If you have felt like you are laboring and in a time of pain or suffering, then I have some good news for you. The difficult season many of us have been in will indeed pay off. Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:20–21 NIV Just as we are celebrating the birth of Christ this month, the Lord is birthing new things in you, bringing things that you have been called and created for.
If you come from a broken home like I do I believe the following discoveries God has been helping me to see in the last few decades, have the potential to shed some light on your own path. I began to notice over the years how I always came into relationships with set expectations I was looking to have fulfilled. The problem was not so much the expectations I had, which were unhealthy in their own right, but the fact that they never seemed to be met. This, of course, was not the consequence of others not trying to meet them as much as it was actually me not even knowing what they were in the first place.
The wind of the Holy Spirit is always blowing, but there needs to be something for that wind to "blow into." God looks for us to put up our sails that His wind might blow into our sails to take us where He wants us. When we step out in new ways it is like putting up our sails for the winds of His Presence. It takes some effort on our part to find out just how to put up those sails. In our times with God the light of revelation gives us guidance on just what to do. God inspires us to do things that His wind might find something to blow upon.
"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God" (Psalm 52:8). A few years ago, my husband and I went for a walk in the woods behind our house and saw these two beautiful trees linked together and it looked like there was a ring that joined them together at the top. Maybe you can also see the ring between them? They appeared to be a couple! We talked about how stately those two trees soared upward together -- and afterward we often looked at our photo. Scripture tells us that the magnificence of the Lord is detailed in nature..."And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord" (Ez. 17:24).
Football is a religion in the South, where I grew up. Every boy I knew dreamed of becoming a star quarterback. When my relatives gathered for meals, the conversation usually revolved around whether Auburn would beat Alabama that year. I felt like sliding under my chair during those moments. I was not a football player—and there was no chance of me becoming one. I didn't have big enough biceps to throw a 50-yard pass, and I didn't have the frame to tackle a 200-pound guy. I felt like a wimp. I assumed that when God handed out physical talents, I was stuck at the back of the line.
Many years ago when I was somewhat young in the Lord I had an encounter. (You know, young and hungry believers will hear a lot of different sermons, especially about the love of God. They are hungry and they are seeking!) In my experience / vision, I was walking with the Lord and I was feeling and having a real love fest with Him. We came to a fork in the road and He started going one way and I was going another. I was wanting and expecting Him to go with me! We had been having such a glorious love time! He looked and said to me, "I love you to no end, but I have to go this way." I had to make a decision real quick and decided I wanted Him and chose to go His way. It was pure Love!
"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end ... the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:7). There is a boldness that is greatly needed among the people of God as our culture continues to self-destruct. We know that truth must be shared, and the kingdom of God proclaimed. And yet the critics and trolls are ever-present, ready to pounce when we begin to challenge the status quo. Though we want to see change and long for victory, we are hesitant to step in the ring and add our voice to the fight. Not only do we fear the enemy's counterpunches, but we wonder if our own friends will cry foul and condemn our speech.
Has God given you a message, but you're not sure how to get it out to the world? The good news is that you live in an exciting time when there is so much opportunity to share the message God has given you in a variety of ways. Here are three ways to get your message out there—starting today!
Divine strategies for success are created from the dream fibers of moral excellence, character, integrity, and love. God gave Jacob the ability to gain wealth through a dream. Jacob worked for Laban for many years, and Laban was a controlling and manipulative master. The time came for Jacob to move on and begin to provide for a family of his own. In a dream, God showed Jacob that he was to ask Laban for all of the newborn speckled, streaked, and gray-spotted lambs and rams. Jacob was owed payment that he'd so tirelessly worked for over the years.
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:10 KJV) It's perhaps the most widely misunderstood theme within all of life and a theme that seems all too often forgotten about, suffering.  I'm so pleased to announce to the world the release of my newest book, What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger; now available worldwide – with members of my monthly book club receiving the very first, signed copies, as always.  Suffering isn't popular.  It isn't easy.  Let's face it, no one wants to hurt.