Do You Feel the Tug to Say “Yes Lord.”?

She looked down my row, smiled at me and asked to be excused. “Certainly,” I responded as I moved to give the slender, dark haired lady access. She made her way further down the row before deciding on a seat. The other seats quickly filled and I thought no more about her.

Number Eighteen

The Lord has been tugging on my heart to assist with the launch of our eighteenth church campus. You would think it would be an easy decision, but truth be told I put it on the back burner with the hope it would dissipate into thin air. It didn’t.

I’m comfortable in my present church campus. I’ve made friends there. I have seen it grow from just over one hundred people to needing three services in a building where the sanctuary will hold two thousand. I have grown in worship as the worship team has grown in leading worship. I have watched young teenagers become adults, marry and have children of their own. I have witnessed young pastors find their God given voice. I have seen lives changed and marriages healed. I have seen the hand of God at work.

It’s home. I’m reluctant to leave.

Yet, I hear the call and I feel the tug.

God’s power provides the heart with everything it needs. Micah Maddox//Anchored In

The population sign informed those passing by that 2234 lived in the town (I use the term “town” loosely). Oh my! almost the whole town could fit into the sanctuary of my present campus. I’ll admit it concerned me. I haven’t been part of a small church in years, and not sure if I want to be.

Sweet Fellowship

A new friend and I listened to the voice on the GPS give us directions to the home of another launch team member, one who lived in the “town.” After several twists and turns along country roads we came upon the street we needed and found her home.

Four strangers drinking coffee (tea), eating desserts and getting to know each other around the kitchen table. We shared out hearts and our concerns. We shared our testimonies of how we first came to the church campus we all have come to call home, and we prayed together.

Little did I know when the lady at church asked me to excuse her that I would be sitting at her kitchen table later that afternoon experiencing sweet fellowship.

I think I’m ready to help in the new campus when it launches in January. I’ve already made three friends! Don’t know if this is a temporary assignment or long term. I only know I’m taking the next step that the Lord is leading me to take.

Do you Feel the Tug?

What is the Lord tugging at your heart to do? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and say “Yes Lord.”?

I leave you with this quote from Heather Dixon of The Rescuedletters.com from her bible study Ready

Jesus will prepare our hearts for what He has prepared for us

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Photos: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Worry Comes Knocking the Door

The calm pond water lapped against the curve of the grassy bank, an inviting place for fowl to meet and prune together. Oblivious to those walking nearby they pecked and pruned as if getting ready for an important event. They were focused. Not even the dogs passing by concerned them.

An idyllic scene for sure. Ooh wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have a care in the world like the waterfowl, unperturbed by menaces that pass close by?

God! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms. Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: “Hah! No help for him from God!”

Alas, as we know all too well rough seasons come, and when they come it can feel as if all of hell is against us. Worry and anxiety knock on the door of our heart and bids entrance…

…we open just a tad and they come in along with their relatives fear and doubt.

We worry we will never get out of the mess we are in. We pray but we fear He no longer listens, though we know in our hearts He does. Yet, we doubt He is listening today. Anxious thoughts spin and turn like a never ending revolving wheel.

We feel forgotten and abandoned by God. No longer do we share sweet moments of fellowship with Him. Instead we set about fixing our problems by ourselves….

….and He waits for our return.

But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.

Patiently, like a loving Father waits for his child who insists on learning the hard way. He waits for us. He doesn’t stop caring, He doesn’t stop looking, He doesn’t stop listening. He waits for us to look to Him as our Helper and Deliver and when we do; He lifts up our head and grounds our feet in Him.

Real help comes from God. Your blessing clothes your people

Sweet fellowship returns when we look to Jesus. Fear, anxiety, worry and doubt has to leave in His presence. His peace fills us calming our troubled emotions, bringing clarity to our thinking and enabling us to live in His love once again.

Sweet fellowship awaits you dear friend.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Scripture used in this article was taken from Psalm 3 Message Bible. Photo my own.

Share this post on social media or with a friend, they may your encouragement today.

 

Discovering the Riches of God

As a child I would sometimes accompany my coal miner father to the colliery a.k.a. the pit, to collect his pay from the  wages office. A cut out in the glass window allowed the wages clerk to pass the small brown envelope containing my dad’s wages to him. No direct deposits in those days. Real money in your hand.

I felt like a big girl, walking through the busy work areas on the surface of the mine. I saw the big wheel that worked the shaft elevator (also known as the cage), saw the coalminers entering and leaving the cage as they started or finished their shift. I always loved seeing the pit pony, as the appointed coalminer walked it safely through the busy work area. On the surface was the offices, the engine room and the building that housed the showers. Believe me ladies, if your man was a coalminer there was NO WAY he was coming into the house covered in coal dust. Even after their hurried shower they still came home looking as if they were wearing black eyeliner.

But for all I saw, it was still only the surface of the coal mine that I experienced. The surface was an interesting place. But the coal, the treasure, lay deep below my feet.

I wonder how many of us have settled for a surface experience in our walk with the Lord? We settle for what we can see. We get involved in the busyness of church life, we give the right churchy responses while all along we have not dug deep into getting to know Jesus and the riches of His love.

And I ask him with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Ephesians 3 msg

To get to the riches of God, we have to leave the surface and choose to go deeper. Lord, take us deeper, show us more of your character. Show us who you are. Your love, your compassion and your grace.

As we allow His very character to saturate us on the inside. It is then, that those very same characteristics will flow out from us to others.

Time to Go

Go Down; down on our knees, to give thanks and praise for God’s provision.

Go Up; keeping our eyes looking up to our heavenly Father for His direction.

Go Out; move out of our comfort zones.

Go Beyond; beyond our self imposed boundaries.

Go forward; moving forward in our personal walk with God, into the future He has for us.

Go Deeper; deeper in the Lord than we have ever gone before.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

Anchored In:Book Review and Giveaway

Introducing a New Author

Every now and then along comes a new author who’s book speaks to you from the first to the very last page. Micah Maddox book Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full life in a Problem-Filled World spoke to me in a clear relatable voice with every turn of the page.

I met Micah at She Speaks in 2016, a three day conference organized by Proverbs 31 Ministries for writers, speakers and leaders. Brought together through a mutual friend, I found myself sharing table space with her at meal times on more than one occasion. A beautiful young lady, with a smile that lights up her face and a sense of humor that is infectious…who wouldn’t be drawn to her.

I had no idea until I read her book, Anchored In, the pain and struggles she has experienced in her young life. Abandoned by her biological father as a child, cancer that invaded the body of the man she now calls dad and the mysterious illness that almost cost her husband his life. Add to those problems the emotional side, and you have a raging storm.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Micah has definitely had her fair share of storms. Haven’t we all in one way or another? Our storms may look different from each others but it’s the same anchor that holds us secure. I love how Micah encourages us to be anchored in the Lord before, during and after the storms in our lives.

 Turn Down the Distractions

A mother to three precious school age children and foster mother to one, a pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, conference speaker, blogger, writer and now author. Micah knows how easy it is to be distracted from spending time with the Lord. She encourages us to turn down the distractions and spend time in His presence. I love this quote from her book.

“We often choose the current over the eternal. And when we do, often we later see how our choice to focus on what felt crucial was really a distraction from what God was trying to draw us to-Himself.”

What is Victory?

So often we think victory in our lives is the absence of personal storms, but both you and I know storms can flare up at a moments notice. One moment the sun is shinning and all is well, the next we are experiencing sideways blowing rain. Victory, Micah tells us is not found in how life is going or gone but in God’s presence.

I could keep writing about Anchored In. But I won’t. I don’t want to rob you of the joy of reading it for yourself. You can purchase the book through Amazon, Lifeway, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook and Abingdon Press.

One last quote from Micah, this time about the book, taken from her website MicahMaddox.com “I think you will love it! I hope you do. But most of all I hope you hear from God in it, not from me.”  What can I say? A women with a heart for God and a heart for people.

Book Giveaway

Release date for Anchored In is September 5th. So, yes it’s a brand new book by a brand new author. One I’m sure you will love. To celebrate Micah’s book release I’m giving away one copy of Anchored In.

To enter: Sign-up to receive Grace Lace and Polkadots weekly blog posts via email. You will find the Follow Blog Via Mail button on the right hand panel of the blog page (if using a computer), or scroll way down on your phone. Entry closes on Saturday 9th 2017 at 10pm Central Time. Winner will be announced Monday September 11th 2017 in blog post. Those all ready receiving Grace Lace and Polkadots by email will automatically be entered for the drawing.

The winner of Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able……is Lisa Wistuba. Congratulations Lisa! I will PM you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

P.S I am not receiving compensation in any form to advertise Anchored In. I truly enjoyed the book and believe it will be a source of encouragement to you.

 

 

 

 

Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20

Sometimes I forget the greatness of the one I serve. I know He is my creator and that I am made in His imagine, as are you. My heart releases worship to Him because I’m thankful for Jesus. Thankful for His love and His mercy, thankful that I am part of the whosoever will. Daily I find joy in His presence, listen, there is nothing that can compare or compete with that….

…yet!

Somewhere. Somehow.

I have stopped expecting the exceeding, abundantly, beyond answers to prayer. I know they exist because I have been the recipient of this type of answered prayer many times.

It’s not that I have stopped believing. I do believe.

Rather, I stopped expecting this type of answer, and because of that my requests to God have become in some areas small minded. He can do beyond all that we can ask or think. So why am I thinking small?

I know He is able, capable of doing it. I know He is willing. But will He do it? As I talked this issue out with the Lord it dawned on me, I wasn’t sure if some of my requests are in His will. Are they God given desires? Or pure selfishness? Am I asking for the right reason? The only reason; His glory. So I asked for His help.

I was drawn to start re-reading my already well highlighted and underlined book by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. Some books are worth re-reading and The Circle Maker is one of them. While in a local Lifeway Store a Priscilla Shirer book caught my eye with its bright red cover, but it was the title that caused me to pick it up, God Is Able. Seriously folks! It was a given I would pick it up seeing that I was having issues in this area.

A friend gave me a book for my birthday, she had no idea what I was going through, The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations, author Anne Graham Lotz. I asked for help and I am getting it, though none of these books supersedes God’s written word, The Bible. They sure will be helpful.

Have your prayer requests become small minded? Have you stopped believing or expecting God to answer you in an above and beyond what you can think or ask way? Talk to Him, it’s not like He doesn’t already know. He loves it when we come to Him and ask for His help.

This weeks giveaway is Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able.

To enter simply follow my Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page, make sure you have your notification button turn on so you don’t miss a post. If you already signed up to follow my Facebook page you will automatically be entered. Entry closes on Saturday September 2nd at 10pm Central Time and the winner will be announced on Monday September the 4th.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Little girl with roses: Photo Credit Pixabay

 

Inviting Friendship: Part 2

Feeling Uncomfortable

Eating out alone is uncomfortable for me. I feel awkward, as if I don’t know where to look other than my food. I don’t want to people watch that seems rude, though people fascinate me. I usually have a book to read when I’m travelling and will bury my head in its pages at airport restaurants. I rarely eat out alone when home.

Gathering with family or friends around a table, whether at home or at a restaurant for a meal is more than nourishment for our bodies. It’s nourishment for our wellbeing. Interaction with others in a safe and friendly atmosphere brings us a sense of belonging, a sense of caring about each other, it helps us to bond. It helps friendship to blossom and grow.

We see the same thing in churches every weekend before the meeting starts, people sitting with heads buried in their phones or the church bulletin avoiding eye contact. Not because they don’t want to be friendly, rather because they feel uncomfortable being there alone or unknown.

Some arrive late on purpose to avoid the awkwardness of not knowing anyone, yet wanting to be there, and they promptly leave when the service have ended. Another week has gone by and they are no nearer to making friends with their fellow believers than they were when they first started attending. They come to visit the family and go away feeling ignored.

Inviting Friendship

When we invite people into our homes we want them to feel welcomed and comfortable. We want them to feel at home, we want them to know it’s okay to lose the shoes and get comfy on the sofa. We want them to feel safe, relaxed and know they are with family. We want them to interact with the family as family, not sit with their heads buried in a book or phone feeling disconnected.

When I first attended the church I’m planted in, there was about 150 people at that particular campus. It was easy for them to notice that my husband and I were new there. Those sitting around us welcomed us with genuine warmth and each week we got to know more and more people. The church has grown over the last fifteen years into what some call a mega church.

Friendship begins with an invitation; invite someone to be a friend by being a friend.

When you attend a large church you are not going to know everybody, you are not going be able to invite everybody out for coffee. So how do we make friends in mega church? Same as you would in a smaller church. Start by connecting with those around you. Get to know their names. Make a point of talking with them before or after the service. Invite them to the small group you attend. Invite them out for coffee. Do it all with genuine love and interest for the other person. Value them, they are real people who God loves.

“Acknowledging the value of a soul plants in us a seed of willingness to build others up, encourage others, and call the greatness out of them.” Rick Bezet

When we value people as God values people we will see their worth as He does. When they see that we genuinely care about them, they will put down the phone and the bulletin and begin to interact; could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Don’t stop at only befriending those in your church, look outside. Show them the same love you show the person in the next pew.

Just as lotions and fragrance gives sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs27:9

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What does Friendship look like for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box either through the blog site or on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page.

The month of August I will be doing some giveaways, starting with Rick Bezet’s book Real Love In An Angry World: How to Stick to your Convictions Without Alienating People. Be on the lookout.

Hope your soul is refreshed this week with friendship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living a God Colored Life

 

A simple gift. A thoughtful gift. One I would enjoy, if only I had the time.

Time to spare. Time to sit. Time to color.

It would be six months before I found the time. It’s not as if I was constantly busy the whole six months. Sure, work, family and church took up a good proportion but, my downtime hours were filled with non important things; surfing social media, reading way too many blog posts and watching the box (television). I had the time. I filled it with clutter.

The Time Had Come

My eight year old grandson was spending the afternoon with me, when he tired of building Lego and asked for paper and colored pencils I remembered the gift of the inspirational coloring book.

He did a little coloring on the fist page and promptly returned to the Lego.

I flicked through the pages, my eyes feasted on beautiful intricate designs, each page featuring an encouraging scripture. It was my turn and my time to pick up the colored pencils and begin the creative process of turning a black and white page into a masterpiece of color.

Okay folks, I’m not going to make a living as an artist as you can see from the above picture, but I enjoyed it. I picked up a pencil and commenced. Yellow for the center of the flower, then a pink for the petals. Add jade, aqua, mid blue and a soft brown and my first design on a page loaded with design was done. Just a trillion more to go! The intricate designs fascinated me, I scoured the book in search of duplicate designs. I didn’t find any.

He colors us with His love, grace and mercy

As I continued with my artwork I thought about the Lord, how He colors our lives with His love, His grace and His mercy, carefully and meticulously taking us from a life of generic black and white, to one filled with colors that only He can create.

It takes time to color the intricate designs in the book, my first masterpiece is only half done, still a lot of coloring to do. The pencils are line up ready to be used, ready to bring more color to the design. I’m sure thousands of inspirational coloring books has been sold, and just as many have already been colored, yet, none of them will look like my artwork. It is uniquely mine!

Uniquely His

When we invite God in to color our lives we will become a masterpiece that is uniquely His. He doesn’t color us in one go. He could, but that would be too much for us to take; He’s kind and gentle like that! He doesn’t rush us but draws us patiently into a closer relationship with Himself. James 1: 2-3 in the Message Bible talks about our true colors coming out when we are under pressure. As we allow God to color us as His masterpiece it will be His colors in us that will be exposed.

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

 

Are you ready for more God color in your life? I know I am, what about you?

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.