worship

imageThe last week or so all I want to do is worship. Worship. What does that mean? It means look at God and give Him me. I like to sing to Him. I enjoy thinking about Him. I love sitting with Him and letting Him wash me with kindness and love and fill up my empty spaces. I am currently doing a 30 day “Feasting On the Spirit” challenge by Wendy Backlund. Each day we focus on truth and speak it, think about it , and remind ourselves what is true. I just love it. I have been doing this every year at this time of the year for the last 4 years. Each year it’s different and each year its is new. When I renew my mind with what is true, life is easy. Jesus becomes my resting place and I can live from rest!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes for so far:

“ I am confident and fearless. I arise and shine with His Glory which causes others to come to Christ. Love and compassion radiate through me. I have the resources of Heaven to fulfill my Destiny. I am one with Jesus the Father, and the Holy Spirit.”

“Instead of being a victim to the prevailing spirit, consciously imagine yourself carrying the presence of God and emanating His grace, love and peace everywhere you go. Watch and look for physical reactions to the presence you carry.”

When we invite Holy Spirit in our lives He gives us all of God. He gives us the light and 1 John 1:7 says We will walk in the light and have fellowship with others. The light is always more powerful than darkness. Jesus is the light. He gives us everything. Worship comes from that place of gratitude and love for Him.

If your interested in more of how to renew your mind I suggest you look up Wendy Backlund and “Igniting Hope Ministries”. I would also be happy to share my experience with that too! Have a day of great JOY and HOPE!

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JOY

 

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The Joy of the Lord is your strength. I remember a few years back hearing those words and telling myself that. But I couldn’t find joy. Recently I have found so much joy and it comes in the little things. I heard someone once say, “collect joy”. Collect joy like you would starbucks ;-). Collect joy like you would leaves. The geese flying  by in the sky this time a year, the giggles of my kids, the hot cup of tea, the word of God, music, dressing in costumes :-). My husband was out of town for the weekend and I had the privilege of single “momming” it. I let God lead us through our day. We had so much fun being on an adventure. We went to explore the American River, and tried a new coffee place, and I tried out “hand lettering” , and we went to the park and pizza. It might sound exhausting with 3 littles but we had so much fun I could’ve kept going! Joy is not in doing , but I believe it is the spirit of adventure that brings joy to life in us. Today embrace the adventure God has for you even if it is doing dishes, or working on a computer. Look for Him like a treasure. He is everywhere ready to help us find joy ! image2.jpgimage

 

Intoxicating

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Song of Songs 8:6-7

Place this fierce, unrelenting fire over your entire being.

Rivers of pain and persecution will never extinguish this flame.

Endless floods will be unable to quench this raging fire

That burns within you.

Everything will be consumed.

It will stop at nothing as you yield everything to this furious fire

Until it won’t even seem to you like a sacrifice anymore

Can you imagine what your city would look like if it were blanketed by His glory?

This was a question in a book I am reading. Previous to that question, I had been thinking about God’s love. His raw, unconditional love. His intoxicating love. The verse I chose above from Song of Songs in my opinion so clearly portrays what this love is like. It is unrelenting fire that goes after us. It can almost sound scary unless you actually have tasted love. Love is intoxicating. There is no human love that I have ever felt that compares to God’s love. One moment in His love can literally heal pain that has been there for 20 years. I know. I have experienced this. However, it requires one to yield to Him. To give up the things that seem like they are protecting us, our fears, our walls, our ideals, letting go and letting Him in can feel scary. So what would His love crashing in on a city even look like or feel like or sound like? I would love to hear your answers.

Here is what I can imagine:

If God’s presence came down like a cloud of love, I believe people would be weeping because of love. We would feel safe. We would be outside in the streets and on the sidewalks talking to our neighbors, kids playing. Laughter would feel the air, because joy would be overflowing. There would be such purity in our hearts as we talk to one another, hearts would become healed from years and generations of pain. Moms, dads, grandparents would become whole and healthy. I think people would be up in the middle of the night running , exercising, looking at the stars more. You wouldn’t hear gunshots, and yelling down the street or in your home, you would hear music, laughter, deep conversations, and peace. People would sleep better, do less, and do more with intention. We would not be so busy being busy. Church would look so outside of our box. Church would be full on Sunday, but it would be full throughout the week at the grocery store, at coffee shops, in the mall, at the restaurants and workplaces. There would be no sickness and people would get up from their wheelchairs. People would be painting on walls not because they were destroying property but out of artistic expression and even what they see in heaven. Bands would be playing outside more, we would give things away more. Homelessness would stop existing because people wouldn’t feel like they were orphans but sons and daughters with a purpose and a home. People would recognize God more, we would probably see angels. We would hear Him. We would have deep and lasting friendships with people without the fear of being rejected if we did something wrong. I believe God wants us to encounter Him and is waiting for people to get a vision and ask for Him to be with our cities. Display your strength God. We yield to your unrelenting fire, your love and desire relationship with you. We want you!

Wonder Shoes

“It’s time to go in. I see Jesus put my soccer shoes on my feet.” I have short hair and I am only 7 years old. Jesus picks me up and puts me on my shoulders. “Just be your best, you don’t have to be the best……”

I had a dream in the night and it was about people I knew from my past. The people in my dream were somewhat stars of the day, doing their gift well in front of others. I was sitting in a crowd watching. My parents were on one side and some pastor friends were on the other. The pastor turned toward me with a picture of a professional soccer player and said, does anyone you know need these wonder shoes. There were more details but for the purpose of this blog I am only including some of this dream. It was later that day, Holy Spirit started revealing the meaning of this dream which I included above. “It’s time to go in. I see Jesus put my soccer shoes on my feet.” I have short hair and I am only 7 years old. Jesus picks me up and puts me on my shoulders. “Just be your best, you don’t have to be the best……” I played soccer growing up. Many of my years playing though I sat the bench. I waited for my “time” to get in the game. Part of the problem was I didn’t have confidence so I didn’t always earn that position to get a lot of playing time. Over the years, God has always used this in my life and referred back to this time period. We don’t have to be perfect to get in the “game”. He is just asking us to be our best and be confident of who we are. That means be His daughter/son and get on His shoulders and let Him run around with us while we get to enjoy the victory playing our part with Jesus. It’s His strength. It seems like now more than ever in my own life and the days that we are living in, God is calling His sons and daughters to rise up, to get in the game and be our best. I love the idea of “wonder” shoes. We were made to wonder about what God is up to and participate in being a wonder to this generation. He wants to demonstrate His power and love through us and be a wonder! It’s time to forget the past, the former things and run with all our hearts to the future. This isn’t done in our own strength but in His. There are dreams, He put in my heart as a little girl and I hear Him telling me to remember them, He is not done yet. I love Philippians 3:12-14 “ I run with passion into HIs abundance so I may reach the destiny Christ Jesus has called me to fulfill and discover. I don’t do any of this in my own strength to accomplish this. However, I do have one compelling focus: I forget all the past and fasten my heart toward the future instead. I run straight toward the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Christ.” It’s time for childlike wonder and dreams from God to be accomplished through His anointing and strength, with Him, for His glory.

I choose you

image“Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. “ Matthew 11:28-30

Amplified Version

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].

Last week God started revealing parts of my heart that I didn’t like very much. Instead of what I used to do, which was try to do everything I could do figure out how to be my own savior and to fix it or make that better, I ran to Him. All week I started running to Jesus. Practically that looked like me walking around the house saying I surrender I don’t know what to do. I had no idea that “all the things” I was doing to just be with Jesus, or be a responsible grown up, had become heavy burdens. To me I was doing good things. Right. Waking up early to run, worshipping, trying to eat good, taking care of my family, I was on top of it. However, none of that was giving me Jesus. I was starting to feel empty and tired again. It didn’t make sense I had been doing the same things for the last 6 months and had been encountering Jesus . Than all of the sudden just felt blah and felt like I wasn’t hearing Him throughout all my day. Where did I miss Him? He never leaves us so I knew He was there but I just felt a distance between us. Last week, as I was praying, Jesus grabbed me in His arms and said, Melissa, I choose you. I cried. The enemy tries to make me feel ashamed anytime God reveals these things in my heart. But ya know what. I don’t take that bait anymore either. I am a daughter, I know I am loved and He found pleasure in me before I ever knew Him. So now that I am getting to know Him, He still loves me I don’t have to have it figured out. In fact, I will never have it figure out!

There is so much freedom right there. He has had to slow me down so I can rest and lean back in His chest. Rest! Rest in Him. Be, sit down with Him. Let Him do all the talking.

We have a practice in my home called quiet time. Its something I look forward to everyday of my life. I love me some tea/coffee and reading, music, or whatever it is to be with Jesus. My two year old takes a nap, and my five year old and seven year old when he’s home has quiet time. I have them read or play quietly on their bed or in their room. My middle son gets so much out of imagining and playing but sometimes he gets so carried away. He doesn’t know the concept of being quiet. I found him running down the hall, going in and out of his room etc. You get the picture. However, I am not ok with this. I can’t rest for even a minute if that’s happening. So finally, I took the toys and told him that until he learns to follow my directions he needs to stay on his bed and we will try again tomorrow. This made him so sad, he cried. I left feeling so sad. I asked the Lord did I hurt him? The Lord said yes, and I realize it was because he loves playing so much that of course that hurt to take his toys away. However, I was sad that I had to be the one to discipline him. I had to take away the very thing he loved so much so he can learn to obey. As soon as I realized that, I might look like the bad guy in his eyes, I broke down. I did it because I love him. I went back in his room to see how he was, he had fallen asleep. Probably the thing he needed to do anyway. I realized that this was alot like what God was walking me through last week. I knew I needed to slow down and rest in Him. I was afraid of slowing down. I was afraid if I stopped “doing” all the things I loved in hopes to connect with Him, I didn’t know how to connect with God. Ha. That makes me laugh now, He is so much bigger. The real problem was there were things in my heart that I couldn’t see that He wanted to heal. That is what was keeping me from being still with Him. So I was “doing” alot of things that were wearing me out. They weren’t fulfilling me anymore because my heart was bleeding and I didn’t know it and He wanted to heal me. So He ran after me. He chose me.

I choose you. That’s what Jesus says to me. That’s what He says to you. He chooses you. He runs to you and chooses you no matter what. What is your response to His love? When there is a disconnect. Just walk around everyday if you have to and say I surrender God. We can walk away or we can come in for the bear hug and receive this love. Yes, it feels painful for a moment when He reveals the pain in our heart but it feels so good when we allow Him in to heal us! There is freedom and love that He has for us. Once we choose to respond to Him, it is much easier to choose our spouse, kids and all the others God has given us to love!

You are Valuable

img_6683When I was in college I had an experience with Jesus and it changed my life forever. I was spending time listening to a song by an artist named Jason Upton. He was singing about Jesus on the cross and sang as if Jesus were talking, “ I died for Jenny, I died for ….”. I was laying on my bed and I remember this moment so clearly. I all of the sudden felt like a wind in my room except there was no air and I felt like an angel put his hand on my head to lay it down. I didn’t physically see an angel but I knew that something heavenly was in my room. As I lay down I could see with my eyes closed, Jesus on the cross. He looked at me and said, “I died for you Melissa. If you were the only one in the world I would do it again just for you. That is how much I love you. I did it to be with you. I don’t need you to tell another person about me, or do another thing for me. I just want to be with you.” The moment marked my life! I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my life trying to earn love. I thought I needed to do something to be loved by God or get His attention. Could He really see me and did He really notice me if I wasn’t doing something “holy”. Turns out He does! He sees me all the time and no matter what kind of behavior I have He still finds me absolutely valuable and lovely. I have never met a person who can love me like He does. I have had a lot of people love me with amazing love but still nothing comes close to His absolute acceptance of me in my worst moments. It has taken me a lot of years to actually accept my value and worth. When I became a wife and then a mom I had to work through this reality on a whole new level. It has also taken me a long time to love myself and others with this kind of love. There is no human way possible to give free love to people without expecting something in return unless you feel so loved deep down in the core of who you are by God. For the longest time I thought I had to do something to be loved and it turns out it was actually just opening up my heart to how God was already pouring love out on me. He was pouring love on me everyday and I couldn’t see it because I thought I had to earn it. If I messed up then I thought I had to earn back His love. This is not what love is.

The other day I was walking with my two year old and it dawned on me that I absolutely love the season of life I am in. I love walking with my son, being a mom, looking at flowers and headed to a friends house. I love each moment, with each person, and I love being by myself because I finally love who God made me to be. Just two years back I had felt so low that I didn’t feel loved know matter how much I declared I was loved, or how much someone told me I was loved, I couldn’t receive it. All I could do was cry out for God to breakthrough my pain and loneliness and crash in with love. He did! He did and to me it was miraculous. I don’t even know how He did it but one day I woke up from a bad dream and realized that there was hope!

Why do I share these stories with you? I read the news, the facebook posts, I hear other people’s cry for love. I know I am not alone and if that’s you, respond today for help! Ask God to help you and send me an email, or let someone know! You are valued by the one who created you, and because of that I value you too!

Here is a place to start. Read back through the encounter I had with Jesus on the cross. Imagine Jesus, the one written about in scripture as the son of God. Imagine that He really did die on a cross and raised up from the dead. Imagine Him dying a horrible death just for you. To pay the price of your sin, pain, sins done to you, and invite you into a real relationship with God. Who is up close and personal not far away. He is huge and majestic and yet right here. He is a perfect Father. The kind you would imagine, one that you could lay your head upon His chest. Imagine your name He calls out and says, I would do it for you, just for you. I love you that much! Here is the song I listened to, I believe right now, as you listen to this song it will draw you into His love too!

“He had to have us” Key of David

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9q9pruaVpk&index=5&list=PL7XMNHwxvVk2hz3S-V6-NRtjeJ8GkZzXv

Leave a comment or send me an email!

Rest

 

        My oldest son had a hard time sleeping a few nights back. He kept waking up but he was still asleep and it seemed like he was in an intense dream. He was crying. I woke up several times praying for Him. In the morning I was exhausted. I came to sit with the Father God and He started reminding me. “Melissa I am your shepherd.” I started asking  questions like, what does a shepherd do? Well, a shepherds role is to care, feed, teach, and protect the sheep. The sheep’s role is to listen to the shepherd, and let Him care for him. So I asked Jesus how do you want me to know you today as my shepherd?

He said, ” I want to restore you and all that was lost in rest.” I felt as though He was not just speaking about that night but how tired I had felt from not getting the rest I needed over a period of time. I also was concerned for my son. I want him to be safe at night and know His shepherd. In that moment in my spirit mind,  I saw Jesus blow the breath of God over me. I also heard Him say, ” I give you the day, vitality, breath, let my water wash over you, just come to the table and we will share a meal in the presence of your enemies.” Did you know the word Shepherd in Psalm 23, and John 10 is the same meaning as the word pastor? I have had many good pastors and not so great pastors. However, Jesus is the perfect one. When I imagine what a pastors job is it is not much different than a shepherd. John 10:13 says this , “the hired hand runs away because he’s only working for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.” Jesus is such a good pastor and shepherd that its not about what He gets from us or from his role as a shepherd. He is so rooted in the love of the Father that He has passion and compassion unified and loves tending to us. He loves watching us play, grow, and is ready to share a meal with us when the enemy is right there  (Psalm 23).  I love Isaiah 40:11, ” He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry his lambs in his arms, hodling them close to his heart. He will gently lead the Mother Sheep with their young.”I felt as though the Shepherd Jesus was reminding me His true passion to run after me and my son. That He’s got us and is tending to our needs. I know that He is also ready to tend to your needs.

 So right now let that truth wash over you today, that Jesus, the good and perfect shepherd is coming after us today. He is tending to our every need. He is ready to refresh us and wash over us. Below I have linked a song and sermon that really help me rest in the love of God.

Stop for the One

“..Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures; “love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law” James 2:1-8

I was reading the book of James today and these verses stood out to me. I would have never thought I favor certain people over others but indeed I do. When I feel safe with certain people, or look up to those who seem like they are following Jesus well, I can tend to favor them above others. I can get comfortable with those I know and not stop for the one in the crowd that might get passed by. I want to remember to stop for the one that I might not know, but needs a friend, needs a smile, needs a reminder that they are special and seen. This is my heart Lord, give me your eyes today to see as you see and love as you do!

 

Pete’s Dragon

“Jump! I will catch you everytime”

Do you have dreams that keep running after you? They seem to big to accompolish and even too hard or too much work. Or will they be worth it and worth my time. This is what God spoke to me about this. “Melissa wait until you see what I have for you. The little you is in the Big Me and I can do anything if you’ll let me use you.” My biggest dream is to learn how to connect with God’s presence all day long and then I want to teach others how to do that too. Speaking of connecting with Him, we are remodeling our house right now. This has been a dream of ours ever since we got married. Throughout this process of picking out tile, flooring, cabinets, windows… I have been leaning into Jesus for insights about life. Isaiah 61 has always been instrumental in my life and my family. We have huge oak trees right outside our house. Isaiah says that we are like oak trees of righteousness meant to display His glory. When my son Elijah was born v4 really impacted me that he would be a rebuilder of ancient ruins etc.. When we started this remodeling process I started praying this over our home again. I wrote Isaiah 61:4 on the ground in our kitchen asking God to rebuild ancient ruins through our home and our family. I have realized that the small things in remodeling are just as important as the big things. From far away you don’t always see the little details of a house. When you come up close you see the door knob and the windows and the hardware on the cabinets etc. These things don’t effect the foundation of the house but they do impact your enjoyment of the house. They also create an atmosphere, whether your house feels warm and cozy or rustic and mountain-like.  While our house is being worked on our family has been living in a single room. There are 5 of us in 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and our kitchen is made up of a microwave, toaster and coffee-pot. Although we have everything we need, the tight living quarters have pulled on my heart at moments. The mean mom and ugly wife has come out. When this happened last week, I broke down one night and ran to Jesus. I don’t like acting this way, its not who I really am but this small stuff and tight living quarters has gotten to me. Lets not begin to talk about the heat. All of that brought me to my knees and as I have allowed God access to my heart I am receiving love again and realizing what is truly important to me. His presence and relationship with Him and others. These verses have really ministered to me this week. 1 Timothy 6:11-16, 2 Timothy 2:22-26, and Isaiah 61:4. To focus on righteousness and salvation and pursuit of peace and joy. There have been a few songs that have encouraged me too “In the eye of the storm” , “Something Wild” off the Pete’s dragon soundtrack and Rivers and Robots “Home”. Speaking of Pete’s dragon, there is a scene from that movie where Pete runs off the edge of the cliff knowing that Elliot his dragon will catch him. He just free falls. The other day I was praying about some decisions my husband and I will be making shortly and it feels like we are free falling. I saw this scene in my mind and I asked the Lord with tears running down my cheeks. Lord will you catch us if we jump. I heard Him say, “every time, every time”