Do You Know You Were Born For Such A Time As This

Time; past, present, and future, what is its significance? Does it matter? Where and how do we fit into time?

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Photo by Uroš Jovičić on Unsplash

 

I love history! There I said it. Go ahead; call me a geek or a nerd. I own it. I love history! What we learn from the past can impact our present and our future.

Historical Heroes

One of my historical heroes is Abraham Lincoln. He has been ever since I was in grade school. That is why in 2012 when I heard that Steven Speilberg was making a film titled Lincoln I couldn’t wait to see it.

It did not disappoint me. I rarely watch movies more than once, but I have seen Lincoln twice, and no doubt will watch it again. The film is not a biography of the sixteenth president, but rather a glimpse into a few months at the start of his second term as President in the final days of the Civil War.

In particular, it is about the passing of the 13th amendment. To him, this is not just a political issue, but a moral obligation to do the right thing for the millions of people who will be touched by whether or not this amendment passes. Lincoln knew that this was a moment of history that if not seized, would pass forever.

I have always felt that Lincoln was a man of destiny and I think the movie beautifully portrays this as something that he also sensed. In one scene He wonders why he was chosen to lead the nation through its darkest hour. “Do you think we choose to be born?” he asks one of his aides. “or are we fitted to the times we’re born into?”  When I heard this, I immediately thought of another of my heroes, Esther.

Defining Moments

Esther, a Jewish orphan, is deported to the city of Susa following the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. Her cousin Mordecai raises her(Esther 2:7). Through a series of events (read Esther 1-3) Esther becomes King Xerxes queen.

When her cousin Mordecai learns of a plot to kill all the Jews, he tells Esther that she must intercede on behalf of all Jews with the King.  Ester points out to him that anyone who approaches the King without being summoned is subject to death. Mordecai replies with a question “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b).

Whether we look at the movie Lincoln or read the story of Esther, it is easy to see that they were divinely appointed and called to a difficult challenge. Both accepted the challenge and were willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.

We may never face circumstances like those that President Lincoln or Esther did, but like them, God uniquely created and called us to partner with God in our generation.

Distinctively Unique

Every age and every generation has a “such a time as this”

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Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

I will never be the president of the United States or the Queen of a powerful king, but I can choose to be in partnership with God. He is glorified when I trust and obey. Whether the stakes are large or small, it takes the same character qualities of courage and moral strength to choose what is right.

“The timing and place of your birth are not accidental; God puts us all in certain time frames and locations. Many people spend their entire lives never knowing what their purpose is, but perhaps it is because they try to choose their own destiny rather than follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Following God requires sacrifices and a willingness to be uncomfortable.” – Joyce Meyer.

A sense of destiny is our sacred birthright as a child of God. We need to Commit to finding and living out the calling planned by God for our life.

When Ester received Mordecai’s message, she immediately sought God through prayer and fasting. We read the reply she sent to Mordecai in Esther 4:15-16; “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And though it is against the law, I will go to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”

With God, there are no ordinary people. He calls and qualifies each one of us. He has not placed us in our present position for our benefit. Instead, He put us here to serve Him, and this will involve taking risks and a willingness to sacrifice.

We find fulfilment in doing what He originally designed and destined us to do. Will I answer the call for “such a time as this”? Will you?

Question: What did God design you to accomplish in this life? Where are you at in fulfilling that destiny? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Why You Need To Read These 5 Books In 2018

How many books did you read in 2017? Are you reading any books right now? Or are you thinking you don’t have time to read?

Books

I have to be honest; I didn’t read as many books in 2017 as I had hoped to and the reason is simple. I didn’t have my priorities straight.

Why I Love Books

I credit my Mom for my love of books and reading. From as far back as I can remember she read to me. Every day!

Once I was old enough to read we would often read together. Then as I got older, she introduced me to the library and bought books for me whenever she could.

As a result, I have been a bookworm my entire life, and God has used my reading to inspire me to write.

So what happened in 2017. I didn’t prioritize my reading. I either felt I was too busy doing other things or frittered the time I could have been reading away.

How To Find Time To Read

I have found that if I am not intentional about reading the day will slip away from me and I find myself regretting not having read anything.

I’m making it a priority in 2018 to use thirty to sixty minutes a day that I would otherwise be watching TV or scanning social media to read.

That became a reality to me New Year’s day when due to subzero temperatures my Internet went out.

Since I cut the cable and can only watch TV by steaming no Internet meant I could neither watch television or spend time on Facebook.

At first, I sat there wondering what on earth I was going to do. Then it was like, well duh, I can read.

I picked up a novel that a friend got me for Christmas and was soon so engrossed in the story that I didn’t want to put it down.

Lesson learned.

Why These Five Books

So, why am I telling you that these are the five books you must read in 2018.

Well first, let me say that I hope you read a lot more than five books this year. And I hope you continue to stop by each week to read this blog.

But I believe that if you make it a priority to read these five books, it will transform your life in a way you never imagined. I know they have had that impact on my life. They rocked my world, and I’ll never be the same. I reread them, or read highlighted passages regularly as a reminder and as encouragement.

One other thing before I share the list with you. The links for these books are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase the book by clicking the link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

The List

Drum roll, please. Without further adieu these are the five books you absolutely need to read in 2018 are:

The Story of With – Allen Arnold
The Longing – Joey O’Connor
More Than Ordinary – Doug Sherman
The Jesus-Centered Life – Rick Lawrence
Crazy Love – Francis Chan

My Book

A couple more things before I go.

One, keep your eyes peeled. I am working on a resource page for the blog where I will have a list of many other books and courses that you may find helpful.

I’m also going to begin writing my first book this year. I’ve put it off long enough, and now it’s time to start. I don’t know how long it will take to write, but I do know I’m starting. Please feel free to hold me accountable.

Whatever you are reading, regardless if it is one of my recommendations or something else be sure to read it WITH Jesus.

Ask Him what He wants you to read and then ask Him questions while you read.

Questions like, “Jesus, what do you want me to see as I read this?” or “Jesus, what do you want to teach me?”

As you read this year be sure to share what you are reading and how it is impacting you.

Question: What is the best book you read in 2017? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If You Forget Everything Else You Need To Remember This

If we are honest, we all do it and sadly probably every day. What is scary is that often we don’t even recognize we are doing it. What is it?

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We forget to remember the generosity of God.

Think about it; God greets us every morning in multiple ways as we hurriedly rush into our day. Then at the end of the day as we fall into bed exhausted we don’t look back on the gifts that flowed freely from His hands into our lives all day long.

Admittedly, we are more focused on our blessings this time of year.  In a little over a week as we sit around the Thanksgiving table, we are likely to share what we are thankful for with each other. But what about the other 364 days of the year?

The Danger Of Forgetting

When I started thinking about this, my heart broke. I realized how often I move through my life on autopilot without remembering how generous God is to me on a daily basis.

Then I realized it is not just sad it is dangerous. When I forget how generous our God is it can lead me to have a sense of entitlement.

That can lead to an endless list of demands. And if I’m not careful, ingratitude and disappointment will begin to dominate my heart and shape my life.

It can even lead me to the mistaken belief that not only do I deserve what I have but that I have earned it.

A Scarcity Mentality

When I start thinking like that, my heart begins to harden. If my heart isn’t tender, then I won’t be moved with compassion for others.

When that happens, I’m veering way off the path that God would have me travel. It’s the very opposite of the way He wants us to live our lives.

I want to be generous to others as a response to God’s generosity to me. So what is the solution for a hard heart?

Tenderizer For The Heart

Last week I wrote about having gratitude at Thanksgiving. Gratitude and praise will melt the hardest heart and get our focus back where it should be.

When I was a little girl, my mother used to sing me a song. To this day I still recall the chorus, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God hath done.” That is ageless advice.

That’s why I am making a deliberate effort to be more dialed-in to everything that He has given me and not the things I think I’m lacking.

Will you join me this Thanksgiving and every day after that to remember how good, great, and generous our God is?

Remembrance produces upward worship, inward humility, and outward generosity.” – Paul David Tripp

Remember the blessings we receive from Him are too numerous to count, and we receive them instead of what we deserve. This song is a great reminder of how generous our God is to us. Listen and remember.

I’m praying that you and yours will have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Question: When was the last time you literally counted your blessings? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

How to Morph From Ordinary Gratitude To Exceptional Gratitude

Can you believe it’s November already? The holidays are upon us once again. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. Are you Ready? What is your gratitude quotient as you approach the holiday?

Gratitude

Defining Gratitude

How do you define gratitude? Is it a warm fuzzy feeling as you count your blessings or is it something more?

Experiencing a sense of gratitude means that you have been focusing on thoughts of appreciation for the abundance in your life.

You are not born with gratitude. It is something you learn and cultivate as you go through life. It is a conscious and purposeful decision to focus on life’s blessings, and it is a sense of joy and appreciation in response to what you receive be it concrete or abstract.

But would it surprise you if I told you there are different levels of gratitude?

Ordinary vs. Exceptional Gratitude

Ordinary gratitude is something most of us practice. It is reactive and often superficial. Like saying thank you after receiving a gift or when someone holds a door open for you. It can be saying grace before we eat or maybe waving your hand in thanks when someone lets you merge into traffic.

These are all good things, and we should be expressing this type of gratitude every day. But there is another level of gratitude we all have the opportunity to practice.

The next level is exceptional gratitude. This type of gratitude is intentional, proactive and remarkable. It moves beyond being grateful for the obvious and observable. It allows you to perceive the mustard seed of potential in every situation and move toward giving thanks for the smallest things.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Exceptional gratitude also involves appreciating and treasuring other people.

Lifestyle Not A Holiday

As we come together to prepare for and celebrate Thanksgiving, this year let’s remember that exceptional gratitude is a lifestyle, not just a holiday.

Living a lifestyle of exceptional gratitude requires intentionality.

“To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything he has given us and he has given everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of his love. Every moment of existence is a grace for it brings with it immense graces from him. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God for the grateful person knows that God is good not by hearsay but by experience and that is what makes all the difference.” – Thomas Meston

30 Day Challenge

If you are like me, you want to develop a lifestyle of exceptional gratitude. For the next 30 days let’s join together and binge on gratitude. Below are twenty suggestions to get you started. As you read them, I’m sure you will come up with some others. Mix and match and practice them daily for the next 30 days. At the end of thirty days evaluate how your life is different and then keep going.

  1. Count your blessings as you lie in bed in the morning after the alarm goes off.
  2. Before grace at mealtime, discuss specific things you are grateful for as a family.
  3. Every day send a brief thank you email to someone who has been helping you in any way.
  4. Leave mini thank you notes around the house or the office to thank and encourage your family and co-workers.
  5. Make a list of twenty-one things you are grateful for, and meditate on it for fifteen minutes.
  6. Journal you blessings for three minutes before getting into bed at night.
  7. Go the extra mile to help someone.
  8. Ask God for a greater sense of awe and appreciation.
  9. Make a list of seven people who have taught you valuable lessons.
  10. Praise God for the aspects of your life that are working well.
  11. Tell God how grateful you are for every time He has given you a second chance at something.
  12. Recall the best choices you have made as an adult.
  13. Send a handwritten thank you note to someone every week.
  14. Carve out a little time each week to review the positive things that happened in the previous week.
  15. Greet everyone with the type of smile you would exhibit if you had just received great news.
  16. Offer prayers of thanksgiving in advance for the exciting things you believe God is going to do in your life.
  17. Write a former teacher, coach, professor or employer, thanking them for what you appreciate about them.
  18. Show extreme gratitude for your physical body by upgrading the way you treat it for the next 30 days.
  19. Say a quick prayer of thanks for all the things in your life that don’t need fixing.
  20. Make a list of all the people who have pushed you to become a better person.

As you join me in intentionally pursuing a lifestyle of exceptional gratitude, please visit my Facebook page to share that you accept the challenge. Also, be sure to keep the conversation going by sharing what you are doing, learning, and what impact it is having in your life during the next 30 days.

Question: What gratitude blockers weigh you down the most? Have you appropriately given thanks to God for the blessings that surround you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

What Your Thirst Reveals About Your Longing

Have you ever had a thirst you just can’t quench? Is there something or someone in your life you long to be with but no matter how much you are it’s never enough?

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Who knew that filling the dog’s water dish could lead to a lesson on the power of thirst and longing?

Two Dogs but Different Personalities

All of us who have the pleasure of being dog parents know that just like humans their personalities are unique.

I see it every day with Miley and Sadie. One of the most noticeable ways is how they drink water. Now you wouldn’t think that would be that different from dog to dog, but it sure is for my two.

You see, Miley is very dainty and demure. She is quiet and neat when she drinks, taking slow small, shallow sips. In fact, if you are not in the room with her when she is drinking you would never know that she got a drink.

Not Sadie. Sadie takes long, loud, deep, sloppy, gulps of water. The water flies everywhere. You can hear her drinking from anywhere in the house.

Finding God Lessons From My Dogs

As I mused about this Psalm 42:1(AMP) flashed into my mind. “As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks, So my soul pants [longingly for You, O God.”

I had to ask myself,” Do I long for you Jesus as much as a deer longs for water?” Do I drink deeply of you like Sadie does or do I take polite little sips like Miley?

I want a Sadie longing for Jesus. I want to lean into Him with every once of my being, approaching Him without any kind of hesitation or restraint. I want to center my entire life on Him.

But wanting and doing are two separate things.

If I’m completely honest many days, I’m more like Miley than Sadie in my desire to be in an all-in relationship with Jesus.

I let so many things distract me from centering on Him alone.

For instance what about morning quiet time? I have decided that each day will start with a dedicated time alone with Him. Entirely focusing on Him, reading His Word, praying and getting my assignments for the day from Him.

On the mornings I have that kind of quiet time it is a special time that sets the tone for the entire day. But some days I decide to take a quick peek at my phone before I start. You know, checking email and Facebook. Oh, and I better check the weather.

Next thing I know, the morning has passed, and I have to move on to other commitments.

A Deeper Thirst For God

Why? Why do I do that? I wish I knew the answer. One thing I do know is that I don’t like the days I take little sips of Him instead of big gulps.

“God didn’t primarily create us so we would do things for Him. Or even to learn lessons about Him. His primary reason for creating us is so we can be with Him.” Allen Arnold – The Story of With

It doesn’t have to be a “sippy cup” day. It can be a “big gulp” day every day. Sit for a moment. Take a deep breath and listen to this song before you finish reading.

“Our goal as people who follow Christ should be no less than becoming people who are madly in love with God.” Francis Chan – Crazy Love

I’m praying that I will be madly in love with Him. Praying that my thirst to be with Him cannot be quenched, wanting Him more than I want anything else. That doesn’t mean other things are bad or wrong. I just need to keep them in proper perspective. It just means my day is centered on Him.

Question: Where are you in your relationship with God? Do you sip or gulp in your relationship with Him? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Different Kind Of Blog Post

This isn’t the blog post I planned on publishing today but, well it’s been one of those weeks. Two and a half weeks to be exact. You know what I’m talking about because I know it happens to you too.

blog post

Life throws you some curve balls, and things just don’t turn out the way you planned or hoped they would. For me, it has been a combination of allergies and a viral infection. Yuck.

I have spent more days in bed than I would have liked, resulting in not being able to finish the post I planned to share this week.

Blog Post Day Is Here Now What

I could have thrown it together just to publish something, but that is not what this blog is about. I just won’t do that. No, I won’t dishonor God or you by publishing something that I haven’t put my whole heart into and hopefully provides value for you.

On the other hand, I didn’t want just not to publish anything and leave you wondering what was going on. After praying, I decided to do things a little different this week. Next week we will be back to our regular posts, but this week I just want to let you know what is going on.

How It All Started

While I have been down sick, I reflected back on the blog, how and why I started and what the future of the blog looks like.

Back in 2008, I read a book by Mark Batterson titled, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day  and although I didn;t fully realize it at the time it changed the trajectory of my life.

God used it to plant a seed, awakening my heart to who He created me to be and ignite the first sparks of a desire to be a writer.

Oh, there were glimpses before, but I only recognized them in hindsight.

The journey between then and now has many twists and turns, and someday I ‘ll share more about that, but today I want to share the Lion Chaser’s Manifesto with you.

I first read this manifesto written by Mark Batterson, in, In A Pit… and again in Chase The Lion, the follow-up book published in 2016. It rocked my world. I pray it will rock your world too.

The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.

Set God-sized goals.

Pursue God-given passions.

Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention/

Stop pointing out problems. Become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future.

Face your fears.

Fight for your dreams.

Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go!

Live like today is the first day and the last day of your life.

Burn sinful bridges.

Blaze new trails.

Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.

Dare to fail.

Dare to be different.

Quit holding out.

Quit holding back.

Quit running away.

Chase the lion.”

What’s Next

I am more excited than ever about writing and the future of this blog. The truth is, it is a scary dream because without God it just won’t happen. But I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in and through it.

“Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for your story.” Flannery O’Connor

Keep watching for some additions and improvements coming in the next few weeks. And be sure to let me know anything you would like to see here.

Question: Whatever you do don’t forget to chase the lion! How can I pray for you this week? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

The Joy And Importance Of True Humility

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word humility? Does it even matter? I mean how important could it be?

humility

Admittedly we live in a pretty selfish and narcissistic world today. As a result, we don’t hear a lot about humility, but a lot has been written about this virtue over the years, not the least of which is God’s Word. Scripture is full of references to humility.

What Humility Is

C. S. Lewis says, “ Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Philippians 2:3 tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

The most important thing we need to know about humility is that it is the foundation for developing every other character trait and becoming who God created us to be. It is humility which genuinely enables us to see life and others through the eyes of God.

What Humility Is Not

The opposite of humility is pride.

Pride is arguably the most deadly and evil of all sins because it is at the root of all other sins.

Pride happens when we get so focused on our own inflated importance that we are oblivious to the fact that everything we are is from God, and we can not do anything without Him. Although pride has many faces, at its core, it is about being me-centered.

Exalting myself and ignoring or attacking others are obvious examples of pride. But did you know that belittling yourself is also a form of pride?

Humility is not beating yourself up, putting yourself down, or feeling sorry for yourself. This kind of pride masquerades as humility. It’s a reverse way of drawing attention to yourself.

You know what I mean. Someone compliments you, and you put yourself down, pointing out your flaws. Or you always say yes when someone asks you to do something so that they will think more highly of you.

The Paradox of Humility

I’d love to tell you I’m a humble person but the truth is that I’m usually writing about what God is working on in my life. We are on this journey together.

“We All want to be humble but what if nobody notices?” – John Ortberg

The problem is we approach being humble in the wrong way. Instead of trying to be humble we need to forget about being humble.

Say what? Yep, you read that right. You will never become humble by trying to be humble. It is not something you achieve by working on it directly. The paradox is that the more you focus on being humble, the more you end up focusing on yourself

Yikes! So what is the answer?

The Key To Humility

Did you know that in Matthew 11:11 Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest person ever born?
Why? Well, the primary reason was because of John”s humility.

If you study John’s life, you’ll see it would have been easy for him to be prideful. The circumstances of his birth alone could have led him into pride.

Not to mention that barely into his thirties John was enjoying immediate success. His popularity soared as people flocked from all over Jerusalem, Judea, and the surrounding areas to listen to him and be baptized by him.

So what was his secret to remaining humble? It’s revealed to us in John 3:30, “I must decrease, and He must increase.”

That’s it, In one simple sentence, John shows us that he only had a right perspective of who God is, but he also understood who he was in relationship to Him.

The paraphrased version might read, “You are God, and I’m not. It’s all about You, and it’s not about me.”

The extent to which these words are real in our lives will determine how we are growing in humility.

Steps To Humility

“There is a natural phenomenon that occurs when God takes up more of your field of vision: your focus on yourself automatically gets smaller.” – Katie Brazelton and Shelly Leith, Character Makeover

In order for our focus on God to increase and our focus on ourselves to decrease we need to do the following: We need to be intentional about prayer and time in His word to develop a right view of God, a right view of ourselves, and a right view of others.

When we grasp this truth and embrace John 3:30, we will experience the joy of discovering and becoming who we are created to be.

“The reward of humility [that is, having a realistic view of one’s importance] and the [reverent worshipful] fear of the Lord is riches, honor, and life.” Proverbs 22:4 AMP

Will you pray this prayer with me?

“Precious Lord, I wish I did not struggle in this area, because it makes me so sad to think about the terrible ripple effects my pride has on others. Worse, though, I am deeply sorry for my pride which attempts to make me the president of the universe and steal glory from you.

Today, I just want to go on record as saying: I love you. I am sorry for all my prideful ways. Thank you for loving me in spite of myself, and most of all, thank you for your extreme kindness and willingness to take me from where I am today. That is truly remarkable to me. It may very well be the very first thing I thank you for when I see you in heaven. In the name of Jesus, amen.” -Excerpted from Character Makeover by Katie Brazelton and Shelley Leith

Question: What is your biggest struggle with humility? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Becoming Myself

“You’re not likable.” My supervisor’s words sliced through my heart like a hot knife. They amplified my greatest fear, rejection.

words

This is the post that started it all. One year ago I launched Penned In HIs Image -Discovering Who God Created You to Be on September 19, 2016. But the blog almost didn’t happen, and this post shares the reason why. It is something we all struggle with so what better time to reshare this post than on the one-year anniversary of the blog. Whether you are reading this post for the first time or you read it when it when it was originally published, thank you for stopping by today. I am excited about what the next year will bring and hope you will be part of the journey. Be sure to watch for some new features that will be coming in the next few weeks.

I have spent most of my life trying to be who others think I should be so they will like me. It is a painful and exhausting way to live. And it is not the way God intends us to live life.

Words are powerful. They have the power to give life and encouragement or like the words uttered by my supervisor so many years ago, the power to crush and wound.

Their Words

My supervisor made that statement to me during an annual review. He indicated that none of my co-workers liked me. He then suggested a book I should read that would help me be more likable. I kept my composure until I was alone, and then the tears flowed freely.

The tape of those words played over and over again in my mind not only then but for many years after. I’m sure that supervisor didn’t realize the damage his words caused. His motive was probably to cause me to be a better version of who he thought I should be.

However, what they did was reinforce my belief that I was not likable or lovable. And the belief I had to fix what was wrong with me, whatever that might be so that others would like me. I believed the lie that if I never said no and did everything others asked of me perfectly, then they would like me.

My Words

Not only are the words others speak to us powerful, so are the words we speak to ourselves.

Several years ago when God placed a dream in my heart to write, I spoke negative words to myself that resulted in it taking years longer to pursue that dream than it should have. Words like; you’re too old, you don’t know how to write, you’re not a good writer, you don’t have anything to say that others will want to read, you’re not likable so why would anyone like your writing.

God’s Word

God tells me a different story in His Word. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (read Psalm 139:13-18). He tells me that He created me intentionally and on purpose. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 NLT. I have to trust Him. Trust that He created me the way He wanted me to be. His unique child with a personality that has strengths and challenges.

The Journey To Becoming Me

The past few years God has been leading me on a journey to become myself. A journey that is about progress, not perfection. A journey that will not end this side of heaven.

I’m learning to get unstuck from my past and allow the painful events to teach me to tell myself the truth. I realized that the truth behind the remarks of that long ago supervisor was that he didn’t like me, and possibly some of my co-workers shared the same feelings. But that is OK because not everyone will like me when I am true to who He created me to be.

I am also telling myself the truth that it is never too late to dream a new dream.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream or dream another dream.” C. S. Lewis

What Else I Am Learning

I have learned that I am penned in His image, and I have a story. A story He authored and wants me to share.

I have learned that there is nothing I can do to earn His love and nothing I can do to cause Him to love me less. So now, this hot mess of a recovering perfectionistic people pleaser is living for the applause of nail-scarred hands, and so I write.

I also know this truth,  if you are reading this you have had painful experiences in your life as well. But they do not have to define you. You can be who He created you to be. So I invite you to join me on this journey of discovering who God created us to be. Let’s travel together one grace step at a time.

Question: What painful experience have you been allowing to define your life? Where do you feel stuck? How is God showing you how to become your true self? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Check Out This New Addition To The Blog

I’m excited to share a new addition to the blog with you. It is something I have been planning to do since the inception, and now it’s a reality.

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Let me explain. When I started the blog in September of 2016, I intended to have this feature but knew I would launch it on a future date.

As the blog has evolved, I decided to start this new feature on the one year anniversary in September 2017. However, as is often the case God had a different schedule.

What Is It?

I can hear you now, “enough already, tell us what it is.” Ok, ok, enough suspense.

One of my dreams for this blog is that it would be a place of giving to others. Not just me sharing my writing with you but us as a community giving to a designated ministry.

By now you are probably asking how that works. Glad you asked. It’s simple. Each year I’ll select a ministry that is making a difference in the lives of others. Then I’ll share it with you in an annual post.

There will never be any pressure or guilt associated with this opportunity. It will be strictly between you and the Lord. I will merely present the opportunity. You pray about it and do as the Lord directs you.

There will be a donation link in the sidebar that you can click on and donate directly to the ministry. I will never see if you do or don’t give. And if you do donate I will never see the amount.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a time line and a couple of ministries in mind. But this week as I prepared to write the post I had planned to write I felt a gentle nudge from the Spirit.

The Big Reveal

As you will recall I wrote about Katie Colucy and how she has answered God’s call on her life in last week’s blog. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can read it here.

In that post, I shared a link you could use to support Katie and Sozo Children. Katie tells me she did receive some donations and I just want to thank all who contributed.

I felt God leading me that not only should I select Sozo Children and Katie to support but to announce it this week and not in September.

I would like to ask you to watch this brief video (it’s only three minutes long) that will explain what this project is all about. After watching please pray and act as you feel lead.

A Matter Of Prayer

If you feel that you want to support this ministry you can click here to donate.  Or if you need more time to decide or want to give at a later date, no worries. If you look in the sidebar, you will see the giving box for Sozo. It will remain there so you can give at your convenience.

Thank you for faithfully reading the blog and thank you for your generous hearts.

Question: Do you have any questions or comments about this giving opportunity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

For Such A Time As This

Time; past, present, and future, what is its significance? Does it matter? Where and how do we fit into time?

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I love history! There I said it. Go ahead; call me a geek or a nerd. I own it. I love history! What we learn from the past can impact our present and our future.

Historical Heroes

One of my historical heroes is Abraham Lincoln. He has been ever since I was in grade school. That is why in 2012 when I heard that Steven Speilberg was making a film titled Lincoln I couldn’t wait to see it.

It did not disappoint me. I rarely watch movies more than once, but I have seen Lincoln twice and no doubt will watch it again. The film is not a biography of the sixteenth president, but rather a glimpse into a few months at the start of his second term as President in the final days of the Civil War.

In particular, it is about the passing of the 13th amendment. To him, this is not just a political issue, but a moral obligation to do the right thing for the millions of people who will be touched by whether or not this amendment passes. Lincoln knew that this was a moment of history that if not seized, would pass forever.

I have always felt that Lincoln was a man of destiny and I think the movie beautifully portrays this as something that he also sensed. In one scene He wonders why he was chosen to lead the nation through its darkest hour. “Do you think we choose to be born?” he asks one of his aides. “or are we fitted to the times we’re born into?”  When I heard this, I immediately thought of another of my hero’s, Esther.

Defining Moments

Esther, a Jewish orphan, is deported to the city of Susa following the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. Her cousin Mordecai raises her(Esther 2:7). Through a series of events (read Esther 1-3) Esther becomes King Xerxes queen.

When her cousin Mordecai learns of a plot to kill all the Jews, he tells Esther that she must intercede on behalf of all Jews with the King.  Ester points out to him that anyone who approaches the King without being summoned is subject to death. Mordecai replies with a question “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b).

Whether we look at the movie Lincoln or read the story of Esther, it is easy to see that they were divinely appointed and called to a difficult challenge. Both accepted the challenge and were willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.

We may never face circumstances like those that President Lincoln or Esther did but like them, we are uniquely created and called to partner with God in our generation.

Distinctively Unique

Every age and every generation has a “such a time as this”

I will never be the president of the United States or the Queen of a powerful king, but I can choose to be in partnership with God. He is glorified when I trust and obey. Whether the stakes are large or small, it takes the same character qualities of courage and moral strength to choose what is right.

“The timing and place of your birth are not accidental; God puts us all in certain time frames and locations. Many people spend their entire lives never knowing what their purpose is, but perhaps it is because they try to choose their own destiny rather than follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Following God requires sacrifices and a willingness to be uncomfortable.” – Joyce Meyer.

A sense of destiny is our sacred birthright as a child of God. We need to Commit to finding and living out the calling planned by God for our life.

When Ester received Mordecai’s message, she immediately sought God through prayer and fasting. We read the reply she sent to Mordecai in Esther 4:15-16; “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And though it is against the law, I will go to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”

With God, there are no ordinary people. He calls and qualifies each one of us. He has not placed us in our present position for our benefit. Rather, He put us there to serve Him, and this will involve taking risks and a willingness to sacrifice.

We find fulfillment in doing what He originally designed and destined us to do. Will I answer the call for “such a time as this”? Will you?

Question: What did God design you to accomplish in this life? Where are you at in fulfilling that destiny? You can leave a comment by clicking here.