2 Steps to Restoring Broken Relationships

Let’s talk. 
 
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The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:45 NIV)
Yes, I know, we’ve talked about words before. 
 
Don’t roll your eyes or turn this off. Let’s talk. 
 
Our words are powerful. Do you agree with that? 
 
We can use words to build others up or tear them down. For a long time, I didn’t know how to control my tongue. I barked every feeling of disappointment or anger that I had. You know what I ended up with? Nothing but broken relationships. 
 
I spoke those awful things because I desperately longed to be justified. My sense of self-worth simply couldn’t handle another rejection or another time when I was wrong or a bad person. I was broken from my past experiences and my past mistakes. You see, I knew that I was a bad person because I didn’t have wonderful or kind thoughts in my head. 
My little heart was always offended, wounded, hurt, disappointed. It was a weepy heart always looking for people to treat me “right.” When they didn’t (according to my definition), I would take my ball and go home—but not before I blurted out toxic words.
 
If I didn’t say what I was thinking straight to their faces, I would say it in my heart. I am sure my actions represented my true heart even if my words didn’t. 
 
I was the girl with relationships always on a thread. I was a needy, desperate girl. I fought, bickered, complained, and gossiped because it made me feel better about myself. 
 
Ugh.
At that time, I didn’t know this:
“Show me a struggling relationship and I will show you toxic words. Every single time, you will see toxic words. Speak words of Life and watch God bless that relationship.” ~ Craig Groeschel, Soul Detox
I actually thought I had RIGHTS. I thought my actions and arguments were justified because of other people’s behavior. 
 
That’s a LIE. Trash!  
 
I was the problem all along. 
 
Ugh! How many dreadful years did I spend wrestling with this lie?
Too many!
 
If you are like me, there is HOPE!
Look at your relationships. Are they constantly falling apart? 
Look at your words. Are the words you speak full of life or death? 
Are you constantly complaining or constantly grateful? 
First 
You have to fill your heart with the love of Jesus. Oh, how He loves you! He wants you to come to Him—just as you are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself first. Simply come and receive His life. He lived the life you should have lived and died the death you deserved to die.
Know Jesus today.
Second  
Now that you have the love of Jesus in you, you need to know your new identity in Him. Sure, you may understand it partly, but you never fully arrive. It is a daily renewal of your mind. Every time you are outside of your comfort zone, you must go back to your identity so you remember that you are safe in Christ. When you are persecuted, you must return to knowing God and His love for you so you can hold fast and stand firm in the battles (Ephesians 6:10–18).
Don’t know your new identity? Check it out HERE.
Your relationships will prosper. 
How have your relationships been strained because of your words? How will you restore those relationships?

Halal – Overwhelming God

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I had the most overwhelming experience last night as my daughter led worship for our Truth Group. Truth Group is our bi-monthly Bible Study – I love these ladies.

My daughter shared her heart and I got to witness an inner love for Jesus poured out for all to see. Then she shared about a word that means so much to her – Halal! It means praise God out of the inner most passion you have for Him. She taught us how to Halal and we ended up in a full-blown party – celebrating our awesome Father God.

I am honored God allowed me to be a part of this awesome night.  

I am confident God will complete the GOOD work he has begun in my girl!

Thank you Mabel Chang for teacher Spencer guitar, IHOP Awakening Teen Music Camp for growing her up in worship – allowing her to play and sing on the teen team and to Amy Niles for growing her confidence in singing and every other way. I am so blessed to have you mentor my daughter in ways that only one day we will see the full fruition of God’s work through these people and experiences. 

How have you seen God reveal His work in your children?

Love,
Sheri

I am Mad at God

I should never be mad at God
“I am mad at God.”
These are the words I said to my pastor 12 years ago.
I had just lost my aunt. She believed God would heal her.
 
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19
 
I wasn’t so sure I agreed with my Aunt. I wasn’t so sure that if two people agreed, that it would be done.
 
But she faithfully believed for a miracle.
 
She didn’t get it. 12 years ago, I lost my aunt. I was mad at God.
 
I told my pastor how disappointed and mad I was. He told me this, “It’s ok to be mad at God. People sometimes are. In Psalm 88, you can read about someone being mad about God in the Bible.”
 
I studied that chapter. I told God I was mad. I sought Him. I didn’t withdraw from Him.
 
Guess what? He showed me something…
 
I should never be mad at God. He is the giver of good and perfect gifts. He redeems my life from the pit. He loved me before I was lovable. He is for me and not against me. His heart was broken for me that I lost my aunt, but she was now with Him. She is safe, healed, whole and totally fine and waiting for me! She will be on my homecoming cheer team – I am sure.
 
When I told my pastor I was mad at God, this is what he should have said, “Sheri, if you are mad at God, you must not know how good He is. When you know Him, truly know Him, you won’t ever doubt His goodness. You need to seek to know Him more. He weeps with you. He is your comforter.”
 
We misplace our anger that should be for the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy and we place that anger on God. God is the one that came to bring LIFE and life to the FULL – and overflowing!
 
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
 
Have you been angry with God? 

 

 

Know by Their True Nature

know the true nature

There are two ways to know people: by their acts or by their nature.

You can know them because you are in relationship with them. You see their heart in action regularly. And because you do life with them, you know their true character; so much that when one thing seems out of whack, it doesn’t move you. You just know to pause and assume the best before making accusation because you know their nature.

This is the case in the best relationships.

This issue usually comes in marriage. If you don’t really know and trust his character however, you will nag him to death over every single missed act of love – because his true character hasn’t been proven to be trustworthy. You might even pull away and withdraw relationship from him because you are angry with his lack of action. We do this because we are immature in our ways, ladies.

Wives, we grow up when we know our husbands by their true nature. We stop nagging and making big deals out of small actions that are inconsistent with their nature – because we’ve become better. Instead of drawing away from our men because they fail, we draw near because we know their heart. Even though your husband may not pursue you (or whatever he lacks) like he once did before you were married, you know him intimately so you know that he’s into you anyway.

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
– Psalms 103:7

The Israelites knew God by his acts, but Moses knew God by His ways. The Israelites responded in fear resulting in working their own way out of their problems – which landed them in the wilderness until they died. To God, Moses responded by drawing closer to the Lord so that he could know Him better and follow his instructions well!

This is why Moses had so much stability and maturity even when things didn’t seem to be going well. The Israelites had none of those. They were flakey and back and tossed back and forth. They didn’t know God by his true nature; they knew him by his acts.

That can happen to us! If we only know God by his acts, we celebrate and love him when he comes through for us, but when it doesn’t come through for us, we doubt – is God really who he says he is?

We aren’t sure because our belief in God isn’t based on his character and true nature. Or beliefs are based on his works alone. This makes us unstable with the Lord. How can we live by faith if we are not sure of who God is? Is he for you or against you? Always doubting makes us volatile.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:6-8, 16-17

In every relationship, I don’t want to be moved by acts. I will know people well, assuming the best about their character and trust that God will work it out even when I am wrong.

I want to know my Father God by his true nature, not by his acts so that when I pray for a physical or financial miracle, but it doesn’t come immediately, I am not moved by the lack of action. Rather, I am steadfast because I know my God always comes through for me!

Assuming the Best

love assumes the best

I’m not sure where my filter was broken along the way on this road called life, but it was evident I had a problem.

One of my best friends, Amy, noticed this and gently shared a truth she lived by: always assume the best about others. 

She truly lived by it that if someone had ill motives toward her, she assumed the best about them and it made her a carrier of supernatural peace and joy!

From that single statement she made, changes my thought patterned and began to renew my mind!

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

 

Maybe you’re easily hurt or more suspicious of others than you should be.

Assume the best about the honking driver – maybe they’re sick and need to get to the toilet.

Assume the best about the child who just talked about to you – maybe it’s just a sign that they’re hurting and it has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Assume the best about your husband when he forgot to call because he got busy.

Assume the best about your friends when they’re too busy to hang out.

Assume that you’re loved.

Assume their motives are pure.

Assume that you’re not actually their problem.

Assume that you’re not the center of every issue.

When you don’t think everything is about you, you’ll be more accessible to love well and war for others!

It will make you more unoffendable, peaceful, joyful, and you may even appear a little naive to others but who cares!

I encourage you to change your mindset and assume the best about those around you.

Awaken Me

awaken me

Ever feel dead to the things of God? Or feeling Asleep? Distracted? Unaware of his plans for the day or your life?

I have. It’s seems His voice is so quiet I can barely hear it. This is my hearts cry. Is it yours?

Awaken me to your gentle voice.
Awaken me to your endless hope.
Awaken bravery for your glory.
Awaken bones to run after you.
Awaken my heart to hurt when you do.
Awaken my hands to carry your love.
Awaken my voice to speak only what you speak.
Awaken my mind to think only what you think.
Awaken my soul to surrender to your spirit of life.
Awaken me today Lord.

What happens when you’re praying for a miracle, and you don’t get it?

what happens when you_re praying for a miracle, and you don_t get it

There is not a day that there are not many prayer needs.

Did you know that the medical field is now the #1 business in our nation? People are sicker today than ever historically. We have huge opportunity to pray for the sick, but why are so many are too shy or scared to pray? Is it because:

  • You don’t know how to pray for the sick?
  • You think “What if they die?”
  • You have prayed before, and it didn’t work?
  • You are heartsick because you have lost someone you loved and needed?

First of all, I am so sorry if your heart is hurting because the people you loved are no longer here with you. I have experienced this pain.

In 2003, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. That was when I realized when I personally did not know God’s will. I did not know if it was his will to heal my mom or if it was her time to go. I sought God and his will like never did before. I read my bible round the clock, at the stop sign, waiting in parking lots. Every spare minute, my nose was in the word.

It was during that time that the Lord opened my eyes to John 10:10. It changed the entire direction of my life. “The thief came only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give life and life abundantly.” You see, up to that point, I thought sickness and disease were just a part of life. I didn’t realize that that was a thief. But Jesus came that we could have life and life abundantly. Cancer is not abundant life. Sickness—if you talk to any sick person—you will find out that it is not abundant life. I realized at that time that I didn’t know the difference between God’s fingerprints and the thief’s. Because of that, I wasn’t able to resist the thief’s fingerprints. I was fearful of sickness because I didn’t understand God’s purpose for me was to have an abundant life.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
-Proverbs 13:12

Still knowing this truth, I prayed for my mom night and day, but on February 6, 2006, I lost my mom. I was heartbroken. Did God not come through for my mom and me? Do I quit praying for others? How do I continue when the miracle didn’t come?

Most of us try to understand what happened? We come up with our own understanding and then with the best intentions share it with those who have lost have a deep loss, like it is somehow going to make it all better:

  • “It was just their time to go.”
  • “God needed them more than you do.”
  • “God just said, ‘No.’”
  • “God always takes the best. He gives and takes away.”
  • “In time, everything will be okay.”

None of this is helpful to a hurting soul.

But if this does not help, how then are we to respond?

Just do not try to make sense of it. We are not supposed to understand (Proverbs 3:5-6), but we are supposed to pray about everything so we can have the peace that is BETTER than understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). When we try to explain it, we put limits on God.

Stop trying to understand. Stop trying to explain why. You do not know or understand. In fact, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to not even lean on your own understanding. There is something better than understanding, and you can find it in Philippians 4:6-7. It’s the peace of God that guards your heart and your mind!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7

After we don’t see the miracle, many of us back off from praying because we feel inept. We wonder: “Does healing really work?” “Am I qualified to pray?” “Maybe I don’t have this gift.” When mom wasn’t healed, I felt unsure, and my questions caused me to stop praying for miracles for almost four months. It rocked my foundation because I was carrying the weight of the outcome. The burden was never mine to bear, but I did! Never allow your circumstances and own understanding to cause you to make up our own doctrine. The thief wants us to stop to shrink back, but all of God’s people should say, NO WAY – not today!

“But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him.”
– Hebrews 10:38

So what happens when you’re praying for a miracle, and you don’t get it?

Let’s say your father asks you to go fishing with him. Some of you are already cringing, but fishing isn’t about how many fish you catch, it’s about spending time with your dad. It’s like Father God has asked you to go on a mission trip with Him, and it’s not about how many souls you save or miracles you witness, it’s about doing it together.

Are you ready to join Him because He’s asked?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
– Mark 16:15-18

We are supposed to share the good news gospel. Does this mean that every time we do, but people aren’t saved that we just quit? By no means! We are also supposed to place their hands on sick people. It doesn’t say, “You make them well.” The weight of the outcome was never meant to be on your shoulders.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
– Phil. 3:14

 

Believing isn’t seeing—it’s continuing to believe even when we do not see.

Since the loss of my mom, I began to pray for everyone, everywhere in every way, believing and knowing that God is for us. He is not against us. He is for us, not against us. He came to bring life and life abundantly. I was convicted that instead of praying, “Lord, if you will,” “If you are willing,” or “If it agrees with your will,” I knew God’s will at that time. I knew for sure that it was God’s will to bring abundant life. I begin to pray with that expectation. I know the Lord is bringing abundant life.

I prayed with someone who had a broken toe and it was healed immediately. I got to witness it. I prayed with someone that had one leg shorter than the other and their leg is perfectly healed and whole now. I’ve seen the power of God bringing abundant life, bringing healing. But I have also not seen it. I came upon an accident where a pedestrian had been hit in the street. I pulled over, jumped out of my car, ran up to her, laid hands over her, and prayed over her. She didn’t get up. Nothing changed. I heard from the news that she lived a day and a half. I don’t know how my prayer impacted her or anyone on the scene or if it did at all.

But faith isn’t seeing. Faith is not knowing. Faith believes even when you do not see. Faith is following God and doing his will even when you do not see the results and believing the results are happening somewhere regardless of what happens. Some miracles I’ve seen immediately, and other miracles I’ve seen nothing happen. When I prayed over someone’s eyes recently, nothing changed. They were still blurry; the symptoms were still fully present. But if I say, “Well, it didn’t work. It must not be God’s will,” if I lose heart and give up hope and give up faith just because nothing happened, it would be going in complete opposition of what I know God’s will is which is to give life and life abundantly.

So I press forward, running towards the goal, continuing to pray and believe in every single thing that I pray about because I know the Lord. He is good. I know he is a good father. He desires healing and miracles to happen. When the miraculous occurs, a crowd gathers because they want to know, they want to have a part of the power. So you prayed, but didn’t get the miracle right away; don’t stop, just believe. Never stop believing in a God who sent his son to die so you could have abundant life.

Grandpa’s Promise

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When I was 23 years old, my grandpa told me I could have my grandma ray’s piano someday. He said, “If Harriett will let me, I will personally have it sent to you when you have a place big enough for it.”

I cannot tell you what it meant for my grandpa to even offer the piano. It’s not about the piano itself, it was about the statement he made when he offered it. I hadn’t been a big part of my dad’s family most of my childhood so I never really felt like part of the family. I spent my life feeling rejected and 2nd rate – dead last.

But this day, my grandpa’s words said to me – we love you. We value you. You are an equal and important part of my family! The fact that he would consider giving me such an awesome gift, I couldn’t hardly contain my tears! I pretty sobbed all the way back to Oklahoma that trip. I sobbed tears of acceptance!

I intentionally bought my house with enough room for the piano, but my GMA just couldn’t give it up. So I never got it.

They passed in 1998 & 2002. In 2002, my dad took the piano to his new home and it’s been with him ever since.

The initial joy of my grandpa’s offer had faded. The statement of what it meant was gone…to the point that I wasn’t even sure I wanted it anymore.

But today, 2013 (21 years later) my grandpa’s promise is coming to pass! The heart of my grandpa’s promise has reminded me of how valued I was to him. That kind of acceptance, love & extravagant gift is just a tiny example the restoration God has done in my life!

I sit here teary eyed (and most of you know I’m not a crier!). This old beautiful symbol of acceptance and my restoration is moving into my home.

And I’m thrilled!

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Revive Your Dreams: Living the dream

You are the pilot of your life!.png

“Where is the nose of your plane?” In order to keep your dream alive, you need to ask the same question continually: Are you gaining or losing altitude in your life?

You are the pilot of your life. You have the choice to bolt full throttle and pull up the nose of the plane. God is the engine, the power, and the glory in your life. Your job is to reach out and to trust in Him. Most of us, however, get confused. We presume we are the pilot and the power. That’s where things turn terribly wrong. This is where aspirations nose-dive out of control.

When you are making progress, it can be easy to become more focused on the work than on God. It’s tragic to let results get ahead of the relationship. To prevent that from happening, keep your finger on the pulse of your relationship with God. The enemy is out to kill, steal, and destroy you and create a barrier to living out your dream by making you results-focused rather than relationship-focused.

Although you are certainly the navigator of your future, you are not the engine behind your dreams. Your relationship with God is. It connects you to the heart of God so your life can be fueled continually by God’s power. God is the source making possible the desires of your heart. First Corinthians 8:3, “But the man who loves God is wisdom. Without the Word and communication with Him, you lack true wisdom. You are a plane without an engine. If you are not listening to and looking for His direction, how can God direct your steps? Absent God’s truth, the enemy will shoot down your hopes and purpose with discouraging lies, delays, or failure.

Relationships yield results. Results do not yield relationships. There is probably not a single success in your life that was not made possible through a key relationship. Every venture you pursue will reflect the key relationships in your life.

If your heart is filled with the knowledge of who God is and who you are in Christ, there is not a lie in this world or a potshot from the enemy that can bring you down. Keep the relationship engines tuned up and the nose of your life plane will continue to soar toward your accomplishing all God has for you.

 

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4

 

Revive Your Dreams: What is your comfort zone?

God is worthy of you taking a risk.png

Do you long to discover God’s miraculous power through your life? Jesus’s disciple Peter certainly experienced His crazy magnificent power! You can read about his amazing experience in Matthew 14. The disciples were on the boat when a storm came. The boat was taking a beating. The disciples were afraid.

Jesus came walking out to them on the water. Peter was the only one on the boat who asked Jesus if he could walk on the water. The other disciples probably presumed Peter was crazy! Their minds might have worried about what would happen to Peter when he stepped out of the boat. Will he sink? Will the waves take him under? Peter wasn’t considering any of those things. He was ready to walk on water! “Come,” Jesus declared. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29).

All the other disciples were fearfully clinging to a sinking ship. Being in the ship was probably their comfort zone. Although their ship was basically drowning, they decided to embrace what they knew. They held onto the familiar when it clearly led to destruction.  Their tightly clutched grip on the sinking boat caused them to miss out on the impressive miracle Peter experienced. Their rut kept them from experiencing a life-altering miracle!

How about you? What is your comfort zone?

Jesus tells us again and again not to be afraid. It’s time to dig deep and define what limits are holding you back from God’s dreams. You can’t move out of your comfort zone if you haven’t identified it.

Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. God can still work in your life. He will meet you where you are. But wouldn’t you rather step out in faith and do what He wants you to do? Stop focusing on what could fail and imagine what could succeed! Focus on Philippians 4:13, I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Nothing can stand in your way because God is for you!

Get outside your comfort zone because God is worthy of you taking a risk! God is worth it! He is worthy of all you have. He is worthy of the hard labor. Remembering this will keep you motivated.

Your view of God will be strengthened as you step outside your comfort zone to live by truth and faith!

 

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20