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Monday, December 7, 2015

PREP FOR CHRISTMAS-IT'S TIME

As I prepare for Christmas a battle begins.

What's the battle you ask?

The battle is being materialistic vs. what really is important?

How do I fight this battle?

Spending more time with God vs. spending more time in the stores.

The weapon of the war?

PRAYER and being equipped with a dose of truth.

Praying continually becomes a possibility, a reality, the holiest and most blessed part of our holy and blessed fellowship with God.

We no longer live for ourselves but...
we live for Christ. For the baby we celebrate.

Sometimes I talk to myself and shout out "Dah, this season is not for you. Not for me to be the champion gift giver. It's for Jesus!"

The birth. The baby. The true meaning. The manger. God himself. God with us.

God gave us the gift of himself. That was the very first Christmas. His PRESENCE NOT HIS PRESENTS.

The world will be changed forever if we focus on the gift giver and his presence.

God with us.

"Behold and the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us.)"




Friday, October 23, 2015

PRICELESS

Dear Friend:

I heard someone tell this story.

I hate flying but there I was flying overseas at an altitude of over 37,000 feet worrying  about things like did the pilot get enough sleep or is he capable of flying this jet? After about an hour into the flight I asked the stewardess to check in the cock pit and make sure they were awake. After a couple of more hours I ask her to check again but the stewardess says "Sir, it really is rude and insulting to keep asking a pilot if he is doing his job."

I liken this story to my life and my relationship with God. I keep praying asking things like what is going on here God, what are you up to? When I don't get an answer I ask again and again. It really is rude to keep asking a sovereign God. You maybe saying isn't that a little harsh after all we are taught to be honest with God and ask anything. I get that.

My intent is not to shame us for going to God questioning. My intent is helping us be led by the spirit into life and peace by trusting God. Praying is our greatest way of communicating with God. But I think at some point we have to take responsibility and move on to next steps.

Here is an example. I was to do a teaching that went along with scripture that we were learning in a bible study. The leaders decided to cancel the class. They did not reschedule. I prayed and wrote the talk but now it wasn't going to be used? I questioned that and there was no answer.

Psalm 111 is full of twenty qualities that tell us who God is. He is...
great, glorious, majestic, righteous, wondrous, memorable, gracious, compassionate, provider, covenant keeper, powerful, faithful, just, trustworthy, steadfast, upright, holy, redeemer, awesome and eternal.

I made this list and have been memorizing it. Why? The end of the Psalm states "When we fear the Lord it is wise and we get good understanding." Realizing to just take time to adore the Father by praising Him is powerful.

Just as we remember a pilots training we can remember our Father in heavens qualities and be reassured that they can handle the flights in our life.

The psalmists final words "To Him belongs eternal praise!"

PRAYER:  Father in heaven you are (recite the list above). Thank you for helping me today. Amen.



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

BREATHE REST

I have caught myself saying this "Some days it feels as if I'm drowning in water and my face is the only thing above water."

You feel as if you are drowning in decisions, work etc. Much of it feels unfulfilling.

Here is the good news.

If your face is above water that means you are breathing. Breathing the air God created. It doesn't matter how much of you is sinking.
What matters is that you are breathing.

You know when you are doggy paddling to keep your head up in water? Instead of exhausting yourself paddling to stay above water you could relax lay back and float.
When I was a kid I loved laying back in the water with my ears just below. Then I would breathe easy and listen. Listen to complete silence. I love that feeling. Relaxing, floating, silence!
I got in my bath tub and did that the other day. Thinking of my childhood when I rested in the tub or pool I just relaxed and listened to silence.

Be like a child and learn to rest. Rest is essential for us to deal with the days ahead. If you are uptight remember to breathe in God's air and out the used air. Breathe from your lower part of the stomach and not from the shoulders. Tell yourself you are alive and okay!
Breath in the good and breath out all the bad.
In and out.
In and out.
Keep going.
Keep breathing and carry on.






Friday, October 2, 2015

WILL THINGS CHANGE

As I stood and looked at a grove of maple trees. My eyes were drawn to one tree that already changed Red, the rest were still green. Within in me a whisper came. Just as the trees change and are transformed, each one in its own time and pace, you and my people are changed. Meaning we are each on our own journey different elements and experiences change us all in different ways. As we walk through life and feel overwhelmed we ask "When God when will change or answer to prayer come?" No answer at the time. We must wait. Just as the trees must wait, they wait for the weather to change them, we wait for God to bring new color and shed light to change us, to guide us, to give us wisdom for everyday living.We can’t rush it just as the trees can’t rush the process. Sometimes we think we can rush it but if we force things that is when we get overwhelmed and in our own strength we try to control things. It is in His strength that we are truly transformed, delivered and changed. Our job is to acknowledge that God is with us and wait on Him.
Can you rest with God?
God is:
The hope
The love
The peace
The presence.
Here is another question: What would you rather do?
Continue to fight for a job, a position, a title a….can you name what you are waiting for…trying to figure out, fighting for or
Just wait, wait like the trees wait (Peace, calm, beauty and tranquility)?  Wait for the door to open and then we walk through it.  Walk through it, God with you!
Overwhelmed with God’s beauty or overwhelmed with life?
Just know God with you.
Look at the trees. Understand that if we wait it will be beautiful.
It starts with prayer and time spent being still reflecting on God with you.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.” (Which means God with us).
I know we are thinking Fall.
But we can also be thinking Christmas. The Christmas message, God with us.
Enjoy the Fall weather. Find time to sit and look out at the trees. When you look at the trees remember this message.
They are beautiful. You are beautiful.  Rest.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

In 1939 the British Government revolutionized this motivational poster "Keep Calm and Carry On."
Certainly the merchandisers all over the world are capitalizing on it. Okay I'll give the Brits credit for the cute saying but when someone says keep calm, I'm gonna be honest, I can't always calm down.

Today I read "Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
After reading that verse I closed my eyes for ten minutes with this question on my mind "Does God care about me?"

Of course everything  began vying for my attention...my cell, texts, grocery lists, appointments...

Oh God help me...

Ahhh...
Then I saw it...I was a spectator to Jesus:
Inviting the men to be fisher of men.
Tenderly talking to the women at the well.
Present working with the disciples to feed five thousand.
Healing the women with the issue of bleeding.
Raising Lazarus from the dead.
Talking with Mary as she anoints His feet with oil.
Washing the apostles feet.
Being beaten and hung on the cross.
By the time I got to the cross, I sat tears streaming down my face seeing His body battered, pierced hands and feet, bloody brow and the gouge in His side.

Does he care?

Prayer:
Thank you Lord for caring for me today. Your came with the soul reason to love and care for me and others. Thank you for I am grateful.

How do I carry on now?

With the vision of those stories in my head my heart is overwhelmed with His love.
When relationships are not solid.
When your boss is demanding.
When your children don't cooperate.
When your circle of friends are too busy.
When your spouse nags or doesn't understand.
When someone close dies.

Carry on with this:
God is with you.
He never leaves you.
He knows all pain. He gets it.

Picture yourself sitting with Jesus face to face sitting, talking but when it is time to carry on...Would you be tired and cranky and more confused? Or Would you feel renewed, refreshed?

Every visit is rest.

Keep Calm,(reflect), and Then Carry On. Too long and would not look good on T-shirts but you get what I mean.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

RESTING IN THE LORD

I read the passage of scripture where Jesus appeared in the upper room after he rose from the dead.
His first words were "Peace be with you." Each time he greeted a disciple he said those words "Peace be with you."

I closed my eyes with the intent to sit and rest in Jesus. Quiet my mind with your love. I pictured Jesus appearing to the disciples with His arms extending out saying "Peace be with you." At that moment I felt like I was there in that room. He had risen! He was dragged brutally and hung on a cross and left secured in a cold tomb, yet here he was before their eyes.

I thought of the reason for his death. I personalized it. To atone for me/mankind.
I heard a whisper "Peace be with you."

My impression of that moment was Jesus was all about others. Never about himself. He extended peace at that moment. What? Think about that. His greeting blew my mind. Reassuring. He is all in for you and me.

I sensed His love for me. No matter what goes on in life. If I get worn out, Jesus is there to extend me peace. His story is one of grace. I needed to remember that. He knew I needed that. He loves me.

Do you every close your eyes and sit and wait, no agenda or purpose but just wait? I closed my eyes knowing Jesus is present but I did not know what to expect.

Find your rest spot. Pull over. Get to the Oasis.


Monday, September 14, 2015

LAUGH A LITTLE.

Dear Friend:

I heard this joke recently.

There was this old man sitting on the porch with his wife, the love of his life. He said "Sugar I would really love one of those DQ hot fudge sundaes. She replies "Yeah with nuts too!" He said "I think I'll run out and get us one of them sundaes." She responds "Great but you better write down hot fudge with nuts or you'll forget." He responds "I won't forget." Sometimes passes and he returns and hands the bag over to her saying "Here lovely wife." She opens it up finds a ham sandwich and says "Oh I told you to write it down you forget the mustard!"

I needed a good laugh today. A distraction.

Sometimes in life we get stuck. We maybe praying and there is no answer.

I hope today that this helps you to remember that we can't take life so serious or we will dry up.
Laugh a little will you!?

Elaine








Monday, August 31, 2015

LIKE LOVE

This whole world is spinning like crazy. I can't quite keep up.

You may feel that way too!

Each day I wanna to look a little more like love.

A song written by Ben Rector More Like Love

I put this song on repeat and  thought about the complications of life and how my desire is to express love to others. I agree with Ben.

Do you struggle with loving others?

Can we just conjure up love by saying "I wanna look more like love."


I don't need to have all the answers or be like an expert.

I just know.
God is love.

I am going to love--love and be loved. First I have to recognize I am loved, now I love. He loves me first.

Am I perfect in love.

No.

But this was a nice reminder for me today.

Love makes me crazy. It helps me to continue on. Live fully.

Think about it. He loved you and will always love you. Do you wanna look more like love?

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling thinking about this.





Monday, August 10, 2015

LICKETY SPLIT

Dear Friend:

 


As I yanked a big weed I fell back and yelped "Oh my gosh I got it!" I was a little dirty but the yard looked better. Oh my goodness. Isn't this just like life; meaning whenever I get past a difficult moment in life with God's help It may have been a little messy but it was worth it. 

I have realized lately that little messages become big messages when taken to heart.

 I have found myself wasting time with distractions when it comes to messy moments. That day I just kept thinking "It takes a moment" to pull a weed. That certainly is not a life time.

Is there something you are avoiding today?  Like confronting, forgiving, confessing....

Pull the weed out. You may get a little dirty but a shower can take care of that lickety split.

PRAY:
God help me with...............


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MIND OVER MATTER

Some of what I am going to write about today will be common sense. You know when someone quotes a catch phrase of some sort that encourages, inspires or strengthens you. I catch myself responding by tapping my head shouting "Dah!, I've known that all along, why don't I remember that". I could attempt to spell our a neuroscience reason why are brain won't remember such things that would help each of us.

The ancient proverb often quoted "Mind over matter" can be put into motion where one uses your mind to think about more crucial issues in life other than lame materialistic or small less consequential things in life.

I think at this point you're probably asking me "Why are you bringing this up"?

I think we can all agree we are trying our best to make the most out of life experiences. To walk away from work, home life, relationships, vacations, exercising etc. to feel satisfied.

Sometimes we walk away from these experiences analyzing ourselves by questioning "Maybe I did not workout hard enough, did I get the most out of that vacation, is this the best work I can do...We can go on and on questioning all sorts of things. (Not enough space here to list them all).

I chose to put in this list vacation because once I came back from my vacation just questioning so much that I was ready for a vacation again. I guess a professional would label it as anxiety. Do we need medication for this? Can we reduce this questioning, impulsive, emotional thinking? When we question ourselves are we really formulating in our minds regrets, guilt or even shame.

So many questions, right?!

Here is the amazing thing you may not know. Licensed counselors, all religions, psychologist agree that this needs to be addressed so that our minds can "RENEW." If we renew our mind we will have less incidents that present a problem and robbing us of peace.

So what does it matter in the big scheme of things some of our regrets or questioning? How do we make it stop.

Creating pathways in our brain that make healthy connections so our brains stream more positive patterns. It takes practice and for me most importantly is the Father's help and love.
Inviting God into the situation.

Prayer:  Father I confess I have patterns of thought that are not feeling healthy today. How can I change this? Thank you Father for always being so sweet and loving toward me. I ask you to help me to learn a better.  Amen.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?

Dear Friend:

Decisions can pile up one after another. Circumstances on top of that. Your calendar appointments on top of that. Planning and eating three balanced meals on top of that.

I picture all of the above like a huge pile of dirt that ends up being taller than I am. That's like over six feet of layers of dirt.

On some days you float from one decision to the next. No mound build up.

On another day it truly is a mound of dirt and  you just don't have much clarity. You cannot get past the mound.

I don't know about you but if I'm not clear about things and I am questioning it and not getting an answer I begin to roll it around in my head and I don't do anything with the thoughts. When that happens I begin to compare myself saying; look at so and so they just float from one thing to the next. They must have a better connection with God. They make life seem so easy. Wow! Where is the joy? I must really be disappointing God. There must be something wrong with me. I'm weak. I'm sensitive.

I am being very vulnerable here. Like really honest. I am writing this because I really learned something from this kind of critical thinking and I believe there are many of you who do the same thing but won't admit it.

I stand before you honestly also because I think God has given me this opportunity to examine myself and speak to Him about my thoughts and then write about what I have learned. Not to create a formula for you but to create a connection between you and God so we can all grow.

I asked a friend why does it seem like things roll off of so and so's back so easy, they responded  "Maybe the other person is suppressing their thoughts and feelings."

After hearing those words that resonated with me. When things resonate with me I go to God and ask him "Is this from you? Do you want me to explore the idea of suppressing my emotions and thoughts?"

Further consideration after praying:
Maybe I am the weak one. Maybe I am the willing one. The one who won't suppress my feelings but go to God and ask Him to help me go through my feelings and circumstances one by one. Let Him speak into them and help me to reconcile things. Get healthy and not stuff things down.

Here is the deal. God loves me. He says important things like I am the WAY the TRUTH the LIFE. Way= direction on His path.
Truth sets us free. We can be free indeed. Not entangled with things on earth but seated in the heavenlies with Jesus.
Life. God sets before us either life or death and says "You chose!" (free will).

Doesn't God say he likes the weak after all?
So okay I am weak. Good we got that cleared up and I think God is pretty happy about it.

If I look at everything I say and do as a challenge to love the way Jesus loves. I must remember I'm not perfect. When the opportunities of emotions and circumstances arise it creates lessons. This is progressive sanctification. My process. The most important lesson I can learn is God's extension of showing me His love and intimacy (our connection) that will get us to a place of overflowing. Overflowing love will express itself through me when I serve others. I am enabled to see and love others the way Jesus does.

When we introduce people to Christ and ask them if they want to understand what a personal relationship with Christ is to "connect" with Him.  To begin to read about and listen to the good shepherd. Through the connection you will understand. You will build confidence. You will have courage to do things you never thought possible. You will feel whole again. Most importantly you will feel loved beyond measure. Ultimate love! Doubting causes us to be tossed to and fro. It's not a peaceful place. It takes faith. In fact Jesus said they know my voice.

"I can't hear from God" declares many Christians. Am I doing something wrong? Am I a weaker Christian? Does God think lesser of me? Cause I just have never hear from God. I heard a friend say with confidence "God told me to read Proverbs 2 or he told me to go to the doctor....."

Can this be possible?

This small whisper is possible. Ask God questions and journal for ten minutes what your head is thinking or saying. Be sensitive to the loving, caring voice of God. It is gentle. Ever so gentle. Never abrasive, demanding or guilting you into any feeling or action.

Try it! Your life will change. Be still. Sit, give it ten minutes. Start your timer on your phone. Seriously!


Everyday is an opportunity to say less; love more; pray more. Opportunity can be facing hardships, loneliness, sickness, decisions, tiredness. All make tolerance and love harder. But take heart. He's got this! #shinebright

Lighting up,
Elaine





Sunday, May 31, 2015

MY DISCONNECT DAY

Dear Friend:

I, ____________, PLEDGE to myself and to my family, for which I stand, that for one day I will unplug it, power it off and shut it down, in order to look up and look around...

This is an advertising ploy put out by Cabelas's store. I use the word ploy because their name is attached and it is advertisement.

They have a website promoting Disconnect Day you can go to it at www.mydisconnectday.com

The pledge has a sign-up on line and I noticed it is nearing 15,000 people signed up.

If you remember how the schools adopted turn off TV days for the family. Maybe the schools will have a disconnect day for all electronics. If they do already, let me know.

My kids have gone to youth camp in the past and they were forced to give up their phones for the week. They realize how much they liked to disconnect.

Lately I have been intentionally finding times to turn-off my electronics. I have found that journaling has been more enriching. I now look forward to writing. It started with me putting my phone timer on. I set it for fifteen minutes per day. Sometimes starting with a timer works best. This is great quality time. It carries me through my days.

How about you?

Do you turn off your phone during your week? I mean to refuel. To find quiet and peace.

If you have not tried it, I hope you will consider trying it! You will look forward to those moments.

Putting away our electronic for meals and quiets times is important.


Disconnect.
Try it! You may like it!

Blessings,

Elaine

LESSONS LEARNED

Anticipation of my upcoming trip was mounting. What I mean the packing and getting ready was getting to me. A whirlwind of continuous second guessing, questioning myself. "Did I pack the right clothes? How about the shoes? How about the right toiletries?" You must stop this crazy questioning. Pray. Ask God to help you. I'm struggling in the trusting myself with these decisions.

Are you like everyone else in my family saying "It's a vacation. It's gonna be fun no matter what. Cool it! It will be fine!" Will it be fine? 

Don't they get it? I want to get it right! I don't want to be stressed out about packing. Yet I am.
Why is this happening?

When I finally get quiet enough to listen. I realize that I am being a perfectionist. That I am being controlling. I need to stop. Give myself a break. I may not always get it right but it really does work out. Really.

How do I make these thoughts go away?
Go for a walk.
Go read a book.
I also like to be grateful.
Like:
Thank you for the chance to go on a trip. Thank you that I have choices of things to wear. Thank you for family. Thank you for the chance to travel with family. Thank you for this great opportunity. 

Usually my anxiety deflates. How about you? How are you doing with things in your life that you are second guessing on? Things that you are questioning way to much?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

REFLECTION

Do you meet people that say "God told me this and God told me that?"
You walk away feeling perplexed and feeling bad about your relationship with God.
Here's the deal.
We all have different gifts.
We all have different promptings from God.
Different experiences!
Is there a formula?
A way to conjure up these experiences?
No, no and no.

I asked God "Can you speak to me in a dream or vision or something? People have experiences with you. Can I?"

That night as I lay in bed I closed my eyes and just waited.
I saw myself above the earth. My eyes were roaming the earth. It was if there was a live video feed playing. But I saw the earth as desolate. Kind of dead. Trees dead. No healthy vegetation. No animals. Just void of all life. My eyes roamed over the plains, fields, mountains still no life. I saw brooks, lakes, oceans void of underwater creatures. In fact the sun was not shining. I saw a narrow passage of water moving through the earth, hills on each side and the water ran till it ended at the top of a cliff spilling over like a waterfall. At the bottom of the cliff where the water hit a waterway winded again cutting through the earth moving along. It did not move fast like a rapid, yet it did flow. As my eyes followed the water it ended at a cavern full of stone and high cliffs all around. I was above and instinctively my eyes moved to what was in the cavern. There was an alter and upon the alter was a baby. It was covered with a loin cloth and He was kicking and looking all around. No one was there. I was standing next to the baby. I touched the baby. The baby was calm and full of life. I felt so good about this amazing baby. The dream ended there.

I asked God "What was that?" This was my impression "We all must get to the baby. The baby Jesus. That is where new life begins."

Do you know that the next day I was reading in Jeremiah this:
I will weep and wail for the mountains take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. the birds have all fled and the animals are gone. Who is wise enough to understand this? The Lord said, "It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. You can read on in Jeremiah 9:14 and on. The scripture explains more about what goes on in the land and what we should do but I love what the Lord says next. "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: That they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." -Jeremiah 9:23-24

This was the interpretation of my vision. The law God gave us no longer was working. We need the baby to fulfill the law. To help us to be reunited with God. To understand and be able to live right in the land. To have hope on earth and  for all eternity.

Let us boast about this truth and no other truth. That is why we were created. Everything else can not compare to what the baby Jesus brought to us. A gift...so we can be reconciled with God.;

Through God we again see the land restored.

Father In heaven help me to experience more of you today. Will you give me a dream or vision or verse of encouragement. I want to know you more. In Jesus' name. Amen.

After that experience, I did not feel weird ever for asking God for anything. The scripture helps us all to have confidence.
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below,

In closing remember this as a word of caution. I have another story where God showed me never to want dreams, visions, miracles, signs, wonders more than you want Jesus. Never want those things more than sharing Jesus with others. We were created to glorify God in all we say and do. To share the good news everywhere, anywhere to those who want to know. That is why we were created. We must want Jesus and to share Jesus as our utmost high priority. Above all else. Everyone said "Amen."

Friday, May 15, 2015

OH GOD YOU ARE MY GOD

Oh God You are my God earnestly I seek you.
My soul thirst for You.
My body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 63 penned by King David. When I studied this Psalm years ago my eyes were glued to the page. I read over and over these first verse and I just declared with David "Me too!" A dry and weary land. Think back to a time you saw crackling dry ground causing dust to fly up in the air and get in your nose, hair, face. Or flowers vegetation dried up and on the verge of dying. You know when there is a drought. My life can be like that too, dried up, void of connection. I can be in a room and feel empty.

My desperation to seek and find God started with a deep need for meaning in my life. As time went on and questions like "Who is God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Holy Spirit? Why did Jesus have to die? Why was I even born? Do I have a have a purpose?" and I was getting answers my need became a want. I wanted to know God more and understand the power of His resurrection. It was a treasure to find answers it was like I found silver and gold. I found the scripture to be true, seek the Lord like you would seek silver and gold then you will know the wisdom and understanding of God. My life began to have meaning. The living water of Jesus filled me up. Kind of like like the women at the well. The women at the well like me had a sin sick soul. She snuck out to go to the well not wanting to be confronted or seen. She was dry and weary, and scared from her past. Her life was meaningless and empty. But something in the eyes of the man she met at the well was inviting. Not in a sinful way but in an a compassionate empathetic way. He explained that he can give her living water. That day her mind, body and soul was filled with His living water. Her sin sick parched soul was satisfied for the first time ever. Life had meaning. So much meaning that she ran to tell others. She went to the others that had all along made her feel dry and weary. But her courage like Davids caused her to see the land of living. A fresh touch of perspective.

I love the next verses in Psalm 63 "I see You in the sanctuary with all Your power and glory." I wanted to know what David saw in the sanctuary (a sacred place). Daily I began to read these words over and over. I longed and asked "Can I go there God? Can I too see this place? Where is it?" I knew that David went to temple probably as a boy but then his life did not permit him to go. He was being hunted down and hiding.

I reread some of David's triumphs over the years. As a boy he protected his sheep from dangerous animals like lions and bears. Scripture says he was a man after God's own heart. A man after God's heart would not talk to God every once in a while. He would talk to God all day ever day. His relationship grew to such a point that nothing could satisfy him. Not even the best meat he consumed. David said he loved God better than life. David had courage. Courage to fight a nine foot giant, Goliath. Goliath's tip of his sword was fifteen pounds. That's like three big bags of flour.

I wondered and asked "Where did David meet with God?" I want to believe that God gave him a sanctuary in his mind. Other scriptures supports this when God says he is our rampart, our fortress. These are all places that God wants us to picture in our mind where he takes us to protect us. He knew life would throw us lions and bears. Meaning toxic people. Difficult circumstances.

In fact Jesus teaches us by saying "In this world you will have troubles but take heart I have overcome the world."

Perhaps David is given a dream of this sacred place after all he says "I think of you through the night, because you help me." He was given a gift, a place, to see God's power and glory.

I asked God could I see what David saw? Time passed with no answer. I could only continue to pray and reread this Psalm.

Until...

One night God must have figured I was ready and I awoke with an urgency to get to my computer. My groggy, crusty eyes were closed I placed my fingers on the keyboard and I began to type with great persistence and perseverance.

I went to the place the sanctuary. the breathtaking, awe inspiring and refreshing place.
I can't put into words how I was truly renewed.
It was a place of soul care and love. A taste of Heaven and the sanctuary.
What a miracle it was.
I sensed I am being sent out. A delightful taste to give to others. A piece of heaven. My script was written.

This happened in 2008 and today I heard a song written by Fernando Ortega singing Psalm 63. My heart is renewed just remembering this special moment.

I am hoping by writing this that I inspire you to find your refuge, rampart or fortress to have a deep sense that God protects and guides you.

"For in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 NIV). Not only had I thought about this verse but divinely I have been brought there twice through different writings. When that happens I feel stirred to go to the verse and read it over and over. The before and after. To get a sense of what is being said and I like it. It resonates with my soul and excites me to be want to be able to share with others. "God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us" (Acts. 17:27 NIV). As Paul described what God wants for all has happened to me.

I have been asking myself how I can get RENEWED to gain back my energy and sense of clarity. Other words that come to mind REFUELED, REFOCUSED and RESURGED, I began to think hard how will I get it. Like dah, can I conjure this up? Of course finally I prayed. Slowly God began to show me nature on my bike rides in a new way. Gazing at a panoramic scene of a lake with all it's beauty and I began to write what I saw. Every movement of nature my senses were stimulated and heightened with awareness. I REALIZED this is where I can get "Renewed".

These past months I have reminded of that I want God to live and move and have my being.

I am not getting a full picture of what will happen in the future. I am just getting a sense of being satisfied with the answers I have today.

Let go of what we expected and embrace what we have.

In this dry and weary land can we still have meaning. Yes! It comes through Jesus love and His life and especially through His suffering in the end which ended with new life.

Finding unconditional love for others is hard. I want to love with out expectations and conditions.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

MOTHER'S DAY

Happy Day to all!

Dear Friend:

It was nice to meet you recently at a Stonecroft meeting. I was your speaker. I hope you enjoy this note.

What a privilege it is to be a mom.

I know many of you know the special role of being a mom.

I love being a mom.

I pray you hug and adore all moms today.
I pray you hug and adore those who are struggling getting pregnant.

I struggle at this point in my life letting go of my adult children and finding my place in their lives. I have to trust God that he will show me the best way to communicate with them. This new role shifts and it can be difficult at times. I pray that I find my way through life with the focus that God gives me for this time.

Maybe you’re in my spot of letting go. I've been praying and asking "What's the right way to talk to them? What's the best words I should use? Lord, should I say anything? Lord, should I get involved? Lord, what should my expectations be? Lord, I want to bless my children how to I do that now? Lord, help me to respond righteously. Lord, help them to all get along, if there is something wrong help us to talk with love. Lord, lead us in this new phase of life always with the best intentions and care for one another." Then I pray for them to have marriages that are God honoring and that they would parent their children with Christ love and their children would respond to them with favor.

He will help us to find purpose in new tasks and everyday life.

I bought this t-shirt and wear it proudly "Don't Let Anyone Ever Dull Your Sparkle." People and circumstances can dull your sparkle.

I have been challenged lately to spark joy. Is everything I am saying and doing sparking joy for God and others.
We also need to have sparks of joy for ourselves to stay strong and healthy inside out. I'm not afraid to ask God to show me joy in the midst of the daily grind. His response to me might not be relief from back pain but a person calling out of the blue and their words are encouraging. Or maybe I have a Dr. appointment and the Dr. says "Well the good thing is...!" I'm always looking for the good so this is especially nice to hear. Or I run into someone who needs my prayer or they pray for me. Or maybe I’m able to share steps to making peace with God with someone. To me that is personal sparks of joy. My problem may not go away but I sense God is lifting me up. Do you know what I mean? 

I have read this book called "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. The bottom line of the book is to  discard items in your home that don't spark joy any longer. The idea is having a house full of items that spark joy then you may feel lighter and happier. She has suggests going through your house hold each item one at a time in your hand and ask "Does this spark joy for me?" She has given helped people with addictions, stress related illness, obesity, anxiety, depression etc... by using this approach of tidying up your home.

There is so much in this world going on. Take the time to rest when possible.

May you find a spark of joy today!
Sparking Joy!
Elaine



She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

MY DISCONNECT DAY

I, ____________, PLEDGE to myself and to my family, for which I stand, that for one day I will unplug it, power it off and shut it down, in order to look up and look around...

This is a advertising ploy put out by Cabelas's store. I use the word ploy because I their name is attached and it is advertisement.

They have a website promoting Disconnect Day you can go to it at www.mydisconnectday.com

The pledge has a sign-up on line and I noticed it is nearing 10,000 people signed up.

If you remember how the schools adopted turn off TV days for the family. Maybe the schools will have a disconnect day for all electronics. If they do already, let me know.

I was talking to a mid-life person recently. They were sharing how they had been betrayed three times in relationships and how they are done. They said  "Life is so hard. They feel empty. They have lost faith in God. How can they just move on? How are they going to be happy in life?"

It's hard I know. I've experienced this empty feeling periodically in life. Most people really feel this void around the Holidays. What I mean the anxiety increases at those times.

It is hard when you don't know where to turn like this person. It is hard when you do know where to turn.

I asked "Have you been carrying this burden on your own?" "Yes" was their response. I love when I am listening and someone says they feel all alone because that gives me a chance to ask "Do you want to hear about someone who loves you and does not want you to carry this burden alone?" In this case this person wanted to hear that what I had to say. It ended with them wanting to pray and give their life over to the one who cares and that is Jesus.

If the person says "No", I ask if I can pray for their journey, continue to listen and then say "Well if you ever want to know call me back and I will explain."

GOD WILL MAKE A WAY

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

God Will Make a Way!

Amen.

Move on.

God is showing His great power!

God doesn't even blink an eye; he will never turn down help to you!


Love the Father!

Monday, April 27, 2015

TURN AROUND

Jesus was at the last supper and he declared this to Peter "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32 NIV).

It was a pleasant reminder that Jesus intercedes. 

I prayed for Jesus to intercede for my family so that our faith may not fail  each of us.

Have you prayed this before?

Make a list for those that you want Jesus to intercede for. 
I am perplexed at how I don't remember these words of Jesus. Yet as I read them they are so comforting. Jesus knows the future. He knew Peter would indeed turn back and strengthen others even though he denied Jesus.

Turn around and be restored.

Father I pray for____________that their faith may not fail them. Intercede Jesus for them to be restored. Amen.

I feel as if God is my personal cheerleader that wants me to succeed. When others don't always cheer me on, Jesus does. He prays for me. How awesome. He's got my back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

FLOW

I was alone as I entered The Wolf Rive Refuge and I didn't know what to expect when I entered the wooded area where my cabin, Dove, was to be located, I unloaded my car and then decided walk down to the river. There were big rocks all around at the water edge so I sat down on one. I opened my journal and began to write "Lord now is a good time for you to talk to me."

Looking out at the water I continued to write.
I love you Lord.
How awesome is the beauty of your creation.
How awesome is the river that speaks your praises and peace.
How awesome is this view that I should be entertained by it.
How awesome are your birds that sing your praises.
How awesome that you love.
How awesome is it that you heal.
How awesome is it that you calm our bodies.
How awesome it is that you speak through nature.
How awesome is this rock I sit upon.
How awesome is your heart.
Oh my Lord!
How awesome you speak out of love.
How awesome you act out of love.
How awesome you shine and your glory is upon the earth.
How awesome that you spring life out of the dead earth.
How awesome you spring new life.
Lord you say you lead us by still waters. The waters are not still. The water is flowing. Flowing on a journey. Oh Lord let me hear your message that I may not miss it. Let me be warmed by your words. The whisper within.
I am moving you Elaine.
you don't always stay still.
You have gone where I have led you. You have been my friend.
I reflected...Life seemed simple.
I went back to a memory of the days when we took our kids camping. I picture us sitting by a campfire singing songs with friends. All of us together with guitar music strumming we would sing "Father I adore you. Lay my life before you. How I love you. We sang the same song in rounds where groups started at different time. We continued on starting next time with Jesus I adore you and then Spirit I adore you.
There I sat broken-hearted and confused I came to find peace but now I wanted to just write what I'm thinking about what is going on in life.
After the list I stopped and brought truth to this list. Phase of life stuff happens. I can't let this get me down.
The sun set so I proceeded to go back to my cabin. Just what you imagined in your mind for a cabin to be...it was adorable. Beautifully decorated with simplicity, a fireplace, a quilted perfect bed, chairs to sit that you could cuddle up and read a good book. On the night stand there was a book called Equip Your Mind with the Word of God. I asked myself, why would they put this book here? I know the staff here and they would not endorse a book unless it was worthy. These scriptures stood out to me as I paged through the book:
"Sanctify them by truth, your word is truth (John 17:17 NIV).
"He will guide you in all truth" (John 16:13-14 NIV).
"Set your mind on things from above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:2 NIV).
I was reminded I can't rush phase of life stuff.
This place is a refuge, protection from danger or trouble. Life has troubles. Where do we go when there is trouble?

"Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8 NIV).
I can run back to my life at home or go back to the river again to rest. I run away often and forget to rest. Rest in a place that reminds me of Him.
I could not help myself but go back to the list I started the day before.
How awesome is the Son of God who gave His life for me.
How awesome nature follows you. 
How awesome the river moves just the way you set it to go.
How awesome the warmth of the sun feels on my face.
I prayed for those God brought to my mind. 
Retreat.
Find Rest.
Refuel. Renew. Safety.
Do I lock my burdens up? 
The Holy Spirit draws me to Him. People have an inner sense of this drawing. We deny. We run. We get distracted.
I feel as if I must confess. Confess my distance and other things brought to my heart at that moment...
I have to be able to come here.
I have to find you Jesus.
The fact that the waters are not still but moving. I want to just be able to walk with Jesus and have a connection and flow, flow as the water flows. Let it happen...flow. 
The Lord speaks...
You sit for a while.
You get up for a while.
You move around for a bit.
You listen for a bit.
You question.

I went willfully, openly and I had no expectations.
When we go to a place of refuge. We must not force it.
JUST LET IT FLOW. FLOW LIKE THE RIVER.
THE RIVER IS NOT STILL FOR A REASON.
AT TIMES WE JUST NEED TO FLOW...FLOW WITH JESUS...



Thursday, April 9, 2015

JESUS IS ALIVE!

We cause a chasm...between us and God by taking control and separating ourselves from Him.

Someone needs to fix it...

Can you?

God saw us in our separated condition...troublesome chasm

God so loves...

Where do we go when we died?

Everyone has their idea of how to earn their way across the chasm to God. Leaders, religious men and women of God. They died. They stayed in their graves.

Jesus gift...

He authenticated His identity by not staying in the grave...

HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!

He made things right to close the gap. He used the gap.

It is finished.

If you except this plan and believe you will
have life here on earth with Jesus...and when you die you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.




Monday, March 30, 2015

BLOWN AWAY


He has risen! He has risen indeed!


"So the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd." Before leaving earth Moses was asking the Lord to appoint a leader for the people.

I remember when I was in my late twenties. I was lost. I was searching for meaning for my life. I wanted someone to help me. When I picked up my bible and read these words "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." I was blown away! I was discovering that I needed Jesus to be the center of my life. I was lost and now I was found. In my weak and lonely state I knew I was loved and not alone. 

As I grew in my faith I understood as Moses understood that everyone on earth was created with a need for a shepherd. A good shepherd desires is to lead, protect and care for every one of his sheep. Moses was such a great leader that he did not think about himself. His concerns was for the people that he was called to lead. 

Easter is a time to reflect on God's final loving sacrifice when he brought his son to earth and let him die on the cross for you and I. 

I cannot say it enough, God's grace "blows me away."
God in his infinite love held out his hand and beckons us to Him with the deepest desire to lead us. You no longer need to be a stray sheep.


Look at the cross this Easter and know how much Jesus loves you. As you pray for others to know Jesus personally you will be blown away of how God answers your prayer.  Never give up praying for each person to know Him.

Prayer:  Jesus thank You for being my good shepherd. I pray for ____________(name the people) to discover that You can lead them too. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

I find it hard to not get submerged in Easter from the stand point of cooking, cleaning and picking out trinkets for my grandson. While I prepare I think of family time, each of us sharing and enjoying all that God provided for us.  I picture us singing in church “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” where we will be submerged in the story and glory of God.

Have a blessed day!

Love from above,

Elaine James

Friday, March 27, 2015

POOF

I was driving down a rural road in Nebraska the scenery was peaceful as I looked around anticipating seeing a deer, cows or pheasants and sandhill cranes on the side of the road. Then it happened. The roads for the most part were empty till I got stuck behind another vehicle. I forgot about the beauty at my sides and just kept persistently trying to get around the vehicle. This time however "poof" it popped in my mind "Stop letting things in life knock you out."

That's what I have done in life. I get wrapped up in other things and I lose my joy. Distracted. Tied up. Frustrated. I'm stuck! It happens so fast in life. We lose sight and our joy is gone. I was feeling pretty good and poof, it's gone.


I don't have all the answers but I know that time I ran to God and learned to roll with the punches I didn't get knocked out. I was proud of myself. It freed me up and helped me to enjoy my time away from home.

Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

HEAD TALK

Ever wake up thinking of a conversation you had with someone yesterday and your mind starts to rehash it? You wish you should have said this... You could have said this....

The day continues and the conversation keeps playing in your mind. If I ask you "How many hours did you waste on that "head talk" what would your answer be? Come on be honest. One hour. Two hours. Maybe 6 hours. You have no energy at the end of the day and it was not caused from any physical work. It was all mental.

I have done this. I say this to myself over and over. Jesus has the power to help me when I cannot help myself. Asking others to pray for me helps. A gentile whisper came this week with this verse.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41 NIV).
God reminded the apostles how powerless they were. Yet he knew there was a willing heart. Jesus was getting ready to go to cross. He reminded them no matter how much he prepared them. There was still going to be some weakness.
After that scripture came to me then this one:
"fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV).
Thanking God for the cross lifted my spirits and restored my strength to carry on.

Shame began to set in but God rescued me from that with this verse:
"for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29 NASB). Irrevocable. Ahh,  IT'S FINAL, no changing His mind! Love that.

God loves us so much. He really has a plan. Let him fight the fight for you.

For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:30-31 NIV).
If we could all Skype each other at the end of the day and just share quickly; how we saw God's power through a song, life experience or scripture I know it would be powerful. 
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts" (Colossians 3:16 NIV). 
Ask God to reveal a psalm, hymn or song. Songs come to me lately (it appears from nowhere) but I know the Spirit put it there.When they come I just keep singing in my heart until the "Head Talk" stops.


Prayer: Dear Father I was tempted to jump into the pit of despair. You caught me before I leaped. Your word never goes out void. Please give me a psalm or song. You are faithful. In Jesus' name. Amen.