Monthly Archives: January 2019

January 18, 2018

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I follow a ‘health and safety’ account on Instagram that shows workplace accidents. Often, carelessness is the cause. Someone gets hurt. Does anyone out there struggle with relationships because at some point carelessness crept in? Loaded question, right?

Struggle ONLY happens to help you. And only you can choose to enter with the Most High God to rise from it.

You have the power within you to open up the most significant relationships of your life. You see, when you are in first relationship with The Chief Soul Therapist: Jehovah Rapha, The God Who Heals You, the quest to love and forgive is precious. Even when it has traditionally been ugly.

Even when the baggage is heavy.

It can also be the hardest journey you ever walk. It requires an inner reconstruction –

hammering,

sawing,

drilling …

all of which feel as if they are happening physically when you are in that relationship-repair mode.

It’s a heroic journey.

It will affect every other relationship in your life.

And, guess what? For me, it always comes down to first loving the me that God loves. Go figure.
You will feel challenged all the time with those that create the most grief in your life. Learn to recognize the weaving of Satan’s scheme that’s keeping you spinning in the rapids. You want to be perfect, say the perfect things, but there’s something about dealing with our challenging peeps that is like taking LSD. You trip. Things appear and words spew sideways and people grow multiple heads. Then you drive away and wonder, “where did that come from?”

When we begin to see ourselves through our Father’s eyes, we quit making demands. While those who see themselves and others through human eyes, are like wild stallions and act as such. Some relationships are just triggers, aren’t they? The jaw sets, stomach knots, we begin foaming at the mouth when we feel their energy walk in. That can’t set the stage well. The truth is, when you are tired, emotionally. . . physically . . . you are weak . . . and don’t have it in you to be on your game and centered. So, start with love. Not feeling it? Ask God for it.
Ask the Almighty to help you try. Ask your Creator to forgive you and help you forgive yourself. Then you are ready to enter in with God Most High, and begin healing with your people.

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,” Colossians 2:1-2 ESV

It’s not complicated.

It’s not even so hard when you open your heart to it.

Wake up.

Just ask for love.

After all, it’s what people are seeking most.

Knit together in love.

Go.

January 17, 2019 yes

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DearHeart …

What are you keeping yourself from by working so hard to fit in?

So perfectly predictable, so trying to stay under-the-radar to make yourself blend in, going along, instead of

gutsy and

bold and

spear-to-the-heart-ish?

This is my question to you: if you were “wild-yes” to the Holy Spirit, instead of careful … how would static-predictable behavior change to action that’s living with really RED pulsing blood … not merely pulsing, but spraying Christ – fountain-like, nourishing even souls and wildlife and the deepest water on earth?

Didn’t we agree…we are here to do the real work?

Didn’t we promise to take the heat in order to do it?

What is right is not always what is protocol.

What is memorable in troubled cultures such as ours is stunning soulfulness, your soul on FIRE. And, if it happens to leave us with singe around the edges, so be it. If you get your wings clipped by an ego or a lost soul here and there, let it be. But first things first.

‘But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.’ (Matthew 5:37 HCSB)

Full tilt.

All in.

Wake up.

Act a wild yes.

Bolder still.

Go

January 16, 2019 suffering’s end

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Good morning DearHeart.

Is it just me or has this year already dealt hard blows everywhere? So many of my friends and family and friends who are like family are taking hit after hit. And, with pain comes regret. What if’s? And, what now?

I woke up thinking about a woman who was absolutely desperate. She was done. She had been suffering with illness for so long that it became the only life she knew and it took its toll. Yet, she knew if she could just get to the Christ …

Instead of feeling regret over the “what if’s”, what would happen if we were to respond like this woman? Her “what IF” drove her to desperate measures. She was fresh out of

answers,

resources,

effort,

power

& ideas.

She was done.

Her “what IF” drove her to the Only One that could change her situation. She only wanted to touch the clothes of Jesus & believed she would then be healed.

Healed, as in

safe;

delivered;

made

whole;

preserved from danger,

loss or destruction.

Those things we all want.

Her situation caused her the loss of her everyday life. She was shamed out of society because she was unclean.

She could not socialize.

She could not be with family.

She could not have a husband

or children.

She was alone.

Lonely.

Desperate.

Physical and mental pain.

And, an amazing thing happened that day….

“Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29 NIV84).

Not only did she receive healing in her body (her bleeding stopped) but she was freed from her SUFFERING. For you see, sometimes our situations cause us to feel like we are held captive. We feel hopeless. We don’t see a way out. We are in inner turmoil. We feel that our circumstances will never change or be any different. May we remember that she received a freedom that day. A relief from both the physical ailment & the mental & emotional pain she had endured. She was free.

May we be desperate for Him in the midst of our situations.

May we be driven to get out of our heads and with everything in us be pulled in and held by spirit knowing

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6 ESV)

“Out of the depths I cry out to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 130:1 NIV84).

Wake up.

The end to your suffering is near.

Look for Him.

Touch Him.

Go.

January 15, 2018 healing

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Good morning, DearHeart.

When I was growing up there was a song about an attitude adjustment that always made my dad laugh all

over (except when he was after Russ to give him an attitude adjustment. I don’t remember Steve or I having that effect on him – grin).

Maybe it was a Hank Williams, Jr song (?).

Sometimes our sickness comes from an attitude. Sometimes physical ailments take us out.

It is known that the first step to overcoming a problem or situation is to simply admit you have a problem.

One day, Jesus went to the pool area where crowds of sick people gathered. This Bethesda pool, had a reputation for its healing qualities. It was said that an angel would stir the waters and the first one into the pool would receive their healing.

There He talked to a man, who had been an invalid for thirty eight years.

Long years of waiting.

Failure, again and again.

Thirty eight years of doing the same thing every day. Approximately 13,870 days stuck in the same condition.

Then Jesus shows up and asks:

“Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6, NLT)

Excuse me, Jesus, I mean no disrespect … but isn’t it obvious that this man would desperately desire to be healed?

I find the man’s response interesting. He didn’t jump on the chance … no pun intended … and yell,

“YES!! please help me get well!!!!”

Instead, he tells Jesus why he has not yet received his healing …

“I have no one to help me”;

“Everyone gets there before me”;

“I’m never the first one”;

“My timing is off”;

“Poor me”.

The man’s response displayed his hopelessness, as 38 years must have felt like an eternity. But it also revealed his despair,

discouragement,

depression,

and even perhaps, a victim mentality.

He had lost all determination to do what was necessary to change his situation.

In reading of this man, I cannot help but wonder if the greater healing was not so much the physical healing, but a healing of the way he viewed his situation.

Could it be in asking the question, Jesus needed to confirm the man wanted change? After thirty eight years, had this man come to accept, maybe enjoy even, sitting by the pool each day with the others. He surely had accepted the idea that it was a “first come, first serve” kind of atmosphere by the pool.

Jesus came to defy that mentality, for He came to serve all.

Could it be that Jesus was asking this man about his desire to change? Was He asking the man if he was willing to do something to change his situation?

Rather than discuss the man’s response,  Jesus tells the man, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Jesus does not touch the man, nor lend him a hand to get up.

Jesus simply tells him what to do.

The man’s healing lay in his willingness to do what he was told.

He had to help himself up.

He had to obey.

Change may require action on our part. Even when it is hard, it is so worth it.

Wake up.

Examine your stuff.

Change your thoughts.

Go.

January 14, 2018 shame shame shame

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Good morning, DearHeart.

For the past month or so I have been thinking on the various ways in which we judge people and then tack on, “this is for your growth…” as if to excuse ourselves. Fair or unfair, it’s all about the perception and perspective of the judge. There is a healthy judgement that spurs growth, and there is an attack type judgement that causes shame.

We judge others by their appearance, occupation, education, nationality, and money although we try so desperately to overlook each one of these.

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus criticizes the teachers of the religious law for their hypocrisy. They talked out one side of their mouth while not living it out. They had forgotten the greatest commands – “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself” (my paraphrase).

They had failed to give God the worship which belonged to Him alone. They sought for the recognition to be theirs. They had also cheated the widows of their property and thereby, taking from the needy although God commands His people to be concerned with the widows.

We know that the law is good when used correctly. (1 Timothy 1:8, NLT)

“…when used correctly…”, the Law will point others to their need of a Savior. The law was not, and is not, to be used as a weapon to cause guilt or shame. The law is to be used as a mirror, reflecting any sin in our lives and leading us to Christ for forgiveness.

But, what about when it does cause shame? What do you do with that? You love back harder. It’s the only answer. Even when it is hard.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love you with all my heart first and foremost. And then, help me to love my neighbor, as You define my neighbor for me. Help me not to look in judgment upon others but through the lens of Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness. For there is no sin in anyone’s life that is worse than any sin in my own life. We are all equal at the foot of the Cross. Thank You for the gift of forgiveness which You pour out on my life every single day. Help me never to forget that I am a sinner saved by Your grace. Amen.

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

Wake up.

Love first.

Love harder.

Go.

January 11, 2018 Gee

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Good morning, DearHeart.

The last letter I got from her was in May when Luke graduated. She clipped all my sons pictures from the Anadarko Daily News, saved them up, wrote me a letter, and sent them to me several times a year. Her handwriting these past few years made deciphering her letters a family event. There was nothing like the excitement of opening the mailbox and seeing a letter from her. By design, Father God laced every season of my life with spiritual giants.

Powerful impact. Mmm. I want to be just like them when I am 92.

She was my junior high youth teacher.

Blunt.

And full of joy.

Straightforward.

She was light.

We talked about God and guys and booze and girlstuff and heaven and sex and parents and drugs and satan and hell and being a mom and how God’s plan for our lives was interwoven into every second.

Yes. I want to be that one still making a powerful impact on my people. Today, my sweet Gee, one of those ‘giants’ is face down at the feet her Maker, awestruck, without words to describe all that she is taking in. She is being held and she is reaping the reward of a life of service.

Genevieve Norton, Gee, thank you for giving to our Lord. Mine was a life that was touch and changed by the Master through you. I know you are resting in peace. Glory!

The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever. (Psalm 37:18 AMP)

Wake up.

Make an impact.

Go.

Happy retirement, Crawford’s! January 10, 2019

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Today marks a milestone in the lives of two co-workers. Dennis and Connie Crawford are entering into a well-earned and well-deserved retirement.

Dennis, an Ag Economist, began his career as Ag Business Management Coordinator in July, 1989. He served farmers, ranchers, and lenders in the Canadian and Grady County district for 36 ½ years. In the past five years he has supported 60 clients through various agriculture related loans and farm business financial set-ups with his expertise. In addition to being one of our school’s historians, he is known for his no-nonsense logic and clever, pragmatic, problem-solving skills. The average size farms in his service area have been 366 acres each, and average price per acre in the district has been $1786 generating an economic impact of $39 million in Oklahoma’s Agriculture Economic Ecosystem. In reference to Dennis’s excellent service, USDA, Oklahoma Farm Loan Chief, F. Phillip Estes stated, “…above all else, he has given sound advice to our customers on their agriculture business.”

Connie has served as our Events Coordinator, accommodating trainings, meetings, forums, seminars, and job fairs. She has served the district for 27 years and is known for her organization skills and attention to detail. She has been integral in making good things happen for her people while supporting and promoting traditions and building solid, loyal relationships with everyone she encounters.

Both have taken a proactive approach and have been willing to go the extra mile to make a difference in the lives they touch. The contributions they have made are key to the foundation of our district’s success. They are both the kind of people who know how to bring out the best in others and they have gained the honorable right enjoy all those things they have been craving to do.

Welcome to your FREEDOM, and happy, happy retirement. You have loved us so well!

 

January 9, 2018 set your mind

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‘Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.’ (Colossians 3:2 HCSB)

Mornin’ DearHeart.

We can not stop our longing for for a deeper experience with God. It is with us always. A quest from which no one can hide. Even the emptiest and coldest heart longs for relationship with Christ. The pull on you and me – the pull by God Almighty is far more potent than

any fear,

any dire need,

any situation,

and, that is why the Most High has led you here now, to be reminded.

We have a serious task ahead: to face challenges at odds with

human reason,

logic,

order,

justice,

fairness,

common sense.

We will face trials.

We will be falsely accused.

We will need walk-away strength.

And, stand your ground courage.

(My sis-in-law doesn’t sugar-coat what I need to hear. She gives me a “suck it up Buttercup” pep talk pretty often. Thank you, Pen).

DearOne, answering the call to follow in the footsteps Jesus Christ requires that we are sometimes reduced. to. ashes.

Once that happens, the gains will yield growth:

Releasing old wounds.

Letting go of grudges.

Replacing hurt places with forgiveness.

Rising out of grief into new life with The Most High.

Starting over.

When your soul is called out, drive erupts that will will take charge of your life.

Uncommon drive.

Supernatural drive.

Holy drive.

Set your mind there.

Go.

January 8, 2019 gifts

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Good morning, DearHeart.

My girl, Liv, has a unique style. I see it developing every time we are together. I giggled the other day as she started taking the paper off her crayons. I did the same thing in my 1st grade class. It is about the only thing I remember about 1st grade, other than my teacher didn’t smile. She had been in the military and her first job outside of her military duties was my class. I’m guessing first graders must’ve been a shock to her rigid norm. Taking the paper off crayons was not acceptable. It was not normal. Apparently, to her, it was the mark of a deviant or something horrendous and awful.

When I watch my girl and her friends play, if feel a rising in me … an eager expectation and hope that they will each be encouraged in their own unique style and be lifted into their God-given gifts. That their uniqueness lands them where they can love well. I pray that people ‘in charge’ never suck the life out of them by smashing them into their rote and ‘proper’ and ways. And, when it happens that those littles respect those in charge enough to simply abide and move to find fertile ground where they can continue to grow deeper into their Savior. Where they can grow into their next level.

‘My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.’ Philippians 1:20

You know, when you pray to go to the next level, Satan always schedules an enemy … have you noticed? Oh, yes, you have. Obstacles come flying at us like we are a dartboard.

God doesn’t deal in problems; He deals in promises. When your gifts are dissed and belittled and misunderstood, when you and your uniqueness get looked down upon, start praying His promises … by doing so, we ask Him to step up our circle of influence,

inspire boldness,

inspire laser beam focus,

inspire creativity,

allow us to share the Gospel in new ways.

Sometimes faith will make you look silly … claim faith anyway. Because, no matter what obstacles come, here’s the deal:

when you go to Father with mustard seed faith, walls fall in His perfect timing.

The bigger blessing awaits.

Going deeper is worth it. Wildest dream blessings = worth it.

My second grade teacher, Mrs. Coombes, smiled constantly. 🥰

Wake up.

Step into your God-given self.

Go.

January 7, 2019 faith fight

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Last night I panicked. My man left to feed cattle at a place about 5 miles from home. The others had already been fed, so I knew it would be a short trip. Two hours later I called to make sure he was alright, and his phone rang from the table by his chair about 10 feet from me! It was about 30 minutes before dark and the country roads are still muddy from the snow. If something was wrong I knew I needed to get to him before dark so I took off to get to him – because in panic mode every farm accident of the ages flashes through my mind. And, it is not like him to leave his phone. To make a long story short, he was fine, just went by the other places to make a final cattle check for the evening. Later, when we talked through the timing when I left the house he was probably here at our home place across the creek. Just roll your eyes with me and we will be on the same page.

My fear overtook my faith for a while.

It seems I have this mistaken notion that life should be easy. Somewhere along the line I began believing this journey with God should be easy as long as one is believing.

Perhaps this is one of the biggest lies the enemy feeds us, unless it is just me, in order to discourage us. It is the lie He revealed and shattered as I read these words:

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you confessed so well before witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12, NLT)

That word, ‘fight’, means: “to fight in a contest; to engage in a dreadful battle or strenuous endeavor. It envisions combatants pitted against one another for victory. It is a heroic struggle.” (taken from the New Testament Lexical Aids)

Perhaps this is the issue. Maybe we are not feeling much like “heroes”.

As I read this verse a few days ago – and in several different versions – I noticed the fight is with faith. In that verse, there is nothing which indicates the fight takes place only with people or situations.

This became a lightbulb moment to me last night…but, my eyes became open, wide opened, that perhaps we are NEVER more heroic than when we are battling for our faith.

Can it be that the struggles with circumstances and people which challenge us are pieces of a greater battle than first meets our eyes?

Perhaps the greatest battles we ever will face in our lives concern our faith.

Perhaps it is when we are tempted to think that God’s Word works for everyone else but us.

Or maybe … it is the battle to believe He will keep His promises to us. It may even be the battle to believe He won’t let us down.

The New Testament Lexical Aids go on to explain, “To ‘take hold of the eternal life which you were called’ would then be analogous to fulfilling one’s commission.” This fight of faith and taking hold is all a part of each one of us fulfilling our purposes here. Hmmm. The fight is bigger than we even imagined. John Piper puts it this way:

“It is a lifelong battle against unbelief.”

No matter – it comes down to this…

We must fight the good fight for the truth faith. Keep it in perspective, know who the real enemy is, and fight from that proper angle.

Wake up.

Re-examine your faith.

Fluff it out. Use it.

Go.