MY EMAIL

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grace = Ease #2

Dear Friend:

Good day! Where do I begin? I wrote to you last about the greeting from St. Paul to the Ephesians

I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2

Little did I know that this message would be shown to me in a very visual way just the next day after writing about grace. Let me say Mercy is withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve. Grace is no only withholding that punishment but offering the most precious of gifts instead. So God expressed grace and mercy to each of us by becoming flesh and living among us. Then he went the step further and actually died for us expressing grace in the ultimate way. Sometimes we see grace lived out in our lives through people. When that grace is given by our children it is even more astounding.

Let me explain where I am going with this letter to you. Yesterday I got up as always and my car was parked in the driveway and not in the garage in its usual spot. In my haste to drive the girls to school, I backed into my son’s car (his brand new car that he is paying for himself). I began to pray for myself, husband and of course for my son. About an hour later I saw my son and said (as I cried) “I am so sorry for hitting your car.” He walked toward me and just gave me a hug and said “it’s okay mom.” What a relief to be given such GRACE. Grace is from above and it can be lived out by each of us. People are more important than things. I have to admit that I was beating myself up asking “how did you hit his car?” I was given grace and not receiving it fully. Until, I went and prayed again saying “Father I need you to ease my mind (help me with this grace).” I know now to go to the word for just that kind of relief; I was led to Psalm 71:1 in you, O Lord, I have taken refuge, let me never be put to shame. (NIV) THE MESSAGE BIBLE SAYS “I RUN FOR DEAR LIFE TO GOD, I’LL NEVER LIVE TO REGRET IT. DO WHAT YOU DO SO WELL; GET ME OUT OF THIS MESS AND UP ON MY FEET.”

I felt ashamed and here I was reading about David praying for the same thing as I was. The word “shame” spoke to me because it reminded me that “God will NEVER be ashamed of me.” I can run to Him and he will never make me feel worse, that is LOVE. Psalm 71:20-21 though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. CAN I GET AN AMEN!

For the rest of the day all I could think of was this “God can bring good out of everything.” One incident can teach many people, not just me. My son responded with grace, because at some point he was probably given grace. Grace=ease. Giving grace eases another persons mind.

Let’s pray: Father in Heaven thank you for extending your grace through Jesus Christ. Thank you for all lessons in life that are keeping me humble. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Thanks to my husband and son for extending me grace.

Still having ease of mind because of grace,

Elaine

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Grace = Ease

Dear Friend:

How was your Thanksgiving? I pray filled with love and joy. Sometimes love hurts. Why is that you? Because some siblings, parents and friends have made decisions that they are paying consequences for. When we love them and don’t live in their shoes it makes it hard to like them. With the Christmas season coming these relationships get in our face and seem to be screaming at us. But really it is their problem and not ours to fret over.

Grace-translated from the Greek means; the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude, acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, liberality, joy, pleasure, thank.

St. Paul greets the Ephesians saying this “I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2

Let me rewrite the verse with the definition of grace inserted. The divine influence on the heart-gratitude, acceptance, benefit, favor, gift, liberality, joy, pleasure, thankfulness, peace are poured into our lives by God our Father our Master, Jesus Christ.

What does that mean in relation to those people or things that take up our thoughts every new day? It means that we have the power from Jesus to block those things out and think about more beneficial thoughts such has the hope we have when Christ returns. This capability is poured into us when we know Jesus. This all unfolds right in this Christmas season. The plan of God was perfect. To be born in a lowly place not as a King would be born, but as a servant , so he can identify and be with us. To leave Heaven, a great perfect place, to greet you with GRACE AND PEACE. We can not earn this grace and we certainly did not deserve it, but we can RECEIVE IT AND BELIEVE IT! Have you done that personally? Where you have taken a moment to receive God’s grace, which is Jesus in the flesh. Have you taken the time to ask this Baby Jesus to make a home in your heart?

GRACE=EASE

THIS EQUATION DOES NOT MEAN “EASY STREET.” IT MEANS “EASE OF MIND.” I imagine you made need “EASE OF MIND” right now. Pray with me: Sweet Baby Jesus I receive your grace right now. Help me to see relationships and circumstances in the light of your GRACE. Jesus please ease my mind with this truth. Thank you. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Grace has eased my mind,

Elaine

Friday, November 23, 2007

Be Bold and Go For It!

Dear Friend:

1 Corinthians 1:4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

1:5 For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge--

1:6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.

It is Wednesday November 22, 2007, the day before Thanksgiving. I was driving in my car alone, with my praise music on loud and thinking of so many things to be thankful for. I thought of you. I began to cry and become overwhelmed with the thought of you my friend. The above verse came to mind as I thought of you. Have you ever experienced just an overwhelming joy that brings you to tears? I believe that is just the power of the Holy Spirit and Him filling me up. I had to get to my computer and just share my joy for you and how SPECIAL IT IS THATGod put us together.

I want to encourage you to reach out to someone that you have not told them you love them in a long while. Just be bold and say” I care about you and love you.” Is there a parent, sibling, friend, relative or spouse who are struggling in life and you have never just said something like “I am proud of you, I care about you or I never say this enough but I want you to know I love you.” Maybe they are not struggling and you just are so busy you never tell them you love them. BE BOLD AND GO FOR IT! Don’t wait for them to say that to you first. People need to be encouraged. Something great may come out of it.

Pray with me right now: Lord Jesus is there someone in my life that you want me to tell them something? Who might that be? Give me courage and boldness to say what you are laying on my heart right now. Thank you Father for you son and how you sacrificed Him for me. I can’t grasp how hard that must have been for you God. Thank you for……… In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

1Co 13:13 - And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I was teaching the youth yesterday and I got teary eyed at their love for spiritual things. They are hungry to follow Jesus and do the right things. They just need to hear about how to do that. The world is filling our youth with so much information overload. I will be sharing over the next couple of weeks what we explored together.

For now, remember what I told you about telling someone you love them, BE BOLD AND GO FOR IT!

BEING BOLD,

ELAINE

THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR PRAYERS AND LOVE, I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE PRECIOUS!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Umbrella #4

Dear Friend:

This week has been the week of most of the trees emptying of its leaves. I especially have my favorites like the red and yellow maples, but it is the Gingko tree that gets to me every year. They start from a dark green to a lime green and then begin to change yellow and finally bright yellow. Then the tree looses all its leaves within 24 to-48 hours, and it is done. The ground is so beautiful with the yellow leaves. Did you take the time this fall to just take it all in? Wow! Now my Gingko’s trees are completely empty.

Do you ever hang out with someone that all they want to do is talk about the past in a negative way? You’re excited about doing lunch, coffee etc. and this person always brings up the same whoa is me about the past. At first you think I will solve this problem with so and so and it will be okay. Then you think I will talk about it with them one more time and try and convince them of your solution to their past. Meeting after meeting the same old complaints and worries. You feel like you’re stuck like Bill Murray in the movie “Ground Hog Day.” Remember he repeats the same day and conversations over and over. Then you realize that every phone conversation and meeting together is the same old….she did that or he said this or my mom did this or my dad said this or my friend did this to me or my daughter did this or my son said that…blah, blah, blah. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like meeting with that person after a while. What do you do? They feel empty and lost and you feel like you are going to burst.

Jesus helps us to put life all in perspective. At least He should be helping you to put things in perspective. As long as you are grabbing for the “Jesus umbrella,” He can help you. I came across some scripture to help me to see how many if they choose, can be healed from the past and just let go. To choose to be healed and put things in proper perspective is hard, but doable with Jesus. Okay, in my head I hear all the skeptics out there saying “no way, I have gone through this and this, you don’t understand how bad things were.” I may not understand, but God really understands. After all he let His son die such a horrific death. He let Him be led to the slaughter by some bad people.

Philippians 3:13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

Paul found it important to let go of the past and put His energy into the future. I just asked a lady, who was complaining about an incident that happened 3 years ago, “do you want to be healed?” She said “yes” and then I said “then forgive those who need to be forgiven and ask God to heal your heart from all offenses and to put all your energy into the future, forgetting the past?” Do you believe He can help you to do this? Asking God to help you is all part of our carrying our “Jesus Umbrella” with us daily.

The leaves will be back in the Spring and things will be beautiful again. Our lives can be empty and refilled by our Lord if we let Him into our hearts. Ask yourself today “why am I carrying this umbrella around with me?” There is a reason and purpose for it!

This was the prophecy Isaiah spoke regarding “The Messiah’s Ministry of Peace that he would bring for you and many.”

Isaiah 61:1The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

61:2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.

61:3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

Theses verses are rich with so much meaning for me. My favorite part is verse 3 because I love the promise “He will take the ashes of your past and bring beauty.” The Lord will clean us out and put new ways in for “His own glory.” So be a fall tree today and let your leaves of the past die and fall off you and put your energy into the future of new beauty being planted in you.

Let’s pray: Father in heaven today is a new day that I can come before you and ask you to help me to get rid of the things from the past that are taking up all my energy. Thank you for helping me. I want to get rid of it all. Help me to forgive_ (insert name or names) __and forget. Help me to have love for those that have hurt me. Lord plant me and help me to be strong and graceful for your glory. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Still carrying my umbrella,

Elaine

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Umbrella #3

Dear Friend:

To God be the glory for all of these umbrella stories. I tell you God is so creative. He really wants us to understand His protection for us and really He is using the umbrella as an image to get this across to us. I got the idea for the umbrella just recently while talking to the volunteer coordinator at Elmhurst Hospital. She was sharing how she taught recently in her bible study using the umbrella to show Jesus protection and covering for us all. I liked it so much, that I told her I would use it for the young girls. Last Heart 2 Heart I told you about a response I got from the Umbrella story, do you believe how cute that was? A reader of the Heart 2 Hearts has a dream that her mother (who passed away this year) handed her an umbrella in the dream? Her Mom handed her a “Jesus Umbrella” so her daughter can be protected.

Today I was picturing my friend who just went through some serious medical tests, carrying her “Jesus umbrella” with her on her Doctor appointments. I know she wasn’t literally carrying an umbrella with her to her Doctor appointments (it sure was funny picturing her doing that LOL), but she described such a peace that she could not explain. When we have Jesus along with us, we have peace that we can not explain. She had people praying for her and she was praying for herself. When she prayed and others prayed she got peace. When she was at the hospital things happened that confirmed that she was being protected by Jesus. One smiling, Indian man who was with her before surgery, looked at her and said “God Bless You.” It gave my friend such peace to see a friendly smile and hear those comforting words. That is Jesus all around her guiding and showing His love through people. One nurse offered to go with her to surgery. That nurse gave my friend such peace. Are you getting what I am saying here? We can be in all sorts of trouble and in the midst of serious tests and Jesus can be there with us.

I know I give you this verse frequently, but I needed to be reminded. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God 4:7 and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This kind of peace transcends all understanding. Transcends in the Webster dictionary mean-“to surpass; to out go; to excel; to exceed; to go beyond.

GOD WANTS TO EXCEED OR GO BEYOND ALL UNDERSTANDING IN REGARDS TO YOUR PEACE.

Let’s pray: Thank you Father for peace that I can’t understand, but I know you give. Help me to remember to pray and expect this peace as I go through life. Thank you for the faith to believe, and experience this kind of peace. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Still carrying my umbrella,

Elaine

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Umbrella #2

Dear Friend:

Something so cool happened last week. God is saying “tell them.” I ran into a woman who used to receive my Heart 2 Hearts. I needed to update her e-mail. So I sent her the Heart 2 Heart entitled “Umbrella.” She wrote me back and said “I am having trouble opening your attachment labeled “Umbrella” and I would really like to read it because my Mom (who passed away this year) gave me an umbrella in a dream.” So I resent it to her and here is her response.


Elaine,

OH MY GOODNESS!! I just got the chills and choked up at the same time about this Umbrella story.

In my dream when my mom handed me the umbrella I immediately thought about protection, but this makes the message so much more and I know that would be exactly the message that my mom wanted me to hear.

Thanks for sharing that!!!!!

Now what made you send that to me?

God was definitely working through you!!

How awesome is that!!!


She knows Jesus and I definitely know that she will be carrying her “Jesus Umbrella” each day to protect her.

Today I feel the Lord saying “I assure you that I will protect you, get under my protection.”

Psalm 91:14 The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.

91:15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.

I recommend you get out your bible and read Psalm 91. It is a Psalm all about protection. If you come across the word “pestilence” Webster says this “corruption or moral disease destructive to happiness and any contagious or infectious disease that is epidemic and mortal.” Psalm 91:3 surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:4 His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you’re perfectly safe; His arms fend off all harm.

Jesus HEART speaks “BELIEVE THAT I WILL GET YOU THROUGH EVERYTHING TODAY AND EVERYDAY.”

Let’s pray: Father thank you that you will protect me today. I need you Father. I want to draw near to you. Help me to remember your promise of love and protection. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Still under the “Jesus Umbrella”,

Elaine

p.s. REMEMBER JESUS IS AWESOME AND HE IS SITTING WITH YOU RIGHT NOW, SAY “HI.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stuff

Dear Friend:

Hi-Got your “Jesus Umbrella” in your hand? Remember from last week I taught the teens how we need to take Jesus with us all day. Rain or shine he goes with us! Let’s continue our journey with the next message I taught the young teens.

We had a great time filling jars/vases with box cars, clothes, cell phones, DS games, Ugg boots, Prince charming, Zac Efron, iPODS, sidekicks, iPhones, Blackberries, awards, lottery tickets, money, favorite sports, jewelry, video iPods etc. It all represented the “stuff” they want or have. There jars were full.

Then I read the Women at the Well story from John 4 in the bible. As I read the story I pointed out some things. (You may want to stop and read it and then continue with my message.)

As Jesus sat at the well, this Samaritan woman approaches him. Jesus made this woman comfortable. How can that be? She probably did not talk to many people in town because of her reputation of having so many husbands (especially in those days). Samaritan people were not supposed to talk to Jews. But she went to the well to get water and probably was going to run back home and hide. Instead she encounters Jesus and there in an instant they made a connection. Why? Because Jesus is God and he was inviting, welcoming, gentle, and kind and she sensed that right away. Next he tells her with a word picture “I can give you living water and you will never be thirsty again. Indeed the water I give you will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” She says “give me that water.” He then gently points out to her that he knows all about her 5 husbands. This becomes her awareness of her sin. Now if someone was pointing out your sin of 5 husbands, wouldn’t you run and hide? She admitted this sin to Him and felt COMFORTABLE. She realized that there was something special about Jesus and then discovers He is the chosen one and this who the prophets foretold would come. The Messiah! So this is the part I really pointed out what happens next. This bad girl is forgiven by Jesus and then feels so great and clean (in a sense washed by Jesus water). She has a sense that things will be different from now on. She found the true living water. She found the LOVE OF HER LIFE. She found love in all the wrong places, but now was so filled up with Him and His kind, loving and compassionate ways.

(Get this) SHE DROPS HER JAR AND RUNS OFF TO TELL THE TOWN PEOPLE WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO HER. Let’s look at that more closely. We all just filled our jars with our “STUFF.” She in a sense had a full jar of her “STUFF.” But after meeting Jesus she drops her jar and realizes that “STUFF” is no longer the love of her life, but Jesus became the love of her life. That was her repentance from sin. (I told the kids “Stuff” is okay, but “Stuff” can not be our Idols or Gods, because they can take over our lives and that is sin) To top this message off we had to get to the ending. She ran to talk to people in the town that probably made fun of her, gossiped about her, called her the town bad girl. Ask yourself “why would she have the guts to go and tell these people her story and why would they want to talk to her?” Guess what? They do talk to her and they do acknowledge her and listen. In fact, they go with her to meet this man called Jesus. WOW! God gave her a new calling on her life and this calling included her now having the Holy Spirit and that Spirit within her caused others to hear and want the living water too!

Because you are not living in such a religious atmosphere as in Jesus time, it is so much harder for you to see “Woman at the Well experiences.” Why did lives get changed in the story? Because the people listened, saw and discerned something took place with this woman. She was CHANGED. You are sometimes skeptical, but really if you were honest you could tell if people change and that is by their actions. JESUS CHANGES LIVES. NO OTHER RELIGION HAS A BOOK PRESERVED IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU CAN READ ABOUT TRANSFORMATION OF LIVES. The Bible is that book and you just need to read it and discern. This bad girl turned good girl is an exciting story. The young teens really got the picture of her change and you can too!

Bad girl turned good. You can take this information for yourself.

1. She saw and sensed Jesus was okay to talk to. It is okay for me to talk to Jesus.

2. She heard Him. You can hear from Jesus.

3. She saw sin and was not afraid to repent. Jesus washed her clean. You can repent of all you do wrong and He is faithful and just and will forgive you your sins and purify you from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9)

4. She dumped her “stuff” and allowed Jesus to overflow her jar with His pure living eternal water. (She’s going to heaven someday) You can give Jesus your heart and he can overflow you with His pure living water and give you eternal life. (we are going to heaven)

5. She ran and shared with others without shame or guilt. She did not leave it to the Priest or lay people. She went! She had a calling and purpose. She had the Holy Spirit! You can celebrate, share your joy and love for Jesus to others, just ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you.

Sharing, celebrating and loving Jesus,

Elaine

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

REALITY CHECK

Dear Friend:

I had a girl that I counseled last week from York. What a hard thing to do. Here a girl comes to me for advice of how to stop doing things she is tempted to do. A couple of verses came to my mind.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

The title of the chapter where this verse appears is “Avoid self-indulgence.” The Israelites were tempted to go the way they FELT they wanted to go. I thought of my own life. Society has been training me to make quick decisions about things. Just this morning I wanted an answer to something. I was reaching for the phone to find the right person to agree with me and then I would be quickly satisfied.

Would I be satisfied? Does quick decisions satisfy us? Doesn’t that satisfaction only last for a short time? True satisfaction comes from God. So, I heard in my head the words of my own messages I give in front of audiences “go to the phone before the throne.” I put down the phone and waited and prayed. This is exactly what I prayed. “Lord I do not feel equipped to counsel this girl, I really don’t know her and how do I trust her, what if she is not sincere and she wastes my time (or your time Lord), what if she doesn’t take my advice and continues to make some questionable decisions, what do I do?” Then I heard the Lord give me the above verse and He said “pray this for her.” Lord let no temptation seize her except what is common to man. God you are faithful don’t let her be tempted beyond what she can bear. But when she is tempted, help provide a way of escape so she can stand up under it.

Then I opened the kids bible from Young Life and came to a passage explaining this verse

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

After I read this passage, I heard God say “Elaine, I give you the words to say; I help others who seek me make decisions. I will always be with you and guide your tongue. Sometimes people don’t like to hear what I have to say. Let me handle that too. I put you in that situation and I just ask you to speak. I will do the rest.” The passage from Corinthians mentions Moses and his journey to lead the Jews who were self-indulging while waiting in the desert to go into their promise land. We are called to lead, but sometimes the people we are leading DON’T LISTEN TO GOD. God does use people to help us on our journey. So this bible from Young life gives this verse and advice to the youth who have a road ahead full of many decisions and it says this “there is nothing more thrilling or satisfying than being used by God to do His work.” How will I recognize the work that God has cut out just for me? Keep traveling along the road to real. Keep exploring God’s Word. Keep engaging with God’s family (people who understand the Word of God). Keep listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit from within and acting on His direction. Keep following the example of Jesus from God’s written word. As you move along the road to real, God will begin to bring to your attention the road work ahead, set aside just for you. One thing is for certain: it will be work that satisfies your soul and brings you deep and lasting joy.

How do you make this message real for you? Do a “reality check” like I did. Check these off:

Did I pray about this? ___

Did I listen for God about my situation? ____ (Usually I use a stop light for the answer Red, STOP, green, GO, and yellow, WAIT AND PROCEED WITH CAUTION)

Finally did a trustworthy person confirm this decision to me? ______

Doing my reality check,

Elaine

Monday, November 5, 2007

UMBRELLA

Dear Friend:

Yesterday was such a God day! I felt like from the moment I got up and prayed that God would be in my day and order my schedule, that is exactly what he did. I was completing my lesson to teach twenty 11-13 year old girls. I want to invite you to come on my journey of what God taught me and them.

I took an umbrella and wrote the word Jesus all over it. I had a girl named Kaitlin help me to do a skit called “Jesus Umbrella.” She had no umbrella and I had the “Jesus umbrella. “ Kaitlin’s problems in life like having a sick Aunt, a pain in the butt teacher and a pest of a sister seem HUGE TO HER. She is so angry, tired and frustrated with life. Kaitlin takes a look at me and my umbrella and wonders what is up. Why I am so happy? After all, she knows I have a pest of sister, the same pain in the butt teacher as her and I have a sick Grandma. She quickly discovers that lately she has not picked up her umbrella and covered herself. She realized that I looked at my problems differently because of the “Jesus umbrella.” I choose to pray for my teacher and maybe something will change. I prayed that Grandma would go home to be with the Lord in God’s perfect time and that Jesus would comfort us and help us take care of Grandma. As for my sister I prayed Jesus would give me love for her. That Jesus would help us to enjoy each other as sisters. Kaitlin knew that she asked Jesus into her heart at her Sunday school class, but she has been neglecting Him and not taking the “Jesus Umbrella” with her. What did I do to keep the “Jesus Umbrella” with me? I would pray and read God’s word daily so then I would feel protected and close to Him.

This was a great visual way to demonstrate having a personal relationship with Jesus .

So don’t leave home without your “Jesus Umbrella.”

1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Let’s pray: Jesus thank you for message that taught the youth. Lord help , me to see how important it is to be talking to you all day everyday. Forgive me when I don’t. Be with me today and order my day. In Jesus name I pray.

Holding on to my umbrella and giving them away,

Elaine