Featured

Sun and Shield

Photo by Sachin C Nair on Pexels.com

Psalm 84:11 NLT
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Are you feeling unsettled? Are you wondering if there is a God? Are you wondering if He hears your prayers, moments of despair, or your requests? We all have days, maybe weeks or years of questioning? Does He see me?

Sometimes our requests are answered quickly, sometimes it feels like silence and no answers and sometimes it’s “my child, I love you and wait”!

I am learning God can be working behind the scenes and in my hurry to a conclusion I am sooooo impatient. Isn’t self control a fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5 is a gold mine of instruction.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT
[22] But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. [25] Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. [26] Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

If you aren’t feeling God answering your prayers, maybe what you think is for you is not a good thing.

He would never withold His best from you. Maybe His timing is not now or ever. He can be trusted. Remember He knows the number of your days and holds you in the palm of His hand.

Psalm 139:16-18 NLT
[16] You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. [17] How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! [18] I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT
[15] “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! [16] See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.

I have been feeling the need for the Word of God intensify. His words are nuggets of gold. They are not just words on a page but wisdom from above. It doesn’t matter if you were born in times past or present.

I used to think the Bible was filled with stories unrelateable but the more I read and meditate on His Word, the more I see our human nature doesn’t change very much over generations. Sadly, we are a mess without our Savior.

The human race tends toward its own sin nature: selfishness, wanting our own way, pride, jealousy, survival of the fittest, and me me me. I see these traits in myself and I cringe.

This mindset causes conflict leading to unrest, leading to fear, anxiety, depression and maybe war.

Look at the state of our world, our state, our community, maybe even our homes at times. We can be the bearer of unrest and conflict or choose,instead, to be a person who speaks life, pauses to bring words of affirmation, sprinkled with discipline in love, forgiveness and prayer over destructive communication.

It always boils down to choice. I choose peace not victimhood. Love in truth over fear and avoidance.

When I have spoken in fear or anger, I am learning to repent and turn back to Gods ways. It isn’t easy to break habits but it must be done. I must cast aside sins to break generational cycles.

Cast all cares upon Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 4

What about you? Be the voice in the wilderness filtering your speech after mediating on the word of God. His love is unfailing, He is our strength.

Psalm 117: 1 – 2 1 Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. 2 For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!

You are a Warrior!!!

We are living in times that require us to rise up in praise. We may be short, tall, slender, athletic, a little meaty ( that’s me) or any other shape. But we are called to stand side by side and be a Warrior. When we fall down, we are called to get stronger. The only way to get stronger is to hold onto our Creator God.

We are called to use our voice to speak truth, to pray for wisdom from God and to move into action by encouraging others and to lift up our voice in song..

I have loved the music artist, Hannah Kerr, since I saw her at Red Rocks; a beautiful outside red rock staired and seated venue outside of Denver. As the moon shone down upon the red rocks, I saw Hannah take the stage. This was her song, ” Warrior” is so powerful. It is an anthem. Its message reminds us we have the ability to stand even if we feel weak because we are strengthened by God.

If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, and worn out. Hold onto your faith. Praise is a way to actively speak truth. Even if you don’t feel strong initially, keep raising your voice. Even if you feel you cant sing well, lift up a joyful noise. In time, you will feel empowered to be Him-powered. Sing for Him!!

Enjoy this song, ” Warrior”, by Hannah Kerr. Thank you Hannah for singing out truth.

Road less traveled

Jeep travels by Mary Mesikapp
Psalm 25: 4 - 10   

4 Show me the right path, 
O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  

5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Occasionally, our family travels into the mountains on 4 x 4 Jeep trails. This time in nature reminds me to consider the road less travelled. My husband drives as I navigate with suggestions over the huge boulders, rolling rocks, and tree stumps. Water passages can be tricky especially when you never know how deep they may be. Our youngest hangs on for dear life as the jeep lurches, slides, and is temporarily at an odd angle to the mountain. Our brains are scrambled somewhat by the bumps on the trails yet our brain clears with joy when we reach our destination.

Traveling on Jeep 4 x4 trails takes trust, wisdom and a drive for adventure, much like life’s journey. Trust in the driver and the jeeps solid maintenance is necessity. On jeep trails and in life, there can be opportunities to avoid obstacles.

I can be an avoider, how about you? Yet the more time spent in the Bible teaches me to believe the obstacles may be used by God to deepen my faith.

The Lord is good. He does want to show us the path to follow. We have to let Him provide us with wisdom, which means we must drop our need to control and our pride.

We must be open to redirection, like navigating boulders. We have to take time to read His Word, it is an action step for our benefit.

We must discern who our tribe will be. Who is the leader? Who is the follower? We have to seek accountability from the right people who want us to be examples of integrity and character. There will always be people bent on our destruction. We must choose wisely who we believe.

The Lord is faithful and He is love. He is the Ultimate Best Friend and Wisdom Giver. Let Him be your navigator. He is the Compass directing you to the best things.

Modern Day Well: the Coffee shop

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

Whether we realize it or not, most families have been touched by abortion. It is a controversial topic bringing many families to division. That is the enemies plan, to divide families physically, emotionally, psychologically and especially spiritually. It is something no one wants to talk about, I know personally.

World view says, “My body, my rules, government should not tell me what to do.” I get this concept a woman should be able to make informed decisions on anything that effects her body, be it, COVID vaccines, a life from conception, need for surgery, etc. Hear me out on the topic of unplanned pregnancy and being a servant for Jesus, please read to the end of this blog.

There is no grey zone, the truth is God created life between a man and a woman at conception. God gave women the beautiful gift of incubator; protector of an embryo to birth. It is a wonderful gift. It isn’t about convenience, time is not right, or I have different plans. The embryo is life. It doesn’t have a choice it is at the mercy of a mother’s decision.

To choose life or death, is a huge choice with many ramifications. Pro or con. A women must live with her choice the rest of her life. Many ramifications cause some women and men to go radio silent, they do not want to discuss their choice and as a result there can be isolation and despair.

I have served a community of women from preteen to middle age in unplanned pregnancy. I have witnessed the tears, the frustrations of a potential life change, shame, poverty, and the heavy burden of choice to parent, to place for adoption or to abort. It is not a decision made lightly.

The post-abortion regret can lead many women ( and yes, men too) to depression, anxiety, addictions, suicide and walking away from their faith in God. It is a dark, lonely path. How does one grieve when people may not be aware of the loss?

They are so alone, so at the mercy of isolation, grief, ( yes it is a loss, even if it was a personal decision), regret, shame and even feeling hate/death of self. This mindset leaves them vulnerable to the enemy. I have spent time listening, consoling, and praying with many women and some men. Someone on the outside of this choice, may not fully understand.

What the world sees as just a clump of tissues, a quick fix, I have seen as a life journey of mental health and spiritual crisis of unforgiveness for self or from Christian woman and men who aren’t reflecting the mercy and grace of Jesus.

Instead of coming alongside our sisters and brothers, post-abortive women/men may have regret, shame, grief. They may feel out of the circle of forgiveness, they may feel Jesus will never love them again and that no grace or mercy is possible. Post-abortive women may feel judgement, and shunning from other women who had not been in their shoes.

We are all sinners who need Jesus!!! It can be you, be the women in crisis, it can be members of the couples families who are on the sidelines with this heart wrenching decision. It is a hidden thorn. It may not be discussed.

Abortion choices remain in the shadows sometimes for decades. We must not judge. We must love. Loss is loss for all. Only in seeking Jesus, His forgiveness, grace, mercy and love can there be healing and hope. We can not take the steps to Jesus for another we can just pray for their walk.

How can we better reflect the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus to post-abortive women, men and their families?

We can love like Jesus. We can pray for their grief and loss when we are aware, and pray that they would return to their first love, Jesus. We can reach out and hug not avoid. Again, We do not walk in their shoes!!

We can come alongside them if they let us. We must put down condemnation. We are not to point fingers.

Consider the Samaritan women at the well, Jesus came to her to speak truth of His Living Water. He comes to the thirsty and the lost. The things of this world do not satisfy the empty spaces. Only Jesus can.

John 4 :1 - 26     Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). 3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.

4 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”

Samaritans and Jewish people did not communicate in those days. It was forbidden. But Jesus, the Messiah, showed a loving personal God who knew all His people and wanted a relationship with each one. He wants to know each of us personally.

Who knows that you might be led to intersect with a women or man who has post-abortive regret. They may need a friend to listen, to bring Jesus alive to their empty spaces. It could be you!! Be ready to love. Listen, speak truth in love or just be quiet, ask Jesus for the steps of grace, mercy and forgiveness that may not come naturally. If you are not feeling called to a friendship. Prayer is powerful. Maybe some other person will be called to minister more personally. We all need love and Jesus. James 5: 16 says the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. By the way, we are not perfect only Jesus can cover the multitude of our sins.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Other ways we can help women / men in unplanned pregnancy:

Those who choose to parent should see your active faith as the hands and feet of Jesus. We can help single women in tangible ways, making the choice to parent is a life long journey, financially, emotionally, spiritually. We can be Titus women who support another woman with our time, our ability to help with goods needed, our listening ear, our parenting advice when asked, wherever the Lord sends us. These women need to feel love, our words of encouragement along with mentorship could bless the mom and generations to come. Single moms and dads are under a lot of stress they need help. When the Lord prompts we must seek to serve these parents.

Those who choose to place their child in adoption should be supported in their sacrifice. Placing a child in another home is hard but heartfelt knowing your child walks in this world and you may not be near is grief and loss. You can read more about this in my free E-Book, ” Healing through Sacrifice”, available on my blog site. It is written with insight from multiple birth-family wisdom. We can pray and support those who chose adoption. They felt the inner stirrings of life, they pondered their ability to parent. In many situations, they felt strongly to place their child’s future before their own. It took love, sacrifice, and a determination beyond what most of us can imagine.

I am amazed with our family through adoption and the strength of our birth-families. Our birth families are precious, they chose my husband and I to parent. I love them and words can’t express my humility at the journey of our families in open adoption.

God is intertwined to bind us together. Meet someone at the well near you, it could be a coffee shop :), step out of your comfort zone. Let Jesus draw more of His people to His thirst quenching power, love, grace and mercy. Let Him use your actions for His glory. God is love!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-photo-2638019.jpeg

Thirsty

Let the Living water of God fill the empty places and bring refreshment. Are you parched in the weary state of the world or in your private life?

Let the Lord quench your thirst. I love this song by Shane and Shane. Living Water flow through Jesus and fill your life.

https://youtu.be/DlnAREAjTfU

Psalm 107:9 NLT
[9] For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God bless you today.

Mountains

Smoke and sunset MM

Some days we just need to see an example of the faithfulness of God. I shared this photograph with my father this week. My father and I love photography and see something extra special in an image. I purposely left the busy country highway in the frame for context. We can hustle and bustle our way through the day and forget to appreciate creation.

My father’s interpretation was spot on, his text to me stated: “The mountain looks red like a hot iron like the sun penetrating through the mountain”.

I responded, “Yes, I felt the same, its illumination, like Psalm 121, the Son is our helper watching and shining through the mountain metaphorically.” He agreed with my reflection 🙂 as I shared the scripture with him.

No matter what you are going through. He is there. I have a friend whose son is a Marine in Afghanistan. These past few weeks have been prayer and praise, encouragement and lifting the Body of Christ in prayer.

We need to turn to the Creator of the mountains, the heavens and the earth. He does not slumber even if we don’t understand the events in our lives.

Our battles may be across the world or in our own home or backyard. I am not sure who needs to remember this promise, however, Psalm 121 is a great scripture reminding us our help is from the Lord.


Psalm 121
1 I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

If you are blessed to see the mountains on your horizon, look to them as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.

If you don’t have mountains in your community, look at a photograph like this one. Let the Son of God illuminate the dark, scary places in your heart, mind and soul. There is life and hope to be found!!

Bricks must fall

The world says I must be happy or something is wrong with me. A false thought, for sure. I think life shows us continuous happiness as a goal but it is not possible. Life has ups and downs.

Hypocritical Christians may tell us, “if you are going through hardship, conflict, emotional distress, you are not a good Christian. Maybe you aren’t walking with Jesus. Maybe, you are sinful and being punished, you don’t show Christian love.”

I liken these statements to bricks. They are stacks of lies from the enemy meant to keep us from the wisdom of God which can bring joy. They are meant to tarnish our testimony.

These bricks can limit our lives and cause others to question the love of Jesus. They are a barrier to freedom in Christ shared with anyone placed across our path.

John 16:33    Jesus said, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Jesus promised there would be troubles on earth. However, He said, He would be with us in the trials. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Life has trials and sorrows but we don’t have to stay in a victim mindset. We can drop the bricks.

In my legalistic upbringing, I believed the lies I shared above. However, the more time I read the Bible for myself, the more I feel the Words of God speaking truth and taking down the bricks I stacked as a wall holding me back from freedom. There is freedom in Jesus.

What are your bricks named?

Is it, you are not enough? God does not really want to hear your voice.

I don’t suppose you will test God again and be a risk taker. Do you have a death wish?

You will never be forgiven. You are a lost cause. You are being punished for past consequences.

Slow but sure, the bricks are stacked. One by one, the wall gets higher and higher. On one side of the bricks is the condemner talking lies and discouragement. On the other side of the brick wall is Jesus waiting for you to stop and take down each brick as He guides your hand. The more you hear His sweet peaceful voice the more you see His face emerge. Bricks begin to fall, the space between you and Your Savior becomes cleared like a demolition. It is work to take down the bricks, however, the more we trust in Him the more endurance He gives to keep going.

I used to think the future had to be successful. I would put the work in, determined to achieve goals, career, marriage, have a family, buy a home, and then I would be happy. But life didn’t work the way I planned. I had to have times of no control and learn perfectionism is a brick of sin. My journey from infertility to being a mom blessed by open adoption was filled with fears, grief, love and joy. I was being made new as I leaned into Jesus.

What I am learning with every new day is God’s level of success is not in the stuff, it is in the obeying Him. He will direct my path to the best and He can be trusted.

There are times when no matter what I do or say to lives around me they can not be molded by me. I must give their lives to God. I must not pray for success, but instead for the trials and joys to draw others in my sphere of influence to obedience to God. The bricks will fall when I change my thoughts and pray in this way.

There are times when we do not see the fruits of our attempts to love like Jesus. We can not see into the future. It is in those times of uncertainty I found Ezekiel 3: 4 – 12 very insightful.

Ezekiel 3:4-12 NLT[4] Then he said, "Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. [5] I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. [6] No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! [7] But the people of Israel won't listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. [8] But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. [9] I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don't be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels." [10] Then he added, "Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. [11] Then go to your people in exile and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!' Do this whether they listen to you or not." [12] Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the LORD be praised in his place!)

Lord, help your people, parents, family and friends to loose the people who are in conflict.

Reread the Ezekiel scripture again. Place your family / conflicted persons name where you find the name Israel. Then leave your petition at the foot of the cross.

We can pray but only God can move mountains and open ears, hearts, minds, and eyes. In the end, sometimes the call is not success but to obey God.

Speak

Our Sisters and Brothers in Christ across the world need our prayer, whether Afghanistan, Nigeria, any where there is persecution for being a follower of Christ. I feel called to speak this truth as we are seeing the turmoil continue to grow. We can lift up our voice on behalf of those who are in trouble it could be in our own family or across the world.

Scripture tells us we belong to each other, in Romans 12, God’s word is clear:

Romans 12: 1 - 4    And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3 Because of the privilege and authority[c] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d] 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

It is time to move in prayer and praise, our God is bigger, better, stronger. Lift up the Name of Jesus right now on behalf of the persecuted in the world. This song by Chris McClarney, spoke the words I was feeling as I continue to pray for those in the family of Jesus.

Thank you Chris McClarney for poignant lyrics.

Relate

I can relate to this new song from For King and Country, so relevant, enjoy!!

You are not alone, you are a treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NLT
[6] For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. [7] We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Would you take a hike?

A hot, summer day in Colorado, my youngest daughter and I were running the usual errands for groceries, animal feed and spending quality time together. I was driving home on the interstate when out of the corner of my eye I saw a man dressed in Bible time costume dragging /carrying a wooden cross. I was traveling the usual 60 MPH, when the traffic slowed to a crawl. If this had not occurred, I would not have seen this man.

It was near 100 degrees with 50 percent humidity. I said to my daughter, “I don’t know who that is, but I am praying he completes the call God may have placed on his day”. I was especially concerned about the possibility of hyperthermia, dehydration and heat stroke.

You see, I used to be an Emergency Trauma Nurse. Once a nurse, always a nurse. Ask my daughter. I couldn’t get off the highway to hand him a bottle of water as there were no close exits.

I have often wondered what kind of person would take a walk carrying a wooden cross like Jesus? I assume a devout follower of Jesus on a pilgrimage or someone trying the spread the Gospel message of Jesus.

I was amazed when a few weeks later, a longtime friend, brother in Christ, who I hadn’t seen in over a year texted me. Chris texted, “I am thinking of you, Mary, and I want you to check out an interview I did at my church”. I responded “Sure, no problem, I will check it out”.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

I had been praying for my brother in Christ, Chris, even more frequently the past 18 months, since his wife Tracey passed away suddenly. This amazing couple served in church, in Bible study, prayer teams, on the worship team, in kids ministry and also on children’s plays with me. They are humble and use the gifts the Lord gave them for serving others. Many people have been blessed.

I am so excited to share his testimony with you. If you have the time, it is an amazing example of hearing the Lord ask you to action, like the Bible story of Jonah and his call to visit Ninevah. In that story, the whale swallowed Jonah and he had a testimony that is still shared today.

We never know whether that still small voice of God exists. In our human perspective, it is illogical. But God can do anything. Are we listening for his calling on our lives? Are there other people created in the Image of God that need to connect with you and see Jesus in your words and actions? It is convicting but amazing.

Would you take a hike? Chris made me ponder that question. I plan to listen with two ears not one, and to slow down for rest. Who knows, maybe I will hear the Lord speak. Onward and upward, one step at a time.