Monthly Archives: January 2015

Jesus Restores!

Beautiful-Gods-Heart-for-You-Embracing-Your-True-Worth-as-a-Woman-by-Holley-Gerth“And I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten..” (Joel 2:25, King James Version)

 

I was standing in the fitting room gazing into the mirror contemplating my choice, when the voice of my teenage daughter interrupted my thoughts. “Did you find one, Mom?” I affirmed; then her next words rocked my little fitting room world. Well, let me see!

Gulp! She seriously wanted to see it. I regretfully admit that this was one of the first shopping trips we had ever gone on together without angry words being tossed back and forth. But this day had been different. My firstborn girl and I were having a beautiful time at the mall together.

 

I didn’t want to alter the mood, so I sheepishly opened the door. To our mutual horror, her face melted before my eyes as she screamed, “Eww…not on!” I quickly closed the door feeling mortified as I heard giggling coming from the surrounding rooms.

 

She is now 24 years old, and we laugh hysterically about the day I opened the fitting room door shirtless, to show her the bra I had chosen. We also rejoice in the fact that we are now close friends.

 

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Dear Ones, it was not always like this. We allowed worlds to collide with my fashion-loving girl and our fishbowl existence as a Pastor’s family.

 

I confess many times I objected to her clothing based more on what others might think, rather than personal and biblical convictions. I allowed Satan to drive a wedge between one of my children and me.

 

Do you fight with your teens about clothing? Are your convictions based on biblical principles or are they more about fear of what others think?

 

Stop and pray now for wisdom. Open the lines of communication and ask for forgiveness for ungodly responses. Explain the beauty and blessing of honoring our Heavenly Father in all things, including our clothing. Make sure the bottom line is about glorifying Him, and not primarily about trying to meet other’s expectations.

 

Like me, have you allowed the locusts (our enemy) to eat precious years with your children? Take heart! As we seek His face and obedience to His word he fulfills His promise to: “Restore the years the locusts have eaten!” What He has done for my girl and me, He will do for you too!

 

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Are You a Stuffer?

Choosing-Soft-HolleyGerth.com_-150x150“Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.”          (Matthew 9:22 NASB)

Hello, Friend:

Have you ever struggled with isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, undiagnosed physical symptoms? I have!

The above verse (spoken by Jesus) is from the story of a woman who had been struggling with a hemorrhage for twelve years. She followed Jesus in the midst of a crowd, knowing if she could “only touch His garment, she could get well.” What faith she had in the healing power of Jesus! However, it is important to remember that the most significant healing in this life is spiritual. Many times our Savior healed the body and the soul in the same encounter with those drawn to Him.

John 8:36 says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (NASB)

I sadly confess that for many years as a Christian (and pastor’s wife) I did not walk in this freedom, as I was still in bondage to my past. I was a “stuffer,” stuffing the pain down deep, never choosing to think about it much less share it. The older I got, the harder it got to keep the pain under the surface. The pain began to manifest itself in ways that were anything but productive. As Jo Ann Fore says in her book, “When a Woman Finds Her Voice”:

“Those things we stuff, try so hard to ignore, they are the very things begging for release–the things that hold the promise of hope, the flame of freedom.”

What about you? Are you a stuffer? It may seem less painful at the moment to stuff, but I assure you it will come out in other ways, such as isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, undiagnosed physical symptoms, etc. Processing the pain at the moment hurts, but it hurts much more to keep it inside.

“The story you’re scared to share–that story has the power to change both your life and the lives of others.” Jo Ann Fore

“But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well.” (John 9:22 NASB)

Dear daughter of Jesus, take courage! As you step out in faith and share your story, you too will be made well.

“Every joy or trial falleth from above,

Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

(from the hymn “Like a River Glorious” by Frances R. Havergal)

You’re Being Followed!

psalm-23“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

I was in the drive-thru at Whataburger in Corpus Christi, Texas in my 1984 red mustang listening to the latest 80’s hits. I happened to glance into my rearview mirror.   My body froze as I saw his menacing face. It was my abusive ex-boyfriend. How long had he been following me? I got my food and made a quick exit, deciding to head to the house of a friend of mine who lived on Padre Island. It was a terrifying ride over the bridge to the Island as he hugged my bumper and drove inches beside me trying to force me to pull over.

How about you? Have you ever been stalked or followed? It sure doesn’t sound like a good thing does it? Meditate on the above verse from Psalm 23. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, He becomes our Good Shepherd.   He not only guides and provides for us, but also sends His goodness and mercy to follow us…all the days of our lives! The storms, the deep valleys, the heartbreaking losses when friends despise and forsake us, through the piercing pain of wayward children; His presence is still with us and His goodness and mercy are following us. I often counsel ones going through gut wrenching trials to “look up.” I can also exhort them to “look behind” with eyes of faith and see His goodness and mercy. They are always there, following us, whether we feel them or not. Cling to His promises and proclaim this truth until it truly fills your heart.

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By God’s goodness and mercy I arrived safely at my friend’s home, but, unfortunately, that was not the last of the struggles I had with that young man. I stubbornly chose to defy sound counsel and put myself in harms way rather than look to my Good Shepherd to fill the void in my heart. However, I had received Him as my Savior in sixth grade, and He followed me!

“I fled Him down the nights and days

I fled Him down the path of years

I heard all about the love of the One

Who was following me

I clung to every shallow friend

The whistling mane of every wind

I feared that once I tasted that love

I could never let go…” (Hound of Heaven, Michael Card)

How about you? Do you have a loved one on the run from the Hound of Heaven? Turn your despair into prayer. My sweet mother spent many sleepless nights praying for me. If they are His, He will not let them go. Even in the midst of painful consequences of sin, His goodness and mercy are following them.

Now contemplate the last words of Psalm 23:6:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

His goodness and mercy in this life and heaven too! We will see Him face to face, and dwell with Him forever.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

An Unexpected Journey

We don’t always know the final destination, but we are called to be obedient and enjoy the journey.

Securely Held

IMG_1886“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.”Deuteronomy 11:11-12 (NASB)

Hello, Friend:
Have you ever found yourself on an unexpected journey? My husband and I are there right now.  He is working on his first doctor of ministry course and diligently seeking God’s next ministry assignment (he has been a pastor for over 25 years),  and I am attempting to build a speaking, writing, and counseling business.
Unexpected journeys can be scary things, but as Holley Gerth says above: “When you are always taking the next step of obedience, fear of the future diminishes.”  Praise God we don’t have to invent…

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An Unexpected Journey

IMG_1886“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.”Deuteronomy 11:11-12 (NASB)

Hello, Friend:
Have you ever found yourself on an unexpected journey? My husband and I are there right now.  He is working on his first doctor of ministry course and diligently seeking God’s next ministry assignment (he has been a pastor for over 25 years),  and I am attempting to build a speaking, writing, and counseling business.
Unexpected journeys can be scary things, but as Holley Gerth says above: “When you are always taking the next step of obedience, fear of the future diminishes.”  Praise God we don’t have to invent His will! We work hard, pray hard, and take the next step of obedience.  We don’t always know the final destination, but we are called to be obedient and enjoy the journey.
You may have heard of the “one word” challenge.  Instead of writing out a long list of new years resolutions, you ask the Holy Spirit to give you one word to focus on for the year.  My one word for 2015 is “journey”.
I think of the words of Bilbo Baggins from the movie, “An Unexpected Journey”:
Hobbit: You! Mr. Bilbo, where are you off to?
Bilbo Baggins: I’m already late.
Hobbit: Late for what?
Bilbo Baggins: I’m going on an adventure.
My husband and I are choosing to view this season of study and transition in ministry as an adventure!
Moses spoke to Old Testament Israel about the Promised Land and God’s watchcare for it. Similarly, God has a spiritual “land” for us to possess. It will have deep valleys and steep hills. We must fight the good fight of faith and persevere to dwell in it.  We can apply the promise to ourselves that the eyes of the Lord are upon us, from the beginning even to the end of the year.
Friends I’m going to be gut honest.  The deeper the Lord calls us to trust in Him and follow Him in loving obedience, the more fiery darts Satan shoots at us.  For me especially, the enticements of the world seek to draw me to old patterns of sin.  Please pray for me, that my faith will not fail.  I don’t want to be late for this adventure!
I close with the words of an awe-inspiring hymn:
‘He Leadeth Me’
He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Refrain: He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters calm, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.  
(Refrain)
Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.  
(Refrain)
And when my task on earth is done,
When, by Thy grace, the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.  
(Refrain)
Jo­seph H. Gil­more, 1862.