October 28, 2013

T-Shirts, Tears and the Kitchen Sink

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 3:24 am by Broken & Brave

My kids are awesome. I am blessed beyond measure by my Tiny Treasures. The fullness of capacity they fill in my heart and life humbles me. I know without doubt my children are my greatest area of blessing and how they are turning out as they grow takes my breath away. Amazing little champions that are;  Big Champions of Faith locked inside very young bodies.

Yesterday was Sunday, and like other Sundays, our family headed to church in the morning. I always remind my middle-school aged boys that they need to be clean, hair combed, teeth brushed and wearing presentable clothing.  They do well with this, most of the time, but occasionally they slip out of the house without my noticing what they have on. Yesterday was such a day.

We arrived at the church parking lot and were getting out of the car when I noticed one of my boys was wearing jeans (fine with that) but he had on a t-shirt that would clearly fit into my definition of “backyard clothing” or “play clothes”. It was this light blue thing that had been worn A LOT. It looked ok, but it didn’t look very nice. When I caught sight of this, I immediately reacted to the situation. I called his name a told him how unhappy I was with his selection and reminded him of the requirement to dress a little better for church. I don’t expect them to get all dressed up, but they need to make their best effort. They have their backyard clothes and shoes and then they have their school/going out clothes and shoes. Boys play HARD and get DIRTY so it is an important distinction to make. I don’t recall having to really address it with my daughter.

Anyway, as soon as I spoke to him I could see the wind leave his sails. I had clearly hurt him by my over reaction to the situation. I felt bad because though I needed to address his attire, I did it in a less than stellar way. My son is very gentle of heart and responds so well to encouragement, as he is an encourager by nature, and he also takes criticism very hard. Because I know this about his heart, it is my job to protect it as he grows so that one day, when he is a grown man, he can have a whole heart, free from childhood trauma. During the worship portion of church I leaned over to him, placed my arm about his neck to pull in close, and I whispered into his ear that I was sorry for over reacting in the parking lot. I told him I could see that I had hurt his feelings and asked if that was true. He nodded in agreement. I then asked him if he would forgive me for I had reacted when I should have responded. He nodded yes.

I think it is so important to be transparent on healthy levels with our children. When we blow it we need to be able to own it and apologize to our kids and ask their forgiveness when necessary. It only strengthen the bond and trust because let’s face it, our kids love us no matter what, but the unity is greater when we can be vulnerable with them. It shows a strength quality they need to have as well and what better way to learn it than by observation. God is so faithful to our willingness to do this, for within two minutes of my apologizing a woman in the row ahead of us dropped her glasses on the floor under and behind her seat. She was six chairs over from my son, so it would have been nothing to not notice. But he did notice, and he got up and went and got them for her. It was so courteous and thoughtful on his part, attributes I see in him regularly. I was given the opportunity to “catch” him doing good and I praised him right there for it. If you could see his sweet face lift in response to my praise… God is good.

When we got home from church I gathered myself to the kitchen to make some breakfast for my family. As they all sat at the little table in the kitchen (rather than the dinning room) I stood at the kitchen sink cleaning up the mess. We all visited together as they ate, but I brought up the situation at church once more for I knew that God had truly given me the opportunity for a “teachable moment”. A moment I call when I can take an experience to help my children understand deeper things that will mature and train their character with practical application. I explained to my son how God loves him no matter what he wears, just and his parents do. I told him that God probably didn’t even care that he wore that old t-shirt to church. In fact, I know he didn’t care. God’s love for him was not determined by his appearance or behavior, for that matter. God loves us to come as we are. Then I expressed that we desire to wear our better clothes to church because we want to honor God. Again, doesn’t mean get all dressed up, but just our best foot forward to show we care enough about meeting with him that we want our best for him.

Do you know that this is how God loves you as well? He really doesn’t care what your wardrobe looks like. He doesn’t care is your hair is a mess or better still, if your life is a mess. He doesn’t want your money or to take away your fun. He isn’t ashamed of your behavior or your past. In fact, he has an ocean in heaven called the Sea of Forgotten. I don’t think the Bible talks about any Sea of Forgotten, that’s my analogy, but He does say he watches over you and he wants to free you from the pain and sting of your past. Many times adults wear their sins and their hang-ups as though they were wearing a ratty old garment. Take it off and allow him to give you a new garment. Fresh. Clean. Light. Forgiven.

I saw a post on facebook this week that said how hard the week was so God must finally be punishing them for being a hypocrite. I replied to them just as I am about to declare to you.

At some point in life we are all hypocrites. God loves you with an everlasting love. That means forever, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer and in sickness and in health. He is betrothed to you like a partner for life and wants to give you Beauty for your Ashes. Hope for your pain and Joy for your tears. Leave the pool of Bitter Waters and join him, casting your cares and past into the Sea of Forgotten.

Come as you are.

“As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” 
Psalm 103:12

~Nicole

October 23, 2013

Let It Burn

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:19 am by Broken & Brave

For you will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.” Psalm 18:27

The Lord is more concerned with the content of our heart than ours years of experience, education or accolades. Yes, even if our exploits and achievements are done for HIm and by the Power of His Name. God is more interested in the quality of our bank account (meaning our inward man or woman) than the “bank” we use or the type of  “account” we have. So, what does that mean? You may be thinking it such a strange way to begin a writing, but this post is meant to be concise and straight to the point.

I want to disclaim that I have no person or denomination or organized entity that I direct this at. What I am about to say is what I believe, based on my extensive education at the School of the Holy Spirit, and His Marvelous Word. As always, take what I say, think about it, let it roll around in your head, pray about it, and search it out for yourself and see what the Holy Spirit has to say to you, too.

I consider all of life for a Believer to be ministry. I have never considered “ministry” as a category for people who get paid for it and go to specialized schooling for it. I Beleive; therefore, my God expects me to lead on whatever level, zone or persons He desires to send me to. It should be this way for all of us. Honestly, Christianity, in a way, is like the first direct sales company! We are self employed entity that voluntarily goes to work and we reap a reward of blessing from our heavenly Father. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

God can use anyone He wants. He doesn’t care about education, background, how big your past seasons of fruitfulness have been. He doesn’t really care what denomination you associate with, as long as it points to the Resurrected King of all Kings and accepts the Holy Bible as His book of education. He doesn’t really even care if you go to Bible college or not. I am not downgrading how wonderful education in ministry is, nor any education. I value it. However, God wants us to be a reflection of HIS Righteousness. Education, field experience, denomination, these things have wonderful merit, but we are human and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, we can tend to become prideful in our resume, so to speak.

God is more interested in our reflecting HIs Righteousness than our Self-Righteousness.

How can you tell if you have become self righteous? That is a tough question. I am not sure I have an answer, but the question is more to be reflective. Each individual can ask the Lord themselves, with a genuine interest in His answer. That, my friends, is the essence of humility.

A humble person lacks ego, arrogance, and self importance. A humble person is more concerned about building others up that demonstrating their  own knowledge or expertise. I am sure that many who struggle with pride get there by accident. There is a certain amount of healthy pride one can take for accomplishing a goal or achievement. Titles and positions are given to those who are believed to be of notable worth to accomplish a given task. One should feel a sense of pride in accomplishment. However, it is so important for all of us, I include myself in this, to check our heart daily! We must humbly submit ourselves to the foot of the Cross and petition the Lord, “Search my heart!” We must want God to show us our flaws so that He can correct them and we can be a continually clean and pure vessell for His use. He can get down even deeper in our hearts when we do this. Here is an analogy:

Think of a round, pillar candle…the kind that gets a deep well in it when it has been burned a lot. When the candle is first time lit the flame is on top where you can see it from far away. That’s how the Light of Christ is in a new believer…fresh and on the surface for everyone to see! Excitement reaching out for all the Lord has done for them. As the candle is mature, having been burning a long time, the flame gets in deep and illuminates the outer rim of wax, causing the candle to glow from the depth of the wax. This is the seasoned and mature Christian who has allowed the Lord to do a deep work in their life and they continue to walk with Him and allow HIm to come closer to their heart. They glow with a warmth that younger in the Lord Christians can learn from and be mentored from. But the number of years one has been a believer is not a far measure of their depth or breadth of maturity. For every individual grows differently. It depends on the hunger of their heart, the purity of their desire, how they are gifted spiritually and what kind of deliverance from demonic oppression they require.

So, I do not write this to point fingers and call religious people self righteous. However, I do believe there are a lot of very well meaning and loving Christians out there who have a great deal of  “self importance” for whatever reason and this only hinders greater fruit in their own life and the lives of those God intends to use then to help. One big set back it causes is that those who are less confident in their walk with God, or maybe a babe in Christ, will adopt and attitude that they cannot achieve all the “Super Christian” has achieved, so they don’t even try. They are defeated before they begin. A self righteous believer is usually more focused on their accolades and all they are doing for the kingdom instead of noticing what others are doing. Kind of a “look at me and how wonderful I am” philosophy.

I think we also have to be careful about denominational pride. The Bible is the Bible and Jesus is Jesus and he died for all of us. Our loyalty should be to Him and not a brand of worship or style of teaching. We all have a preference, but that is all it should be really. I believe God can “call” you to a church.  There is always a specific way God would like to  use your unique gifts and abilities and He would very much like to select where to use you. I think He would like to be involved in every intimate detail of our lives. I know by experience that most Christians allow God into their decisions in layers. Many think if its good and God and isn’t breaking His word, then it doesn’t matter. This may be true, but the truly capture the sweetest fruit you have to climb to the top of the tree because that is where the best sunshine is! Obedience is the only way to climb.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be haughty or self important. I want God to use my gifts to showcase His Glory, like the candle with the deep burning. This is my desire…to one day walk into Eternity and hear those glorious words, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.” I don’t ever want it to look like, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant, you cast your net and caught many fish, but look over here at all the ones who slipped through the net because of your own pride and arrogance.” Ouch. I don’t want that!

Here is what I do know. You have captivated the heart and eye of the Father. You are, in fact, the apple of His eye. that means he isn’t turning His eye away from you. You are in the center of His gaze. He wants nothing more than to amaze you with His goodness, then wrap His cloak about you and send you to those who are hurting and hungry for spiritual food that goes down deep and satisfies the soul. Do you yearn for this as well?

Take a few minutes today to check your heart at Heaven’s Gate and receive instruction from the best ministry school available.  Any one can go, even if you are not called to a ministry profession. It is The School of the Holy Spirit.

You are a blessing and I am praying for you always. My heart is for the Overcomer and my desire for all the spoils of an obedient life for you. the key to your Joy is found in humble thinking and a servants heart. The perfect formula to captivate pure JOY and fight against a self important spirit:

J ~ Jesus

O ~ Others

Y ~ You

Place God, Jesus, first in your life. Put others after that and yourself last. For the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Be Blessed! The Lord got me up at 3 am to write this! I hope it ministers to someone. I love you with the Lord’s bond of Unity. We are the Church and a unified body cannot easily be broken.

~Nicole

October 21, 2013

Patmos

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:04 am by Broken & Brave

Jesus had twelve disciples.

These were men He hand picked to invite to follow after Him. They discarded all of their cares and personal interests, to come walk along side of Him ~intimately ~for a season. They dropped their nets that they fished with and they came…

Of the disciples, which do you identify with the most?

For me, it is without a doubt, John the loyal disciple.  John walked intimately with Christ. John loved Jesus intensely and Jesus loved him as well. Jesus loved all of the disciples much. Each had their own flavor to bring to the group, their own personality, complete with strengths and weaknesses. John was the only disciple to stay with Jesus, as close as He could until the end of Christ’s life. John watched the Crucifixion. John was spared martyrdom and spent his later years on the island of Patmos. It was on this island that he received numerous revelation and wrote the New Testament books of the Bible; John, and the epistles 1 John, 2 John and 3 John.  It is also believed John wrote the book of Revelation while isolated on the isle of Patmos.

John, I believe, was very tender hearted and gentle in disposition. Maybe this is why Jesus spared him some of the anguish the other disciples had to endure. Those most duly noted for their boldness and heroism had the disposition coupled with God’s Power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the tasks of the first century church and to endure horrible deaths for the sake of His Name.

Have you ever had a deep wound?

One that was so deep it was extremely slow to heal? When it does heal, it leaves a scar…a thick one. The scar is thick as a protective layer over the disturbed nerve endings to prevent more acute pain in future. When a deep wound gets reopened repeatedly it takes longer to heal and the scar becomes even thicker. Our hearts function much like open flesh. Our emotions are tender and childlike to start, but life happens and slowly over time all people lose a measure of their childlike innocence. Depending on a persons experiences and general disposition, how soft or hard our heart becomes over time, chance and choices varies.

When our heart gets wounded it leaves an ever fixed and deep mark upon our soul. The younger you are when you receive deep hurts, the harder it is for them to heal properly and completely. This truly affects how people view all the rest of their life and the choices they make. The deeper the wounds at the younger the age the thicker the scar and greater the numbness one has to Pure Love. In fact, many reject it because they have become comfortably numb.

I believe in modern day America most adults walk around with a moderate to strong level of numbness of heart that is their survival mechanism to prevent “heart injury” or emotional discomfort or pain. Many have pains of past that haven’t healed properly, but have scared over, only covering a deep, open wound beneath. Those who have this kind of pain struggle deeply with close interpersonal relationships because the pain is below the surface but permeates who they are. The more naturally soft-hearted a person is (for some are just wired more sensitive than others) the more easily they hurt and the harder they become. Some of the meanest, grouchiest people are really just people manifesting deep, deep unresolved pain. (Sometimes it’s just because they have a bad attitude) More often than not, they don’t even know why they are the way they are. Sometimes they don’t care and they are content to stay that way. Sometimes they struggle and struggle to overcome, to adopt a better worldview full of optimism, but only fail and wind up disappointed because break through never came. To properly fix a wounded heart you have to go to the “heart specialist” Jesus Christ himself.

My whole life a am very sensitive and tender person. As a child I recall my feelings being hurt very easily and I was very quiet, timid, meek. I never shared my feelings, but the depth and breadth of my feelings on all levels were overwhelming and I didn’t know how to process them. As an adult I know now, because God has shown himself faithful. Through my own lifelong Patmos experience, He has groomed me and taught me for I know I am to be used as His “heart surgeon” administering healing to the wounded of heart. In fact, I have a special eye to spot them. It’s like the Holy Spirit puts a bulls eye over their head and He begins to speak to me about their hurting heart. I begin to dream about them, pray for them and exercise the full armor of God through combative prayer for them. (Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and dark forces Eph. 6) Sometimes, the recipient never knows I had anything to do with their breakthrough, but God has been kind to me and I am right there when they testify within hours of it occurring. I never say a word, but on the inside I am glowing because I know God doesn’t have to give me that, He just does because it touches my heart and I know it was all Him anyway. It’s like I received a front row sea to watch Him do what only He can do…LOVE.

I have a particular burden for people who have experienced widespread rejection in their life. I wrote in a blog a while back how loneliness was a lifelong nemesis for me; that nasty spirit has haunted me all of my life. That’s exactly what it is…a spirit. The more intimate I walk with God, the harder “he” hits me (the spirit of loneliness). Well, loneliness has a long time friend who has also been a lifelong nemesis of mine, Rejection. My first major experience with rejection happened when I was 5 years old. It devastated me. I won’t even repeat the story, but it so pierced my heart I will never forget the sting. Ever since it was like a bad movie; same scenario on a new day with a new vehicle of rejection. Almost always did the rejection come from female peers, but it has not been exclusively so. The older I got the more malicious the rejection was. Sometimes it was just outright mean and other times, many times, it came as a false friendliness that never included, only excluded. You can see how loneliness and rejection can work together. I spent most of my life feeling like I was friend to everyone but friends with no one.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

God allowed it all for a purpose. I know women are emotional and some cannot handle their emotions as well as others. Though I am deeply sensitive, God has gifted me with this unusual ability to compartment it like a man can. I can stay laser focused despite how I feel.  God’s always got his eye on the final product. He desired to take all of my sensitivity and compassion and deep love for people and groom it so I could love the “throw aways” (but not exclusive to the down and out).  At least, that’s what the world would call it. I call it God’s chosen band of misfits. I feel I can call them that because I feel like I am one, for like I said, I have spent my whole life with the ability to fit in with any clique or group but never truly feeling I belonged in any of them….a misfit. I don’t consider this a bad thing. The fruit and blessing of living in my own kind of private island experience is how God has shown himself relevant and real and amazing in my heart. I sometimes feel I could burst I am so full of His love. In fact, I usually have to go find someone to love on (kindness, encouragement, consideration, hospitality) because if I don’t share it with others, it literally begins to hurt inside my chest. That, my friends, is supernatural. The average person would say that it was “weird”, but only because they haven’t experienced it.

Fear, judgment, criticism always stem from a lack of understanding and information.When you know that, it makes it easier to let it slide.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that God opened up my eyes in revelation. Until that point I always would pray and ask God what I was doing wrong? Was I not a good enough friend to others? Was I not kind or considerate enough? I really wanted to know because I ached for close friends, but was horribly afraid to actually have any because I had grown comfortably numb and didn’t allow anyone in really. People thought I was nice, it wasn’t like I was mean, I was just afraid. Then He did it. He touched me in the midnight hours and told me exactly what I needed to hear. He said it wasn’t anything I had done “wrong”.  We all make mistakes, of course, but this was about something deeper He was stirring and preparing me for. It was something he allowed for all the reasons I just explained.

  • God will always take your misery and turn it into a ministry.
  • He will always take your pain, if you let him, and replace it with Victory . He will take your ashes and bring you Beauty.
  • He cloaks His favor around the lost and they become found.
  • God has eyes that peer deep into the soul of man, the inward man, the one that no one but He can see.
  • God is not impressed with titles, accomplishments, education, wealth or possessions.
  • He truly, only cares about the heart.
  • He cares about the things that will last.

The older I got and the more wisdom the Lord poured into me as I lingered in His Word and Presence, the more I saw as He sees. Because I am such a people lover and I have so much grace for people in my heart I tend to gloss over things easily, forgive readily and move on quickly. I can get along with pretty much anyone. I have been called “relationship glue” because I can function as a people “buffer”. It is not uncommon for people to share with me and then thank me for making them feel “comfortable” and for not “judging them”. I just listened. I don’t feel I am doing anything special, that part is God. But when you feel you have spent much of your life under a microscope of judgment, you decide if that is who you will become or you are a judgment free kind of philosophy…that’s me.

If I hadn’t had so many bazaar and unusual rejection stories, I wouldn’t be able to identify with Christ’s Crucifixion. When I read about the crucifixion, I can hardly read it to be honest, because my heart and mind immediately go beyond the sheer horror of His physical suffering and straight to His heart. What kind of emotional suffering he endured from those he loved so much he died for them! Unbearable to even consider.

I also know that if I hadn’t been isolated of sorts then I would have put all my hope, love, joy in my human relationships. Instead, I have built and lasting foundation of Hope that resides in my relationship with Abba Father.  I am blessed and I have to focus on God’s heart continually, for I do long for the love of people, too. I know it is a supernatural gift to love people so strong. Nicole, all on her own, would have become very comfortably numb and embraced the thick scar of heart had my Abba Father not stroked my heart and nurtured the wounds and taught me abiding pleasure in Him. The key is, as the blows of rejection grow stronger with the years, just like the loneliness, I cannot allow myself to loose what He has given me. I have to protect my blessing. For if I do not, then when the Lord chooses to use me on ever deepening levels, I would not be adequately prepared to fight the spiritual battle on behalf of others. I wouldn’t be able to walk on the water, out to the drowning souls, to pull them up and out. Instead, I would be in the water hanging on to the side of the boat, no free hands to help.

How do you know if your heart is calloused and dull?

  • If you struggle to “feel” anything; People cannot give what they don’t have.
  • If the thought of vulnerable intimate conversation with others scares you, then maybe you have some heart wounds that need some healing, too.
  • This is a subject people don’t like to share. They “brave” it out and come across strong and “together” because they are protecting the pain.
  • They don’t want to be rejected.

It’s ok if you feel this way. God has put me out here on the skinny branch of a Faith Tree, sharing my story in absolute vulnerability, as though I were standing before you naked. I am not worried about whether or not you reject me. Many will, but the one’s who are ready for a healing in their heart will be ministered to. Those are the ones I am interested in. I am here for YOU. You may never share with me, that’s ok, just know that God sees your broken heart and he has a little topical ointment for your soul that will do the trick. He can heal your bleeding heart. He can close up the gapping wound. He can restore it once again to look brand new. He can bypass the scar and permeate your heart with one that is

Whole …Vibrant… Like new.

He gives Beauty for Ashes.

 

Surrender that “thing” to him. It was burned up long ago…

He wants to make you like new.

YOU are a Champion of Heart.

Much Belief for you and in you…

~Nicole

October 16, 2013

Give It Everything You’ve Got!

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:21 pm by Broken & Brave

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His Mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can declare all His praise?” Psalm 106: 1-2

We hear it a lot in Christian circles and church, “God is good.” Have you ever really taken the time to contemplate how good he is to you? I went to  church last Sunday. During the worship time I had my eyes closed, my heart focusing on the lyrics to the song and I actively directed the meditation of heart and words of my lips as a prayer devoted to God. As we sang I began to break away from the crowd with my thoughts and heart and began to talk to God, it was just He and I.

I told him how much I loved him. How I adored him. I told him about how deep my devotion runs and this is my sole motivator for obedience and willingness to do and pursue all that He calls me to, even though it has cost me a lot. I don’t care the cost, because I run to Him anew every day, wanting and expecting like the greatest romance story ever written. But then my prayer turned a different way. I began to recognize how big God is and how much love he has to offer. My pitiful contribution to his love tank was so minuscule compared to the depth and breadth of what He can offer, yet he accepts my offering as though it were as great as his. Wow. Think about that. Talk about grace! I began to weep (as I usually do when I sing songs to my God. Not because I am super Christian and more righteous, but because it humbles me to think how the Creator of EVERYTHING would find delight in spending time with me. I love it!). Then, He began to lead my heart and respond to me. God reminded me that just as my love is nothing compared to his and he does delight in it anyway, He desires me to be the same toward others. When people are giving all the love, care and consideration they have to offer, even if it doesn’t seem like much or it doesn’t come close to meeting a need I have, I can be grateful and accept the offering just like God accepts mine. That, my friends, is beautiful and  the absolute heartbeat of God.

I have a facebook account and I choose to use it to encourage and edify people. I am blessed that most all my facebook connections are very positive and uplifting. However, in the last week I noticed two different posts referring to how they cannot tolerate stupidity of others or lack of thoughtfulness. I understand that people can be frustrating. Relationships on all levels require patience, diligence, care and time invested. However, we need to apply all that I have just shared with others. What may seem lack of thoughtfulness to us, we need to graciously understand that the other person may be offering all of the thoughtfulness their mind and heart can muster. They may be offering their best, so we need to be careful to not write their best off as “not good enough”.  I’m not trying to issue judgement.  I am merely offering persective. We need to meet others where they are at and act accordingly. This is the best way we can effectively accept, love and genuinely care for others. The world will know us by how we love each other.  If we are spending our free time running people down with our mouth we are only making an offering of how we truly are within our own heart. For out of the heart the mouth speaks.

Take some time this week to challenge yourself to love on someone who maybe challenges you a bit. For me, the best thing I do is remember that there are others who are challenged by me. We are all in this thing together. If the Body of Christ is truly going to look, taste, feel like Jesus to a hurting world, then there is no better way to exemplify it than to meet each other where we are at. We are all at a different place on the path to God and we all grow and different rates.

Let us encourage each other along.

God is good and He loves you very much.

Come on now…GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT…and that’s A LOT!

We have within us the power to overcome and together we can get it done.

The best is yet to be.

~Nicole

October 11, 2013

Enamored

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:53 pm by Broken & Brave

“Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles hands, he offered them money and said, ’Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you though you could buy the gift of God with money.’”

Acts 8:9-20

Simon the Sorcerer was freed from his past and became a new creation in Christ. However, he didn’t truly understand how the Kingdom of God worked. All things, by the Power of God are for God’s Glory and God will anoint who He wills in order to carry out His Purpose.

Anointing…what does that mean?

Anointing:  To choose by or as if by divine intervention.

God chooses and uses people to carry out His will here on Earth. He is God and He decides to whom He will give his gifts and abilities. All are gifted and able, but used in a variety of ways…each is to compliment the other. That is why the Bible says clearly,

“But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” 1 Cor. 12:11

The Lord desires that each Believer seek the Lord their God with all of their heart, mind and soul (1 Chron. 16:11, Psalm 105:3 & 4)

When we seek the Lord he will be found by us and He will reveal to us our gifting and our call. However, He does not desire us to be like Simon the Sorcerer. He loves you with and Everlasting Love and He desires to give to you good gifts. Nothing gives Him so great a pleasure as to see us each discover our gifting and call upon our life and to develop the gifts and use them for His Glory and Purpose. For the Purpose of the Lord will always prevail. We cannot force God to give anointing where He has decided not to give. We cannot have the anointing of another, nor does He want us to covet someone else’s gifts and ability. No! He wants you to celebrate your gifts and who he created you to be. You are truly a unique, hand crafted original made by a Mighty God. To try and be something or someone you are not is like telling the Lord He made a mistake or He didn’t do a good job. In order to be effective in the areas you are gifted, may I offer some words of encouragement…

God has blessed you! If you truly Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and you abandon your self will and pleasure for God and His purpose and desire for your life, then you will surrender all in order to gain even more. This is how the Kingdom of God works. If you truly want your life to be a Magnified Reflection of Him, drawing the hurting, the lost, to Him, then you must fall in love with Him. We are in the world but not of the world so we cannot look like the world.

Sometimes, in order to be effective, you must pour yourself out like a drink offering, filling others to the brim. For when they are truly filled to the brim, they will begin to overflow. And when they overflow, they will begin to Glow. And when they glow, the world will know they are so much more than words of affection gliding from a pen or dripping from ones lips. No, indeed, they will know that the love, Joy and Peace they profess is real, genuine as they see it manifest from the heart all over their countenance.

True Love wraps around you like the endless channels of the sea,

Taking one deeper and deeper, entangled

Mysteriously, yet Comforting.

This is what it is to be truly Enamored by My King.

Your life is like a great storybook, each day an new opportunity to write a new page. Make it one that keeps the on looking world sit on the edge of their seat. Keep it simple. Love with genuine affection. Never seeking for yourself attention, but directing all Glory to the King of Kings.  I cannot speak for you, but I can for me, I want God to have all of me, whatever that may mean.

Let me close with the words of one of my favorite worship songs,

 

“There is a God who loves me, who wraps me in His arms. That is the place where I’m changed and that’s where I belong. Take me to that place Lord, to that secret place where I can be with you. You can make me like you. Wrap me in your arms.”

 

Prayer: “Wrap me in your arms Lord and I pray, you take the hurting, the broken, the lost, and you wrap them in your overwhelming arms of love, too.”

God has a place and purpose in His Kingdom, just for you.

 

~Nicole

October 7, 2013

Ironclad

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:49 pm by Broken & Brave

On the weekends my son, Joel, always asks for me to make pancakes. I try to do so whenever I can (which is most weekends, but not all). I do it because I know it makes him feel loved. As you may have figured, if you have been attentive to any of my other writings, I have an acute sensitivity to the emotional needs of others (myself included). I’ve always been very sensitive this way. I believe it to be a gift from God, not of myself. I know my son Joel loves food and feels very dotted on when I cook for him. Another thing that makes him very pleased is when I cut the pancakes for him. He is nine years old and fully capable of cutting his own food, as his brothers remind him all of the time. Sometimes, I encourage him to do it himself, but many times I am willing to do it for him. See, I understand why he wants me to do it. It isn’t because he is lazy as one might assume. He isn’t dependant beyond what a nine year old boy should be (in fact all of my children are quite independent and do a lot for themselves). No, it is a measure of love for him. I know this because I asked him. I knew to ask because the same was true for me when I was a girl…

I have a deep appreciation for order. I like things “tight” and clean and organized. I never truly feel I have every thing as I would like it, but I realize considering all that is on my plate and the large family I have, I manage it all pretty well. I was like this as a child also. Some of my nostalgia from childhood included how my Mother cut my French toast or pancakes (just like Joel). She kept it cut clean and even. The food looked so organized and attractive on my plate it made eating it that much more pleasurable. I also have fond memories of how clean our house always smelled and how she folded my laundry neatly and placed it on my bed; All wonderful memories of my childhood.

I have five children and Joel is probably the one who most appreciates this type of thing as well as I. Because I realize this I try to be attentive to it and know that though I offer it to the other children, they don’t care so much as long as it tastes good!

Upon cutting Joel’s pancakes a few weeks back,  I lingered in the kitchen tidying up while the boys ate, I began to think about how Joel and I are so alike in many ways. Then my thoughts drifted to how I sometimes will procrastinate on a project because I know it will require me making a big mess before I can sort and organize the final package or project. I hate a mess…but sometimes a mess is required for something to be put together properly. This is the theme of my blog.

Have you ever had a large project you procrastinated on? As I just mentioned, I have. Take organizing a closet for example. To really do a good job you have to pull absolutely everything out, sort by category of item, things to be kept, things to be tossed. When the organizing has been done it is fresh, clean, and you can easily discern and find what you need when you need it. However, you pretty much have to pull everything out first in order to put it back right. That’s the part I hate. Especially because most projects I begin cannot be completed start to finish in one sitting because I am a Mom and all Mom’s know that completing a project around the house is like gold!

Now, let me apply this concept to your soul, the condition of your heart, your thought life, your family life, your relationships-the close ones. Relationships can be messy. Our minds and hearts can be full of clutter as well. God is very interested in cleaning house. He wants to clean our house because he loves us and cares for us deeply.

Let us say you and a friend are in a large room together and you are packing. There are boxes everywhere stacked high to the ceiling. Let’s go further…let’s say your friend is foreign and has a very thick accent so you usually have to watch their mouth while they speak to help you understand what they are saying. Now, you are together packing boxes and your friend speaks to you, but you can’t really see them because of all the clutter in the room. You are trying to listen and understand what they are telling you but it is hard because you can’t see them past all the boxes to watch their words. Together, you move all of the boxes out of the room and you stand there once again, just you two with no boxes blocking your view. You understand then perfectly because the room has been cleared out and there is nothing obstructing your proximity or view of each other. Kind of an odd analogy but I hope it helps you understand that this is how our connection with God is.

If we have a bunch of “stuff” cluttering up our heart, our thoughts our sprits, even if we are doing our best to work on hearing him, it is a challenge because just like those boxes, we have things in the way. God is good and gentle and kind and He reveals those cluttering items to us as we can handle the job of clearing them out. Sometimes it requires change and choices that aren’t popular with friends or loved ones. This usually doesn’t go over well and there is a bit of a growing season or stretching season. We learn a lot about ourselves and others in this season. If we hem ourselves into God and pursue Him with our whole heart and a pure motive, He takes care of it, but sometimes, almost all the time, it gets a little messy first.

In the process of cleaning our house we experience a humbling of sorts. When God humbles there is no shame. If it were shameful it would be not of God but condemnation. God’s humility is cloaked with love and encouragement. God has Belief, that you can do more, be more, have more. God is always interested in our having more. He wants to build up the walls of your heart, protecting and guarding it, making it ironclad. He wants to do the same with your relationships.

When we seek after God with all of our heart, mind and soul the reward is limitless. The Peace and Joy Divine, the Serenity of Spirit and sweet song of the heart are indescribable. It’s what makes those who have tasted of it dig deeper for more of God. God is always a gentleman, for he does not invoke his prejudice or force his love upon no one.

I have witnessed over the coarse of my life that not all desire to know God or believe in Him, but I have also witnessed that those who do know and love God do not all desire to know him the same. To know God on ever deepening levels requires sacrifice and the level of sacrifice or “cost” so to speak, is different for everyone. The more you are willing to risk for His intimacy of heart the more you receive of it. (Luke 11:-13)

“Jehovah is near to those that are of a broken heart, and saves them that are contrite in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

God is betrothed to the broken hearted.  If you study all through the scriptures, anything great that God accomplished through a man or woman, the man or woman became broken. For when we are broken of our will and heart then God repairs it to reflect his Glorious image, bringing himself all the Glory and we truly care for the things that break his heart on a level that we could never achieve on our own. This makes it supernatural and spectacular.

How we handle our broken heart is what makes all of the difference. Everyone knows heartache and heartbreak, but some choose to be the Victor while others choose to be a Victim. Some choose to Overcome while others were overcome. Some still, determine they are to be the Winner (in the best regard) while others become the Whiner. Victor/Victim, Overcomer/overcame, Winner/Whiner. The choice is ours.

Choose the high road of the Overcomer, the Victor, The Champion who Overcame and was used to represent the Lords good Name.

Allow God to come in and clear some clutter, organize the house, and make clean cuts while mending and bandaging where needed. God is building His House and selecting His team to go out and help others who alone cannot do it alone or don’t know of this Great God we serve. Be patient and remember that any team and person is only as strong as the weakest link. Don’t be the weak link! God is your Champion of Heart and will surround you with Champions like-minded to you!

Overcome by the Blood of the Risen One.

~Nicole

“You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words, which I instruct to you this day, shall be in your heart. And you shall explain them to your sons. And you shall meditate upon them sitting in your house, and walking on a journey, when lying down and when rising up. And you shall bind them like a sign on your hand, and they shall be placed and shall move between your eyes. And you shall write them at he threshold and on the doors of your house. And when the Lord your God will have led you into the land, about which he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when he will have given to you great and excellent cities, which you did not build; houses full of goods, which you did not amass; cisterns, which you did not dig; vineyards and olive groves, which you did not plant; and when you will have eaten and been satisfied: take care diligently, lest you forget the Lord, who led you away from the land of Egypt, from the house of servitude. You shall fear the Lord your God, and you shall serve him alone, and you shall swear by his name.” 

Deut. 6:5-14