HANDS.......

STRENGTHEN YE THE WEAK HANDS, AND CONFIRM THE FEEBLE KNEES:
SAY TO THEM THAT ARE OF A FEARFUL HEART,
BE STRONG, FEAR NOT: BEHOLD YOUR GOD WILL COME WITH
VENGEANCE, EVEN GOD WITH A RECOMPENSE; HE WILL COME AND SAVE YOU.
~ISAIAH 35: 3-4"

Now, dear friends, here's the prayer...

Lord, You are Holy! Holy! Holy God!!! In Jesus' wonderful and mighty Name we come to you with praise for ALL that You are! You are Jehovah Jireh - our PROVIDER! You are more than able to take care of utility bills and phone bills and empty pantries. You have more tires and cars and houses and groceries and medicines and gifts and blessings and everything else that we could possibly ever need or use - more than we can even imagine! You are RICH, Abba Daddy. You are ALL-POWERFUL, our beautiful Omnipotent Father! You are ALL-KNOWING, our glorious Omniscient Creator! You are ALL IN ALL...ALL-IN-AND-THROUGH-AND-OVER-AND-UNDER-AND-AROUND, our Extravagant Omnipresent King! Hallelujah to the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world! Glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords!!! Glory! Glory! Glory to You, MOST HIGH GOD! You reign above the heavens; You rule from on high! Rule and reign in OUR hearts today!

We love the fact that You cannot be removed nor replaced! You are THE ONE TRUE GOD! Thank You for being God! Thank You for having plans that far exceed our wildest dreams - even for ourselves and our loved ones! Thank You for never sleeping, never slumbering, for always keeping watch over Your children! Thank You for the blessings that will never ever end in our lives - for the opportunities, the challenges, the circumstances that dare us to trust You! Thank You for the times that look hopeless, for it is in those times that You show Yourself Strong, Mighty, Capable, Brilliant, Extravagant and Shining - so much brighter than any noonday sun!!! Ohhhh, You are Holy! Yessssss, You are Wonderful! And we praise You because of Who You are...the Great I Am! The Deliverer! YHVH! Hallelujah!

Lord, You have been faithful to take care of us when we could not see our way clear to do anything to change our circumstances. You have been patient when we have refused to trust You to be GOD. You have blessed us time and again...called us without fail...strengthened us for tasks beyond our abilities...protected us all our lives. Thank You, Father! Thank You Lord God Almighty! Thank You for sending Jesus to die for us. Thank You for telling Him to lay His life down and then to get up out of the tomb and take His life back! Thank You for Your glorious Wisdom! You are WISDOM!

Thank You for seeing everything and knowing that we would need the Savior, we would need the Counselor, we would need to be comforted and corrected and we would even need the angels to minister to us. Thank You for not giving up on us, even when we have given up on ourselves or others. Thank You, thank You, thank YOU! Forgive us for every sin. We willingly acknowledge that we have sinned and we cannot make it without Your mercy. Please forgive us for every sin we've committed and strengthen us to never repeat those same sins. We cannot make it without Your grace. We need You, Lord. And while it is very true that we need You, we also acknowledge that we WANT You! We want You with us all of the time. We want You to lead us, teach us, help us and talk with us. We want You to know us, Lord. And we want to know You more. Thank You so much for being God! Thank You - with all that we are we want to thank You, Lord. Hallelujah!!!

Father, these problems we experience are very small in Your eyes. They are just little bitty things, Lord. Just like we are little, so are our problems in Your eyes. Father, we don't want to grieve You by doubting Your ability to handle our little bitty problems. You are far too magnificent to be torn down by our little bitty mindsets, so instead we choose to thank You for the ways that You will provide. We choose to thank You for the insight that You will give, the provision that You will make, the lessons that You will teach and the glory that You will rightly receive as we honor You by trusting You to be God in all of these little bitty problems. We do not pray with an attitude of fear about these things, Lord. We pray with confidence that You have plans and are more than capable to see those plans through in our lives. We pray in faith, God. We also pray with understanding - for You have faithfully shown Yourself to be Trustworthy and True every day of our lives. Thank You! You will always be GOD, YHVH, and absolutely nothing can change that! Glory!!!

Oh, the peace that fills our hearts when we honor You! How wonderful it is to have these times to show You that we trust You - no matter what may come! Strengthen us, Lord, to honor You always with the thoughts in our minds, the words that pour from our lips and the attitudes that fill our hearts during times of distress. Help us lift our hands in praise to You when our little bitty problems threaten to overwhelm us. Help us experience them with the right perspective! Sharpen our hearing and brighten our vision to hear and see You more clearly. Fill our mouths with praise that we can shout loud enough for all the host of heaven to hear! Be glorified! Be glorified! Be glorified, Holy Holy Holy!!!

Lord, we lay every single problem, need, desire, hope and dream down at Your feet. Answer and fill them according to Your plans for our lives. Thank You for doing that, Lord. We trust and believe that You will. We lay all the gifts and talents You have given us down at Your feet, also. These are Your gifts to us, YHVH, and we want to use them to honor You. We want to see them multiplied, so that the return for Your Kingdom is everything You desire to receive from Your generous investment in our lives. Thank You for faithfully doing Your part to accomplish all that You have said You would accomplish in us. Thank You for blessing us with the desire to honor, serve, obey and love You, Lord. Thank You for sending us into a harvest that is ready RIGHT NOW! Thank You for equipping us for every situation - even the ones in which we feel inadequate. Thank You so very much for being God!

And so, we joyfully lift this offering of prayer up to You and eagerly look forward to all that You will do. We happily release ourselves into Your care - committed to believe You to be all that Your Word says You are and committed also to believe that You know exactly what to do, when and how to do it! And we offer this sacrifice of praise and prayer up to You in the Only Name that is above every other name...our Lord and Savior, our Redeemer King...Yeshua Ha'Mashiach - Jesus Christ, the Messiah!!!!! GLORY!
Amen!

Come on, everybody! Let's BOLD UP!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"...And There You Are. You're In It."


A number years ago during one of my visits to a ministry here in my area, a woman about my age shared a vision she had of me as we all waited on the Lord in prayer. In the vision, she said she saw me standing on a beach and I was contemplating stepping into the ocean. The only problem was that I didn't know where to step in. She said that she understood the ocean to represent the "Deep" (Lord) and that I wanted to go in, but was unsure of how to go about it. In her beautiful Australian accent, she said, "Just step in and there you are! You're in it."


Sounds simple, doesn't it? But how many people do you know who don't have any idea how to get into a personal relationship with the Lord? Probably more people than we think. I've seen the blank looks on faces occasionally when I encourage people to develop a personal relationship with Him. They have no idea where to start - how to step into the Deep. And I can certainly empathize with them. Been there, done that...as the much over-used saying goes.


You probably already know that there's no special formula, just as there's no special formula for how you talk to your children or parents. There are no instructions to follow, no certain people to meet or study under, no diploma or certificate that qualifies, no elaborate do-da that has to occur before you talk with them. You simply talk. Right? And you simply listen. You get to know them by 'wading into the water' with them. And there you are. You're in it.


How many people do you know that only want you or someone else to pray "out loud" in a gathering, regardless of the size? Why, it might just be you and one other "no-thanks-you-pray" person who is afraid to talk directly to God in front of people. That person might even be afraid to talk to Him when they're all alone, too. That is incredibly sad. How can people who say they are Christians be afraid to talk to their Creator? We all have to get into the relationship while we're here, don't we? If we don't, isn't it possible that we will hear Jesus say, "Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness. You never knew ME." Scary thought, huh? Yeah. It sure is. So why are folks so afraid to 'step into the water'?


Could it be because we've made it too difficult? Could it be that people spend too much time comparing their relationships or their Christian walks with others, when that is not something we should be doing at all? What happens when children compare the relationships their siblings have with their parents to their own relationships with their parents? Comparisons with others usually leaves someone feeling inadequate, unloved or unwanted. It's a recipe for disaster.


Speaking of recipes, I read this really good story in a Chicken Soup For The Soul book today. (Nice segue, huh?) The author is a man by the name of John Holt. John started playing cello a number of years ago. His point was that, even during the learning process, he was playing the cello. Maybe not with the greatest skill, of course. Nevertheless, he was playing. Many people, he says, would say that he was "learning to play", implying that there are two different processes in cello-playing. Process one is the learning-to-play process. Process two is the actual playing. Ridiculous, isn't it? I never thought of it this way before, but this man is right. There are not two processes, just one. We learn to do something by DOING it. We may improve (hopefully) in the things we endeavor to do, but once we start, we are actually doing it.


It's the same with getting into the water. Step into the ocean. When you put your feet into the water, you are wet. Once you get wet, you are wet. As you move forward (practice, listen, pray - whatever) you may get more water on you, but you were wet from the moment you stepped in, right? The principle is the same. When we step into the relationship with Jesus, we're in. It's a start. But the fact of the matter is that we're in. Eventually, if we continue to move forward in our relationship with Him, we will one day look around and see that we're actually out in the deep water. Deep calls to deep, (God is the capital 'D' in Deep and we're the little 'd' in deep, by the way...) And all we had to do was step in and keep moving forward. Amazing, isn't it? And there you are. You're in it.

So, right now I'm going to pray with you in this blog. Join me, if you want to. Let's get wetter!

Father, I'm so glad that You are God. Thank You for being Holy. Even Your name is Holy - that is what Jesus told us. Thank You for being so patient with us, for loving us and calling us out into the Deep. Lord please teach us how to swim in Your love completely, with abandon, beautifully and unashamedly. Teach us how to float in Your tender care. We trust that You are the Admiral of the High Seas and You alone know how to preserve our lives on this thrilling journey that You have called us to take with You. So, let the waves of Your Holy Spirit wash over us, preparing and strengthening us for the next adventure with You. And the next one, and the next one, and the next.... Bring us to where You are, Almighty Holy God. As we step from the hot dry sands of the world into the cool refreshing waters of Your love, soak us with You, Lord. Soak us completely. Drench us with the beauty of You. Wave after wave after wave of You, dear God. Holy God. Precious Jesus. Strong and Mighty and Beautiful Yeshua Ha'Mashiach. Powerful Holy Spirit. Drown us in You until every cell is filled with You and only You. Dear God, I'm asking for this for all of these readers who want it. I'm asking for it for me, too, Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Dear beloved friends. And there you are. You're in it.

Vicky

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!


Weather. That seems to be what everybody is talking about. I guess when something this cold jumps up and slaps the planet in the face, we all take notice, huh? :) What a huge blessing to be in a warm home. What a wonderful gift to have family and friends around us - people who love us in spite of ourselves...and often that is exactly what we need! How extremely blessed - and accountable - we are for all the Lord has given us and all He is doing in our lives! Every opportunity God puts before us to bless the lives of others is a gift. We can look the other way and let them continue to live in the 'cold cruel world' or we can invite them into the warmth and love of Yeshua/Jesus. You must feel that the second option is the best, or you probably wouldn't be reading my blogs, since they are filled with Him! Glory!!!


Every circumstance holds more than one choice. Every choice carries a consequence and every consequence has far reaching repercussions. And while God can use our every choice - including the wrong ones - to somehow bless the lives of others, wouldn't it be great if He didn't have to turn them around in order for that to happen? Wouldn't it be wonderful if it happened because we were in agreement with Him at the very beginning of any situation in which we find ourselves? I wish that it would always be that way with the decisions I make. (Sigh!)


Not long ago, I received a message on my Facebook page from someone who wanted to ridicule a man because of the sins of his past. This person read that I was going to be performing at Morningside last November. You know, it's the home of the Jim Bakker Show. The question posed to me was something along the lines of "Isn't that the guy who went to prison for fraud?" Interestingly, this young lady was just a child when that happened. It seemed odd that she would even know about it - much less be pointing it out to me. I sensed mockery in the question - or rather more of an invitation to defend my choice to perform there. The enemy was poking fun and I wasn't about to play the game. I had to decide how best to respond. Defensively? No. Angrily? No. Dismissively? Absolutely not. It had to be addressed. But first I had to take a deep breath...and pray.


You see, the question came from a young lady I love very much - one who has decidedly rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and doesn't believe in God right now. I sensed the challenge in her query - the invitation to defend my willingness to perform there, because I'm a follower of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach/Jesus Christ the Messiah. The devil was poking fun at me, my choice and most especially at my Lord. He was trying to start a fight with me, but I wasn't about to play his game. The stakes were too high. My loved one was the target that he had chosen to hurt - and I wasn't going to let him lure me into the conflict. My answer had to be the right one.


To give you just a touch of history about this darling girl, she was baptized when she was about 8 years old, but then grew up in a faithless and divided home. After she joined the military, she joined forces with Buddhism. Since I have nothing positive to say about idolatry, I will leave that alone - for this blog, at least. (Well, nothing positive except that the Lord Jesus Christ will crush all idols and their demons under his beautiful feet one day and then pitch them forever into the Lake of Fire - hallelujah!!!! Man, I am looking forward to seeing that happen!)


Anyway, this lovely young lady has come to the conclusion that all religion is fake and apparently doesn't believe in anything remotely associated with God. I haven't broached the subject of atheism being a religion, too. No need for that right now. Her conversations reflect her hurt, anger and bitterness in so many ways. She needs prayer. Please pray for her.


So, how did I answer her? Basically, I told her that she was correct, he had gone to prison. I also recommended that she read his book entitled, "I Was Wrong". I then told her how grateful I am for the forgiveness of others in my life, acknowledging that it would be a lonely life indeed, if people didn't forgive me for all of the stupid things I've done.


I haven't heard a word about it from her since. Oh, there were many other things that could have been said. I could have slammed her pretty hard about where she is in life right now; how hard-hearted she's become and how abrasive her language is these days. I could have said a number of things and been accurate on every one of them. I could have held up a mirror and shown her that she is standing outside in the cold...pointing out her negative attitude and criticizing her for her faithless walk. I could have shown her right then how wretched she is - as we all have been - and she would have just turned away from me and headed back out into the cold cruel world without a positive witness from me. Why? Because she wouldn't like what she sees in the mirror and she's not ready to surrender. The better choice was to get her eyes off of herself, her opinions and her life - and get them onto Jesus, even if only for a moment. So that was the mirror I tried to hold up for her to look into.


Just as He did with me, the Lord is planting seeds. And anyway, if I had accepted that challenge, exactly what kind of example would my walk with Jesus have shown her? Criticism? Debate? Accusation? And who IS the accuser? I didn't want satan to have the pleasure of attacking this precious child through me. I don't want to be that person. I want to be the daughter that our God has called me to be. And this daughter cannot afford to cast even one single stone in any direction. (I know, I know, I'm using lots of metaphors today...mixing them up terribly...but hey, that's okay!)


Instead, it seemed that the Lord was leading me to invite her into the warmth of the love of Jesus. Invite her to stand by the fire of forgiveness and warm her cold heart with the thoughts of His heart for people. She didn't need a lecture. She didn't need a combative rebuttal. She needed to hear how important forgiveness is for every one of us. I trust that Holy Spirit told her the rest. Forgiveness is important for her, too. It's not as though she has never heard it before. She just needed to hold her cold hands out and feel the warmth of it being demonstrated to her in that very moment. Oh yeah. God is good.


What's the weather like where you live? Cold? Freezing? Unforgiving? Well then. Invite folks in to warm their hands by the fire of His love.


Remember...baby, it's cold outside.