Qui Vive

Already, this year has been exceptionally trying, but I have chosen to serve and to give out what I need most – an encouraging word. My hope for you all today is that you do not become weary from expecting the good. I am so ready for the harvest that comes after the waiting…

Qui Vive by Ama Danesi

In whatever state we find ourselves

God is working out the opposite.

When we fall, He lifts us up.

When we are bound, He frees our souls.

In the face of certain defeat, He is working

out a victory that cannot be denied.

In our darkest nights and earnest watching – qui vive.

His love roars loud and clear above the taunting waves.

He calms our heartbeat to the rhythm of His breath.

He sent us a helpless baby as Savior of the world.

Once an alien in Egypt but rich in gold, silver, and myrrh.

The pain and suffering that He allows, ushers in

destiny and purpose. He plants in untilled soil, that the

harvest may be wild and unrestrained reaching to

the ends of the earth and places marked “x.”

In the face of sorrow, our hope & joy is His name –

Emmanuel, God with us.

 

Alert & hopeful,

AD.

Historical Fun Fact:

Even motor boats have a purpose and are remembered for their service. The USS Qui Vive (SP – 1004) was part of the United States Naval Fighting fleet from 1917 – 1919. She served as a patrol vessel then as a hospital boat in the 5th Naval District during World War 1. Originally built by the Hutchinson Brothers (Alexandria, NY) for Houston Barnard (Rochester, NY) she was chartered by the Navy until she was decommissioned and returned at the end of her naval career. Her current state is unknown but her work and service endure.
(Bio and image credit: NavSource.org /Wikipedia/Pixabay)

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Living Out The Plan

Living out the plan

There’s got to be one. A plan that is  – for my life and yours, otherwise why are we still occupying precious space on this crazy earth, breathing without effort. If there was a Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, a head-strong mother and a wicker basket set among the reeds in the crocodile-ridden Nile river for Moses, and the *Magi who fascinated by a lone star in the sky, travelled thousands of miles laden with gifts for a baby boy born in a filthy manger, surely God designed a unique destiny for each of us before we showed up wrinkled, loud and cranky.

Some have retained those loud and cranky traits because sometimes, life simply sucks! On a conscious level we acknowledge the strain of our journey but it helps to go deeper and not stay at the level of frustration when our carefully crafted plans crumble. There is this inner gnawing, an acute distress and emptiness when we are not living out the plan. God has a good plan, for each person as unique and distinct as our fingerprints to bring us out into a wealthy place. (Psalm 66:12)

Living out the plan

My loving mother was always ahead of the times. In elementary  school, she got us monogrammed tee-shirts. This was the eighties, so it was a big deal. I don’t know if any of my four siblings remember that afternoon surprise, but the message on my shirt – Future Hope  –  stuck with me. Mom was inspired by the promise that God’s plan for us are good and leads us to an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Remember that as God’s children we are not left to figure out or do life on our own – that helps put our successes and even failures in the right perspective. We can live out His plan for us if we:

  • Connect with the Source of our life-plan – time spent with God either in prayer, worship or meditation is never a waste. Looking back I wonder how much pain I could have avoided if I just sought His way and ideas first (Matthew 6:33). God should not be our last resort.
  • Build up faith by considering His word and promises – the game of life is won or lost not based on the events themselves but on our interpretation of them. Whose opinion or report will you believe?
  • Trust and obey – sometimes like Moses, we’ll be instructed by God to grab a proverbial snake by the tail. God’s ways are unusual, mysterious, creative but always in line with His word.

living out the plan

God leads by revelation and illumination, we learn by experience.  We’ll sometimes fail but are not left to pick up the pieces alone.  In living out the plan, there’s more than at stake than what we see or perceive – it’s about changing  the world.  Someone on assignment is the one making a difference.
For more resources about living out the plan for your life, check out Rick Warren’s books – “The Purpose Driven Life” and “What On Earth Am I Here For?” Shalom.

*Magi – the “wise men” from the East who brought gifts to the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:1), said in later tradition to be kings named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Images: Pixabay/Google.

God’s Not Dead – This Should NOT be Headline news!

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The movie, GOD’S NOT DEAD by Pure Flix Entertainment featuring  Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Shane Harper (Spencer in Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), Dean Cain (Superman) and David A.R. White (Jerusalem Countdown) with special appearances by Christian super-band, Newsboys who perform — God’s Not Dead , Willie and Korie of the Duck Dynasty (which I do not watch)  opened today in theaters across America. There are plans to screen the movie in other parts of the world too.

The movie synopsis stems from the book by Dr. Rice Broocks  a highly respected senior minister and founder of  Every Nation  family of churches, which according to the website, “currently includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries …  is on hundreds of college campuses ….focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith.” He also developed the 10 questions conversation – The God Test.

The book presents Nine (9) basic proofs of God’s existence and includes stories of the journey of faith, doubt, disbelief from people ranging from an atheist Harvard Professor to campus students having to defend His existence intellectually. The reality is that while God is evident to Christians, the rest of the human population could be completely oblivious or worse indifferent.

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The book tackles the arguments of atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, Krauss, Mahrer and explores the direct  impact that the teachings of Darwin and Nietzsche have, especially on the highly intellectual communities and shapes the minds our children and young adults. (Parents need to pay attention…our children have to learn to defend their faith.)

Why is this important and Who needs this?

  • The Seekers – those wondering, what if God REALLY exists? It’s not a sappy movie, but a serious INTELLECTUAL, CEREBRAL discourse around the question that plagues our hearts.
  •  The Hungry – people feeling empty and searching for more in life. C.S.Lewis said, “If you are hungry, that points to the existence of food.”
  • Christians  who have always wanted a non-preachy way to articulate and express their faith. The Spirit convicts the heart, we cannot do His job, but we can offer plain intellectual and logical answers to questions about our faith and belief in the Lord.
  • Parents who want to fortify their children with information that is powerful in the face of dogmatic philosophies that run rampant in colleges and schools.
  • Anyone who is still alive, breathing and just for Pete’s sake, wants to know the straight forward truth
Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.04.54 PMI entered college as a Christian, got carried away, flunked a few (OK, a lot) of courses, got angry with God for “failing” me and basically ignored Him for a good chuck of my early adult years. That decision cost me dearly.
Without a solid foundation and core understanding of WHY we believe, by the time we get through college, most us will suffer a crisis of faith.

Here are some questions from the Dr Broocks’ book to ponder as you head into the theater or order the book:

  1.  Why would you believe that there is nothing rather than something?
  2.  Where did life come from? Evolution doesn’t explain where the first self replicating mutation came from.
  3. Where did our unseen conscience come from? Across cultures, nations and creed, why are we moral, how do we innately and universally know right from wrong?
  4. Who can you trust? A being who demands sacrifices from you or one who became the sacrifice?

Sites like RatioChristi and PoachedEgg provide apologetic resources that shakes us out of our comfort zone, so that we learn to give logical reasons for our faith.  Some one said, “We are not salt-shakers but real change agents when we engage our world.”

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So get out there, get some organic popcorn (*wink*), grab a friend, your child or loved one, pay for a stranger to go see the movie and  if you stumbled on this post after it’s gone from theaters, please get the DVD and read the book. In the indelible lyrics of the Newsboys, “Our God’s not dead, He is surely alive!” (And this should NOT be headline news.)

*All image credits from God’snotdead.org site.

Prompt: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

Activating The Domino Effect in Life

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The domino effect is a chain reaction that comes from a small change or action taken. The process of activating the domino effect in life starts by asking the right questions or by having the correct response to opportunities.

Isn’t it crazy how we never deal with one problem at a time? Domino tiles are also called bones and if anyone is surviving, bare-knuckled and holding on by desperate measures from one crisis situation to another, it’s time to check how many things we juggle and check the quality of our game tiles.  Beware of grasping at shadows and overcrowding.

Self knowledge is critical to ascertaining our path — For example, I struggle with team activities and I often wondered why, because I love people. So I went back an reviewed an extensive personality test I took years ago, it clearly stated that my strengths are with Activities and not People…AHA!

I try not to miss watching the Power for Living program by Bishop Dale Bronner and his precise and exceptional teaching . Here are his principles of the activating the domino effect:

1. You must have dominoes – (duh?!) be curious about what strategy you should be playing and don’t play with another person’s pieces.
2. Align them up properly – don’t get out of alignment of the common good. No cheating, crooked or twisted thinking.  As a man thinks, so is he.  A lack of character moves you out of alignment.
3. Push the first domino in the RIGHT direction.  A tile pushed in the wrong direction has no effect.
4. After the first domino falls, be READY for the rest of the tiles to fall…because they will.

“What’s Taking So Long? “What you’re waiting on is not following you, it is waiting for you in a place called obedience.” – Bishop Dale C. Bronner

If you have lived long enough and through some seasons, you’ve gathered a set of dominoes  – your interests or passion, education, temperament, life experiences, family, friends, your sensory vault, that song/movie that inspires you, that strange workshop you enrolled in on a whim, the book you bought at the airport that was clearly written for you, a clean record – even though you should have had a ticket or two (now you can tell I’m talking about me) and if you do not have a clean record, that’s also a piece of your game.

hand-36759_640 - Activating The Domino Effect

All things work together, no experience is ever wasted, but you want to minimize how many of your pieces fall sideways, wasting valuable time or delaying your arrival.  Like a fist, FOCUS as you align the pieces of your life, get them in sync with your calling, ready for that knockout punch to the first door and trigger your breakthrough!

Here are some domino effect activation prayers or questions suggested by Bishop Bronner to unleash the power of the ONE thing:
Lord, show me the one thing that I can do better this week to align my life for greatness / What is the one thing that can unlock all the other frustrating areas in my life ?/ What is the one thing I can do about my child/health/business etc.?

Join me in declaring an end to dead works and boldly ask for light to illuminate each right step. Fist bump…Game on!

All images Credit: Pixabay

Barren Places

Barren Places

Sometime in the month of May, I prayed, “Lord, please keep me from walking in barren places”

I am not exactly sure when, but without pain and the sense of loss, I believe the Spirit of God answered that prayer in the sweetest possible way. He supernaturally excised my appetite for worthless, sensationalized TV shows, listening to the talking heads on the endless cycle of cable news, wasting time on celebrity crazed media news, online forums, frivolous distractions and anything that was unproductive.
He essentially replaced my throne of doom and waste – my black leather couch – with an inner hunger for Him, reading, writing, listening to music but most importantly silence and quiet.

My life has totally changed. I am writing more, inspired by just being focused on the right things. I am not the same person I was before May. I look back at the hours I spent especially on the weekends watching re-runs of American’s Next Top Model, The Game, The Kardarshians, Friends, How I met your Mother, House Hunters, Law and Order, Extra Virgin, Say Yes to the Dress, Cake Boss, LisaRaye the real Macoy, the “Housewives” of all the cities represented on TV Land, Good Eats, The best thing I ever ate, How winning the Lottery changed my life, I even snuck in a few episodes of Bad Girls, Holly’s World and Kendra!!

The list is endless but you can certainly see how I wasted every second of my day in barren places! We tend to forget how LOUD the world is with everything screaming for a piece of us that we get swamped with life,  just going through the motions…like zombies and not consciously living.
God engineered us at the core to create and increase. We are not garbage cans for all the unending trash made accessible in the world, media and via technology.

Since I am a believer rooted in the most fertile and flourishing place of God’s grace, there is no excuse for living a barren, fruitless life. I have His covenant-blessing, His word, the anointing, the power in the name and blood of Jesus, the Holy Spirit living in me and the calling of the Father to bear the fruit of miracles, love, peace and joy!

Barren PlacesThe cursed fig tree in the Bible is a picture of an unproductive person. The foliage may look evergreen, but the core is hollow like dead wood.

Our lives can get stagnant in the black hole of unfulfilled dreams, but like the prodigal son, anyone who comes back home will find the Father with arms open wide, waiting on the porch. He squints, searching for a glimpse of any wandering soul. God wants to restore our destiny and redeem any wasted time.

This post about barren places is to remind me and maybe you, to get busy with our lives. Resolve to lay aside distractions, get off the couch and go do something.

Walk your path; Be fruitful and multiply,
Ama