WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE DEVASTATED?

Devastation is a BIG word!

When I first hear it, my mind conjures up pictures of vast wastelands laid flat and bare by fire, wind or drought.  I think of farmers fields where countless days of toil and labor have been spent on excavating, planting and preparing, only to be DEVASTATED and laid bare before harvest by a swarm of locust!  I picture a large, flat plane in the desert full of palm trees laden with delicious figs and surrounded by an oasis, green and fertile amid the surrounding dryness. There a spring of water exists in the midst of it all, bringing life where there was no life! Slowly its’ source is lost by a drought! What used to be lush and vibrant, is now dried up and scorched by the suns relentless heat. 

While these may be “physical” pictures of  devastation, I feel that they clearly represent ‘SOUL DEVASTATION.’ The devastation that happens to us when we fail, feel let down by those we trusted most, when we lose a job or position that we valued or even when we cry out to God to restore and rescue us and we hear only silence.

This kind of devastation takes place on the inside of a person in the deepest places, unseen by the human eye. On the outside we may appear cool, calm and collected, but make no mistake, on the inside we are withering away as the locusts eat and the drought ensues.

What do we do to bring back the rain? How do we plant new, healthy plants that will thrive once again in good soil?

It may feel impossible to do, but the remedy is simple…WE CRY OUT TO OUR GOD AND WE TRUST IN HIS WORD OF TRUTH!

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink in the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.”        Psalms 69

These words of desperation in devastation come from the mouth of one of God’s greatest warriors. A strong and courageous man who led one of the fiercest armies in history into battle after battle in the name of the Lord God! He is called by God, “A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART.”  

Yet time and time again we see him crying out to God as he faces devastation. Should we do no less?

David spares no words or emotions in His desperate cries to God!  He lays bare his fear, exhaustion, disappointment, anxiety and frustration. He lets go of all pride and screams out with everything he has the truth of his devastation and the truth of God’s Word!

In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper!”                          Psalms 69:13-14

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful.”                                                       Psalms 69:16

As David cries out to God he begins to feel the cool refreshment of God’s love rain down on him and begin to fill his empty soul spring with water anew!

As David claims the Truth of God’s Word he senses the soil of his spirit being replanted with new growth!

Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For The Lord hears the cries of the needy; He does not despise His imprisoned people.
Psalms 69:32-33

Friend, we can all find ourselves in season of devastation. Sometimes for reasons we are guilty of, and sometimes at no fault of our own. Either way, God is waiting for us to cry out to Him, claim His words of Truth and allow His healing rain to fall on us and restore our devastated souls with His love and power!

 When I am in my greatest times of devastation, the simplest of childhood songs come to my mind…

Only a boy named David, only a little sling, only a boy name David, but he could pray and sing. Only a boy named David, only a babbling brook. Only a boy named David, and five little stones he took.

A boy named David, cried out in the name of His mighty God, trusted in His power, picked up five little stones and slayed the giant!

We too can walk through our devastation, cry out to God, trust in the power of His Word, pick up our stones and slay our giants!

ONLY A BOY NAMED DAVID!  ONLY A GAL NAMED _______________!

ONLY A GUY NAMED __________________!

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OUR DEVESTATION CAN LEAD US TO OUR GREATEST VICTORY WHEN WE CRY OUT TO OUR GREAT GOD!

Speak Truth Love

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Are you still in the state of excitement and optimism as you enter this new year of 2020?

Are you encouraged by the posts and ads you see every ten seconds or so to be a better version of you?

Are you inspired to lose weight with that new diet? Are you jazzed about jumping into that new exercise routine? Have you bought that new make-up line that is sure to improve your complexion and get rid of those wrinkles? Have you been convinced to change your hairstyle or hair color and become the “New You” you were meant to be?”

If you fall into the camp of excited and optimistic about the New You and the changes you can make to make you better, than you stay encouraged and “GO GIRL!”

But if you, like me, fall into the category of overwhelmed, discouraged and possibly even defeated before you begin, there are some words I would love to share with you!

“I fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.”                               Psalm 139:14

I am by nature a “GO GETTER!” I love a challenge. I have competition in my blood line, and I love the phrase “NEVER SAY DIE!”  I have approached each and every New Year with zeal and positivity in committing to “make myself better!” 

But this year I heard God’s still small voice saying to me, “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!”

Friends, honestly, I NEVER feel good enough! I try. I know in my head I am good enough, but somehow that feeling never sinks deep down into my heart!

I’m always trying to be better. I’m always working at working harder! And somehow in the middle of all of the hard work, I seem to convince myself that I CAN DO IT!

For example, a few years back I decided to run the LA half Marathon. Now this may sound like no big deal to you as you are probably assuming I was a runner. I wasn’t!

Oh, I would like to have put myself in the “RUNNERISH” category, if that is a category, but truth is, I had only run a 5k, and not with flying colors. I have always been “athletic” and kept myself moving, but a runner, only in my dreams!  However, when the idea was posed to me to run this half marathon, I did not hesitate! About a month before the race I started to imagine myself making it one mile, two miles and then fading off into the sunset as all of the other runners passed me by!  I decided this could not happen and so I asked my husband to run in the evenings with me!

Mind you, He is a runner! He graciously said he would, and for the next several weeks I built myself up to 6 miles. I did not run fast, but I kept moving! Now in case you are not familiar with half marathons, they are 13.1 miles long. This means that one week out before the race, I was running less than half of the half marathon I was about to run. Did I let that stop me?  NO WAY! I determined I would run this race if it killed me, and it very well might!

My son called the day before the race and said “Mom I’m praying for you, I know you will do great!”  I thanked him and said, “I hope I’m ready.” His comment back to me, stuck in my mind like glue, and made me think!  He replied; “I have no doubt you will do well, your strong will and determination would allow for nothing less.”

I ran the race and I finished in really good time. I was not sore, nor did I pull any muscles. I actually showered and made it to church later that morning.

But, I did not and have not run a full marathon, which was my next goal. I realized that I was not a runner even though I was in decent shape. I did accomplish a goal and that was good, but I was accomplishing it for selfish reasons. I wanted to look good, I wanted to paste that sticker on the back of my SUV, “13.1,” I wanted others to notice my looks and achievements. Achievements I had accomplished on my own stubborn will and desire. I realized then that I was still not believing the words of my Heavenly Father, “Lisa, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!”

Several years have passed and I’m still struggling to achieve enough, look good enough, and just plain “Be Enough.” While God is still trying to get my attention and whisper the words I long to hear,…

“YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!”

“I made you!”

“You are PERFECT!”

“I formed you in your mother’s womb!”

“I know you inside and out!”

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are GOOD ENOUGH!”

So, please do not let me discourage you from all of the good and healthy new habits you are encouraged to take on!  Taking good care of the temples God gave us is important! But I propose a NEW, New Year’s Resolution!

Instead of a “NEW YOU,” realize you are “GOOD ENOUGH” and live another Sensational Year of You!

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You are Sensational because you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

So, here’s to A SENSATIONAL YEAR OF YOU!

You are perfect just the way you are!

HAPPY NEW SENSATIONAL NEW YEAR!

Speak Truth Love

I Get Up With A Little Help From My Friends!

Catching your breath…

The Christmas crazy is over. Somehow we managed to get everything done and celebrate the birth of Jesus even if by the hair of our chinny chin Chin‘s!

The new year is right around the corner and with it looms the desire to do better this year than we did in the past. While the sugarplums that danced in our heads are now a distant memory, the New Year’s resolutions are heavy on our minds.

What will we do?

What will we change?

What will we commit to be better at than we were before?

Hopefully, we will we will attack and accomplish all He gives us to do in the year ahead.

But wait a minute! Before we jump right in, let’s push the pause button and be willing to take a much needed break to restore, replenish and refresh our depleted spirits.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Our souls and our spirits need time to rest so we can renew our spirits. Our physical bodies need rest from the strenuous activities that come from a lot of celebrating.

We can fool ourselves into thinking “I can do it in my own strength, or “I’ve got this by myself.“

But the truth is, we all need times of refreshment, and time spent alone with God and with others He has put in our lives to encourage, support and lift our spirits.

All of us have different ways of doing this. Maybe your spirit needs time to be alone with a good book, and the word of God. Maybe God speaks to you and restores you through the beauty of His creation. And if you are blessed like I am to have special people in your life who know you and love you for who you truly are, then the combination of these things can be a literal gift from God to restore, renew and replenish you.

I must admit that for most of my life I have been really bad at realizing this need in my life. I love to serve, I love others, and I love giving. And I would always jump into The new year ready to charge forward and conquer the world for Christ. But in the past several years God has spoken to my heart and let me know that He has given me the blessing of precious time away between Christmas and New Year’s with a special friend who loves me for who I am, encourages me to use the gifts God has given me, holds me accountable when I need it, and shares her home by the beautiful ocean God made with me and my family. Sometimes all you need is the word of God in your mind and heart, God‘s beautiful creation around you and some faithful “F.R.I.E.N.D.S.”

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Sometimes all it really does take is a little help from our friends. If you are blessed to have people in your life – one, two or more who love you enough to help you take a break, then you are blessed! Listen to them and how God can speak through them to restore, replenish, and revive your spirit, soul, mind, and strength. Let’s take a break together at the end of this season and get ready to jump into the new year, 2020 and all that God has for us!

Rest well my friend.

Meet you back here in the New Year!

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TAKING A break with God restores, replenishes, and renews our spirits!

Speak Truth Love

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! IT’S A PARTY!

It is not just “Looking a Lot Like Christmas,” It Is Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve Everyone!

Christmas Crazy has come to an end! The month long anticipation(who am I kidding!)…or the year long anticipation if you are truly Crazy for Christmas, has come to an end! The tree is trimmed, the cookies are baked, the presents are wrapped(hopefully!😁), and the song running through your heads is ‘Silent Night.’ We did it! We made it through another year of Christmas Crazy!

So, I have a question for you.

Are you ready to party?

You heard me, I said P A R T Y!

Jesus is having a birthday and He deserves a party!

At the end of the Christmas Crazy, we too often find ourselves overwhelmed, overtired, overspent and truthfully, just over it!

We sing ‘Silent Night’ because we just want to lay down and take a nap! However, the Truth is, it’s time to PARTY! It’s time to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and put Him first in all of our celebrations!

Do we?

Do we honor Him, celebrate Him and put Him first?

Or, does He simply get our Left Overs?

Isaiah tells us how worthy He is of all our time, not just our left overs!

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When we celebrate Jesus and “throw Him a party,” we are setting an example for others to follow!

This week I received a text from my daughter. She was at my granddaughter’s Christmas party at her school. The teacher had asked the students to write down their favorite Christmas tradition. My daughter sent me a picture of my granddaughter’s writing.

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This Christmas tradition was passed down from my grandma to my mom, to me, and now to my children and grandchildren!

We throw a birthday party for Jesus! We go to church together for Christmas Eve Service, then we come home and open up our Christmas jammies. We then light the candles on Jesus’ birthday cake, sing happy birthday to Him, read His story from the book of Luke, say prayers and fall asleep prepared to celebrate Him the next day!

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JESUS DESERVES A PARTY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Afterall, CHRISTmas is all about Him!

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

Happy partying!

See you in the (almost) New Year!

XOXO

Speak Truth Love

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! AWAY IN A MANGER

If the word, ‘LOT’ was not in the above title, it would not even fit!  Christmas is in full swing, and with it all of the “FEELS!”

The happy, joyful feels, like Christmas baking, Christmas Shopping, and Christmas parties!

Also the stress producing feels, like Christmas baking, Christmas Shopping and Christmas parties!

How quickly the “Happy Christmas Feels”, like baking, turn into the stress producing feels, as we search to find enough time to get all of the baking done, and then the time to clean the house afterward and make it look like Christmas again! Not to mention the Happy Christmas feel of shopping for those on your list you most adore, to be quickly turned into the stress producing feel of, “I’m out of money and time!” Worst of all is the festive Christmas feel of that once a year Christmas party that you look forward to all year, only to have that stress producing fear creep in and steal away  the joyful feel as you fret over what to wear and how you look!

How quickly that wonderful feeling of Christmas can be stolen AWAY, as we allow stress to rule the day!

The Miracle of Christmas is that we have the remedy! It is found in a manger.

So The Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only son.”                                                                           John 1:14

Jesus has come! He was laid in a manger over 2000 years ago. He grew up the Bible tells us, in “wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.”  He lived for 33 years on this earth, demonstrating the way we should live. And then He allowed Himself to be crucified, buried and raised to life on the third day so that we may live with Him FOREVER!

Now, if that doesn’t “Look a lot like Christmas,” I do not know what does!

Away in a manger was my favorite Christmas song as a little girl, and continued to be as I sang it to my two babies as they grew up and is still to this day as I sing it with my grandbabies!

How changed would our hearts be at Christmas if we allowed the words of this simple song to penetrate our very lives with it’s Truth?

How happy and filled with joy would our “feels” be then?

“Away in a manger… The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay!”

The King of all creation, The Lord of the universe, The Savior of the ALL, entered our world as a baby in a manger!

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Away in a Manger, the Lord of the Universe slept!

As we lose our “happy, joyful feels,” and begin to trade them for our “stressed out feels,” may we whisper or shout out loud that beautiful Christmas song, ‘Away In A Manger,’ and let it’s Truth change our attitudes!

One more week Friends! May the Truth of His manger feel you with happiness and joy!

Speak Truth Love

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS! ADORE HIM

“OH, COME LET US ADORE HIM!”

What image is conjured up in your mind when you hear these six simple words?

You may picture the image of a sweet and innocent little baby wrapped snuggly in a plush, warm blanket and nestled in a cozy, soft bed.

Perhaps the image of giving honor to a King, surrounded by splendor and magnificence?

Both of these images have been true of me at times when I belt out the words to one of my favorite Christmas tunes,

“Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ The Lord!”

But, when they say a “picture is worth a thousand words,” they are not kidding!

As I walked where Jesus walked, down the streets of Bethlehem, where He was born and laid to be “ADORED,” the image I had dreamed about, became reality!

Jesus was laid in a rock hard(literally), manger where animals feed from.

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 I stood there looking at this hard animal feeding trough and thought of putting my sweet babies in it to sleep. I could not imagine their soft, tender skin placed on top of scratchy hay.

I could not picture their fragile heads laid on rock hard stone! I stared for minutes on end at the place the baby Jesus laid.

Suddenly, my mother’s heart was overwhelmed with love and compassion for a young mother placing her sweet baby in this hard crib. Her trust in her Heavenly Father must have been “Rock Solid!” Pun intended!

I knew in my heart that she ADORED Him like no one ADORED Him! I knew that she would willingly have given her own life for His! I knew that she would instinctively give every one of her comforts up for the sake of His comfort! She was His mother, the first to ADORE Him on this earth!

There was no other word in my vocabulary at that moment but HUMILITY!

The Humble birth of our Lord, Savior and King. The Humble heart of a mother trusting in her heavenly Father to provide for and care for her newborn son.

God blesses those who are humble.”       Matthew 5:5

The birth of Jesus was surrounded by HUMILITY!

How do I approach ADORING Him at the celebration of His birth?

As I was blessed to physically walk where Jesus walked, I believe I need to strive to walk as Jesus walked where He calls me to live. Jesus was born humbly, adored humbly by His mother, and walked humbly on this earth.

My prayer for this Christmas, and every one He gives me, is to “ADORE MY JESUS WITH HUMILITY!”

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HUMBLY ADORE THE KING OF KINGS!

I pray that as I sing ‘Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him,’ this Christmas season, that I will sing, worship and ADORE Him out of humility and thankfulness!

It truly is “Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

May we Humbly come and Adore Him, JESUS CHRIST OUR KING!

Speak Truth Love

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Remember Me

One month ago almost to the day, I boarded a plane for a land I never thought my feet would touch this side of heaven! We had been blessed with a special gift! We were going to the land of Israel, the land where Jesus walked!
My head and my heart were so excited that they were causing my feet to dance and practically lift me off the ground as I walked through the airport. Could this really be happening? I had read passage after passage of Jesus walking this earth and being with people!
Jesus standing at the temple mount and turning over the tables of the money changers as they were making God’s house into a place of business. Jesus in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples! Jesus in the Jordan River being baptized by John!
Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane! Jesus walking down the Mount of Olives to the city of Jerusalem! And so much more! Was it really happening? Was I about to step in the very places where Jesus had stepped? Was I going to walk where Jesus walked? As I collected my passport and walked outside of the airport and stepped into the cab driven by an Israeli man, telling us all about this land we had entered, I knew it was real! It was dark outside but inside my heart there was nothing but light as I anticipated the next eight days of walking where Jesus walked!

As we enter in to the Christmas season this year, I am excited to share with you some of the steps I took in walking where Jesus walked!

Step One: A New Covenant

Walking in the very place where Jesus called his disciples to Him as He explained to them for the first time that a New Covenant was here! Jesus Himself, was the New Covenant, His blood would be shed for the forgiveness of our sins. His body would be broken so that you and I could live someday forever with Him in Heaven!

If you follow Jesus, then you too are one of His disciples. And He is still calling you today to remember Him. To remember the sacrifice that He made for you so that you could be forever with Him!

Touching those walls and stepping in His steps, made it so real to me, that they gathered around Him as He explained this “New Covenant,” that we are as confused as we are sometimes in understanding the full meaning of His words.

For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until it’s meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.  Luke 22:16

He isn’t going to have another meal until what? The Kingdom of God? What exactly does He mean by that?

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to his disciples saying, “this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.“              Luke 22:19

Then He took a cup of wine and said, ‘this Is the New Covenant between God and his people-and agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.’” Luke 22:20

But then I realized, I have something they didn’t have at that point. I have the power of the Holy Spirit because of this very sacrifice that Jesus made!

I was standing where Jesus stood as He shared the same good news with his disciples then that He shares with you and me today!

HE IS THE NEW COVENANT AND BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT SACRIFICE ALL OF US LIVE UNDER THIS NEW COVENANT AND HAVE ACCESS TO ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD THROUGH HIM!

Yes, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” And it’s all because of what Jesus Christ Himself, did for us!

I will never take communion again the same way. I will close my eyes and see those walls and see the path that His feet walked, as He willingly chose to shed His blood and allow His body to be broken as the New Covenant for me!

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Jesus’ words, “Remember Me,” should echo in our hearts as we celebrate Christmas!

Speak Truth Love