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Years ago, the Lord did me a big favor and introduced me to a recording artist named Shannon.
A friend surprised me with her CD entitled Faithful God and I immediately fell in love with her amazing voice and ability to lead in worship. Seriously, I played this CD so many times that my whole family was soon singing along to several of the tracks.
We all loved it!
As quick as I could, I ordered 10 of them and sent them out to some close friends. I knew they would be as moved as I was by this woman's ministry. And they were!
Well, let me tell you, I'm a super happy sister today. Look what I just got in the mail from Shannon herself!!!
She graciously sent one for me and another for a friend. I was grateful but given my track record of hogging as many copies as possible to give away to others, I bravely asked her for more.
. . .FOR YOU!
Take Heart is Shannon's brand new gift to women who want to worship deeply and passionately and she has graciously agreed to give away five copies to some of our blog readers. Girlfriends, I am so happy for you cause you're going to soon find out what I already know - Shannon Wexelberg's voice and ministry are INCREDIBLE!
Entering for a chance to win is so easy! You only have to do two things:
1. Tweet or facebook a link to today's blog so that others can know about this opportunity to win Shannon's new CD.
2. Leave a comment here telling us how you would use a worship CD like this most often (in your car while running errands, during your quiet time, while you work in the office, etc.)
You have until Thursday, Feb 21st to leave your comments! We'll post the names of FIVE winners on Friday and the CD will be sent directly to their homes!
Until then, take advantage of this free download of FOUR of Shannon's songs by clicking here:
Then, listen to her music while you poke around her website! She's one of my favorites. .. and will soon be one of yours too!
We here at Going Beyond Ministries are basically all becoming foodies and I'm loving every minute of it. Eating is an EVENT, not just something that has to be done around here. I feel like it is my goal to find out about all the "weird" foods out there and be among the first to know about them, but I must say that it is becoming quite the competition around here with Annetta and now Jerry and Priscilla. It's certainly been fun, especially since Dallas is filled with awesome organic grocery stores. (We're just now getting Trader Joes... can anyone share in my excitement????)
However, we all know that most of us do not have the ability, or perhaps desire, to have our fridge and pantry stocked with completely organic products. I'm the first to admit that I just don't do that because I don't want to legalistic or waste money on unnecessary foods when I can get it at my local grocery store for just as good and just as cheap.
I came across an article the other day that gave a list of suggested products that you can really do without purchasing organic, and I thought you all might like to be in the know about it. So, here are some foods "they" are saying you don't need to be so worried about being organic...
Friends, this is good news considering these are, in my opinion, some of the most delicious items you can put in your mouth out of fruits and veggies. Now I'm sure there are MANY opnions about all this, but let's just choose to accept this great news of information for us foodies and get the $2 less avocados from Walmart rather than Whole Foods and celebrate as we eat a ton of Guacamole, yes??
Cheers to saving a little money!
People. ALL people. Will fail you.
People DO fail you.
ALL the time.
What's also crazy to note is at the end of the day, not only are your friends and relationships going to fail YOU, but YOU are going to fail THEM. It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's called "original sin." If you read the first few chapters of Genesis, you'll get the idea: We are a wicked, sinful people whose righteous deeds are as filthy rags to our Creator (Isaiah 64:6).
So we get it. We fail, they fail, everyone fails. Sounds like a really uplifting blog, huh? Well...enter Jesus.
Jesus is the ONE human who has ever walked this planet who will NEVER fail you. You might THINK He has failed you...you might have been praying for that spiritual breakthrough or husband or money for the house payment, and you seem to have walked away empty-handed. But the REALITY is Scripture says He satisfies the desire of every living thing. You have a need? He's got you.
Don't believe me? Maybe His current behavior or movement in your life doesn't leave you to believe that He is making good on something huh? Well, that's when we get nitty-gritty my friend...that's when we get on our knees and claim all the Promises He has given us in His Word. Are you at a loss for a good promise for your arsenal today? Let me hand you mine from this weekend...it has seemed to give me a little energy in my prayer life this week.
I was preparing for Community Group, reading Psalm 84 and just STOPPED dead in my tracks at verse 11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
No GOOD thing does He hold back from those who walk uprightly? If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and you are being faithful today to confess any known sin (and pray He reveals unknown), you have the Blood of Jesus on your head...you are PERFECT in His eyes. You ARE upright! And there is a promise right there: He doesn't hold back anything from you...maybe if it's NOT good. Maybe you're praying for something that He isn't ready to give to you yet...maybe He needs to be the center of your heart before He brings that husband...maybe He needs to cement your "child-like, trusting faith" before He showers you with financial blessing. And maybe our sinful fallen world would keep it from us, we need only to PRAY IT INTO EXISTENCE.
But I haven't even gotten to the GOOD part yet. The word "good" in the passage is the Hebrew word for towb: good, pleasant, beautiful, excellent, lovely, delightful, convenient, joyful, fruitful, precious, sound cheerful, kind, economic or practical benefits, wisdom, esthetic or sensual pleasure.
SHUT YOUR MOUTH. So. Good. HE IS! THAT is all part of the promise??
But one step farther, hold on, your arsenal isn't complete yet: Lamentations 3:24-25, "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good (towb) to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." The word "wait" here qavah is "to bind together by twisting, to collect, to be joined, to be enduring." Such an interesting word...I immediately think of entwinging my fingers with a boyfriend. When they are entwined, it's almost like you're saying, "I'm on your team. I'm throwing in my lot with you" (At least, for the length of that date!). Entwining fingers is a sure sign to others that you and that fella are an item.
So. If I "entwine" my fingers with God, I'm basically saying, "I'm on YOUR team. I'm stepping forward in faith saying, I NEED YOU TO MOVE! I trust in YOU to do it. I'm throwin in my lot with YOU!" Do you recall instances in the New Testament of folks throwing in their lots with Jesus? The blind dude did, he got a little mud masque and "Voila!": SIGHT. The bleeding woman did and badda-boom, badda-bang: NO MORE BLEEDING. There is instance after instance of folks who aligned themselves on Jesus team (stepped out in faith to say, "Jesus, YOU are my great need!") and His response was massive, miraculous and GOOD.
SO today. Believe His Word. Pray it to Him. Walk forward in confidence. He is a good, GOOD God who has all sorts of fun things around the corner...now get on your knees and spend this V-Day praying this things to HIM! Call Him OUT my friend! Ask Him what's taking so long! He's really good at answering...although, not always as we'd prefer (see Job 38-41). But He WILL and DOES answer...and at the end of the day, He "satisfies the desire of every living thing"...and that every living thing is YOU.
Love you fiercely. Press in.
God, You SAID You would satisfy the desire of every living thing. I'm alive! I have deep needs I am desperate for YOU and YOU ALONE to meet! You said if I positioned myself on YOUR team that You would meet me with GOODNESS. Not just goodness that is a feel in my heart, but FINANCIAL goodness and ESTHETIC goodness and JOYFUL goodness and ALL SORTS of other goodness. And I gotta say: I am desperate for that GOODNESS! God, would You step in? Would You make good on your promise? I have a need! You said You'd meet it! Here it is! Move God! SO we can proclaim to others: LOOK WHAT GOD DID. I love You, in Jesus Name, AMEN!
Friday afternoon Annetta and I got to have a date with Jude man and decided in leu of of normal winter weather (Texas decided to give us a 75 degree day) that we should take a picnic for lunch. So, we grabbed a blanket from the cottage next door, orange slices and apple juice, crayons and some paper and headed out for the best spot in the sun.
Sometimes it's just necessary to stop and enjoy the little things while you can.
From coloring pictures, to hunting for clouds, to resting our eyes, it was a perfect 1.5 hours. And even the four year old was kept well occupied. Needless to say, when he picked wild flowers and gave them to us, our hearts melted and our Friday was made. It's the little things, you know...
So, grab a friend and go have a picnic and tell us about it.
And last but not least, the winner of the "momma" give-a-way goes to....
Congrats!! Please email your shipping information at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ship your book and earrings to you!
Reasons why I love the great land of Texas, specifically Dallas, so much:
1. It's February and 70 degrees outside and I get to work with the garage open and sunshine! Perfection!
2. The people. There's something about the southern charm that captivates me. I'm grateful for the friends God has so graciously given me. Good people!
(way too many friends missing from this picture, but this will do for now..)
3. The Food. sigh. Might be the best part about this place. So so many delicious things going on in this city. Our gargatuum Whole Foods, Central Market, TexMex, Sushi, steakhouses. It's just overwhelmingly awesome.
4. Klyde Warren Park. It's a semi new park that connects downtown from uptown and it's a must do for anyone who lives here/visits.
5. Runs at White Rock Lake.
6. Oak Lawn Coffee: by far the best coffee in town.
7. My little home. Slowly becoming one of my favorites place to just "be". And my roommates are pretty great as well!
8. Last but not least, Bishop Arts District. It's a little area south of downtown that reminds me of Nashville (probably why I love it so much). Pretty much everything you do there is fantastic!
What about you? Do you like your city? Do we need to visit? Do tell.....
P.S. Don't forget to enter our giveaway from Wednesday here if you haven't already done so
Hey there girlfriend!
I've been thinking a lot about the wild world of motherhood lately - how it manages to be sanity-threatening and life-beautifying all at the same time. But somehow the joyfully chaotic rhythm of this wild life provides a cadence that we dance to every single day. . .AND SOMEHOW SURVIVE.
Leave it to Melanie Shankle (AKA "Big Momma") to walk with us on the journey in such a beautiful way in her new book Sparkly Green Earrings.
It arrived in the mail yesterday with a perfect pair of dangling earrings to match the title of her perfect book. And all I can say is "IT'S ABOUT TIME!" I've loved this woman's writings for quite some time and have tuned in regularly to her blog (http://thebigmamablog.com/) where she writes about all things motherhood. . and fashion. . .and feminine. . and delicious . . .and lovely. . all at the same time. Her quick wit, charm and clever use of words is completely addicting! The pages of this book capture her - and SHE is exactly who you want! I've just begun to read and I have already been in stitches; nodding and smiling in agreement as she shares her life so openly!
Melanie's book has arrived on the scene at just the right time. The "Dot Mom" Conference is happening in just a few short weeks and "Big Momma" will be our emcee! If you've not registered yet to join me in Dallas Ft. Worth for this conference that is about all things "motherhood", don't wait another minute! We're planning for you and can't wait to see you at what will prove to be a weekend worth remembering!
So, in the spirit of motherhood . .and all the glorious mayhem that comes along with it . . .I'd love to give away an autographed copy of Melanie's book today and a fabulous pair of sparkly green earrings!
To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment by 12pm on Sunday with a crazy motherhood story that will make us all LOL! Has your kid done something hilarious recently? Or maybe you've been the one who has made your family double over laughing because of some zany action you've taken!
Tell us your motherhood story and we'll select one of you to have Melanie's book and earrings delivered to your doorstep!
The winner will be announced on Monday, February 11th!
Bless you today and I'll see you at Dot Mom!
PS. . .You can find out more about Melanie and her book right here!
I know how to praise God in darkness. I know how to be in a fetal position crying out, saying I will choose Him again and again and again. The pain that arrested me in that place drove me to my knees and His Word. I could do nothing else! I had no other choice: If I wanted to live I had to choose Him. And choose Him I did...and slowly but surely, I crawled out of that dark place and into the light.
But once I was in the light, I started to realize, "I don't know how to do the Christian walk up here." I completely "got" how to choose God in the hard times, but when it came to the GOOD times, I was confused...my need wasn't as prevelant. The light of day was distracting, with all its' colors. My pain wasn't there, glaring and poignant and screaming at me, driving me to my knees. I had to actually stop and access my heart....it wasn't laying there in the open for me to just pass by and step in.
And once I got to the heart? I realized, I missed Him.
In the "goodness" of life, I had just lost touch with Him, the GOOD of Life. Just coasting along in my happy bubble of a world...thinking I was doing good to others by loving them out of my excess.
And it became just as glaringly apparent that to chase God in the promised land required the same amount of energy (if not MORE!) as chasing Him in the desert. I have to reassess and press in, harder and harder. My soul doesn't naturally do it FOR me now...I have to actually CHOOSE Him.
It's odd, the way life swings us around in different seasons...and I'm grateful that we have a God who meets us in the middle of it all. In the plenty and in the lack, He is present, and He is GOD. I am reminded of some verses I quoted all the time in my "lack" days:
""The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent." - Lamentations 3:24-27
The LORD is my portion in good and bad. The LORD is my Protector in good and in bad. The LORD is The One Who Loves and Protects and Redeems me...not that man, not that job, not that bank account, not that family, not that friendship, not my image, not my platform...THE LORD ALONE!
All I need is the King of the Universe, The One Who placed those dreams in this heart, before He CREATED THE WORLD, THAT ONE to be a part of my daily, living, ordinary, breathing in-n-out days!
Here's to HIM being our portion today.
Love you friends...
Friends, you've GOT to hop on over here today when you have a few minutes and read the new devotional from Priscilla in the Jewelry Box. It's amazing and ridiculously faith stirring.
We are in a battle.
If we could grasp what Priscilla is saying here, I think it would shift our whole perspective on life. It could shift how we live and handle each day as we face the seasons of challenges and moments of success that it brings.
Hope it encourages you and stirs your faith today.
What do you think?
Girlfriend. . . look at this house!
It's the only one left standing after a hurricane wiped out dozens of others that were in the exact same neighborhood. You can't tell by looking at this "after" photo but before the storm this lone structure was in the company of many others. Houses that look much the same as this one were stacked side by side. Yet, the high winds and rains of the fierce whirlwind demolished all of them . . . . .except this one. Leaving it alone in its wake.
Reminds me of another house left standing after a storm:
And the rains descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. - Matthew 7:25
The house in the photo, and the one Jesus talked about in Matthew's gospel, both had a foundation that was stronger, more sure and solid than that of every other home in its vicinity. What wisdom and foresight the architects and owners must have had! Their insight was different from every other homeowner on the block and their willingness to do things differently than those around them saved their precious house and possibly even their lives.
The question is: Why did they decide to build differently? What happened that caused them to break the mold when constructing?
Turns out, this particular home had been in a hurricane before and had suffered incredible damage. The discouraged homeowners had gathered up their belongings, swept up the rubble, salvaged the remains of their courage and mapped out a strategy that would keep them from experiencing this same devastation in the future.
They didn't let the 1st storm scare them away . . they let it teach them a valuable lesson for the future.
So. . they built a house that could STAND based on the devastation of their past.
Have you been threatened or even beaten down by recent storms? Don't retreat my friend. Sweep through the rubble it left behind, salvage what remains and map out a plan for rebuilding that is founded on the wisdom of God's Word.
Then, no matter what comes, you'll be LEFT STANDING.
You Are Loved,
I was sitting in Hillsong church...there was a guest speaker. An American. Maybe it was the refreshing feeling of home that came through his 'Merican accent in the land Down Under, or maybe that I'd gotten a solid 8 hours of sleep the night before (a RARITY at Hillsong!) or maybe it was The Holy Spirit Speaking (let's sit with that last one), but no matter, what he said that day stuck to my soul and wouldn't budge! It was like getting a piece of double-sided tape stuck on your fingers...trying to get it off only to have it attach itself to another part of your body! In this case, his words were stuck firmly to my heart...and every shake just seemed to deepend their impression on my soul.
"If you ask for a miracle, you're asking for a loaf of bread. But if you ask for wisdom, you're asking for a bakery."
Whoa. Prior to this, I had been beggin God for breakthrough. I had spent days and nights praying and fasting, begging Him to use me...for miraculous doors opening.
But from that moment on, I started to ask God for more and more and more wisdom...I asked Him to endow me with wisdom so clearly from HIS stores that others would know it was HIM guiding me and not myself. And I sat there. Asking for wisdom. Expecting miracles, loaves of bread, to come from that bakery of wisdom.
There's a whole lot more that could be said about wisdom and miracles...but I just wanted to throw that thought out there...what do YOU think? Do you find yourself praying more for wisdom or miracles? Are you pressing in to His Word to have His Spirit move more powerfully in you? Or are waiting to see His Spirit work in your surroundings alone? It's not an either-or, it's a AND!
You are loved,