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    Friday
    Jul122013

    Intense Emotion/Intense Connection (a devo in 7)

    When we share our most intense emotions with God, we find fulfillment, joy and the courage to press onward through that communion with Him.

    This includes everything from the greatest earthly joys such as the intense ecstasy of sexual passion clear to our deepest pain and heartrending grief.

    However, our enemy, the devil, has stolen this energizing experience from us by twisting those intense experiences.

    Sexual passion is equated with shame.

    Grief separates us from God because we are convinced He means to hurt us.

    When we ask God to remove all obstacles to fellowship with Him, when He pours repentance and freedom over us, that vital connection is restored.

    Then, our greatest joys and struggles become rocket fuel, boosting us into an intimate fellowship with Christ that permeates every other facet of our lives.

    Chana is wife of one, mom to four and bestselling author of two. She brakes for old barns, chai, homemade cookies and any time someone needs to watch Pride & Prejudice.

    Please connect with her online by leaving a comment here or:

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    Friday
    Jul052013

    The Third Date

     

    If Jesus had a tombstone, there’d be three dates on it.

    Born-

    Died-

    Walked Out Alive-

    We’ll all have at least two dates on our tombstone:

    Born-

    Died-

    I’m here to tell ya the third date is most important, especially on your spiritual tombstone.

    We’ve all been born, but just because we still breathe air doesn’t mean we live.

    Life has a way of sucking the life from us. Maybe in one fell swoop, maybe over time, the life inside you has been squelched.

    Are you gonna stay in that grave?

    Or, will you add a third date—the day you came back to life and walked out of it?

    That’s the part Jesus wants to do for you.

    Let go of what kills and grab onto Him.

    Wednesday
    Jul032013

    What's With This Crazy "Speaking in Tongues" Stuff?

    This morning, God woke me with thoughts of His Word Made flesh, of Jesus as the Tree of Life and of those who sneak over the walls and steal this fruit for their own, selfish use.

    “My words are Life to those who find them and health to their whole body.” Prov.4:22 

    “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue...” Prov. 18:21 

    *Our tongues need to be cleansed and redeemed to speak God’s words that are powerful and transforming.

    *Thus the necessity of Speaking in Tongues. God’s will and words flow through our spirit and out our mouths. The main thing that is sacrificed for this to happen? Pride/Ego/Selfish Ambition—by any name it’s the fruit of Lucifer’s lineage, the thing that takes God’s place on the throne of our lives.

    How I wish I could capture the simplicity and blinding truth of those first semi-lucid moments when God was whispering to my mind when it was like a mirror-smooth lake as I was coming out of the grogginess of sleep. It’s like hearing a beautiful song in your head and then trying to put it in a form others can hear that will still capture the beauty of what was in your head.

    The basic words were the scripture above of “My words are life to those who find them and health to all their bones (all their flesh).” Those words repeated in my mind maybe three times then I was thinking how Jesus was “the Word made flesh” and how we are to “consume” Him into ourselves so He becomes integrated into us/living through us. 

    Then I was thinking about “The Secret” and so many religions, even “Word of Faith” groups who can grab on to this truth of the power of the tongue but when it’s used in a selfish way it’s as occult as someone practicing witchcraft. (ouch)

    The key is to submit our will to God’s will so we use this power of the tongue to accomplish His will, thus building the Kingdom of Heaven and not our own selfish/self-serving kingdom. 

    I started thinking about four dear friends suffering from wasting disease right now. If God’s Word, alive in the person of Christ, is “life to those who find them and health to all their flesh” then speaking God’s words by repeating God’s will and life through the tongue would break the hold of disease and take their bodies toward life.

    But pretty quickly I was dealing with residue from bad doo-doo we came across in the Word of Faith movement of people placing so much pressure on folks to “do it right” that grace went out the window. It’s like walking a knife’s edge because, while speaking Christ’s will through our mouths is such a deep and vital truth, it can so easily be perverted. We humans are good at that. Our selfish nature can rear its ugly head in the blink of an eye. 

    But does that mean we toss out the truth due to perversion? No. Jesus died and rose again to work this power of the tongue through us to right a multitude of wrongs due to sin run amuck. 

    The true key then is to keep God on the throne—“not my will but thine be done.” 

    But that can so easily get skewed into lazy prayers with no “teeth” to them that just pile together a bunch of pious, empty phrases. 

    When we pray in the Spirit--also called "in tongues"-- it bypasses our mind. We are choosing to submit by saying, “I don’t even know where to start therefore I’m asking YOU to pray through me.” Then, as the clear stream of God’s heart flows through, our will and emotions shift into line with God’s will. THEN we can pray with confidence, “knowing that whatever we ask in His name, He will do it.”

    When we ask in Jesus’ name after submitting even our tongue to His Lordship, it’s like putting the seal of the King’s signet ring on our request. It’s HIS request therefore it carries authority and we will see “whatsoever is bound on earth is bound in Heaven and whatsoever is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven.”

    This is a freeing, exciting, potentially earth-shaking concept. But, it has to be kept razor-sharp in its alignment with God’s will or we can very quickly find ourselves pushing our agenda. Again, that is just as occultic as practicing witchcraft. The aim subtly switches from, “Not my will but Thine be done” to “Do what thou (self) wilt,” which is Luciferian to the core.

    With all the warnings of perversion, it’s really hard to keep hold of the vital, transformational truth that God wants to speak His will through our words. 

    Wow. I long to be His tool, speaking His words, seeing Him flow through to REALLY set the captives free!

    Chana is a wife, mom-of-four & bestselling author of two books: The Fall (Rapha Chronicles #1) and One Night With a Rock Star.

    She brakes for God, her family, old barns, hot chai, old movies and dreams of sailing around the world someday.

    Connect with Chana on Facebook, Twitter, or her Amazon Author Page.

    Please share this article with friends and family and/or leave a comment.

     

     

    Saturday
    Jun082013

    Books, Cake, Tea and a Kindred Spirit

    Today while standing in line at Starbucks, there was a sweet older woman ahead in the line. As she fumbled with her wallet and a man in line graciously offered to make change for her, a wave of sadness hit me. 

    There are so many sweet older women who have blessed my life and encouraged down through the decades. Both my grandmothers were amazing examples of unconditional love and unfailing encouragement. However, when both my grandmothers were gone and I was a new mother in need of the perspective a grandmother would give, I was blessed to make friends with Mrs. Barrett. 

    She lived two doors down from the house we rented on a cul-de-sac that was a throwback to the fifties, with its bungalow-style homes with large front yards and huge porches tailor made for good ol’ fashioned neighborliness.

    One of the most beautiful factors about Mrs. Barrett—her availability—meant she could chat just about any time. She would throw open her screen door with a wide smile, a hug for me and our baby boy, and the predictable words, “How’s my boy?” 

    She adored children and, since her own grandchild was grown, she cuddled and spoiled our boy, especially on those days when he was grumpy from teething and I was super-grateful for the reprieve. She loved to make cake but hated to eat it alone. I was happy to fill that need. She was an avid reader and would chat about favorite characters and plotlines, admitting readily if a certain book was just enjoyable fluff or, a statement that showed raging approval, “A right-sweet book.” 

    We relied on each other in a beautiful way. My husband was on call when she had a blown fuse or light bulb that needed replacing, my baby helped to fill her empty nest, and she gave a priceless gift to an exhausted, overwhelmed new mother—the gift of grateful perspective. 

    She doted on my baby boy and made both of us feel like the center of her universe. I would return home after an hour’s teatime with Mrs. B. possessing a new novel from her sagging bookshelves and a new determination to savor the fleeting years of baby & toddlerhood. 

    But there’s one dream I never got to fulfill before Mrs. B. was promoted out of this life. 

    Many times while she bounced my baby on her knee, I would bemoan the fact that most modern books didn’t appeal to me. Either the main heroine had no moral fiber or, in order to make morals more believable, the stories tended to be set in the past. “I can’t find a modern book in bookstores that isn’t smut,” I would complain. 

    “Well,” she would fix her blue eyes on me over the top of her bifocals, “You’ll just have to write it yourself.” I would roll my eyes and declare that a mom doesn’t have time for writing to which Mrs. B. would reply, “But someday you will.”

    Twelve years later, when I did start writing in earnest, I cherished the happy daydream of one day hearing Mrs. B. give my novel the ultimate compliment, “It’s a right-sweet book.” 

    But time marched on and my eighty-something kindred spirit moved in with her daughter after a broken hip and early stages of Alzheimers. However, even in those disheartening circumstances, her literary background provided joy. Her daughter, Faith, told me that Mrs. B. in her final days began to believe she was Anne of Green Gables, her favorite character from her favorite series of books. I didn’t get to observe this phenomenon firsthand since our family had moved three states away, but Faith said her mother was a joy to care for since she would tease and giggle and declare her love for her caregiver like a grateful, innocent little girl. 

    So forgive me if I get misty from the sight of a petite eighty-something fumbling with change to pay for her morning tea. I’m just looking forward to that heavenly teatime in the future when Mrs. B. and I can sit on her mansion porch discussing my books over cake and tea. 

    Right behind the joy of hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will be hearing Mrs. B. declare, “They’re right-sweet books.”

    Chana is wife of one, mom of four and bestselling author of two. Her latest novel, One Night With a Rock Star, broke onto Amazon's bestseller list as #1 Hot New Release in Inspirational Romance.

    She admits that one particular character in Rock Star bears a striking resemblance to a former best friend and eighty-something kindred spirit.

     

    Wednesday
    May152013

    I Can't Handle It

    I came to a shocking realization today. I can’t handle it.

    “It” has many definitions:

    Homeschooling the kids.

    Maintaining a happy, healthy marriage.

    Writing what I’m supposed to write.

    Managing the marketing of those writings.

    Keeping the house clean.

    Keeping the kids healthy and well fed.

    Juggling the myriad tiny tasks related to all the above.

    Plus there’s this crazy desire to save the world, especially those running from God—and all the kids and animals without proper homes.

    The result? A tired, overwhelmed, whining housewife dragging my exhausted carcass out of bed, already weighed down by responsibilities before the day even started. 

    As I prayed this morning, laying my inadequacy before God in all its glory, He came through in His customary, profound way.

    Me: “I can’t handle it.”

    God: “You’re not supposed to. I am.” 

    It comes back to the vine and branches thing. My first responsibility is to stay connected tight and strong in God’s vine. If my focus is on trying to produce fruit, I might as well blow really hard on my finger expecting an apple to pop out my ear. I’m not the source. God is. As I tend that relationship, God fills those black holes of fear with faith--faith in Him, not faith in me.

    I’m going to constantly come up against things I can’t handle, things that are bigger and stronger than me, things that sap my small store of energy and patience.

    It’s called LIFE.

    But constantly, a hundred times a day if need be, I can take ALL of it to God. 

    “Be Still & Know That I Am God.”

    I can choose to stop, re-fix my focus, sing a worship song, state the above phrase over and over or, like this morning, just collapse in His arms, cry a bit and Let. It. Go.

    Later I woke, face down, eyes puffy, nose clogged, but heart at peace. The focus was right. The raging storm was calm.

    I don’t expect the calm to last. After all, this is LIFE. But each challenge, failure, frustration and fear is another opportunity to give up trying in my strength to accomplish something of eternal worth. I can’t. But He can. 

    “Have no anxiety about anything but in everything, with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4: 6-7

    Chana is a wife, mom-of-four & bestselling author of two books: The Fall (Rapha Chronicles #1) and One Night With a Rock Star.

    She brakes for God, her family, old barns, hot chai, old movies and dreams of sailing around the world someday.

    Connect with Chana on Facebook, Twitter, or her Amazon Author Page.

    Please share this article with friends and family and/or leave a comment.