Category: Encouragement

Sharing support, courage & hope

Still Enough to Hear

In Directions, James Hamilton writes:

Before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food. Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In the winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses, and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer.

an ice house

One man lost a valuable watch while working in an ice house. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.

Amazed, the men asked him how he found it.

“I closed the door,” the boy replied, “lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”

Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough, and quiet enough, to hear.

Cheers to your listening,

Debbie

Excerpt taken from Phillip Gunter/Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching

The Illusion of Truth

Perhaps you have heard of this tendency, or perhaps it is more easily recognizable because you have lived it. It is rooted in the neuroscience behind the power of our words and basically says,

” any word we hear, read or speak daily has more truth to us… we don’t care if it is true or false, we believe it.”

Icytales.com “The Power of Words”

Neruoscience supports the power of words, both positive and negative.

Researchers, while monitoring brain responses to auditory and imagined negative words, discovered painful or negative words increase IMP (Implicit Processing). What that means is, negative words release stress and anxiety inducing hormones in subjects. Imagine that now, on a daily basis and its affects upon you, me, us. Those negative words produce not only anxiety and stress in me, but also in the way I see my world. They have built for me the lens through which I see people, events and my world.

” Positive and negative words affect us on a deep psychological level and have significant impact on the outcome of our lives.”

“The Neuroscience Behind Words” – Business Relationship Management Institute

But positive words have effects too, positive effects!

” A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”

Dr. Andrew Newberg- “Words Can Change Your Brain”

Dr. Newberg states that exercising positive thoughts can quite literally change one’s reality.

In fact, those positive words and ideas produce not just an illusion of truth, but a positive view of ourselves; and a positive view of ourselves, trains our brain to see good in others, because over time, our brain starts to change. (Dr. Newberg)

There is power in repetition. The more we read, speak or listen to a thing or idea, the more it controls us. Our brain uses repetitive words and phrases to search for meaning and make connections for us. That’s why –

” A repeated weak message is more powerful than a strong message heard only once.”

One single, repeated message can change your mind! (and life)

I know you beleive me. Look into your life and the words that have bombarded you. Look at their affects. Whether it be from a parent, teacher, friend, spouse, pastor…whether it be from the news, government, or CDC. ONE SINGLE, REPEATED MESSAGE CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND.

Words build present and future, but our thoughts are what become our words. That’s why I would like to challenge you to consider your thoughts. Because by exercising consistent, positive thoughts and speech, we change and how we see the world changes.

Therefore, I am calling on you to be intententional about what words you are reading, listening to and speaking. Turn off, shut out, and stop the negative words that have controlled your life. Now is the time. You can do it.

But then, your focus must be shifted to positive words and energy. Here’s a suggestion.

Write these 5 word pairs on a 3×5 card, or post-it. Heck, use several and make more than one. Then place these cards where ever you spend the most time. At your desk, on the bathroom mirror, on the car dash, near the remote control or game controller. Wherever you need to see these positive words repeatedly.

  1. Authentic and Real
  2. Honorable and Admirable
  3. Beautiful and Respectful
  4. Pure and Holy
  5. Merciful and Kind

THESE are the words and thoughts that can change your mind, your outlook and world. These repeated messages will cange the way you see yourself and others. By focusing on the positive, the good, real, honorable, beautiful, pure and kind, we will begin to believe those things. It won’t be an illusion. It is truth.

The influences in our society are repeating ideas and words that are becoming reality to some of us. What a tradegy.

But we hold between our ears the world’s most powerful computer with the ability to reframe reality. Words predict behavior. Words become thoughts. Thoughts become actions. Actions become habits.

Let’s take the first steps to begin retraining our brain – away from the negative, ugly and destructive and turning to the positive, beautiful, and hopefilled.

Now, go get those cards or post-its and start that list. 🙂 Today, a new, repeated message begins, because we are thinking on these things, speaking these things, and watching only these types of things. We are shutting out and turning off all other negative words, ideas and influences. We are choosing to focus on those things that are:

  1. Authentic and Real
  2. Honorable and Admirable
  3. Beautiful and Respectful
  4. Pure and Holy
  5. Merciful and Kind

This is no illusion of truth, this is the truth.

Cheers to you,

Debbie

A Lesson From the Birds

Last evening I was sitting on the patio just before sunset, when my vision was filled with hundreds of birds flying overhead, flocked together, and headed the same Southward direction. This was not the first time I have noticed these fancy fliers.

At our previous house, about 8 miles away from here, and 2-3 years ago, is when I first noticed these flocks, seemingly following the sunset. I found that I could darn near set my watch by them, 6:30 PM, October – March. It was then that my curiosity was stirred, but it piqued today, as I gave way to study for an explaination.

Why do they do this? Where are they going? What allows them to do so in such a scheduled way? How does such a large group of birds come together and head the same direction – happily chatting along the way, I might add.

They look something like this, except thousands fly overhead… they just keep coming and chatting. They don’t usually swarm and do fancy manuvers until they are over their roosting spot. My home, isn’t their roosting spot. So, all I see is bunches of squacking birds in the sky.

This is called a “crow murmuration”.

What’s happening is:

  1. The birds are returning to their roosting site. They leave in the morning to feed, and return in the evening. Their roosting and feeding spots can be far from each other.
  2. They fly in circular patterns to confuse predators, but actually their sheer size alone connfuses predators. Hence, this is literally called, “The confusion effect”.
  3. They are flying to find their roosting spot and warmth during the cold winter nights.

These murmurations can number from 100’s to 1,000’s of birds, all flying at sunset.

During these frenzied flight patterns some pretty cool things are actually happening. The birds are exchanging information on feeding sites that they found during the day. But some are making their territorial mating calls – telling their partner where they are. Scientists tell us that birds communicate more intensively during sunrise and sunset. And, they are loud and noisey too!

Crazy, smart and loud birds, right?

How do they know where to go? And what about those birds that migrate 1,000’s of miles, non-stop? How do they do it and know their course? The smart ones, who study such things, tell us that these birds can detect the energy of the Earth’s magnetic field. Built within them, is some sort of navigational compass that helps them to travel long distances.

I remember teaching Life Science years ago, at the middle school level and teaching about the magnetic particles, thought to be in the birds beak. These particles provided a navigational map used in conjunction with the Earth’s magnetic field that kept them on course. These tiny particles are so small, the magnetic pieces in the bird haven’t even been located yet. Scientists aren’t sure where they are.

But the most recent studies tell us that there are proteins in the birds eyes that allow them to visualize magnetic fields. And so, their sense of direction is associated with this field. There is even some research to suggest there may be parts of the birds inner ear that picks up on the currents of magnetism in the Earth’s atmosphere.

So, is the bird equipped with what it needs to navigate in it’s nose, eyes, or ears? We really don’t know for sure.

You know what else we don’t know? We don’t know how their brain processes all this. Scientists don’t know the part of their brain that handles this process and they don’t know how it actually processes these signals which are translated into directions for the birdie. The area of the brain where magnetic directional information is processed is still not clear.

Even the homing ability of the homing pigeon is based on the “map and compass” model – which detects Earth’s magnetic field. That smart lil bird has served as messengers to deliver communication, signals and even compete in long distance races. They too, have an inate homing ability that most often allows it to return to it’s nest, using, you got it, magnetoreception.

So, whether it be in the ophthalmic nerve in the upper beak, a protein in the eye, or a current buzzing in it’s ear, these birds have been created with a device within them, to bring them home, that science does not understand.

Why would we think we are any less than these birds?

“He has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiates 3:11

We too, have been created with a device within us, to bring us home, that science does not understand.

We would be wise to learn this lesson from the birds.

Cheers to you,

Debbie

“There’s no crying in baseball!”

Sunday Sermon 10.2.21

This is the classic line, spoken (yelled more like it) by Tom Hanks, in the role of the coach of an all ladies baseball team, the Rockford Peaches. You’ll remember, Evelyn had made a bad throw and takes the loud and very emotional correction of Coach Jimmy when arriving back on the sidelines, and in front of everyone. This, of course, breaks her and she starts crying. The Coach, unable to process her feelings expressed in liquid words then quips, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Doesn’t she know the rules? How can she cry? That’s not allowed. No matter the crushing feelings, there’s no crying allowed. Every tear, whether liquid words or not, must be stuffed, capped, controlled and shut down. That’s how you play the game!

Well, let’s step back from that great movie of 1992, “A League of Their Own”, and ask, is that how we play the game? Are those the rules that we are trying to live by?

  • no crying allowed
  • stuff those emotions
  • cap those feelings
  • control that pain
  • shut down that sensitivity
  • hide your soul
  • protect yourself

I recently attended a study that challenged those “rules” afresh for me. In that study, Christina said,

“Emotions are like children. We don’t lock them in the trunk and we don’t let them drive.”

Christina at OasisOC

She went on to include these statements…

” Feelings buried alive will never die” and “You have to feel it to heal it.”

I am telling you, these truths have rocked my world recently. They have challenged the lies and rules that have crept into my thinking that say, “Just suck it up”, “It’ll get better”, “Grow up”, “Take control”, “That’s not spiritual” and so on.

You see, our emotions are God-given. He has them, too. He gave them to us. If we lock them in the trunk and ignore their screaming, we are ignoring what He is saying to us. We are limiting Him. But neither do we allow them to drive our life. Somewhere there is a balance. Somewhere the rules have got to change.

This week, after setting out a while back to study the Psalms again, I had to press the pause button on that study, only a third of the way through the book. Why? There were waaaaaaaaay too many emotions and feelings being shared and I was kinda feeling overwhelmed. David and the other writers were sharing so raw and real, I was having trouble processing it all.

Look at some of these statements –

  • I was in distress
  • can you hear my groaning?
  • their words are unreliable
  • smooth talking deceivers
  • my eyes of faith won’t focus anymore
  • please deal with me gently
  • they give birth to lies
  • Lord, you seem so far away
  • don’t forget me
  • why have you hidden yourself
  • everyone lies, everyone flatters. everyone deceives. Nothing but empty talk, smooth talk and double talk. Words are weapons, twisted tongues, lying lips, high minded talk THIS IS JUST 1 PSALM, PSALM 12

Folks, these phrases come directly from the first 12 Psalms. (And there are 150 of them!)

Here too, is a short list of other emotions that we see in the Psalms.

  • joy
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • harm
  • impatience
  • sorrow
  • depression
  • anger
  • guilt
  • lonliness
  • brokenhearted
  • helplessness
  • betrayal
  • sadness
  • frustration

We see clearly raw and ugly emotions expressed and not covered up or locked in the trunk of these writers. What we can learn from them is that our emotions and expression of them comes as no surprise to God nor do they carry judgment or shame from Him. They are our emotions, and it is for us to process them in His truth and mercy and not allow them to be stuffed.

Those emotions are like a check engine light in our cars. We need to discover the issue that is causing the light to come on. Not simply seek to ignore the light. Damage will ensue should we not find out why that emotion is lighting us up. (Thanks again to Christina for this picture)

Jesus is taking us down the path of alignment. He wants our head and our heart to line up. That means our heart must be connected not detatched from feelings and emotions. Therapists call it being “affected”. Allowing yourself to be affected brings your head and heart into agreement.

” I’ve wanted my words and my ways to always agree.”

David, in Psalms17:3

In these days, so many of us are dealing with feelings that are just plain overwhelming and the “rules” that have been engrained into us about the expression of those feelings is becoming unmanagable as well. Well, guess what… who made those rules and why are we playing by them?

We are made for so much more! You were made for authentic, whole, and perfectly aligned body, soul and spirit. But that does not come from playing by the “throw the kids in the trunk” philosophy. Learning to allow the kids/emotions into our car/life and seated in their rightful place is a lasting work that only God, our designer can help us with.

Our emotional God wants to heal in us the cause of that emotion, the actual issue lighting up the check engine button. Why we tend to feel that way, why we respond that way. He wants to take our hand and with us look at it, see it in His truth, and walk away from it free and embraced by His love, peace and purpose.

In our heart is the secret of it all. In our heart lie the secret issues that have led us to believe we cannot express or be free from certain feelings. Buried in our heart are the lies of our shame, fear, lonliness, betrayal and hurt. His truth must shine there and realign our feelings to His truth.

Your Heavenly Father wants you to be healed, whole, and live in the truth of His love. That means being emotional but Spirit led. That means recognizing and admiting those feelings but not letting them drive your life.

Today, you are one conversation with God away from freedom and authenticity, alignment of Spirit and soul. He cares for you, feels for you, longs to see you happy and free, not stiffled or shut down. Please don’t bottle things up anymore. Have that conversation with Him.

And one more thing, there can be crying anywhere your liquid words need expression, even in baseball.

Cheers to you,

Debbie

Feeling Trashed?

Trashed” – not a pretty word. It carries all sorts of meanings, I know. But, let’s just take it at face value, shall we? When something is trash, it is used up, worn out, maybe even broken, old, and just plain done with. Right?

Well, it is my sense that those descriptors just may fit you or someone you know.

Allow me to expand that list:

  • stressed
  • in distress
  • squeezed
  • can’t seem to focus
  • helpless
  • hurting
  • enduring
  • in the dark
  • chaos
  • forgotten

You see, I know of a man, who’s life, I actually took each of these descriptions from. He used each of them to paint for us his feelings of being trashed. Check out one of his quotes,

” I am totally forgotten… discarded like a broken dish thrown in the trash.”

From his poems – chapter 31

Seriously, this guy was in bad shape. Every single description in the above bulleted list, comes from his poem book. He is totally trashed! He was squeezed beyond measure, hurting deeply and seeing chaos all around him.

His enemies were actually chasing him in hot pursuit to kill him. Physically kill him. This is not metaphor.

This guy understood being trashed on every level. He knew being squeezed, emptied, worn out, broken, used up and spent. He lived ups and downs, highs and lows, depression and ecstasy.

He had visions of where he wanted to be, what he wanted to be doing and the life he was currently in was NOT it. His dreams were dashed, his desires dried up and his drive destroyed.

So, if you, or that one you know is feeling trashed, you are not alone and not the first, unfortunately.

C’mon, at some level and for some duration all of us have been in the dumps – been trashed, haven’t we? Of course, we have.

So let me use his words, to encourage us all:

“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep waiting – for he will never disappoint you!”

Psalm 27:14 TPT

Such good advice to us:

  • don’t give up
  • don’t be impatient
  • be entwined with the Lord
  • be brave
  • be courageous
  • never lose hope
  • keep waiting
  • He (the Lord) will never disapoint you

OKAY! I needed that. Such wisdom and insight, from someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be trashed. Thanks, David. (well before he was King David)

Cheers to you,

Debbie

Your amazing

Heart

Pick a song with heart in the title. Go ahead, think of one.

Did you pick one of these top 5 or from another genre?

  • My Heart Will Go On
  • This is How a Heart Breaks
  • Un-break My Heart
  • Heartbreaker
  • Cold, Cold Heart

We sing about the heart often, don’t we? And we even have tons of phrases and idioms about the heart, like:

  • a big heart
  • all heart
  • eat your heart out
  • heavy heart
  • lose heart
  • out of the goodness of your heart
  • with all your heart
  • take heart

But do we think about the heart very often? Seriously? What consideration do we give to that organ so critical to our survival? Well, today, I’d like to change that.

Let’s consider your amazing heart –

That one pound, fist-sized muscle that sits toward the center of your chest, that pumps blood through your body, bringing fresh, new oxygenated blood to each organ, while removing waste products and keeping them away from your tissues.

It is the work horse of your body, beating 100,00-115,000 times a day, circulating 2,000 gallons of blood every day, through a network of over 60,000 miles of stretched out blood vessels. (That’s enough for 2 times around the world!)

Think about what it does everyday within your chest, and most likely without you even being aware.

Your heart’s main function is to keep blood full of Oxygen and circulating through your body. It pumps blood through a system of blood vessels and that’s called circulating. The vessels are elastic, muscular tubes that carry blood to the entire body. Blood of course, is essential for life.

The heart carries fresh blood, filled with Oxygen, from the lungs and keeps wastes like CO2 away from our tissues. Arteries are the highways that carry the blood away from the heart. Veins take the blood back to the heart for their dose of Oxygen and waste removal. The capillaries are small, thin blood vessels that connect arteries and veins and it is through the capillary walls that the wastes leave.

I NEVER think about this stuff. (Unless I have a lesson to teach on it) Do you? The heart just does it’s job, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. It just keeps on ticking…

That heart beat itself is triggered electrically! There are specialized cells called the SA node (sinoatrial node), that actually generates an electrical stimulus, 60-100 times a minute. Then there’s another set of cells that coordinate the speed of the signal, by slowing it down, so that the blood gets ejected from the atria to the ventricles before the ventricles contract. Otherwise, you’ve got big problems.

Then there are those ventricles and antrim. You remember them from Biology, right? The four chambers on the inside of your heart…

The four chambers of your heart are hallow and divided by a wall called the septum. The top two chambers are the atria, and the botom chambers the ventricles. Connecting each of the four chambers, are four, one-way valves, whose job it is to keep the blood from flowing in the wrong direction. Each valve has two or three leaflets or cusps.

Blood enters the right side of your heart and empties Oxygen poor blood into the right atrium. The atrium contracts, the ventricle fills, contracts and blood leaves through the pulmonary valve. It is Oxygenated and returned to the left atrium.

On the left side, the pulmonary veins empty Oxygen rich blood from the lungs into the left atrium. The atrium contracts, blood flows to the left ventricle, then contracts causing the blood to leave the heart through the aortic valve to the body.

In the lungs, in those tiny air sacs, Oxygen travels through the walls of the capillaries into the bloodstream. And, CO2 leaves the body when you exhale! Whew…

Again, all this happens without so much of an intentional thought about what miracle is occuring within our chest.

Although blood circulates beautifully through the heart receiving Oxygen and ridding itself of wastes, the health of the organ itself is maintained by specialized arteries on the right and left outsides of the heart. They are called coronary arteries.

These arteries become diseased when plaque builds up in them and prevents the heart from getting what it needs. This is called Coronary Artery Disease, CAD. My father passed away due to this, with a 96% blockage in his artery. I can still remember the nurse showing me the image of the blockage!

This is why, for the health of our heart, we are encouraged to exercise, eat a well balanced diet and avoid damaging causes (like smoking).

So, whether we are talking about the smallest of all hearts, as found in the Fairy fly, or the largest, as found in the whale, the heart is amazing!

Whether it is pumping in a person’s chest, or has been disconnected from the body, and is still beating, the heart is amazing.

It’s design, function and efficiency is amazing.

Whether the heart of that 1 minute old baby, the youngest to undergo heart surgery, or in the 3,500 year old Egyptian mummy, the earliest to be identified with heart disease, the heart is amazing.

To know CPR and be able to bring back “to life” a heartbeat, is amazing! (We all should know CPR, in my opinion)

So, my friend, I know your heart is in the right place, and I pray, that out of the goodness of your heart you will take heart, and with all of your heart be grateful for your amazing heart.

Bless your (amazing) heart!

Debbie

Binge-watching

Sunday Sermon 9.11.21

In 2015 the Collins English Dictionary chose “binge-watch” as the word of the year. Wow!

According to research, “this is an observable cultural phenomenon that has become popular”. 61% of Netflix peeps say that they binge-watch regularily. Are you one of them? (No judgements here, jus’ wondering…)

I believe there are lessons to be learned from observing and evaluating cutural trends and happenings. So, what about binge-watching?

Well, let’s look at it… in it, (binge-watching), we are not just watching but over watching or marathon watching. In other words, there is an over emphasis on what we watch and are watching. What types of things do we watch?

  • We watch:
  • TV shows
  • Youtube videos
  • movies
  • our weight
  • sporting events
  • children
  • people

Could we say that there is an “overwatching” of these things? An overemphasis on some or all of them? I agree that the prolonged watching of these is a cultural phenomenon. But I also believe that there just may be a spiritual reason behind the why? (or maybe, more that one reason) Here’s why.

It is clear that we are living in days that we must be on watch, and aware of what is going on around us. There is a call in our spirits to be watchful, aware, on guard and awake. The verses from the Bible, both Old and New Testaments are being trumpeted, “WATCH and PRAY”.

  • Mat, 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation
  • Lk. 21:34-36 – Be careful or your heart will be weighed down…be always on the watch and pray
  • Mk. 13:37 – Be on guard, be alert…therefore keep watch…
  • Eph. 6:18 – praying always with all prayer… being watchful
  • 1 Thes. 5:6-8 – let us watch and be sober
  • Rev. 3:2-3 – be watchful and strengthen the things that remain
  • Rev. 16:15 – blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments
  • 2 Ki. 9:17 – keep watch and warn the townspeople
  • Ezek. 33 & Hos. 9 – watchmen be on guard and warn God’s people

Could it be that the Call of the Spirit to believers, to watch and pray in these days is being inverted by the enemy? Could the rise in binge-watching, and even its declaration of or designation as “word of the year”, be a perversion of the Call of the Spirit to watch and pray?

Could the enemy be terrified of believers who would actually hear that call to watch and pray, and rather set a plan in motion to distract them by any means possible, including his counterfeit – binge-watching?

Would you agree that since 2015 the need to watch and pray has increased exponentially? I think that the enemy knows his end is eminent and has unleashed every lie, plot and strategy to delay his demise. Folks, it is time to watch and pray.

How do you watch and pray, Debbie? What do you mean?

Think of the two words:

  1. WATCH – open your eyes, look around, notice things close and far, notice the visible and be alert to the invisible/spiritual. Look up, turn on the light, and keep looking closely in the dark.
  2. PRAY – offer prayers of all kinds to God

All of us can do this. It is not difficult, but it is costly. It costs our time, energy, and interest.

With all that there is to observe today in our world, in our life, watching should be easy. But our interest must be there, because to pray to God takes more than our interest. We don’t need any special qualifications, we just need to do it. Offer prayers, plural, to God on behalf of what we are seeing, what we have observed, what we are watching.

When we do that, we are acknowledging that we see what’s happening and are powerless to do anything about it, our God is not, however. Therefore, we offer it to Him for His help. We pray to Him. The self-righteous person won’t do that though, for he thinks that he “can handle it.”

When we choose to watch and pray, we are admitting that we can’t handle it but we know who can and we willingly ask for His help in that needy situation.

Whatever you are watching happen in your life right now, I am asking you to pray about it. I don’t care what it is. If you have watched it happen or are watching it happen, please pray. Lift your heart and prayer to God. Yield to His way and power. I promise you will experience a tremendous lifting and peace.

If you can see it (physically or spiritually), you can pray about it. YOU can.

That place we have just described is the starting point of prayer for all of us. Keep awake, watch, notice and then pray about it.

But for some of you, there is more.

You are called to be a watchman! A person who’s job it is to stand guard on the wall of your family, or city, or church or nation and sound the alarm when you see enemy invaders coming. When you see these invaders you move into intercession – deep and passionate prayer for that one, city, church or national situation. You, the watchman, challenge wrong laws, morality, and teaching through prayer and strategic intervention. You watch and pray, but you are a watchman.

With three short blasts, the watchman calls for his supervisors to come and he reports what he has seen to them. Oh watchmen, will you blow your trumpet, and sound the alarm, and signal for the hosts of heaven to come and bring aid?

Today, from their stations, the Israeli Defense Forces guard the local residents of the villages against unwanted attack. They are the “shomer” (Hebrew) security guard; the same Hebrew word used in Psalm 121, when it speaks of Jehovah, the One that watches over us.

God is watching over us, but He is looking for those who will “stand in the gap” and pray when they see invaders. Ezk.22:3

My new favorite hero, Leonard Ravenhill said, “No man is greater than his prayer life.” Folks, your prayers don’t have to be pretty or flowery – geesh, have you read the prayers of the Bible? But your prayers do have to be authentic, intentional and directed to God.

Where can you improve and increase your prayer life?

I believe the word of the day spiritually is – WATCH (and pray), (three words, I know). Don’t let the devil’s counterfeit distract you – you are made for more than binge-watching.

Go with God,

Debbie

PS- Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be accused of over binge-watching and praying?! Ha!

Come Near

Sunday Sermon 9.4.21

The fact that you are reading this right now is super exciting, because God has something to say to you. Yes, YOU, and YES he does.

He is calling to your heart, speaking to your spirit and inviting you to come closer to Him. Step closer, lean in towards Him with total confidence and peace that He will not reject you. You will receive total acceptance from Him.

This is the verse for you to consider –

” Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you.”

James 4:8 TPT

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

James 4:8 NIV

Reverberating through my spirit is His deep longing for you and me to come closer to Him. Closer than we have ever been. Lean in to Him and not away from Him. Bring our heart closer and closer to His heart. There is a strong yearning that He has to be close to you, to share with you, hear from you and love on you. There is no shame, judgment or anger – He just wants to be your Heavenly Father, in a perfectly loving relationship.

Whatever thoughts or emotions you have that war against His invitation to be close to you are simply lies!

There is no act of comssion or omission that His love for you cannot forgive and remove. There is no need for shame, guilt, or humiliation before Him, He despised it and conquered it on the cross of Calvary for me and you.

He will not reject or expose you if you come near to Him.

We all carry our sin and shame and yet He conquered it and removed that barrier when the veil of the temple was torn at His death. He destroyed that shameful separation forever.

At first, we come near to Him asking Him to forgive us of our sins, for Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. When we do, He, the Father, forgives us and washes us clean of our sin. In Him now, we are a new creature. The old is gone. We have taken the first step in coming near, bringing our heart before Him and He has come near to us. This is the greatest experience that any human can experience on earth!

But that is not the end of coming near to Him. Not at all.

From there, we each must learn to not just come near to Him, but stay near to Him. Remember, we move closer and closer to Him.

John, the disciple is called “The Beloved”. Why? It is said, because he loved Jesus the most – he laid his head on Jesus’ chest. (at the Last Supper) John, truly leaned in to Jesus. John couldn’t really get much closer to Jesus. He was actually touching the Savior, leaning into His chest. Hearing His heart. Feeling His breath.

I hope this isn’t odd to you or misinterpreted. But John is showing us what it truly means to “Come near to me”.

David, in the Psalms, says this –

“There is a secret place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near Him and receive the revelation-secrets of His promises.”

Psalm 25:14

I wanna sit in that secret place with Jesus, where He and I talk and share, where I feel His heart and experience the power of His breath. Gosh, could it be that He would reveal to me “revelation-secrets”??? David experienced this, this place, this intimacy with Jesus. This close place.

David’s son, Solomon, says this,

“… every tender lover finds friendship with God and will hear His intimate secrets.”

Proverbs 3:32 TPT

Friend, God is tenderly and relentlessly calling you to “Come Near” to Him.

Wherever you find your relationship with God today, He is calling you closer. He is calling you to “Come closer and closer”, closer than you have ever been. Lean in to Him. Come near to Him.

We have an open invitation. In my view, we would be foolish to refuse it.

Go with God,

Debbie