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I’m speaking at the REFRESH my HEART women’s conference March 6-7, 2015
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Friday night at the beautiful Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska, speaker and author, Amy Breitmann from Georgia opened up the Refresh my Heart conference with a message on how we are all beloved. I loved her entire message, but the truth that stuck out to me the most is, “We owe it to our daughters to help them see they are beloved.”
I followed Amy with a message from John 4 about a lady in the Bible best known as the woman at the well. The theme of this years conference was how we are all preapproved in Christ. I had asked God to show me a woman who didn’t feel she had the approval of other people and instantly He brought her to mind.
She was a woman who had a past and present lifestyle that didn’t gain the approval from those in her community. In order to avoid the judgement and whispers of her peers, she went to draw water at a time of the day when she knew the other women would be home.
But then Jesus interrupted her day.
He sat and waited for her at the well while the disciples went to another town to get food. And He crossed every line He could cross. Racial, gender, social. He crossed them. Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans and He did. He let her know that He knew all about her and that she was still usable, lovable and wanted by the Messiah. The Messiah everyone was waiting on.
That meet-up by the well forever changed her life because the most talked about man on earth was letting her know that she was preapproved by Him.
She may not have had the approval of her neighbors, friends and relatives,but she had the approval from the One that mattered.
He didn’t sit at the well and tell her all the things she needed to change to earn His approval. What He did do was tell her…I know all about you and I still want to give you the Living Water only I can offer because I’m the only One who can fill your emptiness. He wanted to flow through her because He knew her worth. Like author and speaker Jennifer Lee said Saturday morning at the conference…”God likes you. He created you. You are His idea.”
His belief in her changed who she was and it changed her legacy. She ran back to the townspeople who had shunned her and said in verses 29-30 Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward Him.
Jesus stayed with them for 2 days and because this woman believed she was preapproved by Him, the townspeople changed too.
vs. 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
vs 41-42 And because of His words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
On the cover of Jennifer’s book, Love Idol, the subtitle is:
Letting go of your need for approval–and seeing yourself through God’s eyes.
On the second page of the introduction, Jennifer describes a Love Idol as:
Whatever rules our hearts becomes our lord. The person who seeks approval and acceptance can become controlled by it. The person who is motivated primarily by a need for human affirmation is, in the end, ruled by it. If we don’t get the love and acceptance we crave, we’re deflated. But if we do get the approval we want, we might not be any better off, for we are tricked into thinking our idols offer fulfillment.
And we keep going back for more.
The woman at the well sought the approval we all desire. She did it through men and with each relationship she continued to be empty, until she met Jesus. She was always preapproved; she just didn’t know it until she met her Maker. In my message at the conference I used my granddaughter’s bear as an example of a Love Idol.
We cling to things or people for approval and that thing or person becomes our Love Idol and Jesus is just asking us to trust Him because He alone is all we need. He’s bigger and better than anyone or anything else.
When the woman at the well dropped her Love Idol and believed Jesus, she couldn’t help but tell others about Him and her testimony drew others to their Savior. We are all PREAPPROVED by Jesus and when we choose to believe the truth of that, not only does our life change, those around us are effected as well.
Let’s uproot and live a PREAPPROVED life because we are BELOVED!
Click on Amy and Jennifer’s names above to visit their blogs. To learn more about the book Love Idol click on Jennifer’s name.
If you’d like your own customized wooden sign like the beloved one shown above and also to meet the artists click here to visit Amy’s online shop.
Recently, our granddaughters spent a Friday night with us. Amiyah, 6-years-old is sitting in the chair next to her sister Juliana who is 5-years-old.
At 4 o’clock in the morning, my husband and I were suddenly interrupted from sleep. Amiyah was standing in the hall looking into the guest bedroom screaming, GRANDMA! JULIANA IS THROWING UP! EWWW! STOP THAT JULIANA!
I rushed past the panicked big sister, scooped Juliana up out of the bed and took her into the bathroom. She never cried, but as I was cleaning her up, Amiyah stood in the doorway and began to cry as she said, “I just want to go home. And leave Juliana here.”
This went on from 4am until 6:25am and each time I cleaned up Juliana and the vomit, Amiyah cried and complained. She even refused to go back into the bedroom until I aired it out because of the smell of sickness that lingered in the air.
Sometimes in life, this happens.
People who we think have our backs abandon us. They want to go and leave you behind. They can’t handle the stink of our mess and want to jump ship. They think only of themselves and want nothing to do when your life becomes messy.
But then there are those who will hold your hair back, wash your face, and stay by your side even when the smell of what’s happening in your life makes their stomach queasy.
It’s called community.
I am so blessed to have a strong circle around me of not only family members, but friends who have stuck with me through everything. Friends who pray, encourage and love on me. Friends who speak truth when I don’t want to hear it. We never know what people are going through and in those times they feel like they can’t handle life is when a true friend is most needed.
Today, be that hair holding, face washing, hand holder your friend needs.
Don’t be the one to walk away when the going gets tough. Don’t stand in the doorway watching, crying and thinking of being in the comforts of your own life. Get messy. Be the community your friend needs you to be.
A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17a
Well so long twenty fourteen.
What a year.
A year of God giving and taking away.
As a writer it was a quiet year. After our son came home from prison in the spring, I took time away from writing and speaking. When I was ready to write again, my laptop and tablet broke. The few times I did write was on my daughters laptop which was difficult to borrow due to her school schedule, so I just stopped. And I think that was what God had planned for me all along. Stop and learn from and about Him.
Earlier in 2014, I decided to get a tattoo on my wrist as a reminder to stay the course with Christ. I often write on my hand when I want to remember something important and was ready to commit to a permanent reminder. It was months before God let me know my word was to be REMAIN. He chose that word because I don’t remain in Him. I easily get sidetracked and walk away from my True Love and as He tells us in John 15, He will remain in us if we remain in Him. In November I sat for 3 hours in a busy shop waiting for a tattoo that took the artist all of 5 minutes to scrawl into my skin. I loved it and like a newly engaged woman can’t stop looking at her finger, my eyes were constantly drawn to my wrist.
But here is what I learned very quickly from my eternal one word.
The newness wears off.
I could return to Justin at Iron Brush every Saturday morning and have him keep adding reminders up to my elbow to help me stay focused, but if my eyes are not fixed on Christ then once the ink dries all I’d be left with is nothing but a sleeve of meaningless words.
David understood this. Psalm 141:8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD
Solomon encouraged us. Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Paul tells us where to look. 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
Bottom line is that where my gaze is fixed is what will consume me and I want it to be Jesus. My tattoo can serve to remind me of my desire to remain in Jesus, but if my eyes are not anchored on Christ then my wrist is just a canvas displaying Justin’s work.
In all my years of following Jesus Christ, I know from experience that looking away from Him is not worth it. May 2015 be a year of fixed gaze on my Savior so that in Him I will remain.
Oh, and I’m writing this post from my new iPad. A few days before Christmas I received a delivery from Amazon. I would later find out that 20 of my girlfriends in ministry secretly came together to bless me with a tool to write again along with the sweetest note of encouragement. I still don’t know who was all involved, but their gift made me feel so loved and believed in. I love when Jesus uses us to let others know He sees us and has plans for our lives.
I’m ready to fix my eyes and remain in Him.
And write because He wants me to.
If you’re interested in having Lelia join you at your next women’s event, go HERE for her schedule or join her in March. Click on the picture for details.
Saturday morning my daughters volleyball game was at a high school and this sign was posted on the window of the coaches office. So often life can take its toll on us. It can wipe us out with tragedies, divorce, financial burdens, job loss and sometimes death. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when the unexpected makes a crash landing into my life my automatic response isn’t to run to Jesus. I can tell others in a trial what to do and Who to lean on, but sometimes I am quick to take my eyes off of Jesus.
Satan is relentless in his role as the prince of darkness. He has a three-part mission goal: kill, steal and destroy. We’re told to be alert to his madness. We have to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay focused on Jesus.
Do WHATEVER IT TAKES…
~To read the Bible daily
~To have and keep a fixed gaze on Jesus.
~To draw near to Jesus before, during and after the storms of life.
~To not let Satan take any ground of your heart.
I want God and I need to let God do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep me on the path of righteousness.
Our moving away from God causes our eyes to be blinded to the things He is doing. Our minds feel entitled to the things He will do. Our hearts are calloused to the things He has already done. It leaves us vacant and waffling and so grossly unfulfilled yet engrossed in the life of our flesh that it takes an act of God to point us back in the right direction. ~Lisa Whittle
I want God…WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
The winner of the I Want God book is beautifuldreamer
CONGRATS! Please go here and send me your mailing address! Thank you!
If you want to order your own copy of I Want God you can do so by clicking on the book cover.
This is the first time I’ve written on my blog since March. A lot has happened in 6 months. Good stuff. Hard stuff. God stuff.
My last post was about a book I read called “Love Idol” by my friend Jennifer. That book messed me up. In a good way. It drew me closer to Christ through it. And now, 6 months later God is messing with me again.
He often uses people and books to gently knock me upside my head. To make me realize, That life you’re trying to live without Me as the center is not worth it. Follow. Me.
And so here I am, with Lisa Whittle’s latest book, I Want God in my lap. I have known Lisa since 2008, and I can tell you that this author is authentic and bold. Little in physical form, but huge in her faith. She will not be kept quiet about Jesus. She’s an author who writes out of obedience and one whose words challenge her readers in their own walk with God.
The introduction is full of boldness and I began to get a little nervous. Because no matter how much I know change is needed, sometimes I just don’t like it when God does alterations in my life. So, I told myself, “maybe you don’t need Lisa’s help on wanting God.”
But truth be told, I do and I know I do. I need to learn what God wants to teach me through this book and so I keep turning the pages and I read stuff like this…
The “more” God gives is really about loss and less and the willingness to do without and yes the joy in that.
To have Him, we must want Him–more than the friends, the wealth, the applause, the acceptance, the comfort. There can be nothing–even our own life– that we want more. We can’t want our life and want God at the same time.
We cannot want God with conditions.
When we want God more than anything, we forgo our control of what life looks like. We must be ready for popularity lost. Comfort interrupted. Reason tossed away. Self disregard. Sin exposed.
Wanting God births such untamed things.
This is just from the intro and chapter one people.
At the end of each chapter Lisa has a section titled REVIVAL where she takes you deeper. Then there are questions that helps you grow even more. I’m not going to lie to you. This book is work. It’s not some cheesy self-help 30-step manuscript where Lisa tells you what to do and like magic, God becomes your number one want. This book is a tool. She shares, teaches and guides. And she does it in a way that you can’t read it without a highlighter, Kleenex and a noticeable change in your relationship with God.
I love Lisa’s words here:
The relationship between us and God is not one we get to customize. When we minimize or shy away from our relationship with Him to be popular with other people, we reject Truth. God did not go to the cross for us and die in His perfection so that we may live without responsibility. He saves us. We accept that or not. If we accept the gift He gets to come first. The end.
I want God. I do. I’m tired of getting in His way.
Today I’m starting the #GiveGod7Days challenge with Lisa and many others. I hope you will too. You can go HERE to join us. It will be worth it.
Lisa’s book is released October 1st and you can go here to pre-order a copy for yourself.
ALSO…we’re giving away a copy here! If you want to have your name in the drawing then leave a comment and the winner will be announced Friday. Hit the share buttons on the bottom and let your friends know because this book is one you will want everyone you know to have.
I Want God.
We have to be tired of our usual life. ~Lisa Whittle
I didn’t watch much of the winter Olympics on TV recently, but there was one story on Yahoo Sports that grabbed my attention.
Heidi Kloser, 21, is one of the top skiers in the world. She’s at her first Olympics, but for her, they’re already over before they even began. Kloser was skiing a practice run on the moguls when she wrecked — and tore both ACL and MCL and fractured her femur, and she’s out for the rest of the competition.
What got me though is what was shared further on in the story when it quoted what her Dad wrote on Facebook: When she was in the ambulance she asked her Mom and I if she was still an Olympian…we said of course she is!
The moment she had trained for had arrived and when an injury took her down, she instantly questioned who she was. I think of my walk with Christ and how I have at times found myself out of commission, sometimes from my own bad choices or just from life getting the best of me. And just like Heidi the Olympian, I have questioned who I am.
Am I still a daughter of the King?
Like Heidi’s Dad, my Heavenly Father said to me…
Of course you are!
Last week, my girlfriend Jennifer Lee asked me to read her first book, Love Idol releasing April 1st. I couldn’t type my “yes!” back to her fast enough. But then reality hit. See, Jennifer’s book “will help you dismantle what’s separating you from true connection with God and experience the astonishing freedom of a life lived in authentic love.”
In the introduction she explains what a Love Idol is:
I can almost hear your question. The…what idol? Love Idol? How can love be an idol? Love was God’s idea. We were created in God’s image, and God is love! Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “These three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Yet we take God’s “greatest” and contort it into an idol. We twist our desire for approval into a false god. Instead of resting in the love and approval of an unseen God, we chase after the temporary pleasures of human validation. Whatever rules our hearts become our lord.
I hate admitting this, but I have a Love Idol. God wants me to let go if it, but I don’t want to. My flesh is wrestling and God isn’t budging. He wants all of me. Every time I begin to loosen my grip I hear lies whispered straight from the pit of hell, “If you let this go, then what? This is what you know.” So I hold on and the result of holding on to this idol is the vicious cycle of questioning who I am in Christ.
Today I received a package from Jennifer that included a beautiful necklace made by our girlfriend, Kashoan over at Krafty Kash.
The word on the necklace is preapproved. Jennifer’s hope in her heart is that those who read her book will smash their Love Idols while claiming their preapproved status in Christ.
I’m ready to smash my Love Idol. Ready to change the course of my legacy. I just have to. I love God too much not to. And honestly, a relationship with a Love Idol leaves you exhausted and empty.
It’s time to consistently believe that I am a preapproved daughter of the King.
To begin smashing your own Love Idols, join us on the Facebook page, The Love Idol Movement.
Visit Jennifer at http://jenniferdukeslee.com
Like Kashoan’s Facebook page Krafty Kash and get your own necklace.
The enemy of confidence.
The silent killer of courage.
The little red devil on the shoulder of belief.
Sometimes things happen in our lifetime that make us afraid to try again. They cause us to be afraid and no matter how hard we try to place our trust in the Savior’s lap, there is a part of us still holding hands with fear. Fear has a power all of its own if we let it.
I’m writing this from the Hilton hotel lobby about a mile from the prison our son is in. We are waiting to go to his parole hearing and this is a much better lobby than the prison one and they have a Starbucks.
Today’s hearing determines when he gets out. Three out of the five board members have to approve his release to parole.
Fear tried to park itself in the driveway of my heart this week, but God showed up in a tow truck and hauled his behind away.
I strongly believe what is about to happen is because God has approved it. Not today, but before our son ever made his appearance in this world 19 years ago. Last weekend my girlfriend said this at a conference and it stuck with me… What God is doing now was already in the works years ago.~ Deidra Riggs
God did some amazing things leading up to today to remind us…Do not fear.
So we’re taking God at His Word. A God known for His faithfulness because He alone knows where our son needs to be.
Recently, our friend from church wished his son a happy birthday on Facebook. His son was born after he and his beautiful wife Miki lost their precious baby daughter. This is what he wrote and I asked him at church last night if I could share this:
After our daughter returned to her Creator, He created for us another child for us to love and care for, despite our fears. ~Vern Montgomery
Despite our fears…I love that. God knows that we’re going to be afraid at times and yet in His tender-hearted way He will bless us in our hardest of days. Despite Vern and Miki’s fears of loss, He kept growing their family and they trust Him.
I started this post while at the Hilton and had to pause to attend the hearing.
All five board members approved his release. He will be on parole for over a year after his release and immediately the fear of him violating parole invaded my mind. Despite our fears He has blessed us with a release date.
In April, I will cook for my son for the first time in a year and already FEAR is on my front porch ringing the doorbell trying to get in. I think I’ll open the door and let Aaron’s dog out with the command, get him Kane! and just soak in the decision God made today regarding our son’s future.
Whatever you may have that is causing you to have fear, remember that despite our fears, God wants to bless and love on us.
We are overwhelmed with the prayers, support and love that has been shown to our family. Thank you so much. For everything. To God be the glory.
The Chealey family
The 3 most popular words heard and said this time of year.
Resolutions are written.
Gym memberships are purchased.
New beginnings have begun.
Hope for a happy and prosperous year is in the air.
But what if the next 300 plus days are anything but happy?
What if heartache awaits you in 2014?
Hard stuff happens to God-seekers all the time.
Loss of…life, jobs, dreams.
Broken…hearts, vows and plans.
Christ centered homes become the biggest messes in their neighborhood.
Princes and princesses of God become Prodigals.
But it’s in the unhappy moments where discovery occurs.
Where the Names of God you’ve read about gets personal with you.
When the 23rd Psalm is lived instead of recited.
It’s where victory straight from the throne room snuffs out the devil.
It’s where your pain becomes bearable only to Jesus.
It’s where your hopelessness parks you on bended knee at your Savior’s feet.
It’s where a life can become completely surrendered to God and leave the devil breathless.
2013 filled my heart with ache, but my God.
My God conquered when I had no fight in me.
My God has given and taken away.
My God has blessed in the middle of bad.
And it’s because of Him I’m still standing.
It’s because of Him my family is still together.
It’s because of Him my son is seeking Jesus from his prison cell.
It’s because of Him I trust.
He stamps the trials with worth.
So whether your 2014 is met with happiness or heartache choose to lean into your God.
Praise Him in advance for what He has planned and trust Him like never before.
For this God of ours proves and out does Himself to a believing heart with no hesitation. And in the unhappy your heart will leak with unexplainable joy only He can provide.