God Needs the Word in Us Before He Can Start the Molding Process

Gala cheveux 007 Over the next few weeks, I want to continue our conversation on Isaiah 64:8:

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and you are our Potter; and all we are is the work of Your hand.”

I want to give you ten discussions of key points of this popular verse and how I believe God is transforming so many of us to trust the Potter and not ourselves in our thoughts, our ideas, and our lives.

Number one being that God Needs the Word in Us Before He Can Start the Molding Process

When you look at how a potter begins to make a piece of pottery, the lump of clay is put on a wheel to start the process of molding the clay into the piece of pottery he wants to make.  He must first add WATER into the clay in order to make it pliable and soft enough for him to be able to actually use it. If he does not add enough water into the clay, the clay will remain too hard and rigid for him to be able to actually use.

Kind of like the Word of God.

 " … that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26)"

What this is telling us is that God cannot even begin to mold and transform us in this life unless we are first willing to do our part. And our part has to be to get into His Word and try to read, understand, and do what is in the Bible as best we can, with the Holy Spirit also helping us to understand what we are actually reading.

So begin today doing what the Bible says “to grow in the knowledge of God” so that He can begin the molding process.

A Lump of Messiness

clayHave you ever looked back at your life and went moment by moment, decision by decision, and said wow? I did that this morning.

Maybe life in the past wasn’t perfect or maybe life in this moment wasn’t what you planned, but know that God is the Potter and we are the clay.  Some of us are just a big lump of messiness, like myself.  But as I walked back each step of my own life’s journey, I know that God isn’t done creating His masterpiece.  That the ugliness, the things that we may think keep us from moving forward, may just be all part of His plan.

Let Him create a masterpiece with your mess.

Today think of words like restoration, redeemed, loved, forgiven, and grace.

Dream the Impossible Dream

Good Monday to you! I’ve missed writing to all of you lately.  Life has gotten busy and some days I don’t know whether I am coming or going.

When I sat at my laptop to write this blog post I sat wondering what to write about. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and most of the time I close it up and walk away with nothing written.  It can get frustrating.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs and devotions lately and they all have been having one common word…dreaming. Something I have been doing a lot of lately.

Dreaming about the future. Dreaming about my marriage. Dreaming about my kids. Dreaming about my career. Dreaming about ministry.

Dreaming is good but action is so much better.  The toughest part with action is trusting in the unseen.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

So I encourage you today to dream.

Dream the impossible dream. Dream the biggest dream. Dream the best dream.

And when you are done dreaming then wait and…

Keep trusting God Keep believing God Keep listening to God

He will always be in every dream.

Alone with God

Is being a mom to your kids allowing you time alone with God?  I remember when my kids were little and all I wanted to do was to get through the day with babies that were changed, fed and cradled without any accidents or tantrums.  Being alone with God was a foreign concept at times.  Church was my alone time.  Sunday School class was my alone time.  Any moment that I could take a {deep breath} was my alone time.... Read the rest of the post at The Better Mom.

Thankful for Social Media

1 Chronicles 16:8 - Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. I am thankful for Social Media.  Without social media I’m not sure we would be where we are today with the vast connections and friendship we have made through Facebook and Twitter.

If used correctly, it can be such a ministry tool. It can be a hand reached out or a verse that someone needs to hear all in 140 characters.

Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong wrote a book called @stickyJesus. We did a read-along this year on @stickyJesus.  My hope was to inspire those to look at Social Media at a different angle – one that can be used for His kingdom.

With resources like this, I am still amazed how we as Christians can still miss the mark.  How we have an amazing tool in front of us that can spread the gospel a million times over across the nation and around the world all from the comfort of sitting at our computer. That’s why I chose 1 Chronicles 16:8 as my first verse this Thanksgiving season.  To remind you to give thanks to the Lord, make known among this world what He has done for you.  By writing a status update on Facebook of what God has done for you today or to simply state how in AWE you are of Him inspires those that don’t know Him to see Him as this amazing God for what He truly is a Savior, a Healer, our Creator and our God.

Be the light in what can be a dark place for so many. I love what Chapter 8 of @stickyJesus says about this. Write status updates that can encourage and inspire to look towards God. Don’t just show them your circumstance; show them the God in your circumstance.

Do you find yourself inspiring your friends in your status updates? How so?

When You Can Say You Are Truly Blessed

This weekend was one of those weekends that you can look at your family and truly say…I’m blessed. When you can look and see the life we are living is truly the life we have been given by an amazing God each day is a blessing of its own.

The first step in our journey is to begin the day we accept that God has us exactly where He wants us and truly make an effort to make the most of what He has given us.

This week don’t question where you are in life…accept it. Then run the race He has set before you.

Are Your Dreams Delayed? (Final)

You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 in their respective links. Philippians 1:6 -being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

You cannot allow the past to affect your future.

Psalm 40:1-3 - I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

The real test of faith is in facing the silence of being on hold. The question is not always, “Do you have enough faith to receive?” but “Do you have enough faith to assume a holding pattern and wait for the fulfillment of the promise?”

Genesis 8:1 - But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Where it says Noah put your name there.  And God remembered Michelle!

The Lord knows where you are and how much you have in reserve. How much you can handle.  Just before you run out, God will send the wind to blow back the waters of impossibility and provide for you.

Hebrews 6:10 - God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

How incredible is that!  God doesn’t simply forget.

Matthew 10:30 - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Not only counted…but numbered!  He knows what number of hairs are in your comb.  Then you should know He has your family, your finances and your faithfulness in His view.

You might be at a place like David when he asked this question:

Psalm 8:4 - what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Oh, but then there is…

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

As we close out another year, maybe all your dreams and plans didn’t come true or you’re still waiting on the report or looking for answers.  Trust in Him that you may just be in a holding pattern.  That what you are looking for may just be delayed and not denied!

Are Your Dreams Delayed? (Part Three)

To continue from Part II Even if your circumstances contradict your purpose, your purpose will always prevail. It's the opposition that shows us that God is working.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

An example of this is Eve.  The Lord promised her a seed. (Gen. 3:15What she thought to be the promise were real problems. Her son Cain was jealous of his brother Abel and in one swoop all of Eve’s dreams lay dead in the ground when Cain killed Abel.  Here she was suppose to be the mother of all living and yet all she has raised is a corpse and a murderer.

Aaahhh, but then there came Seth, which means substitute.  Eve began to realize God’s plan was still in motion.  His plan never changed. Eve called her son Seth for she understood if God made a promise, He will find a way to keep it even if it means appointing a substitute.

Your blessing may not come the way you wanted or through the person you wanted. But know that if God said it then rest assured, it may be delayed, but it cannot be denied!

Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

To be continued…

Are Your Dreams Delayed? (Part Two)

(To continue with our asking the question our are dreams delayed part I) Some things we are not meant to change…but to survive!

We need to be like a tree!  See when a tree’s roots are planted, the sap and substance are underground and although the seasons come and the leaves fall, the root never dies.  In spring it will flourish NEW fruit.

Aristotle said “Patience is a tree whose root is bitter but its fruit is sweet”.  Our temporary circumstances don’t always require action.  It may just require prayer which brings patience.  And with patience we gain trust.

Habukkuk 3:3 - For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Our struggle is waiting for the appointment we have with destiny!

God is a God of order.  He does everything by appointment.  He has a set appointment to bring to pass His promise in our lives.

Definition of Appointment – a meeting already set up

Through the tough times (and some of you have had some tough ones!) and in the waiting process, we know God has a plan of escape or destiny.  That’s our comfort!

Philippians 4:7 - And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Just know that nothing the enemy tries will change the plan of God for our lives!

To be continued…

Are Your Dreams Delayed?

It’s almost 2011!! Can you believe it?!? This is the time of year we begin to look at our list of goals and answered prayers and begin crossing out all that has been accomplished.  For some that can mean weight loss, selling your home, debts canceled or the birth of a child. For others it can mean disappointment and failure to accomplish everything you set out to do in 2010.

Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. - Habukkuk 2:2

For the next few days I want to discuss with you those dreams that you had in 2010 and how they might just be delayed but not denied!

We will always have seasons of struggles and testing.  There are going to be times when everything we attempt to do will seem to go wrong. But somehow we need to realize there is a purpose for these temporary inconveniences.  Isn’t it amazing though that during these times these inconveniences destroy our pride in our own ability and reinforce our dependency on the sufficiency of God!

II Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”.

Some things we are just not meant to change…but to survive!

To be continued…

Your Words are Seeds

Your voice can reap a harvest. Do you believe that?

Your words can speak life into someone.  When those words resonate they become more than just seed but a harvest.  In John 4, its talks about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan women,  Jesus talked with her about her personal life, answering her spiritual questions, and treating her with dignity that she was not accustomed to.  Those words that were spoken to her were a seed sown in the Samaritan women.  And what did the Samaritan women do? She told others about this Jesus that she met.  That listened. That spoke into her life. That all it took was a moment of time and the Samaritans themselves sought out this Jesus that they heard about and grabbed a hold of every word Jesus spoke.

Jesus went from one seed to reaping a harvest of souls.

When we update our Facebook status, write a blog post or speak publicly we make think our words are so small and insignificant but yet the power of our words can reach one or many.

Do you have the faith to believe that?

Building a Foundation

If you feel as though you are in a storm and you don't know when the rain is going to stop,, know that God is building the foundation to get you out of the rain.  When in times we face challenges Satan may throw at us, we must answer his charge and prove that even in the storm, He is still God. The concern over our future coupled with the fear of failure must bring us to the posture of prayer. See God takes His time developing us.  He wants to put the "quality" in before the "name" goes out! He wants to move in your life and anoint you to do a particular function in the Body of Christ, but it doesn't mean your foundation will be immediately built.  Look at Luke 2:52 - And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. God is concerned about BUILDING the man, not the ministry or business. Building you!  But we have to allow Him time to do it.

In this process, we learn humility.  Humility is a necessity when we know that every accomplishment is the result of the Lord.  Anytime you use your prayer to change God, who is perfect, instead of using prayer to change yourself, you will be miserable. Stop trying to learn something you can say to God to make Him do what He knows you are not ready to endure or receive.  Instead pray, "Lord, make me better".

If you are in a storm, how can I pray for you?

He Has A Set Time To Bless You

Sometimes we just need answers don’t we?  We can grow weary with human answers and at crucial times, it requires more than good advice. We need a Word from God.

But we have to remember, God doesn’t synchronize His clock to ours.  He has a set time to bless you.

To bring to remembrance from yesterday, Habakkuk 2:3 – “For the revelation awaits an appointed time;  it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Growth doesn’t come at the mountain top, it comes from the valleys and low places!

God doesn’t work on you when the blessings come, but when they are delayed.  The blessing is the reward that comes after you learn obedience through the things you suffered while waiting for it.

What are you waiting for?

Make Your Spiritual Muscles Sore

Sore Muscles

For the last 2 months, every Tuesday and Thursday I get up at 5:30am to meet a wonderful group of women to exercise.  Boy, those first few days and weeks I was so sore.  I couldn’t move.  Once my body adjusted and became accustomed to this routine, there was an energy that I had.  It’s almost as though my body began craving more.  Could I do 3, 4, 5 days of exercise into my week?  So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to add on my off days running and walking.  I’m going to listen to what my body wants.

Spiritual Muscles

How many of us do this spiritually?  Do you make it a daily routine to read the Word or does the Bible stay in the car all week only to come out on Sundays (Ouch!)? Just as we may exercise our body, we need to exercise our mind (Philippians 2:5) Read, read, read!  We have to become aware of all that God has for us, all that He has done for you and me.   How can you do that?  Exercise your mind everyday in His Word.

When you are struggling with a friend or family - Romans 8:31 – “If God be for me, who can be against me?”

Stressing out about finances – Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Wanting to give up – James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Mom’s, did you know that there is a scripture that says “Like mother, like daughter”?  Look it up Ezekiel 16:44.  But you have to read the whole chapter to understand if this is something good that was spoken or not.

My point is this even as we exercise our bodies or eat right; we have to do the same for our spirit.  We have to feed it.  And guess what?  Once we begin to feed it, it begins to grow and mature into all that God has called you and me to do!

Judging vs. Leading

This past week I received an interesting phone call from one of my MOPS Coordinators.  It started off with Hello’s and then here it came: Coordinator:  Michelle, I just wanted to make you aware of something that happened.

Michelle: O..K…

Coordinator:  Do you no such and such (name hidden)?

Michelle:  Yes.  (While in my mind I was scared to hear what was going to be said next!)

Coordinator:  Well, she disclosed something she was currently struggling with in front of our group. (conversation of details will end here.)

As the conversation went on for another 20 minutes about the possibility of asking this person to step down as her role in leadership, I kept hearing from the Coordinator how she was looked at as judging the other for what was said in front of 35+ women.  (Sorry, I have to keep the details private :-()But, that there was also some that saw it as leading.

So I ask the question, when is it leading or when is it judging?  Let’s say this woman in a leadership role said she is currently committing an affair or was dealing with depression?  What if she said she abused her children or wanted to commit suicide?  Is it right for the Coordinator to be accused of judging when things like this happen or is she looking out for what is best for the women that she leads?  Or, do we point the finger at the leader and say, “where is your grace”?

These questions can pertain to any women in a leadership role.  Maybe you’re a Women’s Pastor or Director.  Maybe you oversee a large non-profit that benefits women.   Maybe you’re a Sunday School Teacher or a Children’s Pastor.  Whatever role you have that has the responsibility to appoint others in certain positions, when do you consider it judging or when is it considered leading?

A NOW Time

Have you ever watched a movie and thought what was said was for you?  Or maybe a song that you heard and wonder if they read your journal?  These are NOW moments.  What's a NOW moment you ask?  It's a time when something is heard that you might be the only person that can relate to it (Michelle's version).  And as a Speaker this is my prayer.  That God would begin to use my voice for NOW moments for others.  That what is spoken will penetrate their lives to become all that He has for them. During this down time, I will be asking God to empower me with words that will pierce any lies or sin that women have over them in the upcoming speaking season (which starts in September for me).  That my prayer and study time will be fruitful.  That God would continue to bring a team of women around me to encourage and pray for me.  But most importantly that the platforms that I speak from will be His platforms.  That my words are His words and that souls would be saved and lives changed for HIS GLORY!

A Face-To-Face With God

What if we were to have a face-to-face conversation with God?  Jacob did.  He was alone with God. (Gen. 32:24)  Jacob did not want to God to give up on him.  He wanted his blessing, his promise that God gave him 20 years later.  Read Genesis 30-34 to understand the story. It wasn't that Jacob did not want God to give up on Jacob, but I think the Lord doesn't want us to give up on Him.  We have to be persistent through our trials and tragedies in life.  We have to stand firm and know that we may be going into this situation unclear of the outcome, but God's ending is always best! See, when we come to the end of our plans, God has  better plan.  The problem is that it takes us longer to realize that.  We may experience blessings along the way, but we will still face trials and disappointments only to realize that God would have kept us from them if we followed His plan in the first place.

My encouragement to you today is hold on to God.  You may think at times He may have left you.  But He is there holding your hand along the way.  He sees your tears, your pain.  But I am reminded of His verse in Psalm 37:10 - "A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace."  In just a little while!  We need persistance. Faith.  Tenacity to know that God's plan is perfect and that to waver from that is crazy in itself.

For to know who we are is to know who God is!

Never Give Up

I love all that God is doing!  Have you ever read the story of Jacob?  I mean really read it?  The favor that man had on his life.  God had a plan for him and He has a plan for you!  If you are feeling discouraged of the unknown.  Discouraged of where God has you at or wondering where He is taking you.  Then you are exactly where you need to be!  I encourage you today to continue to seek Him.  Continue to seek Him.  Continue, never give up.  Be ready when God calls your name like Jacob did in Genesis 31:11, "The angel of God said to me in the dream, "Jacob", I answered,  "Here I am."

Delayed But Not Denied for 2011

It’s almost 2011!! Can you believe it?!? This is the time of year we begin to look at our list of goals and answered prayers and begin crossing out all that has been accomplished.  For some that can mean weight loss, selling your home, debts canceled or the birth of a child. For others it can mean disappointment and failure to accomplish everything you set out to do in 2010.

Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. – Habukkuk 2:2

For the next few days I want to discuss with you those dreams that you had in 2010 and how they might just be delayed but not denied!

We will always have seasons of struggles and testing.  There are going to be times when everything we attempt to do will seem to go wrong. But somehow we need to realize there is a purpose for these temporary inconveniences.  Isn’t it amazing though that during these times these inconveniences destroy our pride in our own ability and reinforce our dependency on the sufficiency of God!

II Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”.

Some things we are just not meant to change…but to survive!

We need to be like a tree!  See when a tree’s roots are planted, the sap and substance are underground and although the seasons come and the leaves fall, the root never dies.  In spring it will flourish NEW fruit.

Aristotle said “Patience is a tree whose root is bitter but its fruit is sweet”.  Our temporary circumstances don’t always require action.  It may just require prayer which brings patience.  And with patience we gain trust.

Habukkuk 3:3 – For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Our struggle is waiting for the appointment we have with destiny!

God is a God of order.  He does everything by appointment. He has a set appointment to bring to pass His promise in our lives.

Definition of Appointment – a meeting already set up

Through the tough times (and some of you have had some tough ones!) and in the waiting process, we know God has a plan of escape or destiny.  That’s our comfort!

Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Just know that nothing the enemy tries will change the plan of God for our lives!

Even if your circumstances contradict your purpose, your purpose will always prevail. It’s the opposition that shows us that God is working.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

An example of this is Eve.  The Lord promised her a seed. (Gen. 3:15What she thought to be the promise were real problems. Her son Cain was jealous of his brother Abel and in one swoop all of Eve’s dreams lay dead in the ground when Cain killed Abel.  Here she was suppose to be the mother of all living and yet all she has raised is a corpse and a murderer.

Aaahhh, but then there came Seth, which means substitute.  Eve began to realize God’s plan was still in motion. His plan never changed. Eve called her son Seth for she understood if God made a promise, He will find a way to keep it even if it means appointing a substitute.

Your blessing may not come the way you wanted or through the person you wanted. But know that if God said it then rest assured, it may be delayed, but it cannot be denied!

Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

You cannot allow the past to affect your future.

Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

The real test of faith is in facing the silence of being on hold. The question is not always, “Do you have enough faith to receive?” but “Do you have enough faith to assume a holding pattern and wait for the fulfillment of the promise?”

Genesis 8:1 – But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Where it says Noah put your name there.  And God remembered Michelle!

The Lord knows where you are and how much you have in reserve. How much you can handle.  Just before you run out, God will send the wind to blow back the waters of impossibility and provide for you.

Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

How incredible is that!  God doesn’t simply forget.

Matthew 10:30 – And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Not only counted…but numbered!  He knows what number of hairs are in your comb.  Then you should know He has your family, your finances and your faithfulness in His view.

You might be at a place like David when he asked this question:

Psalm 8:4 – what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Oh, but then there is…

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

As we close out another year, maybe all your dreams and plans didn’t come true or you’re still waiting on the report or looking for answers.  Trust in Him that you may just be in a holding pattern. That what you are looking for may just be delayed and not denied!