2017 – REBUILD

rebuildeng

The Year of REBUILDING – 2017

Over the month of December, I have seen in the spirit realm hammers over people’s heads. I have seen saws, wrenches and other tools over individuals that God has provided for them to rebuild their life.  I believe in these visualizations that God is profoundly speaking to all of us.  This is a season of His mercy over us.  Cry out for God’s mercy and allow His grace and love to settle your hearts and establish you.  Submit yourself to the One who created you and allow Him to rebuild, reconstruct, re-erect, and reestablish you.  This is the time, the heavenly re-set has begun!

There is one prayer that our heavenly Father always answer. And that is the prayer of His mercy.  Mercy is not receiving what you and I deserve.  Mercy is God’s love displayed to us in the midst of us being selfish, stubborn, imperfect, prideful and down-right mean.  Psalm 103 is a good portion of scripture to meditate on that exhibits God’s character of mercy.    I am so thankful we have a compassionate and gracious God.

The main reason God is NOT into condemnation is because His goal towards us is transformation. As followers of Christ, we are called to be transformed.  It is crucial that we understand that this transformation happens best in a healthy environment of mercy.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2)

In the preceding verse, Paul urges his readers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices as they comprehend God’s great mercy. We see that transformation truly only flourishes “in view of God’s mercy.”

This is my commentary: as we ponder, and think on God’s great mercy, we offer ourselves up to Him, because we know that He is the only one who can transform us.  We can’t “white knuckle” it, and we can’t “try harder.” For years, I believed it was my duty to beat myself up for all the bad and wrong I had done.  These self-flagellations never produced real or lasting change within me.  It was only when I threw myself on His throne of grace, that I was able to find His mercy.  My transformation began as I exchanged all of my shame and fear for His mercy.  Ultimately, all of our desired change occurs in the hands of our heavenly Father who is slow to anger and who abounds in great love.  Robert Gelinas states it this way, “God’s mercy is for sinners, and God’s mercy is also for those who are in pain.”

“Son of David, have mercy on me……”

Over and over as you read the New Testament, you see people calling out to Jesus to impart His mercy towards them. In not one place, can you see that He denied this request.  I invite you to go through the gospels and read of the humble state of men and women who knew to appeal to God’s mercy.  Every time this request is cried to our savior, it was from people who needed to be delivered from great pain and suffering, NOT because of a sin they had committed.  One could say that mercy is God’s grace in action.

The mercy God offers us brings true forgiveness and lasting transformation. It is a change that actually converts our very identity.   Think on this…we are invited to be a part of God’s family as adopted children.  When we are able to embrace this level of identity change, transformation explodes in our life!

One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 121:5, “The LORD is my keeper; The LORD is my shade on my right hand.” God’s mercy becomes a shade, or a covering over our life.  This allows us to flourish under His love because it is a place of protection and safety.  Here in this place, His garden, we can grow up into all that He has called us to.  We can become that tree of righteousness that was planted and He gets ALL the glory. (Psalm 1:3)

In the New Year that is before us, my prayer and hope is that we would all be nurtured and developed into our true identity, according to God’s deep mercy. May we all get into the habit of praying, “O God, have mercy on me!”

As we enter into 2017 may it be a year for all of us to fully enter into the words spoken in Isaiah 58, “those from among you shall build the old wasted places, you shall raise up the foundations of many generations.” Today, do not delay, pick up your spiritual hammers and tools and place yourself before the One who can shape and form you into something marvelous.

Love, Lisa (#bebrave)

“God remembered us in our lowly state, His mercy endures forever.

He rescued us from all our enemies, His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:23-24,26 NKJV

 

Friends With Benefits

friendship

I always like to take the week between Christmas and New Year and contemplate all of the past year. For me, 2016 was packed full of surprises, pain, joy and tight pressure from situations that God used to shape me more into His image.  Sometimes restricting me to the point where I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  But God……

As I was sitting in my easy chair today, drinking my lukewarm coffee, I began to entertain the thought of how rich I have become. Now, before you think I am bragging, please understand that my fullness does not come from earthly possessions or material treasures.  Rather, my wealth is found in the abundance of amazing people that have chosen to walk through this season of life with me.  To be specific, my girlfriends.

So, I have decided to dedicate this blog to all the incredibly strong women in my life. Some I have only known for a few months and others, I have known for over 30 years.  Each of you are special, unique and my life would be poverty stricken without you in it.

When I ponder all my girlfriends, tears well up and begin to fall on my lap. I have always prayed and asked God to bring people into my life that He knows will be best for me and wow! has He answered that prayer a thousand-fold!

I think of my oldest friend who has recently moved away and I don’t get to see as much, but now I have a beautiful lake house to go enjoy the hill country with. And then there is my oldest homeschool, all girls family friend, who is like a blood sister in so many ways.  We can go months without speaking and then pick right back up where we last left.

I have some friends who have lived across from me or next to me and know things that no one else does – hee hee!   I pause to muse on one of my newest friends who I found through a “google” search and realized she lived only 25 minutes from my house – my life is so much richer!  I remember friends who have mentored me from afar through their books and writings and then become mentors in the faith for me close up.  Friends who have encouraged me, cheered me on, trusted me and loved me unconditionally.

There are so many friends whom I have raised my girls with, cried with, prayed with, and laughed with. Bold and beautiful….women who are leaders in their ministry, or work place and home.  Tall girlfriends, short ones, little and petite and the lovely curvy ones.  For me, each woman represents a special answer to my prayers.

Our marriages have not been perfect, and our kids certainly have not been. But these women have modeled and shown me how to be strong in weakness.  I think of all the scriptures we have memorized together over the years, all the bible studies we have done, and the long telephone conversations asking each other questions and sometimes never arriving at an answer.

{Big Sigh} Would you like to take the time to sit back with me and name all the wonderfully, imperfect people in your life? You may be surprised and end up embracing a new level of hope and joy, as I have.

I pray you have a friend who will bail you out of jail when there was a big misunderstanding over a check you wrote, or a friend who will drive for hours in the night just to see you.  I pray you have a friend who will allow you the luxury of staying at her house when you needed a fun place to stay instead of paying for a hotel.  Or perhaps you need a friend who knows just the right cheesy card to send you when you are having a bad day.

Bravo, bravo to all the wives who I have sobbed with and counseled to keep loving their marriage, their spouse and their family. Sometimes, the world tells you to “just throw in the towel”….but that was NEVER an option for you!   Thank You!  For I have become a better person because YOU didn’t quit!

Here, here to girlfriends! Homage to all the women who refuse to give up!  Who don’t back down and love a good challenge.  Blessings to all the fearless ladies who have raised children, kept their marriages, sometimes with passion and sometimes with pain, cooked countless meals, cleaned up poop and throw up and then rescued the neighborhood’s stray animal.  To all the women and ladies who have ministered to the homeless, counted out their last change to give away, and who stood and believed when you were not able….

WELL DONE! You are a good and faithful servant and friend!

I love to read Oswald Chambers, My Upmost for His Highest. At the beginning of every year, I read the first post, January 1.  At the close of his writing, Oswald states, “When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn’t know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point— He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only— my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.”

I am so blessed to be surrounded by women who have determined to keep themselves entirely for HIM! For Christ alone. I have not done this perfectly, and neither have they, but I sure am grateful that we know the One who did!

To all the faithful ones, the forgiven, the saints……thank you Robin, Nicole, Tina, Michelle, Charlotte, DeeAnn, Maggie, Kathi, Gloria, Susan, Gail, Carolyn, Angela, Kim, Toni, LeeAnn, Diana, Victoria, Jean, Monica, Jodi, Ghia, Melissa, Billie, Amanda, Gigi, Tiffani, Ronnie, Adryanna, Shannon, Vanessa, Laura, and of course, Carissa, Loryn and Kaleigh Ann, my 3 “grown up” angels.  #bebrave

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