Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just One Gift

About a month ago my husband and I received a sheet of paper from our two sons that included their “Christmas Wish List” of about four different video games for each. I found this very helpful considering there’s a montage of games to choose from. Then about a week ago my youngest told us, “Brother and I talked and we agreed that you and daddy can get just one gift for both of us.” He proceeded to tell us the name of the one Wii game they both wanted. Then my other son said, “Yeah, so that way you’ll have more money to get other people presents.”

I confess that I was a proud mom of my two thoughtful children. However, my "Aww" soon became "Oh, oh." You see, we had already done our Christmas shopping for them and guess what? The one gift they wanted was NOT one of them! Thank God for extended family. Uncle Chris is coming through with their “just one gift” request.

This made me stop and think. Would I be content and satisfied with just one gift? If so, what would that one gift be? I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least three to four things that I’d like to have sitting under my tree or in my stocking. However, if I don’t get any of them, for this one gift I am most thankful for: JESUS.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

More than anything that can be bought, wrapped or bagged, I have received the best gift ever, which is my salvation in and through Christ. The peace, joy, love and strength He brings cannot be measured in dollars and cents. It is eternal and cannot be taken away. If you have received this gift, too, then REJOICE! Jesus is a gift that we can unwrap not only at Christmas, but all year long as we discover more of Him day by day.

Merry Christmas my friends!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wisdom from the Wilderness - Part 3

As we wrap up this series, let's review. First, we learned that we can be "led" into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit who bring us here for a reason (of testing) and for a season (in God's timing and our obedience). We should not resist the testing but rather submit to it. God is always in the business of growing us up. Secondly, like Jesus, we are to seriously seek God, hear His voice and stand on His Word through every test. Hearing the Father speak to us is the most important thing to learn in the wilderness. Next, let's see what happened after Jesus passed the testing.

Matthew 4:11 (NKJV) Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

If you've been battling the enemy and feel exhausted spiritually, physically or emotionally, be encouraged that this shall pass. After Jesus stood on God's Word and the enemy knew that He would not be moved, He left Him. Keep standing on God's Word. Speak it out in faith. Whenever you overcome a spiritual battle, there comes a time of restoration. Even Jesus needed to be ministered to by the angels.

I remind you today that God will RESTORE you. His angels are ready to minister to you so that you will be replenished inside and out. Once Jesus was renewed we see that He left the wilderness "in the power of the Spirit."

Luke 4:14-19 "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth...on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue...And he stood up to read.."The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Once restored, Jesus moved on from the wilderness in the anointing of God to bring God's life changing truth to the poor, prisoners, blind and oppressed. It was time for the next level of ministry.

Prayer: Lord restore me from the battle. Fill me with new vigor and compassion to bring Your good news to those around and may Your anointing flow in my life greater than ever before so others may experience You. I'm ready for the next level Lord!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why I'm Thankful

The holiday season can either bring out the best or the worst in us. If we are stressed by the hustle and bustle of the busyness or miss a loved one who has passed on, it may not be our favorite time of the year. Then there are those of us who seem to have a spring in our step just knowing the holidays are here. Whether you’re looking forward to the coming weeks or not, I hope my “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m Thankful” list will spark an attitude of gratitude in you:

10. A tough day at work means I still have a job.
9. I live in a country where I can go to church and “worship” without fear.
8. I have a testimony which means that I have PASSED some tests!
7. Endless household chores means I have a family who I love and loves me.
6. Though I have experienced loss, I have also experienced God’s comfort and strength.
5. Each “holiday” means I have a “holy day” to celebrate a holy God.
4. The existence of trials in my life is an opportunity for me to trust God.
3. Friends who choose to be my family.
2. Family who choose to be my friends.
1. No matter what I have or don’t have, I have Jesus and in Him is all I need.

Proverbs 90:12 (NIV) says, “Lord teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom comes from knowing each day is a gift. So choose to be wise by being thankful. You will add not only joy to your day, but days to your life!

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wisdom from the Wilderness - Part 2

So we know that Jesus was "led" into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested by the enemy. I don't think any of us like to be tested. However, it is a part of the growth process and God is always growing us up. Let's take a closer look at Jesus in the wilderness and see what wisdom we can gain from Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV):

"After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."

Notice that Jesus fasted. He was not just praying, but intensely seeking God to the point He denied His own flesh for 40 days! A question to ask ourselves is, if we realize we are in the wilderness, how serious are we willing to seek God?

"The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

The enemy tests Jesus' identity and submission to the Father. The enemy knew He was the Son of God (and Jesus did too), but he was trying to get Jesus to act out of His flesh and not by God's leading and timing. How often are we tempted to do just that when we're in the wilderness? We need to check our motives and heart to make sure that we are not doing things our way, but rather submitting to God's ways.

"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

The definition in the Greek for "word" above is "rhema" which means "that which is said or spoken, an utterance." This is not just the written Word on a page, but the Word that comes to life in our spirit. It was that Word that was alive in Christ that gave Him the victory over the enemy as He said over and over, "It is written..." Jesus was basically saying that His food was to be in communication with the Father. The most important thing in our relationship with God is the ability to hear Him speak.

Pray this with me: Lord, give me a holy hunger that I will seek you more than ever before. Holy Spirit, may I hear You speak, obey Your leading and trust Your timing. Even if the process is painful, it is purposeful. Therefore, my mouth will sing Your praise!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wisdom from the Wilderness - Part 1

Have you ever made a decision or a move that you knew God wanted you to make, but after a while wondered "What am I doing here Lord?" I have and sometimes wondered if I had really heard from God to begin with. Those are the seasons that I call "Wilderness Wonderings". We feel like we're wondering with no clear direction or instruction on what's going on but yet we know God has us there.

Be encouraged, even Jesus was "led" into the wilderness:

Luke 4:1-2 says, "Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry."

Jesus was FULL of the Holy Spirit and followed His leading. He would then be tested and found true. May you gain some wisdom and strength in knowing that your wilderness experience (like Christ) is for a reason and for a season. You are being tested to trust God no matter what. If the Spirit led you in, He will lead you out when you are ready.

So do not despise the testing, but rather submit to it and learn what the Father by His Spirit is showing you. God is getting ready to do bigger things in your life and is making sure that you are tested and found true so that you can be used in greater measure to bring Him glory.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ce-le-bration Time C'mon!

It's a special time for James and I. After months of praying, writing, preparing and working with our producer and publisher, JRB's new CD and my book are out! We invite YOU, our friends and family to join us THIS Friday to celebrate. Help us bless "Church Without Walls" by bringing new socks and blankets. **A special thanks to ALL of you who support and partner with us in many ways that keep us encouraged in our ministry. We hope you come. It's going to be a blast!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fashion Fiasco

One of the most embarrassing things I have ever done happened last Wednesday. I was in church that night after getting my "praise" on when I sat down and noticed that the shoes I was wearing were NOT the same! I almost fell off my chair when I realized that I had been wearing them ALL day long. I had gone to work, met my hubby for lunch and even met a friend for dinner before heading to church. I was SO embarrassed that I took off my shoes and went barefoot for the rest of the evening until it was time to go home. At that point, I took a picture of my feet and showed my husband what I did. He laughed his head off! Here's why:

Did you ever have an embarrasing moment like that? Much to my surprise, I received quite a few comments from my friends when I posted my pic on Facebook. I'm sure I served for a good laugh and I laughed as they shared their similar stories as well. So what did I learn from my fashion fiasco? Yes, I need to pay attention to what I look like more before I leave my house in the morning! But more importantly, I was reminded that I'm human who is bound to make a fool of myself from time to time. Yes, at times we can be foolish, but never too foolish for God not to love us or not to use us.

I Corinthians 1:25-31 says, Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence. He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Thank the Lord that He doesn't call the equipped, but equips the called and among those I stand. Yes, even in all my foolishness (and I'm not talking about only my shoes!), I am chosen. May you be encouraged today as I was...to not let the silly things or sometimes, even the hard things, get you down because it is in Christ (not ourselves) that we boast!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Living It Up!

It's here!! I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning when my book arrived last week. Due to some delays in getting my book to this point, the anticipation had building for weeks. It was one thing to have seen the text in PDF form and the digital cover, but to see and feel it "live and in paperback" was really exciting.

Here's a little info on my book:

Living it Up!” is for anyone wanting to take their life to the next level no matter where they are. Whether you want change or simply want more in your life, this book will help you experience the life Jesus came to give you in greater measure. A better life is waiting for you through four key lifestyles: new life living, intentional living, sacrificial living, and supernatural living. You will find spiritual truths and practical insight to help stretch you in all areas of your life. Learn how “living it up” God’s way can change you from the inside out. This is your life. Don’t settle for anything less than God’s best for you!

Living it Up! can be read by an individual or even done in a bible study group setting. There is a worksheet at the end of each chapter to help the readers personally apply what they are reading. My prayer is that all who read "Living It Up!" will be encouraged, challenged and equipped to follow Christ more closely and experience more of the life Jesus came to give. If you're interested in ordering your own copy, you can at www.rochelleroots.com.

To Him be ALL the glory!!

Living it up with you,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free AND Independent

Today is the second day of school for my two boys and Uriah (my 6 year old) got up bright and early. It's not so much that he's excited about going to school as much as he's excited to ride his bike to school! You see he recently learned to do this about a month ago. Even though our older son Jalen (who's 7) knew how to ride his bike last year, Uriah didn't, so they both walked to and from school. However, it's a new day! Uriah's always been free to ride his bike, but he did not have the ability to exercise that right. However, now that Uriah can actually ride his bike, he's ready to exercise his new independence.

I live in the great USA and we have many freedoms and rights that people around the world do not. For example, the right to worship is one of them. However, even though many Americans are "free" to worship, they don't exercise that right. To take this even further, Jesus died on the cross to give us freedom from the land of sin, but yet some choose NOT to receive Him and be independent from that dictatorship. Therefore, without Jesus, you may have the right to freedom but not the ability to leave the land of sin.

One thing God showed through my son this morning is that as a Christian, I need to be excited about exercising my freedom of independence from sin. It's mine and I don't want to take it for granted. What about you? Are you a believer exercising your right of independence? If so, be excited about it! Read these following verses out loud as a reminder to yourself that you not only have the right to freedom, but you're blessed to exercise your independence!

Romans 6:1-3 (The Message) “So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—anew life in a new land!”

6:12-14 (The Message) “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember,you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.”

Blessed in the land of the free in the US and in Jesus!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Conception of a Dream

PhotobucketFor years I knew that God wanted me to write a book. It was one of those dreams that was in me but it wasn't very pressing. I knew that someday, somehow, someway, God would give me more direction. Well, last year after our Corpus Christi Living the Life Women's Conference, the book idea was birthed from my message. The dream was conceived. I now knew what I was to write about!

As with any pregnancy, there is a nine month preparation period. Well, since last year's conference, life has been very busy and crazy (as it always is!), but with determined vigor and focused efforts, I made myself sit down and write. I'll be honest with you, it wasn't easy. At times I was so tired that I wondered whether I had anything good to say. At other times, I felt like I didn't have words at all. However, when it is GOD who conceives something in you, that dream comes from Him and so does the inspiration and motivation to bring it to pass. I endured my trying trimesters and kept on writing.

Due to unexpected life circumstances, it delayed me writing my book by my deadline. It was now mid June and as a result, I had to find a different editor and publisher FAST, not to mention additional monies! I was beside myself. I just prayed and asked God for His intervention. I was amazed at how within a two day period, God provided EVERYTHING I needed. Yes, within two days!! I received it as God's divine provision and affirmation that my book was His will and more than that, His message.

I now pause to ask, "So what about you? Has God conceived something in you?" I pray that the Lord will give you clarity, strength, determination and provision to help you bring it to fruition. Don't give up on your dreams! Yes, life throws us curve balls and we may be detoured or delayed, but choose to be determined and focused as you trust Him who gave you the dream to begin with. After all, it is still His dream. He just chose you to be the carrier. He is the one who brings it to pass!

Well, I'm eight months pregnant with "Living it Up! Four Lifestyle Keys to Help You Live the Life Jesus Came to Give" and my baby will soon be birthed in September. I'm a happy and blessed momma to be!! My greatest desire and prayer is that my book will help countless of believers (or even nonbelievers!) to grow in their personal relationship with God and live the life Jesus came to give in greater measure.

My prayer for you is that God will continue to develop in you His dream (or dreams) and that the pregnancy process will birth His destiny in your life in amazing ways! AMEN.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Draw Me Nearer!

As some of you may remember, our theme for last year’s Corpus Christi conference was “Reaching Higher” and our song was inspired by the woman with the issue of blood who pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. Well, this year, our conference theme is “Draw Me Nearer” and our new theme song was inspired by another woman found in the Bible.

As I was writing the lyrics for our new song, the Holy Spirit showed me a picture of Mary, the sister of Martha. Remember them? Imagine with me. Martha is frantically going back and forth from the kitchen to serve Jesus and whoever else was there. After all, this was her house and she was wanting to be a proper host. Then, out of nowhere, Mary decides to take a break to sit at Jesus’ feet. Well, as we know, Martha didn’t quite like that, but Jesus quickly reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the best part.

I don’t know about you, but I can probably relate most to Martha as there are always things to do, places to go and people to see. However, I am reminded by the Holy Spirit (almost on a daily basis!) that I need to slow down and spend some time before my Master and choose the best part. These two women loved Jesus. Martha was a servant. Mary was a worshiper and guess what? We can be both.

As you read the lyrics to our conference theme song this year below, I ask you to read them out loud and make it your prayer today. May we be reminded of Mary and how like her, we too need to take time out of our busy schedules to be still before our Lord and cry out to Him, “Draw Me Nearer!”

May I sit at Your feet
Let this world fade away
As You sing over me
With the unforced rhythms of Your grace

May I gaze into Your eyes
Will You speak life to me
Let Your words pierce my heart
May they bring me to my knees

Draw me nearer, closer to You
Take me deeper in the shelter of Your hiding place
Pull me further into the depths of Your endless love
Draw me nearer in the mysteries of
the mysteries of You

I cry holy cause Your worthy
I cry holy cause Your worthy
I cry holy cause Your worthy
I cry holy cause Your worthy

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Real Me

We just had a wonderful time in Taft, Texas this past weekend as the Living the Life team and I shared with a group of women. One of my talks was entitled "The Real Me".

I shared about how we need to take off our masks before God and before one another. Jesus warned against wearing masks like the Pharisees:

"...But Jesus' primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, "Watch yourselves carefully so you don't get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can't keep your true self hidden forever; before long you'll be exposed. You can't hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town." Luke 12:1-3 (Message)

Jesus is concerned for us. Lord help us NOT to be phony or double minded! We are not to pretend to be something that we're not. A great example of someone who chose to be real is the woman who poured the expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus as she washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Mary's story can be found in all four gospels.

Mary knew Jesus was the real deal and came to a breaking point. She made a decision that she was not going to keep living the same way anymore. Unlike Simon the Pharisee who was hiding behind his mask of religion, Mary chose to remove her mask of reputation and be real with Jesus. That's not to mention that she did this during a dinner party in a room FULL of people. Wow! She was being real and didn't care who was there to see it. Yes, she was criticized by Simon and others, but Jesus defended her realness and her act of worship to Him. As a result, she found forgiveness, healing and freedom. And not only that, the fragrance of her perfume filled the room and served as a witness to all.

I want us to be encouraged that this world is not looking for perfect Christians, just REAL Christians. Christians who choose to remove their masks of religion, reputation, self preservation, etc. to allow Jesus to shine through their true faces. You'd be surprised how God can use those blemishes we try to hide. Those scars can serve as a testimony to others of how in the midst of our brokenness and pain, we found hope in a God who forgives, heals and restores.

Choose to show your true face to God and to others so you can be trustworthy and gracious enough to allow others to be real with you, too. After all, God is not glorified in perfection, but in brokenness. I love these lyrics from Natalie Grant's song entitled "The Real Me":

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see
When you look at me
You're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
A perfect tapestry
I just wanna be me

But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Oh,Cause you see the real me

And you love me just as I am
Wonderful, beautiful is what you see
When you look at me


Friday, May 8, 2009

To All Our Mommas....


I want to dedicate this post to my sweet mother. She is amazing in so many ways. She has taught me many things, not only by her words, but by her example. I'd like to share three life lessons I've learned from my mom that I pray will help you as they help me.

1. Keep God First. My mom has walked with God since she was 16 years old and since then, God has been #1 in her life. Even my dad jokingly says that he was jealous of God in my mom's life during their dating and early marriage years, because he knew there was a part of my mother's heart that he couldn't have. Even though it was difficult for my mom because my dad was not a believer for 15 years of their marriage, she never stopped going to church and taking all four of us children with her. Matthew 6:33 (NLT) says, "Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." She knew if she put God first, that God would take care of us and He always did.

2. The Prayer of Faith Works. My mom is a woman of prayer and a woman of faith and when you combine those two things, watch out! My mom prayed for my dad's salvation for 21 years! She never gave up hope that God would reach my dad even in his rebellious, alcoholic and stubborn state. She wholeheartedly believed Acts 16:31 (NLT) which says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." My dad did come to the Lord Jesus and now even ministers God's word! She knows how to stand on God's promises.

3. Love others more than yourself. My mom is the most selfless person I know. She is not only faithfully loves and serves her family, but many others. If you ask anyone who knows my mom to say one thing about my mom, it would probably be that she gives without asking for anything in return. She gives her time and talent like no one else I know. If there is a need that she can help fill, she does. Jesus told His disciples, "The greatest among you must be a servant." Matthew 23:11 (NLT) She truly is a servant in every essence of the word.

Let's declare the praises of our moms this Mother's Day as we thank God for them!

Proberbs 31:28-29 (NLT) says, "Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Bully of Stress

Lately it seems that stress has become a person that follows me around everywhere I go, lurking behind every corner and staring at me with a snickering smile like a bully that's ready to pound on me. Why do I say that? Well, have you ever had days of overload at work and more things to do than you have time in the day for? A list of "gotta get done" stuff that keeps piling up? Ever been there? Some of you might be thinking, "When am I NOT there?!" It's just like that insurance commercial with the big red spot, "I'm there!"

I have found a way to beat the bully of stress if I only choose to do so. Simply said, it's prayer. Yes, seriously! My prayer times with God lately provide not only a time of fellowship between the Father and I, but a time of release and restoration. I encourage you to go to Him open hearted and open armed and "cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)

In James 4:7-10 (Message) we are reminded:

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

I love that verse. In those moments in His presence, tears can be shed, stress can be relieved, faith can be lifted and joy can be restored. The bully of stress has to scamper! Prayer truly is a wonderful source of life and peace when stress is wanting to bully us around. Don't succomb to the stress (a/k/a the "joysuckers") in your life.

So stand up to the bully of stress today by getting on your knees before our Heavenly Father. Choose to put on a smile every day and speak God's word over yourself and your circumstances. EVERYTHING is subject to change and with diligent faith in action, they do. Sometimes, it is us who change and that is good, too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Living the Life "2 for 1" Spring Special!

Hello my friends!

I wanted to share an exciting promotional opportunity for the Living the Life Women's Conference 2009 on September 18-19, 2009 at the Selena Auditorium. For the month of April ONLY, buy 1 registration and get 1 free!! What a great deal at just $25!

Please visit us online at www.LivingTheLifeCC.com to register. Pray about who you can bring with you and share the news with your friends. Don't delay, register today!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Benefits of Good Friends

As I shared in my previous blog, I recently celebrated my birthday. It was great. Even though I had to work during the day, our evening was wonderful.

After dropping off the kiddos with grandma and grandpa, James and I met some friends for dinner . We enjoyed some tasty wings in a variety of flavors including the super hot ones! After that, I was treated to a piece of rich chocolate cake with a scoop of yummy vanilla ice cream. Don't worry, I shared the calories, I mean my cake.:) Afterwards, we headed off to a coffee shop and hung out while I enjoyed a delicous latte. Yes, I probably gained about 10 pounds that night, but that was alright. To finish out my night, we attended our church's worship night which ended at midnight. It was the icing on the cake to spend time in my heavenly Father's arms as my birthday came to an end.

What I cherished most (besides ending my night in worship!) was the sweet fellowship and warmth of being around some of our closest friends. Being around our dear friends was like breath of fresh air. Knowing that you can be yourself with a group of people that will not judge you, but love you truthfully and openly, and sincerely listen to you is priceless. Due to our busy schedules, we don't usually get to hang out very much, but I know they are there for James and I as we are there for them.

I also have some close girlfriends that I know I can call upon at any time, day or night, with any problem or even a praise, for whom I am grateful for. God created us to be connected to others. I hope that you have a circle of friends that you connect with on a regular basis. Perhaps, you don't have a group of friends quite like that. I encourage you to find them!

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Friendships are especially strong when they are Christ centered.

Here are few tips to help you find godly friendships:

(1) Go to church regularly. A family of faith is essential to spiritual and relational growth.

(2) Participate in bible study groups. Small groups are a great way to build personal relationships and promote spiritual growth, too.

(3) Participate in volunteer work either at church or community organizations. You'll often find individuals who are passionate about something that you may be passionate about which may spark a special friendship.

Lastly, maybe God is calling YOU to be a good friend. So many times, we tend to be takers, but God wants us to be givers, too. Examine your relationships and ask God to help you be a good friend to those around you. You'll be amazed at how precious you may become to someone who needs a breath of fresh air in their life!

If you have some dear friends, share a praise for them on this blog!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celebrating Who I Am

There are few times a year that we are compelled to pause and take inventory of ourselves and our lives. We often celebrate these times as new beginnings. One of those times is of course the new year. Another may be the season of Spring which we have just entered. Another one for me is my birthday which is only a few days away. I can't believe that I'll be turning 38! Yes, I said it. When I was a teenager, I used to think that being 40 years old was well, old. But now that I'm creeping closer to the big 4-0, I don't quite agree anymore. I'm told that 50 is now the new 40 and I like that. I'm not getting old, just old-er.

I think that we as women have been given a bad wrap on this age thing. We are suppose to look like we're 25 when we're 45; however, men who are 45 can have gray hair and a some wrinkles and still be handsome since those age factors only add "character". However you see age for men or women, it should not be something that defines us, but instead improves us. Scripture tells us:

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."
Proverbs 16:31

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

God doesn't want us to necessarily grow old, but rather grow up and grow wiser. With that wisdom comes understanding and celebrating how fearfully and wonderfully made we are in Him. He designed every fiber of our being inside and out, even those things we don't particularly like about ourselves, like my big knees. Even so, it's a powerful thing to know that there is no one on earth quite like you or quite like me. We are each an original.

So as my gray hair is starting to peek through again, God reminds me that I am growing wiser in Him. This birthday, I will be thankful for everything God has done in my life so far and for all that He will do in the coming year. I will celebrate who I am in Him....yes, even the gray hair and wrinkles!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hand in Hand

Are you waiting on God for something right now? Perhaps, it is an answer to a specific prayer or clarity on His direction. Maybe you already know what you need to do, and are now waiting on His timing. That can be hard at times.

Being in ministry has made me realize that God has a definite plan for me and with His plan comes His perfect timing. At times I am anxious and want to go ahead of Him. Other times, I am fearful or uncertain and delay my obedience to Him. The best way I have learned to follow Him is to walk with Him "hand in hand." I do that by being in daily relationship with Him. As long as I am holding onto His hand, I can feel His gentle tug to slow down or His tightening pull to move forward.

Lately, I confess that I have been feeling a bit anxious and I hear Him telling me, "Be patient." At the same time, I can picture a big grin on His face letting me know something GREAT is coming just around the corner. Well, I don't know if you are like me, but patience is NOT my best virtue! However, I'm learning. Learning to wait on my God and trust His timing. I know He has everything worked out for my good even when I don't see it and He knows exactly when it will come to pass.

The daily relationship of seeking Him in prayer and His word allows me to be able to hear and recognize His voice. Do you recognize when He speaks to you?

"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him (the true Shepherd), and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out....they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger..." John 10:2-5a (NLT)

He knows you by name and knows exactly how to lead you. Walk hand in hand with Him daily and trust His timing. He will give you what you need including patience to wait or courage to move forward. Believe that He has something great for you around the corner as you choose to walk with Him. He is grinning at you from ear to ear!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cut Off the "Dead Stuff"

This past weekend my family and I took some time to clean up our yard. Boy, did it need it! My husband pruned some ginger and hibiscus plants that had grossly overgrown due to neglect on our part. Ginger and hibiscus plants are usually beautiful, but mine weren't. They had dead parts hanging everywhere! It was not a pretty site. I'm sure our neighbors were GLAD that we finally cleaned it up.

My sweet boys helped me clean up the dead stuff that had been cut off. Aren't they adorable? I just love 'em!

Photobucket Photobucket

Well, as you can see, not everything that my husband cut off was brown dead stuff, but unfortunately, it had to go, too. This pruning process reminded me how God needs to prune us sometimes due to our neglect of letting things get out of hand.

"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." John 15:1-4 (NLT)

I admit that I sometimes let things get out of hand in my life as I allow too many things on my plate and God reminds me that it's okay for me to say "no." What about you? Is there something you need to cut off or cut out? God's goal is that we bear much fruit. This pruning process can sometimes be a little painful as we sometimes get attached to things we have to let go of, but it is vital to us being fruitful. The "dead stuff" (a/k/a dead works) are the things that keep us busy, but don't keep us fruitful and often lead to us neglecting those things that are important.

We must keep our priorities in line and pursue those things which God wants us to pursue because it is in those things that we find peace and fulfillment. A balanced life is essential to a fruitful life.

Photobucket I didn't think to take a picture of the before, but here's a pic of how my yard looks now. So much better! It was worth the process. May we allow God, our gentle gardener, to cut off the dead stuff so we can bear MORE fruit for Him. Even if there's an "ouch!" at first, soon there will be an "aww...better!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Lone Rangers Here!

I just got back from a "Walk to Emmaus" weekend retreat Sunday night. It was an amazing experience that I will cherish the rest of my life. Emmaus is international so if you ever get the opportunity to go, you really should! I plan on paying it forward and sponsoring a "Pilgrim" myself.

In addition to feeling refreshed, this weekend reminded me how important it is to BE in a community of believers and to SERVE in loving and reaching others with a greater understanding of Christ. The two greatest commandments Jesus gave us are:

“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)

Life is truly about relationships. Photobucket
We begin with the vertical relationship with God and learn how to better love horizontally as well. We can only love others to the extent we love ourselves. This love flows from God to us and it should flow from us to others. Here are a few questions to ponder:

~Are you connected to a community of believers (a/k/a a church)?
If not, don't wait any longer to find a church family. You can only flourish when you are planted.

~Are you involved in serving others whether at your church or other ministry?
If not, think about what gifts you have that you could contribute and get involved!

~Do you have friends that support you and hold you accountable?
If not, pray that God will show you who these trusting and godly individuals are.

True growth happens in community. God does not call lone rangers. Remember, not even Jesus went at it alone. He had a group of men that no, weren't perfect, but they were walking and growing with Christ. These disciples were there for Him as He was there for them. We need one another.

We were created to be in relationship and we NEED to have healthy relationships that will challenge us to grow in our faith. If you have unhealthy relationships in your life that are hindering your relationship with God, pray about how God would have you deal with them and be obedient. Then, seek to be a healthy connector yourself so others can grow from being in relationship with YOU.

What a blessing it is to be actively connected to the community of God. To all my Emmaus brothers and sisters, "De Colores!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Playing Catch Up

So I started this year really excited and ready to write down my goals and commit them to the Lord. Can I be honest with you and say that I have yet to do that! Yes, I have prayed about them and feel God's direction, but I haven't written them down and prayed over them. It seems that it takes a week to recover from the holiday craziness, especially since we went out of town on New Year's Day. Then we had things going on the following weekend and guess what? Another full weekend coming up. In addition to all that, my whole family has been sharing symptoms of the cold, sinus or cough. I don't like seeing my babies sick. I'm not feeling well right now, but wanted to write because I was wondering if anyone out there is going through this, too?

We all have periods where we wish we could stop time and stop the world and its craziness so we can "catch up". I'm there right now. There are so many things I want to get done at home and ministry wise, but somehow I have to slow down and be content to "do what I can."

Yesterday, my sister called me as she was looking for certain scriptures in the bible and was wondering if I knew where they were. As we talked, she shared with me how she had been seeking God lately and how refreshed she felt despite of having to deal with some issues herself (she had a horrible fall last week not to mention some other things going on). I was so blessed by our conversation and felt the Lord reminding me of how precious our time with Him really is.

I realized that I can stop time and stop the world and its craziness when I stop to spend quality time with my heavenly Father. As I catch up with Him, He then helps me to catch up with life. I'm sure you know this as do I, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded, especially when He uses those around us we love most to gently nudge us toward Him.

I don't know where you are spiritually, physically or emotionally. Maybe you're being worn down by other things besides sickness, but know that Jesus is asking:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (Message)

Now, that's how I want to live...freely and lightly! I think it's time I stop trying to play "catch up" with life and simply catch up with God. Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Courage to Go!

Here we are in 2009! Do you sense it? Do you hear Him? I do. I feel that God is calling me to cross over into new territory this year. What about you?

For months God has been ministering to me through the book of Joshua and I'm continually encouraged at how God delivered His children from slavery into freedom, from poverty to prosperity and from homelessness to possessing THE land.

I want us to stop and think of God's dedication to His people. Here were the Israelites whom God had delivered from Egypt with a purpose and a dream to take them into the promise land. Then, the Israelites (not quite your most courageous bunch in the world) couldn't trust the dream God had for them. So for forty years God was patient and faithful to them. He provided everything they needed. Then, it was time. Time for God's dream for His children to come to pass (finally!) and Joshua was the man of the hour.

Joshua called the people together and began to give them instructions on what they needed to do. I like how some of the men responded to Joshua, "We will do whatever you command us and we will go wherever you send us." (Joshua 1:16) What a great attitude to have! God knew they were ready this time to do what needed to be done. Crossing the Jordan River would be the beginning of all that God had in store for them to possess their promise land. They were ready. Are you? Do you trust God's dream for yourself?

Sometimes it's hard to believe God for ourselves. We easily believe and pray for other people and see God work. But when it comes to our own lives or situations, it's more difficult. Even though no one feels your doubt or fear as much as you do, you must remember that this is not your dream, but His dream for you. Dare to believe Him to halt the Jordan River or crash the walls of Jericho that stand in the way. God never gave up on the Israelites nor on His dream for them. He was completely dedicated to them...as He is to you. He has been patient and He continues to be faithful. He has not given up on you nor on His dream for you.

Now do you sense it? Do you hear Him? It's time. No more excuses. He wants to bring His dream for you to pass. Or maybe, He has new territory for you to possess this year. Hear Him calling. Believe Him. Trust Him. May our response to God in 2009 be: "We will do whatever you command us and we will go wherever you send us!"