Saturday, May 16, 2015

Esther 1-5: The Hadassah Connection

At times the Lord speaks clearly in a still small voice.  At other times, He communicates using symbolism to stir curiosity.  Today, He is speaking symbolically.

I have been studying the Bible chronologically, and  today's reading begins with the book of Esther.  In Hebrew, Esther means Hadassah, which means "myrtle" when translated into English.

הדסה
What are the odds that I would be reading a book whose name means "myrtle" while I am vacationing in Myrtle Beach? I do not believe in coincidence.  I believe God is speaking, but sometimes discovering what He saying takes a little research.


Proverbs 25:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings is to search out a thing.


The scientific name for the myrtle plant is Myrtus communis or Greek Myrtle.  It is an evergreen, an upright shrub grown for its fragrant foliage and ability to withstand clipping. A perfect plant for a topiary or hedge. From midsummer to early fall, it produces solitary, white flowers which are followed by purplish-black berries. It may grow to 10 feet tall, but there are many dwarf varieties available. Grow in moist, well-drained soil that is moderately fertile. Full sun is best (Backyardgardener.com).



According to Judaic symbolism, the myrtle has smell but no taste, meaning a person who performs good deeds without the learning of the Torrah.  Myrtle corresponds to the eyes, enlightenment (Judaism 101:Sukkot).

I feel like God is reminding me that I am to continue being taught by His Spirit so that I smell and taste good to the Lord.  It's a continual maturation process from one level of glory to the next.

As Hadassah was obedient to Mordecai, I am to continue in obedience to the leading of His Spirit, which enlightens my understanding and causes me to see people and situations the way He does.


Esther 2:10
Amplified Bible

Esther had not made known her nationality or her kindred, for Mordecai had charged her not to do so.


No matter the season, the myrtle an evergreen plant retains its fragrant leaves reminding me that whatever situation arises, my fragrance (response) is to be sweet and lovey.  The Lord has given me the ability to withstand clipping. He prunes and trims areas in me that do not bear fruit allowing my roots to strengthen and deepen. 

Deeper and stronger roots increase the health of a plant enabling it to withstand times of drought.  More abundant fruit also result.  So it is with me.  Difficult times, dry seasons in my life have increased the quality of my roots in the Lord.  My fruit...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control ripen and become a blessing for those around me to taste. 

Finally, just as God was aware of Haman's plot to annihilate His people in Persia, He is aware of any plot the evil one sets against me.  He has my back.  He is my guard.  He knows where I sleep and the specific location of my vacation.  :)

Although, I believe today's insight was for me, you can be assured that God is aware of your location and circumstances.  He will protect and lead you too if you let Him. 

Blessings to you my friends!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Zechariah 10-14: He Hears the Silent Scream

Zechariah 10:11
Amplified Bible (AMP)

11 And [the Lord] will pass through the sea of distress and affliction [at the head of His people, as He did at the Red Sea]; and He will smite down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the [river] Nile shall be dried up and put to shame; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down and the scepter or rod [of the taskmasters of Egypt] shall pass away.

 
 
I love the imagery of this verse.  When the Lord leads, He smites down the waves of distress and affliction. 
 
Imagine being trapped in a tumultuous storm encompassing body, soul and spirit.  The sea's waves overwhelm and water displaces the oxygen in the lungs.  Gasping for air, yet only taking in more water, the process of drowning occurs.  

Drowning is a silent event. A drowning person no longer has the ability to scream, raise her head or arms out of the water, or struggle violently (Zafares, 1998).
 
Often a person experiencing emotional turmoil screams silently as well. 

 
 
 
Jesus hears the silent screams of a drowning heart.  He passes through "the sea of distress and affliction" and "will smite down the waves of the sea."
 
Hold fast to the One Who will save you!  In the midst of the violent waves, He is with you passing before you "through the sea of distress and affliction."  He makes a way where there is none.  He makes the mountain a plain and straightens the crooked path.  He will never leave you and certainly never forsake you.  He is faithful...always!!!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Zachariah 9: His Eyes are Upon Us

Zechariah 9:8
Amplified Bible

Then I will encamp about My house as a guard or a garrison so that none shall march back and forth, and no oppressor or demanding collector shall again overrun them, for now My eyes are upon them.
 
Thinking back over the challenges faced in my life, I remember, I see that God was always there.  At times my soul was so distressed and stirred that I was ignorant to His Presence, but now I understand that He was ALWAYS there. 
 
It was through those challenges that my weaknesses were revealed.  Friends, it is valuable to be familiar with our own weaknesses, because then we realize that our only hope and protection come from the Lord.  We must understand that knowing our weaknesses doesn't equal a skewed self-esteem, but it does cause us to understand our desperate need for a savior.
 
We have a choice.  What will we cling to as our savior? 
 
Money
Power
Influence
People
Technology
Self
 
There is no doubt that these are blessings, but do they have the power to save us?
 
Let me submit to you that God, as expressed through Jesus, is the ONLY ONE capable of saving us from the oppressor.  I'm not offering anyone false hope, bad things do happen in this world, but those bad things do not have the power to oppress and "march back and forth" over our souls if we cling to the True Savior, Jesus Christ! 
 
God has promised to encamp around us like a guard or a garrison!  His eyes are upon us!!!
 
Just yesterday, I read an article quoting the actress Natalie Portman's thoughts about the Oscar she received, "I was reading the story of Abraham to my child and talking about, like, not worshipping false idols. And this is literally like gold men. This is literally worshipping gold idols -- if you worship it. That’s why it’s not displayed on the wall. It’s a false idol."
 
Those are bold words.  TRUTH!!!
 
Any time we trust in something or some person other than God for our protection, we in effect committing idolatry. 
 
Those are bold words.  TRUTH!!!
 
 
Lord, I ask that by Your Spirit You reveal our weaknesses and through them show Yourself strong.  You have promised to be our guard.  You ARE the Savior of our souls.  We know that no matter what happens, You are there providing peace and calm in the midst of any earthly storm.  No more will the enemy of our souls march back and forth over our thoughts/emotions for You are always Faithful and True.  We love You and submit ourselves to You always, in the Great Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!
 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Zechariah 7-8: Here is Your Part: Tell the Truth. Be Fair. Live at Peace with Everyone.

Zechariah 8:19
(Amplified)

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah times of joy and gladness and cheerful, appointed seasons; therefore [in order that this may happen to you, as the condition of fulfilling the promise] love truth and peace.

God doesn't want us to go through life with a sour, "woe is me," attitude.  The verse above instructs that while fasting, attitudes should be filled with joy and gladness and cheerfulness.  Zechariah goes on to say that loving truth and peace is the prerequisite condition to fulfilling the promise.

Looking back a few verses, I see God has promised that He is "sowing peace and prosperity."  I normally haven't been quoting from Bible translations other than the Amplified, but the Living Bible says it so well. 

Remember, I have paralleled the rebuilding of the temple with the rebuilding of the true temple inside each of us.  Imagine our personal temple, where the Spirit of the Lord dwells, as being rebuilt after being ravaged by the consequences of sin as you are reading the verses below.

Zechariah 8:9-19
Living Bible (TLB)

The Lord Almighty says, “Get on with the job and finish it! You have been listening long enough! For since you began laying the foundation of the Temple, the prophets have been telling you about the blessings that await you when it’s finished. 
 10 Before the work began there were no jobs, no wages, no security; if you left the city, there was no assurance you would ever return, for crime was rampant.
11 “But it is all so different now!” says the Lord Almighty. 
 12 “For I am sowing peace and prosperity among you. Your crops will prosper; the grapevines will be weighted down with fruit; the ground will be fertile, with plenty of rain; all these blessings will be given to the people left in the land. 
 13 ‘May you be as poor as Judah,’ the heathen used to say to those they cursed! But no longer! For now Judah is a word of blessing, not a curse. ‘May you be as prosperous and happy as Judah is,’ they’ll say. So don’t be afraid or discouraged! Get on with rebuilding the Temple! 14-15 If you do, I will certainly bless you. And don’t think that I might change my mind. I did what I said I would when your fathers angered me and I promised to punish them, and I won’t change this decision of mine to bless you. 16 Here is your part: Tell the truth. Be fair. Live at peace with everyone. 
 17 Don’t plot harm to others; don’t swear that something is true when it isn’t! How I hate all that sort of thing!” says the Lord.
18 Here is another message that came to me from the Lord Almighty:
19 “The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in July, August, October, and January are ended. They will be changed to joyous festivals if you love truth and peace!

Reading this, I find my heart being stirred with excitement!  My part, your part, is to tell the truth, be fair, and live at peace with everyone.

In the past, I allowed my heart to be injured because of lies and half-truths spoken about me.  Now, I realize, that fear is powerful relationship killer, and it was fear that influenced those speaking.  It was fear that caused me to be hurt.  Fear, was the enemy!

I cannot control whether others choose to do their part in telling the truth, being fair, and living at peace with everyone.  BUT, I can choose to do my part empowered by God's grace. 

The Lord is so absolutely good to me.  While riding on my bike on April 29th, a snake crossed my path.  He was moving so fast; he was scared to death of me.  Later, that afternoon, I read Chuck Pierce's prophetic word,

“Your feet will walk in a different direction this year. For even though you felt shaking ground last season, now you will walk on ground that ...is being solidified. There will be many on your path that will flee from the anointing that is now rising up in you, from your feet. I will shod your feet with peace, in a new way. Then the enemies that have tried to get on your highway will move out of the way. For many enemies have stepped onto the highway that you’re walking, but because you stood in the shaking, now the wind of My Spirit will clear your path ahead (Isaiah 35).”

The enemy, symbolized by the snake was fleeing from me.  Spiritual enemies may attempt to influence people, but God's wind is clearing my path.  By the way that day was lovely with a breeze blowing!!!

To tie all of this together, I am grabbing hold of this symbolic message from the Lord.  No more will fear cause an injury to my heart.  I have been living in such great peace and blessing and joy.  My promised future is unfolding before me.  I am praying for those who are controlled by fear and have been prayerfully blessing them.  My heart is choosing to continue telling the truth, being fair and living at peace with everyone.

I will reap God's promises.  I am reaping God's promises and, I pray that you will reap them too!!!

With much love in Jesus, Beautiful Grace!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Speak Life, Overcomers!

Transcribed from the speech given at Wilkes University on 4/18/2015.  Be blessed, Overcomers!!!



Good Afternoon, Relay for Life Enthusiasts! 

I have been asked to address you today because someone felt what I had to say would encourage and inspire.  That is my heartfelt hope! 

As a mental health nurse, I realize that all of us need hope!  Hope to confront the dark emotions which can imprison minds.   Hope to face the uncertainties of tomorrow with resolve.  Hope to instill courage when facing the grim diagnosis of cancer.  Hope to overcome whatever mountain blocks life’s path.

But before we talk about hope, let’s talk about mountains.

In December of 2010, I asked my friends on Facebook…When a mountain is placed in your path, what do you do?


One friend said,

"Fret over it for a while. Stress out and make myself crazy until I finally realize I can do nothing. Only when I reach that point do I finally surrender to God, place everything in His hands and let go. It's at that point God begins to move that mountain...one large boulder at a time."

 

Another replied,

"Take pictures! :)"

 

And another was to

"Pray!"

 

One friend said to

"I usually start digging a path and hope a friend or two shows up to help. They usually do. Good friends show up with big shovels. The best friends show up heavy machinery. : )"

Finally someone said,

"Get 2 climbing....it’s not ur first or ur last!! But ull get over it!!"

 

It occurs to me that perspective influences just how the mountain is perceived. If a mountain is in the path, could it mean that the path one's on must change? A person could look at the mountain and be overwhelmed.  A mountain could cause a person to fear or panic; conversely, a mountain could inspire bold courage. A person could ignore the mountain and hope it goes away.

Mountains...everyone experiences obstacles in life!  Unpaid bills, strained relationships, employment stressors, health issues and emotional upheaval, and yes, a cancer diagnosis are ALL examples of mountains or obstacles, which may block our life's path.

The mountain that I faced in 2010 was foreknown by God and He has brought good, a lot of good from it!  I wouldn’t be here today encouraging you, if I had not faced my mountain as an Overcomer.

My story began on Christmas day, 2010.  As I was driving to work, I was asking God “What’s up” for 2011?

My heart heard clearly, “Do not trust in the horses and chariots of men.  Trust in Me.”  From Psalm 20:7

I understood that to mean do not trust in the power and wisdom of men APART from God.  Immediately, I began pondering His statement and attempted to apply it to any current situations, which gave me a choice to either trust man or trust Him.  I knew God was speaking, but was not certain how His word applied to me.

Two days later, I was visiting my momma in the hospital.  My cousin, who I don't see very often, was also visiting my Mom.  She was telling me about her numerous past surgeries, the latest of which was a double mastectomy. 

After the visit, my husband and I had decided to eat out for dinner, and eat somewhere fun, so we decided to eat at a local hibachi grill.  My phone rang as the chef juggled knives and threw eggs, slicing them in midair.  As I watched the visual food display, my surgeon's voice cut through the moment with the surreal statement, "The biopsy showed cancer in your right breast." 

The next two months were filled with overwhelming amounts of information, statistics and decisions, but I remembered that God had given me a heads up.  Every decision, every choice I made, I remembered that God said, “Trust Me.”

Originally, I was scheduled for a lumpectomy on my right breast followed by radiotherapy (5 days a week for 5 weeks) combined with Tamoxifen (5 years).  But I didn’t have peace with that plan.  I felt God was leading me to trust Him for a different plan. 

Because of my discomfort with the treatment plan, the surgeon proposed another option of double mastectomy, thus eliminating the need for follow up radiotherapy and Tamoxifen.  I felt peace, God’s peace with this course of action.

So On February 3rd 2011, I had a bilateral mastectomy.  I felt God leading me to have the left breast removed as a prophylactic (elective) treatment.

Let me ask you.  Do you live your life seeing it as a glass half empty or do you live as though the glass of live is half full? This was the conversation I had with the women employed by my plastic surgeon about a week after the surgery. One of the women remarked, "You have a really good attitude about all of this." I responded, "I try to look at life as a glass half full with the help of Jesus." Little did I know, testing of my half full statement would soon begin.

The next stop was the postoperative visit to my breast surgeon.  The surgeon proceeded to explain the pathology report. As expected, an aggressive type of cancer was found in the right breast, but ONLY in the area identified by the biopsy with No lymph node involvement!!!

Then she began to explain the findings of the left breast pathology report. Remember, having the left breast removed was a prophylactic (elective) procedure due to the chance of cancer forming at a later date and my choice of not undergoing Tamoxifen therapy.

 Invasive mucinous carcinoma (extremely rare cancer) on that side as well. Since this cancer was not expected, no sentinel node test had been performed so the extent of metastasis (spread) was undetermined.

The surgeon read my face as she revisited the idea of Tamoxifen therapy as well as possible chemotherapy and now the need to see an oncologist.

I will be honest, my awesome peace was attacked in that moment. The surgeon then pointed her finger toward Heaven and said, "Apparently, there is Someone up there looking out for you."

As the surgeon left the exam room, I began to get dressed, and with tears in my eyes, I said to my husband, "I'm not leaving this room until I get my peace back!" I began to thank Jesus for the fact that the cancer was already removed, and began thanking Him for granting me peace throughout the "ordeal." I felt Him touch my emotions as I reported to the checkout desk.

Later, while using the ladies' room, the Lord reminded me of the earlier conversation with the women at the plastic surgeon's office. Glass half full? I thought to myself. Then God broke in saying, "Not a glass half full; you are a cup running over."  At that moment, I received a new infusion of courage and peace to continue facing and overcoming my mountain. 

Psalm 23:5 (Amplified Bible)


"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over."

A few days later, I was sitting in the oncologist’s exam room.  The doctor asked how I decided to have the left breast removed.  I told him I was not at peace with the Tamoxifen treatment and after praying, felt peace to have a bilateral mastectomy. His replied, "That's not logical." I quietly responded, "Faith isn't always logical."

It turned out that there was not enough tumor tissue to perform the genetic testing.  During that time, my resolve was tested, but my faith was invigorated by my awesome dad who said, “Bellann, Jesus is in your heart. I'd follow my heart."  So, I followed my heart!!!

I received the initial pathology report the Monday after Christmas 2010, stating that I had breast cancer. The Monday after Easter 2011, I received the results of the PET scan, no metastasis!!!

Although, the cancer had been completely removed, I knew that my lifestyle needed to be dramatically changed.

Lifestyle change #1.  Sweating exercise!

I used to joke, “The eleventh commandment says, Thou shalt not sweat.”  I didn’t enjoy sweating, nor did I appreciate sore muscles post exercise, BUT deep down I knew exercise was beneficial for a healthy and properly functioning body.  Then I found out that cancer "Reoccurrence rates decreased by 40 percent among those who exercise at least 3-5 hours per week, compared with those who were sedentary," according to Harvard Medical School.  I had been sedentary most of my life and I knew I had to change!

So my journey as an athlete began.  I started walking short distances, than I began to combine walking and running.  By September 2011, I was able to run my first 5K race, and I completed my first sprint triathlon in August 2013.

 

Lifestyle change #2.  Dietary overhaul!

Previous to cancer, I ate, loved to eat, and ate whatever I wanted.  As a nurse, I knew all about balanced diets, but knowing and doing are very different.  But having had cancer changed my attitude and behavior.

I found out that organic (pesticide-free) foods are healthier. 

 

·        Did you know that the body processes and breakdown the pesticides we eat into “estrogen-like” compounds? 

·        “Currently there are some 160 *xenoestrogens that may be involved in breast cancer development.”3  These can be found in cosmetics and UV screeners, as well as foods that have been sprayed with pesticides.

*any by-product of industrial or chemical processing that have estrogenlike effect.1

 

I found out that most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.

u 30%-50% of the adult US population is vitamin D deficient (Centers for Disease Control)

Vitamin D affects up to 200 genes that influence cell division and cell death.  Vitamin D not only affects bone strength, affects the kidney, breast, pancreas heat and blood vessels, muscles, and immune cells.

When I had my vitamin D level checked, I was deficient!  Now I take supplemental Vitamin D3.

 

I found out that I needed to dramatically decrease my intake of processed food and sugar.

I increased my intake of fish and limit other animal proteins.

I limit my consumption of dairy products.

·        There are high levels of estrogen in dairy foods.  Think about it milk comes from a cow, which is a female mammal.  Of course, the estrogen levels would be high.

 

Lifestyle change #3.  Follow Peace

After I received the cancer diagnosis, I realized the importance of maintaining a positive thought life.  I was able to resist fearful thoughts by listening to worship music, especially at night when fearful thoughts tend to scream.

I made certain that as I faced my mountain, I didn’t forget others who also were faced with mountains.  I refused to allow a diagnosis shift my focus toward me, which has the danger of stimulating self-pity. 
Self-pity does not solve problems and it certainly does not remove mountains. 

I focused on the many blessings in my life.

I made certain I was not harboring unforgiveness towards anyone.

Fearful thoughts, self-pity and unforgiveness are not the way of Peace!

 

All of us face a mountain at some point in our lives, sometimes many mountains, but the way we “see” that mountain makes all the difference. 

Let me submit to you today that we are not merely survivors, because the word “survivor” implies one who has faced an enemy and has narrowly escaped.  I believe we are Overcomers.  We are ones who have faced our mountain with strength and have prevailed.  Survival implies a position of weakness, but an Overcomer shouts strength.

We will not be victims, merely surviving.  We will be an Overcomers!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Zechariah 5-6: Building the True Temple of the Lord

Zechariah had been encouraging the Israelites to rebuild the temple, yet later he talks about a time in the future when the true temple of the Lord would be built by Jesus.

Zechariah 6: 12
(Amplified)
And say to him, Thus says the Lord of hosts: [You, Joshua] behold (look at, keep in sight, watch) the Man [the Messiah] whose name is the Branch, for He shall grow up in His place and He shall build the [true] temple of the Lord.

Later, it is written that those who are far off (that's you and me) will assist in building the true temple of the Lord!  WOW!

Zechariah 6:15
(Amplified)

And those who are far off shall come and help build the temple of the Lord, and you shall know (recognize and understand) that the Lord sent me [Zechariah] to you. And [your part in this] shall come to pass if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

If we are to assist the Lord in building His true temple, then we should know, "What is the true temple of the Lord?"

I believe the true temple of the Lord is a spiritual temple; Ultimately, the true temple is symbolic for the Bride of Christ, Christians!  This true temple is not made with stone and mortar, but by cultivating the Holy Spirit in ourselves and in others. Notice, the fulfillment of the promise of being co-builders with the Lord rests on whether or not we diligently obey His voice. WOW!

Each time we "hear" and then "obey" what the Lord instructs, we effectively, build in ourselves and in others the true, spiritual temple of the Lord!

How have you cultivated the Spirit in yourself?

How have you stirred the Spirit in others?

I hear the Lord calling.  Will we respond in obedience?  YES!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Speaking Life at Wilkes University

 
Wilkes-Barre, PA

 
Teams of college students had set up tents selling various items
(mostly food)
to help raise money for cancer research.
 
 

This distinguished gentleman is my father. 
I really appreciate his support!

 
Relay teams competed throughout the day in fun competitions.

 
This is a pic of me and my greatest earthly supporter, my husband!

 
 
 
I was given the great privilege to share my story as a cancer overcomer this past Saturday.  It was wonderful to be able to speak of God's awesome interventions in my life and how He continually guided me in every decision. 
 
As I spoke, many eyes filled with tears.  I pray that the resolve to stand firm in the fight was released, no matter if the mountain is cancer or some other earthly obstacle.
 
Thanks to all who prayed for me.  I could feel God's pleasure as I spoke.
 
The highlight of the day was receiving a gift bag as a thank you for speaking.  For those of you who know me, you know that purple is my fav color!  I received a purple tee shirt, purple travel mug, and a purple trimmed canvas bag.  It was as though God was winking at me. 
 
 I already had a purple folder to hold my speech notes. ;)
 
 
 
I really do love Him!!!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Zechariah 4: Who Are You, O Great Mountain of Human Obstacles?

Mountains...everyone experiences obstacles in life!  Unpaid bills, strained relationships, employment stressors, health issues and emotional upheaval are ALL examples of mountains or obstacles, which may block our life's path.  So it is today the same as it was when Zechariah penned this encouragement.

Zechariah 4:6-7

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Then he said to me, This [addition of the bowl to the candlestick, causing it to yield a ceaseless supply of oil from the olive trees] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of Whom the oil is a symbol], says the Lord of hosts.
 
For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!

So there you have it, folks!  Whether leading a people out of captivity and rebuilding a temple or plowing through the life obstacles of today, what we need is oil, the oil of the Holy Spirit. 

His Spirit empowers us to maintain a healthy focus.  We focus on God, Who created the universe, Who knows no bounds,  Whose power is unmatched, rather then being distracted by the earthly "mountain" in our path. 

Often the very solution to transforming a mountain into a molehill is the proper perspective.  We may need to "reframe" the mountain.  In other words, we need to look at the obstacle or situation with a positive mindset rather than a negative one. 


A negative mindset set might say...

Why do bad things always happen to me?

I take two steps forward, then get pushed back ten steps.

I just can't take anymore.


Reframing the mountain and looking at it positively might sound something like...

Life is filled with bad things, they are bound to impact me at some time or another.

When I feel the pushback of life's circumstance, I will fall to my knees and worship.  God can take the pushbacks and use them to strengthen my spiritual muscles.

I "feel" like I can't anymore, but the truth is God will NEVER allow anything to touch me that I cannot handle with Him.



Holy Spirit, empower us to always reframe difficult situations seeing them through Your eyes and not our feelings.  Help us to identify the positive and be thankful for all You have done and provided.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!







 
 
 

 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Relay For Life Event

Dear Beautiful Grace Readers,

I have been invited to speak at a Relay For Life event at Wilkes University on April 18th.  My story of breast cancer will be expressed to students, professors and community participants highlighting the power of God to empower to climb any mountain as an Overcomer!

I humbly ask that you would pray for me to be BOLD and to SPEAK CLEARLY about the wonders of God's love.  Pray that every heart would be touched by His Spirit and encouraged to face and conquer whatever mountain is faced with Him!!!

Love you all!

Beautiful Grace

http://www.wilkes.edu/news/today-at-wilkes/2015/march/relay_for_life.aspx

Friday, April 3, 2015

I Wish We'd All Been Ready

 
 
Yesterday, while running outside on the beautiful spring day, I was praying for a group of people as I listened to DC Talk's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready." I looked up and saw this... 
 
I think God heard my prayer, don't you? LOVE!



Thursday, April 2, 2015

Zechariah 3: Grace-Empowered Coping Skills

Chapter three begins with Zechariah watching Joshua the high priest stand before "the Angel of the Lord (Jesus)."  Satan is standing at Joshua's right, accusing him.  But the Jesus rebukes Satan and assures him that He continually chooses Jerusalem. (Zechariah 3:1-2)

Then the filthy garments (representing sin) Joshua is wearing are removed as Jesus assures "I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel." (Zechariah 3:4)

Jesus, stood by solemnly and earnestly protesting and affirming Joshua! (Zechariah 3:6)

Then comes the awesome promise...

Zechariah 3:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in My ways and keep My charge, then also you shall rule My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you access [to My presence] and places to walk among these who stand here.


As a psychiatric nurse, I often discuss triggers with my patients.  A trigger:  to initiate, actuate, or set off by a trigger <an indiscreet remark that triggered a fight> <a stimulus that triggered a reflex> (Merriam Webster).

I ask my patients to list their "triggers," because if we know what precipitates an unpleasant emotional reaction, we can develop a plan to manage ourselves.  Some triggers can be avoided, like developing a progressive study plan in order to avoid cramming before a test which triggers an anxiety attack.

But some triggers cannot be avoided, such as, the bully trigger, which may set a bullied child up for self-esteem/depression issues.

In order to manage their emotional state, I counsel my patient to develop a safety plan, which includes identifying personal coping skills. "In psychology, coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict"(Wikipedia).

As human beings, we all have triggers, but as Christians what we do with those triggers makes all the difference.  The coping skills used to manage our personal triggers includes God's grace! 

For example, we need to remember, when Satan accuses us through a bully, reminding us of our real or imagined faults, that Jesus stands by "solemnly and earnestly protesting and affirming" us.  His grace empowers us to forgive and pray for those being influenced by the evil one.  In this case, forgiveness and prayer are used as coping skills, powerful coping skills!

Forgiveness and prayer not only protect the person being bullied, but also will affect the bully, releasing him/her to our Father.  

These grace-empowered coping skills are tools, which God commands us to employ.  These skills are a way to "walk in My ways and keep My charge" and the resulting promise, "you shall rule My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you access [to My presence] and places to walk among these who stand here."

Holy Spirit, empower us with the grace to forgive and pray knowing that Jesus stands by us affirming us and rebuking the evil one.  Let us be lights in the dark, encouraging others to utilize the grace-empowered coping skills You have made available.  In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zechariah 1-2: Be Still All Flesh

It's been awhile since I have read Zachariah...WOW!  This symbolically rich, Old Testament book instills courage and direction.  Even the name, "Zachariah" instills comfort by its meaning, "the Lord has remembered" (Introduction to Zachariah, Amplified Bible).

The Jews have returned to Jerusalem after their seventy year captivity in Babylon.  The Lord is reminding the people, "Return to Me" and "I will return to you" (Zechariah 1:3, Amplified). 

In Zechariah 2:4, the second angel declares that Jerusalem will be "without walls." But this is not a cause for concern, because the Lord promises that He "will be a wall of fire round about" (Zechariah 2:5). 

Use your holy imagination...

There are so many people and livestock that a physical wall can't contain them.  Without a wall for protection, I imagine that the Jews might be a little worried. 

Would another enemy attack them and carry them off into captivity once again as the Babylonians had done?

The Lord ignites a fire wall around His people!  His glory is shining directly from the middle of His people.  I imagine His glory as the fuel for the fire wall.  The people are protected, safe and secure.  God has them, all around.  They are living in the midst of Living Flames of Fire!  The people respond with courage!  Their souls immersed in Peace!  They develop confidence in the Lord of Hosts...they have returned to Him, and He has returned to them!  Cries of celebration replace the cries of captivity!  Songs of joy sung; "He has come into our midst!" It is another day, a different season, a New Beginning!!!  The Lord of Hosts assures them that any enemy who touches them is touching His eye!  He will not stand for an enemy poking Him in His eye!  He swings His hand and the former masters now become plunder for God's people.  The enemy is defeated!  No more, can he enslave.  The people, they are free and their souls are stilled!!!


Zechariah 2:13
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Be still, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused and risen from His holy habitation.


I can feel Your Presence, Lord!  You are reminding me that Your flaming wall of protection surrounds and Your glory shines from the midst of me.  My flesh is still!!!

Thank You, thank You, thank You!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Haggai: Called to Rebuild the Temple


The Enemy May Stall, But None Shall Stop the Prophetic Promises talks about the enemy's influence in stalling the progression of the temple building project.  Eighteen years have passed have passed since the Cyrus gave approval to the temple project, but because they were delayed by the enemy, the people turned their attention to building their own homes.  God's temple was in ruins, yet the people lived in "paneled houses."
 
 
Haggai 1:2-4
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say, The time is not yet come that the Lord’s house should be rebuilt [although Cyrus had ordered it done eighteen years before].
Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house [of the Lord] lies in ruins?
 
Today, the "temple" God is calling us to rebuild is our own body, because as Christians "your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you."
 
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 
18 Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
 
Father is calling us to rebuild who we are "inside." Haggai teaches us that "holiness is not infectious." In other words, we aren't holy just because we attend a church service or perform in a godly manner.  We are holy, because Jesus has imparted His holiness in us when we accepted His gift of salvation.  Yet, Haggai also teaches us the "unholiness is infectious."  The way that we live matters to God, and it starts with who we are on the inside, the place where His Spirit lives.
 
Joyce Meyer's had it right when she said the reason we read the Bible is "so we don't live stupid."  Friends, the Bible teaches us the way to build our personal, internal temple, and what's awesome is that Holy Spirit empowers us to do it!  It is a never-ending building project.  We are being remade each day as each day He pours out His mercy.  We just need to be willing to turn our attention to the thing that really matters, building a house that is suitable for the King of Kings!
 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ezra 4-6; Psalm 137: The Enemy May Stall, But None Shall Stop the Prophetic Promises

 Josh: "But they need me here. If I don't help them...how will they... The shepherd, he's part of the prophecy."

Jesus: "Son! Have no fear. The prophesies will be fulfilled be it one way or another. One river is calm while the other is treacherous. In one boat, many will be saved. In the other, many will be lost."

Josh: "But maybe I, maybe I don't want the responsibility. I'm tired of fighting. It's never enough for the one that I save a hundred are...

Jesus: "It matter a great deal to that one person. It matters to Me."

Josh: "Tell me, Lord. What do I do?" (Revelation Road 3: The Black Rider)




Ezra 4:21-24
Amplified Bible (AMP)
   
21Therefore give a decree to make these men stop, that this city not be rebuilt, until a command is given by me.
22 Be sure that you do this. Why should damage grow, to the hurt of the kings?
23 When the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews and by force and power made them cease.
24 Then the work on the house of God in Jerusalem stopped. It stopped until the second year of Darius king of Persia.

The rebuilding of the temple after the Babylonian captivity was a prophetic promise, yet enemies were successful in stalling its construction. 

Have you even wondered about the prophetic promises, which the enemy halted mid fulfillment? 

Have you considered the prophetic promises yet to be fulfilled?

I certainly have.

While watching the fictional movie, Revelation Road 3:  The Black Rider, a few days ago, I was encouraged by a dialogue between Josh and Jesus as referenced above.  God WILL fulfill His promises.  He WILL complete His plan, "One way or another."  The pressure of personal responsibility to "fulfill" God's plan for Him, is off!  Our heart only needs to say,  "Tell me, Lord. What do I do?"  He is pleased with the "one" we touch for Him.  He is pleased when our heart desires to do right.  He is pleased when we try, but He doesn't expect us to do what only He can do.  He holds the world in His hands.  He is the One who directs the times and the seasons.  His Spirit draws a heart.  We cannot do these things.  We can only say, "Tell me, Lord. What do I do?"

Thank You, Lord, that Your burden is light.  Tell us what to do in every minute of every day, Lord.  In the great and awesome Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!