Monday, March 25, 2013

Wife To Widow: Sandra Bennett

I  feel like I'm being redundant in my introductions with you ladies, but each one of you has had something very special to share here with us.  Each one amazing, unique, and gifted.  Each one brave enough to share her story in the hopes it will fall on needing ears.   So when I repeatedly say I can't wait for you to meet... I'm so excited to share... This woman is truly amazing...I feel honored... I know you'll be inspired by... It is all very sincere. 

I know you will find our next "feature" courageous and inspiring.   She really makes you think.  Visit her blog.  She may not see it this way, but I see a ministry going on over at Thistle Cove.  We are all called.  Thank you Sandra for your inspiration.

Sandra didn't write this, but I want to add that she is working on a e-book she hopes to 
publish late spring/early summer.  It will be a workbook to help prepare for the death of a spouse.  I also want to add her blogs here as well.

She has two blogs her farm blog (updated fairly regularly) and her wife to widow blog (sporadic updates because she is working on the book).

~Kasse D.

 "These are questions I ask myself every day. I've a good idea of what God wants me to be doing now but haven't a clue about the future. I know my past has brought me to this place, this time, this farm and God uses it all to prepare me for doing the job He has set before me." Sandra

 We were going to sit down on Monday morning, cups of coffee at hand, three ring notebook at the ready and Dave was going to prepare me for that time when he wouldn't be here to protect me and provide for me. Saturday morning, around 10:30, he dropped dead of a massive heart attack. Even though he'd been fighting cancer for more than a year, we'd been given the hope of “another year, p'raps a year and half”.

I've learned a LOT, most importantly, happiness has a million voices while grief has one voice, one cry. After a death, people disappear and some of those who don't disappear, you wish they would. Everyone has to grieve in their own way, in their own time. Grief cannot be hurried; it takes as long as it takes. Crying is cathartic, so is screaming. You, the one left behind, has to do what is best for you and not, necessarily, what someone else thinks is best for you. The old adage, “don't make any drastic changes for a year” is good advice...except when it isn't.
Dave died in 11/11 and since then I've been working on a book to help others prepare as best one can. The book isn't a one size fits all, it's more of a workbook, with work sheets, to help put affairs in order now so you don't play catch up later. There are myriad decisions that can be made now to save so much money and heart ache later. My suggestions and advice are just that...suggestions and advice but for advice and counsel particular to your situation, please consult a professional in the area in which you need help.
I am not a lawyer, therapist, counselor, financial adviser or any other type professional. I'm simply a woman who was left before we could prepare and everything I've learned has been on the job training (OJT) and, mainly, BTSOMP (by the seat of my pants). If I'd been better prepared, I could have saved money and time and could have focused on the real work of grieving. This article is a sample of what you need to know, what you need to do and is by no means complete.
First piece of best advice...get out of debt as much as possible and as soon as possible. Determine what you need to live and let go of your wants; when you aren't enslaved by debt, you have a lot more choices in life. When you're enslaved by debt, your choices are fewer and you're slave to many masters. Sit down, the two of you together and establish a budget for your household. Frankly, this is something I'm still working on finishing; it's a task that takes a lot of time and effort but, you'll hear me say this again and again, doing it now will prevent headache and heartache later. If you're doing volunteer work, stop. From now until you get it finished, this is your “volunteer” work; you need to take care of home and family and when finished, you'll be in a better place to do volunteer work for others. In fact, stop anything that takes away from God first, family second, work third. When you're taking care of you, your family and your God ordained obligations, time has a way of expanding to fit the tasks at hand. My life now revolves around devotions, my farm, home, animals and myself. I'm helping with our small community association (our valley has fewer than three dozen people) and our volunteer fire department because it takes most of us to keep our community in working order.
One of the many things I found out was both names should be on the utility bills. It makes an onerous task less difficult because the utility company will say, “We're sorry for your loss but your name isn't on the bill so we can't talk to you.” When I'd reply, yes, my name is on the bill and if you don't want to talk to me, let me give you my husband's new address: it's Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.” My sense of humor was lost upon corporate employees and even so, I had to send certified copies of death certificates for them to talk to me. As to having Dave's name taken off the accounts? That hasn't happened yet and, frankly, I've given up. If they want to give me a hard time when I move, I'll deal with it then or contact the State Corporation Commission and turn the big dogs loose. Lesson learned: decide which battles are the most important and this one wasn't. The electric bill still arrives, I still pay it and, thus far, all is well.
The phone company was a major pain, especially the mobile phone company which was also our land line company. Long story short, I canceled the mobile phone and went with Straight Talk from Walmart; it was less expensive both to purchase a phone (minutes, text and web) and to buy a plan ($30/month). Where I live there's no cell service so a “smart phone” does me absolutely no good.
Vehicle titles should read “Joe Jones or Jane Jones, Right of Survivor (ROS). It's less paperwork and less expensive to have the titles transferred into your name should your spouse pre-decease you.
When Dave died, my immediate problem was cash flow and I found out our bank accounts needed to say, “Joe Jones with Jane Jones, beneficiary” in order for me to access his checking account or vice versa. Yes, I had my checking account but for months couldn't access his money; meanwhile, creditors wouldn't wait.
If one dies without a will, called intestate, the State will assign an Executor or Executrix to administer the will. Said Executor or Executrix may, legally, receive 15% of the estate for such administration whereas a relative or friend may, voluntarily, forgo such a claim. There are myriad reasons a person doesn't have a will; some say it's too morbid, they lack the knowledge or they don't have the money to pay a lawyer, yet, in twenty-nine states, a holographic will is legal. A holographic will is a handwritten will that's witnessed and, usually, notarized by two people unrelated to the person making the will. Other options include form wills specific to your state such as Legal Zoom or US Legal Forms offer and both are found on the internet. If you have a will, you should consider a Living Trust next and your Last Will and Testament is written so your estate "pours over" into your Trust upon your death. It's an excellent way to keep your affairs private!
A short article is the tip of the iceberg but gives you some ideas of how to manage your affairs so you're proactive and not reactive. “Death comes to us or for us, it's best to be prepared.”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

We Overcome! Reba Altizer

This is one of my favorite things to hear people talk about.  We all have ups and downs in life, hearing someone tell their story of Victory in Christ encourages us all.  Thanks Reba.
~ Kasse D.

We overcome!
by Reba Altizer
Overcome:  past participle of o·ver·come (Verb)

Succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty).
Defeat (an opponent); prevail: "they overcame the guards"; "we shall overcome".
overpower - vanquish - conquer - defeat - surmount - beat.

Pslam. 668
Praise our God, all peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and water,
    but you brought us to a place of abundance.

I love how the Word of God is so relevant in my day to day life . It is amazing how when I get a steady diet of the Word of God, different scriptures will come alive- scriptures I know I have read before, but for some reason, on certain days they just minister to my heart.  It's as if God spoke them directly. The passage above is one of those for me. The whole chapter is good but these verses really ministered to me.

1 . I am reminisced of His goodness, love, and how He keeps us on solid ground. When everything around us is shaking, we can be steady because He is the one who keeps us from slipping. Here are a few scriptures that come to my mind, and bring even more strength to my Spirit.

Psalm. 108:1God, my heart is steady. I will sing and praise you with all my being

Psalm 23:6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 31:19Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

2.  I am reminded that tests are part of life. When I read this passage this morning, I thought, "Why do we feel like we must be doing something wrong when tests come?".  We didn't feel that way in school.  Teachers normally test the student.  When they feel the material has been covered, it's time for an evaluation. Now, sometimes, I would feel nervous or anxious.  This was because I might not have felt very confident I understood the material I was soon to be tested on- I would study and then I would feel ready.  We have the best teacher. He always gives us an open Book test.  We just have to use the tools He has given us and we will pass the test!  These are just a few scriptures that encourage me to overcome tests and trials.  This only a few but as you read them be encouraged we overcome!

James 1:12 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

1 Corinthians 10:1313 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Romans 12:12 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

James 1:2–4 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 4:12–13 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Romans 8:2828 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

3. No test or trial lasts forever.  It does End, and yes, others come, but we have the assurance we will overcome when our trust is in Him.  We will move into a place of abundance not once in our life but over and over. He is our overflow.
Psalm 1:3
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Psalm 5:12“For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”

Psalm 37:25-26"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.”

Psalm 41:11"By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.”

Psalm 84:11
 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

My husband and I many times insert our names in the Word when we read it. One passage that has really helped us in this time in our life is ps.23 which we who have been in church know by heart but something happens when you insert your personal name it makes it so relevant and close to you. Try it! God loves us and desire for us to overcome and live in the land of abundance.

Reba Altizer is a member of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Ok. She graduated from Christ for the Nations in Dallas TX with a bachelor degree in Practical Missions. She has been involved in missions and evangelism for the past 20 years serving in 28 nations. The past 10 years she and her husband have worked at Victory Christian Center as the Coordinators of the Victory World Missions Training Center which is a school to help prepare students for full-time missions work. She has lead women's teams to Italy several times, Slovenia, Finland & Estonia. She has a real desire for women to know they are valuable and to fulfill their God given purpose.

 ~kASSE d.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Feed Your Faith Not Your Fear: Reba Altizer

As always, what a blessing.  We have had some scary health issues arise in our family over the past week.
When life is rolling along normally, I forget the grip that fear is capable of having on our lives.  I usually move through life mostly positively and unfearful.  Then in a second, it's here.  Fear has raised it's ugly head, and  I forget what to do.  Always, the Lord is faithful, and in one way or another, He reminds me...
Thank you Reba.  Sending Love...
 ~Kasse D.

Feed your Faith not your Fear

I believe one of the most important things we have to remember in our day to life is to fear not!! We must decide what we are going to believe its not that you deny the facts but you focus on the truth in the Word. What I have heard  is feed your faith And starve your fear.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1: 7

Fear comes in many different  Disguises:

1. The mask that is fear of lack-consistently says there will  not be enough to pay bills to take care of your family- then the what ifs start happening what if I lose my job and on and on. Sometimes we don't even recognize we are operating in fear until we stop and take time to pray or read the Word and we start dispelling the enemy by defeating the fear of lack with the Word of God. Sounds simple but really it's not when you are burdened with this fear it takes discipline to meditate on the solution instead of the problem. Here are just a few scriptures to think on and actually the best one is the one The Lord leads you too in your  own quit time with Him, it seems to be easier to grab ahold of  what you believe He showed you through His Word and overcome.  Your bank account might not physically change by what you see but your attitude will and the strength to move forward will happen and your circumstances will change.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV)

        “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
(John 10:10, KJV)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
(The Lord is my Shepherd,
I lack nothing.)
(Psalm 23:1-2, KJV esword)

 “For everyone who has [faith in an abundant, providing, good God] will be given more, and he will have an abundance.”
(Matthew 25:29, NIV)

“My cup over flows…”
(Psalm 23:5)

         “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
(Psalm 23, KJV)

         “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:14-21, KJV

         “If ye then...know how to give good gifts unto your children: How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
(Luke 11:13, NIV)

2. Fear of illness- I think this is one of the worst because the fear of death, the costs of fighting the illness. I always wonder why is it so easy to go down the road of believing the worst, I think one reason is because there is less resistance and sometimes we have people around us going that direction but I have found those I have known who have overcome breast cancer and other life threading disease have made a conscious   decision they were not going down that road of despair and surround themselves with the Word, with information to improve there health and enjoyed their life the best way possible. The enemy likes to put us in the place of hopelessness but that is not where we should stay. We were created to have hope and to believe in the one who is our hope Jesus Christ. People do die of life threading disease but each one of us are individually made by our creator and He has plan for our lives so we must run our race and trust for Him to help us to fulfill all He has planned for our lives. I believe the main thing is put our trust in Him and know we do have an enemy that wants the opposite for us but with Christ we can overcome. Here are some scriptures to stand on for healing. Feed your faith not your fear.

1 Peter 5:7
Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 42:5
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.
Psalm 30:11
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.
Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.

3. Fear of disaster- wow this one is constantly playing on the tv, radio and movies. I find this one is constantly in front of us. The Gloom and doom people. We know as believers the life as we know will not go on forever but we as believers we do not have to be afraid. God is a good God and he will guide us and help us through all that comes our way before the rapture. My husband was singing a song today over and over and as I thought about it I was so blessed. The song was I am a friend of God I am friend God He calls me friend. He is our Savior and friend He does desire a relationship with us. In that relationship I believe He can speak to our hearts and help us avoid disaster and for those who do not know Him and our family and friends I believe we have a responsibility as believers to pray that disaster will not come near them. I know I have had family and even myself in some pretty bad car accidents  but I believe by Gods grace and mercy we were spared  for His purposes. The scriptures I am listing below are great to speak over yourself and family daily. Remember feed your Faith not your fear.

Proverbs 18:10 - The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Psalm 121:2 - My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:3 - He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber.

Psalm 121:7 - The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life;

Psalm 121:8 - The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.

Psalm 27:1 - [Of David.] The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 91:9 - If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--

Psalm 91:10 - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

Psalm 91:11 - For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

The key to this is you spending time in His Word and allow Him to illuminate the Word you need to stand on in your situation. That is where I find the power

Reba Altizer is a member of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Ok. She graduated from Christ for the Nations in Dallas TX with a bachelor degree in Practical Missions. She has been involved in missions and evangelism for the past 20 years serving in 28 nations. The past 10 years she and her husband have worked at Victory Christian Center as the Coordinators of the Victory World Missions Training Center which is a school to help prepare students for full-time missions work. She has lead women's teams to Italy several times, Slovenia, Finland & Estonia. She has a real desire for women to know they are valuable and to fulfill their God given purpose.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Featuring: Lost On The Horizon Photography

Ladies,  I'm excited we are getting back into the swing of things.  You'll love reading about Michelle.
It's just refreshing and inspiring to read about women doing amazing things with their lives: growing, learning,
and stepping into the women God called them to be.  Life is so much bigger when we start stepping into the path we were created to walk.   Thanks Michelle for sharing.  Do pay her a visit...
~ Kasse D. 

Where are you in life right now?

Good question! Right now, I’m on a crazy journey of self-discovery and inventing who I am and what my purpose is. I’m discovering new passions, heart’s desires, and ways in which I want to make an impact on the world. I’m at a major - or two - milestone in life. I recently turned 40 (which I’m told is the new 20.  I really hope not, as I cringe at the thought of doing my 20’s and high waisted jeans over again) and my daughter is currently a senior in high school (and about to turn 18).

I am literally a jill of all trades, master of none, but last year God put a true calling on my heart that, after 20 years, I finally feel like I have a small glimpse into what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve spent the last 18 years working in the fire service and higher education. I’m working this year to become a life and health coach. Long term plans (hopefully within the next 5 years)  include obtaining a 2nd Master’s degree in adult clinical mental health, specializing in working with families and caregivers of cancer patients; as well as grief, bereavement, and disaster. I’ll be able to use my photography and writing to bring healing, peace and understanding to others. It will be definitely be a journey!

 (Photo Credit: WesSpeaks Productions)

Personally, I’m to the point I can honestly say (while holding my breath): I suffered through undiagnosed depression the last few years and it is a terrible place to be. I have reclaimed my health, my happiness, and my enthusiasm for life and hope that I can help others do the same. I’m looking forward to growing my photography business (making it in nature/western/landscape photography takes a LOT of patience), publishing my first cookbook, and writing a book about emerging from depression through love and acceptance. Of course, I couldn’t be any more excited to see my baby girl graduate, head on her first international mission trip, and then start college in the fall where she will be following her very own dreams!

  Briefly, who are you?

I am a dreamer,  wanna-be artist, explorer, God lover, comforter, decaf coffee drinker, photographer, writer.

Your testimony?

I’ll have to admit - like many people, I grew up in a system where God’s love was earned and very conditional.  ‘ If you do this, or don’t do this.’ ‘ If you dress this way, or that.’ If you feel certain emotions towards someone.  There always seemed to be a “but” or a “because” attached to anything that related to God’s love. Unconditional love was something I knew nothing of from a religious aspect. Fortunately, my Mother and Grandfather had been imparted with deep knowledge and the ability to show multiple sides of what God’s true love meant. Of course, journeying through adulthood, I remembered their love as being their own, because I had no idea that it could be anything but earthly feelings.

The last five years have been full of highs and lows, darkness and light - one tragic death after another coupled by health complications, years of self-doubt and trying to make myself what others wanted me to be left me faking what and who I was. I spent my whole life in the church but it wasn’t until the summer before last that I actually felt God’s love for the first time. Literally, in the middle of a church service, I heard for the first time in my life, “ I love you.” If you had asked me year ago about God’s love and what it meant to me, it would have been all about me. However, I have come to realize that God’s love is about so much more than myself. I am learning that you cannot be walking in God’s love without being changed by it. I am learning all about self-love, understanding. compassion, and true joy.

Why start? Why and how did you start?

We had changed churches back in 2011 after my daughter answered an altar call at a healing encounter. A few years previous, I had rededicated my life to God but still had no real understanding of what it all meant. It became harder and harder to hold on the darkness and despair - and of course, when God knocks loud enough, you will finally answer. There is no life in living if it’s not filled with joy, happiness, authenticity, laughter, and love. You cannot find those anywhere until you find and share them within yourself.

What is it about for

Living outside of yourself. Doing things that people said you never could or would. Helping others realize they have had everything they needed the whole time to be successful and overcome. Doing more, talking less (which I’m working on myself). Being authentic. My Granddaddy always said the measure of a man was not the wealth he left behind, but his friends and family. I’m all about a drama-free, happy, pie-filled, environment in which everyone feels safe to be themselves.

What do you love?
I love beyond measure my family. My daughter is the light of my life. I have finally come to love myself.  I love the fact that I have been given the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. I absolutely love photography and cooking/baking. Laughter, reading, traveling, west Texas sunsets, bling, cowboy boots, and high heels are also at the top of the list of things I adore.

 Favorite part of your day/life?
The time of day that allows me to be creative - whether inside editing photos, writing, baking, cooking or outside taking photos! As much as I enjoy quiet time to myself, I usually prefer to be surrounded by organized chaos (you’ll have to visit during one of our “family” ‘dinners and you’ll understand!).

Random fact:
If you know me, you know:  I think brussel sprouts taste like dirt smells. I’m not real fond of green peas either. I have a REALLY dry, corny sense of humor and I snort when I laugh out loud (oh that’s three facts..did I mention I was bad at math also? And don’t ask me for directions either.)

What I felt like the Lord wanted me to say:
There is someone, somewhere who cares. Someone who will listen, someone who will understand. Someone who may not have all the answers but can definitely help you write out the questions. You are never alone. You are beautiful, and cherished, and adored. You were created in His likeness, in His glory, in His splendor. Nothing you dream is too BIG to accomplish. You must surround yourself at all times by people who lift you up and encourage you. There is no such thing as “tough” love. There is only peace,compassion and understanding in love.

Interesting fact:
I have a degree in agriculture that I never used and I spent 9 years in the fire service which I loved.

Find Michelle:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Does What I Say Matter? By Reba Altizer

Does what I say matter?

According to the Bible it does. I know when I read this scripture :

Psalm 19:14
English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
it always causes me to stop and think. Does the words of my mouth please Him? Does what I meditate on please Him?

It definitely makes the God of the universe more personal and involved in your life, which is right where He wants to stay.

It is amazing how He choose to make us His children, by what way?  The words of our mouth and the belief in our heart.

1. Salvation comes by confession

Romans 10:9-10
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

It seems like a lot stems from what we say, think, and confess in our walk with The Lord.

1 John 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

2. Faith comes by confession

Romans 4:
17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”[d]) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”[e] 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

The action in this verse is calling those things that do not exist as though they did. He had to speak what He believed even though the circumstances were screaming different.

Matthew 21:21-22
New International Version (NIV)
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Faith mixed with Declaring the Word of God will make a difference.

Psalm 6
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.

How can we cause God to arise in our situations?  Only by declaring His Word over situation.

"Truthfully I say unto you, Whatsoever YOU shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever YOU shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [Mt:18:18]

"Let us hold fast the profession (Confession) of our faith without wavering (the words that we speak); (for he is faithful that promised;)" [Heb:10:23]

"Cast not away therefore your confidence (faith and trust in Him and His promises), which has great recompense (promise) of reward (results)." [Heb:10:35]

3. We are transformed by confession

Romans 12:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 Do not conform to the pattern 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 good, pleasing and perfect will.

We don't confess the Word of God for His sake but ours. The meditation on His Word changes our lives because it transforms our mind, heals our hearts, and declares to us who we are in Christ. It destroys the lies of the enemy. The Bible offers many scriptures of how God describes you with words like “chosen”, “righteous”, “complete”, “included”, “forgiven”, “anointed”, “friends”, and “alive.”

The only true way to walk in Victory in a World with so much negative influence is through a true personal relationship with Jesus where you read His Word and let it wash your mind and allow Him to renew you so you can go out into this world and be the salt and the light He has created us all to be. We can't give what we don't have.

2 Corinthians 5:17,18
New International Version (NIV)
 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

I started this devotion by asking if it matters what I say and I am concluding it by saying I believe it does. If living a life of victory was easy every one would be doing it. It takes the Holy Spirit, real discipline, and self control to do this but it is so amazing when our words and meditation are pleasing to The Lord.  We see change in our lives and others. I love the way this scripture is written in the message bible;

Philippians 4:8
The Message (MSG)
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Reba Altizer~

Reba Altizer is a member of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Ok. She graduated from Christ for the Nations in Dallas TX with a bachelor degree in Practical Missions. She has been involved in missions and evangelism for the past 20 years serving in 28 nations. The past 10 years she and her husband have worked at Victory Christian Center as the Coordinators of the Victory World Missions Training Center which is a school to help prepare students for full-time missions work. She has lead women's teams to Italy several times, Slovenia, Finland & Estonia. She has a real desire for women to know they are valuable and to fulfill their God given purpose.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spoken Word Artist: LaSondra Spears

I'm thrilled to introduce you ladies to one magnificent young woman.  Just this year I watched LaSondra perform Arise at the Beautiful Women's Conference.
(below press the play button to watch her performance)

I wanted to meet her, but there were so many women, I didn't really stand a chance. Later that day while eating at the mall guess who was eating beside us? Like a crazy woman I went up to her, told her about RWR, and asked to have my photo with her. (I am crazy like that.) I scribbled on a scrap of paper and gave it to her. The rest is HISTORY. I hope you ladies enjoy her spirit as much as I do. What a beautiful young woman both inside and out-I believe the Lord has plans for her. What do you think? Kasse~ 

Where are you in life right now?

Right now, the Lord has opened the door for me to be able to perform spoken word across the nation on platforms of many kinds. I've had the opportunity to speak at conferences, summits, banquets, small group gatherings, youth camps, conventions, church services, and on college campuses. Along with traveling around the nation and doing spoken word as a ministry tool, I am a student working on my second degree. This time I’m getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington. One of my favorite things to do is write. I am the Content Director (writer) for a ministry known as The One Movement (T.O.M.). I’ve fallen in love with blogging and one of my favorite things to blog about is injustice of any kind. A few of my blogs have been featured on different ministry websites and organizations and I’m a guest blogger for Bound4Life. I am also a worship leader at a house of prayer called The Prayer Room DFW and help lead worship for my church’s college ministry as well. I serve on staff of a young women’s ministry called Captured and am a part-time nanny.

Briefly, who are you?

I’m a lover of Jesus, spoken word artist, pro-life advocate, worship leader, student, and world-changer. I am a daughter of the King, a sister, and a friend.

Your testimony?

My entire life I’ve struggled to fit into a certain mold and be like everyone else, but I’ve always felt different. Growing up in the church, I dealt with a lot of issues including bitterness toward God, rejection, low self-esteem, and my identity in Christ. As a result, I rebelled from my upbringing and turned from God for a period of time. The entire time my heart was away from God, I was still heavily involved in church, but I had learned how to do “church” so well, that I was just going through the motions. I began to lead a double life. I got into everything you can think of. In the midst of my sin and my running from God, I could still feel Him chasing relentlessly after me. He wasn’t satisfied with the facade that had satisfied so many. He wanted me. All of me. I knew there was no place I could go or hide from His love. After a radical encounter with God at the age of 19, I recommitted my life to Him and began to ask God to use my life as a testimony to others. He began to reveal to me that the reason why I never really fit in was because He had designed me to stand out. He had made me unique and He loved everything about me just the way I was. Ever since that day, I’ve been running hard after God and I haven’t looked back since! God has given me a passion to see those who are broken made whole and those enslaved to sin set free because He did it for me.

Why start? Why and how did you start?

From the moment I decided to wholeheartedly follow Christ, I began to pray for a way to reach others and an outlet to express myself. About 6 months after I began running hard after God, my spiritual dad called me into his office, sat me down, and began to show me people on the computer who were doing spoken word. He simply said, “I think you’d be good at this,” then left to go to a meeting. When he came back a few hours later, I was still watching videos. I knew a passion had been sparked in me. That night, I went home and wrote my very first spoken word. A few weeks later, I performed it live for the first time in front of a few hundred students. God had given me one of the desires of my heart; having an outlet to express what He had done for me.

Later that year, I joined the staff of a young women’s ministry and my spiritual mom, who was over it, invited me to a service at a Christian institute in the area. The person who was speaking began to talk about the issue of abortion, then gave an altar call. God began to break my heart over the issue of the unborn, and I responded to the altar call, bawling. While I was at the altar, through my tears, I asked the Lord to give me a burden for the things that were on His heart. Before I knew it, I was on the stage leading the audience in a prayer of repentance on the issue of abortion. I went home and began to ask the Lord to give me an avenue or an outlet to be able to talk about abortion and other injustices that were on His heart. He reminded me that He already had given me one. That night, I wrote a spoken word about abortion and I’ve been writing about this issue, and other issues, ever since.

What is it about for you…life?

For me, life is about loving God and loving others. I feel like a lot of times, we make life more complicated than it needs to be. We’re concerned about picking the right job or what we’re “called” to do with our lives, when the reality of it all is this: as long as you’re loving God and loving others, you can choose whatever you want to do with your life. Whether you want to be in ministry, a housewife, a teacher, a police officer, etc., it doesn’t matter. And you don’t have to be in “ministry” to share the love of Christ. Let your life be a living testimony to those around you no matter what you are or what you do.

What do you love?
I love my family. They’ve always supported me and stood by in good and bad times. I love singing and usually find myself doing it without realizing it. I love learning, reading, and discovering new things.

Favorite part of your day/life

The favorite part of my day is pretty much any time I’m going from one place to another alone in my car. It sounds crazy, but my car is the place where I find the most peace, can sing the loudest, come up with my best ideas, and talk to God the most.


Random fact:

In the spring of 2012, I, along with 38 other women, did a prayer walk over 250 miles and 21 days from Houston (the place where the largest abortion clinic is) back to Dallas (the place where the first filings for Roe v. Wade were initiated). There were 39 of us from all around the nation to represent the 39 years that abortion had been legalized in America. We felt the need to walk from Houston to Dallas, to trace the path that abortion had taken in our nation. All of us were young women in our 20s and 30s and all of us were walking for a reason. Some of us were post-abortive, some had siblings that were aborted, some were adopted, others had adopted children, and some were just passionate about the issue. All of us had a story to tell. During the course of the 21 days, we featured different girls' stories over an Internet channel that streamed live. The name of it was the Back to Life movement. This year, Canada has decided to do one. It truly has become a movement!

  What I felt like the Lord wanted me to say:

I’ve spent a good part of my life looking for love in all the wrong places…trying to fill a God-shaped void with different things. I’ve learned from experience that NOTHING satisfies you the way the love of God can. No addiction, no relationship, no platform, no job…nothing. I really feel like the Lord wants to bring new revelations of His love as a Father to the women who read this. I don’t know whether or not you’ve known the love of your earthly father, but I want you to know that there is someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. The same measure of love He has for His son, Jesus, He has for us. He can never love you any more or any less than He did before you came to know Him because His love for you always has been, and always will be, limitless. Ask Him to show you how much He loves you. Trust me, He will!

Interesting Fact:
My name means “compassionate helper of mankind”.

 Find LaSondra:
Lasondra's BLOG

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Suddenly by Reba Altizer

Suddenly by Reba Altizer

 I always ask myself:  Why am I so optimistic?

God brought to my mind this week how he suddenly works on our behalf though we can't see how, and it seems like forever- He always shows up. He did the same in my life with Rick my husband .  I did not know who the right man was for me, but God did.

I just wanted to write a little encouragement to believe in the "suddenly" no matter how long you have waited. Never loose hope!

Romans 15:13
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.

Sometimes it seems difficult to get clear direction but when I think of how faithful God has been, I trust that "suddenly" He is going to clarify things in my life. How can we not believe in the impossible when we read the Word of God. We are constantly reminded how God shows up in the Lives of believers.

Acts 2:1-4 KJV
 "And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting".

God moves suddenly. Acts 2 is the account of the Holy Spirit entering the earth on the day of Pentecost. I want you to notice how God moves. Verse 2 says, "And suddenly…. 1. Suddenly is the way of God. I looked up the word suddenly in Strong's Concordance.  It defines suddenly this way: Unexpectedly, and unaware. There are two other words that are associated with the term suddenly in our scripture that mean the same thing.

Mark 5:25
A certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” He moves instantly, He moves unexpectedly, He moves seemingly hastily.

One second things may be one way. I mean, it may have been this way for 20 years. While it seemed to be going this way and that way, suddenly you wind up going another way! Because suddenly is the way God moves.

41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

Matthew 8:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 2.

 God is always on time. I know at times I have wondered, because it wasn't my time, but I remind myself God sees the Big Picture.  He knows timing better than I do. I always remember the story of Peter stepping out of the boat. The important thing to remember Is Peter asked can I come and Jesus said come. It took faith for Peter to step out and walk.  Things were going great for Peter as long as his eyes were on The Lord.  It was when he took his eyes off the Lord and noticed  He was actually walking on water that he began to sink.  It was the surrounding circumstances, the wind, and the rain. It seems when you are walking in faith the hard part of making the initial step is not the hardest part.  It is continuing to stay in faith when you don't understand.

 Matthew 14:25-32
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 3.

God is faithful. The one thing that I have to continually reprogram in my mind:  He is faithful.  When it looks like God is not suddenly moving on my behalf or He is not on time. He is faithful. That is why reading the scriptures is so important.  It puts a foundation and reminds us:  He is the same Yesterday, today and forever.

 Hebrews 13:8 New International Version (NIV)
 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 I love this story of Daniel because it seemed it was to late for Daniel. Daniel trusted God and God was faithful.  Daniel was a witness to the King and many others. God showing up is not about us, as much as it is  about Him getting the Glory! God get the glory in our lives!!!

Daniel 6: 16
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” 23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 4.

He will show Himself strong on your behalf. God's purpose is to make you strong. In fact, "He is the One who gives power and strength to his people." (Psalm 68:35). God's purpose is to strengthen you, and to give you power in His ways. You are even commanded, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might!" (Ephesians 6:10). God wants you to be strong. Strong in Him, strong in love, strong because you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You must have an unshakable confidence, that God's purpose is to make you strong in Him. When you face situations which you don't understand, or when you encounter obstacles, difficulties, or painful situations which you were not expecting, God's Word says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim.2: 1 KJV). The Word says, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Rom.8:37 KJV). The Word says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil.4:13), and, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1 KJV). God's promise is, "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30:15 KJV). Yes, God wants you to be strong! This song has been on my mind all week. Please listen to the Words and let them get into your Spirit.

New Life Worship - Great I Am: The Lyrics.
(Youtube Below)
 I wanna to be close close to your side So heaven is real and death is a lie I wanna hear voices of angels above Singing as one Hallelujah Holy Holy God almighty Great I am Who is worthy None beside Thee God Almighty Great I Am I wanna be near near to your heart Loving the world hating the dark I want to see dry bones living again Singing as one Chorus Hallelujah Holy Holy God almighty Great I am Who is worthy None beside Thee God Almighty Great I Am He's the Great I Am Great I Am The mountains shake before Him The demons run and flee At the mention of the name King of Majesty There is no power in hell Or any who can stand Before the power and the presence of the Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am (Chorus) Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The mountains shake before Him The demons run and flee At the mention of the name King of Majesty There is no power in hell Or any who can stand Before the power and the presence of the Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am (chorus) the Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am The Great I am