Nancy Turner is a new friend of mine from Moody Radio. I had the privilege of being on her show, This IsThe Day, a number of times last year. During one of her shows she shared with her listeners what her “word for the year” was. She chose a word to focus on that represented an area she wanted to grow in throughout the year. I thought that was very interesting, so I decided to pick a word for 2012: Trust. I wanted to learn to trust God in a deeper way than ever before. When I look back I can see so many different events that occurred that gave me an opportunity to develop my level of trust. Some were extremely difficult, but I’m grateful. I’m definitely still a work in progress in this area!
As I’m journeying through 2013 I realize there is another word that is coming to the forefront for the year: Surrender. What does it truly mean to surrender every single part of my will and being to Christ? And I mean EVERY part. There are things that I easily surrender, but I’ve been asking Him to reveal to me the things I still hold too closely. What do I still want to control in my own life? Do you know what happens when you ask God that kind of question? He answers! It’s funny how that works. 🙂 And the answers have been VERY revealing. I have some work to do in this area for sure.
So the year 2013 will be known as my year of surrender just like the year 2012 was known as my year to go to the next level of trusting Him.
What’s your word?
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This morning I’ve had the new Chris Tomlin song, “Whom Shall I Fear,” playing over and over again in my home as I work. What an amazing reminder that the One true God is all powerful. In fact, He is the Commander of the angel armies! Just stop and think about the sheer magnitude of that statement for a moment.
Depending on what translation you read, there are many times throughout the Old Testament that God is referred to as the Lord of hosts or Lord Almighty, in other words, the God of the angel armies. He is the Great Warrior who battles for us! The God that fought for the Israelites as they were being pursued by the Egyptians, is the same God that fights for us in the battles we face each day in our own lives. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” -Exodus 14:14. Is there a battle raging in your life today?
You crush the enemy
underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear?
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always? Really? This has been a tough week in so many different ways. Every time I turn on the news I’m reminded of the lives and homes that were lost in OK. So much devastation. There are senseless killings here and abroad…..one person horrifically claiming “an eye for an eye” as a reason for brutally murdering an innocent man walking down the street in London.
Then there are things happening in our personal lives. Really tough things. A sweet friend of mine had been praying for a liver transplant for her mom and it looked like God was working to make that happen. Tiny miracles were happening along the way and she and her mom were both clinging to that each day. Over the weekend her mom suddenly took a turn for the worse and she passed away a few days ago before a liver became available. Be joyful always?
Joy in the midst of the storm is only possible with Christ. I don’t know any other way to say it. Is it difficult to live above our circumstances at times, you better believe it is. But it IS possible and I’ve got to choose to have enough faith to live that out in my own life. The verse from 1 Thessalonians wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t possible. God’s not a game player using us as His pawns for entertainment. He wouldn’t tell us to live a certain way if it wasn’t attainable.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS! And I thank God for that! It’s only when I keep my eyes fixed on Him that I have any chance at all of living above my momentary troubles still finding joy in life.
Today you may find yourself on a mountaintop or in the midst of a valley. Either way, I would love to hear what is bringing you joy today? Sometimes it’s good to just write it down as a reminder to ourselves. You can comment below.
I love to read and occasionally I like to post what I’ve been reading in the hopes that these books can challenge others as well. God has gifted so many in the area of writing and I’ve gleaned little treasures from some wonderful books through the years. Here is what is impacting me currently:
Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning – I read this book or portions of it at least once a year. I don’t know anyone who writes more honestly or sincerely about the grace of God and our desperate need for it. He challenges me to look at things from a different perspective and I love that. Brennan finished his race here on earth a few months ago and he will be greatly missed.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen – What a powerful book about the parable of the Prodigal Son. I never realized I resembled not only the prodigal, but also naturally the elder son. Most importantly, I should strive to resemble the Father in the story. What a great reminder.
Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James – Have you ever heard the term ezer-warrior? Carolyn discusses this term and what it means to be a woman today and an ezer-warrior for the Kingdom of God. Women are strong and brave and it’s time we step up to our battle positions for His Kingdom!
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson – This book has forever changed my prayer life. What do you want God to do for you? Is it ok to even ask that question? Mark talks candidly about deep desires and what happens when we seek God earnestly and “pray through” for His inspired desires in our lives.
The Freedom Of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller – This is a power-packed little book. It’s only 44 pages long, but I have most of it highlighted. “What are the marks of a supernaturally changed heart? A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a self-forgetful person.” Wow. A deeply convicting book.
I would love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books or if you want to share others that are impacting you right now.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that God has plans for you? And they’re not plans to harm you, but plans for you to prosper in Him! He has your best in mind. So many of His children are barely hanging on by a thread, but you don’t have to live that way. He doesn’t just want you surviving this life. He wants you to flourish! No matter what you are facing today, I hope you will take a moment and remind yourself of this eternal truth. Life can be hard and painful at times, yes, but God wants you to live your life as one who knows and understands that you have hope in each moment and a beautiful future in Him and with Him. That’s a life worth living!
Remember: “If the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Many of us are carrying burdens we were never meant to carry. We have become consumed with worry, fear, anxiety, depression, addictions; the list goes on and on. God has given us an extraordinary invitation to come to Him if we’re weary and burdened. He wants us to turn over all of the things that have been weighing us down. He wants to release us from our bondage. He wants to set us FREE! All we have to do is come and lay our burdens at His feet. His freedom is readily available to all of us, but we must choose to let go. You see, we can’t take hold of freedom while we’re still clinging to our bondage.
Today I invite you to accept Christ’s invitation. Come to Him, lay your burdens down and rest, knowing and believing that He has set you free.
Remember: “If the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”
Many of you know that I have lost some friends over the past few years to terrible diseases. I know those women are experiencing more joy, life and freedom than they have ever known before, now that they are in their Heavenly home.
Once in a while I come across something that reminds me of them and that brings a smile to my face. My sweet friend, Sherri, went home to the Lord this past October. This is one of the last things she posted on Facebook 2 weeks before her death. She knew her time on earth was being measured in days or weeks at this point and this is what she wrote:
“LIVE EVERY DAY YOU have breath! LIVE IT and APPRECIATE that GOD ALLOWED YOU THE day in which to live. Thanks to my honey for taking me out for some of the best seafood this gal has encountered. THANK you God!”
When Sherri wrote these words she was very ill and only able to leave the house occasionally for very quick trips. She knew there was no possibility of healing this side of Heaven. She told me she knew her race here on earth was done. In one of my last conversations with her I asked her what she wanted people to remember. She said, “I want people to remember to be grateful in ALL things.”
When I read that Facebook post, I see someone who was still filled with joy, someone who was still grateful for every breath she was allowed even in the face of death. In those moments Sherri was teaching all of us how to live and how to die.
What a precious reminder for me today. Each day is a gift and I can choose how I will live it. Today I choose to live being grateful for all God has done for me and appreciating the fact that He even allowed me to wake up.
Thank you, Sherri, for being such a powerful teacher in this life! I’m looking forward to celebrating with you again in eternity!
I recently discovered a tiny book by Max Lucado titled “Cosmic Christmas.” I cried all the way through. It’s a quick read and Max does in this book what he does so well in others. He takes a story told in Scripture and adds a few details to bring the scene more into focus for us. We’ll never know if this is actually how it happened, but what if…….? I love it when he does this because it makes me think about these well-known Scriptures in a different light. It reminds me that there is much more going on in each of these scenarios than what I originally thought. I want to leave you with a short excerpt from this profound little book. What if this is how it really happened?
“The two stood facing each other. God robed in light, each thread glowing. Satan canopied in evil, the very fabric of his robe seeming to crawl.
Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word: Immanuel.
“Immanuel?” He muttered to himself. “God with us?” The hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. “No. Not even you would do that. Not even you would go so far. The plan is bizarre! You don’t know how dark I’ve made the Earth. It’s putrid. It’s evil. It’s…”
“It is mine,” proclaimed the King. “And I will reclaim what is mine.”
“Why?” Satan asked. “Why would you do this?”
The Father’s voice was deep and soft. “Because I love them.”
May you have a blessed Christmas as you remember the One who came and changed everything for all time and all eternity!
If you were to sit with those who know me best, I think they would tell you that I’m a pretty passionate person. I feel VERY deeply about certain things. If you were to sit across from me and start a conversation about one of my passions you would notice some things immediately. The more passionate I am about the topic, the louder and faster I begin to talk. My heart will start to beat more quickly and my eyes will get wider. I’ve been told this by people who know about my passion “issue.” J I’ve been thinking about the things that get my “juices flowing” and I’ve formulated a list. It’s not an all-inclusive list, but just a few of the things that come to mind immediately. Some things on this list you might think are ridiculous, but I have some degree of passion about each of them. It’s just who I am.
I’m passionate about:
My husband – BT is an amazing man and I’m overwhelmed by his love.
People being wronged or abused – Nothing gets my blood boiling faster or hurts me more deeply. I wish I could stop it all from ever happening.
My dog – The Soph is a bundle of love.
My friends and family – God has given me some amazing people in my life and I’m so grateful.
Football – Both real and fantasy!
Politics – we may not see eye to eye politically, but we will definitely have an entertaining conversation about it!
Food – I love and appreciate a good meal.
Singing – I want people to feel what I’m feeling when I sing.
My Savior and the freedom and grace He so freely offers.
Helping others realize their God-ordained freedom.
The last two things on that list just completely consume me. There is nothing I enjoy talking about more or feel more deeply about than God and the freedom He has available for everyone. This past year I have been so blessed to be able to share that message with women all across the country. Here’s a little glimpse of what a Finally Free Conference is like! For more information on bringing a Finally Free Women’s Conference to your church or gathering, visit the Tabor Ministries web site.
This is just a quick “Thank You” blog! I believe we don’t thank people enough for the way they care and support us, so I don’t want to miss this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has played a part in my book, “Finally Free” coming out and also the “Finally Free Women’s Conference” that we did back in May. There are so many of you that support our ministry in many different ways. You give of your time, energy, talents and resources and it always overwhelms us! To those who have given so much, I want to say THANK YOU…..we couldn’t do this without you.
I also want to thank all of you who continue to support us by purchasing our books and CDs and attending our concerts and conferences. The fact that you would choose to spend time with us, whether it’s an hour for a concert or a weekend retreat, when you have such busy lives, is very humbling. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
If you haven’t gotten a copy of the “Finally Free” book yet, I hope you will consider doing so. I’m not trying to make a sales pitch. I’m saying it only because the things I discuss in the book have really helped me, and my prayer is that God will use those things to impact others as well.
I also want to encourage you to join our new Finally Free Facebook group. Simply search Finally Free in the search bar to find us on Facebook and join the discussion. You can also keep in touch with us here.
God has so much for us and I want EVERYTHING that He has for me. That may sound selfish, but I’m willing to risk sounding selfish when it comes to the things of God. I don’t want to sell Him short. I want all of the blessings that He has for me and I want to be able to use those blessings to bring Him honor and glory and to expand His Kingdom.
I still have so much to learn, but I’m forever grateful for lessons He has already taught me and for the way He loves me. The “Finally Free” book gives you a little insight into those things and I hope it can encourage you along your own personal path.
Thank you again for all you have done to make my own journey so enjoyable. You all are gifts to me and to Tabor Ministries!