Author Archives: Robin Shirreffs

Robin Shirreffs

About Robin Shirreffs

While her artistry comes from her God given gifting, she has studied under various instructors; Professional training includes painting with acrylic and oil under a Master Artisan Ji Ye of China, photography training under Cheri Hamilton, and Digital Painting training under Victoria Hutson.
09 Jun

Two Parties In One Day!

As a caregiver, it is my job to love, serve and give unconditionally.  Is it easy? Not always.  When uncertainties come I find myself in a place of questioning my frustrations, ability, and welfare.  As a caregiver for my 84 year old mother-in-law, uncertainties will come but it is the truth (Jesus) who will set me free.

2013 (6-9-2013) Pity Party Picture - colorful balloonsToday, I am openly frustrated over a decision which was made by my mother-in-law who relies on me for her care.  I instantly feel betrayed, angry and insecure over a statement and it triggers other emotions.  Stop!  I know that, if not handled properly, emotions can lie to me.  However, I still allow myself to travel down the “I wonder” road and allow my thoughts to run freely.

*I wonder:

  • Does she really know the sacrifice I have made? (Anger)
  • Is she aware that her own daughter doesn’t want to care for her? (Disappointment)
  • Is my ability to care for her enough?  (Doubt)
  • Should I be more active, more engaged or provide more entertainment? (Guilt)
  • Does she recognize how blessed it is to have health insurance while I wonder if I can even afford to go to the doctor?  (Fear)
  • Does she realize she is my job without benefits or ability to build something of my own? (Insecure)
  • What will happen to me when she dies?  I have been without a job and will need one immediately. (Uncertainty)

2013 (5-31-2013) pity-party - baby cryingI wonder. I wonder. I wonder… Stop!!

As I was in my little pity party, I allowed Anger, Disappointment, Doubt, Guilt, Fear, Insecure and Uncertainty to join me.  There were no balloons, no laughing, or music just pity.  Poor me – I wanted to sit and play with my own emotions.  Rehearsing, nursing them over in my mind.  Doesn’t God know what I’m going through?  Is He listening?  I am glad that I put a quick end to this party as I turned to God’s Word – It is the truth (Jesus) who set me free and invited me to join His party.

Jesus invited me to come to his party, and He asked that I not bring gifts but my burdens.  So I obeyed and brought with me Anger, Disappointment, Doubt, Guilt, Fear, Insecure and Uncertainty and laid them at his feet.  He took these burdens from me.  But Jesus didn’t stop there.  He invited the Holy Spirit to come and bring me gifts – Love, Joy, Patience, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Kindness, Goodness, Affirmation, Security and Peace.  These gifts were freely given and always available to me.  I picked each one of them up and examined them not as a question why but in amazing wonder that He set me free! I left those burdens behind and joyfully received new gifts in their place.

2013 (6-9-2013) Hold on God knows what he is doing - pity partyJesus is a great party planner.  Jesus knows my frame.  He sees the beginning from the end.  So, now if I find myself saying, “I wonder”…I am reminded of the gifts Jesus gave me… Let’s Party!

Galatians 5: 13-25:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh;  rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and wickedness; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

2013 (5-31-2013) Jesus party - Two parties in One posting

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27 May

Holding Patterns!

2013 (5-26-2013) The Words - Holding Patterns Have you ever been on an airplane to hear the pilot say, “Folks, we are in a holding pattern and it will be a few more minutes before we are released to land?  Thank you for your patience.” This is not what we want to hear when we are scheduled to meet someone at our next destination.  God places all of us in holding patterns from time to time.  It may be to have us listen, to test our ability to obey His voice, or to provide a reprieve for you to enjoy the ride.  Yes, the pilot just said we are in a holding pattern and would be landing shortly, not that we would be flying aimlessly.  A holding pattern is delaying aircraft that have arrived at their destination but cannot land yet because of traffic congestion, poor weather, or runway unavailability.  Our holding pattern may be our blessings in disguise – preparation, protection or provision.

 My husband, Steve, and I have been in a holding pattern for a little over two years as we care for his 84 year old mother.  It would be easy to place her in a nursing home, have someone come each day and take care of her but Steve made a promise to his dying father.  On his death bed, his weary bewildered father had the strength to ask Steve, “What is going to happen to your mother?” A son, tenderly speaking to his dad knowing it would be one of the last conversations which would have brought comfort to his father.  He replied, “Dad, we are going to take care of her.”  And with this said his father was at peace.  Steve just created a holding pattern for our lives by honoring his father.

2013 (5-26-2013) Clouds for Holding PatternsDuring this holding pattern, God has given us an opportunity to prepare and refine our talents and gifts through writing and art.  He has protected our family. He has joined us with Godly people to encourage us and reaffirm his hand is leading us.  He has introduced us to new opportunities to serve and release our gifts.  He has made provision for us through various creative streams of income.  He has given us areas to quietly serve.  He has not left us during this holding pattern. 

If you find yourself in a similar place, ask yourself a few questions.  First, God is this the place you want me to be? Second, are you redirecting me or giving me a reprieve? And Thirdly, Ask Him to show you new places to release His glory.  It could be through a friend, a family member or a total stranger.  Remember, your holding pattern doesn’t require you to stay in your seat.

We haven’t been released from our holding pattern yet; but I am grateful to know we are serving the Lord and eagerly awaiting the new announcement – “You will be landing at your destination momentarily.” 

 

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31 May

Breaking Point!

Where is your breaking point?  If you know, are you able to control your emotions to ask God to step in?  I think we all have a breaking point.  Have you ever been so tired you can’t see straight? Breaking point.  Have you walked in your own strength through a situation and nothing worked out right?  Breaking point.   Does your child or children zap all your strength and you just need reprieve?  Breaking point.  Does your job at times leave you throwing your hands up in the air? Breaking point. Or maybe you simply quit looking for a job because you can’t see the right one for you.  Breaking point.  There are countless people in the Bible who had a breaking point. Did you know that even Jesus, completely man, had a breaking point on the Mount of Olives?  I would say that a breaking point is not a place where you step out or even check out of the situation, it is a place where we must learn to take it to our heavenly Father in prayer.  Everyone has a breaking point which needs to be brought into focus and restored.

I bet if I took a poll of one of your favorite books in the Bible, many people would choose the Psalms.  Why? Because we knew David experienced troubles just like you and me.  He messed up a lot! It was through these breaking points, David always turned to God.  It was his repentant heart and his love for God that every time David was forgiven and restored to right standing.  The Lord told David, in Psalms 91:14-15, Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”  God is our Deliverer!

Even Jesus had a place where He went to speak to God.  The Bible said He would go to the Mount of Olives often to pray.  Luke 22:39, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.” He often spoke to His Father and on this day, in that moment, He experienced a breaking point.  He wasn’t changing his mind but he certainly was asking for confirmation.  Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.  Everyone knows this verse but do you know what happened next?  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” (Luke 22:43)  Some of Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples were Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  He knew if during their breaking points of life, temptation would overshadow them if they did not pray and bring their needs to the Father.  My heart is overwhelmed, when I read that Jesus knew that unimaginable suffering was moments away, He was still pouring himself into these men (That’s your free part.)

We have lived in Duluth, Minnesota for over sixteen years and I have had countless breaking points in my life.  I look back on many of them and see God’s hand leading me to greener pastures.  I see other times when He tells me to release people for they are not my burden to bear.  I have wept on a pillow and then soon heard the ringing of a phone call from a friend who brought me comfort.  As long as my heart is right and I yield to Jesus, during my breaking point, He is sure to restore me to right standing.  I soon realize those closed doors brought new direction and new focus.  It takes self denial and faith in God for you to recognize that when you are weak He is strong.  He will be with you in times of trouble and deliver you.  The Word of God also says He will honor your obedience, with long life and salvation.   Psalms 91 is one of my favorite chapters to read when I am at a breaking point.  I know that my strength is not my own and under the shelter of His wings I will find refuge.

Remember, breaking points do not have to be an ending place or a missed opportunity.  It may even be your salvation.  If you allow Jesus to take your burden, the destruction of a situation, can be your first step to restoration and God making all things new!

 

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20 May

Cracked Pots!

This morning my husband told me that one of my flower pots fell over and broke.  While I was disappointed, I picked up the large pieces and quickly thought how I could use this cracked pot.  I felt The Holy Spirit chuckle at me, as if to say, “Robin, people are like cracked pots.”  We all have some form of broken place in our life before meeting Christ.  Jesus came to repair that broken vessel.  Jesus looks at our lives filled with His purpose not our brokenness.  The cracked pot once filled with rich dirt, saturated with water, and blooms must now be restored to something new.

The dirt of life is much like the dirt I fill my flower pots.  This dirt may include fertilizer, twigs, leaves, cow manure, top soil and rock but these ingredients work together to make my flowers grow.  It sometimes takes time or many seasons to enrich our lives, it may even take a tragedy to bring us to our knees but the objective is to enrich the soil of our soul to lift us to higher places.  Without the rich dirt my flowers would have a short life.  Jesus knows that our lives are not perfect, it may have some smelly places (cow manure), past sins (old leaves), or tragedy (rocky places) in it, but He uses this to create a story for His glory.  Yes, our sins are forgiven but the consequences do not go away, but His favor can even turn those around as well at times.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  God will take those places and turn it into something for His purpose.

I know that without living water, my spirit would dry up with no hope.  Jesus is that living water.  My flowers bring joy to me and the broken pot just gives me another opportunity to restore it to new places.  Where there may be scars from the consequence of past sin, Jesus restores the broken places back to Him.   We have heard many stories of how God took a tragedy and gave new direction.  Some of these people would even say that they are glad they went through this tragedy and wouldn’t change a thing.  These people took a trauma and allowed the Holy Spirit to turn it into a training ground.

Cracked flower pots are a lot like you and me.  The cracked pot may remain broken, a scar may remain visible but the broken flower pot can be created with new purpose just like our scars.  The pot may be cracked or even in pieces but I see it as new opportunities to display God’s creation.  From one cracked pot to another, I encourage you to GROW!!!

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20 Apr

Spring Time!

Spring time is a time when everything seems fresh and new.  Spring cleaning is always a chore I look forward to as I remove things I have used in the house or cleaned a corner I haven’t noticed in months.  Spring time is full of life and sounds of birds singing, trees swaying in the breeze as if to say, “Hear me Praise!”  It is a wonderful time to take a walk and reflect on the goodness of God.  As I begin to see life spring up in my flower gardens, I am reminded of the life that Jesus gave me.  As I dig in the dirt, I am reminded of the sows and tears of the harvest and the souls yet to be reached for Christ.  As I walk in my yard to pick up the fallen sticks, I think of the parable of Jesus as He spoke of pruning and cutting off the dead things in our lives.  As I see the rushing water of a stream from the runoff from winter’s snow, I am reminded of God’s justice as it rolls over the streams and His righteousness is never ending.  As I feed the birds, I think of God’s love for the smallest of creatures… even the sparrows (I confess, I feed the little bunny under my shed).

Sheila’s earlier posting spoke about tuning into the Holy Spirit and that posting spoke to my spirit.  I am reminded to stop and be silent.  Slow down and be observant to the people around me.  The Lord tells us, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chron. 7:14)  I believe humbling, praying, seeking and repenting is a part of the tuning in process.  We must listen, stop talking, listen, and then listen some more.  When God is trying to tell us something, we must discipline our thoughts to be silent and meditate on His Word.  I am the first to admit this is an area I must die to daily.  It is not easy to be still but when I am, I am sooooo BLESSED.

God is looking for a people to be silent and tune into His voice.  To humble themselves, pray and seek His Kingdom.  Spring time brings new life and the joy of staying in tune with our heavenly Father; it renews a right spirit (spring cleaning) within us all!  Time for some spring cleaning!

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05 Apr

Oh Church, Rise Up And Know Your Frame!

I am no carpenter but my husband is. I’ve watched him frame many homes in his younger years.  It required a blueprint and specific specifications which he had to follow according to the master plan.  If he was off even by an inch the entire frame would not be level.  He needed an exact measurement.  If the foundation was not level, the frame work could not even begin.  If his framework was not precise, the other carpenters and workers would not be successful in its design.  God is all about the frame work.  His very breath spoke each one of us into existence.  He designed our frame.  The body of Christ’s framework needs one another to sharpen, encourage, restore and in order to build God’s church.  Without a teacher, how will they learn; Without a pastor who will shepherd and love the people; without a prophet who can see our frame intimately through the Holy Spirit; without an apostle who will bring order and establish churches; without an evangelist who will invite them to the most marvelous wedding they will ever witness.  God needs his framework to work together.  It is His design and master plan.

As a church, it is critical that we know we cannot form a church by standing alone.  It requires the Body of Christ, the framework of God to build His church.  He created each one of us before the foundation of the world to be a part of this frame.  Churches around the world are imploding because they do not have the right framework.  They may begin with a solid basis of foundational principles.  They may even recite God’s Word but they do not have the complete understanding or the proper framework to be sustained.  They meet socially, sing songs, reach the communities and dine at each other’s table while secretly many are hurting.  A true relationship of trust and obedience was never established with Christ.  Compromising the framework of God’s church will ultimately lead to collapse of the structure.  It may start with a splinter which snags you as you walk by. If that splinter snag is not dealt with… it will fester and become a problem.  A frame who has been split from an offense soon finds itself carrying jealousy, anger or resentment.  A frame that has faced a life changing event but refuses to lighten its burden will soon find the load becoming unbearable.  A frame which is out of place can prevent someone from moving forward and may take others with them.  A frame which is warped by an offense may need to be removed if there is no repentance.  They may need to come face to face with the woodpile before it can find its way back to God’s house.  A frame out of place, out of their calling, brings misalignment to the Body of Christ.  This church will not stand.

As an individual, we each bring our own frame to the Body of Christ, and we each have a part in His design.  Where I am weak He is strong.  Working together under God’s structure and design will strengthen and repair bridges if we will allow each other to operate in our gifting (our framework).  For example, as a Christian, one may visit someone in their home who is in need.  While another who hears of this visit may see a hurt before it is revealed through the power of the Holy Spirit. Another may know how to encourage this person and yet another may know how to provide tools to make these corrections.  This is the Body of Christ working together.  Never to condemn or place judgment but to repair the broken places, restore them to right standing and to send them back to their rightful place in God.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139: 14-17

The good news is that if we are inside the framework which God has made us for we will not only grow in His church but there will be an overflow of His presence to spread to others.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will rise up the age-old foundations; you will be called “Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

REMEMBER, there is always and “IF” God wants you to freely choose).

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day,

If you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and

If you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words.

**YOUR REWARD for those who follow His framework: “Then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 58: 9-14

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04 Mar

My Strength!

I awoke this morning to the words, “My strength.”  We all learned the scripture as a child that says, “When I am weak You are strong.”  (NKJ II Cor. 12:10) We relied on our parents to help us in areas we could not possibly achieve; opening a locked door, lifting a heavy object, protecting us from danger, defending us when we are falsely accused, or comforting us in time of need.  Their very presence was strength and security to us.  As an adult, many of us search for strength but can not find it.  We lift weights, read books, exercise daily, eat right, ask a friend for help and/or even pray for strength without understanding what the Word of God is telling us.  God wants us to completely surrender.  He is not looking for our help. He is looking for our obedience to surrender our self to Him.

As my husband, Steve and I, continue the process of moving from Minnesota back to Georgia, I realize my strength is not enough.  If any of you have ever made a huge move, you know what I am talking about.  It requires extensive hours of planning, packing, moving, renovating, researching… the list goes on.  It is mentally and physically demanding.  I have had my share of chiropractor visits, massages, Aleve, and heating pads on my back.  I find myself tired at the end of the day and my body grows weak from doing.  Endurance and perseverance does not win.  My emotions sometimes get the best of me when I am tired.  I speak out of turn or maybe say hurtful things, only to go back later to apologize.  My strength was not enough. When God places His Word on something He will give you His strength to accomplish that which he has called you to do.   His strength does not mean some of Robin and a lot of God equals His strength.  It means none of Robin and all of God. 

I ask myself, “How can I do this God?”  Don’t you need my help?  I must do something? Right?  The Holy Spirit gently leads me to His Word.  One of the first people in the Bible I think of who has great strength was Samson. However; have you considered the handmaiden Hannah?  Hannah was barren and bitter that God did not give her a child.  She wept and her anguish overwhelmed her.  She had no strength left but to cry out to God.  It was Hannah’s prayer (I Sam. 2:1-10) that touched the heart of God.  It was her complete surrender and trust which gave her strength and turned her situation around.   Hannah had nothing to offer but God heard her prayer.  She gave birth to one of the strongest men in history – Samson. 

God doesn’t need your help… He needs your obedience. God doesn’t need you to do somethingHe needs you to stand for somethingGod is searching for a people who will surrender themselves completely to Him.  While our move requires great planning, it is God who will be directing our steps.  While our move requires decisions to rent or sell our home, it is the Holy Spirit who will give us direction to make the right decision.  While our move requires help to move heavy furniture, it will be God to bring the people to help us.  While our move requires Steve to drive cross country not once but twice, it is God who will keep him safe and direct his path.  While each day takes great effort to accomplish the task, it is God who will bring us the creative ideas to accomplish it.  When our physical bodies grow tired, it is God who restores and renews us each morning.  Psalm 84:5-7, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (Valley of Weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

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26 Jan

Five Love Languages

We all have ways we learn as a person.  For me as an artist, I am visual.  I have to see something or picture something in my mind to help me learn but did you know there are different ways we love one another and like to receive love?  Gary Chapman, Christian author of “Five Love Languages”, observed many people and how they respond to love.  His findings of the five love languages have changed our marriage and can change yours too.  I challenge you to read the five love languages below and take a quick assessment to see where your love language is the strongest.  If you need a little help, Gary Chapman has created a quick assessment which takes about 5-10 minutes.  Simply provide your name and email address.  You might be surprised.  This assessment isn’t just for couples; he also designed this assessment for children, parents of teenagers, and singles too.  You might be surprised when you thought your love language was receiving gifts but in actuality you love to receive acts of service. 

The 5 Love Languages

What if you could say or do just the right thing guaranteed to make that special someone feel loved? The secret is learning the right love language! Millions of couples have learned the simple way to express their feelings and bring joy back into marriage: The 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman’s New York Times bestseller!

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

 

 

 ** Link to Assessment – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

 

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17 Jan

The Plans Of God For You Are Grand!

I woke this morning with a song by Jesus Culture entitled “Come Away /Let Me in.” As the Holy Spirit woke me with the lyrics, “I have a plan for you, I have a plan for you, it’s going to be wild, it’s going to be grand, it’s going to be full of Me.” Everyday should be great expectations of where God is leading us.  It is a joy to serve Him!  However; the devil’s job is to create obstacles for you to prevent you from accomplishing all that God has intended for you. Many ask themselves, “How do I know what God wants me to do?” Sometimes we convince ourselves this plan is too big for me.  The greatest danger is knowing the plan but not going where God is directing you.  The Word of God says the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:18, 19 NKJ).  In other words, the plans may require sacrifice, money, sweat and tears but it pales in comparison to the glory which will be revealed in you. 

How do I know what God wants me to do?  This is a question everyone ask themselves at one time or other whether you are a believer or not.  We were all created for purpose before the foundation of this world.  Our steps are ordered but we must pray daily for His leading and if you don’t know – pause, be silent, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you.  I had a friend tell me years ago she wouldn’t get out of her bed before praying God to order her steps and hearing her marching orders for the day.  Know God’s plan for each of us comes in different packages but we are equipped with the same armor; we cannot compare packages.  The Holy Spirit may ask you what is in your hands.  For some hands it may be the vision to see the BIG picture and for others it may come in forms of service or possibly financially.  All are important.  We recently had a neighbor who lost a family member. They had to make a week long trip which would cause a financial strain to their household.  I believe I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to give to this family’s need. I asked for confirmation through my husband (my covering) who agreed and  I was obedient. I believe God used me to give financially to this family – it may not have been a whole lot but what if God placed that in many believers’ hearts.  What a blessing to this family. 

“It’s too big for me; I don’t know where to start,” you may think.  First, let me say if it wasn’t bigger than you, God wouldn’t be in it.   Jeremiah 29:11 declares, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  My husband Steve, and I are about to embark on a big project to move back to Georgia.  We didn’t just decide one day to pack up our family and move. We heard from the Holy Spirit, we fasted and prayed, we received confirmation prophetically and then we prayed some more – daily.  Moving requires many details which in the natural can be overwhelming.  However; when God tells you to move, He will order your steps.  My husband, Steve, has a gift to take on large projects as he listens to the Holy Spirit who gives him the details step by step.  It might be your big idea requires others to assist you.  My job is to sort and pack while Steve’s job is the bigger picture of co-ordinating the process and helping me as well.  Both are important but one without the other will not get the job done.  Sometimes you must pray and ask God to place people in your path to help you. 

The greatest danger is knowing the plan God has for you but not obeying.  What will you do when the Holy Spirit is whispering,”who are you going to serve today?”  We must be prepared for a response.  Are you going to serve the Father or are you going to be self-serving?  The answer is up to you.  We all have been born with a will to do good or evil.  God in His mighty power gave us the power to choose.  When the people crossed over to the promise land it was God speaking through Joshua prophetically saying.  “I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with sword or with your bow.” God didn’t require their help just their obedience.  The Word goes onto say, “I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”  God did this for His people!  Joshua continues to place the questions before the people, “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt, Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, (Choice) choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, to whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:12-15 NKJ).   God blessed His people but still gave them a choice to serve. 

God is equipping His saints through the help of the Holy Spirit and the strength of His son Jesus Christ.  These plans may come in various packages but the same armor to equip each one of us.  All plans should come through asking, praying and fasting, and confirmation.  He orchestrates the universe in its splendor and every living thing He has created.  He has purpose for you and me.  I know they are grand beyond measure!

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08 Jan

Providence

 

Have you ever stopped to consider if you are in God’s providential care? You better.  Providence is the protective care of God.  You and I need God’s protection! 

A Child may ask: “Who protects me from bad guys?”

A New Christian may ask:  “When do I see the results of God’s destiny for my life?”

An unbeliever may ask:  “How can I find this safety people speak about?”

A Business man may ask: “What does it take to receive a benefit package?”

An Atheist may ask:  “Why do I need God’s protection?”

Everyone at some point in their life says, “Who is going to protect me?”  As children we turned to our parents in hopes of security or protection.  However, you see broken homes every day whose parents or caregiver can not or will not be this protection for their children. As a caregiver to the elderly it is the number one question on their minds as they see all their friends dying and their children busy with their own lives.  They don’t want to be a bother but they desperately want to know who is going to care for them as they grow older.

As a new Christian, I recognized I had to give up “the world” inside of me.  I stopped going to places where I knew would dishonor God.  I desperately wanted to save my friends but many weren’t interested.  I soon discovered change was occurring and at times it was an uphill battle.  While I understood Jesus forgave me of my sins, it took time for me to forgive myself and others.  I needed God’s providential caregiver – The Holy Spirit.  As a new believer I was hungry for things of the Lord but my number one question was, “When will God reveal my destiny or purpose?”  How do I know He is protecting me as I make these changes in my life? 

A popular song which leads many unbelievers to the altar is “I Need Thee Every Hour”.  We need God’s providential care.  Our spirit longs for providential care every hour on the hour.  It is not to just save us from hell but for a greater purpose.  To know we were not created to just breathe in and breathe out but we have a purpose in this world.  An unbeliever will turn to drugs, sex, hoarding, false religions, computer websites,Hollywoodidols, sports, etc., the list grows each day, where one is longing for security or identity for their life.

We all have worked in some capacity or another whether it is in the marketplace or home.  I can hear a mother’s cry with her hands lifted high saying, “What does it take for me to find protection and security for my family!  A Business man whose business is failing finds himself doubting, asking himself, “What does it take to succeed?”   The economy and governments today are scrambling, brainstorming and meeting asking, “What changes need to happen for people to find security?!”

The atheist may tell himself/herself that he/she doesn’t believe in God.  I don’t need anyone’s protection.  I can take care of myself.  This self deception is from the pit of hell.  While many are fighting to remove God from classrooms, monuments, government, and even churches, they are still seeking for acceptance.  It is built within their spirit man whether they acknowledge it or not.  We all want to be loved and protected.

As I consider the above dilemmas, I must ask myself what the world would look like if I did not have God’s providence working in my life. Isaiah warns us in 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (KJV)  This is the world we live in today. Without God’s providential caregiver (The Holy Spirit), how would I have spiritual discernment?  Knowing God is ordering my steps is an act of faith which will produce great fruit for your life.  According to Proverbs 20:24, a man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?  I take courage when I pray knowing the Holy Spirit will direct me, if I listen.  I count it all joy when I raise my hands to worship to know my Heavenly Father is watching over me. The World today grows darker in every aspect of life.  You and I need God’s protection!  The good news is God’s providential care is to all those who thirst and hunger after Him.  We are in the world but not of this world.  God’s protection began before we were even born. 

Psalms 91: 1-4 (NKJ) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress: My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers. And under His wings you shall take refuge;…if you are looking for answers of how much God loves you and how he will protect you,  keep reading this chapter; it will confirm there is safety of abiding in the presence of God.

Psalms 139: 1-18 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up.  You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before.  And laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.  Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, An Your right hand shall hold me.  If I say, “surely the darkness shall fall on me.”  Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You.  But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, An that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You.  When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  An in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

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