“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Surprise Vineyard

I had just dropped off the boys at daycare and was in a hurry to get to work and in desperate need of some coffee.  So I pulled into my usual local coffee place, but it was closed. What nerve, I thought. I’m already late and grumpy because I didn’t have a chance to make coffee before I left the house. Now I have to go all the way to Starbucks, which is out of my way…and I’m running late.

So as I am waiting in line at the out of the way Starbucks when I see an Army Chaplain walk in the door… and his name was …. wait for it…. “Vineyard”. It made me giggle a little. Chaplain Vineyard, I just couldn’t hold back, I had to tell him that “he must have been destined to be in ministry with a name like vineyard”. He laughed, I’m sure he’d Never heard THAT one before… riiiiight.

As usual, God always has something for me to learn… even when, no… especially when, I’m in a hurry. No, I sure didn’t get my devotional in that morning. I had overslept, and sure enough, God wanted His time with me. He wanted me to know that HE is the most important thing in my life… though; most mornings I would swear it is COFFEE! Today, coffee and God mixed.

“So God, what are you telling me with your Vineyard placement?” –Me

He reminded me that ““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5-8; emphasis mine)

I can’t even get Coffee without Him for goodness sake!

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:1-4; emphasis mine)

God is a jealous God. He wants our full attention and he will continue to “prune” us in order to make us be even more fruitful. For me to be most fruitful, I need to focus and put my effort into Him even more than any earthly thing.  I must remain true to my promise to God (remain in the vine). I cannot do it by myself, no matter how much I try or learn.

Reflection Question: What are you trying to “do” apart from God? What is He trying to prune in order to make you more fruitful?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The God Complex

Today I don't Feel strong and smart and loved. Today I just feel like a regular person in this crazy world. Our kids have been wild (as Usual), my work has been unfulfilling and I just feel kind of blah. I'm not depressed, but I'm also not in a state of joy either.

Every single day I need an overwhelming amount of affirmation. I need to be told I'm smart; I need to know that I'm strong. I fish for compliments so that I might feel a tinge beautiful. I practically beg my kids to tell me I'm a good mom so that I don't feel like an epic failure at that part of my life. Even the slightest bit of sarcastic negativism can throw me into a spiral of questioning my worth some days.

I would consider myself to have a strong faith. I also know that my faith is not determined by my feelings... but I am giving everyone around me a God Complex!  No, my family or coworkers are not trying to be God... but I am placing them in the position that belongs to God in order to determine my worth. Maybe I am letting them take the position of God because I listen to the people around me more than I listen to God.
So what does God say?

I am God’s adopted Daughter and I will share fully in the inheritance bestowed upon Christ.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s Children. Now if we are children then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order tht we may also share in his glory.” Rom 8:16-17

God, the Almighty, is on my side.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom 8:31
“So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me.” Hebrews 13:6

If I am faithful to my trust in God, he will bring me through all things.
“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:13b

God has made me new!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new as come!” 2 Cor 5:17

He will always be with me, even when I don’t see it.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6

I have a home and it is called Heaven.
“our citizenship is in heaven” Phil 3:20

Jesus gives me his strength.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” Phil 4:13

God has given me a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7

The Lord gives me so many chances to get it right.
“The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11

The God who created the heavens and earth takes cares specially for me.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

God Loves Me!!
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Jesus wants to come spend time with me.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Rev 3:20

The Lord listens to me and will help me in my troubles.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17

He removes all my blemishes.
“As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

God has taken special care to make me who I am.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful” Psalm 139:13-14

Reflection Question: Are you giving the people around you a “God Complex”? Are you letting them determine your worth?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whine or Wine

There they are, at the front, calling my name. Opening the eyes of my heart, to what I have been up to lately, or maybe what I haven’t been up to lately. There is a flowing of thoughts. Usually tears pour out like a drink offering. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom 7:15) Most wouldn’t say I’m a “bad” person, but who are they anyway? It is like a video of my life that plays before me. Why do I do the things I do not wish to? I tell God all about these thoughts, not because he does not already know, for he knows all, but as a way to acknowledge my sins. I am repentant. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

And then, I take and eat and drink of the body and blood of Christ. I feel so unworthy. I grieve my sins and my lack of holiness… but then the most amazing part. It all fades away in the knowledge of total forgiveness. I try to ask for forgiveness again, but I am amazed when my Savior says ‘Lorén, I don’t know what you’re talking about, you are holy and blameless in my sight’ because he has truly forgiven and forgotten.

“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25).
"It is possible for the Lord to look at us without seeing our sins because when he forgave us, he removed our sins as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12).

And then, in awe and amazement, I turn to praise the Lord. His pure beauty and ability to love and forgive is so miraculous. My grief turns to worship and not my lips or my voice, but my heart sings out praise!

There is something so amazing about Holy Communion. You wouldn’t think that simple things like bread and juice could cause such an effect on your heart, but they do. Surely to goodness, it is not the actual elements doing the effecting I realize, but the effect is so amazing. If I could realize that I am forgiven and that I am renewed each day maybe I wouldn’t whine about the trivial things in my life so much. Can I partake in the glory of Holy Communion and die to myself each day, not just once a month?

Reflection Question: Are you whining or are you being renewed by the wine (blood of Christ)?

Friday, February 18, 2011


We are each different. Just stop and look around. We are each so individual. Why is that? Wouldn’t it be easier for God to just cookie cutter a few different types and roll ‘em on down the assembly line? Didn’t God learn anything from Henry Ford? Okay, that went a bit far, but I’m going somewhere with this… God always has a plan and a reason, although certainly there are so many things that we are not meant to or not ready to understand. I think he purposefully does not want us to be the same.  As individuals we are meant to fill a specific roll in this world. No, I don’t believe that God has only one specific place where we are supposed to work, or maybe even one specific person who we are supposed to marry. I do, however, think that within his blueprint for each of us, there are certain passions we are meant to follow. I see so many miserable people; so many people who are just drudging through life. Each of these people probably has a passion in Something! So why aren’t they doing it? I think it is mostly a fear of failure.  We are so afraid of ourselves.

Oh trust me, I understand that we all have responsibilities and that you can’t just run off and join the circus if that’s your passion. But just because you can’t make your passion your life… YET… doesn’t mean you have to have a miserable life. Are you working toward making your dreams come true?

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” 1 Cor 12:12-23

I’ve changed my settings so that everyone can post comments now, even if you don’t have a google account—though, I LOVE my google so I don’t know why you wouldn’t ;) I want you to post what your passion is in the comment section.

Reflection Question: What is your passion and what will you do today or this week to honor God by fulfilling your passion?

P.S. Just to be fair, my passion is to show the love of Christ to people who need it (which by the way, is everyone).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Poem

There once was a girl named Lorén.
In college she was born again.

In Jesus she was made brand new.
This new life she can never undo.

Christ’s love that goes on forever,
To earn it she could never endeavor.

To bring honor to Him is her goal.
And the new heart makes her whole.

There is no question about her salvation,
But that is not without temptation.

Each day she must renew her belief,
And be on guard against the ultimate thief.

At the very end when all is said and done
The desire is to be a good and faithful one.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Look Out!

In December, I was rolling along with my Blogs and my devotionals like clockwork. Everything was flowing, the words, the timing. Nothing Sudden happened, there was no flash of light or glaring roadblock, but each time I scheduled time to write, it seemed to get side tracked. I have been sooooo busy at work lately that I’m not exactly sure when one day stops and the next one starts. Finally, a couple weeks ago when I was on my Facebook Overflow with Hope page, I realized how very long it had been since I had written. I made a promise to myself and all my Facebook followers that I would write that week… but low and behold, here it is now, and I’m just finally getting some thoughts down. I heard this quote in a movie trailer lately and it got me to thinking about everything going on in my life…

“It is the greatest art of the devil to convince us he does not exist.” –Charles Baudelaire

How True is that! How many times a day do we attribute things to coincidence, bad luck or people being irritating? We are only seeing those things that we can see with our eyes. What about the Spiritual world? We are born into a World – a Spiritual World – at war. My pastor recently said that people are not the enemy. Yes, The Enemy uses people in his schemes, but they, themselves, as BAD as they seem, are Not the enemy. To allow yourself to think that, is just another deception on “his” part to keep us fighting each other, and not loving each other, and fighting him. If you think that some people in your life are evil, you are allowing the Enemy to get a foothold in your life. Yes, I said it, You are allowing him.

If you’ve never thought much about the Spiritual World, this is your time. To use a metaphor that I understand, we were each born into the middle of a war, in the middle of a brutal firefight. There are bullets flying all around us, some coming from our side, some piercing us from the other. As urgent as this might seem reading it if you’re visually imagining a mother giving birth with bullets flying around, we don’t “see” it in our everyday life. We were born here, so it seems Normal! Isn’t that what the Enemy wants though? For us to think that hate, and murder and disdain are normal.

“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His is good, pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7)

God has given us the tools; now it’s time to use them. We can’t just stand in the middle of the flying bullets and hope we don’t get hit with one. That is the worst place to be!

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:15-16)
The Armor of God
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:10-17, emphasis mine)

Just standing here is not an option. We must focus our efforts. Don’t just keep letting the world go on around us! Pick up a shield, defend youself! Pick up your weapon (your Bible) and use them! Start with self-defense, your shield of faith, knowing that you are in a Spiritual war, but you are on the winning side. Then maybe you can move on to offense, a sword, aka your Bible! But by God’s grace, do not just standby.

Reflection Question: Where is the Devil attacking you? How are you going to defend yourself? Will you attack him back?