You Have Permission

Those three simple words are FILLED with GREAT POWER! You have permission… to go after your dreams! to love! to start over! to quit! to rest! to make new friends! to put yourself out there! to let go! to cry! to laugh! to hurt! to heal! to be brave! to be weak! to be yourself! I have said everyone of these sentences at some point to people that DESPERATELY needed to hear that they “had permission.” So many people live their life waiting… waiting for what? People need reminded that time is short and they “have permission” to change, to regroup, to start over, to try something new. It takes courage to face reality and know that you need to make some changes… it also takes courage to follow through with the changes you know that you need to make!  God wants us to start being encouragers and permission grantors! I know in my own life when I have felt nudges from The Lord about things that seemed “out of the box” and that would require a huge leap of faith I was often met with discouragement. I need people to rally around me and say “GO FOR IT” but instead I have, at times, received some confusing looks, discouraging words, criticism, & skepticism. Don’t get me wrong sometimes as a friend we have to say to each other, “Hey, I think your missing it,” but ONLY when we REALLY feel strongly that if we don’t say something we will just die. Not just anytime we hear something that we deem a little “crazy”. Sometimes “missing it” is part...

Why We Shouldn’t Jump at Every Opportunity

If you were to offer me a cup of coffee right now, I’d gladly take one – with cream and sweetener, thank you very much. Were you to ask if I wanted to take a trip with you to someplace exotic, (exotic, by the way, means intriguingly unusual or different, which includes any place without my kids, because it’s unusual for me to be without them) I’d jump at the chance, probably without even asking you where. You see, there are just some things I don’t even have to give a lot of thought to – they are obvious. At least that’s what I thought until I read the story of the Gibeonites. Now, don’t run away because I threw out an Old Testament name. I won’t use thee or thou, I promise. Hang with me for a story. Joshua, is leading the Israelites into the Promised Land – the land God has given them. But they have to conquer the peoples of the land. God said, “Wipe them out.” He knew this was necessary because if they didn’t, the people’s bad habits and worship of other gods would rub off on the Israelites. So the Isrealites, led by Joshua, are cleaning house, so to speak. But there was a sneaky group called the Gibeonites. They knew Joshua would kill them all, so they put on their rattiest clothes and got some old cracking wineskins (think ancient igloo coolers), threw dirt on their faces and rode into town. These scoundrels made it look like they had traveled from afar, instead of right next door. Then they begged the Isrealites...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 13

“So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua 21:43-45, NKJV Upon the completion of the distribution of the Promised Land to the twelve tribes of Israel they could then settle in and become the nation God intended them to be. They could practice the laws and the statues God had given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and they could live out those laws, being an example to other nations, reaping the benefits of a life of obedience. "The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He has sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand." God was faithful to His people. He provided for and He fought for His cherished treasure. He never one time failed them. "Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass." All came to pass…all that God said He would do, He did. Because He is trustworthy and can, without a doubt, be taken at His word. His spoken Word penned...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 12

  “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” Joshua 18:3, KJV (emphasis added) There remained seven tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance; they had yet to lay claim to the land God had promised. Why? Why had they not taken possession of what God had already declared their own? Why were they “slack”? Slack is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, râphâh. It means to be slack, be remiss, be idle; to be weak, be feeble; to desist; to sink down; to be despondent, be disheartened; to be lazy. (Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study of Old Testament: Bringing the Original Text to Life (New King James Version). Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1994. Print.) Lazy. It stands out to me. Because so very often, I find myself being lazy in the work God has called me to. And in my laziness I fail to lay claim to the life of abundant living He has for me. Joshua spoke into their slackness, their laziness, and encouraged them to get up and get busy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was definitely not my intention. My plan was to drive; to stay in the truck and enjoy the cold A/C blow on my face. My skin was already sun burned from the previous day’s swim club adventure with my kiddos, so to be out in the sun again wasn’t the wisest of choices. And, I was certainly not dressed for the occasion. Wearing a white tank underneath a cute little jacket, comfy...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 11

Thank you to our friends at Zondervan, for offering an awesome giveaway last week. Lucie is the winner of the NIV Thinline Bible. Lucie please choose which Bible you'd like (Chocolate/Copper Flowers, Cherry Quilted, Zebra, or Woolen Gray) and email me at jenifer@internetcafedevotions.com with your physical address. "…I wholly followed the LORD my God." Joshua 14:8, NKJV We live in a day where waiting is something we aren't very accustomed to doing. There's just not much that you and I have to wait on or for these days. For instance… ~Need something for dinner? Just go to the nearest fast food restaurant or pop something in the microwave, and ta-da… dinner is served. ~Out and about and need to call a friend? Never mind waiting until you get home, just pick up your cell phone, hit #2 because you have her on speed dial, and talk until your heart's content. ~Forgot that your mom's birthday is tomorrow and now it's too late to send her a card through snail mail? Don't panic! Send her an e-card, with music, for free!! Are you with me here? Waiting has become a lost art. And while I am thankful modern technology has afforded us the freedoms to hurry some things along, I'm afraid an attitude of impatience and dissatisfaction has been birthed in our hearts. In this week’s lesson we learned of the land Caleb inherited; a land that he waited 40+ years to claim as his very own. Forty years people! Forty years, he waited for God’s promised land. And for forty years—through years of wilderness wandering, complaining of the people,...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 10

“And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor heard these things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were from the north, in the mountains, in the plain south of Chinneroth, in the lowland, and in the heights of Dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and in the west, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite in the mountains, and the Hivite below Hermon in the land of Mizpah. So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots. And when all these kings had met together, they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. But the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” So Joshua and all the people of war with him came against them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and they attacked them. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who defeated them and chased them to Greater Sidon, to the Brook Misrephoth, and to the Valley of Mizpah eastward; they attacked them until they left none of them remaining. So Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.” Joshua 11:1-9, NKJV...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 9

“Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it. And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.” So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 8

So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Joshua 9:15-16, NKJV The Gibeonites plotted. They schemed. And they devised a plan to secure their freedom. They came to Joshua and the Israelites claiming to be something they weren’t. They told them things that were untrue and staged materials to ensure compassion. Joshua and Israel didn’t see it coming; they’d been duped, deceived by the enemy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was my fourth semester of Old Testament. I sat in the second row, the fourth desk in, inside a room covered from floor to ceiling with painted maps of the nations of Israel, Abraham’s journeys, the Exodus, the divison of the Promised Land and many other pertinent Old Testament happenings. But that week the maps didn’t distract me. My thoughts, eyes, and heart were completely focused on the professor as he stood behind the lectern, tears streaming down his face, and taught through the book of Hosea. I was deeply moved as we took this journey, but wouldn’t completely grasp its true meaning until years later when my own husband would suffer long for my affection and love for him having lived through my deceiving and manipulation. Hosea was a prophet of Yahweh. He served the LORD in ministry from around 755-710 B.C. During his years of service, the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, experienced...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 7

"And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” Joshua 7:20-21, NKJV The doors slid open and there she was. Just to the left of me sat the most beautiful, sweet smelling pineapple I'd ever seen in my life. I walked right over to where she stood and picked her up to get a better look. She was firm yet soft; bright green and yellow skin protected her juicy fruit. Tall green leaves topped her beautiful body and she screamed out to me, “Buy me! Buy me!” There I stood deliberating- should I, should I not, should I, should I not? My heart so wanted to take her home with me. I could already picture it in my mind the yummy fruit salad I could create- the juicy strawberries, the sweet cantaloupe, the delicious blueberries, maybe even throw in some watermelon and a few peaches. Then, oh yes, then I would finish off my fruit salad creation with this most excellent pineapple. AH…pure joy flooded my soul! So, what was the dilemma? Why was I standing there debating in my mind if I should or shouldn't take her home and provide her with the best life possible? Well, I’m allergic to pineapple. Not like deathly allergic, but allergic...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 6

Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Joshua 6:1-5, NKJV A double ring of walls surrounded the city of Jericho. The inner wall was 12 ft. thick, the outer wall 6 ft. thick. “Since Jericho was built on a hill, it could be taken only by mounting a steep incline, which put the Israelites at a great disadvantage.” (John MacArthur Study Bible) To the human eye, taking down such a city as Jericho would be impossible. But for God, nothing is impossible. God told Joshua from the beginning, “I have given Jericho into your hands, its king, and the mighty men of valor.” The victory was promised; it was a sure thing. In obedience the Israelites only had to take brave steps forward; some of those...