Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am in Awe!!

This morning as I was reading through the 1st 5 chapters of Luke, I was struck by how often the Spirit of the Lord came upon people...Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, Anna, John the Baptist, Jesus himself...and then there were the shepherds who were filled with awe and wonder from the news of the heavenly host...and they couldn't contain it so they ran out to share it!  It made me think of how many times, something really speaks to me, or I am just in awe of it, especially of spiritual things and what God is teaching me through His Word or in Bible I quick to run out and share it?  I pray that I am.  Does it create a passion within me? I pray that it does.

What I also enjoyed sooo much, was reading through this Gospel and "walking & seeing" each of these places that Luke was writing about.  Being in Israel has so completely and totally changed how I read the Bible because now I can absolutely visualize so many places that are written about in the Bible.  I am not the same...I have been changed...forever.  That brings me to my knees and my emotions are overcome.

What struck me most as I was reading, was Peter.  Luke 5 begins with Jesus preaching on the shore of Galilee....(I stood there!  I stood on that shore!!)  But as Jesus was preaching on the shore, the crowds were pressing in.  He noticed 2 empty boats at the water's edge so he stepped into one of them and asked Simon Peter to push them out into the water so he could sit in the boat and teach the crowds from there.  Back then they didn't need any hand held or cordless was amazing how water carried a person's voice.
So after Jesus finished speaking, he told Simon Peter to take the boat out to where the water was deeper and to let down their nets again.  Peter was not happy about doing this because they had already been fishing all night and had caught nothing.  But, because Jesus had asked him to do this, he was obedient and put out their nets.  WELL!  They caught so many fish instantly that their nets began to tear and Peter had to call in another boat to come help them.  Soon both boats were so full that they were on the verge of sinking.  And then Peter, oh Peter, he was so awestruck & moved that he fell to his knees before Jesus, right there in that boat, and said, "Oh Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you."  Immediately when I read this, the tears came pouring out of my eyes and I was overcome by emotion.  Peter was so awestruck by this amazing miracle, his first response was to end up on his knees before His Lord, feeling his own insignificance in comparison to the greatness of Jesus!  Jesus had just been spending days healing the sick and casting out demons but what amazed Peter was that Jesus cared about his day-to-day routine and understood his needs.  God isn't only interested in saving us, but God is also interested in helping us and being with us in our daily activities.

So, here's my question this morning.  When tears just suddenly appeared coursing down my cheeks from simply reading "Oh Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you" and my own spirit wanted to bow down to my knees, overcome with great emotion...was this the Spirit of the Lord coming upon me? In a sense, I'm sure it was!  I feel so human all the time, I get frustrated & impatient, I see the negative too often rather than the good, I struggle with insecurity & have a lack of confidence, I have fears & doubts, I have a difficult time maintaining my weight, I don't always make good use of my time, I fail so many times....and the list goes on and on with my human tendancies.  BUT, God has chosen ME for a purpose!  He continues to work in me, through me, around me.  He is not giving up on me and He continually shows me His Faithfulness!  I had stood where Jesus has stood in the Holy Land and I have been on the Sea of  Galilee.....I am so in awe of this!  Miracles are happening around me all the time and God has brought the most wonderful people through my life.  I AM IN AWE!  and it brings me to my knees, just like it did Peter in that boat...and then it is I saying "Oh Lord, please leave me--I'm too much of a sinner to be around you!"  How can God continue using me in spite of my many downsides and shortcomings.  BUT HE DOES!  Just like He used Peter, who denied him 3 times before he was crucified...just like He used Paul, who had Christians murdered continually....just like He used David, who committed adultery, murder, was prideful & at times neglected his family......the list goes on of people that God used IN SPITE of their failures and downfalls.  I AM IN AWE!  and it brings me to my knees.

Dear friend, God uses YOU too!  In spite of the hurt, the pain, the failures, the outcries, the impatience, the doubt, the fears......God uses YOU!  He created you for a purpose, He had a reason for bringing you into this world, just like he had a reason for bringing Jesus as a small baby into this world.  You are chosen by God, at this time, in this place, in your family, in your community.....for a purpose, a wonderful plan crafted by our Great Creator Father God.  ARE YOU IN AWE?  Does it bring you to your knees?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What Does it Mean to Wail?

This morning, wow, Isaiah 11:1-5 gave me a fresh incredible renewed hope after hearing of devastating circumstances this past weekend.
     "Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.  And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  He will delight in obeying the Lord.  He will never judge by appearance, false evidence, or hearsay.  He will defend the poor and the exploited.  He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of his mouth.  He will be clothed in fairness and truth."
This is EXACTLY what I needed to be reminded of this morning. Allow me to share my most recent journey with you.

A number of us women have just finished up a study called Nurture by Lisa Bevere.  In the last couple of lessons, she challenged us to allow God to birth a wail in us...what does it mean to wail?  to have a deep resounding wail from the depths of your being?  I pondered this as we watched her 2nd last video in the series as she shared a couple of instances she'd experienced where a wail rose up from the depths of her soul and she just cried out.  Sure, I've been very moved by many things and shed tears over horrible things...but to wail?  I asked God if I've ever had a wail?  I believe I've had many small wails but never too extravagant that just knocked the breath out of me and affected me to move to great action.

This past weekend, God gave me a wail...and it was not expected and it has knocked the breath out of me.  Actually He gave me a bit of a wail a couple weeks ago as well.  I will start with that one.  I had to miss the service one morning at church and knew we were having a couple of special guest singers that morning.  I soooo wanted to hear them sing, so I snuck out of Sunday School class while the video was on to slip in the back door of the sanctuary.  I was instantly struck by the beautiful music of the song "O Happy Day, happy day, He washed my sins away...Oh Happy Day!"  What an incredible song!!  But then my chest was slammed by a deadness...maybe not just my church but for many believers.  Tears instantly came out as I cried over the deadness, the lack of life & expression in the life of His people! I wanted to dance along the aisles and cry out "People, it's beautiful music, and it's such a happy day....HE WASHED OUR SINS AWAY!"  Do we get it?????  Do we really get it?  Why would we not dance if we got it?  Then that song was followed by one of my favorites by David Crowder "Oh How He Loves Us, oh how He loves us...oooooh, how He loves us!"

Well the tears were just streaming down my face, as well as my husbands face, as we together stood there at the back of the sanctuary soaking in how much God loves us...the small amount of love that we can fathom in our human brains.  But again, I cried out for believers and wanted to run up front and cry out to the people "Do you get it my friends?  Do you KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US!?!?!?!?!?!  If you TRULY knew how much GOD LOVES YOU, would you not be on your knees or have your hands raised in utter and complete AWE!?!?!?!?!  Is your heart not moved??"  Oh how my heart cried!  I don't want to be a dead Christian....I want to be alive, full of the spirit and full of life!  I want to be on fire and be the hands and feet of Jesus is ways that only I can.  Well the next Bible study we had on the following Tuesday was all about AWAKENING AND ARISING from our slumber, putting on the armor of God - putting on our ATTIRE and being willing to ACT and go where God is leading us.  OH this study was such incredible timing with what I had just experienced two days ago on that Sunday.

So that was the 1st wail I experienced a couple of weeks ago....the 2nd happened this past weekend.  Our pastor had his men's prayer breakfast again this past Friday, it happens each Friday.  Ladies also gather for Bible study on Friday mornings as well and we had just completed our final wrap up brunch.  I sat with the pastor in the office as he shared about the speaker from breakfast that morning.  Rick from Hands on Ministries in our city was there.  He was sharing about the horrifying number of 250 teen girls under the age of 16 who work on the streets as prostitutes.  Call it prositution if you want...but many times it's rape, just plain horrifying, ugly rape!  At that young age people?  These girls are willingly giving their bodies over and over again, night after night, bringing in $5,000 each month for their pimp!  Tears poured out of my eyes.  He told me stories of 14 & 15 year old girls and the horror they were experiencing and I cried.  I have 2 girls that age and I cannot imagine that for them.  I called my husband at work and poured out my heart and we cried together on the phone.  We spoke about it more that evening and Roger made a couple of calls to others who had been at the breakfast that morning as he had missed being there that morning...and now he was so sorry that he had missed it....BUT God still grabbed his heart with this.

 On Sunday, our pastor spoke about it in church during his sermon and wails just rose and rose and rose up from the depths of my soul...sobs wanted to pour out in anguish as my heart broke as I continued to hear more about this.  This was almost affecting Roger even more than it was affecting me.  God had given us both a wail.  He is moving bigtime and we cannot ignore it.  We sat there with our daughters beside us, our hearts crying out for these young girls on the streets. The last couple of days have been extremely emotional and we cannot talk or even think about it without becoming emotional.  The fact that God GRABBED both of our hearts speaks huge volumes to me.  We cannot be silent but we also cannot rush in and act without thinking either.  We have been asking God for wisdom and guidance, seeking Him and trusting that He WILL show us what we are now to do with this wail HE has given us both.  Lorna Dueck has spoken of this through Listen Up TV as well as Women's Journey of Faith, Shona Stewart has a heart for these women as she is an ex-prostitute and spoke at WJOF, I've become dear friends with a number of native women on Northern reserves in our province over the past 5 years through Child Evangelism and God leading us onto the reserves with the 5 Day Clubs throughout the summer months, Lisa Bevere spoke about the sex trade in Thailand in the Nurture Study.....all of these instances this past short while have definitely played a part in the wail being birthed in me.

So, where does my help come from?  The Lord who made the Heavens and the Earth...and He knows all about these young girls who are forced to do unspeakable things to old perverted men and young ones too who are in bondage to the evil one. I know this cannot be ignored and God is at work.  I pray for wisdom and guidance as to where to go from here.  Can there be a haven somewhere for these girls?  I know God will lead me to who I need to connect with, who WE, as husband & wife, need to speak to and to act on what He has given us.  We need prayer.  There are wonderful ministries on 20th and they all need prayer and support and encouragement.  I know God has a place for us...AND in HIS timing, He WILL show us where we are to be in support and action and encouragement.  HE sees the whole picture and how it will all come about.  I trust in HIM to show me and reveal the way and the answers to what seems to me like an extremely tough situation.  Some may think it's a hopeless situation.  But is it a hopeless one?  Absolutely not!  Does it seem incredibly huge?  Oh yes!  BUT, God IS Good and His heart breaks over this, He sees it and He cried over it too.  He will show us what we can do.....I KNOW He will.  God is LOVE God is GOOD God is HOPE God is FORGIVENESS and God is LIFE & LIGHT.  God will not let the wicked go unpunished and He WILL NOT neglect or forget about the poor and the exploited!

We are being called to AWAKEN, ARISE, ATIRE, have His ATTITUDE and heart, be an ASSET, to APPROACH Him with boldness and to ASK and be willing to ACT after He gives us the answer.  Lord, I want to follow as You lead.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

God MADE Me!

God MADE me!  He knew every struggle, every weakness, each and EVERY day of our lives....even before we were born!  That amazes me!  Why?  Because He still loves us so!  He knew every mistake we’d ever make...and yet He loves us!
Psalm 139:13-16 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvellous—and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter conclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Okay, so, God’s character goes into every single person He creates.  Why do we go through times when we feel worthless or inadequate or incompetent?  When I think of someone knitting, I think of dear caring hands carefully weaving together, not wanting any blemishes or links missed.  This is God, carefully putting together the intricate parts of our body.  
When I feel worthless and don’t love myself, I need to remember how God put me together... that God’s Spirit is ready and willing to work within me.  Because of His character in me, I am never alone and have to do things alone.  I know that I should have as much respect for myself as My Maker has for me.  Really, when God looks at me, He sees His beautiful creation, His perfect being he knit together, full of promise, love and endless possibilities, looking at us in all of our glory.  Just think.....God’s heart goes pitter patter every time he thinks of me or sees me.

But here’s the struggle.  Just as God’s character goes into each one of us, so does the characteristics of each of our parents.  A piece of my earthly father and a piece of earthly mother are woven into my own life.  I often struggled with why God chose to put me into my family or why He made me the way He did, or why I have the weaknesses and struggles that I do.  BUT, then I have to remember that God’s character is in each of them too!  Our bodies really are to be marvelled at!  God could have snapped His fingers and we could be made instantly.  But no, He stitched us, loop by loop, piece by piece, with great love and care.....just as He did each of our parents.  Yes, they make mistakes...but so do I. But God designed each one of us with the most amazing and unique characteristics.  He had a blueprint for each one of us..and a plan.  He knows how each and every step will turn out in the end.

So, if God knows each step, each day, each joy, each heartache.....then why do we question Him?  When certain circumstances happen in our life, why do we question Him?  If He knit us so carefully and with so much love, why do we question why He made us the way He did?  If He put His character into each one of us, why do we hate ourselves at times or find it so difficult to feel confident and lovely?  If God’s Spirit is in us, the love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness and self-control, why do we find it so difficult to activate those characteristics? 

What makes you so special? What gifts has God crafted in you? What are those unique qualities you have that make you a masterpiece of God?  Oh dear sister, God made us special!!  We need to trust and pray that God is lovingly molding us into who He wants us to be through all the trials, challenges and joyful times that we go through.

The above was a 3rd assignment (to write a Mini Bible study) that I was given when I attended the speakers conference with Carol Kent in Nov 2010.

Lessons in Life

As part of an assignment for a speakers conference I attended with Carol Kent, this was another assignment I needed to complete....a personal experience with a spiritual application.  Here's what I shared...and of course the pictures are a bonus for you.  :-)

Recently, we had to give a dog away, one who had become quite dear to us.  We’ve had him a couple of years, he was a Beagle and our youngest really loved him.  But there was something about their relationship.  Even though she loved him the most he treated her the worst.  He had already bitten her a couple of times, and each time it happened, we said we would have to get rid of him, but each time our heart would soften because she would cry and cry so that he wouldn’t have to go.  She loved to hug him, cuddle with him, lay on his bed with him...but he didn’t care for that.  He would be okay most times, but if she “loved” him certain ways, he would growl, snap or nip at her.  He seemed to be getting nastier and we could see negative changes in him.  Even though she was warned numerous times, her actions did not change.  On Thanksgiving night, Copper was in a deep sleep on his bed by the door.  Kyrstin dropped to her knees beside him, bent down to hug him, startled him and he turned and bit her in the face.  She screamed and cried, yes from the pain of the bite and the blood, but more so because she knew he had would have to go. He knew right away what he had done and was VERY sorry.  But just we had to send him away....but we loved him too much to have him put down.  He was our family pet and he had really grown on us.  We just knew this was a definite turning point in their relationship and we could not keep him any longer.  
We cried into the night and into the next day when we brought him to the SPCA.  Our hearts were broken.  He didn’t know what was going on but we knew that if he stayed in our home another night, our hearts would soften too much and we would end up keeping him again.

Other than our dads passing away, that was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do.  But to me it was such a comparison to God loving us too much to allow us to continue in sin.  It also taught us a great deal on having to love something so much, we had to let them go in order to strengthen our own relationship.  When evil is continuing to happen, God allows certain things to happen in our lives to teach us and test us, to better us and to give us opportunity for growth.  We need to learn from our mistakes, and going through difficult trials is often when we learn the most.  God will only allow us to repeat our mistakes enough times before something drastic needs to change.  It’s not easy but if we make it through, we can glean so much out of those circumstances.

The situation also reminds me of the verse at the beginning of Romans 6 “well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness?  Of course not!  Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?”  Sooo, if God loves to forgive us, why can’t we give him more to forgive?  If forgiveness is a guarantee, why wouldn’t we have the freedom to sin as much as we want?  We need to realize the seriousness of sin and if we continue along in it, the consequences will be more severe.  God’s forgiveness doesn’t make sin any less serious.  Jesus paid with his life so that we could be forgiven.  I love my child and I forgive her and the dog....but forgiveness doesn’t always remove the natural consequences that need we need to learn from in order to move on and remove harmful things in our life.  God’s mercy, a parents mercy, does not become an excuse for carelessness or irresponsibility.

As another picture of God’s faithfulness, the next day I got a phone call and a friend had found a home for Copper.  The woman knew of our complete circumstance, she’d owned many Beagles and knew their character.  She was willing to give him a different home.  The SPCA was gracious enough to let me pick him up and bring him to the new owner at no extra cost.  Kyrstin was so relieved that he went to a good home to someone who knew Beagles and that he wouldn’t be caged up or put down.  She felt all of this was her fault. 
God is good and He cares deeply about what we care deeply about.  J

My Latest Testimony

Recently, I attended a Speaker's Seminar with Carol Kent and we were given 3 assignments.  The 1st one was to introduce ourselves and share what God is doing.  Here is part of what I shared - it is the longer version.  :-)  We were given 3 minutes to share so I had to shorten this but I thought I'd share the longer one with you.  And of course, I wanted to add photos for you too.  :-)

My name is Lisa Braun and not only am I a memory maker, capturing moments in people’s lives,  and blessing people each month of the year through creating calendars; but I also love to spend time with women in ladies Bible studies, learning how to live more fulfilling lives and being the wives, mothers and women God is calling us to be.  J
I grew up in a very religious home, youngest of 7, with a father who tended to be more of a legalistic authoratariun, and a mother who suffered from mental illness.  It is by God’s grace, each of my siblings and I are where we are at this moment in our lives.  God’s hand was on us through these abusive years and we grew up often being taken care of by loving aunts and uncles rather than various foster homes.  It was not easy growing up in our disfunctional family.  We definitely knew a whole lot more about the “Fear” of the Lord, all his rules, judgement & condemnation rather than the love, forgiveness and grace of our Almighty God.
The 1st major highlight in my life was God grabbing my attention  during my rebellious years in 1986 at a Bible Camp that I was working at, showing me His Love through wonderful Christians who LOVED & ENJOYED life, displaying compassion, grace and forgiveness.  It was during these rebellion years that I met my husband and over time God has delivered us from the legalistic and alcohol driven lives and has moved various mountains.   I had been taught that one HAD to be baptized in order to be married but the rebellion side of me refused to be baptized JUST so I could marry the man of my dreams.  I will never forget how many nights I prayed as a young teen that my desire was to marry a tall dark-haired handsome man who loved the Lord, have children and be a mom.  God DOES answer prayers VERY literally at times!  J  Roger is tall, dark-haired, handsome and he commited his life to the Lord a couple months before we were married.  It was just over a year after our marriage that we both were baptized and together we made a public proclamation to walk together with God.  That was the beginning of our spiritual journey together.  (What I find amazing is now our kids attend this camp and I've had opportunities to bring Roger to this camp and show him...he's sitting in the huge chair in the photo).  :-)

I had worked at a variety of different office jobs, developing my personal skills through reception, working with people in personnel and data entry, being an active directory assistance operator before we started talking to machines  J and also processing policies in a life insurance company.  They were times of growing and of joy but also times of testing working together with others that believed differently than I did and nearly being fired from my job partially because of the Christian faith that I had.

Roger & I come from complete opposite family backgrounds – his being an alcoholic home, not growing up in the church, both parents being perfectionists & worked very very hard all the time  – and mine being a legalistic abusive home with a mother suffering mental illness but growing up in the church. But there's many things we've learned from both of our backgrounds and we thank God for our parents.   
We’ve are trying to meet in the middle and have chosen to raise our 3 wonderful children in the church and with God’s help, not keeping things hidden, but trying to live our lives as a testimony.  We dedicated each of our children to the Lord and consciously work at making an effort to keep the Lord 1st in our home & marriage.  Since the day our 1st child was born, which is now over 17 years ago, Roger has not touched a drop of alcohol.  Praise the Lord! 
Having gone through the pain of both of our dad's passing away now has taught us so much about grace and God's forgiveness and mercy which are new EVERY morning.

Surviving through the child-bearing and elementary years with my children, God carried me through this time by gifting me with the ability to lead women’s Bible studies in my community and church.  Studying God’s Word together with many women over the years has been an ongoing major highlight filled with numerous growing and pruning experiences.

From when I was a child, I loved to capture God’s creation through photography.  God knew that one of the desires of my heart was to share my photographs in calendars and He’s been so faithful and gracious bringing that dream come true.  For 5 years now I’ve been creating SK calendars with photos God has blessed me with.

It’s been in the past 5 years that my walk with God has deepened in an amazing way.  Beginning in February 2005, through a Marriage Encounter weekend, God filled me supernaturally with His overpowering & overwhelming love, both for him, for my husband and also for others.  This brought my marriage to a completely new level.  Then in November, I shared part of my faith story with Women’s Journey of Faith and on the Friday night of the conference, God’s supernatural annointing reached the depths of my soul and spirit.  I knew God was preparing me for some amazing things through this anointing. Another one of my desires was speaking to various women’s groups through my testimony and God began opening many doors in this. 
Then it was the following spring of ‘08 that He brought me to Bolivia to find my dad’s siblings living on Mennonite Colonies and to spend time with dear missionary friends, discovering that I too was a real live missionary right here in my own country of Canada.  This experience brought me to a deeper understanding of how I’d grown up and how my dad grew up. 
Through attending women’s Bible studies in Bolivia, I was also introduced to the depth filled Bible Studies of Beth Moore.  That began my deeper journey in leading women into an even greater part of God’s Word.  The awakening and soul finding walk that God has brought me through these studies has been an incredible blessing of amazing growth.  
In 2008, I experienced a huge blessing in baptizing a dear woman who attended our studies.  Later that year, God brought my biggest dream to fruition, and brought me to the Holy Land with my pastor, my hubby and my son Brandon.  AMAZING!  

The following year I joined the team with Women’s Journey of Faith and have had the incredible opportunity to work alongside a number of fantastic godly women who love the Lord and have a passion for gathering together praising God, nurturing other women into following the Lord and being the wives mothers and women God is calling them to be.
Then in 2009, I took a group of women back with me to the land of Israel, 2 of these women being ones who’ve been in Bible study with me for a couple years already and also my daughter Alysha.  There has been a few times in this past year that God has reconfirmed His anointing and calling on me, and made it very clear that He is continuing a work through me...He has brought me to my knees many times.   I am now in the midst of planning a 3rd tour to Israel for November 2011 with another group of dear ladies God has been drawing together, including my youngest daughter Kyrstin.

These past 5 years have been amazing....but there’s been much pruning as well.  I’ve often struggled with feelings of jealousy, unforgiveness and legalism.  God has been teaching me discipline..which I still need help with.  I’ve struggled over the years with maintaining my weight, feelings of confidence, self control,  self worth and love for myself.  God has been faithful and loving through it all.  He is teaching me to become better through my difficult experiences, rather than bitter.  He has brought me to my knees many a time and I have learned to desperately hang on to Him through everything.  Raising three teenagers, maintaining a marriage for 21 years, truly loving & forgiving all those around me on a daily basis and striving to be the godly woman and leader that God has planned for me to be......HOW could I ever live without HIM??  I could NEVER do any of this on my own.  I need God in my life each and every day!

Because of the desire I have to speak to women, and the fear I have of it, :-) and the practice I need for it... that is why I am attending this Speaker’s Conference.  I need to gain confidence in speaking his testimony through me and to better my abilities in shortening what is on my heart to say.  Thank you for having me and I really look forward to this time together with you all.  God bless!

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Love

I took my mom to my dad's grave yesterday. This month will be a year ago that he passed away. My dad was my mom's "one and only love" here on this earth.....Jesus is my mom's true love though. After my dad's death I had taken my mom to an old abandoned house with a yellow field (mom's favorite color) - ONE LOVE was written in graffiti on the house...perfect spot to take a photo of my mom...and then I put a photo of my dad in the bottom and a photo of dad kissing mom up in the corner. I gave a framed photo to my mom yesterday at the graveside. It was a wonderful touching moment. God is so good! We sang "Amazing Grace" and "Shall we Gather at the River" and we talked about dad.

In dad's last moments before passing, I had been sitting beside him reading random scripture and this is what God was having me read from Psalm 18:
"The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face. I cried out to the Lord. He heard me from His sanctuary. He reached down from heaven and rescued me. He delivered me." ...and that was when dad breathed his last breath!
What an amazing passage to be reading when a person leaves this earth...I just sat in awe....I couldn't believe what had just happened. I bet this past Father's Day would've been dad's most grandest one Heaven!!

love u dad! Don't worry about mom, dad...she's doing really well. She misses you but she is strong and has a good home. The family takes her out and we are there for her. She is treated well in the home. She still loves to go out dad, and she can't get out often enough of course :-) but it's okay. You know her, she doesn't like to be cooped up too much. She enjoys going to church where Pastor Greg is at and she still loves playing games....but most of all, she just wants to be with her family, her kids. We're there for her whenever we can. Yep, she still phones a lot :-) but that's okay too. God is so good! He's looking after all of us real good. love u dad!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ladies Tour to the Holy Land - November 2011

YAY! It is official now! The ladies tour to the Holy Land, Israel, is booked for Saturday November 19 - Saturday December 3, 2011! The deposit has been made to book the tour and the dates are start planning and saving your pennies ladies! :-)
In the photos above we are standing on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and the temple mount........and to the right we are posing in front of our bus with our bus driver Salim and our excellent tour guide Arie.

In November 2009, we had a fabulous group of 8 ladies that toured the Holy Land for 2 was such an excellent time together, walking where Jesus walked, having devotions at various holy sites, and swimming in the Red Sea or floating in the Dead Sea. Watching the sunrise on the Sea of Galilee is absolutely breathtaking as you can see in the photo above.

Recapturing the story of Gideon at Gilboa Springs....or walking through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, shopping in the Jewish market and walking the Via Dolorosa.....or standing at the Western Wall..............all such moving experiences~~

Hearing, smelling and seeing the waves on the Sea of Galilee....but we experienced a wonderful boat ride on the Sea of Galilee first before the wind and waves came. :-)

Ladies, you will have an unforgettable experience walking through the old ruins of times dated back to the Bible, or going on a jeep ride through the Golan Heights...or eating the fabulous foods they serve you at the buffets each day....this one was kinda fishy. :-)

Being in the Garden Tomb, knowing that Jesus is ALIVE in heaven and no longer in the tomb.
Having a cruise on the Red Sea was a great way to end the tour.

Spending a night at the spa on the Dead Sea or taking a cruise and a swim in the Red all adds to the incredible journey we take on this tour. Touring Petra, Jordan - one of the ancient wonders of the world....a definite must to see!

But on top of all this, add a treat at a chocolate factory, or going into a shoe factory or winery or an olive factory....or a diamond factory. Israel has so much to offer us on this tour!

It will change your life spiritually forever is an investment of a lifetime.

Invite your friends, or request to have me come into your community/church/home to share a presentation with you. Feel free to email me at with any additional questions you may have or if you'd like to sign up for the tour. I've received numerous deposits already, from women who are very excited to go come on board with us. The cost of the tour is about $4,000 CAN and the deposit is $200 CAN. I encourage you to get your deposit in soon so your spot is booked on the tour. :-)
God bless you all!

Unshakable Faith

The following is a devotional I shared on UNSHAKABLE FAITH at one of our Women's Journey of Faith meetings.

I searched online and found a few quotes and a definition for unshakable faith.

DEFINITION: un·shak·a·ble - adj. Incapable of being shaken: unshakable faith. Synonyms for "unshakable" are: firm, secure, solid, stable, strong, sturdy, substantial, sure, adamant, abiding, fixed.

Wow, how dependable is unshakable faith! Do you have unshakable faith?

  • “To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God's ultimate purpose will come to pass.”

o “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. Unshakable faith is faith that has been shaken.”

It is your unshakable FAITH that is your defense against the enemy. The only reason Job could stand up to his "friends", his wife, and the enemy was because his faith in God catapulted him to a new dimension!

Personal Reflection: Do you have “Unshakable Faith?” Can you say this statement:” I have unshakable faith in the perfect outcome of EVERY situation in my life!! Praise GOD!”

Daniel’s Example: Daniel had unshakable faith. His belief in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under four different kings and faced many challenges. First, giving all glory and honor to the Almighty Father, because without Him nothing is possible. I have made it this far by faith, and it is paying off. I have been put on a path and there is no stopping me now, my hard work and determination coupled with God and an unshakable faith is taking me to higher places.

o To be unshakable, Faith must be built on the confidence that God's ultimate purpose will come to pass.

o Unshakable faith is faith that has been shaken…let's have an unshakable faith in an unchanging God!

John’s Example: How could a man like John, who was imprisoned on the island of Patmos to die, who wrote the Book of Revelation, how could he continue to have such an unshakable faith to find the strength to affirm the power of God in such debilitating circumstances?

BARRIERS to unshakable faith include

o PRIDE {I won’t admit I need God’s help}

o ARROGANCE {I know a better way – I don’t have to ask God}

o SELF-SUFFICIENCY {I can do it myself without His help}

Personal Reflection: Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord!!!!

"Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God's love is still working, He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out His wonderful plan of love." Olympian Eric Liddell quoted in "When I Lay My Isaac Down--Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances" by Carol Kent

Lisa’s thoughts: *This passage of scripture has been on my heart and immediately came to mind thee moment I was asked me over a week ago to share a devotion with you today.

Col. 3:12-17 NLT

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Ephesians 4:2 says to be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for one another’s faults because of your love.

Ephesians 4:31-32 reminds us to “get rid of ALL bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander and ALL malicious behavior. INSTEAD, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

1 Peter 1:2 says God chose you long ago and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Christ Jesus and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God’s special favor and wonderful peace.

13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32 & 5:2 also reminds us to live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like a sweet perfume to him.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Romans 13:8 also says to “Pay all your debts, except the debt of loving others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill ALL the requirements of God’s law.”

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

John 14:27 Jesus says “I am leaving you a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Ephesians 2:14-17 tells us that “Christ made peace between Jews and Gentiles by making us all one people. He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us…Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death and our hostility towards each other was put to death. He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him and to the Jews who were near.”

Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that if we don’t worry and pray about everything you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

1 Cor 10:31 WHATEVER you eat or drink or WHATEVER you do, you MUST do all for the glory of God.

Ephesians 5:20 ALWAYS give thanks for EVERYTHING to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus

Personal reflection and WJOF application: Paul is calling ALL believers to live for God daily by: imitating Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude; letting love guide our life; letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts; always being thankful; keeping God’s Word in us at all times; and living as Jesus’ representative. Paul also says the most important piece of clothing is love – love binds all of these together, it holds it all together in place. And as a representative of Christ, we represent him at all times, wherever we go and whatever we do and say. What impression do people have of Christ when they see us or talk with us? What impression do they have of WJOF (Women's Journey of Faith)? We can work together in spite of our differences and we can stand together in unshakable faith. We can offer our heart to God from time to time throughout the day as we go about our daily duties. A writer once said that our depth of spirituality doesn’t depend on changing what we do but instead on changing our motives/our attitudes—doing things for God rather than doing them for ourselves…keeping God in view, not the tasks we are doing…no matter how menial they are...keep God and His glory in view...the more the task is against your natural inclinations, the greater is your love in offering it to God…even the most difficult tasks can be performed and presented as an offering to God. Are we giving others around us “a little piece of heaven”? Are we giving other women hope for a better tomorrow, encouragement and love and are they sensing God’s presence in our presence? The tabernacle was a physical example of God’s presence on earth so we are God’s representatives of HIS presence and we need to find ways to bring peace and hope of heaven to others here on earth. God is using us in the lives of others and He will show us ways to apply these principles in our lives at work, in our homes and through WJOF. If we’re willing to do little things for others, we will be doing GREAT things for the Lord.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ALL of my life, IN every season, YOU are still God!

This morning when I woke up, a song was on my heart: "ALL of my life, IN every season, YOU are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!....ALL of my life, IN every season, YOU are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!" This phrase just kept singing over and over again in my heart and mind. I love waking up to a song on my heart. Can we honestly sing the above words sisters? Can we? Oh I pray I can.
I was reading Micah 6:1-8 this morning and was reminded how God didn't want the Israelites animal sacrifices or their rivers of olive oil or their children as sacrifices to prove that they loved Him and were living for Him. He wanted their love and their obedience. In verse 8, God says "I have told you what is good and what is required of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
Sister, that is what God requires of us what is right, love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. As I walk with Jesus, it is so extremely vital that nothing else takes top priority over God's expectations for me. But I so often fail in that...but then I am so thankful for His forgiveness and each new day that He gives me afresh to start over again. I stop and ask myself though....what DOES matter to me most? a sports team? fashion? my own time? Facebook? my family? money?.....or loving God in thought, word and action? Oh how I pray that each day the latter matters most to me.
What can direct us in each and every thing that we do? Oh to let nothing, NOTHING at all interfere with our deep love for God!
Here's something to think about. "Beware of spending too much time on things of too little importance." What comes to mind for you when you read that statement?
Another thing I was reminded of this morning is the Jesus my co-pilot or my driver? With me at the wheel I turn on to the streets of self centeredness, greed or lust or I venture off into the swamps and ditches of pride or bitterness. If Jesus is driving, I don't take these turns. If I was crucified with Him as it says in Galatians 2:20, then he is at the wheel - He died so that He alone could live in me, take the wheel, drive and define my life and where I am going - that should be my JOY to let him drive! There may be bumps along the road but I can count on HIM to take me somewhere good.
Doesn't that just give you Jesus bumps sisters?? It does me.
I invite you to share your thoughts below as you read these words today.
Thank you God for each of my sisters in Christ...all at different places in their journey with You. Be with each and every one in a very special way and bless each one. Be real to them Father, touch their lives, move their spirit and speak to them in tangible ways. ALL of our lives, IN every season, YOU are still God and WE have a reason to sing, WE have a reason to worship............

Much love and prayers
your sister in Christ

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me - I'd love to hear from you....just click on 'comments' and share your heart. :-)