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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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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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.

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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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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!

 

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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

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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!

What are You Waiting for?

I had put it off for weeks or maybe months, I wasn’t overly concerned but had one thing I was thinking should just be checked out. One evening, at prayer group, a health related prayer request of mine led me to blurt out,” Yeah, I am due for an annual check up.”

“So… Rachel when do you want to have made the call by, like next week? “One of the guys asked.

I fired back, “Sure! Next week is fine.”

Accountability is quite powerful. I knew I was going to be asked, “Did you make that doctor’s appointment?’

A definition for accountability immediately came to my mind:  ACCOUNTABILITY-  “account for abilities”  

Rachel, what are you waiting for?  You are able to make an appointment!  My thoughts spurred me on. So I made it the next day. BOOM,BOOM, BOOM!

  • I gladly sent prayer group this text  FYI…Just made an appointment for my full physical!
  • I had the blood work done a few days ago.
  • Although I am not a doctor, I read the results.
  • Today was the day for my physical.

 

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After my name was called the nurse introduced herself and said, “Follow me this way, please.” Then she stopped and said, “I’ll have you step up on the scale to get your weight.”

“Okay, let me take off my coat and boots first. As I unzipped my boots I began to laugh. I said, “I’m chuckling because my husband likes to take off as much as possible when he weighs in.”

To which the nurse commented then inquired,  “I think I know him! Does he take like his pants off and everything?”

“No, no, no… I just meant that he removes his boots and watch and any coins in his pockets too.”

We did all the regular health history stuff and updates to the chart information.

“Oops! I didn’t check your height. Sorry! Let’s do that now!”

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“Five foot two…aaand a half!” as she announced it I felt like doing a cart-wheel because at least I’m not shrinking .

The whole physical went really well in fact, when my doctor was going through my blood work results, she exclaimed, “These numbers are incredible!” As she finished she headed me a printed copy and said, “You should frame this paper when you get home!” She spoke through her giggle, “Girl, you should have some cheesecake!”

As I exited she said, “All really looks good, just remember to make your mammogram appointment.” Oh, boy! Here we go again. 

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I took this photo thinking, Well, that’s behind me and it was a great visit!

So let me ask you…What are you waiting for? Is there something you are putting off?

  • Could you clear away distractions and make a forward step now or in the morning?
  • Could you invite someone to hold you accountable?
  • What is one little step you could make today? (Habakkuk 2:2 “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it…”)

Remember the answer to this question, “What is the best way to eat an elephant?” answer. “One bite at a time.”

If I’m being honest with you I still have many things that need forward momentum applied to them:

  •  Steps I need to be taken to make a manuscript a published book.
  • I have loose ends which must be tied up before I can launch a podcast.
  • I have videos that need to be worked on for an on-line course.
  • I have Christmas presents to wrap.
  • YES THE LIST GOES ON!

But let me encourage you to get the ball rolling. Overcoming inertia is the hardest part. Once we get started it’s so much easier.  So let’s be encouraged together! God is working in advance and he goes before us in the things we are to do. (one of my recent blogs was about this.)

Oh, and know this, I am  very happy to report,  I have already made my mammogram appointment for early January.

 

 

From Anxiety to Adventure!

When I was a young girl, I was fearful of new experiences and would experience random anxiety issues over the littlest things, like going over to a friend’s house or attending a slumber party.  I remember having to take medicine, from a brown glass bottle with a cold spoon, even before walking to school in the morning. Even though I wanted to go to school and see my friends, I’d get all hepted-up and have a nervous stomach ache.

I’ve always been relational. I love to be with friends. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t enjoyed learning about and from people. But my desire to be with people was hampered a bit by these pre-event jitters or anxiety related to new adventures.

Even something like summer day-camp seemed scary because it was new turf. I really didn’t enjoy day-camp and begged not to return after the first day. I had made my little sit-upon as a craft at day-camp, I recall.  I went into the backyard to find my mom in the garden and asked her if I could just stay home instead of going to camp the next day.

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“I made my sit-upon, isn’t that enough?”

 

“I’ve already made my sit-upon isn’t that good enough?” I asked her. I don’t remember whether or not I went back to finish the week. But it all begs the question, how did this little girl grow up to be someone who thoroughly enjoys new experiences and has traveled near and far to be with people and encourage them?

The answer, quite simply, no seriously, the answer is… God. He is the reason for peace in my life. He is the reason for any turn around and for every good thing in my life. he is for me not against me. He is working all things together for my good. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is for you too.

He is:

  • in charge
  • sovereign
  • good.
  • the God of instead.
  • amazing

HE is an awesome God for me and for you.

I actually had the privilege of speaking about Hope and I used the topic: “The God of Instead” from the book of Isaiah chapter sixty-one.  This is the passage that talks about Jesus’ Identity and how he is known in heaven, his resume actually. It also speaks of the role of the believer. Read it and look for the power of the INSTEADs of God.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
I have repeatedly experienced the INSTEAD of God.
God has given me:
  •  instead of anxiety, peace.
  •  instead of fear, His perfect love.
  • instead of a spirit of heaviness/depression/fainting, joy unspeakable and full.
  • instead of hopelessness, hope.

Let me share a few photos from my recent trip to the Middle East- UAE and Oman. I had a great deal of firsts and great adventures provided by the God of Instead.

Instead of anxiety I live with adventure!

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As a little girl, I always wanted to see the world. As I looked out at my audience, I thought… I’m seeing the world!

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women’s conference photo credit: Sarah Shalley

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women from 45 different nations were present.

 

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A few first time adventures:

  • visit to a Mosque
  • desert Safari
  • ride on a camel
  • belly dancer performance-live not on television
  • tour in Dubai
  • travels in Oman
  • walks and wading in the gulf of Oman
  • time speaking in Oman

Do you know the God of Instead? He has come to bring life where there is death. Hope where there is hopelessness. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. He truly is a God of  INSTEAD.

Righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, that’s the Kingdom of God. Because of Jesus and the work of God in my life I don’t live with anxiety but with adventure instead.

 

 

 

Rev up! Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

“Gentlemen, start your engines!” this traditional phrase is spoken at the start of the Indianapolis 500. I feel a bit like I’m at the start of a race as my fall schedule begins. How about you?

Just two days ago, I had the kick off of my weekly Bible study. My calendar reflects the impending speaking schedule is about to begin in less than a week.  Dom, Dom DOM!

Do you feel it?  It’s in the air.  All around me I feel excitement and curiosity mixed with a pinch of the fear-of–the-unknown with a side of panic. Many of you have sent children off to school or have started back to college yourself or your back to ministries at church.

writings in a planner

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

I feel a sense of excitement of what is ahead but I know new things and busier times of the year can bring with it apprehension and anxiety.  I get it, I do! But I say, “No!”

“No,” to anxiety.  “No,” to worry or fatigue or restlessness!

I am choosing to believe that what God says in his word as he promises me certain things regarding life in him and about my future:

back to school conceptual creativity cube

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was thinking about all I have on the horizon:

  • finishing a manuscript for a new book
  • future travels and messages to be delivered at events
  • completing the demo and remodel of our master bathroom
  • filming and recording an on-line course
  • painting part of my basement
  • moving forward to begin a podcast
  • even writing this current blog post

I am needing revelation regarding so many things. I was on a FaceTime call with my precious parents today.  We were speaking about upcoming things when I paused and shouted, “I’m looking for revelation!”

My father chuckled leaned forward slightly toward the screen and said, “Get ‘reved’ up! VROOM VROOM”

Get it? REVELATION!  As we hung up the call his parting sign off was, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

speed racing speedway racing car

Photo by Chris Peeters on Pexels.com

I knew he was talking about future plans, the things I am in the process of doing and the things that are about to begin. He was referencing all of it. Yes, I desire to commit ALL OF IT to the LORD. He made me. He has good plans for me.  AND good news… He is preparing in advance the things I do.

Let me turn a slight corner here and reference PLANS. I’d like to share a few versions of the same verse:  Proverbs 16:3 

  • Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. NIV
  • Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. NLT
  • Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. GNT.  

There are some really great promises. Here are a few cross references:

  • Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
  • Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5
  • Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

Isn’t it easy, even in prayer, to speak to God about our plans or about our circumstances? But I believe it’s better to speak to our plans and circumstances about our God.  Just flip that whole prayer over and see it through our really BIG God.

Even this morning while I was praying, a situation came to mind which needed to be better aligned to who God is. I flipped the pages of my Bible to Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” I took a deep breath and exhaled with such peace.

Let me give you one more truth from scripture. I hope it helps both of us as we go about doing whatever we’ve got planned because it will require our strength.

Seriously I am a wimp on my own but with God I’m so amazing and I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. So if you need strength today let me encourage you with this.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’d like to pray for us:

Father, thank you for who you are, righteous, good, our sustainer, way-maker, restorer, provider and deliverer. Your eyes search throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to you.  I call to you because we need your strength.

We can cast our cares on you because you care for us. Thank you that nothing is too hard for you. NOTHING! You made the heavens and the earth with your great power and outstretched arm. You’re absolutely amazing! You are so good and so kind. You love first. Thanks for loving us.

I thank you that we can break off anxiety that attempts to creep in, in the name of Jesus. So right now I do that, I break off any anxious thought and replace it with your peace and your rest!  You promised to keep us in perfect peace as we trust in you. We recieve your perfect peace.

You said let not your hearts be troubled or afraid because you are with us and you have overcome the world. Thank you. You promise to be with us every moment of every day. We are grateful. You don’t take off on us and you don’t lie. What you say you will do, you will do. All your promises are yes and amen. Thank you Jesus! We stand firmly on your promises.

With all we’ve got going in the upcoming days I commit it all to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

So “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your engines!”

 

 

 

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” A Divine Appointment!

We’d been planning for years and finally the day arrived. My cousin and I were headed to Bethel Church in Redding, California. We’re both part of Bethel’s on-line community. The Carr Fire in California has been so horrible, yet gratefully even the fires near Redding did not cause a change in our trip dates, our desires or our plans. It was a go!

We flew from our perspective locations and met in Phoenix. Once we hugged at the gate we knew the fun had begun! “It’s good to see you I’m so excited!” I told Annie. We stood in line at the airport Starbucks and rattled away and giggled a bunch too.

While we were first together there in Phoenix, we prayed.

We’ve been praying for years. But that day, seated in the airport, we thanked God for safety and for being together and prayed “God give us divine appointments.”

You know how once you pray something your awareness is boosted a little bit more because you’re looking for what you’ve just asked of God?

Well both Annie and I were in heightened awareness mode. I boarded the plane first and secured my seat and Annie was going to join me.

I always pick an aisle so I can get up and go to the bathroom she came in and sat in the middle seat.

Annie blurted out quickly, “I just heard a lady say ‘Redding’ so I spoke with her briefly. I figured we are probably both headed to Bethel.” She chuckled.

No sooner had she told me when the woman came down the aisle and they visited for a minute. Then she asked, “Could I just sit with you guys in this row? I may as well take this window seat! ”

“SURE!” We answered in unison.

She sat near the window and explained why she was going where she was going. She told us she was flying to Sacramento because her daughter was going to be attending a school out in Northern California and she was going to meet her there and get her settled in a bit.

We asked her where the school was located and she told us Bethel Church in Redding. We quickly replied “Oh, we’re going to Bethel Church this weekend. That’s the purpose of our trip.” I introduced myself, “I’m Rachel.”

She said, “I’m Jill.” She later mentioned her husband and her daughter were traveling from Michigan all the way across country to Redding. “But I told them, guys…I’m gonna just fly out. That’s a long way-I’ll fly and meet you.”

During the course of the conversation we found out things about one another and then I asked, “Could I pray for you?”

“Absolutely!” She replied.

The three of us agreed together in prayer. We prayed for protection as Jill’s husband and daughter traveled across country. We prayed for her daughter’s ease of transition in going to this new school far away.

I prayed for Jill’s “mama’s heart” I know what it’s like to miss a daughter, so I prayed for her as she said goodbye to her daughter in the next few days. I don’t remember the rest of the prayer but that was pretty much the gist of it.

We visited the duration of the flight and then we didn’t see her again. It was as if she were “POOF” gone!

We secured our rental car, decided who would drive and who would navigate, strapped on our seatbelts, logged our destination in the GPS and headed to Redding.”Phew it’s warm in here!” we agreed. “Let’s start the air conditioner.” Then we snapped a photo and peeled away!

We traveled awhile and decided to stop for lunch. My cousin Annie, had never been to California so she wanted the experience of IN and OUT Burger. I mainly eat a plant-based diet so I spotted a Panda Express just down from the IN and OUT.

“Can you find somethin’ to eat here?” She inquired.

“Not really.” I pointed. I’m going to head over to that Panda Express, grab some veggies and noodles and meet you back here. We can sit outside on the patio.”

“Sounds good,” She said.

I ordered my carry-out quickly, exited the restaurant swinging my white carton of food in its plastic bag and was going to meet Annie.

Just then, our new friend Jill came walking out of Starbucks which was next to the Panda Express.

I took one look at her, and said, “Oh, my! Well hello again!” We hugged and visited for a few minutes. I found out that she got her rental car and that she was safe and was making her trek north. “Well, isn’t it funny running into you here at lunch?

“I’ve just eaten at Panda Express, so now I’m grabbing a coffee for the road. God is good!”‘Jill reported.

“Great! Well, who knows, maybe we will see you at Bethel Church on Sunday!” I said. And walked away.

I thought that was the punchline. So odd to see someone again and be able to encourage them and laugh together. Timely encounters.

We continued our jaunt north. We had the address of our Airbnb logged into Google maps. “We are almost there!” Annie exclaimed.

We were both so excited as the GPS was giving our final directives. We pulled up to the row of condominiums, double checked the address to confirm, as the phone said, “Arrived at your destination.”

I opened my door, felt the heat and smelled the smoke, stepped onto the sidewalk nearest the condo and looked up.

“What?” I clapped my hands together and exclaimed simultaneously, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” There was Jill!

“WHAT?”

I stood frozen for a second.

Our new friend from Michigan walked toward me. I looked up to see a man, her husband, carrying hanging clothes draped over his arms and a young woman, her beautiful daughter, holding a box. They were moving in!

Jill approached me and started talking super fast, “I couldn’t believe it, I went up to my daughter’s room and the room adjacent to it had a sign on the Airbnb door that read, ‘Welcome Annie and Rachel.’

I stood looking at the sign dumbfounded thinking, ‘are these the ladies I just met on the flight that I was seated next to on the airplane? These ladies are my daughter’s weekend roommates?!?’

God calmed my mama heart with his attention to detail. He brought people from the Midwest to meet me on the plane to stay in the house with my daughter during her first weekend here. I couldn’t believe it! That’s so good of God!”

She was raving and gleeful…we ALL were.

We entered the air conditioned condo and introduced ourselves to her husband. I’m sure he was spinning…three woman were all jabbering at once trying to explain the story of our divine appointment to him.

We tried to recount the story so we could tell it to Jill’s daughter. “We met your mom on the airplane today she said ‘Redding’…blah, blah, blah.”

I ascended the steps and confirmed the whole deal; our room was adjacent to her daughter’s room. “No way!”

We had prayed for the transition of Jill’s daughter as she went off to school in Redding, California and there she was right before our eyes. Her eyes sparkling as she smiled and said, “Nice to meet you guys!”

Over the course of our extended weekend, we saw them again in passing between the services as they were in line for coffee.

“You guys should try MiMi Grace for breakfast. I tried it last time I visited before I decided to come here for school.”

We had to try it because we both like avacado toast and it was called Mimi Grace…my daughter is Grace.

We had prayed for months but this is just ONE of the divine appointments we had along the way. I could share so many more. “God-incidences” But this one will have to do for now.

God is the kindest person I know. He delights to delight my heart. I’m convinced of it. This made me have a perm-a-grin.

What are the ways God has been showing up in the little details of your life? Do you have a devine appointment you’d like to share?

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“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

“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭b NIV‬‬