Tag Archives: bible

Dear Vanessa ~ A Messy Life


sun shining through clouds on the water

Dear Vanessa,

I don’t know if others feel this way, but sometimes when I look around, in this crazy world, I feel overwhelmed.   I see pain, I see illness, I see starvation, young children dying, and people broken.   I don’t understand it, how can a God that loves us allow such pain?  I am on my own journey of faith, and have questioned this for some time.   Does God love us?



Dearest Victoria,

The short answer to your question is YES!  God loves us so much that He gave His only son so that we would be saved.  As Jesus was on the cross He said,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

This statement from Jesus just takes my breath away.   In His last moments of human life, He asks our father to forgive.   After the people nailed Him to the cross.   Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

I am sure in those last moments of life, as God looked down on His son, and shed a tear.   Thinking about this moment as a mother who also has a son, I feel the pain and sadness of these last moments.

Jesus knew that through his death would come life and renewal for us all.  He knew that he would bridge the relationship with our Father in heaven and that we would be forgiven for our sins.

I am thankful for the forgiveness……

We all need forgiveness in this life…..

God loves us Victoria, He loves us so much that He gave His only son.

I too have wondered about the crazy pain in this world; I think many of us have.

God allows us to have free will in this world, but through Jesus we are set free.

Hebrews 10:36-39
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

There is pain in this world, but there is so much hope.

God always uses these situations for good, He brings hope in the pain, and light in darkness.

He does not make the bad things happen in this world; bad and evil are not part of Gods will.   God is love.  In the situations where there is pain or disaster God will bring goodness, understanding, hope and love.

He brings light…..

He has shown me so much amazing kindness in this life, and as I look back in time I know He was carrying me.    There have been times where I have thought “Why Lord, why is this happening?”

But we don’t know what we don’t know…..

We cannot see the picture or plan completely, only He knows.  

Perhaps through the pain comes healing of many, maybe relationships get stronger, maybe the pain causes others to come together in faith?

This much I do know, in my pain and through the biggest struggles, He has brought me so many gifts.  He has given me perspective, has brought me so many to love, and has healed me beyond words.    He has given me inner healing and a sense of peace.

Psalm 6:6-9

I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.

He hears our prayers and knows exactly where the pain is.   His healing may not be in our time, or in the way that we believe it should be, but He hears and He heals.   He loves us beyond comprehension.

When I see pain now, I look for Gods hand in the pain.

A child is hungry – people reach out to help.

A family member passes away – families who have been broken come together to heal.

A child of God is injured physically – the time allows the child to heal and rest in soul and body.

A natural disaster happens – communities come together to rebuild, love, encouragement and perspectives are changed.

People learn reliance In and Through HIM.

It is all in the perspective my friend, perspective is everything.

May I trust in You, Lord, and do good;

May I dwell in the land and feed from Your faithfulness.

When I delight myself in You,

You will give me the desires of my heart.

I will commit my way to You and trust in You,

And you will bring it to pass.

You will bring forth my righteousness like the light,

And my justice like the noonday.

May I rest in You and wait patiently for You;

I will not fret because of those who prosper in their way,

Because of those who practice evil schemes. (Psalm 37:3-7)

Victoria, come to Him and rest your mind my friend.  He is there through the storms in this life, He is the light that shines through the darkness.

Dear Lord God,

I pray for understanding in the pain for all of those that know you and those that do not.   I pray for your healing in the pain, physically, spiritually, emotionally.   We are broken Lord, and live a messy life.   I pray for you to show us rest.   I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also visit her personal blog page at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

Dear Vanessa ~ Getting caught up in gossip



Dear Vanessa,

I am struggling recently with coffee-room gossip. I want so badly to be an example to my coworkers by not “joining in” on talking about others but I find it so hard. My question for you is what is the right way to deal with personality frustrations without gossiping and remaining a good Christian example in the work place?



Dearest Lexi,

This is something many struggle with, you are not alone.   Most of us have either been a victim or participant at some point in our lives.

Also, you need to give yourself some credit as you have identified you want to be part of the solution rather the problem - this is one step ahead!

The bible speaks clearly to gossip, lies, and whispering:

Proverbs 16:28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

A whisperer separates close friends.   Talking about others when they are not around or cannot hear will cause strife in a relationship.

Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

He who is trustworthy in the spirit keeps a thing covered; meaning one does not reveal secrets.

Proverbs 26:20-22 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

Adding wood to a fire; the more one gossips the bigger the problem gets.

Psalms 41:7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.

When gossiping about an individual, assumptions are made.  One should never assume.

You obviously have guilt about being part of this, and are frustrated with the way people are behaving.  It is important that we do not judge, but in all things try our best to lead by example.   This is key in curbing this kind of behavior.   Jesus lead by example and we are to follow that example in all that we do.  This can be difficult at times, we stumble, but God forgives – He loves us and wants to pick us up.

Philippians 4:9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 3:17  Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

I have struggled with this myself at times, especially when beginning a new job or joining a new group of people.   But integrity is core to my value system, and honesty….   In these circumstances, I have assessed the group and if the individuals are open to my opinion, I will be honest with them about the behavior.  I have also tried to provide a different perspective – opposite to theirs.

For instance, let me give you an example, one of my friends says, “Look at Sally, the clothes she wears are so dated, and her hair….”  I would then respond and say, “What if Sally doesn’t have the money to adjust her wardrobe or hair?  What if her money goes to charity instead of the clothing she wears?  We do not know her circumstance so should not judge.”

God does not want us to conform to this behavior; He wants us to rise above.  Rise above and lead by example.

While this works for me, it may not work for you or others that are uncomfortable with challenging the perception.  I have a few other suggestions that may help:

  • Remove yourself from the group that is gossiping. 
  • Adjust the topic to something else.
  • If you have been a victim of this behavior in the past, provide your perspective to the group that is gossiping on how you felt about the situation.
  • Finally, and most importantly, if you have fallen into this habit or are finding difficulty with the situation, pray and ask God for guidance.  He will direct your paths.

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

Lexi, we lead through our actions.  It is so amazing when we take a leap of faith and step out of our comfort zone.  It has ripple effects, like a drop in the water.  

Dear Lord God,

I ask that Your voice is what others hear when engaging in conversation.  I ask that You lead individuals down the right path when interacting with others.  I pray that you give individuals like Lexi the strength to rise above.  We know that through our actions others will follow, I pray that our actions exemplify You in all things.  I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also visit her personal blog page at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

She Weeps!


 a beautiful life marketplace   

I have another painting for you today ~ simply because, to my chagrin, I simply did not get the project finished that I have been working on.(next week!) This is a watercolor that I painted back when I was just developing my love for Jesus. Music has always been a huge part of my life and an inspiration for me. I realized when I sat down to write this that….I already did! This is actually a re-post of a sort, from back when I first started this blog.

This painting has, for me, been a symbol of my transition from lies of the world into truth and was inspired by a verse from “Revelation Song” which is what this post was about!  So, here is the picture and the re-post.  If you have never heard the song, there is a link at the end to watch it on you tube. It is beautiful and worshipful and I think you will love it as much as I do! 

(~we are also continuing, for the month of May, all sales from our etsy shop will go to benefit a dear friend with breast cancer, to help her with the medical expenses of and upcoming treatment.  Thank you for all of your prayers for her and her family! Katherine, we love you!)


“She Weeps”  by lisa evola


The Book of Revelation is without a doubt, my favorite book in the bible.  I love the imagery that is used and the best part:  We Win!  The artist in me wants to paint it all, all of the colors, all of the creatures, all of Jesus!  Everything about it draws me in.  One of my most favorite songs that we sing in worship on Sunday is Revelation Song. It reflects some of the very best parts of that book, and never fails to make me cry (not hard to do if you know me at all!)  But truly, it is a beautiful song with beautiful words and I imagine that these are words we will all be singing one day to the

   King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!



Revelation Song

Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slain


Revelation 5:11-12 ~ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ”Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven’s Mercy Seat
[Repeat 2x]

Revelation 5:13 ~ Then I heard every creature on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them singing:  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You…!

Revelation 4:8 ~ Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:  “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King,

Revelation 4:10-11 ~ The twenty-four elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,”

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore You!


Revelation 11:16-17 ~ And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.”

Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery


Revelation 1:17 ~ When I saw him, I fell at his feer as though dead.  Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living one; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!”

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore You!


Revelation 19:16 ~ On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

                            KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come,
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore YOU…

if you  would like to hear the song, click the link below!

dear vanessa ~ death and fear


Fear is a very destructive force in our world and can reek havoc on our lives, our relationships and our very beings. Vanessa addresses an important aspect of conquering this; by filling the darkness with light.

Dear Vanessa,

My son has been stricken with fear and panic attacks since Christmas. He’s terrified he’s going to die or someone will kill him. It all started after the school massacre/shooting in Newton, Connecticut, right before Christmas. We shielded him the best we could from the news, but of course they talked about it in school and his friends were also talking about it. My husband and I have hit a brick wall. How do you tell a 9 year old that “yes, there are bad people out there, who do bad things, but you can’t let fear take over and keep you from living and doing what you enjoy doing everyday”?  I have had extreme anxiety in my life as well, and I feel for him, I don’t want this to paralyze him.  Do you have any advice here?

Sincerely concerned parent,


Dearest Charlene,

Have you spoken with your child about heaven?   I remember as a child I was so scared of dying, I would pray every night for our house not to start on fire.   I don’t think my parents knew…  I cannot even remember where the fear and anxiety came from.  But you know, maybe you can give him a picture of heaven for him to understand.   It is often difficult to bring the images of heaven down to a childlike level.  

This place of heaven is designed for us; I imagine that it is full of light, love and warmth.   Because I had this fear of death, I wanted my children to understand death is not the end, but the beginning.  It has taken me a good portion of my adult life to understand the concept of death, and to let go of the fear.    Something to keep in mind Charlene, is that God smiles on us when we let go of the fear.  

When I hug my baby boys (yes I still call them babies now 5 and 8) I have an overwhelming feeling of peace and love.   My children feel the same too; a parent’s hug warms the heart and soul from the inside out.   One night I said to my boys that heaven is like the same feeling of a hug multiplied by a million.  They were in awe, and said “really mom? Is it that good?”  I replied by saying, “It is better than that, beyond our understanding. It is a place where all we feel is love.”  I then went onto explain that Lions are our friends, that there are rainbows and colors beyond our comprehension, and heaven is a place where faith, hope and love are one.  

In bridging my understanding I have read a couple of books (which have calmed my soul):

  • Heaven is for real http://heavenisforreal.net/  - a book about a young boy visits heaven and comes back.  This website has some interesting resources, and if you look online – there is an interview with the boy.  This might be a good starting point as well.

  • To heaven and back by Mary C. Neal   - interesting account from a physician’s perspective

Charlene, you have a lot going for you, the fact that you suffered from anxiety reveals that you have experienced this but have grown beyond.   Deep down I can tell that your fear is that your child will not be able to cope with this, but who is better than you to enable your son in dealing with this anxiety or fear?  How have you coped?  What strategies have you put in place to deal with your anxiety or fear?  

What you need to concentrate on is that God loves you and your child.  He is here to protect you.  Sometimes bad things happen, but good always comes out of it.   In this case, it is a learning opportunity for both of you, which will bring you closer.   The root of dealing with this is bringing a new level of understanding for your young child.  Speak his language… Get him to write down his fears – give him a few magazines and show him how to put together a collage of it all.  That way you will be able to see exactly as he is seeing the fear, and this exercise will also help you navigate through the discussion.

Fear is something that the devil feeds upon, so bring your anxiety to God, and he will help you through it.  

A few things I want to leave you with:

  • God is good, He is here for us to present our worries to Him, He will help us through, He is infinite. 

Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares about you.  (1 Peter 5:7)


  • You love your son, just as God loves you.  In all things where love is present; evil cannot exist.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

  • Finally, remember the evil one is always lurking, waiting to prey upon our minds, souls and bodies.   I have practiced prayer in the morning, and throughout my day, to help ward off his attempts to control me.

                Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

You are a mother that loves her son, and you can help him through this little bump.   Prayers for you beautiful lady.

Dear Lord God, I ask that you bless all of the parents and families dealing with uncertainty in this world.  Bring them peace, understanding and discernment in the uncertainty, so that we can enable our children to walk in your ways.  I ask this in Jesus’ Name.  Amen


A Father’s Love (part 3) ~ Worry and Fear



“Do not be afraid, for I am with you” Gen.26:24

Fear is the #1 evil spirit that affects our lives. The specific command to not be afraid appears in the bible 9 times, and “do not fear”, another 5. Jesus tells us in Luke 12:5 that the only fear that we should have is of “him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Do you know why we have been commanded not to fear? It is because fear is an extremely destructive spirit, which seeks to destroy us and make us into its image instead of God’s image.

Science has proven that when an extremely tense situation happens in our lives and we need to react quickly, there are certain metabolic responses that happen within our brains and glands(chemicals that are released), that allows our bodies to deal with the immediate danger and do what is needed to survive or deal with that situation. This is a fear response and is normal and expected. But when we have constant fear in our lives, there is a perpetual drip, drip, drip of these chemicals keeping our bodies in a continual state of action and reaction. The long term effects of this constant state of non-peace causes blood cells, and consequently all cells, to form rigid membranes around them (like a callous), in response to this constant affront. This in turn can cause all sort of problems such as nutrients not being able to be absorbed, or the toxins that our blood is responsible for filtering out the body are not released as they should be. This is when sickness and disease is allowed to take over.

You may think that you are not afraid because you don’t have any distinguishable fears that come to mind, but the enemy is very sneaky. Do you experience any of these things in your life?

  • ·        Chronic headaches
  • ·        Worry about your job; like if you will have one tomorrow or some other aspect of the job and your responsibilities within it.
  • ·        Concern about your children’s future, where will they go to college, will they be able to get a job, they haven’t called – are they okay?
  • ·        Stress about how you will pay the mortgage. Stress comes from how we accept fear as just a part of living ~ The American Way!
  • ·        Dread about visiting a family member who pushes your buttons.
  • ·        Lack of confidence about something that you need to do, or that God has asked you to do. God wouldn’t ask if He didn’t know that you could do it!
  • ·        Fear of the food you eat, that it contains harmful things. Read Mark 16:18
  • ·        Concern that your kids look perfect for church; basing your self-worth on them and not where it belongs – in who you are in God.

These things in our lives are so common that we don’t recognize them for what they are…sin. The enemy disguises itself as something that we perceive as common and normal, but God did not make us to be in perpetual fear. 1 Peter 5:7 says this: “cast all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”  Fear keeps us thinking inward instead of looking to God for our care. Remember: perfect love casts out fear. And God is the only one capable of perfect love.

We must remember who we were created to be and focus on the one who can sustain us instead of the world that threatens to tear us down.


Here are a few things that we can do to combat the evil one when fear rears its ugly head:

  1. 1.     Recognize – first we need to recognize it for what it is….sin, and then also where it comes from…the evil one. “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

  2. 2.     Responsibility – Once you see an area that you are wrong, take responsibility for the problem and then repent. Let God know that you are sorry for participating in something that you now recognize as sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. `1John 1:9

  3. 3.     Renounce and remove – the thing that you now recognize as sin must now be viewed as your enemy and removed. This is the action that must take place…we must actively get rid of our enemy. “…and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” 1 Corinthians 10:20b

  4. 4.      Resist and rejoice – Once you have removed your fear, resist the desire to entertain it again. God will help you if you ask….then rejoice and give thanks that you have been set free. Even if you have not seen the change yet, rejoice in the faith that it will come to pass. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 

The effects of fear in our lives can be very real, and cause real problems. I say flee….flee from the desires of the enemy and only entertain things of God. Then we will live in righteousness and splendor! Peace is the goal…let us aim for the winning side!

Next Monday: An Unloving Spirit

My Prayer: Lord I pray that I may recognize that spirit of fear in my life and take steps to banish it. Give me the strength I need to be who you desire me to be and not who the enemy would like me to become. I wish to not live in fear any longer but only in love.  In Jesus’ great name.

Reflect His Light!


bible study tuesday: Genesis ~ Are we alone?


Bible Study Tuesday

gen picI would like to undertake an in-depth study of the book of Genesis….well, the first chapter anyway and we can decide where to go from there.  Anyone who knows me knows that long term projects aren’t my forte, but I think that this is so ultimately important that we are going to get started on it and see where it goes.

Now when I ask the question “are we alone”, I am not talking about alien encounters.

I think everyone generally accepts that Satan exists and he has a body of followers called spirits or demons that seek to bring evil into the world…yes? I heard a message some time ago that got me thinking.  This brief sentence rocked my world and engaged my curiosity to the point that I could think of nothing else. The sentence was, “I’ll bet you didn’t know that there was a world that existed before this one, right here on earth” And this was coming from a pastor. Needless to say, I had to know what he was talking about. He said all of the evidence was right there in scripture if we just would read it literally and choose to accept it. I started to explore genesis and I have to admit that I still did not see it, until I went to the “get whole” class and this very subject was discussed.

Too often we read through the bible, just skipping the things that we don’t understand, which for most of us is, like….all of it! Or we will try to make sense of a concept based on our own human understanding.  I don’t believe that this is how we are supposed to do this. If the bible is the word of God, I would think that He would write it in terms that could be proven and researched, or understood, not in some vague, poetic form that would leave too much to be interpreted by anyone who wanted to…Godly or otherwise. He would want us to be able to discover His truths.  So, I also believe that it is our duty, if we really want to know what we are here for and what God wants from us and for us, to do what we can to discern its meaning.

So I embarked on a path to figure out exactly what this pastor was talking about. I read and reread Genesis 1 and honestly I didn’t see anything there that I hadn’t seen before.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless beginningsand empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2

Let’s stop here for a minute…I think that “in the beginning” is pretty self-explanatory…before there was anything else but God, He “created the heavens and the earth”. Do you notice the plural use of heaven? This implies that there is more than one. Keep that thought on the back burner for now though….it would be confusing to discuss that here. The next part of the verse says this: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep”… stop. The word we are going to look at here is was. “Was” in Strong’s bible concordance is number 1960 (Hebrew) in case you would like to look it up- it was not easy to find….for me anyway! It says this: to fall out, come to pass, become. So if we replace the word was in the verse it now says: Now the earth became formless and empty. Looking at this logically, it tells us that the earth was not formless and empty before. Before what? Before God created Adam and Eve, because that comes later in the next chapter of Genesis.

Does this rock your world? It did mine! Truly I am not making this up or twisting words. It’s in the bible if you choose to see it. Proverbs 3:5 says this: “trust the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.” 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “study to show yourself approved unto God…rightly dividing the word of truth.” –We are to discern the truth from what God has given us…His word.  It is all there right from His mouth. We just have to see it and discern the truth.

All that I am saying is that something was here before us. If you think about it, this would explain tons. God created the heavens and the earth, something happened and then the earth became formless.

Right after the word was, is “formless and empty”, or if you read the King James version it is “without form and void.”

Formless is; confusion, unreality, emptiness – or chaos. Void also describes emptiness or a wasteland. So, the world became a barren wasteland, giving the impression that there was a time when it was not that way.

I think that is enough to chew on for today, check it out, think it over…choose to see it or not, it’s up to you. If you would like to continue with me along this path, tune in next bible study Tuesday.


Next Tuesday: we will continue with this line of thinking, but here are a couple of other verses from the bible that can support what we are talking about today:

Jeremiah 4:23-26 and 2 Peter 3:5-7. Don’t just look on the surface of what they say, look at each word and concept that it presents and try to see what the possible implications could be.  And absolutely do not read the commentary section if you have a study bible, it will just close your mind to the possibilities. Hint: in Jeremiah, the heavens saw no light in his vision. In 2 Peter look at the word perished and to what it is referring.


My Prayer:

Lord, open my heart and my eyes to see the glory of your words and the life that they can bring to my soul. I pray that you will help me to discern the truth regardless of what my lifelong training has told me, so that I will not be influenced by preconceived ideas and the forces that could have put them there. I wish only to know Your truth as it has been given to me through your word, your good and perfect word.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

A Lenten Fast


Lent is a time to remember. To remember how Jesus lived and how He died, why He came and what that means for us as a body of believers; as His bride.

 fAsting pic

Fasting as a spiritual discipline has lost its popularity and practice over the years, but is founded in  biblical teachings as far back as the beginning of the Old Testament. Prophets of old used this practice to further develop their relationship with their creator and to experience profound transformation through humbling themselves before God and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal their true spiritual condition.

This opportunity is available to us too, as believers, through the practice of fasting. When implementing this discipline, prayers have been answered as well as questions of the spirit through the repentant heart of the fast-er, and lives have been changed.

Over time, we have become a self-obsessed people, dispelling the notion that we should ever deprive ourselves of anything we desire including food, entertainment, clothing or the latest technology. Our “gimme” society is so accustomed to having it all; that the notion of doing without is the farthest thing from our minds… it is time to change that.

Have you asked yourself what is keeping you from a deeper relationship with God? Possibly, there is a part of your life that you have worked to reform, with little success, a habit that you can’t seem to let go of, or a discipline that you have tried to learn but continually seems to escape you. Discouragement can be devastating to your resolve and your strength wanes with each moment of perceived failure. Fasting done as a spiritual discipline could be your answer.

The practice of fasting separates you from an inner desire, denying the body of what connects it to the world and therefore separates you from your father. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

There are a lot of action words in that sentence. Not only are we to pray, repent and look for God, but also humble ourselves. How do we do that?

King David humbled himself through fasting (Psalms 35:13); Moses fasted at least twice for 40 days each as did Jesus and He then instructed His followers, “but when plateyou fast, put oil on your heads and wash your face.” You notice that He said when not if. In Jewish culture, fasting was expected along with prayer, especially when a reformation of the people was needed. The people would dress in sackcloth, put ashes on their heads and fast until their situation was changed. This action showed God a humble heart, the sorrow of the people and a desire to change. We are still living in biblical times(we have not yet experienced the second coming)…fasting, therefore, is still necessary and expected. Change can happen with the right heart and the right petition.

Fasting today can have the same effect for change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in the same way. The point is to deny yourself…make a sacrifice. There are numerous ways that this can be accomplished.

  • ·         a partial fast (like the Daniel Fast, or from a meal 1-2 times a week, possibly just a dessert or treat that you like)

  • ·         A full food fast (water only – check with your doctor before doing this please and only undertake this if you know that it is the will of God)

  • ·         a media fast (facebook, twitter, computer activities, phone texting)

  • ·         an entertainment fast (movies, tv, video games)

  • ·         a  music fast (from secular music primarily)

These are the things that, today, separate us from having a more intimate relationship with our Father. They are worldly influences that threaten to replace God in our hearts and time,

I think that it would be valuable for most people to experience all of these options as the majority of us today indulge in most of these activities, and spending a period of time in denial of them, will be beneficial in discovering which truly present a problem for us. We all have different trouble areas, and some could be problematic and we aren’t even aware of it.

I propose that during the 40 days of lent (that is Monday through Saturday, Sunday being your day of rest from the fast) we devote ourselves to (4) 10-day periods, fasting from a different aspect of worldliness each period, and placing that concentration on God himself. The results could be astounding, life altering even. God desires this, but it is up to us to take the first step.

I have been doing some research lately, on this subject and would love to have you participate if you are willing. If you would like to participate in the research, I have a link below for you to follow to download a 40 day guide to journal in while fasting your way through lent. At the end of your fast, if you could simply email the journals back to me so that I can review the results for an upcoming book on media fasting, I would be very grateful. If you do not wish to share your journals, I understand and would love for you to participate anyway. Feel free to download the journal for your personal use.  Consider sending me a simple message about how your fast went and how it enriched your relationship with God. Also, I welcome comments or suggestions about the fast itself.

Regardless of how you decide to spend your Lenten time, I pray that it includes thoughts of our Savior and leads to a deeper and more spiritual relationship with Him.

Reflect His Light!


Download The Fasting Journal ~ fasting journal 2013

Life’s Blood ~ Part 3


“When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”  

 Daniel 12:7b

At the end of the book of Daniel, he is given a vision of many things including things that have not yet come to pass. In the above passage, Daniel sees a man clothed in linen, hovering above the waters with his hands raised towards heaven, swearing by Him who lives forever. No reference is made as to who this man in linen is but the point to understand here is that God’s will, will be done, when our power has been finally broken. If we look back on history we see that many times over this has happened. Persecution of God’s people, near destruction of the remnant…our power seems to be crushed over and over again.

God has a recurring purpose here, and that is to break the pride and self-sufficiency of his rebellious people.

We are not just talking about the Israelites here.  We are His people, His rebellious people. Many times we don’t see it, but when we worry about losing our job, we are telling God that we don’t trust His provision. When we pass judgment on someone who wronged us and harbor hate in our hearts, we become judge and jury instead of trusting in God’s perfect timing for retribution or judgment of the sins of man.  We don’t look to God anymore to improve our situations, we don’t count on Him for the things that we need, we don’t ask for His guidance in decisions we need to make, we just make them ourselves.  Self-sufficiency. Then we wonder why we experience trials and tribulations, when we should be wondering when we stopped trusting in our Father.

Growing up we placed our very lives in the hands of our parents, the ones we knew loved us. We trusted that they would feed us, clothe us, provide love and security and we never doubted their sovereignty over our lives. This is what God wants…to love us and provide for us, to be our “go-to” guide and to be the sovereign Lord of our lives. But somewhere in our rebellious teenage years, we started to think that we were all grown up and didn’t need our parents anymore, that we could make all the decisions and provide all that was necessary for our happiness and security. Just as a loving parent lets their child experience independence, God lets us decide for ourselves whether we need Him or not, if we want to trust Him or not. Sometimes we take enough rope and hang ourselves with it, causing troubles in our lives that sometimes could have been avoided if we had only listened and obeyed.

Self-sufficiency, relying on our own power and capabilities to navigate through this life, is something that we all are guilty of, and also something that we are all capable of giving up.  Prayer and petition and reliance on our Father doesn’t make us weak. Jesus relied on the Father for everything; I doubt anyone would call Him weak.  Many other biblical giants trusted in God’s provisions, and while they may have faced trials and adversities, they ultimately had the favor of God and they lived a fruitful life.

The second step in our journey to our Life’s Blood is to relinquish our control; give it to God. Self-denial is a good place to start. This would mean giving up our desires for God’s. How do we do this? Biblically speaking, many of God’s people achieved this by fasting; denying themselves what their bodies craved.

We are leading into the Lenten season on Wednesday which is a perfect time to enter into a period of self-denial or self-sacrifice. Tomorrow (fat Tuesday) I will present a lesson on fasting. This is not just a fasting of food, but much more, it is a fasting of the mind and of what is replacing God in our lives. There will be a downloadable booklet for you to use to track your fast which will be broken down into (4) 10-day periods, concentrating on different aspects of secular concentrations that are not of God. This should make the experience more manageable and hopefully lead to a closer understanding of the things that separate us from the Father.

Tomorrow: A 40-day Fast

My Prayer: Lord guide me in your will for this coming Lenten season, I wish to honor you and your sacrifice with my desire to give up my self-sufficiency. In Jesus’ great name I pray.

Reflect His Light!


Life’s Blood ~ Part 2


marrowIn my last post on Monday, we talked about the marrow (the center of our bones) being the very life source of our body. The marrow is where our blood is made and is directly responsible for feeding the systems in our body that regenerate and heal…this is how God made us.  This is how he intended our bodies to remain healthy….interesting how the marrow is the very center of the bone which are throughout our entire bodies….Marrow is the life source as is God….Am I the only one who is seeing a correlation here?  Marrow needs to be in its proper place and in proper working order to do what it was intended to do…God also needs to be in His proper place in our life, working in His perfect way, in order for us to have the life that He intended….that He planned for us, before we were even born. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

In order for us to have this life we have to accept it.

This can be easy, and difficult.gift

We simply have to reach out and open the gift from God ~ Jesus. Believe and accept him as Savior and Lord over our lives…this is where it gets difficult. Contrary to what you hear….it isn’t about just believing…even Satan believes that Jesus is who he says he is. There is a call to action here; a call to have a changed life and a new heart. This can be a daunting task if you really think about it, but Jesus is willing to help…if we simply ask.

Here are some practical steps to get you started:

  1. Accept Jesus (if you haven’t already) for who He is and what He has done for you…made Himself a sacrifice to God for you…in replacement of you. This is central.  Even if you have belonged to a church your whole life, it doesn’t mean that you have accepted His gift. I know many who have been leaders in their churches, but only recently truly accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation. Search your heart and ask God to reveal what is truly there.  And then when you hear His voice ~ Listen!  Don’t ignore His prodding to make a change, or to move forward. This is your chance to have the life that God intended. If you need help in this process go to this link and receive guidance: Do You Know Him?
  2. Commit to making God the center of your life. Ask for His guidance every step of the way. If you ask Him, He will guide you, but you need to recognize His voice in your life. This can be as simple as an impression on your heart – one that wouldn’t normally be there if you hadn’t asked for help. Or it could be a person or situation that presents itself to you that fills the need that you are having, or answers your question. The more you ask and are thankful for the guidance He provides, the more you will receive.
  3. Set up a Bible reading or Bible study plan. This can be hard if you are not a reader, but you don’t have to sit down and read the entire bible from cover to cover. I have read entire books of the bible, in order at times, but generally speaking, I just flip open to a page….any page….and low and behold there is always a lesson there for me. God will speak to you if you are listening. I use a life application study bible (NIV) which is helpful because the language is easier to understand and the commentaries below the scripture make it real for me and help me to apply its lesson. Choose a version that is easy for you to ingest so that you can take its message to heart. We need to have all the information available to us in order to
  4. Know the Lord. Know who Jesus is…not just who but how and what and where and when. Evaluate the way he acted, treated people, went about His day, and the things He said. We are called to be the image of God…to know the Father we must look at the Son, and if we look at the Son, we will know the Father. Jesus was an exact representation of His Father. And this is what we should be working towards. Jesus came also to be an example of right living ~ God’s way!

This is actually just the beginning steps towards your life’s blood. These 4 things are necessary before we can even start to make changes to the rest of your life.  If you don’t have this first, the rest won’t mean what it should and you will find yourself on the roller coaster ride of life, unable to keep things in check and worldly values begin to sound better to you. You have to keep yourself rooted in who God is, and why He is.

Monday: The next step….

My Prayer:  Lord, Reveal to me today what is truly within me so that I can make the changes that I need to make in order to have your greatest blessings. Show me who You are and reveal to me your plan for who You want me to be. Not my will but yours be done. Jesus be my center and lead me to a healthy marrow. In your great name only!

Reflect His Light!




Intentionally Chosen Words


unglued~ In the fifth session of our “UNGLUED” bible study, we are asked to consider what we want to be remembered by when we leave this world. What about your life, your accomplishments, do you want to be the lingering impression, the lingering words that define you and what you are about.

It’s easy to be self-condemning in the way we view who we are, based upon our reactions to external content. The problem with this is that we tend to think that God views us that way as well. A self-condemning attitude can easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. “I did _________so I must be_______, and will always be….I’ll never change.” When we tell ourselves that we are failures, we will be. If we label ourselves with terms like angry, or screamer, or control-freak, it is likely that, over time, we will not make the needed adjustments or improvements that need to be made, and can confine ourselves to that distinction.

We read about bible heroes and heroines and assume that they did it all right because God called them “mighty”, or a “friend of God”.  But that is not true, these biblical examples of God’s beloved, are human, they had human tendencies and human failures, just like you and I. So why did God call them friends? Because He knew that their failures were only a small imperfect part of them. God saw the bigger picture. And these biblical giants chose to see what God saw. They set their focus on Jesus and asked for needed help, an adjustment in their understanding of themselves.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Joseph: “ The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (Gen 39:23)
  • David: “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart’” (Acts 13:22)
  • Abraham: Friend of God (James 2:23)
  • Gideon: Mighty warrior (Judges 6:12)
  • Joshua: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)

These are all great examples of humans with a heart for God; humans with faults, but a prayerful, joyful and thankful outlook.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to…Be JoyfulBe PrayerfulBe Thankful. This, I believe, is God’s vision for us all. If only we could let these words define us, define our lives. Placing our focus on this aspect of ourselves can create lingering words, lingering views of who we are in God, and allow us to fulfill our callings. We need to intentionally write godly words into the script of our lives; live intentionally with intentionally chosen words.

My Prayer:

Lord, show me who I am in you, who you see me to be. Help me to be joyful, prayerful and thankful, even when my circumstances don’t want me to be that way. I don’t want to feel justified in the ways I react, I only want to be righteous in the right choices that honor you daily. Help me to remember who I am; your son/daughter, and let that guide my steps. Today I only want to live life giving words, words that will bring me closer to you and define who you see me to be. Be my word.

Reflect the Light!


~If you have not yet joined this bible study, please do! There is SO much more to learn than what I am posting here. If you would like to get the UNGLUED bible study material, visit www.proverbs31.org