May 19, 2016

No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper!

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

The Lord has reminded me of this verse often in my life. It's a powerful truth that we need to employ when fighting against the enemy. Some translations use the word 'confute' instead of 'condemn.' It means 'to prove wrong.' 

The enemy's attacks can take a lot of different forms - gossip and slander, sickness, financial troubles - but we need to understand that we can close the door to these attacks with the Word of God. If our actions have gotten us into trouble, we can still repent of these things and then call on the grace of God to close the door on the enemy.

"Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."—Ephesians 6:17. Even Jesus fought with the Word. When He was tempted by the enemy, He quoted scripture. (Matthew Chapter 4)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8  

I like this translation because it says that the enemy looks for "whom he MAY devour." Don't let that be you!  Satan is the accuser of the Brethren and we know that when we gossip and slander others, that we've aligned ourselves with him. 

"...from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way." James 3:10 Did you know that when you speak against someone, you are cursing them?  I've heard before that Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded. We need to recognize that even if we disagree on some points, we agree on an awful lot, and we're supposed to be on the same side! 

One of the most amazing things happened to me several years ago.  I used to suffer from migraines. (I found out after several years that they were a result of an injury to my neck during a car accident. Weekly visits to my chiropractor keep me from having them.) 

But I've also had spiritual attacks that have resulted in terrible headaches. I had a man say something to me once and was immediately hit with such a severe headache that I had to have help to get out of the church. I could see the demon attached to my head and people were praying for me but my head hurt so badly that I couldn't tell them to rebuke this demon. I started speaking in my head and finally got it off.

During this same season, I was hit with a terrible headache while I was at home, that sent me to bed. As I was lying there, I spoke before I planned on speaking. It must of kind of been like the donkey in the Bible that spoke~no conscious thought of what I was saying~ but God moved my mouth! 

I (God) said, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper!" It was honestly one of the most astonishing things that I've ever had God do! But obviously, He was interceding for me and teaching me how to fight.

Lately God has been reminding me of this truth and convicting me to declare this verse. I have literally been going around saying it 100 times a day! And as I say it, I begin to feel the strength of God and His protection and energy rise up in me and around me. 

"No weapon that is formed against me will prosper; And every tongue that accuses me in judgment I will condemn. This is my heritage as a servant of the LORD, And my vindication is from Him,"  (turned around to first person) 

That is not to say that I am right all the time. We need to ask God to 'judge us and correct us' daily. As we do that and repent from any wrong doing, the enemy has no legal right to attack us. 

We are always going to encounter people who are unaware that they are being used by the enemy. We have made that mistake, too, so we have no room to judge them. We need to walk in love, overcome evil with good, bless them and not curse them, and learn to protect ourselves.

I hope you have a day filled with joy and the love of God!

love and blessings~

May 13, 2016

Testing. Testing.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;" 1 Peter 4:12

When I was younger in the Lord, I used to wonder why God would test us. Doesn't He know everything we're going to do before we do it? What's the point of Him testing us?

The Old Testament stories are examples to us of spiritual warfare and Godly principles. 1 Corinthians 15:46 says, " However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual." Many of the things that happened in the Old Testament have spiritual lessons that God wants us to understand.

I'm always amazed when I read that the first time Moses comes to the Children of Israel and tells them that God is going to set them free from slavery, they tell him they don't want to go! But God showed me this at a time I was praying for spiritual freedom for a group of people so that I would understand that often times we are happier staying in bondage because it's familiar than getting set free and going into an unknown territory!

I've heard that it would take about a month for God's people to cross the wilderness and get to the Promised Land. However, we all know that they 'wandered' in the wilderness for forty years! The number 'forty' in scripture represents cleansing and preparation. By the time they entered the Promised Land, every one of the first generation had died. 

Do you understand that God was not punishing them? He was cleansing out the slave mentality and disobedience. The generation that had grown up in bondage and would rather stay in Egypt instead of getting set free would never be able to cross into the Promised Land. Either that, or they would have fallen into another type of bondage. God had to cleanse them of this for them to be successful.

They had a mind-set and had made a decision to stay in that mind-set. 

Those that survived the 40 years had been cleansed of bondage and had chosen to trust God. The testing had cleansed them.

I think it's important to understand that we create the need for our own tests. God has a plan for each of us..."For I know the plans I have for you; plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11  We can either submit ourselves to these plans of God or continue to walk in the wilderness.

I think about the story of Joseph often. God had big plans for Joseph but nobody had more ups and downs that he did! He was sold into slavery and then when he finally gets out of it and has humbled himself and -does nothing wrong!- he is accused falsely and put back into prison!

I have wondered about that a lot. If Joseph had been more humble and not told his brothers about his dream of them bowing down to him, would God have permitted him to be sold into slavery? Why did God allow him to be falsely accused and thrown into prison?  There must have been something God wanted Joseph to learn in prison. It must have been important that Joseph be innocent and still be imprisoned.

When I encounter adversity, the first thing I do is go to God and ask Him for His perspective. I want to see the adversity through God's eyes.  What is God wanting to cleanse from my life? Do you understand that none of us is without sin and that even the best of us needs to be stripped of 'self' to attain Christ?

The thing I have learned to do is ask myself; What would Jesus do? Because the goal of all of this is to transform us to the image of Christ. No one was more falsely accused and betrayed and mistreated than Jesus Himself.  And through all of it, He never defended Himself. He always defended His Father and the Truth of the Word, but never Himself. 

And He asked God to forgive those that mistreated Him.

So, when I encounter less than ideal circumstances in my life, I look at it as a test, and ask, "What would Jesus do?" I want to pass the test. I want to move forward. I want to be transformed into the image of Christ. 

It does us no good to demand our 'right to be right.' Love does not insist on its own way. Love does not keep a record of wrong doing. 1 Cor 13. We need to keep submitting ourselves, our every thought and hurt to God, knowing that He loves more deeply that we can ever understand and keep moving forward.

love and blessings~

May 5, 2016

Jesus is Our Sabbath Rest

There's a lot of days that I sit down to write and I have 100 different thoughts~all tangled together. Sometimes, one seems to pull itself free and head in a definite direction and then I write, but often I can't sort out what I want to say from the other 99 things that I am thinking about.

Sometimes my emotions get the better of me and my eyes fill with tears and I think how much I would like to be able to impart the love and the grace of My Father. I would love to tell you how lost I was before He found me, how He took me out of the pit and set me in a wide open space. How He gave my life purpose and meaning and how He healed me of my failures. And how much He longs to do that for every single soul that He has created, out of His infinite love.

I wish I could impart that the heart of God sees us as He intended us to be - whole, beautiful, strong - and that He never gives up on helping us become that. I'm crying as I write this because I never cease to be amazed at how much He loves me, how patient He is as He nurtures me and encourages me to go further toward what I'm called to do. In my times of greatest weakness and rebellion, He has shown me His greatest love and grace and He undoes me.

He's the One Who sorts out the tangle that is my thoughts and my questions and my wonderings. He is the safe place that I run to when I don't know where else to go. He is my Great Reward when I wonder if I'm doing anything right or when I just feel un-needed.

The One Who needs nothing, needs me. Because I'm a part of Him.

When I hide myself, He misses me. When I beat myself up, it wounds Him. I am the apple of His eye. My boundaries are ever before Him in love. I am inscribed on the palm of His hand.

There is no sin, no failure, no weakness, that will stop God from loving us. Because that's Who He is. Because He can do no less. Because when He saw us at our worst, He hung on a cross for us.

The work that He needed to do for us on the cross is complete, but that doesn't mean that He won't do whatever it takes to reach us today. That doesn't mean that His grace and mercy stopped when we received His gift. He is Faithful and True and nothing can separate us from His Love.

Jesus is our Sabbath Rest.

My mind never stops. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not weighing myself and find myself lacking.

And then I remember to look at Him. I remember that I am IN HIM. That His grace is sufficient. He is satisfied with me because I have trusted myself to Him.

And He fills me with His joy because the joy of the Lord is my strength. His mercies are new every day.

love and blessings~

"He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me." Psalm 18:19

"For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come , 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings" Psalm 17:8

"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:16

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor 12:9

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Neh 8:18

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23

May 3, 2016

Adding Spring to the Family Room

Lately I've been craving color and pattern.

Maybe it's Spring. Or maybe I'm getting tired of neutrals. I don't know... but I have been pulling out fabric that I've had stashed away for a while and some of my old treasures that I just couldn't stand to get rid of when I redecorated and adding them back into our decor.

My lattice fabric that I recently added to the living room goes beautifully with florals and I've added it and a mix of floral fabrics into our family room.

I  loved seeing everyone's beautiful gardens and even though I knew it was early to purchase flowers for the garden here in Michigan, I couldn't stand it and I did. And then we had frost again. So I've been enjoying my flowers here in the house.

I bought this blue and white planter at HomeGoods. I just put these hyacinths into the pot and covered the plastic pots with spanish moss. They're starting to turn a little yellow and may not even be blooming anymore by the time we get past the danger of frost. Oh well! They've been a treat in here.

 The trees are in bloom here now. I've added some branches and a bird cage to the table behind the couch.
My gate got another coat of paint. I didn't like how blue it was and toned it down by dry-brushing it with SW Deer Valley.

I've also been pulling out all my bird cages and topiaries. Looks like a little bit of English Country has invaded the French Country. ;)

I've had this bird cage for a couple of years. I got it at HomeGoods. I also bought several of these beautiful rose bushes and am afraid to plant them yet. I'm planning on putting them in pots on the deck. In the mean time, we're also enjoying them here in the house.
My giant blue and white tea cup is holding a mix of herbs. My previous herb garden wasn't doing well and I'm convinced it was the terra cotta pots. I stuck these new plants in this ceramic pot and they're growing like weeds.

I don't know if I've ever shown you the back of this chair. It's really fun. I should probably put it somewhere it's more noticeable. 
I'm hoping to add some of the rustic wood in here like we did in the living room. That's now been added to my husband's honey-do list. :)
Hope you're having a wonderful week and getting lots of nice weather.

I've been trying to give our deck furniture a fresh coat of paint but we've been having lots of rain. So, I guess I've got plenty of time because we're not going to eat on the deck in the rain anyway!

Be back soon with more projects!

love and blessings~
"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."
Isaiah 54:11,12

May 2, 2016

Our Cabana and Some Inspiration Pics

We haven't opened up our cabana for a few years. You can see it in this picture from last summer with the boards still attached to the walls ~ closed for winter. We store all our patio furniture in it during the snowy months.

Inside, on the left, is a kitchenette with a sink, cabinets and a refrigerator and an open, high ceilinged room. On the right side, where you see the second door, is a bathroom and the pool equipment.

But the weather guys are predicting a hot summer this year, so we're thinking it's time to open it and give it a good sprucing up for the grandbabies. Our sweet little granddaughter will be four in June. I think she would love a space like this!

When we remove the plywood, the side closest to the pool has screen all the way to the floor, so you can sit in the shade and watch the kiddos swimming. The other side has a 1/3 lower wall. I'm planning on putting some lattice on that side, to give us privacy from our neighbors.

I've been saving pictures on Pinterest for a couple of years now.
With the plywood removed, our room looks a lot like this. It's a great place to get out of the sun, rest and have lunch.  My daughter and I are planning on stocking the fridge with popsicles, ice cream and sandwich supplies.
I'm on the hunt for a daybed and have found several on Craig's List. I'm hoping to get one this week.

I have a perfect little table and chairs for eating lunch on and we have electricity, so wouldn't a blingy chandelier be wonderful?!

Or something like this?
This just satisfies the girly-girl in me! And I have a lot of bird cages.
We even have the high ceilings and maybe enough room to do this!
I have a hutch I'm not using that looks a lot like this ~ perfect to fill with plants and bird cages.

Right now, the cabana is filled with lots of pots and some of the furniture pieces I want to use.
But I'm gathering my favorite pictures and all my stuff and getting ready.
It will be a week or so before we can start. We're still not having consistently warm weather here. But a quick coat of paint and some rearranging and we should be ready!
The good news is 'The Boss' is on board - ha! literally - and said he's willing to open it up this year. (that means removing the boards, which I can't do on my own!)

Our youngest grandbaby will be a year old this summer so everyone is old enough to enjoy the pool. It looks like it's going to be a great summer!

love and blessings~
"Behold, I will set your stones in turquoise, and your foundations I will lay in sapphires. I will make your summits of rubies and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones."
Isaiah 54:11,12