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Hoisted On My Own Petard!

House is almost clean, menu complete, all ingredients bought, games planned, excitement building…. We are getting ready to have a real Thanksgiving celebration and feast here at the Flood house. We have our traditions- For instance, at our house, we won’t put up a single Christmas decoration before Thanksgiving. We will wait until Friday evening when Meg and I will decorate the tree while we watch something like Gone With The Wind. Fiddle-dee-dee! or maybe a newer classic like, Napoleon Dynamite…that just makes me laugh so hard! It’s all tradition. Speaking of tradition- YES! No matter what you have heard, we will still go around before dinner and the Thanksgiving blessing and we will each say what we are thankful for. I fully intend to change up a few things but some things have to continue simply because.

Here at the Flood house Thanksgiving dinner is also traditional and sure to please. Planned are four appetizers, two meats, two salads, six side dishes, three breads, four or maybe five desserts. This year there will be lots of family and some good friends. They are all cooking and then coming together at our house for this feast and time of real fun and fellowship.

This is the craziest thing though… I have delegated so well that I am actually cooking NOTHING for our Thanksgiving Dinner. Do you think anyone will notice? Perhaps I should whip up something, anything…haha….because I am wondering this…if I am cooking nothing and everyone else is cooking something, does this mean that I am the one doing all the clean up? I say that because in our house traditionally if one cooks, they don’t have to clean. MAN, OH MAN!!! Hoisted on my own petard!!!

So….if you find yourself alone this Thanksgiving or just don’t want to cook – come on over. We have PLENTY of food to share, a family that absolutely loves adding friends into our family but please, please don’t bring a thing because I need some help with the clean-up!!!

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Surprise Party

and five hours later when the weight of the glory of God lifted….

One thing I have known well, too well…and that is that lie of the devil named rejection.

I started believing the lie of rejection when I was quite young and over the years I have fought it, hated it, used it and partnered with it…but I have never been able to get rid of it. I grew up with an absent dad. My dad was always traveling while in the Navy and then after he was discharged he became lost in his own world of ministry and school. When my dad was around, he often went through periods of such depression that he would close himself off for weeks at a time. I had a dad that tried very hard but wasn’t able to persevere and killed himself a few weeks after Christmas in 1975…at the time I was fourteen.

So for many years even before fourteen I lived with this spirit of rejection and resulting father issues and depression that came. Yesterday, as my birthday approaches (and my birthday is also my dad’s birthday just so you understand) I started feeling myself cave to such feelings of depression that I didn’t know what was going on. It was a feeling I haven’t felt in quite some time and I felt almost guilty for feeling it…like I was chosing this as I had until recently even accused my dad of chosing. I don’t mess around though with depression. I need help but from who? I went to the only one I know for sure I can trust with this. Someone that would understand and care enough about the roots of my rejection to pray even if they couldn’t understand what I was feeling. I went to Jesus.

I believe with all my heart that God sent me to the IHOPU student awakening last night. I had other things planned but I just couldn’t do them…so I got online and decided to check it out.

So five hours later when the weight of the glory of God lifted….

Not even an hour into the service, this girl got up and was getting ready to pray for people that had that spirit of rejection and Allen Hood (gotta love him) grabbed the microphone and said there are pastors kids and they really have this rejection on them and they need to be delivered tonight. They are here and on the webcast. I knew that he as talking about me….It was like the Holy Spirit took control of me and I started crying uncontrollably and continued as this girl, a pastor’s kid who had been delivered the week before, prayed for ME. And as she prayed and continued praying, I felt the release. It was that divine exchange you hear about. One weight exchanged for another….yes, there was this weight and I knew it was the GLORY- the very presence of God… No big bells or whistles. No falling down or shaking or dancing (well until later and then there was singing and dancing and praising like I haven’t done in a longgggg time : ). There was just the weight…glorious weight of God. I couldn’t move, I didn’t want to. And all that time I was feeling the release. This girl prayed for those that need the love of the Father to fill holes that my father couldn’t and didn’t fill. I believe with all my heart that those holes aren’t there this morning. That this weight took out a lot of things and put in some others. I can’t exactly explain it. Would anyone even believe it anyway?

I just feel different….Rejection is something I knew too well but rejection is a LIE of the devil and I declare this morning that I know nothing of these lies. Still under the weight, I felt God tell me to destroy those clippings and although it took effort to release those lies…I tore them up and flushed them and then I started declaring some things…and still, I declare that I know in every fiber of my being the Father’s love this morning….like Job 22:28

“You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. …”

I declare it today – NO REJECTION ON ME THIS MORNING only the LOVE OF MY FATHER. For my birthday God gave me one of the desires of my heart. To be free from this spirit of rejection, to be free from trying to please others to get their approval, to be free from trying to get people to like me, to be free from resulting jealousies and anger, to be free from resulting depression rooted in the guilt of my dad’s choices, to be free from ruminations and wondering if everything I said or did hurt anyone in any way every time I speak or write or whatever, to be free from perfectionism and performing, just to be FREE.

I shared my birthday with my dad and we never really had parties…we just exchanged cards and had a cake. For years after my dad died no one really wanted to celebrate such a day. I always understood because I didn’t ever really want to celebrate it either. So I have always just done things that were very low key. A dinner maybe. I have never really even had or wanted a birthday party…but last night God threw me a PARTY. A surprise party.

Five hours later when the weight of the glory of God lifted there was singing and dancing and God gave me such a gift- one of the desires of my heart – and He gave it two days early. He knew, because He knows me, that I couldn’t wait another minute…..HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!! THANK YOU GOD FOR SUCH A GIFT : )

Hallelujah and ALL THE GLORY TO GOD!!!!

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Just Showed Up For My Own Life too

Three years ago I watched a documentary about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Honestly at that time I had no interest in Africa, AIDS or the people affected in the world. It was not in the radar of what I knew as my life, but that day God sat me down and sat me still and He touched my heart. Although it wasn’t a religious video or even one of social justice, I couldn’t turn away from what I saw and heard from Him that day…the burden. I told my family afterward that I would be going to Africa on a mission trip one day.

Over these last years I have thought about that statement and that day often. Then several days ago I watched a music video by Sara Groves. It was a video set to her song I Saw What I Saw and it was a message about how her life was changed and how it really began by a visit to Rwanda. When I saw it I started crying. I was bawling like a baby. Couldn’t contain my feelings. I know what God has placed in my heart and seeing that video brought it all into the open, if just in my own room…it had become a burden and was this true desire I was feeling?

Today I watched another documentary from the Nomad Film Series. It was titled- Just Showed Up For My Own Life. This documentary, about Sara Groves as well, chronicled both that visit to Rwanda but in much more detail and Sara ministering in Louisiana during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am completely undone.

I have over these last years asked God to give me a heart that felt love, real love. God has taken my heart filled to the brim with so many prejudices and judgments and apathy and I can feel Him replacing it with His heart of deep longing and love and “homesickness” for these nations of Africa but also for individuals; also for this nation…the poor and broken-hearted of this nation and this town. I have cried all day for the orphans and the widows; for the elderly; for the women and for the men. Those living in poverty and a kind of trauma that I can’t even understand. His people, His children. Then I find myself praying that He would give me a nation and to help me perceive the need in the one in front of me today.

What God has placed in my heart is beyond my understanding. I guess I write it here because I have to believe there is someone out there that knows something at all about what I am feeling. I admit I don’t get it exactly and I admit it might sound crazy. I don’t even know the simple things I need to know so yes it is so beyond me…but for whatever circumstance I find myself or whatever season of my life I am in, this is. This is a new reality that has always been there in God’s plan for me. It is now a part of my own life. It is risky and yet I know the risk of not showing up for this part of my life is so much greater. I see documentaries like this and read books and listen to missionaries speak and I just want to see and know a people with that kind of love, faith, healing, joy that these people seem to know. I want to walk with Jesus there- maybe so I can know more of how He wants me to walk with Him here. One of the consequences of great prejudice seems to be great responsibility. I have to own that. I want to quit crying and yet I don’t want to ever quit. It is now my burden, my desire and my prayer.

I have been meditating on this scripture today. It has blessed me:

Isaiah 41:9-10 (New International Version)

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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As I Walk on the Road to Emmaus – My Miracle

There has been a lot of talk recently about miracles. This past Sunday Pastor Sammy called those that needed a miracle to come forward to be anointed and to receive. I need a miracle in my life and so I went forward and I walked back to my seat believing I received. So did I? Well, first let me say-

Recently while reading Luke 3 the phrase “a state of expectation” just stood out to me. I began meditating on it maybe because I have felt this state, this expectation over these last months.

“Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ.” Luke 3:15

Then Monday I received an IM (instant message) from a friend. She said, “Melissa: Sitting here thinking of you. Continue to ask, seek, and expect big things. Ephesians 3:20-21.”

I saw that word “expect” and thought back to that “state of expectation.” Was this the Lord speaking about that? Maybe, maybe just me. Either way, I began meditating on it again…expecting and expectations. Sometimes my plans, goals and dreams do not turn out as I expect or imagine they should. Sometimes it appears that things I thought may be of the Lord do not turn out at all. If a miracle doesn’t manifest itself based on my thought life or yours, does that mean there was no miracle?

Last night at Bible study we read the story of the guys on the road to Emmaus and I began thinking about the miracle they too had expected and imagined.

“And He said to them, ‘What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?'” Luke 24:17

I thought it interesting that Jesus not only questioned them about their conversation, but also mentioned the sadness in their hearts. He knew their struggle. They were very open about it too. At that point, these guys thought Jesus was just another stranger because He appeared in a form that wasn’t familiar. They were sad because all they were hoping and believing for did not turn out as they expected. They were in a place that they saw no miracle or possibility.

“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” Luke 24:21

Jesus was and is redeemer…however, at the moment, it didn’t look that way to them. I think that is where I find myself sometimes, no oftentimes…on that same road. Things God has promised have not turned out the way I expected in some areas just yet. Sometimes I find it hard to even see the possibilities of my miracle. Ii is then that I have to try as best as I know how to trust in the Word. The Bible seems to be full of moments where it appeared things were not going to work out.

Maybe, like these men, I have missed the Lord and His miracles as I focus on other things…the road itself, my emotions. Maybe because I expect Him to show up a certain way and at a certain time and when He does not meet my expectations or my miracle doesn’t look like what I dreamed up in my limited fantasies and thoughts I tend to start withdrawing. Then I fall into disappointment and then blindness. I can see how easily temptation, lukewarmness, the desire for other things, and sin could follow. All because I allowed my road of possibilities and miracles to be changed into a path of lost expectation in the Lord when I began limiting those same expectations.

So back to my miracle. What will it look like? Will I know it? Maybe not at first, but I have to still believe. Because I believe we aren’t so different from those in Bible times that walked that original road to Emmaus but also because I read in the scripture that my friend IMed that it is God’s desire to do above and beyond what we are asking or thinking up. I have to work not to lower my expectations to my own personal experience or to your experience or the church’s or even our world’s. If God always came through in the Bible, He will always come through for me. SO by faith I tell you… YES- I GOT MY MIRACLE even as I walk on the road to Emmaus and it is all that He imagined and so very good…PRAISE THE LORD! GLORY TO GOD!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

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HALLELUJAH – sharing a smile

In the internet world we often use this : ) to represent a smile. I do it all the time. But look at this – is it just me or has anyone else ever noticed that when the word hallelujah is typed in capital letters it seems to create the image of a smile? Can you see that? Okay, I haven’t gone crazy…look at it from a distance.

HALLELUJAH

HALLELUJAH

HALLELUJAH

According to the dictionary hallelujah has the following meanings – as an interjection it is used to express praise, joy, or thanks; as a noun it is a shout or song of praise or thanksgiving. hmmm… a smile seems appropriate to me.

God is so good and I am having a really great day. Hope you can say the same.

HALLELUJAH

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I am a preacher and so is mom ; )

I grew up in a church denomination and am a part of a family that has typically allowed no voice to women on spiritual matters. Even today, in my extended family, women do not pray aloud or even say a blessing when there is a man around that can do it. Over the years I have often asked myself how this can be when my mom and her witness is one of the reasons most of the men in my family came to Christ. I have only challenged this mindset twice though. Each time it led to huge disagreements and voices that were a little too loud and my mom in her embarrassment and frustration ended up crying. I can’t bear my mom’s tears…so it has always been easier to just hush up and follow tradition. I am, however, now watching a new generation of women struggle as they too are being told they can’t do certain things because of their gender.

You know, when you are told so often that you can’t do something, it just makes you want to do it all the more. Oh yeah, maybe for the wrong reasons but still you want to just rebel somehow. So over the years this fascination has developed and now while I love to listen to many preachers and teachers, I find myself very, very drawn to hearing women. Go figure. Rebellion? Perhaps. As I have listened something within me is churning and I can feel it rising and I know that one day (though I am definitely not there yet) I will not be satisfied with keeping my mouth shut and my thoughts hidden away in journals. I will not only release my words and ideas and dreams, but I will speak them boldly no matter the cost…hopefully I won’t just burst in some hyper emotional babble but you never know.  Hopefully, mom won’t cry.

So I say all that so you’ll understand when I tell you this “news”— though maybe I can’t even explain it with the appropriate emotion it deserves. Sunday Pastor Sammy was talking about how all believers are called to preach the gospel as it says “go YE therefore” and he asked us to repeat the words “I am a preacher.” We are all preachers he said. He didn’t say just the men, he said all of us. I can’t begin to describe the happiness it gave me to hear these words from a pastor and a man, but I really can’t describe the surprising joy and exhilaration it gave me to hear those words coming freely from my own mouth as we all declared it together– I AM A PREACHER! I AM A PREACHER!! …now just wait until mom hears that she’s a preacher too…Yikes! Watch out! It is almost Thanksgiving ; )

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Mind of Christ

I often journal my prayers. This morning during one such prayer, I simply wrote the following…”Father, Show me how to love like you love. What will that look like in my life?” As I finished I began reading in the Bible where I had left off the day before. The passage was Mark 10 but I could go no farther than verse 45 because as I read this verse I began to hear God answer.

45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

My eyes were drawn to a little note I had in the margin “see Philippians 2:3-7” and so I turned to it.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Wow- I saw it, heard it, felt it. I got it. God was answering my question from His Word and so from His heart. Jesus came not to be ministered to, but to minister. If my goal is to love like Jesus, to be more and more like Him then am I not asking for the “mind of Christ?” And if this is what I am asking for, if I receive it then what am I expecting? What I feel the Father showed me is that to receive the “mind of Christ” and to learn to love as He loved and live in a way that pleases Him will cause a change to be made in me that is very visible and unmistakable but in that change… I will be made only a servant, of no reputation on this earth, just like His Son.

Oh that I would embrace such service and honor it as the ultimate gift passed down to me by a loving Father; shared with me by His precious Son, Jesus.