You’re not going to overcome…

You already have overcome…

it may not ‘feel’ that way but according to scripture its truth. I suppose this is why we are directed in scripture not to live by our feelings but rather live by our faith.

“…You are of God little children and you have overcome… For He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

go-forward-with-faith-seed-to-tree-580We were not made to tie a knot in the end of your rope and hang on til Jesus comes… Until an escape hatch opens in the sky and we are sucked out of earthy trials.  The victory that overcomes the world and all things in it is faith.

 Romans 10:17  “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

It’s not hard to get or have faith, sometimes its hard to release it
Ephesians 2 faith is a gift from God.

Faith is like treadmill you have been given as a gift. It’s only useful if you you use it. You possess it but its not helpful as a clothes rack, you have to jump on it and run!

Faith is taking God at His word!
Faith is to say in the middle of all things you trust faith and not feelings!

One particularly identifiable difference between being or living great and being or living mediocre, is the follow-through. ‘Faith’-fulness is of more value than talent or favor, and steadfastness is the most rare of all, considering the state of existence and direction society is barreling heedlessly toward with what appears to be without ‘brakes‘.

By Faith we understand: by faith Abel offered, Enoch was taken, Noah constructed, Abraham obeyed, Sarah conceived, and all of these people lived by such faith without seeing their promise come to its full fruition. Despite not seeing such they did not lose faith. By faith the world is changed, ripples in the pool of life are made and history is set! by-faithBy faith provision comes, healing is manifest, and souls are saved from eternal separation from the love of God. By faith we are dreamers, history makers, world changers, and missionaries to a lost and dying world. By faith examples have been set from the days of old to the present… By Faith Abraham was tested, Moses was hidden, people crossed the red sea, the walls of Jericho fell, and Rahab did not perish.  These people and countless others lived by faith and much of the time never saw what they were believing for fully come to light, but it eventually came in GOD’S perfect timing. What are we doing in faith, for real?

The Bible goes on and on about impossibilities being reality all by faith!  Can you take a look at your life and saying the same. I can only do such on such a minor level. I am falling down over and over in this area but refusing to stay down… reading the victories in Hebrews 11 is enough to supercharge anyones batteries.  Imagine in that chapter, the tales  “time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak,Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

Do not miss out, I don’t want to reach the finish line in the race with significant missed opportunities that only required a bit of faith actually utilized, where I simply failed to use it.

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Dream Big, Dream Fierce

“Dream big, and dream fierce.”

 This was the heading in an American Way article I read last year while flying from Colorado to Texas. The article was actually an interview with the actress Viola Davis, and I remember none of it – except one thing: “Dream big, and dream fierce.”Image

 As Christians, we serve a God who dreams. He dreamt our world, surroundings, the sun, moon, and stars, but most importantly, He dreamt of you and me. Then He gave us His dreaming nature. Dreaming inspires us. It causes us to look forward to the future and see promise, possibility, and hope. Dreaming ignites our creativity. The more you dream about something the more passionate you become to see your dream become a reality.

 You are a dreamer. Even if you don’t think you’re a dreamer because you’re practical or rational, you do dream. You “dream” of what you will have for dinner tomorrow, what you and your girlfriends will do when you get together, or what to name your new puppy. ImageDreaming is a gift from God and we all posses its capabilities. When we tap into our God-given dreaming nature, we find part of who we were meant to be.

 As people living in a fallen world, we often spend our dreams on frivolous and unnecessary things. However, once we realize that dreaming is a gift from God that can become a tool in our hand, perhaps we will dream a bigger dream. More than having money for a great wardrobe, house, or vacation maybe we can dream of something greater. Dreaming with God will always move past us. God’s dreams are for the entire world.

 If you are reading this and your dreams have died or been broken, I pray our Dreaming God breathes fresh life on them today. Let your broken and dead dreams live again. It’s part of our nature to dream, to look forward.  Look forward with hope and expectancy. We serve a great God. No matter our past or present, He is more than able to make your future a dream come true.

 Whatever your dream is, becoming a modern-day abolitionist, a wife and mother, a missionary, a business woman, the list goes on – let it live.  Let your dream ignite creativity in your heart to do what others say cannot be done.  Chase the impossible and watch what our dreaming God can do with a dreaming heart.

~ Hannah Sheets

 

ImageHannah Sheets will graduate in May with her degree in International Relations and Foreign Policy. She has a fierce love for the nations of this world—especially those in the Middle East. Hannah is passionate about seeing an awakening in her generation that sweeps the globe and brings millions to the Light of His Glory. Currently, Hannah lives in Dallas, Texas. 

The Incarnation

“And The Word Became Flesh…”

ImageJohn opens his gospel with these words: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God…” He goes on to tell us, “and the word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Every religion on the planet is trying to describe how the chasm that exists between God and man is closed. Yet, only in Christianity has God taken the initiative to bridge this unbridgeable gap himself.

The incarnation… The moment when God, without compromising an ounce of his divinity, became fully man. Here in the incarnation, God who was unknowable in all of his transcendence has become knowable in his immanence. Can we truly understand what it meant that he knew equality with God? Can we grasp from what height he descended? He was God of very God, dwelling in unapproachable light, enthroned with no worthy contender to speak of. There was none like him. And then, something utterly inscrutable happened. God, who existed from eternity past, put on limitation and stepped into time. The fullness of God was now dwelling in the fullness of man. The creator had become the creature; the transcendent infinite one, now an infant; the invisible made visible. He was found in the form of a man…

Without the incarnation there remains a chasm, a transcendent gulf between God and man that we could never cross with all of our weak efforts to do right. In my opinion, a theology void of the doctrine of the incarnation is a theology void of salvation that will ultimately prove inadequate. Yet here, in Christ, God has become Immanuel… God tabernacling among us.

At the time Jesus made his appearance onto the scene, Israel was waiting with eager expectation for a Messiah who would deliver her once again from the oppression of her enemies, vindicate her, and declare before the whole world that Israel was in fact, the chosen people of God. Israel lived with hope of the deliverance from her present enemies, namely Rome. The Old Testament anticipated an emancipating King, who would establish justice once and for all. Yet, these scriptures became like a red carpet rolled out through the prophets on which now Christ has made his glorious and unconventional entry into human history as the Messiah, and, in the greatest scandal of all time, has saved us to the glory of God. They never expected the way in which God would choose to deliver. He came in weakness, choosing to demonstrate perfect meekness. He was held captive to every kind of indignity. He was everything the Jews expected and more, but only those with eyes to see could understand it. He came not to deliver from Rome, but to deliver from the plague of this parasite called sin that infiltrated human nature and branded us guilty before a just and holy God. He came to demonstrate the vast love of God, and make room for us in the divine fellowship of the trinity.

In Christ, God has done something scandalous, something incomprehensible… That’s the catch. The incarnation is not for analyzing. I am an advocate of study, and scrutiny even. I do not, by any means, wish to disregard critical observation. But at the end of the day, the incarnation is for worship. It is to leave us in awestruck wonder of what God has done in Christ by the Spirit. That though he was rich, for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich. The incarnation begs, not for analyzing and critique, but for worship. The right response to the incarnation is not to overlook it, or to pick it apart with our inadequate intellect… No, the only right response is utter and total gratitude. It takes humility to see God in such a humble state as an infant lying helpless in a manger. How low one would need to go to approach God wrapped in swaddling cloths in a shelter fit for animals. Could this be our God? Only in humility can we truly see God in the way that he has revealed himself to us. The incarnation begs that we stop, close our eyes, and in uninterrupted mediation think on what God has done in Christ… And say thank you.

~Missy Huff

Missy Huff is an international relations student. She love to travel the world, loves art, and good coffee. Missy has a heart to see God move in the nations until every tribe and tongue receives a witness of the worth of Christ… And Christ receives all that he is worthy of in the nations.

Expecting Results That Do Not Reflect Our Actions

Danielle, from the movie Ever After, said, “If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?” This quote says a lot to me.  Not necessarily about thieves but anyone we choose to look down on that we are responsible for; especially our own children.  As our children grow up, we must make sure what we are putting in is what needs to come out.

We can’t wait on them hand and foot, giving them all of their desires at the drop of a hat, and expect to raise a strong, independent, responsible adult who knows how to work for what they have and wait for what they want. If we laugh because they hit, slap, get angry and show cute little fits of rage, as babies, we can’t expect them to know how to handle conflict properly as they begin to grow up. If they only see and hear us pray at church, we should never expect them to have a real personal relationship with God (even if we do have our own “private time with God”). They won’t know what that even means unless we show them. If we simply sleep with them, or have them sleep with us, when they are afraid of the dark or have bad dreams, we can’t expect their spirit to know how to rise up within them and cast out the fear that tries to control their life.  If we don’t know how to get rid of our own fear, we can never expect them to get rid of theirs.

If we show no respect to the people in our house, no grace, no gentleness, no patience, no laughter, no peace, no commitment or no self discipline, we can expect our children to be disrespectful, always blaming someone else, harsh when they speak, depressed, stressed, falling short of all their dreams, and hating the person they become.  If we say, “We can do this, watch this, say this but you can’t.”, we are teaching them that the standard is lower for us as parents; which will cause them to “desire” the day when the standard gets to be lowered for them.

It’s so hard to do things the right way. We all mess up, as parents, every single day. We must get up and try again.  We have to think about the things we say and do.  Is that what we want to hear and see from our children? When we do mess up, we should tell them:

1. I was wrong. Image
2. I’m sorry.
3. This is what I should have done instead.
4. This is how I will work to change that.
5. I love you and my mistakes have nothing to do the you. I am the only one responsible for what    I  say and do.

 Aren’t these the things we want them to be able to say? Someone has to show them how to say them. Even if we choose not to say them, receiving grace and mercy from our children is the easy part.  They are very forgiving. That’s great for us, BUT we are still is forming who they are and what they know to be true.  Here are some “truths” we are teaching them with our actions:

-Mommy tells Daddy it’s ok for us when he already said no. Child thinks, “Score!!!!” What’s now true for them? What Daddy says doesn’t matter when Mommy’s around.  

-If Mommy says, “No candy” and I keep asking, she’ll say yes.  Why do they think that?  Because we did that (me included)! The truth for them? Mommy doesn’t always mean what she says.

-Child doesn’t understand how to do their homework. Daddy is in the middle of watching a ballgame. Child asks for help. Daddy says, “I think you are smart enough. Go figure it out.” The truth for this child? I may be smart enough to figure it out but Daddy would rather watch the ballgame than help me.  

-If it’s ok for my 5 year old to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, I can’t expect that same child to not want one at 14 (when certain things start to matter much more). If they’ve already had 10 along the way, I can’t expect their heart or their mind to be strong enough to handle a relationship the right way because they will have already had so many unnecessary rejections. ImageIf these events have been a part of that child’s life since 5 years old, they now see themselves in a completely distorted way. The truth for that 5, 10, 14 year old child now? If someone breaks up with me, that means I’m not good enough. If someone doesn’t ask me out, that means I’m not good enough.  If my best friend has a boyfriend/girlfriend and I don’t, that means I’m not good enough. No matter how much a parent speaks words of affirmation into a child’s life, they weren’t made to deal with optional “conditional” relationships at the same time in their lives as they were made to play pretend.

If we want them to have a goal and reach it, we must have our own goals and be reaching them. If we feed them grapes and eat ice cream after they go to bed because we don’t want them to be unhealthy like us, we can count on them eventually being unhealthy. Our actions prove what we believe is true, not our words! Truth, for our children, is only true when they see that WE believe what we are saying. It’s not just what they see us do or not do. It really is “who we are” that matters! We don’t raise what we want, we raise who we are.

ImageHard? Absolutely. Impossible? Never. Find a way to be a better you, even if only for them, and you may find out you like yourself too. What better time to start than this Christmas season? Take all of your extra opportunities and see them as a brand new start. Ask your family to forgive you. Forgive yourself. Pray for strength and wisdom, daily! “The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development.” -Jim Rohn
It’s never too late! 


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Merry Christmas!!!
~Suzanne Dorsey

Mother of three beautiful girls, a 9 yr. old dreamer, a 7 yr. old peacemaker, and a 5 yr. old realist. She is married to a Youth Alive director and missionary for the Assemblies of God. She is forever fascinating me with updates on the adventures with her 3 girls and their vastly different personalities.

The Present

Recently the Lord has been teaching me about viewing life through a completely different lens called: the present.

I’ve been meditating on this concept for a few months now. This thought was first birthed in me during a conversation I had with my boss. She told me about an article she was reading, in which, the writer made this statement:  unnamed “Time stands still for children because they are not thinking about tomorrow, they’re living in the moment. They are making memories.”   I began to think about this and how true it is. For children waiting is so hard because time goes by so much slower for them. Each day and each activity and each place is a memory for them not an errand to be finished or a check-off on the to-do list. They have no concern of the time.

The issue is that we live in a world where time is of the essence. Things must get done by a certain time and our lives should look a certain way by a certain age or the world could seriously, potentially fall off it’s axis. Who knew…the earth’s stability hinges on our ability to be accomplished?!?! This is serious.

I am completely supportive of efficiency and productivity. I am ‘Miss Color Coded To-Do-List’ herself!

I’m talking about living in the midst of the hustle and bustle and the mundane with a sense of awareness of the opportunity that we have. That opportunity is called the present and it is one to be seized.

“In today tomorrow doesn’t exist.” ~ S.A.

No matter what your current lot in life is, no matter how your life seems to be happening or not happening right now, there is a way to live free from frustration. The frustration of others expectations of us and mainly our own expectations of us. If we are constantly looking into tomorrow and waiting for something to happen we will find ourselves looking back over our lives and realizing that we never really lived. Life is about embracing every moment because those moments make us who we are meant to be but if we miss them we will never be fully who we were created to be.

Wherever your life is at right now fully embrace that moment! Just go ahead and give it a BIG OLE HUG! Get acquainted with it, even if it’s painful.

After all,   “The only way to be truly happy is to connect with the present.” ~ Mr. Pots

Life is richer when it is really being lived.

     ~ Ashley Hill

Ashley is a young woman of twenty three and she lives in Hamilton Alabama. She is very involved with serving in her local church
and works as a live-in-nanny taking care of three beautiful girls. Ashley is passionate about living her life for what truly matters in the scope of eternity.

Announcement: Guest Blogger Week 1

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It’s time for Guest Blogger Week on ‘And The Canary Still Sings’! I know everyone has been eagerly anticipating this coming event! It will begin tomorrow Dec. 18th. Feel free to leave our guests feedback and let them know how much you enjoy their contributions! Guest Blogger Week is where I pled with ask some of my writer/blogger friends if they’d like to contribute a post for my little blog and they kindly agreed and now I’m like, “YES!”, because they’re awesome.  I know you all will enjoy their thoughts and maybe even learn something.  SO… Get your cup o’joe, or maybe some popcorn, and a snuggly blanket ready because It’s going to be a good week I guarantee!

Let me introduce who you will be eagerly waiting to hear from:
Here is the line up, however in no specific order… (just depends when I receive the pontifications)

Suzanne– Mother of three beautiful girls, a 9 yr. old dreamer, a 7 yr. old peacemaker, and a 5 yr. old realist. She is married to a Youth Alive director and missionary for the Assemblies of God. She is forever fascinating me with updates on the adventures with her 3 girls and their vastly different personalities. Crafty and wise I know you will enjoy what she brings to the table!
Ashley Hill is a young woman of twenty three and she lives in Hamilton Alabama. She is very involved with serving in her local church and works as a live-in-nanny taking care of three beautiful girls. Ashley is passionate about living her life for what truly matters in the scope of eternity.
Regina–  Describes herself as…”I am a lover of God, a wife, a mother, a woman, a writer, a wretch. I am mediocre at most things that I am, but I want so much to be better… because He is worth it.” Following their hearts to Vietnam, select class 50.
Missy Huff is an international relations student. She love to travel the world, loves art, and good coffee. Missy has a heart to see God move in the nations until every tribe and tongue receives a witness of the worth of Christ… And Christ receives all that he is worthy of in the nations.
Hannah Sheets-will graduate in May with her degree in International Relations and Foreign Policy. She has a fierce love for the nations of this world—especially those in the Middle East. Hannah is passionate about seeing an awakening in her generation that sweeps the globe and brings millions to the Light of His Glory. Currently, Hannah lives in Dallas, Texas.

Give a warm welcome to our guests and enjoy what they bring to the table! It is sure to be something delicious!!!

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It’s Time to Give Up!

A recent word shared you can’t afford to miss…In the gospel of Mark chapter 5 starting with verse 25 there is a story we, church goers, are all very familiar with and have probably read numerous times as well as heard countless messages concerning the woman with the issue of blood. Lets take another look. A short look.

There are 2 sides to warfare, natural and spiritual.
We all know what spiritual warfare is but a good example of natural warfare is… theres a good place to go when you are broke… to work. Natural warfare are the actions we take in the physical to reach a solution.

With utmost respect I need to say The church has maligned “waiting” on God. Mostly in innocent ways with “good” intentions such as always saying put feet on your faith, and other such sayings.  Sometimes that is true sometimes not so much. Yes God helps those who help themselves…heard that one? Sometimes “waiting” is part of the journey. I have always believed for the most PART waiting on God is waiting as in SERVICE while we are expecting, like a waiter in a restaurant. Sometimes waiting is resting.  BOTH are paramount in our walk with The Lord.

The woman in Mark had suffered and waited for 12 years.  She did not realize it but she was actually waiting on Jesus. Her problem did not stay the same or even get better it actually got WORSE…12 YEARS! How do you encourage yourself for 12 years? How do you push yourself even when nothing gets better, it actually just gets worse?

The woman spent all she had, now she is not only sick but she is broke too! Have you ever been attacked in multiple areas? Have you ever been hit from the left and think I can handle this just to be hit on the right and stabbed in the back? Have you come to the end and felt spent and then everything just gets worse?!

ImageThere are some things only God can do. Jesus didn’t come until she stopped trying. No I don’t mean until she was ready to give up on LIFE, she didn’t lose hope, she finally realized she, in the natural, was not capable of helping herself. She stopped trying to force the issue. She came to the end of herself and then God could move. Some people lose faith because they know they have problems. They are so ashamed of their own failures and flaws that they allow it to crush their faith that God could overlook what sin has been committed  or failures have occurred and provide for their need. With God, it is not about score keeping.

CONSIDER: God freed the Israelites from Egypt’s captivity despite their issues/problems even during the miracle God had provided the people were complaining. God said The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.  We aren’t being promoted fast enough through prayer so we promote ourselves, but some doors can only be opened by God. Just go to prayer and allow God to work! This is why David said- wait I say on the Lord. Our best for us is not God’s best for us.

Faith is not faith if there is a plan B. It’s time to give up- you’ve worked it hard, you have had your hands all over “it” whatever it is for you.  Stop.  Let God have control and fight FOR you!  ImageInstead of your usual, OUR usual knee jerk reactions of forcing something to be what we need go to prayer, seek Him. In the natural quiet yourself.  Don’t get what I am saying wrong, I am not saying be lazy and sit waiting for a sack of money to fall out of the sky.  Do what you know is your purpose and pray.  Don’t neglect areas God has set you as responsible over and be a good steward of those things.  1st Peter tells us to cast all our care for he cares for you.  Heard it?  Im sure more than you can count  to the point it may now be meaningless.  Lets be honest for a minute sometimes when your reading Jesus He can almost sound foolish or in the least comical…

  • take no thought for your life
  • be careful or worry for nothing
  • cast all your cares on Him

After all this, finally consider…  Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

ImageIf you cast all your cares on Him you wouldn’t spend time thinking about those issues and cares you supposedly cast on Him during your day. He will perfect that which concerns us, those words can be found in psalms. He, the Creator of the universe, is consumed by the things that concern us. We try with finite skill to work our way into a breakthrough and only becomes worse.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is wonderfully God to those who wait for Him and those who seek Him. The end of the story, the end result is you will see how wonderfully good God is. The enemy will accuse God to you saying something to the effect of, He did not keep His word, He has failed you. Sound familiar?

You have heard the voice of the accuser but when you look up to the heavens, God, and say YOU are faithful, YOU ARE good, it will break that hold off of you the enemy so readily has been cultivating.  Wounded faith will be healed, faith restored IF you return your focus, your gaze on Him- He is faithful.  You have heard and read the portion of scripture that says, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength… Have you ever travelled and sat even napped through the journey and felt rested and “renewed” by the end? When I travelled to and even the trip from Ireland it was a 12 hour flight roughly, and I slept a great deal of the flight one way. Is it odd to you that I can say I was ready for bed when I stepped off that plane?! Is it surprising I didn’t jump off the plane and say WOW I feel so rested and ready to go! not at all I was exhausted! Let me challenge you to think in a new way about this scripture. The word renewed in this scripture isn’t the renewed we are familiar with, its making reference to a change. its a changing of strength to strength, our strength to His strength. So… They that wait upon the Lord shall change their strength. They shall no longer try to solve the problem but allow God to make all things good. A stretch? Do some research.

Lord, you will fight while we stay silent, while we rest you will make all things for our good. We have never seen the righteous forsaken. Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own. Lord you are faithful, He is so faithful… You fight we rest in YOU. Whatever you’re doing God we believe in YOU and YOUR will.