Once Upon A Time

 

We all love once upon a time, or in the beginning stories. They are especially great when they end with happily ever after. The best in the beginning story is found in Genesis. It is the story of creation. Each day God recounts what He created with His word. On day six, it is recorded that God created man in His own image. He then caused man to fall in a deep sleep and created woman. They, man and woman, lived in the Garden of Eden with no sin, shame or pain. This was God’s plan. At some point in this wonderful life the woman became deceived. In her deception she ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and then offered it to Adam. This deception that led to sin caused separation from God. This act of sin made them realize their nakedness. See they were enjoying the freedom of communion with God, acceptance, love, and self worth. Now they realized their nakedness and tried to cover themselves. Shame and insecurity entered the realm of human feelings.

God’s plan was for us to live in confidence, joy, peace, and a life without sin. Basically a perfect or euphoric life. When sin entered the life of Adam and Eve it changed everything. N longer was communion with God a way of life. Adam and Eve freely walked and lived in the garden without shame. There was total and complete joy. It is hard to imagine a life without conflict and struggle. It existed in the Garden of Eden. After sin entered Adam and Eve’s life things changed dramatically. This affected humankind throughout history.
Man no longer had access to God and communion with Him. In Genesis three we see that enmity will be between Satan and the woman. She will have great increase in pain in childbearing, her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her. Enmity is hate that grown with time. So Satan’s hate grows stronger against the woman as time goes on. As I think about this I am aware that Satan’s hate has grown very strong against us. See this is not just an Eve thing. Satan has enmity against me and you. He seeks and desires to kill every positive thought, every joy, peace, good relationship. Anything good in your life. The gift of giving birth will now come with much pain. Women will strive for position, but will not attain it for her husband will rule over her. In other words, her struggle will be to be someone, to gain a position, to figure out who she is. In this pursuit she will come up empty.

I have good news ladies! Jesus changed all of that for us. He opened the door to joy, peace, confidence and a personal relationship with God. No longer is there separation between God and us. We are in communion with Him. Satan’s plan is to kill and destroy, but by the blood of Christ He is defeated. We have a Savior who walks and talks with us through anything, including child bearing. Yes, there is still pain but Jesus gives strength and mercy to endure the pain. In our sinful nature we desire position and recognition over others but by the blood of Christ our position and identity are found in Him. We can let go of the struggle and give it to God. Through Jesus we can live the “Garden of Eden” life.

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Make It LOUD

Martha Munizzi’s new CD “Make It Loud” recently released.  I had the privilege, along with many others, to attend the live recording.  During that incredible worship service God spoke to me and began to challenge me personally.  I love how God doesn’t leave us where we are in any area of our life.  He continues to change us, rearrange us, move us, challenge us and grow us.  He began to ask me questions during this time:  What are you doing to make Me big and loud?  What are you doing to make My forgiveness loud?  What are you doing to make My mercy and grace loud?

My answers  were not BIG enough.  I was not taking advantage of the opportunities in front of me to make God BIG to others in my life that do not know Him.  I was going to the grocery store, shopping at the mall, and talking to neighbors without making God BIG and LOUD.  God responded with, “What are you going to do then?”  My heart’s cry is to make a difference for God’s Kingdom; to bring people to the one and only answer, God.  I chose that night to make a conscience effort to make God LOUD to my world.   The things that I am doing are so simple and easy to so many people, but for me it is a challenge.  I began to notice and truly pay attention to the cashier when I am checking out at a store.  I try to pay attention to their demeanor and ask how they are doing and try to offer some truth about God.  I am doing my best to open my “spiritual” ears to hear God speaking in the midst of life to know who He desires for me to minister His love and forgiveness.

I have to make a conscience effort to live this way.  It is so easy for me to get up every day and spend my time with God praying, worshipping and reading the Bible then leave and live my life.  It is so easy to get engulfed in my life, my responsibilities, my ministry, my kids, etc.  None of it is mine anyway, it is ALL God’s.  I am just a steward of the things and people He has entrusted to me.

God has given me a burden for women and girls enslaved in human sex trafficking and teenage mothers.  I really didn’t know what to do with this.  As I have prayed and God has placed me in contact with others I am ready to step out like I talked about earlier.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, God just wants me to step.  I will share more about all of the details later, but it involves purses, parties, and giving.  I am excited about what God wants to do in His world where He has placed me.  He is refining me daily.  For that I am so thankful!

I am thankful for worship leaders like Martha who are not afraid to “Make It Loud”.  She stepped out and did what God was telling her to do and because of that others like me will do the same thing.  I decided to purchase the “Make It Loud” bracelet from her website.  I wanted to have it and wear it as a reminder to me to make God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness LOUD!

How are you making God LOUD to others around you?

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Generations

Our youngest daughter, Alyssa, completed memory verses, activities, and workbook pages for a girls program through church.  When the girls complete the requirements there is a crowning service in which they are given a charge to continue to live a life devoted to God.  A tiara is placed on their head and a medal around there neck.  The girls wear a white dress similar to those worn for first communion.  We all went out for breakfast and then onto to have manis and pedis.  Alyssa had her hair done as well.  She looked absolutely beautiful.  My Mom, Aunt, Uncle, Cousins daughter  and Sister-in-law were here for the special occasion.

My Mom, Aunt and sister-in-law , and myself were all involved in the Missionette program, or as it is known now, Mpact Girls.  I completed the program as a student and went on to teach as well.  As I was placing the tiara on Alyssa head I had tears well up in my eyes.  Thinking about the Christian heritage in my family.  At that moment  three generations in my family that the Missionette program impacted were gathered to see Alyssa crowned.  What a legacy of God’s grace and faithfulness.

I see this time and again as I look at my two girls.  God is working and moving in their lives in ways beyond what I could imagine.   Generations of prayer and faithfulness to God are manifested in my daughters lives.   I am so thankful that the heritage of faithfulness to God is not just in my family, but my husband’s family as well.  On this Father’s Day I remember my Dad that passed away 13 years ago, as well as Matt’s Dad, Jim.  They both left a legacy of  lives devoted fully to God.  They loved their family and modeled what a real man is.  We are experiencing God’s goodness and blessing because of the life they modeled in front of us.

This journey of  life can take many different twists and turns.  I am thankful that I have a family that walks with God every step of the way.  I love looking back at God’s faithfulness and allowing the remembering to encourage me to keep moving on.  The Godly heritage doesn’t stop here.  As we continue to serve and honor God we will see more generations to come leaving a legacy of a life devoted fully to God.

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He Leads Me

While I was on a walk recently I decided to walk around one of the ponds.  That day the water in the pond was still and glass like.  I was enjoying my walk, worshipping God,  and enjoying His wonderful creation.  I began to think of Psalm 23.  He leads me beside still or quiet waters… God by His Spirit began to speak deep into my heart and mind.  We are all familiar with this passage of scripture and sometimes familiarity can cause us to read quickly and not allow God to speak to us a new fresh word.

As I looked at the pond in it’s complete stillness God’s peace overwhelmed me.   At this time in my life I was in the middle of what felt like my life was out of control.  My personnel schedule was crazy, our family schedule was busy as well, and other demands on me  were weighing heavy.  I needed peace in my life. God led me to the pond that day physically, but he also led me spiritually.  He led me beside the quiet, still water of His presence.  His presence that brings life.   God desires to bring stillness and quiet into our lives even when it feels chaotic.   We simply need to rest in Him and follow Him to the quiet, still water.

When water is that still the reflection is incredible.  If water if flowing and moving there is no reflection. When we choose to surrender to God’s leading to the quiet water we will no longer see our life or our face.  We will see God’s face in the reflection of the water.  We become consumed with Him and no longer with the cares of our life, our dreams, our desires.  We are following His leading allowing Him to lead us beside quiet waters and our being will be consumed by everything He is.

Whether we are experiencing rest, busyness,struggle or normalcy of life everyday God is waiting to lead us beside quiet waters and help us see Him and only Him!  Let Him lead you today….

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