A House of “Help Yourself”

During a recent conversation with my hostess for a summer intensive class I will be attending, she said, “Rachel, people who know me well, know my house is a house of help yourself!”

She was so gracious as we chatted and planned and I became more aware of how intimately God knows my every need. He’s been so kind. I was interested in attending these classes but never thought I could get a long enough break in my weekly, yearly rhythms to take them. But one day, as I scrolled through social media, I ran across a post about a summer intensive where the year long program could be accomplished in three weeks.

My interest was peaked, so I began to move forward. I had considered taking the courses through the on-line programs offered, but never moved forward because the thought of sitting in front of a computer didn’t appeal to me.

It must have been stored away for later retrieval because the day I scrolled through INSTAGRAM the post hit me enough to check it out more fully. God in his kindness knows how he made me, duh! He made me relational…very relational. So the thought of being in class with students opposed to on-line classes really interested me.

Hmm? Where is this summer intensive held? I wondered. I clicked to find out…But first, let me give you a bit of background about me. I am a woman who, like a coin has two sides…heads and tails, I have two sides to my way of operating and my personality. I like both an adventure and I like familiarity. You may think these two cannot exist. But here is how it played out.

I’ve only spoken once in the state my class will be held. It was maybe four and a half years ago. Often, I connect with people from locations where I speak. Obviously, I cannot keep in touch with everyone, yet sometimes we just CLICK with people, right? I call it collecting friends. The way my pant legs collect burrs when walking through the fields.

Well, as soon as this gal, named Lisa, prayed for me, I KNEW we’d be friends. I quickly snatched her up and asked her to be part of my ministry prayer team. She prayed and cheered for me as I wrote my first book, Lily Pads-Stories of God on Display. Lisa is the author of the book, Every Little Detail. Yep! She is one I’ve collected, a special friend from the church where I spoke and we have kept in touch over the years and distance.

When I clicked the INSTAGRAM post I was delighted… What? Seriously? This is crazy! I know that town, I’ve been there…I’ve spoken there!

Come to find out the school is located in the only Pennsylvanian town I have spoken in, the one from all those years earlier. A town just fifteen minutes from my friend Lisa’s house.

I was so excited! God knows I like adventure with familiar. I connected immediately with Lisa, my gem of a collected friend, and get this… I have the opportunity to stay in her home for the duration of my summer intensive.

I see God in every little detail, He’s ordered my steps and taken care to put me in a familiar place with a friend for this new adventure.

The process is well underway and these needs have already been provided:

  • Live classroom style learning
  • Dietary needs
  • Transportation
  • A dear friend
  • Housing

It’s not just any ole’ housing either, but the house of a friend in whom I delight. Numerous times we’ve both said, “When will you be able to visit me? We’ve gotta figure out how to spend more time together.” I’m excited to further develop our relationship and land in the house of “Help Yourself!”

About a week after I sent in my registration I found out I also know a missionary couple who will also be attending the summer intensive with me. It was one of those, “Golly, it’s a small world!” type things.

Can you see the hand of God in your life? Are you aware of how you’re being led? Do you have some unknowns? Do you need guidance? Here is a promises:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV

As I prepare to attend this summer intensive, I watch God continue to guide me and order my steps. I’m delighted to report He has been in “every little detail” and landed me in the home of a dear friend who has not only written a book called Every Little Detail, but informed me, “Rachel this is the ‘House of Help Yourself!'”

http://rachelinouye.org/store.cfm

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Out of the Norm

Often when I take my walk I’m all about how quickly I can get a mile in, or whether the subsequent miles are faster than my first ones but not today. Today, I kept stopping along the trail to take pictures of the sites it was absolutely fabulous.

Sights:

  • Sun rising in clear cerulean blue sky.
  • Moon still making its appearance in its full  beauty. 
  • Redwinged blackbird
  • Canada goose and her two babies
  • Bird with a fish in its talons
  • Bicyclist 
  • Tiny child’s tennis shoe set on a park bench
  • Robins in the grasses and on the paths 
  • Green grass with what looked like scattered diamonds of dew as the sun struck each droplet.

Sounds:

  • Honking geese flying overhead 
  • Wind whistling in the trees 
  • Traffic and tires on the highway
  • Footsteps approaching from behind me as a runner passed by
  • “Good morning!” Greeting from a runner after I said, “Hello!”
  • Sniffles as I tried to keep my nose from running faster than the athletes near me. 
  • One older gentleman came toward me on the path. He said, “Good morning! Well, I hope the wind is your friend.”
  • To which I replied. “Yeah, I have so many clothes on and I kept adding to them even in the parking lot!”

Allow me to show you a few things I encountered on this beautiful, brisk, sunny, windy, morning’s walk.

My prayer for you today is that you would get out of your norm and busy schedule, enough to receive the Father‘s love for you. Remember, sometimes this love comes via your eye gate or your ear gate and most certainly through your heart’s gate!

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Before the walk this was my morning greeting! A sign of His love a gorgeous God painting sunrise was the view from my sister’s home. 

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Proclaiming your love in the morning and yiur faithfulness at night. Psalm 92:2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Difference a Day Makes.

I sat on the deck and ate a delicious summer salad topped with pineapple, blueberries and strawberries. Quite pleased with myself, I said, “Man, that was terrific!” It was so warm I decided to find my swimsuit. I quickly changed and ran back out so I could gather a bit more vitamin D as I soaked up the sunshine.

I didn’t put all the cushions on the chairs but made a nice cozy place to sun bathe. It was so glorious to be outside after a long and very cold winter. THIS FEELS FABULOUS! After about an hour, I collected the cushions and stowed them safely away because there was a promise of snow in the near future.

That glorious day of sunning was only a few days ago and yesterday’s weather did a complete 180 degree turn around. Sure enough, what was forecasted, an April winter snow storm hit. The snow was very beautiful but it made it seem as if  I had only dreamt about sitting outside in my swimsuit after a tasty lunch.

My husband and I were both home inside and thankful because it grew increasingly colder and the snow fell and collected on the lawn and trees all around us. I felt like we were the fixed characters in a snow globe. It seemed as if someone had shaken our globe and we were now in a magical winter wonderland. When I was a little girl, I’d heard the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers.” I think it usually meant rain showers not snow showers!

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I will admit, it was so beautiful. The snow began lightly and increased as time went on. I stared out the window in amazement as if repeating the date…“It’s April 10th!” was going to stop the events unfolding before me. I had come home about an hour before it started snowing and immediately put layer upon layer of clothes, “BURRRRRR!” I finished  with a huge scarf that I wore for hours.

So here’s what it all made me think about today. What about this latest snowfall can I learn in my own life and my walk of faith? I began to consider: I can expect the unexpected to happen. If God has promised things in my life I can believe they will happen even if it seems unlikely based on my current circumstances.

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I sure didn’t think, sitting outside on the deck in my swimsuit, it would snow. It didn’t seem possible even though it was forecasted and promised that it was coming. Let me list a few of the promises of God for encouragement. Let’s believe in the promises of God. Let’s put our hope in the things He has said more than the things we may have staring us in the face today in our current situation.

  • Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24   (God hears your prayers)

 

  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (God will forgive you.)

 

  • He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6b (God will complete His work in you.)

 

  • And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (God will provide your needs)

 

  • What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.  Isaiah 46:11b (God will not forget His promise. )

 

  • And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b (God will be with you.)

I like this quote, “I don’t believe in the power of positive thinking, I believe in Biblical optimism- based on the promises and character of God.” Steve Backlund.

Let me recap for my sake and yours. Remember, it doesn’t matter what seems or feels true. Our circumstances or current situation… They are like me sitting in the sunshine unaware of the “promised” snow… it all can change, this is THE TRUTH:

  •  God will forgive you.
  •  God will complete his work in you.
  • God will not forget his promise.
  • God will provide your needs.
  • God hears your prayers.
  • God will be with you.

Even if the promise seems as unlikely as a spring snow storm, it can happen, in God ‘s timing things can turn around. He is for us not against us, remember that! And by the way, happy Spring!

Rachel’s website

Rachel’s podcast, “the real deal”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tune In or Tune it OUT?

The hum of the tree stump grinder and blower was constant, followed by the high-pitched chain saw’s whine as branches were being trimmed and removed from my neighbor’s backyard trees. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to try to decipher what each sound was or whether it would be best to just get up and look to see what was going on.

I made my list for the day and decided to read the final chapters of a book written by an author I will be interviewing in the future for “the real deal” podcast. Usually, I sit in the quietness of my home and hardly have any distractions. Not the case this morning.

I looked out my window, across the street my neighbors had a crew re-roofing their home. An extension ladder was leaned against the house with another smaller one propped up a few feet beside it to a lower section of the roof.

A blue tarp lined portions of the yard and bushes protecting them from all the debris falling from above. Shingles lined the driveway the way pickup trucks lined my street.  This morning was very atypical as there was a flurry of activity. I didn’t know whether to watch or sit down and try to read. I wasn’t sure which window to gaze out first, front or back?

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I thought, should I tune in and watch all the transformational work going on around me? Or should I try to tune it out? Golly, that’s the magic question I have to ask myself and decide on often. What do I pay attention to and what should I tune out in my life? 

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I was aware of the fact that when I looked out the back windows and concentrated my attention there, I was missing what was going on in the front of my home simultaneously.  I took some photos.

Then suddenly, the other neighbor’s two basset hounds, began to bark, first one then the other. Like I was listening in stereo. Woof… WOOF, WOOF… woof. WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF! I decided to write this blog instead. I got the idea, tuning in or tune it out, from what was happening.

Oh my word, it was comical, it was a cacophony all around me: truck engines roared, dogs barked, men talked and shouted, the grinder growled and blew as wood chips shot through a tube into the tree service truck, additional cars passed by and weaved through the unusually congested street. Next, the wind gushed and activated the wind chime near my front step. It all made a big crescendo for a moment.

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Then, over time,  little by little one truck after another pulled away as the tasks were completed.  I cannot watch it all. I will miss something for sure! Isn’t that like the activity of life and even of God? I’m certain that when I see what He’s doing in one area of my life, He’s actually working on another area at the same time unknown to me.

I may think He’s trimming something out of my life and that’s the only activity going on. Only to realize, little did I know, He’s got a crew of angels, people and activity going on in a whole other area. I must tune into this: His grand design is so much bigger than my small little plans.

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So today, as the men have now sat down to have lunch break, I’ve decided to finish this blog and pick the book up again to get a few chapters finished. I hope you are able to tune into God’s voice and his activity in your life. I also pray that we both will be able to know what things we need to pay attention to and what to tune out.

We need to and can TUNE IT OUT:

  • fear
  • worry/anxiety
  • hopelessness
  • discouragement
  • panic

How do we do that tune it out?  Don’t concentrate on the above list rather…release the opposite.  These are available and can be released in the Holy Spirit:

  • God’s perfect love- which casts out fear!
  • Peace that passes understanding
  • Hope- the confident expectation of good things to come
  • Courage- doing it afraid
  • Rest and Praise –these are powerful weapons 
  • Thanksgiving- a way to enter His gates 

We can have restful hearts, in the midst of all the spin, because God is always working. He also has a flurry of activity going on all around us. He is for us, he’s not against us, so be at rest.

We can TUNE IN to these characteristics and truths…His:

  • Goodness,
  • Faithfulness
  • Kindness
  • Attention to detail
  • Redemptive work
  • Melody He is singing over us as we sleep
  • Good plans he has for us and our futures.

Yes, my morning was unusual. It was NOT quiet, but oddly enough, my heart was!

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” Isaiah 30:15a

 

 

 

 

 

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Order you copy of Lily Pads- Stories of God on Display: Lily Pads Book or Audio Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Still Learning, Leaning and Listening.

My day yesterday wasn’t truly hectic but it was fuller than most. It was filled with loads of people, lots of conversations, leaning in and listening.

  • I had a coffee date in the morning with a new friend…delightful!
  • A midday call with a dear friend about the book I’m writing…helpful!
  • Another friend phoned, so I hopped on the treadmill to walk and listen…needed.
  • My cousin texted: I do have time available if you have a hankering to chat or pray. Just let me know. I was still on the treadmill when I called her and we prayed together…grateful.

I had told my cousin, “I need to get ready soon so I can’t talk too long because I have dinner plans.” I finally just got dressed because we kept talking. So, without taking a shower I freshened up a bit and I got ready for the night out. I remained on the line the entire time, exited my home and got into the car.

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I put my AirPods in my ears because I like to be hands free and I could do all of the above mentioned things more easily.  (talk, walk, dress and drive)

I told my cousin Annie, “Alright, I’m in the car now. I need to enter the name of the restaurant in my phone and listen for the guided directions from Maps, so how ’bout you go ahead and pray first and I will chime in when you’re finished.”

“Okay, sounds good, makes sense so you can get your bearings on where you are headed.” She agreed.

I could hear Annie’s voice as she prayed, what I found interesting was, I could still hear the faint GPS voice in my ears underneath it…“In 500 feet turn right on Harris Highland. TURN RIGHT.” I turned right and continued to listen to both voices.

I prayed too and we concluded together with “Amen!” as soon as I located a parking spot and pulled into it. “Well, I’ve arrived. You have a great night, I love you, see you soon.” I placed my AirPods into their case and tucked them safely in my purse.

I got to thinking how the directions and guidance I heard during our conversation is a lot like the way it is to lean in and listen to the Holy Spirit. It was kind of fun how a “guided voice” still continued as I went into the restaurant, although my AirPods were no longer in. It was simply “the voice of the Holy Spirit” that I was aware of speaking to me.

I was delighted to see all of the couples. As each arrived, those of us present at the table stood and greeted the newly arriving members of our party.

“All rise for the honorable Cheryl!” We said as each came in one by one or in pairs.

The restaurant was filling up quickly and the noise became louder. I went over and chatted a minute with one of my friends who would not be seated next to me during the meal.

“I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever! Hey, how is that class you are teaching going?” I asked.

“I was really glad for the women who showed up,” she responded. “You could be praying for me and all the women…” I let her finish her sentence but prayed for her right then because while she said you could just pray…I heard the Holy Spirit say, pray for her right now Rachel before you go back and sit down. 

I prayed for her because I heard the Holy Spirit as clearly as I heard the guided GPS voice say: “In 500 feet turn right on Harris Highland. TURN RIGHT.” 

Then later I took a drink from my water glass and I heard, “You should go use the bathroom.” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the Holy Spirit but my bladder speaking. Okay, just a little humor there.

I returned to my chair and continued to enjoy such an amazing meal. It was remarkable. The presentation, the colors, the tastes and smells were completely wonderful. It was a  full sensory experience. (I only took one photo because I began to enjoy the food and conversation and lost myself in it all)

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I saw the owner of the restaurant standing against the wall. He had on a wine colored shirt and a black apron over it. He was a man of medium build and several things struck me: His dark rolled and upward turned mustache, his tattooed biceps and his intense eyes and slight smile.

He stood near the hostess station as he looked over toward all the tables, I caught his eye and waved him over to our table. Why? Because it was so fantastic and as I was chewing I heard, “Make sure you tell him how much you are enjoying your meal Rachel and do it in front of everyone.”  

He came over and I said, “I want you to know how much we are enjoying this meal, blah, blah blah…” I’m not sure what else I said, I trust the Holy Spirit on that one too.

During the meal one of my girlfriends mentioned how she can not lift her arm fully.   Somehow she’d injured her shoulder’s rotator cuff. She giggled a bit as she exclaimed, “Do you know how hard it is to shampoo your hair with one hand and how tired the arm  gets doing it? My husband had to help me get myself dressed!”

I’m sad to say I told her a story about helping someone else who was going through something similar.  YIKES! I didn’t take the time to pray for her. WHAT in the WORLD was I thinking? I know I should have done it and I can still call and pray for her or pray with her when I see her in a few days. My point is, I probably didn’t obey as quickly when I heard the Holy Spirit tell me, “Pray for Anne, speak to her shoulder.”  

You see earlier in the evening when we first greeted each other I gave her a hug and she mentioned she had to be careful because even the hug hurt. I didn’t pray then. BUT I didn’t address it, even though I’m pretty sure I heard, “Pray for Anne, speak to her shoulder.”  

So now that I’ve shared my simple dinner story, let me encourage you to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice in your own life. It won’t come from outside of you. It will be like an inner thought, just like taking directions from the GPS. Let’s keep in step with the Spirit.

You see I’m always learning, leaning and listening. The good news is He’s always speaking!

My Sheep hear my voice. John 10:27a

 

 

 

 

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Do you SHOULD on yourself?

As soon as I made the bed today, I  heard this, I should write a blog post today. I should because I usually post on Thursdays and haven’t for awhile…should, should, should! Do you SHOULD on yourself? I’m not sure it ever helps me, but I know I do it.

It’s true, I haven’t been posting blogs with regular rhythm. I recently started a podcast that rolls out every other week and it has been my focus lately. I have loved it. That is why I haven’t been writing as often.  

Not to mention, I was on vacation and made a vow to myself, really be on vacation. No writing, no major studying, no blogging, just rest! So since I had pledged myself a break, I took it. I didn’t SHOULD on myself.

 While I vacationed on Marco Island I:

  • slept in-
  • read a book
  • walked on the beach- its so good to be outside
  • ate loads of cookies- good food for vacation mode
  • drank coffee each morning
  • took a nap on the boat- plenty of rest was needed
  • celebrated a low key Valentine’s Day with beautiful roses from my husband
  • watched the sunset
  • drove our friend’s electric car to the ice cream shop
  • traveled to restaurant via boat
  • and didn’t write for my new book or this fresh perspective blog at all.

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I didn’t should on myself while in Marco Island. Instead, I was simply present. I tried to be aware of who I was with and be fully connected during the activities and with the people. It worked! But it is a bit humorous, the “back to normal” and the “you’ve gotta get something done”  the “should” voice kicked in even before I left the island.

I had gone outside for one last walk in the warmth because I knew I was headed back to a ton of snow in Wisconsin. So I started my NIKE app which had a guided 20 minute run in cue and it started even though I don’t remember if I clicked it. I mean, I don’t normally run, like almost never, but it automatically started and so, I just ran. 

I began to listen to the voice of the trainer, “Start slow and listen to your body. Let your body get used to the sound of your breathing and your movements. Go slowly!” I just did what the coach said and ran on the last day of vacation. I was a bit shocked at myself and it felt fabulous. It was a serendipity! 

After my run I soaked up as much sun, lying on the dock, as I could for as long as I thought was feasible. I helped clean the house to leave it really nice for the incoming guests and then took a shower. I was hours ahead of schedule. But my brain was no longer on vacation mode so we filmed for an on-line course we’ve had in the works for awhile.

My point? I had quickly turned a corner and SHOULD was back. Full “work mode”  and “Get ‘er done!” crept back in. I SHOULD use this time wisely, I thought, I’m clean, dressed, have a tidy environment and I’m headed back to the real world soon. I should get this film project finished.

I was delighted to get it accomplished. It felt great to seize the moment and not have the task looming over me anymore. I was ready to tackle it because I was well rested mentally and physically, emotionally and spiritually from being on a true vacation. 

I want to encourage you to listen to the voice ” you should get something done” if you need to. Yep, GO! Do it! But I want to bring a fresh perspective with this thought, maybe you also need to pay attention to the voice letting you know… “I SHOULD rest!” If you haven’t rested in awhile,  Go! Do it. 

Consider this if you are a bit stressed, worn out or just in need of a break or vacation.

  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28 ESV

One Scripture asks this question.. What does the LORD require of you, I’ll relate it to all the” SHOULDS” I can hear in a given day or moment.

  • But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously- take God seriously.  Micah 6:8 the Message

So, If I’m gonna should on myself, according to this, I should act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with my God.

I’d like to invite you to listen to “the real deal” podcast. I’m not going to say you SHOULD but if you want to subscribe, rate and review it. Thanks! I hope it will bless and encourage you, that’s my aim in this blog and  for “the real deal” podcast too.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-deal/id1448869614?mt=2

or find “the real deal” podcast on my website:http://rachelinouye.org

 

 

A Song of Deliverance – With Thanks and Praise

Have you ever felt like you need to be delivered from, out of, or through something? Boy, I have! Do you feel like you are in a battle? Today I was thinking about the power of a song in our battles, songs of deliverance. One individual’s song or a collection of people singing together has a profound effect of deliverance. I want to share a story from the Bible and include some links to songs. (These few songs have been instrumental in my life so I want to pass them on to you.)

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photo: Paul Alexi

Whether it’s singing around the table, a campfire or church worshipers lifting their songs to the King of kings, songs play an incredible role in deliverance. They can also play a role in fighting battles. One of my favorite accounts from scripture is found in 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30. (I used the ESV version) It’s a story about Jehoshaphat the King of Judah and his need for deliverance.

Let me briefly hit the high points of the story for you and include the verses that talk about the importance of a prayer and a song.

King Jehoshaphat is told, from a messenger, that a great multitude is coming against him for battle. HE WAS SURROUNDED:

  • He was afraid, proclaimed a fast and assembled all the people.
  • He prayed to God, declared His rule over all the kingdoms, recognized His power and might and recounted God’s history with His people.
  • Asked God to execute judgment on those coming against Judah.
  • He admitted “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Meanwhile:

  • All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
  • The Spirit of the LORD came upon this one man name Jahaziel, and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the habitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.'”

Jahaziel then runs through the battle steps that the Spirit of God had given him:

  • “‘Tomorrow go down against them. They’ll come out against you, you’ll find them at the valley.
  • You do not need to fight this battle.
  • Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, oh Judah and Jerusalem.’
  • Don’t be afraid and do not be dismayed, tomorrow go out against them and the Lord will be with you.”

Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. Then the Levites stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Then they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said:

  • “Hear me, Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem!
  • Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets and you will succeed.”
  • and when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to SING to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army,  saying,
  • “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

HERE’S the amazing part to me…

  • When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men who had come against Judah so that they were routed.
  • The men who came out against King Jehoshaphat and Judah, then turned on one another and destroyed one another.
  • When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.
  • When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more.
  • They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much.
  • On the fourth day they assembled in the valley, for there they blessed the LORD.
  • They returned to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord has made them rejoice over their enemies..
  • They came to Jerusalem with harps and liars and trumpets, to the house of LORD.
  • And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.
  • So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.
grayscale photo of people raising their hands

Photo by Shelagh Murphy on Pexels.com

Now that’s some deliverance, right? AND they didn’t even fight…

INSTEAD: they prayed, fasted, gathered, and sang! WOW! And then…they went and gathered all the stuff – goods, clothing and precious things, which they took for themselves, from the ones who had come out against them.

Maybe you are in a situation or battle where you don’t know what to do. That’s okay, just admit it like King Jehoshaphat who said,“We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Like King Jehoshaphat, do you feel surrounded?

What’s your current battle?

  • difficult diagnosis
  • marital problems
  • loss of a job
  • financial troubles
  • family strife

God can fight your battle however He chooses to do it and however He leads. We have a solid example of one method of deliverance. Let God fight our battles as we pray, worship, give thanks and SING…Songs of Deliverance.

 

close up of hands

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

https://youtu.be/R4CwKroZtCI

 Fight my battles

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1WGbmFmTGlM

No longer slaves

https://youtu.be/-jjzBb0wqTg

The goodness of God

https://youtu.be/awkO61T6i0k

Raise a Hallelujah

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1WGbmFmTGlM

You are my Hiding Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disappointment’s Trap- How to Climb out Instead of Get Stuck.

I was over the moon with excitement. I wanted to clap my hands together and shout, “That’s a wrap people!” As though I were a director on the set of a Hollywood movie or somethin’. In all actuality, I had simply finished recording the first episode of my new podcast, “the real deal.”

I was honored to have my Father, Richard as my first guest and we had concluded our time together. We had recorded something quite unique and special. I thanked my Dad and my husband took a photo of us together as a sweet memory of our time. The reason I wanted to interview my Dad for my first episode as my initial guest is because he is my hero! He more than qualifies as someone, in my book, who is the real deal.

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Yes, Richard Heggen certainly is “the real deal!”  He is so comfortable in his own skin with his life.  I love him. My Father has implored us all, my sisters and me along with our whole nuclear family to be “the real deal.” He instructed us, “Just be yourself. You are one of a kind. Nobody wants phony bologna!” He’s said, “In the art world it is called the ‘honesty of materials.'” He always emphasized to be “the ‘genuine article,’ ‘the real deal.'”

My newest venture in spreading encouragement and exhorting audiences has taken form in this new podcast, called “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye. You can probably imagine my excitement as 2019 arrived. I’m not sure if it was the next week or when it was, but my husband and I looked at the files from the recording of episode 001, only to discover there was no episode 001. It had never been saved or was deleted or some other unknown cause. Nonetheless the podcast was gone, nada, zip, zero, nothin’ honey!

I was more than disappointed. I was a bit nauseous. I told my husband before he left for work, “It’s gonna be okay, but I may cry. I’m sad. It’ll be okay, I know but I might just cry!” A moment later, I recall I said, “I’m sure we can try to re-record it somehow, it’ll be fine honey, but I may… cry.” Then, I did exactly that, I CRIED!

My disappointment stemmed from a few things:

  • The audio file was great content and it was lost!
  • I felt like I had wasted my Father’s time.
  • I thought I had wasted my husband’s time too.
  • I was hoping my husband wasn’t feeling accused at all. It wasn’t his fault. He is my forerunner and I was disappointed.
  • I wasn’t sure how or when we’d be able to record again.
  • My hope of launching a podcast was deferred.

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My Father and I don’t live in the same state. I was fortunate to have the time with him while he and my mom and sisters came for a fall visit, so we had recorded then.  I knew they were not planning a trip back anytime soon so the possibility of getting this first episode redone seemed unlikely.

I hesitated to do it, but I called my Dad on Face Time  and said, “Well,  Dad, I’ve got some bad news. Remember recording for the podcast? We don’t know what happened but there is no sound on the  audio file. Even though we had listened to it while you were here, remember how we heard parts of it? Well, anyway it’s gone. I’m so sad.”

His response was, “Well, maybe we’ll have to come back and visit you sometime and record something else instead.” As it turned out, that’s what we did. We recorded something else but not here. Instead,  while I was back in Iowa visiting we took another swing at it. While together at a family gathering, I grabbed my dad for “the real deal” interview and my husband set up a make shift studio, we settled in, tucked away in my brother-in-law’s office, we recorded “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye Episode 001.

silver desk microphone

Here’s how I climbed out of the disappointment trap:

  • I recognized my true disappointment and I grieved.  Yes, the audio files were lost, the content was precious, but it was gone…So I cried. (I allowed myself to go there, but I didn’t stay there.)
  • I asked God to make a way to recovered or redo.
  • I prayed with a friend, she asked for “a better outcome than the first version.”
  • I let it go and moved forward.
  • I was kind to myself and my husband.
  • I looked for the positive spin on it. Is there a silver lining here?
  • I “got back on the horse” and tried it again.
  • I realized I am strong! My resolve proved I’m energized by this endeavor; I am made to do this. (Persevere )
  • I DIDN’T GET STUCK!

If you are dealing with disappointment of any kind BIG or SMALL, I hope you will bounce back or climb out of the trap too. One thing I have been challenged to declare is…There is always a solution. 

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Here’s the good news. I believe my new podcast episode 001 was meant to be and it launched on January 8, 2019 which was my Dad’s eighty-eighth birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Richard and happy birthday “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye.

Here is the link to listen to episode 001. I sure hope you are blessed by it. If you like it SUBSCRIBE and RATE and REVIEW it. Thanks. There is much more to come!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-deal/id1448869614

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Which way should I go?

I shared this phrase before, it’s the tagline from one of my talks: “Look back with gratitude look forward with faith.” This has been instrumental in my life. I have found, as I venture out into some new territory,  I can become a bit paralyzed with thoughts like, what should I do? which way should I go?

It has helped me before proceeding full force into the unknown, to look back at what God has done in my life, with gratitude, therefore I’m able to look forward in faith.

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Why has this helped me? Because I have seen His track record and I know God cannot lie, He does not change and He always keeps his promises.

Here’s a WHOPPER of a promise:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8 NIV

This has truly helped me not get my undies in a bunch or adopt needless anxiety over life’s future endeavors. Even now, today as I write this post, I find myself wondering a little bit about the future. During one of my a recent posts, I wrote about the catalyst behind the podcast idea I had.

LINK for past blog

God really went before me! I see ways He has been preparing me for years. I’m happy to announce that January 8, 2019 “The Real Deal”- with Rachel Inouye launched. Eek! I m so excited about it I can hardly contain myself! I’m extremely energized by it because I’m very relational and I get to interview amazing people, share segments of my past messages which have helped to encourage and inspire others.  I plan to have a frequent guest, my girl friend, Gayle join me for “Buddy Time.”  I’m very jazzed by the thought of how God will use it and how He will direct me in and through it. I had the privilege of interviewing my father, Richard Heggen for episode 001 of “The Real Deal.” *See link below

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The Real Deal

I’m the type of person who agonizes over decisions. I wonder what I should do? Which way should I go? I have seen how God was moving me into position for this phase of my life for quite a while. So, I look back with gratitude and look forward with faith.

I get asked this question, or ones like it, quite often. What do you think I should do? It may originate from:

  • a mentee,
  • a friend
  • someone I’m ministering to in the moment

I don’t find it necessary to try to answer or solve.  Instead, I find myself just pointing the person to God and sharing this verse because it has been very helpful to me.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8

Let me ask you a question. Is there an area in your life you are wondering, what should I do? Which way should I go?  What is next?  I’ll share the promise of God with you again, but allow me to include the very next verse along with it.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Psalm 32:8,9.

photo of black horse

Yeah, yeah, you figured it out. The next part means we are NOT to be stubborn, like the horse or mule, when being guided by God. Oh, lordy LORD… My prayer becomes: God, please forgive me for my stubbornness from time to time. Golly, I do so want to be easily guided by you cuz I know you guide me with your loving eye on me!

two brown donkeys

Even as I write this blog I am asking for God to guide me as I add the podcast to my regular rhythms of life.

I wonder:

  • Should I keep blogging once a week?
  • How often do I release each podcast episode?
  • Will I have the time to do all I have bit off on this year?
  • How will it work when I’m off speaking in another country?
  • Should I finish the online course I started working on?
  • If I do this, will I get my next book Waiting on Grace finished?  When will I secure an editor? Who is going to publish it? Blah, blah, blah! 

WHEN I get ahead of myself,  I simply look at the track record God and I have had.  It helps me to NOT have to breathe into a bag to prevent hyperventilating. Hahaha! I’m kidding, well mostly!  This is the moment when I remind myself, Look back with gratitude look forward with faith.” AND I clearly hear Him reassure me of His promise… I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8

My only response is, “THANK YOU JESUS!”

Soooo…what decisions are you in the midst of making? Are you letting yourself go CRAZY bonkers as your thought train speeds ahead full steam into the vast unknown of the future? Well, I encourage to Look back with gratitude look forward with faith.” 

And REST in the promise of God. Look closely at it…It doesn’t say I MIGHT guide you. No, no, no, it says, I WILL instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8

So press on, dear believer, knowing:

  • You’ve been given the mind of Christ.
  • He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.
  • He will counsel you.
  • His loving eye is on you!
  • You’ve seen Him work in the past. So you can look back with gratitude.
  • He’s out in front of you.
  • You can look forward with faith!

Side note: I want to continue to exhort and encourage more and more people. God continues to enlarge my territory and he is saying, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54:2

Here’s the ask:

  • Will you listen to the podcast?
  • Will you subscribe?
  • Will you rate and review it? It takes seconds
  • Will you share this blog and/or “The Real Deal” podcast on social media or tell someone about it? (I do trust God but he’s asked me not to shy away from enlisting an army of His soldiers to help me in this because we are better together than alone)

I DO APPRECIATE IT!  It’s so fun to see what God has done! It makes me want to do cartwheels and hoot and holler, “Yay God!” I’m down right giddy about what 2019 holds for us all. It’s gonna be good, because God is good!

The Real Deal Podcast

What Just Happened?

As I sit here typing this blog post, I am crying a bit too. Why? Because I had almost finished it, only a few final touches to make and it would have been complete. The blog post was about looking back and seeing God’s hand in our lives, it was titled “Have You Been Carried?” It was a good one.

I like to drag the cursor over the text and have in read to me as a way of making sure it’s what I want to say. I hit a button and it was reading it all aloud perfectly. I hit something else and it kept reading, but all of the words were gone. They vanished! The screen was completely white and the bottom where the word count is kept read, 0 words!

 

grayscale portrait photo of shocked woman

 

What? What just happened? I decided to go up to the upper part of the screen and hit the UNDO typing button. But still nothing came back on the screen. I lost this labor of love in one CLICK. I simply wanted to encourage you that God will carry you in the new year because I have seen how he has carried me. He doesn’t change and he can’t lie so I know he will continue to be faithful to his promise. Here is the promise…notice the, “I will” parts!

I will be your God throughout your lifetime-Until your hair is white with age. I made you, I will care for you, I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT

women s grey jacket

He has carried me this year and he will continue until my hair is white with age. Perhaps all the things I had written were just for my own review. Here is what I suggest. Take some time, look back as you review 2018 to see the ways God has cared for you and where he had carried you and the times he has saved you. It was wonderful to see his constant hand in my life this year.

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One of my tag lines for a talk I give called “I will be your God throughout your Lifetime” is this quote: “Look back with gratitude and look forward with faith.”

So as you look back on 2018 see the ways God has surprised you, fulfilled a dream of yours, carried you and sustained you.  Based on the backward glance display gratitude and thank God now. You can look forward with faith for 2019. I declare it’s gonna be a great year!