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LF Freedom Image (2)I began to lose my grip from the beads of sweat forming inside the palm of my hands.  It didn’t help that a man bumped into me causing me to stumble.  If it weren’t for the strength and quick reflexes of my other friends, who each carried a corner of the mat, I would have dropped him right in the middle of the crowd. We found a moment of relief from the heat beating down on us under a palm tree nearby. I considered giving up but then I heard the rustle of leaves from overhead. I tilted my head in the direction of the sound and had a thought. There was another route to Jesus we hadn’t thought of yet.

In the story of the paralytic, we see faith overcoming obstacles. Crowds blocked the entrance to the home where Jesus was ministering, but four determined men pressed onward and came up with a solution.  They would make their way to the roof and lower their friend down into the presence of Jesus. Why? Because they were certain if they did, their dear friend would walk again.

These men were not paralyzed by fear, pride or discouragement. They did not allow a stronghold to keep them from pursuing truth. Strongholds are false belief systems, which hinder the abundant life we were meant to live.  Often we’re not aware of their presence. Sometimes we need others to help us enter God’s presence and receive what we need from Him.

I remember a time in my life when I was desperate to be free from negative thoughts that plagued me. I was always worried about what others thought about me. It was stealing my joy and peace. At the time, I attended a women’s prayer group where I would hear stories of women being set free through personal encounters with Jesus. These women helped me leave my comfort zone and brought me into His presence. They held the corners of my mat, and I received heart revelation about my true identity and purpose. I took what I learned through being a part of that group and applied it at home on a regular basis. Today, I am freer because I have learned to recognize my need and receive from God.

You were created to walk, run, dance and even fly! Anything less is a limitation within your creative divine design. Today, ask yourself what is limiting you? Most of the restrictions we place on ourselves are based on lies we believe. Receiving and resting in God’s love through contemplative prayer brings us into His presence and makes us whole: limitless. Who is holding the corners of your mat?

*The story of  the paralytic is found in Mark 2:1-5




Four Simple Ways to Add More Joy to your Life


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maxresdefault[1]The current events of the world have left many people feeling our nation is without hope. Disappointment turns our joy into sadness. Fear breeds anger and disgust. How do we remain joyful in the midst of the darkness that surrounds us? Joy is about choosing to respond to life with faith. Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is a conviction of things not seen. Here are four ways to experience hope and peace, which bring joy.

  1. Turn despair into hope. When despair leaves you with a heavy heart, take joy in simple pleasures. Cultivate an everyday awareness of God, and reflect on His goodness. What makes you feel close to Him? Here are some activities that work for me.
  •  Take a long, brisk walk in a nearby park.
  • Stroll a local museum featuring some of your favorite art.
  • Pack a picnic lunch with some of your favorite foods
  • Grab a good devotional book, journal and pen, and head to a tranquil place.
  • Listen to music that speaks to your heart.

Life is full of distractions; destress and declutter your soul. Be intentional. If you work, consider your lunch break as a time to draw near to God. Scripture promises us if we draw near to Him, He draws near to us, and we’ll find fullness of joy in His presence (James 4:8; Psalm 16:11).

2. Turn disappointment into His appointment.

Ask God what He’s saying or teaching you through life’s trials. When my husband was laid off from a well-paying job and when my daughter’s surgery expenses loomed heavily over us, God was busy teaching me not to let my circumstances dictate my future. He’s much bigger than any giants I face. God is able to do more than I expect or imagine when I put my trust in Him (Eph. 3:20; 2 Cor. 4:18).

3. Turn discouragement into encouragement.

Live by truth, not feelings. Guard your mind, heart and words against negativity. We give power to what we agree with. Spend time in God’s Word: read, meditate and journal. Be creative. I have found that coloring while meditating on scripture brings me peace and renews my mind (Prov. 4:23; Lk. 6:45; Rom. 12:2).

4. Turn depression into compassion.

God gave us feelings. How we use our feelings is up to us. We can choose to use them for good or bad. Embracing an attitude of gratitude is critical. Thankfulness flows from recognizing everything we have is a gift from Him. When we are thankful, it’s nearly impossible to entertain negative emotions. Giving thanks births love, compassion and joy. We love because God first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19). Let love guide you, and fill you with His compassion.

Turn darkness into light by piercing it with joy. How we live our lives affects those around us. We reap what we sow. What will you choose to sow today? Will it be acts of love and kindness inspired by God? Or acts rooted in fear and evil? You choose. You can live joyful or fearful.

Not a Wind-up Toy but a Sailboat: How to Let Go and Let God


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Are You Tired of Empty Cliches?

What do we really mean when we spout off things like, “God is in control, God makes all things work together for good, or Let go and let God.”

God certainly is sovereign. He is the supreme king but to say or believe he controls all negates the fact that God gave us free will. And if God has complete control over every event, then he would have no need to alter bad situations to benefit those who follow Him. (Rom. 8:28).

So what does it mean to let go and let God?

Life isn’t easy. Many circumstances work against us to steal our peace and joy. These situations can wind us up in stress and anxiety.

Maybe you feel emotionally wound up by life circumstances. Maybe work has you overwhelmed. Maybe you are burdened by health issues. Maybe the loss of a loved one has you down.

God wants you to let go of them by bringing them to Him in prayer. This involves your whole being: body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23, Ps. 46:10).

  1. Agree with God. Confess the emotion you are struggling with. Ask God to show you the truth about the situation.
  2. Acknowledge and receive forgiveness. Jesus died not so you could behave better, but so you could receive His righteousness. See yourself from the finished work of the cross: fully restored. This is an act of gratitude.
  3. Forgive others as God has forgiven you. This is a choice not a feeling. Ask God to reveal your heart before Him. Then trust Him to show you any lies you have believed, and what, if any action you should take to reconcile.
  4. Relinquish the situation to the Lord. This is involves acknowledging His sovereignty, and trusting in His extravagant love for you. It doesn’t mean He’s giving you a free ticket to paradise

 You were not created to be a wind-up toy but a sail boat.

He is inviting you to sail with Him. Spread your sails and let God be the wind beneath you. Surrender to His grace and mercy.

Let God come to you, work in you, and flow through you. He is inviting you to partner with Him in His authority and power. It’s why He sent us His Holy Spirit.

Where is He asking you to join Him at work so He is glorified?




Let Go and Flow in the Vine


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Let Go and Flow in the Vine.JPGWhat does living in the Kingdom mean to us as Christ Followers? Kingdom living is simply living out of God’s presence. We don’t have to wait until we die and get to heaven.  It’s available to us here and now. In John 15, Jesus uses the analogy of a vineyard to explain this to his disciples as they travel to the Garden of Gethsemane. Hours before his crucifixion, He says, “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me”(v.5).

The key to fruitfulness is staying connected to Jesus, who provides life to us and through us, when we learn to rest in Him. In a nutshell, Jesus was saying don’t try to do good works in your own ability; those are weak and non-effective. Instead, draw upon me: my power to produce abundant life. Don’t strive. Relax. I will do it through you as you listen and obey.

I wish I could say I live in the Kingdom daily.  But, more often than not, I find myself depending upon my own strength. During my time dancing on a worship team, my mind was focused on me and the audience. My moves often felt stiff and contrived. I’m sure they looked that way too. But, dancing alone before God, I feel alive and free. I don’t even think about my next move; it just flows from within.

Perhaps, learning unforced rhythms of grace is about moving to the Father’s heart beat: allowing our works to flow from intimate fellowship with Jesus.

The world teaches us to work and then rest to see success. But Jesus says rest in me because it’s through me that your work naturally thrives. I am the source of all life and goodness. Dance with me. I want to be your partner. Together we can change the world. One person at a time. Will you join me?

A New Day is Coming


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A New Day is ComingA day is coming when every knee will bend, and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord and King. Life is not as it should be. Death, sickness and violence surround us. All creation groans, awaiting the day when it too, will be delivered from its bondage of death and decay.

How do we find hope in the midst of turbulent times? Choose to see a better world. Believe and confess, “Jesus is coming again!” The wolf and the lion will live peacefully with the lamb. Joy and peace on earth will be fully restored. In John 14:27, before Jesus ascends to heaven, He tells us His peace isn’t the same as the world’s. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict but the presence of God.

Our peace and joy were stolen when Adam and Eve believed a lie, and acted on it. At that moment, our connection with our heavenly Father, as the source of all truth, was severed. Satan was given what once belonged to man: dominion over earth.

God intended our physical world to reflect His spiritual world. When He created the human race, He breathed His spirit into man, and earth became a visible replica of the invisible Kingdom.

What was God’s solution to man’s problem? Jesus. He sent His precious son to destroy the works of the devil and restore all of creation. He is coming again in glory and power. With Him, he’ll bring His everlasting Kingdom. We will see a new earth and heaven.

This Christmas prepare your heart for His second coming, and celebrate the Prince of Peace who will come as the King of Kings.

Phil. 2:10-11, Rom. 8:22, Is. 65:25, Is. 11:6-9, Gen. 3, 1 Jn. 3:8, Rev 19:6, Rev 21:1-2


Photo design by Julie Clark


Color. Create. Pray!


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Color Create Pray

Necessity is the mother of invention. In the movie, Castaway, Tom Hanks used a bloodied volleyball to ease his loneliness on an uninhabited island. Wilson’s face literally was the handprint of his creator. The creative action taken by Hank’s character coupled with his imagination birthed companionship.

Prayer is my lifeline. It’s the time I set aside to meet with God. I’m learning to color when I pray; it keeps me focused, and unlocks an innate creative bent I believe everyone has. In the Pinterest world, this is called Bible journaling. Whatever we choose to call it, it’s liberating. I find a quiet place to be with our Creator, God. Then I pray and ask Him for a picture or a verse. I draw what I hear and see in the stillness of body, soul, and spirit.

This is intimidating to say the least because I have no art background nor do I consider myself a gifted artist. But the Spirit of God is drawing me, like a magnet, to this amazing form of prayer.

Years ago, a friend recommended the book Praying in Color by Sybil Macbeth to me. Intrigued, I began experimenting with water color pencils. I prayed for my pastor, my kids, and sick friends. I drew whatever I saw in my mind’s eye when I prayed. I also wrote any scriptures or words that came to mind. The results were less than beautiful and often resembled kindergarten pictures but were always joyfully received.

Recently, I attended a scrapbooking retreat with the same friend. She is now doing something similar on her Bible pages. Once again inspired, I took out my pencils and brush to see what God would create through prayer.

The outcome is seen in this simple water coloring. Colored Prayer 9-23-15The experience was phenomenal. God progressively spoke to me about His people and Kingdom. Like the pencil markings of various colors, sizes, and shapes, we’re each a unique and valuable part of His Kingdom. I dabbed the damp brush on the paper to blend the color, and a beautiful, solid, bright ray of color appeared; it became one unified part of a whole picture.

In the same way, when the Holy Spirit descends upon believers in Christ, we shine brightly and emit rays of love, grace, and unity. He empowers us to bring life to others and complete His Kingdom.

I felt God say, “I am Alpha (beginning), Omega (end) and everything in between” (Rev. 1:8). The Kingdom is found in Jesus; it’s past, present and future. Jesus did not say I know the way, the truth and the life. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

This kind of contemplative prayer is time-consuming, and my thoughts drifted to my schedule. But, when my focus returned to Jesus, He whispered, “Make time for me, and I will make time for you to do what needs to be done. I am time.”

Sometimes creativity springs forth when you step out of your comfort zone, and prayer becomes the handprint of God. His creative spirit breathed life into you so you can commune with Him. He has a deep, insatiable desire to meet with you. Color. Create. Pray. I’d love to hear about your experience.

Be inspired and learn more:

Names Matter


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Names MatterIt took less than a second, but it changed the way I thought about myself for years. She chanted, “Tuna Breath” as I sat quietly by myself eating the tuna sandwich my mother made for me. I was an impressionable preteen, and the new kid at school. The same girl thought it amusing to call me “Ms. Dainty”. Being petite and girlie, I was picked last for any sports teams during recess. Any healthy self-image I had was beginning to spiral down the drain.

Whoever coined the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was lying. Names hurt. Words convey images to our mind. For instance; when I say chair, you form a picture in your head. Words spoken over us have the ability to bring life or death (Prov. 18:21). Names spoken over me sent a message that said, “I’m not good enough, I’m unworthy, I’m a mistake, something is wrong with me, I can’t do anything right, and I don’t fit in.”

I recently heard Beth Helton speak at a seminar about discovering our identity in Christ. Enthusiastically, she told us she asked the Lord to give her something really cool to share with us. To her surprise she heard, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” She chuckled at the childishness of it but knew there was a deep truth to it.

Names can shatter us into little pieces. Only the King, Jesus, can put us back together again. He takes all our broken pieces and make us whole again. He did it for me, and he will do it for you; you need only come. Enter his presence in stillness and listen. Is Jesus giving you a new name?

The words Jesus speaks over you heal like a liquid band aid. His words are life and they erase the lies. I felt as though I was living inside a Thomas Kinkaid painting when Jesus showed up and turned my world upside-down. He said something I will never forget, “My darling you are beautiful. I see no flaw in you. I want you to stop beating yourself up. You must learn to love yourself as I love you.” In a separate encounter but just as beautiful, I heard God whisper, “I named and made everything in this world: including you and proclaimed it all good.”

Names matter because people matter.

Made to Thrive


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Made to ThriveImagine a land full of life and beauty. Everywhere your feet trod you sense peace and joy. You lack nothing. It’s just you and your spouse living in paradise with no stress, sickness, demonic oppression or reason to work.

Your father freely gave you this garden oasis to rule over and enjoy. Daily, you stroll the garden talking to one another; sometimes holding the hand of your beloved bride. It’s an authentic, natural relationship because it’s why you were born: to fellowship. Each day, you awake and look forward to sharing your thoughts and heart with the one who gave you abundant life. You never experience loneliness.

Then one day, in a heartbeat, your utopia crumbles when an unfamiliar voice lures your wife to betray your father. It all began with a lie: Did God really say don’t eat from any tree in the garden? God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen 3:1-2).

Your peace and joy are stolen on the spot. Everything you had is lost because you believed a lie and acted on it. Your connection with your father as the source of all truth is severed.

Sound familiar? It should.  It’s the story and order of creation.  God, your heavenly Father created you for two purposes: relationship and dominion. He spoke creation into being by His spirit, and earth became a visible replica of the invisible Kingdom. When He created the human race, He breathed His spirit into man. You see, God intended our physical world to reflect His spiritual world.

Adam and Eve simultaneously lived in two realms: the physical and the spiritual. They didn’t separate the two until each ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then their eyes were instantly opened, and they saw their nakedness. Both of them ran and hid from God in shame. A perpetual cycle began and the stronghold was born.

If we continue the story, we learn their Father banishes them from the garden and their intimate relationship is broken. Sin, sickness and demon oppression follow. Satan is given what once belonged to man: dominion over the earth

God’s solution to man’s problem was Jesus. He sent His precious son to destroy the works of the devil and restore all of creation (1 Jn. 3:8). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). He restores our broken connection to the Father, so we can talk with Him in the garden of life, once again.

Events that unfold in our lives operate much like a camera; they leave pictures ingrained in our mind. Those memories can conjure up a myriad of emotions and impact the way we see ourselves, others and God. We all need help at times to break free of those things stealing the abundant life Jesus died to give us.

Choose to break strongholds in your life today. You were made to thrive. Are there events in your life which have caused you to believe lies? Have you spent time with God, your source of truth, to hear what he has to say?

Thirsting for Truth


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Thirsting for TruthThe sun turned variegated shades of orange as it set deep behind the clouds. She took a deep breath and wiped the last tear from her eye. I must be strong for my son, she thought. Just hours ago, she laid her sixth husband, Seth, to rest. Loss had become her constant companion. In fifteen years, she had endured the heartache of losing not one, but six husbands.   Seth was special. She believed the Lord had sent him to fulfill her deep desire to be a wife, and mother. She no longer felt like an outcast, but blessed to love and be loved. Jesus knew the depth of grief, shame and reproach she once felt for not being able to keep a husband and bear children. He mended her broken heart and filled her emptiness with His extravagant love.

The memory of that encounter still burned in her mind much like the sun scorched her skin on that hot summer day. Sweat dripped from her forehead as she made the journey to Jacob’s well. She chose the middle of the day to avoid being around other women since she was still mourning the loss of her fifth husband.

As a woman, she believed her identity and success rested in getting married and having children to carry on the family lineage. Now, having gone through five husbands and still childless, she was beginning to feel like a failure. Under Levirate law, Seth was the next brother in line to marry her, and had welcomed her into his home. But her mind began to wander. Maybe I’m cursed. What if he doesn’t want to marry me? What glimmer of hope remained slowly began to fade. Am I pretty enough? I’m certainly not as young as I used to be, will I be able to bear children?

Gathering her jug and bucket, she set off for the well to perform her daily chore. Would Seth still be there when she returned? Or would she be a widow destined to a life of loneliness and poverty? Little did she know, she was about to have an encounter with Jesus that would change her life. She would return full of exuberant joy. Her face would radiate beautiful confidence and her heart would be forever changed.

Now she knew her identity came from her Messiah, not other men, her gender, her role or her race. That fateful day, Jesus boldly and lovingly reached out to her. He crossed racial, religious and gender lines to bring healing and wholeness to her heart. In excitement, she left her water jug and raced back to town to tell everybody about the Messiah who turned her mourning into dancing.

All the people including Seth heard her testimony and believed. He let go of his doubts and his heart was changed too. He knew this was the woman God would have him wed and honor as his lovely bride.

It happened just as Jesus had said it would; the following year they welcomed a precious baby boy into this world.

She heard a faint cry in the background that brought her back to her hard reality. Seth was gone now and their young son needed her. She calmly walked over to her son’s bedside, with a warm heart, she quietly leaned over him to gently kiss his cheek. “Good night my dear son, tomorrow is a new day. Jesus will once again turn our mourning to dancing.”













Free to Soar


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Free to SoarHe gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those that trust in the Lord will renew strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

The American flag, Bald Eagle, fireworks, baseball, hot dogs, The Statue of Liberty and white picket fences saturate our ideas of American culture and freedom.

Earlier this month, our nation celebrated her 239th  birthday. The next day, I turned 50. Milestones cause us to reflect upon our lives. More than half of my life has passed by, and I still find myself wondering where my path will lead. Will I have the energy and resolve to carry on?

A legend about the eagles’ rebirth states around the age of 40, their feathers become so heavy and burdensome, they actually impede their flight. Their talons and beak also age, making it hard for them to clutch their prey. Survival becomes increasingly difficult unless they make a deliberate choice: renewal or death.

This painful renewal process takes patience. The eagle flies to an isolated mountain, and slams his aging, bent beak against the rock so he can pull it out. He waits for a new beak to grow. Then he takes his new beak and pulls out his long, stiff talons, and waits for new ones to appear. With his strength renewed, he plucks out his thick, cumbersome feathers and waits some more, until new feathers emerge.

With his youth now restored, this magnificent creature is able to soar to new heights for another 30 years. I love this picture. It reminds me of God’s process of renewal and encourages me as I wade through muddy water that weighs me down.

Recently, I’ve struggled with seeing others as a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). When facing a challenging situation, I’ve been too quick to judge people based upon my past experiences with them. When unhealthy thoughts based on lies enter my head, I must choose to renew my mind by seeking God’s voice through daily, quiet meditation of His word.

Through the renewal process, I’m finding supernatural strength. I depend less on doing things in my own effort and more on God. 50 is but a number and my days are numbered by Almighty God not by man or circumstance.

Sarah laughed when she heard God say she would bear a child in her ripe-old age. But Abraham believed God, and as promised, a nation was born through Isaac. Like Abraham, I believe God. Though, I’m 15 years from retirement, I progressively walk out my calling: one day at a time.

There is some truth to the myth of the eagles’ rebirth. Physical, emotional, mental or spiritual renewal can lengthen our earthly lives. Gradually, God reveals Himself to us as we wait on and yield to Him. He continually renews our mind and heart, allowing us to soar into new levels of freedom (Rom. 12:2).

Take a moment to reflect on your life. Where do you need renewal today? What thoughts seem to plague you or steal your joy? What is God revealing to you about Himself today?