Christmas Presence & Christmas Presents~ Let’s see you top this one Santa!

 

Being a single mom on a lower income, I had become accustom to receiving a Christmas grocery hamper every year to help us squeak thru December with all its extra festive frills.
 

 

But it had been growing strong in my heart that I needed to take a stand against that mediocrity monster and put my faith foot down in this area of my life.
 
So this Christmas, with a  big deep breath, I stomped.

But really God… I can fix this one.. Trust me..

 

I ran into my victim a day or two back.

You know, the poor soul who’s life and esteem I ripped from stem to stern with my  “dominating attitude”.

Dominating?
Hmmm, maybe stubborn is the word… no, no, that’s not it either….

How about unsubmitted, disobedient, selfish, uncrucified not-quit-dead-yet flesh…

Ya, I hurt someone  deeply because I think I know better than God.

Because I can’t let my wants, my desires, my ME, stay dead at that cross. And I don’t keep my mouth and my logical understanding, from trying to run the show.

Well, I ran into that person the other day.
It broke my heart.
It was all I could do to stop shaking.

More than anything I wanted to grab them, hug them, put some Star Trek Mind Wiper thingy on them and erase every memory of all past iniquities.

But, alas… I think its finally sinking into my noggin that the harder I try to fix things, the worser it gets.

I can do nothing in my flesh.

There is nothing that I can say.
There is nothing that I can do.

All that person wants of me is to honor their request and vanish… poofity poof…

It is Easter soon.  I think alot about the Ressurection.
I know God is the God of the Ressurection.
I think He get quite a kick out of  ressurecting things.
And I am still counting on the God of the Ressurection to do what He does best and breathe life into what is dead.

I try to remind myself that God quite delights when I take my hands off of things.
That it pleases Him when I sit in quiet expectation, counting on Him to come thru for me.

If your heart is aching over strained and broken fellowship, regrets and remose, please, take hope.
There is so much hope. He is our HOPE!

God will not share the Glory.
If we are fighting and straining to fix something, He will not interfer.
He will lovingly sit and watch us dig our hole deeper and wider, until the hole becomes a grave, and that thing  insides dies.

He will watch patiently until we come till the end of our own self.
Untill we get to the very deep, very clear realization that we can do nothing of our own selves and we need Him and all of Him in all of us.

But He is the God of reconciliation. It is why He sent Jesus to that Cross.
His mercy is beyond description.

It will come.
I believe Him. I know Him.
I know His Heart and I know His love for me and my victim.

Reconciliation will come for you too.
I am praying that for you  tonight as I try not to listen to much to the empty hollow banging in my heart.

Easter is a season of miracles.
Death to life.
Thats what He is all about and I believe Him.

Time to dig into Key 1 and Key 2…. Oh how my Daddy loves me.

He loves me in my pain. He loves me in my lonliness. He loves me in my repentance.
He is also using this time to walk me and “victim” into a new place of healing, and death to ourselves.

So when that day comes, we can shout to the world LOOK WHAT GOD HAS DONE.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for anyone today who is wadding thru strained fellowship, disappointment, heart break.
God, you be the healer. God you are the restorer.
Thank you for the amazing work you are doing. Work that we may not know, may not see, but we don’t need to.
We know you.  We know you heart and it is beautiful.
I pray you touch my bloggie friend today when the darkness sneaks in.
When doubt and lies scream.
I pray that the truth of your word rises above all else.
Everything is possible!
YES!! This is possible.

And when our miracles happen, you will get all the glory and all the praise.

In JESUS Name,
Amen, so be it.

BLESS and Budgets

Ok, here it is.  

The grunts and gears of it.

The rubber is finally meeting the road.

You have been peeking into Jo’s world, watching me   deal with a dodged  confrontation, and not bite some heads off...

But this is what you are all wondering, I know…

How does the BLESS keys really stand up in the nitty-gritty reality of bills and moolah.

Well, it works.
BLESS works every where, with everything.

If you let it.
Ah!!! Yes, a catch… the disclaimer.

BLESS works if you work it.

And between you and I, my daily budget is the one place where I am stretched and challenged the most.

Take today, for example.
2 weeks after the holiday finds me holding the first pay stub of the New Year.
A pay stub that is several days shorter because of holidays.
A pay stub that is showing the tell-tale signs of a recession, and an unprecedented drop in sales.

In my other hand, I hold the damage of the past couple months.  A heat bill that would choke a Canadian moose,  the cost of Christmas goodies, a long list of fix-its that has to be done on Stinky Mike’s jeep, plus the usual expenses..

I am a single mom of 3.
whether you agree with it or not, I spent most of those years on the welfare , never making ends meet, falling into the gap of  “the system”, having to look up to see the bottom of the poverty line.

I have since left the “system” to enter the workforce and , unfortunately, more times than not, the income is better on the “system”.

Truth be told, discouragement  is never far from my shoulder.
It is always looking for an opportunity to pounce.

I only share this all with you is to make you understand this~

But THE ONLY REASON I have been able avoid the cold fingers of depression is because of the BLESS keys.

It is these keys that keep me from drowning, from month’s end to month’s end.
They are my assurance. My sure-fire guarantee from heaven itself.

No matter what I see with my eyes, I know these keys are the KEYS to turning it all around.

So, here I am today, bills in hand, “surprise” expenses popping out of the blue as they sometimes do, but no lump in my throat.
I can swim up for air.
This time I am not going down.

Even as I open those little brown envelopes, one after another, after another, I am walking thru my steps….

B…..L……E (ah, yes, Jo… pay attention to “E”)…..

So,  is this an encouragement, for you? I hope so.

Do I have complete victory in my bottom line.
Nope…..

But I will tell you this, in the past week that I have recommitted myself to walking through the book again, I have felt an amazing rush of peace. It is solid

In all areas, but especially in finances.

The last key deals very specifically on how to bring increase into your life, while the preceeding keys build the foundation.

Tonight, I am going to curl up with Key 5 and jump in head first.

Keep reading, I will post praise report by praise report as it begins to work.

Irene’s Day

 

I opened the little card.
It was addressed  “Joanne Smith, c/o Neepawa Furniture Centre”.
With the words  “PRIVATE!  Confidential!!” written in large shaky handwriting across the front.

It was a little THANK-YOU card.
It had come from Irene, and it was an answer to prayer.

Her husband, Thomas, had died a month ago,  and I hadn’t heard from her since.

Part of me wondered if our friendship, which had been built around Thomas, will now dissolve.
A lot of me hesitated to contact her, because of the obvious upheaval her life would now be in, but also, secretly, because I felt an enormous weight over Thomas’ death.

I had to lay many what-if’s at the foot of the cross over my darling Thomas;  many questions I will never have an answer to on this side of the pearly gates.

But, here it was in my hand.

A lovely little note, thanking me for the flowers, the support during Thomas’ illness and an invitation for tea.

Today was TEA DAY.

As I drove out to Irene’s,  I reminded myself of what this was about, and why I was doing this.
I went over my BLESS keys in my head. I prayed them.

Yes, I pray them.
They are not just a “to-do-list” of proper behavior or etticate.
No,  they are keys that can supernaturally release the power of the Spirit of God in your life.

I know me.  I know that all I would want to do during  during tea, would be talk.
I would want  to talk about me. I would want to talk about my world, my problems.

If I let it, I would make this entire visit all about numero uno.

But Irene is a gift. Irene is a divine set-up.  Irene was my purpose for today.

So, today,  I chose to put me, myself and I to the side, and make Irene “numero uno’

BLESS does that. BLESS has trained me to do that so easily!

And the best part of  BLESS keys is that, not only was I able to love on Irene, but  none of me felt like I was missing a thing!  I never feel begrudged when I placed myself “second”.

I never feel like I have “missed out”, or “not been heard” anyway shape or form.

The beauty of this is that when the steps are working, I am the one that walks away floating on air.

Strange, I know, but completely true.

God meet me, by being a blessing to Irene!

What an amazing day!  What an amazing woman!

Thank you God for Irene!!

I LOVE HER!

So what do you do, REALLY??

 

When a dear ole’ friend,

  1. hasn’t called in ages
  2. doesn’t reply to your emails
  3. doesn’t accept you invitation to join  your FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
  4. doesn’t acknowledge your FB posts and chats

But…

keeps sending random, generic forwards that say,

“wanna make a crazy, ridiculous amount of money in some ridiculous, crazy online gimmick???  Well then, follow this totally un-affiliated  link to http://www.make-a-gazillion-dollars-in-2-days-without-doing-a-thing.com

???

 

Do You…

Huff and Puff??

Scream and Stomp??

Roll your Eyes REALLY REALLY dramatically before, after and during huffing and puffing, screaming and stomping????

NO!! Of course not!

First you grab yourself by the collar, drag yourself to the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say
“SELF!! Get over yourself!!”

Then you stir up your BLESS steps from deep in your belly and pray for the long lost buddy.

“Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for Mr Long Lost.
I thank you for the friendship and the fellowship.
Father, I thank you that he is your child and you have him safe in your hands.
I thank you that he is called by your name, and he hears your voice and obeys your voice.
I choose to love him unconditionally, patiently and kindly and to only see the very best in dear brother, Long Lost.
Father, I speak your provision over him.
Thank you for meeting all his needs.
I thank you that you are his source and have promised to perfect all that concerns him.
Father, I ask that you would speak to me clearly about anyway I can be an encouragement in his life, by word or by deed.
Father if by anyway, I have caused a division in this fellowship I pray you would show me so I can make it right.
Lord, I will be not only a hearer of your word but a do-er also.

And in all things I will give you the glory.

In Jesus name,  Amen”

Be BLESSed

Jo

Mending Bridges and Kindling Friendships

 

Today seems to be turning into visiting day.

So far (and its only nicely 2pm) I have been able to reconnect with 4 people who have been burning a hole in  my mind.

One of which was one of those conversations I had been avoiding, simply because it was going to be hurtful news, and I hate being the bearer of bad news.

I should have dealt with it in September, but I didn’t.  
Now, of course,  the prolonging made it ever worse.  I was very nervous.

I sat in my truck and went thru my key steps before popping thru his door.

Unfortunately, my most natural reaction would be to make sure I came out of this pending conversation looking “justified’. 
I had been avoiding this conversation, and everything inside me had already condemned myself over it.
The need to defend me, grew each day I dodged the inevitable.

My oh my, how I needed to put that down before I sat with this man.

Remember Key #2, Jo. My stuff is taken care of; I am just “fine” and  this is about me, anymore.

I am now in a moment, and that moment is all about letting the love of God flow thru me to this man so something can be restored between us.

Only my BLESS keys could have prepared me to keep my nasty ego, and pride out of the way.

This was no longer about the choice that was made  months ago. It was now about the person at the other end of my choice.

I do believed he felt the love of God when we were done.
I hope he was left encouraged and inspired.

It went well,  I almost feel there is now room for fresh growth in our friendship because of it, and for that I am thankful.

The next was a sweet phone conversation, one from a dear sweet lady, who I knew was slso in alot of pain.  
I only had 2 minutes with her, but those 2 minutes could be enough to change someones day entirely.  She invited me for a visit, and I will go Monday. 

Then there was the coffee lunch. Ah yes, a surprise coffee for another dear sweet hurting lady. You should have seen the tears in her eyes when I showed up! 

I love how this stuff works.

There are so many people out there, just wanting to “connect” with someone, andwe need to be free in heart enough to do it. 
 We need to be in a secure enough place that the minutes we have with these people leave them wiht something impacting.
Our times together need to be all about them, loving on them and encouraging them.

The fourth re-connect was a short text from a darling girl, who I was hoping would want to stay connected with me and pursue a friendship. 
I guess she does.

We are doing lunch next week.

I work with  my keys, in each and every interaction, and with  each person my path crosses.

Reminding myself that God is the author of my faith and that my life is now His.
That each of these people are of immense value and a gift to me from Him.

Each of them I set myself aside and absolutely flourished in the moment.
I have learned to watch their face, and adore them.

I give them the entire moment we are in.
My thoughts and heart are all theirs.

Because it is all about the moment and that person in that moment.
They are the only person that existed in that time, and I felt such a huge love well up inside of me.

How free to be able to love someone unconditionally. How awesome to know that is how Jesus responds with me.

Wonderful Wednesday

 

It had come up in my heart to work thru the May I BLESS You keys again.

Does that surprise you?

If you are familiar with the BLESS Keys, you know that it is something that is always perpetuating, always growing.

It is something I never want to get comfortable in and certainly never stop and feel like I’ve arrived

So I opened my book up and guess what?

I am having trouble getting past Key One .

I choke.
My heart gets faint.
The chapter seems much grander than it was when I first wrote it.

The world can throw so many distractions at you, in such a short time.

Yes, we mustn’t  get weary in doing good.. fight the good fight of faith and all that.
But lethargy can seem to sneak up so quietly.

I have become weary and distracted

So, I ‘m thankful to be getting back into swing of things.

I know walking thru the book again will only bring good results.
I am so thankful for the truth and power I find in its pages.

A New Years resolution has found me back at the gym trying to lose some Christmas “stuffing”.
It didn’t take long to  realized what a lazy butt I had become in a short time.

Lazy butt, lazy abs, lazy biceps.

Our body’s muscles and our spiritual muscle are very similar in that way.

What a toll even a few weeks over the holidays can take on your faith muscle.

Chapter one is like bench pressing a steam train right now.

But heave- ho, here I go.

The juice is beginning to run again.

The adrenaline is flowing and I am feeling an excitement that had slipped and I never realized it was missing.
But now.. oh, how I missed it.

I sat down again tonight,  trying to slug my way thru Key #1,   feeling like I was getting no where, as I mentioned, when I realized something.

Somewhere in the past 4 days, my spiritual ears have turned on and tuned in again.

Wow!!  I have been hearing little things in my spirit constantly all week!

Key #1 WAS WORKING!!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!!

Even when I didn’t think it was!!

The revelation shook me to the bone!! I am THRILLED!!!

I HOOTED AND HOLLERED AND DANCED IN MY LIVING ROOM!!

I was hearing that sweet still voice of God speaking to me about the things in my life again, and what wonderful things they are!!

Such a powerful thing!  Such a Supernatural book!!!

Even when I  think nothing is moving, YES!! It is!!
Silently, and deeply, I am changing!! My world is changing!!

I guess thats what keys do.

Use them and they open things… whether you are ready or not.  🙂
The work is all done by the key.

Its late now, and I’m going to wrap this up.

But if you are reading along with me, please keep reading.

Oh, and post a comment and say “hey, Jo”
I would love to pray for you by name.

I am so excited about what crazy adventures are to come in the days ahead.

And I can’t wait to share them all with you!

you are in my prayers,

Jo