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Begin Again

There once was a man named Michael Finnegan…Begin Again

How many of you remember this children’s song? As I was cleaning today my thoughts were considering tomorrow… Tomorrow holds a “Begin Again” for my husband Scott as he steps into the pastorate at Bethel Grove Church. But it also holds so much potential for myself, and our children. There is always so much potential when we walk the path God has constructed before us.

Just like many other things God says, I am excited; but the realistic part of me knows there is purpose in everything God positions for our lives. Fulfilled purpose requires:

  1. My willingness to follow God’s lead
  2. My willingness to give God’s love wholeheartedly
  3. My willingness to believe God for the impossible
  4. My willingness to release courageous faith in God
  5. My willingness to live in the overflow of God’s unstoppable joy

To “Begin Again” is a choice, my choice. It is a choice I do not take lightly, for I have been here before, just like Michael Finnegan. It is time to Begin Again.

To “Begin Again” means it is time to grow. The time of darkness is over, the roots continue to be strengthened as I push through the darkness to the sun. From the seed in darkness a mighty oak is breaking through the ground and growing.

A year ago this month Scott and I finished an 8-city prayer tour and the 20/10 Southern circle prayer tour. It was absolutely amazing. But a week later, I was literally crying and asking the Lord for people to hug. As much as I love to pray and be doing a great exploit, I also like being with people releasing hope, possibility, and encouragement.

When I was cleaning out my parent's basement  last fall, I found this pin in my high school papers.  It has always been in me to give hugs that relieve stress and heal. Very cool!

When I was cleaning out my parent’s basement last fall, I found this pin in my high school papers. It has always been in me to give hugs that relieve stress and heal. Very cool!

If you don’t know me, you might think hugging is a little too close but for those of you who have ever been hurting and I gave you a hug, some kind of healing was released. I believe it is the love of God in me being released to others. I am the conduit, God’s power runs through me to those in need of His love that heals the broken hearted, sets the captives free, and gives hope to the hopeless. Even though I have found ways to release His love over the past year, it felt like being the seed planted in darkness, wondering if I had enough Jesus in me to break the shell that surrounded me. Until the shell around the seed is broken the seed never gets the opportunity to become what it was created to be. It was difficult, it was dark, it was lonely, and many times I was challenged to give up. But God, He would not let me be less than what He created me to be. As I pressed into God’s love and worshipped Him the shell could not contain what God destined me to be.

When God directs my path, the fulfillment of His word will require more than I have but give back more than I could have ever imagined. In this, my relationship with God grows and His love abounds.

Therefore, as I look forward with great expectation of what God has positioned Scott, myself, and our children to be a part of, with the people of Bethel Grove Church, I also know to “Begin Again” I have to let go of the past, look to Him, get up and courageously follow His lead.

Daniel 11:32 …the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

It is time to Begin Again.

May you know the Lord’s love to have the strength to begin again.

In His Presence darkness cannot keep me,

Veridee

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Sometimes we overlook the most simple ways to love someone.  Today I had the privilege of being able to prepare a complete meal, with the help of Selah, to bless another family who has been knocked down by cancer but will rise as overcomes!  God is faithful and He is working another miracle!

Here is what may surprise you, I strongly believe, people don’t always need another scripture to stand on but a friend who will stand with them, they don’t always need you to pray when you are with them but through your actions they know your prayers are being heard by God on their behalf.

I am not saying that I am Jesus; however, I do want to be like Him (Eph. 5:1).  I want to know where the Father is and join Him.  I want to do what the Father is doing as Jesus did and I want to say to others what I hear the Father saying.  Then I know I am in sync with what a person needs.  I don’t want my efforts to miss the mark of what a person needs.  I want to hit the bulls eye with exactly what will speak volumes of the Father’s love.  Jesus said in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

I have learned over the years that it isn’t just “doing” something that meets the need of others, but it is doing what God says they need.  Sometimes people need money, other times they need a word of encouragement, a gift, a meal, a prayer, someone who will listen with compassion, and the list goes on.  What we “think” they need and what God “knows” they need are generally two different things.  We “think” they need a particular thing because that is the limit of what we are willing to give; however, God gives limitlessly, giving exactly what we need to give us strength to be in perfect peace in the situation we face.  God knows what we need as well as what others need.

If we will listen God will tell us what people need most, that “thing” that encourages us and says, “Peace, Be Still” to the storm in their life.  It is NEVER a matter of  trying to “figure” it out, it is a matter of listening to God and He will lead you.  Surprised as you may be, I didn’t even give a scripture or a prayer when dropping off the food, I did ONLY what God said to do and within 30 minutes I got a phone call that said, “Thank you!!!  He ate! Everyone ate!”

And “that” is what they needed to strengthen their hope in the midst of the storm they are in.  Surprised? probably, but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that you and I hear what God says they need and respond not from what we are willing to do, but what God has told us to do.

What a privilege to love God’s people the way they need to be loved.  I stand in awe of Him.  He knows, He knows the timing and the need. Wait in expectation to be used by God to bless others in the area that will speak volumes of His love to them.  Be encouraged to listen and God will direct your path in how to bless others in such a way that it compels them to praise Jesus.

In His Presence we will love others,

Veridee

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Will you join me on a 7 day challenge?  You can start your 7 days when you read this, they don’t have to be the same 7 days that I have but there are some stipulations…you can’t use your spouse, your children, or animals and within the 7 days you can’t use someone twice, they only count for one day.

I have been thinking about a friend’s testimony she shared in a church Sunday night.  Here is the message that rang loud and clear, she would testify about how hard things were even as a young child and how someone spoke just the right words to encourage her at just the right time.  And most of the time the people didn’t even know she needed the encouragement.  She stated that a lot of times the people who need the encouragement most are the ones who are able to cover/hide their hurt the best.

So, what is this 7 day challenge???

I am challenging you to give one encouraging word a day for the next 7 days.  Just one, but it is like I said before there are stipulations…you may practice on your spouse, your child, or your pet and even on someone you have already given a word to on a previous day HOWEVER, they do not count twice.  They are who you get to practice on.

My guess is that most of us do not know how to give a genuine word of encouragement.  Sure we know how to give a compliment, “That color you are wearing looks great with your eyes!” or “What kind of a gun do you have on that rack?  Wow, nice!”  Those are compliments NOT a word of encouragement.

So let me give a definition of what counts as a word of encouragement: A compliment is surface level, but a word of encouragement breathes life into another person that they will give life every time they remember it.

Hebrews 3:13 puts it this way, “But exhort (encourage) one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

What seems odd about this verse is not that we are to exhort one another daily but that if we don’t our heart may become hard through deceitfulness of sin.  Just one of those things that make you say, “Um”?

How, by not exhorting one another daily, will my heart be led to deceitfulness of sin?

I am so glad you asked.  I was asking the same question.  Through some painful experiences, when people’s words seemed to fly like knives to my very core, I had to resist with everything in me to not be poisoned by their words.  I am sure you have experience this as well.  Sadly, I don’t think anyone is immune to at least once having someone’s words cut them to the core.  However, this time, I had to ask Jesus, “Lord, I need more of Your love because I don’t have any more to give them.  I know Your Word says I am supposed to pray for my enemies and to do that I am going to need Your love for them. I am out.”  And God was faithful to pour His love into my wounds and through His love I could look to Him and say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Okay, not to get too dramatic but I do what I do in order to get the poison out of my heart.  I was born an encourager so to be hateful or bitter kills who I am.  I just can’t stay there, I have to be able to breathe life into people.   The enemy will use anybody who is not focused on giving a word of encouragement DAILY, those who are not secure in whose they are (God’s), who they are (Child of the King), and what they are doing (their God-given purpose) to have a heart that is hard through the deceitfulness of sin.

How is sin deceitful?  Because sin causes us to make exceptions for ourselves and cast judgement on others.  So if we are not daily looking to give a word of encouragement we “could be” in danger of being deceived into sin.

Are you in for the 7 day Challenge?

You can call someone on the phone, send a card (with your personal word of encouragement in it), a private Facebook message or email or text.  But it must be your own words used to encourage them.

One person, once a day.  Practice with your spouse, your children, or on your animals but they don’t count as the “one” for the day.

One more thing, a word of encouragement is never used to get leverage or to impress someone, that is called manipulation.  A true word of encouragement breathes life with no strings attached and doesn’t expect anything in return.

Ready?

Begin

In His Presence, He breathes life,

Veridee

ps I would love to hear of how this affects your life, because it will.

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We have been blessed this weekend to come away with God, up the mountain.  Literally we were in the mountains of GA.  The peace of God has been so…well, we are at ease with what God is doing in our lives, assured that He is in control, and joy bubbles over.  I was encouraged when I read, “God performs the most impressive feats though the most unimpressive people.” (Sun Stand Still, Steven Furtick)  According the worlds’ view, I am considered an unimpressive person.  But according to what God says about me in 1 Peter 2:9 “I, my husband and children are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.”  We have decided to believe what God says about us.  We are His own special people and we love being His!  J  Do you know you are too?

The bunker in the mountain: Sometime you just don’t know what to expect.  With the ice we were having at home, power on, power off, power on, power off, power on.  It was like God was saying, “Come up the mountain.”  When God says to come, you know He has something for you.  But I have to admit He went above and beyond my expectations.

Our condo was 9 steps below where we parked.  The view was absolutely gorgeous and reminded me of a bunker.  We were hidden up on the mountain, in the cleft of the rock, in the presence of God.  Very cool!  It made me think of Jesus going up the mountain to pray.  Even in all He did ministering to the people of God’s love and extending God’s power to set them free, heal them, and teach them of His Father’s ways, He always made time for and returned to the Father.

Years ago, I wondered if Jesus was sharing the “glory stories” with God.

  • “Dad, did you see that?!  A legion of demons left that man and he is telling all 10 cities of Your great power and love?”
  • Sometimes I wondered if Jesus shared with God His heartbreaks and disappointments, “Dad, how come they are stuck in their ways?  Why can’t they believe I am Your Son?  Why can’t they believe You are good and desire good things for all people?”
  • Maybe He even said, “Dad, I am tired, will you strengthen me?  I am so hurt by their lies and accusations.  I am tired of trying to “prove” that I am sent from You to be the Savior of the world.  I must continue to demonstrate Your love and power. Strengthen me to rise again, to believe even for those who have set themselves in opposition to Me.”
  • Other times I can hear Jesus saying, “Dad, even though it is fun removing the enemy and establishing Your kingdom here on Earth, I miss You.  It thrills me to hear You speak, ‘Stay here and wait, Son,’ or ‘Go over there and declare healing’.
  • He might have even said, “It is so much fun picking on the Devil.  He has no clue who I am.  He still thinks he is going to win.  Can’t wait to settle this matter once and for all…but in the meantime, it is fun to take back what is Yours!”

This trip up the mountain seemed too short. Scott and I have had wonderful times of prayer, listening to the Father speak, direct and encourage, and celebrating all God has done in our lives over the last year.   We have a tremendous testimony and God wants us to be bold in sharing it.  We are not to hide it under a bushel but share so the light of God shines through our testimony and strengthens others to rise again out of the fire.   Even up here God orchestrated things so we got to let His light shine.  Come on Jesus!!

The day after we had arrived, I remembered that a school friend from Iowa lived 10 minutes away from where we were staying.  So I went to the main office to get internet connection and messaged her.  She didn’t get the message until Sunday morning but we were able to get together for a late lunch.  The girls had gotten dressed up and we had church, celebrating Jesus and receiving His Word for us.  I hadn’t seen my friend in over 20 years, but I knew God wanted us to connect.  God had positioned us from the beginning “if” we would be willing to give of ourselves during our ‘call to the mountain’.

When she text, Scott and I were excited!  We were going to get to lay hands on and pray for her husband.  He was diagnosed the same day as Lydia with a different kind of cancer.  He is still under treatment and stage 4.  We were honored for God to orchestrate all of this so we could testify, stir up faith and encourage them to stand on the truth of God’s word.  Believe, believe God will heal, deal with the “what ifs” when they happen but don’t entertain them now, and trust that God will give you the strength for that what if they happen, but right now, believe God’s best, to truly be a victor, an overcomer of cancer and the fear attached to it.

Truly a Jesus moment, we were separated from normal Sunday schedule and ministered to ‘the one’, the family, that needed to know and be strengthened by the Father’s love.

That is a God-ordained opportunity.  Love me some Jesus!  Set the captives free, free from bondage and fear, free into the fullness of all You have for them.  That is free indeed!  J Thank you Jesus or ordaining our steps and the opportunity to share your amazing love that NEVER FAILS!

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Do you ever wonder why you do what you do?  I decided years ago that I would produce good things wherever I was planted.  I HAD to be intentional.  This does not come naturally even for plants or trees.  They have to push against the dirt, grow around the stones in the ground, position their leaves to receive sunlight and rain.  They HAVE TO be determined to grow.

I have been uprooted and moved many places but wherever the Lord plants me I decided to make the best of it by digging my roots down into the soil and finding water, His water, water to grow strong, healthy and produce fruit.  I choose to dig through the dirt of complacency and around the stones of adversity to reach the water that will fill my soul and make me strong, able and mighty to produce all the fruit God put in me when He knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I will never forget when God caused Revelation 22:2 jump off the page into the DNA of my being.

Revelation 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The tree of life bore 12 fruits, each yielding its fruit every month…that was huge!  Why? Because that blew my “seasonal” mentality of a Believer in Christ.  I had thought I could only bear fruit for the kingdom if I was in a harvest season.  If I allow myself, if I position myself to send my “roots” down to the river that proceeds from the throne of God then by the power of Christ in me, I have the ability to produce good fruit, heavenly fruit, 12 kinds of fruit EVERY month of the year!

I have learned to be faithful in the little things.  I have learned that even if there is one, I am to offer the fruit God has produced in me to that one.  I have learned to persist through the dirt and slide around the adversity to keep myself drinking from the water of the love of Jesus that quenches my thirsty soul and strengthens me to grow to produce fruit to offer to others.  When I grow I am nourished, when fruit grows it nourishes others who do not know how to grow it for themselves, yet.

And there is more!  In the leaves of every Believer in Christ is healing for the nations!  How many times do you watch a movie and someone needs leaves to make a medicine, a paste to heal.  In the leaves of those who are planted on either side of the river, was the tree of life.  We are to be life givers not life takers.  We are to encourage one another in the things of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our fruit is for those who do not yet have fruit.  Our leaves are to bring healing to the nations.  That is JESUS in us.

I am so excited about the Shout Out Loud conference this Friday and Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bamberg.  I get to share my testimony of God’s love and strength so others are empowered to rise be overcomes in their situation.  The power of testimony demonstrates the greatness of my God.  I will share the fruit of my God.  And this is why I do what I do…I press through the darkness and despair of the dirt and slide around the rocks that stand in the way as I anchor my roots in the river that flows from the throne of my God.  Come on Jesus!  Healing to the nations as we grow with our roots in the river that flows from the throne of God!

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I have been on assignment the last 3 nights and driven “the fish bowl”.  I start by taking 178 to 321 N into Columbia, catching 26 E to 176E to 95S then getting on 78N up to 321 going N until the fish bowl is completed.  It is about 167 miles round trip.  What stuck out about the drive part of the trip was the number of deer on 78 verses 176.  I told my husband the next day, “The hunters are a better shot on 176 than they are on 78.”  The room filled with laughter.  I had come across at least 5 families of deer on 78 and one deer just stood in the road until I nearly came to a stop and honked.  Then it sauntered across like, “I am king here!”  And I wasn’t even a quarter of the way around the “fish bowl.”

The second night I kept my eyes wide open, for my second look.  I wondered if my assessment was correct.  And then realized why I hadn’t seen as many deer on 176 as 78.  On 176 there are more open fields and less trees along the road and nearly the entire drive of 78 trees line both sides of the road.  So, it wasn’t that the hunters were better on 176, it was that the hiding places, living places were more plentiful on 78.

So, my assessment from the first night did not include all the information needed to make the decision I had so willingly shared after the first night.  Have you done this before?  Made a judgment without all the pieces, without taking things into the right context (like trees close to the road or open field)?

Too many times I have done this even with my children.  I hear there is a problem and step in to take care of matters only to make a quick judgement on what I see when I walk into the room without checking with the children to make sure I have all the facts.  This has caused me to discipline the wrong child.  Since I have done this more than once, I have given my children permission to interrupt me when I am assessing a situation incorrectly.  I don’t like it when I discipline the wrong child but sadly it has happened.  And when I am made aware of my wrong doing I:

A. Blame the Child for My Wrong Behavior…

B. Ignore the Truth…

C. Immediately Apologize to the child I accused for doing wrong and had disciplined (sadly I can’t take back the discipline but I have found other ways to make up for my wrong, hasty judgement of the situation) but then the child at fault gets disciplined twice.  First, for their wrong behavior and Second, for letting their sibling take their punishment.  Siblings have to know they can trust each other, trust is crusted when they let another get disciplined for their wrong behavior.

Sometimes it is just better to take the second look, make sure you have all the facts, make sure you have fairly judged the situation, make sure you aren’t taking your own “issues” into the situation but assessing from a clean slate. It just works better, some might even call it wisdom.

When hunting season opens again, head to 78 please. There should be 5 families all fattened up ready to fill your freezer.  🙂

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Need it for the egg on my face!  I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong…thankfully God’s love is enormous that the things others will try to hold against you He says He forgives you for.  Did you know that God loves a faithful heart ready to love like He loves?  Hurts my heart to think of those who don’t know the love of God.

In my own weakness I wasn’t ready to believe that this really was the time God had for me to return to the “conference world”.  Honestly, I embraced focusing on expressing His love to people individually, but when He is in charge of your life, He calls the shots.  And no matter how much I wanted to hold onto the doorframe when He flung the door open, it is time to return to ministering in group settings, even conferences.  I shared in a blog last week that God had “set me up” to do a women’s conference by the end of the month well…that is true and not true.

The conference I thought He wanted to do January 31-February 1st is moved to February 7th-8th.  Thankfully God has forgiven me and so much so that He already lined me up to speak at the Bamberg Cornerstone Campus women’s meeting Monday night!  Thank you God for the napkin!!!

AND thank you for the set up!  When I knew the date was wrong I asked God, “Why did you let me post that it was at the end of the month?”  In my heart I felt He said, “Because you wouldn’t have started praying about who was to be on your team and doubt is the killer of the destiny I have put in you.  I knew if you didn’t get zeroed in on a date you won’t have started the process.  Since you started the process I know you will finish it.  I will be with you.”

Love, love, love my God!  He is so kind and can be so provoking at the same time.  “Doubt is the killer of the destiny I have put in you.” Needless to say, I had to repent because, of course, He was right!

Positioning my heart to be full of His love.  Knowing and receiving perfect love removes all doubt.  Thank you Jesus!

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