Declaring the Red Sea to Part


I am declaring today.  I am declaring with my mouth, “Lord split the Red Sea in my life!”  I believe the Bible is our blueprint for living.  I believe that what is shared in the Bible is the living, breath of God, there to show us the way through the circumstances of our life.  I believe “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Heb 13:8. I believe God answers the cry of our hearts.  I believe the Lord desires us to ask and then not to doubt.

I am asking today.  Lord, I’m standing on this side of the Red Sea of my life, facing the impossibilities.  I know you want what I’m asking because it lines up with Your Word.  So today I’m declaring the sea to part while I cannot yet see the miracle of Your love.  Come Lord Jesus!

Will you join me?

Jump for Joy: I Want to Radically Embrace Hope


This photo says it all.  This is what all out praise is about!  Jumping as high as I can in celebration of the One who is worthy to receive.  This is what hope is; tossing cares aside with abandon and placing your trust completely in the unseen future.  I don’t know about you, but this is what I want for my life.  Jump this high, joyously.  Hope this much, expectantly.  Trust this much, with abandon.

I’m heading into deep waters this week.  I caught hold of error this morning at church, asking a friend to pray for me.  I said with my mouth something quite negative.  I asked for prayers to cover that which I anticipated to be like every other time I’ve walked into muddy waters.  Can you relate?  It wasn’t until I walked back to my seat that I felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit; “is that what you really expect this week Linda?”  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate it when I say something in the spirit of stupid!  My words conveyed what was in my heart, expectation that this will be the same ‘ol same ‘ol and nothing is ever going to change.

But NO!  I repent Lord.  I don’t want to walk into this week with despair.  I want to enter into it with an attitude of gratitude that You are giving me another chance to go expectantly this time.  Earlier today I was reminded of the children of Israel fleeing to the desert as they left Egypt.  They arrived at the Jordan and saw an obstacle.  You know the story.  The river before them, Pharaoh coming in hot pursuit behind them.  “Oh what are we to do God?” they cried.  When the miracle had happened and they were safely on the other side, the people marveled at all the Lord had done.

A few years ago, I heard a teaching on this subject and the speaker shared how the Israelites were so frightened on this side of the Jordan.  They were up against it; water before and an attacking army behind.  They panicked.  Once safely out of harms way, they finally were able to see the hand of God and they rejoiced at what God had done on their behalf.  Then the speaker made a suggestion: while this story has a good ending, what might have happened if the children of Israel had rejoiced on this side of the river?  Might the outcome have been different in that they were rejoicing at what they knew God was going to do because it’s His nature to care for His beloved children?  Even though they couldn’t see His provision, doesn’t mean it was not there all along!

And that is where I find myself this morning.  Facing a Jordan ahead of me and the enemy behind taunting me with words such as, “it’s never going to change, this week will be a trial for you, and you’re already tired and this week will only serve to suck more energy out of you!”  I have a choice to make — right now.

I am choosing to radically embrace the hope of my Savior.  I am going to stand on edge of the shores of my week and declare, “God you are for me and all I do in the coming week is in Your hands.  I am declaring that this week is going to be different because YOU ARE IN IT!  You want the changes I desire even more than I do Lord.  You love the people I’m going to be with this week even more than I do and You want glorious, wondrous change to happen for them.  So Lord, I am going to rejoice on this side of the river on their behalf.  Do what you want to do and help me be part of the change!”

What are you facing this week?  Difficulties in your job?  Your marriage?  Your future?  Would you like to stand with me right now and give thanks and praise for what God is going to do before we even get there?  Would you stand with me, right now, right here?  Yep, get up out of your seat and leap in the air with joyful expectation that God is going to perform a miracle for you this week.  Let’s do it!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

Jump high joyously.  Hope expectantly.  Trust with abandon.  We can do this people!

Unfolding Something New – Part Two

Pastor DouglasSometimes I get in too big a hurry to post and miss things.  It didn’t take long yesterday to realize I’d forgotten something in the telling of this story.  Unfortunately, the missing piece was quite important!

When I told you about the new church plant outside Pastor Douglas’ village, I mentioned that people come from all over the region, some who cannot walk, some who are sick, some who are blind.  Well, as he talked over our breakfast the other day, his eyes were big and the ever-present smile was in place as he told about a couple of folks who were delivered of demons.  One person in particular was not able to walk and had been dragged to the church on a blanket slung between two poles.  The man wanted Jesus to come into his life but the dark spiritual presence was giving him resistance.  The church came alongside and prayed…and the man was delivered.  As he raised his hands in victory, he got up and walked!  Not just walking, but skipping and jumping, something he hadn’t been able to do for a very long time.  The church exploded in praise!

In Africa, the people are quite used to the spiritual realms.  You don’t survive terror they way they have and not know what the dark side looks like.  They recognize miracles when they happen — and they happen quite frequently.  Of course, they are also quite familiar with stories that don’t have happy endings.

Life and death, want and provision, Light and dark.  They know it all.  And those who are meeting, accepting, and pressing into God through the teachings of folks like Pastor Douglas are witnessing the works and the miracles of Jesus Christ.  The people are not confused nor ignorant of spiritual things.  That is probably the difference between us and them.  They know.  Many have survived terror at the hands of people not associated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Others have suffered at the hand of need:  clean, disease free water; food; loving arms to hold them.  And because of this, they give thanks and praise to God when they witness Him at work.  And it is from that knowledge and their appreciation that the smiles come.

Please pray for the people of Africa and other nations who have witnessed and lived through darkness.  Please pray for our country, that our eyes would be opened to both the dark and Light sides of the spiritual realms.  Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Open our eyes Lord and help us learn how to help others be set free.

Unfolding Something New

fern-215735_1280I met a man today.  He’s no one special according to his own definitions, just a man with a story and a future according to God’s plans.  My husband and I were invited to have breakfast with three friends and this man, a visiting pastor from Africa.  He spoke at our church last night about our God.  It was something.  We serve the very same Lord and yet his stories sounded quite different from ours here in the U.S.

You see he’s been involved in the planting of a new church where he lives.  Away from the village he lives in, this new church planting began under a very large mango tree, to give shade from the sun that shines so brilliantly and hot.  Meager beginnings with nothing but the Word of God.  And the people came.  And the pastor shared out of the Word of God.

They come from miles sometimes.  They come because they heard something different is happening over there, under that mango tree.  They sometimes bring others with them, some not able to walk on their own.  They’re coming on bikes, and motorbikes, on foot, on blankets slung between two poles, any way they can get there.  To hear God’s Word of life.

As this humble man speaks of the God who set him free years earlier, an interesting thing begins to happen.  The people realize they want what this man has to share.  I mean they really want this freedom, this new way of life.  And about then, it happens.  The enemy of their soul, the one who has fought so horrifically throughout their lives to keep them from this moment, begins to realize he can no longer keep this person from the truth of the Word of God.  And OUT HE COMES!

The crowd dances, shouts, and sings in honor of the One who is able to keep us from falling.  And then the person realizes they are free from the tormentor, free to invite Jesus into their heart, finally and forever, and so they do.  Now the celebration is on as the rest of the congregation, singing and dancing and shouting, rejoice with this new child of the kingdom.  That’s what we heard the other night at our church.  And I wondered what everyone thought sitting there listening to this pastor tell of life in this place.

Personally, I tracked with him and loved sitting there listening to Pastor Douglas speak.  And at breakfast the next morning, I wanted to hear so much more.  Five of us peppered Pastor with questions.  And somewhere in there I found myself watching him speak to us of his home and I became mesmerized by one particular aspect of this man’s persona.  His smile.  Pastor Douglas’ smile seemed to rise up from deep inside him and when he smiled, I just felt that life was good.

Pastor Douglas lived through the regimes of Idi Amin and Joseph Kony.  He lost his father to the terror reigns and his mother abandoned her three children when Douglas was 10 years old.  I would have loved to hear more about this, but instead we leaped to more present day situations and the emerging church in the country where he lives.  He found his way to Christ and then found he was anointed for pastoring.  And that’s what he does…

This man, Pastor Douglas, radiates when he smiles.  Knowing even just this small bit from his childhood causes my heart to ache for a child who had to learn life the hard way.  Watching him speak, both to our church and at breakfast, I became lost in his smile because I felt it was so genuine.  That huge, brilliant smile comes only when one is at peace with oneself.  It is both comforting and soothing.  No matter the subject of our questions, that smile permeated the conversation.  And peace ruled in my heart as I listened to him share.

My husband and I are involved in a home group this fall, one where we are studying how we can “Strengthen Ourselves in the Lord” by Bill Johnson.  The subject matter the past two weeks has been about thankfulness and praise and how, just by entering into these two actions, we can literally turn our difficult circumstances upside down.  The content has been rich and the resulting discussions in our group have been stretching and full.

Sitting across the table from Pastor Douglas, listening intently about a life peppered with difficult circumstances, some even traumatic, made me think of what we’ve been learning.  And as if God knew I needed a living example, he plopped me down at a breakfast table across from a man who lives half a world away, sharing about extreme circumstances and about our God that we have in common.  What do I notice?  That smile.  That radiating, full-of-life smile.

Pastor DouglasPastor Douglas is at peace with our God.  Through thanksgiving and praise he has been delivered out of the pit and into the wonderful Light of Jesus.  He is living proof that God hears our prayers, He gives us His Hand in times of trouble, He guides us through trauma and hopelessness, and He sets our feet on solid ground.

God unfolded a new truth to me; thankfulness and praise.  Powerful words.  Life-altering words. Words that belong in our everyday life so we might be lifted up and out into His glorious Light.  Be thankful and give praise to God for He will help you get through anything life can throw at you.

As our breakfast time came to a close, we prayed over Pastor Douglas.  What struck me was a picture in my mind of the blazing sun in Africa, radiating light and warmth.  And suddenly I was impressed with Pastor Douglas’ brilliant smile, a radiating beacon of hope, truth, and light for lost souls in his country.  Pastor Douglas.  Living proof that our God cares and that with Him, we can overcome, forgive, and become shining lights for others.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”  Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.”  Psalm 40:2-3 (NLT)

Ignited: Learning How to Love the Journey


See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1a (NLT)


We all go through trials.  When I was first saved many years ago, I erroneously thought that since I’d now accepted Jesus Christ into my life that my life was going to be pretty spiffy.  You know, privileged, special, safe.  While there is truth in that, Christ doesn’t suggest your life is going to be carefree and easy once you are part of the Kingdom.  On the contrary, as I look back over my life, it has been profoundly marked by trials, some fairly easy to walk through and some I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  The point however, is that the Lord walks with you through the trials of your life.

The lessons of this truth can be hard fought.  Trials can often bring up our own fight or flight response.  Often we panic in the face of a trial, especially if it’s something we didn’t expect.  Being blindsided isn’t an easy thing; walking through something you never intended nor thought you’d have to walk through is weighty stuff.

When we accept Christ into our lives, we are so new to the things of God we often make wrong judgments about what this is going to look like.  It’s going to be, hopefully, a lifelong journey with the One who loves us so much He was willing to sacrifice His own Son to die for our sins.  We don’t understand however, now that we have committed to following Christ, He is faithful to help us realize both the errors of our ways and also the giftings and blessings He has waiting in the wings for us.  We savor the gifts and blessings; the errors well, not so much.

Recently the Lord gave me an image to help me understand.  Growing up watching old western movies and cartoons there were countless times when the good guys are trying to save someone or the family property.  Often the bad guys utilized the big bang effect of dynamite to intimidate those they were trying to swindle or kill.  How many times did I watch with rapt attention as the dynamite was placed and a long, winding fuse was unwound off a spool.  Out of the house or mine or property came someone carrying this spool, unwinding it like thread, so as to be inconspicuous or overlooked to the unsuspecting eye.  Around trees, under rocks, over boulders and sometimes even around bluffs or hills the fuse was unwound so there was enough room between the offender and the explosion.

Then the bad guys waited for just the right moment.  A match was struck and placed to the end of the winding fuse.  Watching as a child, this always created a sense of suspense in my heart.  The fuse was going to burn for quite some time.  Often the folks the explosion was aimed at were oblivious to the impending doom.  The music would heighten.  The camera pans periodically from the unsuspecting recipients to the burning fuse, ever making its way closer and closer to the hidden dynamite.  And, true to Hollywood, sometimes the fuse was discovered and put out by the good guys and sometimes we would watch as the hissing ended in an explosion of great magnitude.

Welcome to our lives.  Sometimes we’re minding our own business, never aware that coming toward us is a neatly concealed fuse, lit by the enemy of our souls.  We get blindsided periodically by these burning, hissing displays cleverly disguised as trials in our lives.  Every once in awhile, we see them coming and we can take precautionary action to douse the burning fuse.  Unfortunately, there are also those times that we succumb to the blast of a trial gone wrong in our lives.

How do we learn to perhaps not enjoy, but at least endure the trials of our lives?  By recognizing that we gave our lives over to a God who is so in love with us that He will see us through even the worst of trials.  He loves us.  He adopted us.  And so He will stand by us as we figure out, hopefully with His help and input, exactly how to walk it out.

Can you look back now and see that He really did get you through?  I can.  I didn’t do so well always in the midst of the trials, but looking back I can see vividly that my Father in heaven has been faithful.  I pray for you this day you might begin to look differently at the burning, hissing fuses of your life.  Yes, they may threaten and they not be what you would have chosen but God has a plan for even this fuse in your life.  And sometimes, He even comes in a nick of time and douses that fuse with water.

Trials are part of our journey, don’t deny them.  It is through them that we grow.  It’s why James 1 tells us to consider trials an opportunity for great joy.  Yeah well, I may not be quite there yet Lord, but I’m definitely doing better at seeing your hand in the midst of my trials.

Lord, help my friends to understand your heart in the midst of trials.  Every trial is an opportunity for a promotion.  Let there be rejoicing in heaven this day as many are promoted in their thinking about the trials of life.  Bless them Lord, and keep them safe.  Oh, and Lord?  If it’s possible, douse some of those fuses please!  Thanks Lord and watch over my friends.

Look From The Place Where You Are


“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are— northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” Genesis 13:14-15 NKJV

I love these two verses. Two sentences. Simple. A statement from God. And yet contained in these 44 words is a promise so vast it boggles ones mind.

God made a promise in these words to help Abram, soon to be Abraham, grab hold of a future plan. Abram could not understand the magnitude of this promise in its entirety for he had to live it out in order to even begin to grasp its scope. No Abram would never in his lifetime understand completely what God was handing to him in these two sentences.

You and I however are a different story. If you look at the Bible not simply as a lot of unrelated stories but as a love letter from our Father in heaven, you can begin to unwrap a beautiful gift from God meant to encourage and catapult you too into a future bright with promise.

God’s promise to Abram is a gift for all mankind. When the Lord promised Abram not only all the land around him that his eye could see, but soon after that his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky, He was including us in these promises. You see, you and I are one of Abram’s descendants. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we gained access to the promises of Abram!

Now the story can be read in a whole new light. God’s word is eternal so now I can read this Scripture figuratively as, “Linda (or insert your name here), lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are— northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.”

God wants each of us to lift our eyes now and look from the place where you are. What are you facing? Hard times? Disputes? Family issues? Financial stress? Health issues? It doesn’t really matter, you can insert whatever you may be facing. The point is the Lord has given us, each and every one of us, the ability to grab hold of something else other than what we are currently facing.

Abram was left with a piece of less than desirable land after he allowed Lot to choose where he wanted to live. He could have fumed and whined, even if only to himself, about this turn of events. “Oh great! How am I going to raise all my livestock on this piece of bare land? That ungrateful Lot! He could have at least left me a portion of the well-watered land.” On and on he could have railed about the situation. But Abram was willing to take the land that Lot rejected, whatever he chose, so there would be no strife between their families.

And it is right there that God showed up and made the promise to Abram. “Lift your eyes from this situation and see what I’ve given you. It is more than you might think and it is enough so that you may thrive in all I’m providing for you. It might look like the lesser of the lands. But trust Me. There, off in those places, is my provision for you!”

Lift your eyes from your current situation. Look around you. What, or even perhaps who, has the Lord placed in your path to help you realize there’s so much more? “More what,” you might ask? Simply more. Our Lord is a God of provision, so much so, it is even one of His many names: Jehovah-jireh, meaning God will provide.

God provides. The answer. The way through. The health, relationship, or financial means to get to the other side. Sometimes it’s just insight to help us see past our current place. Past the hurt. Past the habit so desperately needed be left behind. Past our current state of affairs.

Lift your eyes and look around. He has provided the way through. Step into it…you will only realize it as you move, one step at a time, from here…to there!