Pure Joy

Stress. That would be the single word that best describes the last few years of my life. So much so that when we rounded the corner into 2014, I began to pray, “Lord, will You please grant me a season of rest?” I was so weary that it didn’t seem like a selfish thing to ask for. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to keep going without some time to re-energize. Maybe I just wasn’t specific enough in my request… ‘cuz I was kind of thinking about several months, maybe even a whole year of rest! And initially, it …

What If?

I keep asking myself the question, What if I lived my life as if I believed everything the Bible said is really true? What would THAT look like? I actually do believe that, but I know that through the years of life’s experiences I have unwittingly allowed little lies to creep in or built up protective walls to defend myself that can also be a barrier to real truth. Life seems to have brought one trial after another the last several years and this week dropped another bombshell. My initial reaction was not a calm reflection of the truth I …

Praise Him through the Storms

I once thought that God didn’t give us more than we could handle but I now believe the opposite to be true…He gives us more than we can handle on our own so we have nothing left to do but cling to Him. We cannot do it without Him. I have learned that He will provide if we just let Him and He will calm us so much during the storms that all we can do is praise Him. Exactly one year ago, my family weathered some storms. The details of those few months will be saved for another day, …

From Grace to Gratitude

Have you ever had a word from the Lord? I mean a literal word. As I was reading my Bible and several of my devotion books, the Lord kept showing me this one word. It seemed to keep popping out of the page into my face. That word was “gratitude”. And like most words I had to stop and think about what the word meant. Well, of course I know that it means being grateful or thankful. But I wanted to know more. What was it again; a feeling or expression of being thankful or appreciative. Hmmm, so being grateful …

It’s All About Jesus

  An evangelist friend of ours coined a phrase “It’s all about Jesus” for his region several years ago. Although we’re not in the leadership of this evangelist anymore, we still use the phrase often. Especially times when we feel that things are chaotic or we get into issues. Breathing this simple phrase can be a prayer of sorts to remind us, “It’s all about Jesus”. Oh beloved, for the believer “It’s All About Jesus” is more than a phrase. It’s our banner! It’s our comfort, our shield and our fortress. When the gates of hell whisper prevail we say …

Becoming a Slave and Gaining Freedom

Freedom is, by definition, the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Slavery is, by definition, a relationship where one person has absolute power over another and controls his life, liberty and fortune. As a teenager I had been engulfed in a life of sin. I was captivated by its lure and enticed by its stronghold. I was a slave to sin, until freedom pursued me and I began to allow God to draw me to Him. As I entered adulthood, I aspired to be happy. I longed for all the normal …

We Were Made for More

“We aren’t made to live on mountain tops” are the words I heard uttered from a friend not too long ago. When I first let these words penetrate my thought closet, I was in a place where I so desperately wanted this to not be true. I knew the feelings I had on the top of that mountain. I felt so close to God. I felt clothed with His Spirit…I felt worthy and wildly obedient. At this point in my life, I had spent what seemed like years climbing through thick brush (my life’s storms and trials) to get there. …

Eyes on Jesus Brings Joy!

Since it’s spring break I took the afternoon off to go fishing with one of my daughters and her kiddos. It was a beautiful afternoon. We all had our fishing equipment and we tried several spots around the lake. My daughter caught a nice bass. She cast out, almost hit the walkway with the lure, jerked it into the water and boom she retrieved her prize! No one else caught a fish, nor did we even get a bite. Did the day turn sour? Did the sun quit shining? Did we run home with disappointment and agitation that she was …

And So We Wait

Waiting: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens; used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen. A few weeks ago, I was up at 4am busily getting ready to travel to a conference. I had almost forgotten about the pregnancy test I had taken that early morning, but thankfully, I happened to glance at it before walking out the door. Expecting to see only one line, I did a triple take when I saw not one, but two obvious pink lines. I didn’t …

The Lord Showed Me

A 2016 Repost from My Journey of Faith Magazine by Katie Clifton This past year, the Lord showed me that I don’t need to make plans. He showed me His ways are best and that I am strongest and most pliable when I am on my face before Him. I spent most of 2014 fighting God on church planting. I ran from it. I cried over it. I begged God to call someone else. Then, I surrendered with excitement and joy. In 2015, we launched Renew Church. It is wonderful. It is a gift. It is refreshing and reviving and …

Unshakable Thanks

We are all on a journey.  And as Paul says, we do not travel that journey as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4: 13). We know that we have a Savior sitting at the right hand of the Father who delights in us.  We have the Word of God that is living and active.  We have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, giving us gifts to make the best use of our time here on Earth.  And we have the fellowship of other believers to offer friendship, prayer, encouragement and council.  We have hope, and …

Hearts of Gratitude

In looking up the word “gratitude” from various sources, most of the definitions were very similar and what one might expect: thankfulness, the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness; a natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love, etc… One definition, however, significantly stuck out to me: gratitude is a joyful commitment of one’s personality to God. In researching gratitude chronologically in the Bible, it took me a while to find it, which was surprising to me! Although we don’t see a “thank you” in the first few chapters of …