Category Archives: Faith & Hope

Who Am I (AYFH wk 34)

Believe it or not, I have enjoyed writing my testimony (categorized under “My Story”) the past few months. Not only has it reconnected me with and given clarity to a calling God gave me years ago, but it has also allowed me to connect with some amazing people!

Through comments as well as private conversations, God has opened doors for me to use my voice and experiences to encourage others who are still walking “through their valley of the shadow of death”.

“What happens to you in life does not change the Word of God; but if you will hold fast to your confession (profession) of the Word, it will change what happens to you in life.”  ~Charles Capps

I recently sat with a friend who wept with longing for the “seemingly accomplished” deliverance she sees in my life and testimony (while she is still in the process of laying hold of hers). She might be surprised to know that I wept into my own pillow that night … because there are still many areas in which I struggle with unfulfilled longings and (yet) unmet needs.

Breath of Heaven - Robed In His Righteousness www.puttinghopetowork.com
Breath of Heaven – Robed In His Righteousness http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

Last week I revealed my “Victory Painting”. I think it’s easy (especially, I think, on the heels of my testimony) to look at “Miss Hope” with head bowed down in worship, enrobed in Christ’s Righteousness, being spoken over by the Spirit of God … and think to ourselves …

She made it!
She conquered!
She has arrived! (at the place of rest and rejoicing)

To which I think she might say, “Please don’t look at me that way.”

And to all of you reading this post I also say, “Please don’t look at me that way.”

Meaning please don’t look at me like I’ve now living a life without challenge, without disappointment, without heartache. If you do, not only will you be disappointed when you find out the truth (when you find out that neither my life, nor I (myself) am “all that and a bag of chips”), but it will also short circuit your faith for what God is doing in your life … right now … today!

But neither let us focus on our (neither yours nor mine) shortcomings and current struggle points (or ‘messy spots’).

“Faith is confidence that God’s Word is true, and conviction that acting on that Word will bring His blessing.”   ~Warren W. Wiersby, BE: Mature

Instead, let us look into the mirror of the perfect Word of God, and see ourselves how God sees us. If you are a Christ-follower (have made Jesus the Lord of your life), then guess what … this lovely image of Miss Hope robed in Righteousness, breathed upon by the Breath of God … that’s you too!

Perhaps even more importantly, let us say about ourselves what God says about us! Let us put in the work to “true up” our internal image of our true Identity.  

To the lie that says you are a broken mess and always will be, open your mouth and respond with this:

I am healed and whole in Jesus (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).

I am complete in Him Who is the head over all rule and authority—of every angelic and earthly power (Colossians 2:10).

I am free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

I am far from oppression and will not live in fear (Isaiah 54:14).

I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me (1 John 5:18).

I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).

I am the righteousness of God—I have right standing with Him—in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I have been rescued from the domain and the power of darkness and brought into God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68; Galatians 3:13).

My life is rooted in my faith in Christ and I overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done for me (Colossians 2:7).

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; I belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19).

To the lie that says you are fearful and fragmented of mind/spirit, open your mouth and say boldly:

I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).

I have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

The Spirit of God, who is greater than the enemy in the world, lives in me (1 John 4:4).

I am born again—spiritually transformed, renewed and set apart for God’s purpose—through the living and everlasting word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

I have received the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my heart enlightened, so that I know the hope of having life in Christ (Ephesians 1:17-18).

I am merciful, I do not judge others, and I forgive quickly. As I do this by God’s grace, He blesses my life (Luke 6:36-38).

The light of God’s truth has shone in my heart and given me knowledge of salvation through Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

I am not ruled by fear because the Holy Spirit lives in me and gives me His power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

I have received the power of the Holy Spirit and He can do miraculous things through me. I have authority and power over the enemy in this world (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:17-19).

To the lie that says you are never going to change – never going to gain the victory, open your mouth and shut that voice up by declaring:

I am renewed in the knowledge of God and no longer want to live in my old ways or nature before I accepted Christ (Colossians 3:9-10).

I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ Jesus who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works that He has prepared for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

In Christ, I am dead to sin—my relationship to it is broken—and alive to God—living in unbroken fellowship with Him (Romans 6:11).

As I hear God’s Word, I do what it says and I am blessed in my actions (James 1:22, 25).

I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37).

I have everything I need to live a godly life and am equipped to live in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

“Stand up to your full height; worry can not do for you (grow and mature you) what only faith can do.” ~Jeremy Pearsons

I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).

I am the head and not the tail, and I only go up and not down in life as I trust and obey God (Deuteronomy 28:13).

I am strengthened with all power according to His glorious might (Colossians 1:11).

I humbly submit myself to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the Name of Jesus (James 4:7).

I press on each day to fulfill God’s plan for my life because I live to please Him (Philippians 3:14).

“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” ~Ephesians 3:20-21 (Amplified)

And all the people said …… Amen!

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

 

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 24)

When I started this series “2018: A Year For Hope” in December 2017, chronicling my story was definitely not what I envisioned doing. And yet here I am, picking over and kicking over memories like rocks that haven’t been disturbed in decades. Truth be told, all this wondering down memory lane has been a little exhausting.

But I’ve also been rejoicing in the recognition of all that God has brought me through. He redeemed the pain of my childhood, rescued me from cruel and abusive husband, healed my/my children’s hearts, and completely re-directed the spiritual trajectory of my seed line. All that would be plenty enough – but He didn’t stop there. He also blessed me with a successful 20+ year career that I love, inspired me to Entrepreneurship in 2014, and continues to lead me into new and exciting adventures of business as a ministry including a side-gig that launches this month. He alone has transformed my life and truly given me beauty for ashes.

For those readers who know me personally, you can attest to the fact that I work hard at being a “glass-half-full” type of person. Occasionally, life will kick the stuffing out of me and leave me a bit ‘wobbly’, and I may take a while to rally back. But give me some time, and I’m gonna get back up, dust the dirt off my boots and hat, and get back at living life with a positive attitude. I’m gonna “take another swing!

Hey, I bet you have ‘wobbly’ days too. We all do.

So today I’m going to take a short break from my life saga to share something else. A revelation or epiphany. I’ve had it before, but I had forgotten it (as we are prone to do).

Buckle up and get ready for another spaghetti trail story. 😊

A few weekends ago I went camping – the first time I’ve camped in probably 20 years. And along with a car load of borrowed gear, I took my rarely-used fishing pole and the saddest little tackle box you ever saw in your life. I was living the dream, baby! I fished Saturday morning. I fished Saturday afternoon. I even fished Sunday morning before it was time to tear down the campsite. It was liberating and refreshing, and I had such a great time I committed to going again in a few weeks.

Take A Swing, PuttingHopeToWork.com
Take A Swing!

I returned home on Sunday and by Monday afternoon, my right shoulder started hurting – and I mean REALLY hurting. Can hardly move my arm hurting. Winced and yelped a few times hurting. Can’t get to sleep hurting. By Tuesday, I seriously considered cutting my PJ’s off because I couldn’t manage the shoulder movements.

“PAIN IS LIKE A MIST”

Now most of you probably know where this is headed and what was going on. But I’m a little slow on the trigger sometimes, and I’ve also got an enemy. Oh wait – you do too!

Well that enemy (of my soul) was busy whispering into my ears everything that could possibly be wrong with me:

• I got a mosquito bite and am now suffering the initial effects of West Nile Virus
• I somehow dislocated my shoulder while sleeping on the hard ground for 2 nights
• Tent camping triggered a family history of arthritis and I’ve not got arthritis in my shoulder
• I’m an old woman and my body is starting to decline
• I have tendonitis in my shoulder that will take 8+ months to heal (that’s how long it took for my hand to heal after a gardening incident last year – but that’s another story)

And on and on and on. Taunting me. Ridiculing me. Trying to make me afraid. Trying to get me to open my mouth and come into agreement with him.

I’d like to say that I’m much too spiritual to fall for that old trick. Basically, it’s the same old trick he’s played me with about 5,497 times over the course of my life. And unfortunately, he’s had a greater than 50% chance of my taking the bait (pun intended) … at least for a little while. It was no different now. I’m not going to embarrass myself by telling you how fear-filled my response was, but I will tell you that at one point I broke down and cried a little for the frustration that my body isn’t doing as easily (and painlessly) in my 50’s what it could do in my 20’s and 30’s.

 

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My Tackle Box and Catch of the Day

 

Eventually, I figured out that I had overworked some unused muscles with all that casting and reeling I was doing to haul in my ‘big fish’ pictured above! Pfft!

By day number six I was settling into a pattern of icing and muscle rubs and pillow cradling at night when the miraculous happened. I woke up one morning and my shoulder didn’t hurt.

And here is the revelation. My epiphany.

Pain is like mist. The more attention you pay to it, the more it closes in on you. Blinding you. Choking you. But if you will just relax into it, and breath through it, the wind will carry it away.

Isn’t that so true? Not only about physical pain (such as a fishing-shoulder injury) but true about emotional and spiritual pain. Our tendency when hurt is to recoil, withdraw, self-protect. But friend, you and I make lousy protectors of our own hearts and souls. We are easily duped and confused and misdirected to people and circumstances that are not really the source of our pain.

But there is One who is a most excellent Protector. One who will give you the strength to “breath through’ the pain of transitioning from the place of hurt and fear to the place of forgiveness and liberty.

In hind sight, I realize that what brought me to tears wasn’t the actual shoulder pain itself. It was listening to the voice of fear tell me that my life was going to be “less” because of this. That I would have “less” healing and mobility. That I would have “less” joy because I would be able to do “less”.

Grrr – I fell for it again!

But thank you Jesus, it was not very long before the Voice of HOPE spoke up in a louder (and more familiar and loving voice) and said “Not so, daughter. For I’ve purchased an abundant life for you, and you are Mine.”

I hope this truth (of knowing who you are and whose you are) is as much an encouragement to you as it is to me.

And hey – guess what? Yup, I’m going fishing again in a few weeks!

I’ll resume my the continuation of my childhood and testimony next week. Until then, be blessed and do this. Pray, Trust, Breathe.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Thank you 600 times!

Crossing Jordan: walking into your inheritance

It was several years ago when I first noticed it while reading Psalm 37.  Over and over again, the same phrase … “inherit the earth / inherit the land”  And I thought to myself, what in the world does that mean? Obviously, something significant or it wouldn’t be repeated so often – but what?   So like I often did (and still do), I just sort of tucked it away in my heart with a note attached that said ‘this means something to me, but I don’t yet know what’.

[Have you ever had that happen to you?  Read something in the Bible that resonates deeply within your spirit, but not understood the meaning or significance of it at the time?  Do you also just set it aside for a while until God brings you back to it at a later time?]

Well, here we are in 2014, and recently God has brought that phrase back to me.  It felt rather like a “re-awakening” of something unsettled in my spirit, and as sometimes happens when God begins to stir something up within you, I began noticing references to ‘inheriting the land’ appearing almost everywhere!   Preachers I listen to started using it in podcasts.  Devotional readings included it.  Worship songs sing of it.

By now I am really starting to get hungry for knowledge … I want to know what this means to me Lord!  What are You saying to me?

So I dug a little further, and this is what my NKJV Study Bible has to say about Psalm 37:3 … ‘Eight times the thought of dwell in the land, or inherit the land, is mentioned, showing to the righteous Jews that their future is secure.’   And I think it may have been from a podcast teaching (or perhaps someplace else in my Study Bible?), that I also learned that:

To “inherit the land” is to receive from the Lord secure entitlement (for them and their children) the promised land (redeemed sphere and bountiful source of provision).

Now I don’t know about you, but that lights my fire!  And the more I studied, the more excited I got!   The Bible is filled with scriptures speaking of ‘inheriting the land’, which I now understand is the promise of ‘a secure entitlement’ that is generational, and of the inheritance of a ‘redeemed sphere’ that is well able to supply far above my need (be it for finances, for relationship, for healing, for protection, or whatever the need).  That is some Good News, folks – and it inspired a the following painting.

Crossing Jordan

God is so funny!  I just love the way that He works with me, talks to me, and sometimes even paints with me!   This painting started out as a mess (as had the other 5 attempts to paint based on my own limited skill and ability).  But I’ve discovered that when the Lord is painting with me – somehow the ‘oops-ies’ turn out to be something useful in time, and much to my surprise over the course of about 3 weeks this picture emerged, complete with dry and barren mountains in the background contrasted by lush and fertile fields in the foreground.  (And to think I almost tossed it after the 1st night!)   The river was added at the end, by inspiration of the Lord, and immediately made me think of the Israelites crossing over the River Jordan to the Promised Land.

“So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant – when you have eaten and are full, then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  … (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you)…”                             (Deuteronomy 6:10-12, 15 abbreviated)

Where are you in your journey, my friend?   As you read through Psalm 37 on your own, be encouraged.  We all go through desert seasons.  We all face enemies.  We all have rivers to cross.  But praise God, we also all have the promise of the abundant life calling us forward into greater and greater life with Him.

Keep pressing on – and go take possession of all that God has promised is yours, through Christ Jesus!

(this post was originally published in 2014)

 

 

It was not supposed to be like this.

I’m 55 years old, and you would think I would have learned this by now.

Have you ever seen plans fall apart before your eyes, and then been left standing in unfamiliar and challenging places wondering Why? Why now? Why here? Maybe even stomped your feet a few dozen times trying to get God’s attention so that He would deliver you out from this dry and thirsty land you’re now walking through?

“O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in a man who walks to direct his own steps.”  ~Jeremiah 10:23

And after much walking (and if we’re being honest, much repenting along the way) you eventually begin to see glimpses of beautiful new territory coming into view?  Vision begins to clear and it seems that every step brings you closer to something which (in its own unique way) is so much better than where you were previously living/heading?

Anybody else??

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photo by Kevin Tuck

Why is it only when we start to see the pieces fitting together that we suddenly have a revelation of God’s presence in all of what just transpired!   It’s as though the fog finally lifts, and you suddenly realize you were not alone on the journey but had a steady and faithful companion even during the hardest of times.

Moreover, you begin to recognize that some of the skills developed and lessons learned during your desert walk have equipped you with knowledge you didn’t previously have so that now you are able to act wisely in this ‘new land’ you are heading towards. And you raise your hands and thank God for the desert walk that has led you to this new land!

I’m 55 years old, and have gone through this ‘processes’ dozens of times … you would think I would be quicker on the uptake by now!

God is FAITHFUL! He will NOT abandon the work of His hands! And when you find yourself in a desert place (be it the result of your own wanderings, or by divine assignment) … keep your eyes on the horizon, because new territory is dead ahead.  Keep your eyes fixed on Him.  Keep putting one foot in front of another.  He is faithful to walk you through the desert places of life to the other side!

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”   ~Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified)

[This writing was actually something I shared on Facebook several years ago.  FB kindly reminded me of it this morning, and I thought it good enough (after a few updates) to share again.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.]