Monday, July 29, 2013

Have You Called Upon God Lately?

 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.  Jeremiah 33:3

    Jennifer and I were sitting a coffee shop with a good friend, and the discussion came up about what the difference in claiming God's word for your life and calling upon God's to provide a need or even the desire of your heart.  I always thought that they were the same thing.  Well, they are not.  When you claim something in God's name you are in a sense laying claim to what you believe in.  This my friend is not a bad thing at all, because you have to have faith in Jesus to be able to claim it.

     I call the act of calling something out in Jesus's name taking what you want, desire, need, or claim to the next level.   Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  What this verse means to me is that God has put a desire in our hearts to know our future, but at the same time we cannot see what God has planned for us.  How this ties into calling out to God is in the fact that as a human who is made up of flesh and bone we are not willing to lay idle about our future.  When we go to God in our prayer closet or our secret place and we cry out to God about the desires of our heart.  If we are really willing  to listen to His small still voice he may speak to us.  He may give us a direction or give us a call on our life.  It says in God's word that what ever He has planned for us is final, nothing that we do can add or take away from it.  

    When we call out to God we are calling out the promises He has for us.  In a sense we are asking Him to come through what He has promised.  The next step in this process is to lay everything down at the foot of the cross.  We have went to God in passionate prayer calling out to Him now we need to trust to let go and let God take control.  I from personal experience have "given" something to God, but yet keep going back to remind Him that I still have a "need".  An example of this would be, you go to a restaurant and order dinner.  You know pretty much without a shadow of a doubt that your meal will come  to your  table just as you ordered it.  Seems pretty simple huh? My challenge to you and myself is to take this same type of faith for your meal to God.  Call out to Him, then just simply let go lay it down and trust that He has got your back. ~Missie  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The "Net" of protection

   Since giving my life to Christ, I've heard an array of opinions on the importance of being rooted into a local church. Maybe you've heard some of these quotes from people in your life, or maybe you've said some of them?

"I don't have to go to church to be a Christian"
"We have church at home"
"I don't have to sit in a sanctuary to hear from God"
"My schedule doesn't allow me to get planted anywhere"

     Now, I realize I can only speak from what I've learned in my own recent experiences. Though since having a schedule change I in these last few months (that has prevented me from regular Sunday attendance) it’s been heavy on my heart to bring to light the common question of:

Why is Church so important?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to uproot, A time to kill and a time to heal, A time to tear down and a time to build, A time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, A time to embrace and a time to refrain, A time to search and a time to give up, A time to keep and a time to throw away, A time to tear and a time to mend, A time to be silent and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, A time for war and a time for peace.

     After eight years of working the day shift Monday through Friday and taking for granted the weekend and evening freedoms, I had the opportunity to be stirred and grow at the expense of that cozy schedule and working an almost opposite shift. It has been a welcomed and difficult change for a couple of reasons. First, the welcomed changes have been the "newness" of different co-workers, a different work location, a pay increase, three days off, and not having to share my days off with the busyness of the "weekenders". However, once all that wore off I was left to re-evaluate at what costs? I now arrive to work two hours earlier, work twice as hard, don't have the luxury of calling out sick or taking a vacation without the surety of coverage, and most sadly don't get to accompany my family to church.

     "Sunday fun-day" as we call it, is such a sacred routine. It involves everyone enjoying some type of sweet, delicious pastry and loud worship music as everyone gets dressed to go the the House of the Lord. Occasionally also accompanied by some type of mishap that keeps the morning interesting...and then everyone heads to their classes with bible and journal in hand, hungry to be fed and encouraged by the Holy Spirit.

     Those feelings of righteousness, peace, and joy that are evident on everyone's face as we hug and say our good byes and plan the rest of the day after church can't be attained through church at home. The Body of Christ is what brings that. Worshiping in one accord as His Bride brings that. Receiving from someone who has given their life to being the hands and feet of Jesus and then applying the spoken Word and message is what brings that.

     When we are separated, isolated, and distant from those people God has placed in our lives as ambassadors, prayer warriors, and fellow brothers and sisters; we (unbeknownst to us) allow doubt, complacency, offense, apathy, and usually offense to creep in. Romans 8:35 tells us that nothing can separate us from God, though we can walk away...Scary!

     The important thing is not to become so independent on your own comfort that you actually rely on yourself and your own strength to carry the load that Jesus is meant to carry and become your own identity as opposed to God's design for you, where you were created to be in His identity.

     So, how I'm surviving this season before I can rejoin my family in Sunday attendance at our local church is by staying connected in every other way possible! Basically, if the church doors are open, I need to be in attendance. I've joined a small group, a bible study, early morning prayer, being held accountable to several leaders, listening online to the same message my family hears, and taking every opportunity to worship as the Holy Spirit leads with a song on the radio or when I wake up with a song in my heart.  It's not ideal, but for now my "net of protection" is staying connected to the Body of Christ in any way that I can until this season passes.



Saturday, July 13, 2013


 Hello, my name is Wendy, and I am no longer a drug addict.
      I started using drugs when I was 12. Well, I guess I had my first drink of alcohol at about age 5, champagne as part of a New Year's Celebration. But the first time I intentionally used drugs as a means of escape was at age 12. I began with the heavier stuff like pain pills, marijuana and meth, then very quickly moved onto drinking alcohol, dropping acid and huffing whatever would get me high. Cigarettes were in there somewhere as well. By the time I was 15, I was a full blown alcoholic, getting kicked out of school for showing up drunk, and even running away from home, sleeping in an old abandoned house I had found during the winter. Getting arrested was nothing new to me. For some reason I found great favor in the court system and fortunately never spent any time in Juvenile Detention, like many of my friends did.

      I began using drugs as a means of escape from the emotional pain and hopelessness I had encountered during life. As I graduated high school and moved out on my own, I sold drugs to support my habits and began to drink heavily every day. One binge lasting for a year and half. I didn't know that there was anything else better than the life I was living, and I didn't want to stop. It wasn't until I strangled my best friend, one drunken night- that I realized not only did I have a problem, but I wanted to stop. 
 I needed help.

       I went to jail that time for a short while, and then faithfully attended mandatory AA classes, where I learned the hopeless message of once an addict, always an addict. I met with an older woman who shared her story of being a cocaine addict. Sober 20 years now, she informed me that if the drug was in front of her, she would lose all resolve and relapse- losing everything she had worked toward. I remember walking down the street after speaking with this lady, feigning tremendously toward the drugs that had once consumed my body, and feeling like I was in Hell. I decided if there was no hope of ever being free from this- then I would simply give in, get high, and at least enjoy my life to some degree. There was nothing worse than the intense cravings I suffered, and if that lady was right- I would always be like that. I went back to using drugs, though not fully. I worked two full time jobs to try and stay out of trouble, but life got really boring, really quick. After about a year, I found myself drinking and selling drugs again.

      Then I met a guy and soon became pregnant. Being a mom was everything to me! I had a message burned on my heart to break the cycle and raise my children differently! I thought I would be different once I became a mother. I thought I could stop doing drugs for my children. I found myself one day, waking up when my baby was 9 months old, high on meth and hung over. I hadn't seen my child in 3 days- Grandma was taking care of her while we partied. I wanted out, desperately. I left my child's father and moved in with my parents, and for two years worked hard at getting back on my feet. I moved out again on my own, and soon found myself in yet again, more trouble. This time, heroin was involved.
       I can't quite explain the chain of events that occurred next, you really had to have been there to understand- but I had been trying so hard to be a 'Good Mom', and a 'Good Person'. But no matter how hard I tried, I kept ending up right where I had started. Everywhere I turned, there was failure. I tried joining the Air Guard in hopes of getting some sort of discipline and purpose into my life, but was quickly turned away due to my drug use. Right in the middle of a war, and not even the military would take me.
 The emptiness I felt was unbearable, and I gave up all resolve. What was the point?

I became pregnant again.
       After my son was born, I suffered from post-partum depression so badly, that I couldn't keep a job. I could barely get out of bed and I did everything I could to keep a steady supply of pain pills coming. They were the only things keeping me going. I so desperately wanted to live a normal, happy life and be a normal, happy mom. I had no support, no help, no peace, no hope.

      I sat on my back porch one day, unable to work, unable to take care of my kids, and about to have nowhere to live. Then it hit me. Drugs were NOT the answer. No matter how much I had, I would never be content. I would never be satisfied or fulfilled.

      I had heard once of a God who loved beyond all measure, a God who had a plan for us that was for good. All my life I tried to be good enough for Him. But everything I did, I failed at. I had nothing to offer, and I didn't want to live. I figured my kids were better off without me. Anything had to have been better than what I was giving them. I looked up at the sky, and said, "God, this cannot be Your plan for my life. I can't do anything for You. If you want me here- You gotta to fix me.."

 Eight days later, I found myself in a life-giving church where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
 I learned that day that God loves me -despite my constant failure- so much that He sent His only Son to take my sin and past away.

 I learned that day, that I did the things I did, because I was a sinner. I wasn't a sinner because of what I did.
 I learned that day, that Jesus was the Only way.
  I learned that if I repented, and turned from my sin, He would forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.
 I learned that Jesus had been knocking on the door of my heart, waiting for me to let Him in.
 I made a decision to let Him in.

      Over the course of the next 6 months, I fought hard against the lie of addiction against my life. I would rip up my cigarettes, only to find myself at the store four hours later buying another pack. I knew it was a waste of money, but there something different about me. I had hope of freedom from this miserable life, and I had a new strength within me that would not allow me to give up. I had been trying all these years to do it in my own strength, but apart from Christ, I could do nothing.

      I finally beat addiction that May of 2007. I have not touched drugs since. The high I have in the Lord is much greater than any drug I ever did! I am still human, and sometimes depression or emptiness try to come back- but when that happens, I turn to the Lord and He delivers me. I know He will comfort me like no drug has ever been able to.

John 8:36 says that who the Son sets free, is truly free. I am not a recovering addict- I am recovered!

      2 Corinthians 5:17 states that anyone who belongs to Christ becomes a new person. When I see or smell people smoking, I barely even remember that I used to do it myself. It's as if it is a distant memory of someone I used to know...Christ has traded places with me, taking my sin and shame, and giving me instead His hope, peace and righteousness! And I will be leaving a new legacy for my children! There has even been times where I was prescribed narcotic medications for minor surgeries or broken bones. I was concerned that if I took those pills, I would fall right back into those same habits. But the Lord told me that He would walk me through. I took these medications with no relapses- their 'highs' were nothing compared to what I had in Christ!
I knew then that I was truly free...   There is hope after addiction- and once an addict, always an addict is a lie!

I am a new creation, I am free- and you can be free, too!



Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dry Bones Come to Life

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

     Israel was once a great nation and then they came under the rule of a King who did not have their best interest in mind. God had a plan for this restoration, He gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision of what that planned looked like.  Israel was going to get her land back, her temples back and be under a king who was willing to fight for her.  When I had first read this story I could not get enough of it.  I kept reading it over and over then I immediately went into prayer.  I instantly felt like I wanted to become closer to God.I felt that He had a message for me that was bigger than I could even imagine.  A yearning to be something more than I had hopes I would ever become.

 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the Lord has spoken!’” 

     A yearning to take a look at all the relationships in my life and see how they line up with God's will.  A wanting to take them to a deeper level.  A yearning to raise up my children to be Godly children, to give them the tools that they needed to be the salt and light in this dark world.  A desire to show them how to fear God not man and to impart into them the grace that he shows us daily.  

     I also felt that God was not revealing everything that He intended for me. So, I wait and I wait patiently and prayerfully for this revelation.  I also wait in sweet anticipation for what he has planned for me.

   Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.

      He may his reveals plan today, tomorrow, a year from now or even a couple of years from now.  I know without a shadow of doubt God has my best interest in mind.  He wants to give back to me all the enemy as taken.  He willing to fight for me when I have don't have any strength in this human body of mine. He is willing to fight for me when my spirit is crushed because I have listened to the lies of the enemy.  My Father God loves me that much and all that he requires of me is to love Him in return unconditionally.  To trust Him in all things in my life, so when He says he will breathe His spirit into my dry bones.  I rejoice and praise Him for loving me that much, and I am humbled beyond comprehension and human understanding.