Hidden in Plain Sight

Strength for the Journey Ministry

Hidden In Plain Sight

Have you ever noticed that when you are taking the Christmas ornaments off of the tree there always seems to be one or two hiding from you? It happened to me yesterday. I was searching the tree to make sure I’d removed every ornament, and that’s when I spotted one hiding right in front of my eyes. Oddly enough, it made me think about the true meaning of Christmas. We can get so busy during this holiday season; wrapped up (no pun intended) in shopping for the perfect gift or stressed out over a family visit that we forget what Christmas is all about. I know, we’ve all heard it before: Jesus is the reason for the season. However, just like the ornament hidden within the branches of my tree…sometimes the real reason for the season is hiding in plain view right before our very eyes. You see, Christmas is about Jesus. But Jesus is all about love. The gift of His life was a completely selfless gift of love. He left His throne of glory to come to earth and live as a man so that He could die for our sins. Perfect love. There are those who, unfortunately, are blinded to the amazing love He so freely offers us today. He is ready to accept everyone who would believe in Him yet; they can’t see Him because their eyes are focusing on the world and the things of this world. To them, He is hidden in plain sight.  Just as many of us get sidetracked during this special season worrying about insignificant things, others aren’t even aware of the fact that the Savior we celebrate is waiting with wide open arms to receive them into His everlasting kingdom. To many, He is still merely the baby in the manger. My prayer is that God would open every eye to the wonders of His love, the simplicity of His grace and the magnificent mercy He so freely offers. Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and may your New Year be filled with blessings.

Strength for the Journey

Strength for the Journey Ministry
Strength for the Journey
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:5-7)

“You want me to what, Lord? Write a book? You must have the wrong person?” I argued with God for several months when He first handed me the monumental task of writing a fiction novel. I informed Him that I wasn’t a writer (as if He didn’t already know), had never written a book, and He had the wrong gal for the task. I reminded Him that I passed high school English with a C and chose not to attend college! He assured me that He was well aware of those facts.
“ I frequently use the words ain’t, kinda and gonna. Please, Lord, surely there must be someone else You’d rather use.” Nope! He kept insisting that I was the one. Eeek! I now know how Moses must have felt. (Ok, at least He didn’t ask me to throw down a staff and watch it turn into a snake.)
So I did what any mature, obedient Christian would do. I threw out fleeces! (Don’t look at me like that; you’ve done it too!!!)
“Lord, if You want me to write this book, give me the name of the book.”
Skandalon!”
“Ok, if you want me to write this book, give me the name of the main character.” He did! And then, to confirm that it was Him, I saw or heard that name spoken several times that week.
“Ok, if You really want me to write this book, give me the opening scene.” Like a movie played before my very eyes, He laid out the opening scene. (Ugh!) “But God,” I argued, “I’m busy: I lead worship, I teach at church and I have a new grandbaby.” My arguments didn’t seem to faze Him. He made sure I had plenty of time to write. He instructed me lay down my ministry of seventeen years at my church. So, I stopped arguing and began an incredible journey with God.
I witnessed Him doing something through me that I thought was impossible. I was writing a novel. We wrote it together; one sentence at a time. Each day as I opened my computer, in obedience to His will, He would lay out the story. When I felt like my work was finished for the day, the flow would cease. I was in awe and amazed at how the story unfolded.
My friend, God is not a respecter of persons. If He could use me, He can use you to do whatever He has called you to do.
The word strength (‘oz) in verse 5 of Psalm 84:5-7 is a word that means might or strength, and it refers to material or physical as well as personal, social or political. So whatever I’m called to do, I have already been given the strength or ability to do it. God will make the divine connections possible, provide the necessary materials needed to get the job done and as I call on Him, open the right doors for me. He’s not looking for those who are necessarily equipped. He’ll strengthen you as you, in obedience, do what He has called you to do. I’ve had to trust Him through this entire process of writing, finding a publisher, and continue to trust that He will help me market the book.
In verse 7, the word strength (chayil) means strength, might, efficiency, wealth, and army. God’s promise to us as His children is to assist us with whatever we need to fulfill His purpose. Do you need finances to complete your assignment? He’s got it! Do you need an army; those who’ll stand with you, pray for you and help you fight your battles? He’s already got that too. And, He’ll get it to you. All you have to do is ask Him, and He promises to give you what you need. If He has called you to do it, He’ll enable you to see it completed. Be encouraged today. His promise is that He will give you strength for the journey!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

WINGSofVICTORY

A couple of weeks ago I had my granddaughter staying overnight. I had fixed her some breakfast and a pallet on the floor in front of the television so that I could keep her occupied while I took my shower. Now mind you, I see this precious girl often. She’s two, extremely smart (spoken like a true Nanny), very expressive and happens to be a drama queen much like her Nanny. She’s not the cuddly type, and you often have to coax kisses out of her.
So I come to check on her after my shower. I was dressed but had on no makeup and my hair was still wet. But when I bent down to ask her if she is still doing okay, she cupped my cheeks in her tiny hands and said, “Nanny, so pretty.” Did you hear the part about NO makeup and my hair was wet? It blessed my socks off!
Needless to say, it stuck with me throughout the day. As I began to ponder her sweet show of affection, I was reminded of the unconditional love of the Father. Over the past year, I have been on a mission of growing deeper in the love and grace of God. My granddaughter reminded me that God loves me unconditionally even though He sees all of my faults and failures. All she saw that morning was her Nanny, who to her was pretty. Blemishes, dark circles under my eyes, wet hair, and all. It didn’t matter to her. I was pretty.
And that, my dear friends, is how our heavenly Father views us. Oh, He can see our blemishes but His love for us is never-failing. He sees through eyes of grace. If you are a blood-bought child of God, He sees who you can be. He sees your potential. He’s for you and never against you. He’s never happy with our sin, but it does not diminish His love for you anymore than my love is weakened when my granddaughter refuses to give me a ‘tiss’ because she’s glued to Doc McStuffin on television.
Looking back on life, if I had one wish it would be that I had grasped His unfathomable love for me much sooner in my walk with Him. I spent so many years thinking that He was angry at me for my imperfections and failures. I don’t want you to spend one more day doubting the amazing grace of our loving Father.  May you grow from strength to strength in your discover of how richly your Father loves you.
Blessings!