Monday, August 26, 2013

Mercy


2 Cor 1:8b-10 NLT 

".....We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. 

But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.  

And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. 

We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us."

Exactly everything I wanted to say. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Submission






The first two images are how the world views submission. Whether we like to admit it or not, those images have influenced how Christians view submission. How I view submission. But I don't think that's what God intends....

Here's why:

This morning, as I was scrolling through the Facebook feed on my phone, I came across a scripture that sort of stopped me in my tracks. Normally, with the "really long" ones I'll just keep scrolling. Always thinking to myself, "I'll go back and read that later", knowing full well that I won't, or "I don't have time for that right now". Am I the only one that does that? Probably not. This morning, however, this one caught my eye and I expanded it to read the whole thing. It had to be the Holy Spirit (but thanks for posting it Gerri). 

Job 22:21-30 NLT “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life. If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river, the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver! Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. You will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you. If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’ God will save them. Even sinners will be rescued; they will be rescued because your hands are pure.” (my underlines)

Right out of the gate it says "Submit to God and you will have peace". After the day that I had studying college algebra yesterday, I am feeling a lack of peace. 

At one point my phone died and I had to stop because it was my calculator, and I was to the point of physically felling ill from the brain strain. Then, later on in the day I experienced losing my equilibrium, and literally fell flat on my face. I couldn't have stood if I wanted to. All day yesterday I was lacking in peace. When I got up in the morning I had simply gone through my routine with God. I knew there wasn't a great deal of conviction in anything I was doing. None of the scriptures I read really spoke to my heart, and I felt hindered in my prayers. Almost like I couldn't remember what it was that I prayed for every day. My focus was not on God. It was on "doing my morning set". 

This morning is different. I can't get "Submit to God" out of my head. The words just keep rolling through my head like ticker tape. I find it so interesting that Holy Spirit is helping me focus on the real message of the scripture. The real message isn't "You'll have peace", or "You will be rich". It's "Submit to God", "Listen", "Return", "Give up". All the rest of those scriptures follow that first action. They are merely the by-product of an act of obedience. 

Matt 6:33 KJV "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

It says "Seek Ye first...". THEN "all these things shall be added..." 

I have come to firmly believe that all the richness of a relationship with God follows an obedience to Him and His Word. Too many times we spout off scriptures that we know we are supposed to confess, because "Faith comes by hearing...and hearing by the word of God". (Romans 10:17 KJV "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.")
We need to hear the Word of God coming out of our mouths to build our faith, consequently we are confessing the right things over our lives. 

But, let's explore that for a second. What if you/we are just saying words? I was raised in church. I know how to speak church. I know how to 'do' church. I think I have always 'believed' the Word coming out of my mouth. But, it wasn't coupled with an absolute submission. 

When we moved to Florida, I struggled terribly with depression. Nothing was going the way we thought it was going to. I couldn't find a job. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a month just so we could save up enough money to buy a ham and all the trimmings for our first Easter on our own. I became pretty disillusioned with God. I didn't stop loving him, just let my 'faith' waver. Then, we ended up leaving the church we thought was going to be home, and started attending a different church that didn't work for us either. However, while we were attending this church, God started speaking to my spirit about Matt 6:33, and about learning how to focus my attention on the first part of the scripture instead of the "...and all these things.." portion. 

It's been almost two years now that "Seek Ye first...." has been on my mind. I'm not a fast mover when it comes to change. For me, it's always a slow growth. I always ask the Holy Spirit to never leave my children alone. To just keep picking at them until their lives are totally submitted to God. Then, I tack on "me too" to the end of the prayer. I just  don't stop to think about the fact that I asked for the 'fire' to cleanse me when I'm going through periods of trial. 

"Seek Ye first" is not an ooey-gooey, sloppy agape thing between me and God. My seeking is always followed by a removal of things that are harmful for me, and to me. Sometimes, I make it painful by fighting to keep what is being removed, because it disturbs my comfort zone. I tend to look like the first picture when I'm learning to submit.

"Seek Ye first" always has a promise of "and all these things" following it. If I stopped fighting God about the things He removes from my life, and really submitted my heart to His will without the fight.....I wonder if I would have a greater understanding of "all these things" right away. 

You know..."all these things" that don't have the stench of burnt flesh and battle scars covering them. 

I think God wants our submission to look like this......total surrender.






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Commit My Ways...That Includes My Business




Commit your way to the Lord.....

Commit your way to the Lord....

Commit your way to the Lord....

That's all that kept repeating in my head this morning. I got up and read my Bible in a Year passage. I started the Bible about 2 years ago. lol..yeah....well... anyway, I have been reading the passages from the New Testament, and Psalm/Proverbs in the mornings. This morning was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 "The Love Chapter", Psalm 37:1-11, and Prov 21:23-24. 

Psalm 37:1-11 NIV "Do not fret because of those who are evil  or be envious of those who do wrong;  for like the grass they will soon wither,  like green plants they will soon die away.  Trust in the  Lord  and do good;  dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the  Lord ,  and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the  Lord ;  trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,  your vindication like the noonday sun.  Be still before the  Lord    and wait patiently for him;  do not fret when people succeed in their ways,  when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;  do not fret—it leads only to evil.  For those who are evil will be destroyed,  but those who hope in the  Lord  will inherit the land.  A little while, and the wicked will be no more;  though you look for them, they will not be found.  But the meek will inherit the land  and enjoy peace and prosperity." (emphasis mine)

I look around from time to time and get discouraged because I see people who don't love God succeeding. Does that mean that God isn't #faithful? No. There is never anything untruthful, deceitful, or disingenuous about God. He is perfect truth all the time! So that stands to reason that God's Word is perfect truth all the time. His Word says that he will "give me the desires of my heart", "He will make my righteous reward shine like the dawn, my vindication like the noonday sun". That must mean that if I am not succeeding...it's me.

Take a minute to reflect here: what am I saying about myself? what am I saying about my business? what am I saying..??? The Word says:

Proverbs 21:23 NIV "Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity."

James 3:910 NIV "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be."

Mark 11:23-24 NIV “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."


Ok, that wasn't at all what I meant to talk about..but, it's still good. 

I am here to talk about committing my ways to the Lord. There are promises in the Bible that flow with, and follow my commitment. "Commit your way to the  Lord ;  trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,  your vindication like the noonday sun.  " Commit my ways to the Lord, Lean not on my own understanding, Acknowledge Him in all I do...HE will direct my path. 

Have you ever thought about the fact that the reason we don't succeed is because we go about it the wrong way? We have it all backwards sometimes. Sometimes we have these epic thoughts come in our heads, and instead of acknowledging the fact that this epic thought came from God, we just start planning how to make this epic thought a reality. The first thing we need to realize is that every thought and inspiration is of God, if you are a child of the Most High. HE is the creator of all things..not us. We are so finite in our abilities. We are so human! 

Deut 8:17-18 NIV "You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But remember the  Lord  your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today."

For myself, I have been terrible lately about trying to be epic without God and His grace. I have struggled with trying to make something of myself, and I have stressed myself out completely in the process. I started my commitment to #faithfulness just a few weeks ago. In that time, I have watched successes happen that I had tried so hard to do on my own. I have received "direction" in my business, where before all I felt was confusion. This past weekend some things just "snapped" into place in my mind, and I wasn't even thinking about it. The thought that keeps going through my mind is "The wealth of the world is laid up for the righteous!"

Proverbs 13:22 NIV "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,  but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous."

Hallelujah! If you have a business, and you've wondered "is it ethical to cater to the world?", I say, "Yes, within reason." Is what you are doing going against the Word of God? Are you blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Is it perverse? Would you be embarrassed if another Christian, or your Pastor, found out what you were selling? Is it immoral? Is it straight up satanic? Are you going to be a stumbling block to another Christian? 

I think if you can hold it up to the intense light of the Word, you have the OK from God, and you have peace in your Spirit about it...then it's full steam ahead! The last part about being a stumbling block to another Christian is another thing that needs to be between you and God. If you are seeking God about whether or not your business is appropriate, the Holy Spirit is going to instruct you, and lead you. He will pop those little red flags up if what you are about to embark on is ultimately not going to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ. He doesn't want you to cause other Christians to fail. And yes, we do need to be sensitive to that. It isn't taught much anymore, but it is in the Bible. 

Matthew 18:6-9 NIV “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.    Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!    If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.    And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

Having said all of that, there are times that Christians "just don't like" certain things. Their personal view is that something is wrong, without it really being wrong. In this instance, you take what they have to say with a grain of salt. If you have permission from God, you don't need their permission. We should not go out of our way to offend someone, but there are people that go out of their way to be offended, and there is nothing you can do about that. That's between them and God. 

Commit my way to the Lord (quit worrying about those other people!)...

Don't lean on my own understanding and knowledge...

Acknowledge HIM!!! in EVERYTHING!!!....

Let Him lead me down HIS path....

His path...His dreams...are always smoother, and better than mine!...

Watch Him make "easy" something YOU have been struggling with!!...






Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Eyes of the Lord



Psalm 33:18-19 NIV "But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine."

These verses meant so much to me this morning. I can't get them out of my head. The eyes of the LORD are on me ....TO....deliver me from death and keep me alive in famine!! 

Oh Heavenly Father, look upon my heart. I pray that my reverence and fear of you is honest and pure. I do hope in your unfailing love. I can't live without your love. You have proven again and again how much you love me, and take care of me, even when I am not #faithful. Please forgive my foolishness, and lead me back to righteousness in you Jesus! Thank you Lord that during this transition time in our family you protect all of us, and continue to lead in the way that we should go.  I claim Psalm 91 over my family! Holy Spirit, don't leave any of us alone until our hearts are stayed perfectly on the Lord. Until our passions, and our desires reflect the heart and will of God. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Forgiveness



Not every bad thing that happens in our lives was done to us on purpose. Yes, there are circumstances where people live in houses of evil with people that purpose to hurt others. But, that's not the case for most of us, no matter how much we think it is. Not if we are being really honest about it.

This past weekend was the weekend where God confronted me with the need to forgive. Really forgive.  As we know I'm working toward #faithfulness with God. I thought that I had forgiven all of my past, but I hadn't.

 Mark 11:25 says "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you."

Matthew 5:23-24 NIV "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘ Raca ,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,  leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."

I meditated on verse 25 of Mark 11 for a great deal on Saturday. When I woke up Sunday morning, I knew that I knew, that I had to write an email to someone I had never forgiven. But, I decided that it was not going to be one of those "bomb" letters that listed all of the things that I had perceived this person had done to wrong me. I just told this person how I had felt growing up, that I didn't understand why they had treated me the way that they had, and then I asked them to forgive me for my behavior from that time forward. 

I asked them to forgive the mean and nasty things I had said in the past, the way that I had snubbed them and any effort they had made to be nice to me, for giving up on them, for any way that I hurt them, for poisoning the way my family views them with my rage and unforgiveness, and for being jealous over any relationship that I saw them put an effort in. 

You see, forgiveness is not always about us hearing the words "I'm Sorry"...sometimes forgiveness is about saying "I'm Sorry". Every relationship has two sides, just like every story, and every coin. Except for certain circumstances, there is usually never "all victim"/"all bad guy". There is a combination of both on each side. Sometimes, what we perceive as having been attacked, persecuted, or made fun of...was not how the other person intended it at all. Sometimes we are just too sensitive. Perception is tricky thing. Our actions and reactions come out of our perception. What are we hanging onto in our offense that needs to be re-examined under the microscope of honesty and forgiveness?

I am finally on a road of healing with this person from my past (and my future). I have made a decision to forgive. Because, that's what it really boils down to. Choice. I could choose to hang on to the anger I have felt for 40 years, and remain ineffectual in my daily walk with Christ. Or, I can choose to let go of it. This person has forgiven me, and that means a lot. Really, more than I can say. I have been very nasty....very, very nasty in my heart toward this person for longer than I can remember. Oh Jesus, how could you have looked on me and loved me through all of that?? Thank you for your forgiveness. I don't want to be stagnate and ineffectual in my walk anymore. I want to affect lives for Jesus. 

What a powerful act forgiveness is. I wonder what is waiting for me on the other side of my obedience? 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sacrifice



How can I look upon the sacrifice of Jesus' life, and say that it is not enough for me to lay down and sacrifice the world for? 

Lord, I repent for the lack of #faithfulness in my heart. I repent that I looked at what you did, accepted it, let it move my heart (I cry every time I think about it), but still say "That's too hard.", "I can't do that.", "I don't think it's fair that *I* have to give up something like that.", "Why am *I* always being asked to sacrifice?" Lord, please forgive the haughtiness of my heart. 

Until I have given up a throne in heaven, become a human, endured & won every temptation known to man the first time I was tempted, walked on water, performed endless miracles, fasted 40 days and nights and still resisted the devil, walked a perfect walk of perfect love on the earth, allowed myself to be tortured, beaten, and murdered....hung on a cross bleeding out, and still forgave the people that murdered me...then defeated death and the grave rising 3 days later....I know nothing of sacrifice. Nothing.

The piddly things that God has asked me to give up, and I have balked and refused to give up, are embarrassing compared to Jesus' sacrifice. It actually brings tears of shame to my eyes as I write this. I just want to lay face down on the floor blubbering like a baby. What a snotty little brat I've been. 

Somehow I got it in my head that I understood what it meant to sacrifice something, because I've lost loved ones, and I've lost jobs, and I've lost relationships, and I've had innocence ripped from me, and I've lost hope, and I've lost time, and I've had to struggle and work hard.....It still doesn't stack up. On any level. 

I heard it said once, somewhere, that the collective knowledge of all people on earth equals a dog turd on somebodies lawn compared to the knowledge of God. Man has never created anything with the words of their mouths. Certainly not entire universes. Think of how intricately made everything is. The human body? Right there...mind blown! I think I've done something amazing when I can design a crochet pattern on the first try. It's not even my idea! All inspiration and ideas are given by the Holy Spirit. (Job32:8 KJV "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.") 

I've heard other people say that it is ridiculous for people to say they are nothing without Jesus. That somehow that person is denigrating themselves, and putting too much power in the hands of a deity. Except that to a person who has received the forgiveness of a Holy God, they don't see it as denigration. They accept that there is a God that is greater than they. They accept that He loved us so much that he allowed His only begotten son to die on a cross just for them. Do you have it in you to sacrifice your child for a world that hates you? I know that I can say a hearty "NO" to that question. 

So, if we aren't smarter than God, it stands to reason that He knows something about the "sacrifice" He's asking of us that we don't. He sees our end from our beginning. He knew us when we were in our mother's womb. He knows every hair on our head by number. I read in the book "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young that God knows exactly how many times He has to present something to us before we will accept it, do it, etc. He knows exactly how many times we will fail Him. He knows exactly how many times we will deny Him. Yet, He never quits on us and tells us we are too much work, or too high maintenance. Never. 

Every time we fall He walks over to us, picks us up, loves us, kisses our boo-boo's, puts a band-aid on it, pats us on the butt, and sends us back out on the playground telling us "You can do it, I know you can!" 

If you are #faithful to something, you make sacrifices for it, don't you? Children, marriage, job, school, friends, etc? We all make sacrifices for things that mean enough to us to be #faithful to it. God is #faithful. He sacrificed the thing/person He loved the most. His greatest prize, if you will. He knows that some of the things He is asking us to sacrifice are hindrances in our life. They are things that hold us back from accomplishing more. Sometimes he asks us to sacrifice our dreams. Because if we will remove ourselves and our abilities from the "success" equation, He will take that dream and make it exponentially bigger and better than anything we could ever hope for. But, He wants the glory for it, which is rightfully His. If we can accomplish what He can accomplish, then why would we need Him, right? The Bible says in Ephesians 2:9 that the gift of salvation comes straight from the grace of God "Not of works, lest any man should boast." He doesn't want us boasting about what WE can do....He wants us boasting about what HE can do!!

If I want to be truly #faithful, then I need to have a willing heart when it comes to sacrifice. And trust that my God really does know what's best for me. He's not just being the school yard bully and trying to ruin my fun. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Making the Most High my dwelling



My Bible time started in Psalm 91:9. I recently read all of Psalm 91, but this morning I opened up the Bible app on my phone, and the first thing that hit me was Psalm 91 vs 9. (it's highlighted in pink. lol)

Psalm 91:9 (NIV), "If you say, “The  Lord  is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling,..."

There is a blessing that comes after that in verse 10, but I got stuck on number 9. I started meditating on "If YOU SAY..."The Lord is my refuge"...and YOU MAKE the Most High your dwelling...."

The Lord IS my refuge. I am tatoo'ed to the palm of His hand. He never drops me. He never leaves me nor forsakes me, but it is more than that. This verse is not just about the Lord being my refuge, which can be sort of abstract. This verse is about an action that is required of me....making the Most High my dwelling. 

So I asked...How do I make the Most High my dwelling? 

I felt the Spirit inside me say, "By meditating on the Word, and by renewing your mind." Which led me right to Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2 (NIV), "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ok, Lord. I see more than just renewing my mind. I see another condition here; "Do not conform to the pattern of this world". 

What is the pattern of this world? ANYTHING that is the antithesis of God. Selfishness, unkindness, unhappiness, greed, lust, watching what we want, doing what we want, saying what we want...with no thought to others or God...taking what we want, expecting something that isn't ours and doesn't belong to us, and on and on the list goes. Literally, if it doesn't hold up against the Word of God...it is of the world. If we cannot stack it up against the fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5:22-23 (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.)...then it's not of God. 

So, I had to repent with a broken heart, because I know, that I know, that I conformed to the pattern of this world. With repentance comes forgiveness. God throws our sin as far as the East is from the West. He puts it in the sea of forgetfulness, and posts a "no fishing" sign. Now that I have repented, not only does satan not have the right to remind me of my sin (Romans 8:1 and Psalm 34:22), but I don't have the right to beat myself up over it. Time to move on. Shake the dust off your feet, and head toward righteousness. 

Ok, back to making the Most High my dwelling by renewing my mind. When you make a cake, you put ingredients together and bake it, right? When you make an afghan, you take yarn and a crochet hook, or knitting needles,  and work a series of knots until a blanket manifests. When you make peace, you bring opposing sides together to talk about a solution. Wouldn't it stand to reason then that "making" the Most High my dwelling by renewing my mind would require me to bring some things together (and possibly remove some things?) in the act of "making"? 

What does it fully mean to renew your mind? For me, it means a removal of things that aren't edifying to me spiritually, and replacing them with things that ARE edifying to me spiritually. Bringing together a combination of the Word of God in several formats. Listening to Praise and Worship music and Christian radio over secular, wordly music. Sacrificing some of my morning "comfort" to get up early to read the Word, and have a cup of coffee before I get my day going. Watching broadcasts of preachers who preach the uncompromised Word of God instead of filling up on Family Feud, or some mind-numbing sitcom filled with inappropriate and ungodly behavior. Listening to teaching tapes by favorite preachers. 

Some are going to look at that list and lament the sacrifice. They may possibly get belligerent and say "No one is telling me what to do...not even God!" Others will look at that list, like me, and see the opportunity to rid myself of filth that is holding me back. Is it extreme? Yes. That is what immersion is...extreme. I have to ask myself, are you really serious about God? Do you really want the things of God? If so, then get serious about it. Don't pussy-foot around and dilly dally. To repent means to do a 180 away from sin, and go in the other direction. If I'm skirting around necessary changes, and making excuses, and justifying WHY its ok for me to still do what I shouldn't do...then I am not serious about wanting to change, and I am not serious when I say to God.."I submit my will to yours". 

Oh, ouch!! That will bang you in the knees with a shovel!! But, dust yourself off, don't be condemned...be convicted!! Let that conviction drive you right into the loving arms of Jesus. Repent! Turn away from sin! Shift your focus! Surrender, and let God show you what you need to do to return to #faithfulness!


What is #projectfaithfulness?



#projectfaithfulness is for me, and hopefully it will help others along the way. 

Let me tell you who I am. My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Biz (so you can call me Biz...cuz you're an "everyone"). 

I grew up most of my life in the church. As a matter of fact I was 5 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and 7 when I was filled with the Holy Ghost. I honestly cannot remember a day in my life without Jesus. Here's how I got there:

My parents were hippies and druggies. My Mom wanted more, and was introduced to Jesus through some farm ladies in the small rural town we lived in. My Dad wanted nothing to do with it. However, my Mom just kept right on doing her thing (she's always been an independent sort). She would ask him to come to Bible Studies, and he would say "No". Finally, he caved in. My Dad was one of those 'sinners' that would drag his 6 pack of beer to the Bible Study my Mom had dragged him to, start a fight, and then leave. But, the faithfulness of God prevailed. One day God got a hold of him while he was on his knees next to a cow named Beth. My Mom had told my Dad that she would follow him anywhere except to hell. My Dad couldn't stand the thought of an eternity without his family, so he gave his life to Jesus Christ. 

My Dad's conversion was a radical one. We were involved in a denominational church to begin with, so we burned all of our 'satanic' music. Hundreds of collectible LP's...up in smoke. We thought we were doing the right thing. Found out later on it was just a lot of legalistic rules. We continued to attend the denominational church for several years. Then, my parents were introduced to the Holy Spirit at the first Kenneth Copeland Believer's Convention in Dallas, TX in 1981. This was another radical spiritual change for them. It didn't take long for our denominational church to catch wind of the fact that my parents had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and wanted them out. They didn't exactly tell them to leave, but they did tell them they were not allowed to teach Sunday School, or basically be involved in any aspect of the church. People shunned us like we had the plague. All of a sudden, I remember not being allowed to even talk to my best friend Heather (that's all I remember of her name anymore). My parents couldn't fathom staying somewhere that we were so obviously unwanted, so we left our denominational church. We then started traveling 2 hours one way every Sunday to attend a non-denominational church that was alive, and taught the things that we needed to hear. Within two years, my parents were licensed and ordained ministers, and started a church. 

So, as you can see, I've been involved in "church" almost my entire life. I walked away from serving Christ when I was around 15 until I was about 20. Stupid years I wish I could get back....but I can't...so I just go on with life and accept the forgiveness of Jesus. Up until 2-1/2 years ago my family and I were in ministry with my parents. We were both licensed and ordained ministers, had been youth pastors for more than 10 years, were on the church board, I was the treasurer and worship leader, my husband was head of Helps ministry.....it was good. It was at that time that my husband was offered a job in Florida, and we wanted out of Northern Wisconsin, so he took it. Honestly, we knew it was a "God move". There wasn't a doubt in our minds. Everything transitioned smoothly. Florida was where we belonged, and we were going to do great things in ministry when we got there!! 

Fast forward 2-1/2 years. These have been the hardest spiritual and physical years of my remembrance. We found a church right away. Within 6 or so weeks we decided to become members. Eventually I started singing with the choir and hubby was ushering.....then our kids told us they were immensely unhappy. The kids in the youth group were terribly unfriendly. They liked the youth leaders, but couldn't get past the snubbing of the kids. There were major ethnic and cultural differences, and the kids in the youth group treated them poorly. So, we decided we had to look elsewhere for a church. That sent us on a two year journey, visiting more than 10 churches, to find the one we currently attend. 

Through this 2-1/2 year journey I became increasingly disillusioned. Did God really send us here? Did we just jump at the first chance and do the wrong thing? God where are you??? Why are we not in ministry?? Why are we unable to find a church that we can call "HOME"?? Are we supposed to start our own ministry...(in a city that has more than 800 churches already..*gasp*..)?? What is going on??? This wasn't supposed to be this hard! God, where are you?? This was not the plan! This was not how it was supposed to be! We were supposed to get involved with a church and serve and preach and teach and....be in ministry!! 

That was all we knew... Ministry. 

We had gotten so busy in ministry that we didn't attend to so many things that we needed to attend to in our personal lives. Like, learning how to NOT be the babies of the family and run to Mom and Dad every time we had a problem. Learning how to be independent and stand on our own two feet. Learning how to go without, because the bills took all the money, instead of Daddy always running to the rescue. Learning how to REEEEAAALLLYYY seek God and rely on God. 

This is where #projectfaithfulness comes in. 

#projectfaithfulness is for me. I am so thankful for a God who never gives up on me. I am so thankful for a Holy Spirit that keeps poking at me in the midst of my self-pity, and my anger, and my stupidity to convict my spirit. I am so thankful that I am now listening.

Recently my heart began to ache over all the things we lost in the move. I don't even remember what the trigger was that snapped me out of it. I was moving fast into a depression that was not going to be pretty. I was super unhappy at my job, and getting angry with people and things; all very ugly behavior. One day I thought to myself..."Set your alarm for 6 am and get up and read your Bible". 

So I did.....and I was encouraged. Then, I set my alarm for every day of the week for 6 am, including Saturday and Sunday. I have been getting up every day and reading the word...and I am encouraged. One day last week I was flipping through the channels and saw that Joyce Meyer was on. Her voice has always driven me up the wall to the point where I refused to watch any of her broadcasts. This time, I stopped and watched the show....and DVR'd all of her future shows! I have been watching her show every day...and I am encouraged! There is an anointing that draws me in. She has been teaching about taking offense. Exactly what I needed to hear! I am driven to watch her broadcasts. I can't wait to be fed the Word. 

It was yesterday that it dawned on me that what God is working me through right now is a return to #faithfulness. I had lost my #faithfulness. I was doing my own thing, making my own decisions, watching what I wanted, eating what I wanted, talking how I wanted....and it had no part of God in it. Through reading His Word again, I am learning that it has not been a matter of "God where are you?", but "Biz, where are YOU?!" I have repented for being an unfaithful child of the Most High King. I really was quite the brat. 

So, like I've said several times...#projectfaithfulness is for me. This is my blog to talk about what God is saying and showing to me. But, maybe, if you made it to the end of this long tale...it might be for you too. Maybe we'll journey back to #faithfulness together.