Saturday, December 31, 2011

Endings & Beginnings

Can you imagine trying to read a book (or a sentence, for that matter) without punctuation marks?
For many, the year 2011 simply ends with a period and quietly segues into 2012, but for others the year ends with a question mark or exclamation point.
Perhaps you've had "one of those years" where you just don't understand what in the world is going on and you wrap up 2011 with a big fat question mark. Or you sit and shake your head in wonder that the year is already over, having flown by and you still haven't reached certain goals you've set for yourself.
Still others may be more than ready to grab a permanent marker - one of those gigantic poster-making kinds - and with great gusto, put an end to a year of difficulty, frustration, or heartache with a great big exclamation point.
Whichever punctuation we choose to end 2011, we all get to begin 2012 the same way, with a beautiful, hope-filled capital letter...a new beginning...a fresh start.
And if we choose to do so, we can start our year with the same capital letter - A - as in Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Jesus said, "It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End..." (Revelation 21:6).
We've all heard the acrostic, JOY, as an example of how we should live our lives - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. But shouldn't it really be Jesus, Jesus & Others, Jesus & Yourself? He's not just the Alpha, He's not just the Omega, He's all and everything!
What if we choose to end 2011 by focusing on all Jesus is and did for, in, and through us, with a heart full of thankfulness, instead of focusing on all the enemy attempted to steal from, kill in, and destroy though us? What if we choose to begin 2012 by focusing on all Jesus will do for, in, and through us, instead of focusing on all the enemy wants to steal from, kill in, and destroy through us?
Greater is HE Who is in us...He Who is the ALPHA, the OMEGA, and EVERYTHING else in-between.
So whatever punctuation mark you end 2011 with, I encourage you to begin 2012 with Jesus and all the hope He gives. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have a Strong & Valiant Festival of The Anointed One!

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything, but at last I am on Christmas vacation and have a few moments to spare.
As I was writing our family advent devotionals the other day, God led me to the song God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I must confess I've never given its lyrics much thought and simply passed them off as outdated, singing them by rote, as yet another holiday tradition. What I discovered was a rich treasure, which was anything but outdated.
First of all, did you know that in the old English, the word merry didn't mean happy?  Me neither! It meant strong or valiant. So we don't know if Robin Hood's men were happy or not, but we do know they were described as strong or valiant. So, if sung in more familiar terms to us, the lyrics would be, "God rest you, strong & valiant gentlemen...". But wait, there's more!
What about the word rest? Interestingly, this word didn't mean rest as we think of it - personally a nap on the couch sounds pretty good to me! But this word meant to make. God make you strong & valiant, gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay (There's no need to worry). Remember...
Christ (The Anointed One) was born on Christmas Day. The suffix mas means festival or feast day.
So Jesus Christ, The Anointed One, The Messiah makes us strong if we rest in Him. His yoke is easy, His burden light. Greater is He Who is in us than He Who is in the world. He has overcome the world. In our weakness, He is strong. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.
So when we wish one another a Merry Christmas, we are really blessing one another with the heavenly strength of the Anointed One, Jesus Christ. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas gift to give someone, doesn't it? 
And a wonderful way to love The One and love the one...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

Voice of the Apostles 2011 just ended a couple days ago, and while I didn't get to attend this year, I did watch several sessions online. Hard to believe it's just been a year since the VOA I attended where God completely rocked my world!  (See posts from February 1, 2011 and March 30, 2011 for VOA mentions.)

As I watched the web streaming of the conference, I couldn't help but reminisce about last year.  So many snapshots forever imprinted in my heart...
facedown on the carpet and broken one moment...overflowing with joy the next!
completely in awe of The Father's deep, deep love for me...
completely surprised at how The Father enjoys playing with His little girl!
encountering new revelation with every single speaker...
leaving with a new passion blazing within me to Love The ONE and love the one...

So many seeds that were planted or watered at VOA last year have already borne fruit.
I could go on and on, but instead I will thank God for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,

"Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, 'Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.' "So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, "Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. "Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' then you shall say to them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever ." Joshua 4:1-7

Yes, I will thank Him, and I will tell of what He has done!  He has brought me across the Jordan of fear and religion into freedom and revelation. I continue my journey with Him step by step on stones of remembrance. I remember He is GOOD...I remember He LOVES ME...I remember He is FAITHFUL...I remember the simplicity of the Gospel - Love The ONE and love the one...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

I know it's a little early, but if you're like me, it takes time to collect all those wonderful treasures to include in the boxes, so just giving you the heads-up that the deadline for collecting boxes for Operation Christmas Child will be here before we know it.
For more info on what to include, visit Samaritan's Purse's website
<a href="">Samaritan's Purse</a>

Such a simple, yet powerful way to Love The ONE & love the one...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Adopted & Accepted

Those of us who live in relationship with God Most High through His Son Jesus, and the indwelling of Holy Spirit, can call ourselves His kids!  We have the holy privilege of calling Him not only the more formal term of "Father", but the intimate term of "Daddy", or "Papa".  

In Mark 14:36, Jesus called His Father by this intimate term in His language, which was "Abba"...
"And He [Jesus] was saying, 'Abba ! Father ! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will'."

Jesus first established the relationship, then declared the truth which was greater than what He could see with His human eyes:  ALL things ARE POSSIBLE for His dad.  Because He knew WHO His Abba was, He could boldly ask Him for something, in this case to not have to go through shedding His blood, represented by "the cup" of the Lord's Supper.  If Jesus, God Himself in human form could ask such a bold thing of His Father, even though He knew it must be done, why do we hold back in fear that He will say no?  Jesus did not limit God at all, yet He wisely ended His petition with "yet not what I will, but what YOU will".                                                                                                         Jesus intimately knew His Papa.  He knew that His Papa is all-knowing, and especially all-loving.  He knew that the only reason His dad would ask such a hard thing from Him was because of His love...because there was a greater plan in place...because His love was much farther reaching than only love for His Son...His love was for ALL the world.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...

The intimate term of Papa wasn't just reserved for Jesus.  Because Jesus DID go through with laying down His life on our behalf, Romans 8:15 tells us this amazing truth:
"For you [that's us!] have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba ! Father !'."
Pause for a moment.  Let that sink in.  
God Most High...Creator of the universe and all it contains...Holy One...has adopted us as His own!  Can we even comprehend what this means???

Galatians 4:6 tells us:
"Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba ! Father !'."
In Mark 14:36, scripture allows us a glimpse into perhaps one of the most intimate Father/Son interactions ever recorded in history.  Galatians 4:6 tells us that the same Spirit of Jesus is in our hearts, so we too can interact with God the way Jesus did in the garden that day and every other day He lived on the earth.
John 5:19 tells us that Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. Jesus was fully dependent on His Father. 

I have been adopted as His daughter! I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)!

As His daughter, I can approach Him boldly (Hebrews 4:16). As His daughter I have authority to act in His Name (Matthew 16:19). Even if others reject me or don't include me, my Papa accepts me. Even when I mess up, my Papa loves me. 

The last part of Matthew 16:19 says to freely give what I have freely received. I did not have to do anything to earn His adoption or His acceptance, yet how often do I expect that of others?  

Oh, Abba Father, thank You for adopting me as Your own. Thank You, Jesus for making it possible for me to become a daughter of The King. Thank You for accepting me just as I am. You have given so freely to me. Now I ask You to give me a heart for those all around me with an orphan spirit...those who don't know their true identity...those who feel left out or lost...those searching for a place to belong...
I want to love them into the family.

When I was a child, we sang a hymn and the chorus is coming to me now:
I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I'm part of the family
The family of God!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Justice & Mercy

This past weekend I got to attend the "We Will Go" Missions Conference in Nashville. Friday night Lyle Phillips, founder of Mercy29 Ministries and one of the leaders of Iris Nashville, shared his story of how Mercy29 came to be and some of the stories of what God is doing through this amazing ministry.
Below is from their website  
Mercy29 is an anti-profit organization.
We are reasonably employed by Jesus to investigate the case of those we do not know giving hope along with a future. Our heart is to deliver the poor that have no helper by sponsoring orphans and rescuing widows, as well as helping entire families suffering from systemic poverty. We build homes and Christian churches, facilitate schools in poor communities, and seek holistic transformation in the world’s most forgotten cities and villages.
Our mission to is to love.
Love the untouchable, the outcast, and the overlooked. Mercy29 was founded on this simple purpose and we believe that everyone, no matter how small or poor, deserves the unconditional blessing of love from their fellow humanity.

Job 29:11-17
"For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know. I broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth."

God broke something within me Friday night. Seeing the passion and zeal of these 20-something-year-old modern day abolitionists fighting with the weapons of love and mercy caused a warrior spirit to rise up within me. I don't want to leave this work for the young people. I want to be a part of this mighty move of God. I want to get on board and ride the waves of love, justice, and mercy. I want it to be said of me as it was said of Job, "For when the ear heard, it called Jill blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of Jill, because she delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon her, and she made the widow’s heart sing for joy. Jill put on righteousness, and it clothed her; Her justice was like a robe and a turban. She was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame. Jill was a mother to the needy, and she investigated the case which she did not know. Jill broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth."!

How about you?  Can you see your own name being inserted in these verses?
Do you want to be a spectator who shakes your head and clucks your tongue at the injustice or do you want to be a part of what God is doing to free these precious children of His to be all He created them to be?
I urge you to visit the Mercy29 website to see how you can be a part of God's justice and mercy.

Mercy29 is one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen of loving The ONE and loving the one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Iris Nashville!!!

So excited that Iris Ministries is coming to Nashville!
Heidi Baker will be here this weekend for a conference about this and Mercy 29, a ministry that rescues girls out of the slavery of prostitution.
Conference is FREE, but you must register by clicking on link below:

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Word from Kay...

Dear Friends & Family,
Ed & I have been back in the states for a few weeks.  As we process our trip and all that God did in our lives one thing that has become more real to us is that this is only our temporary home. We experienced heaven coming to earth as we have seen Jesus in the faces of these African children. They have nothing materially, but they have everything, knowing Jesus. We have experienced with great joy the love of our Heavenly Father to the nations. We experienced being in His presence and seeing miracles as we prayed over the blind, the deaf, the lame and those asking Jesus into their hearts. We experienced life changing encounters with the living God.
The Bible came more real each day. Ed & I experienced praying deaf ears to hear & many received hearing, we prayed over blind eyes to see and many received sight. One woman’s far away vision was restored & her brown, milky eyes became blue!  Alleluia! Not all were healed immediately, but as we prayed for them there was great faith & hope they were going to be healed in Jesus’ name. We heard even more amazing first hand testimonies of healings and deliverances from other, ordinary people just like us.
We visited 3 bases with Iris Ministries (Pemba,Dondo & Miputo) and at each base we were able to be encouragers to the missionaries, love on the orphans & children of the villages & bless Mozambican pastors as they blessed us.These bases have incredible laydown lovers for Christ, to bring the good news of Jesus to these villages. Many villages had churches(mud huts) and they worshipped continuely,loving their Jesus who set them free.  We joined in everywhere we went to be a part of their worship. As this poorest of nations worshipped we were realizing, oh, they are the richest!  They know how to love Jesus & celebrate HIS NAME.
When Ed & I felt a calling on our lives to go to Africa there were so many questions yet unanswered on why we were the ones to go.  Why was God calling us to go? We are realizing more & more that we are all called to go & be missionaries wherever that might be, in our neighborhoods, towns or overseas. Heidi & Rolland Baker who founded Iris Ministries tell how important it is to  “Go slow, go low & stop for the one!”  It became so clear to us that is what we are to do in our everyday lives no matter where we are. I love the picture of not being in a hurry and stopping for the one, whether it’s to bless them, encourage them, tell them about Jesus, pray for healing….we can all be used as a disciple of Christ.
Our stories are too numerous and I hope we can share them with each of you in the coming weeks. Our God is so Big & we experienced how BIG HE IS and want to continue to experience it back in the states. One thing we saw is the Mozambican pastors only have “The Bible” and the Holy Spirit as their teaching guide, it is their literature! So they know all the stories in the Bible are true so why shouldn’t they believe in all healings &  miracles. Jesus did it & sent out his disciples to do “even greater things” and that is what we saw & felt.  If the Lord can use Ed & myself He can certainly use you. We were obedient to His calling for us to go & came back forever changed. Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you for your prayers for us. They strengthened & encouraged us daily. You were each a part of this trip. Our hearts are full with gratitude.
A scripture that has become so alive for us these past weeks is Habakkuk 3:2-4
Lord, I have heard about your fame.
Lord, I am amazed at the powerful things you have done. Do great things once again in our time. Make those things happen again in our day..
The Lord’s glory covers the heavens. His praises fill the earth. His brightness is like the sun. Rays of light shine from His hand And there He  hides His power!
Yes, it’s all True!
Because He Lives, 
Ed & Kay

Friday, August 12, 2011

Worth a Thousand Words Part 3

No traffic rules apply!
There is a child hiding under there!
Future special needs building
Girls' Room
Happy 18th Birthday Jonathan!
The Mall
Bday Cake
Birthday Boy

More cake!
Praise Band
To Jo'burg

Girls from church decorated Brooke's room as a fun welcome back surprise!