Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...Stand Firm!

Photo Credit
"Therefore, my Dear Brothers and Sisters, STAND FIRM! 
Let Nothing Move You!
Always give yourselves Fully to the Word of the Lord,
because you know that your labor is Not in Vain!"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Sentiment

"Greater Love hath no one than this, 
that a man lay down his life for his friends."

"Let Us NOT Forget"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Walking UnAware!

This Post Contains Content Recommended for a Mature Audience
"It's a dark night, a dark hour." - Luke 22:53
     Today, I am blogging about Take 25 at PARK Project, and want to use this forum to open up and be candid with You, 
my precious support!!  

     Five years ago, I wish I had seen a sign like this bright yellow one to alert me of what lay ahead!  Looking back, I'm sure there were signs along the way, however, I was Walking UnAware!!  The things I am about to share with you are that of an incredibly vulnerable nature, and I ask that you proceed with an Open Heart of Grace!  It is only by the Holy Spirit's prompting that I choose now to open this window and share a glimpse of the path we have traveled.  One that has brought me the greatest heartache, and the greatest hope!
     Although, I developed a relationship with the Savior at a young age, my family's religious beliefs prevented me from walking passionately with Him for many years; and even, as an adult, I found myself content with a relationship of encounters rather than constant communion.  My adult life has been one of great extremes!  I have experienced the highs of Passionate Love and Financial Abundance along with the lows of Chronic Illness and Poverty.  I spent many years trying to grow up with the attitude that "everything was under control" even when I was desperate for something more.  Without realizing it, I had become the "Queen of Denial" and quite accustomed to wallowing in "Victim Village".  During a low point, I walked away from my husband, and began trusting another.  Little did I know that this emotional and somewhat rash decision would send our family in a downward spiral that would nearly cost us everything!  
     In "Unmask the Predators", Lisa Cherry and her daughter, Kalyn Cherry Waller not only share a similar story, but statistics that should shock and alarm All of us!!  Part of Walking UnAware is lack of information, another part is denial!!  Unfortunately, I experienced both!!  I watched our family go from happy, unified and Spirit-led to disconnected, miserable and weak!  More devastatingly, I watched our oldest Daughters (14 and 12 years old at the time) go from Respectful, Secure and Safe to Belligerent, Confused and Vulnerable.  
     Walking UnAware is much like the the cliche, "Ignorance is Bliss"!  There is a sense of confidence in that you don't know that you don't know!!  The result of my choices led our entire family down  a path, that previously had seemed foreign and unthinkable!  We began to experience things that seemed surreal as if happening only in my worst nightmare!!  Walking UnAware led me toward a masked predator who, unlike me, was Completely Aware and prepared to groom our Daughters as His prey!!  
     It was a cold December morning when I received a call that our Daughters, who had been sleeping over at a friend's home while I prepared for our move, were gone.  There were foot prints in the snow leading from a basement window to the street where tire tracks led away.  Within an hour, the girls called, apologizing, saying they had reacted out of fear, not wanting to move, but that the friend who had picked them up was bringing them back.  Now, there are years of choices that led up to this moment, but suffice it to say for now, Walking UnAware was about to get very dark and ugly!!  It was on this cold December morning that I learned our Daughters had spent the previous six months building a relationship with a 37 year old married man whom they'd been sexually involved with, both individually and altogether.  By His careful planning, they were in love and prepared to fight for their freedom, so that they could be with Him.  I cannot even begin to describe the rage and heartache that came as a result of Walking UnAware!!  As we began to Unmask this Predator, what we learned was considered "classic".  The grooming that had taken place, included extensive brain-washing; and changed the hearts of our Daughters!!  Not only had our Daughters lost their innocence, we were loosing our Daughters.  Let me warn you, that the the journey between Walking UnAware and Being Aware has been thee most painful journey to walk!  This is NOT like being on a fast and furious roller coaster that you can simply jump off after a few minutes to stand on solid ground; no, this is more like finding yourself in a very deep and dark pit with no ladder!
     Another cost of Walking UnAware was that without thinking, I had walked away from God and ran right into Sin!  Fortunately, during this darkest season, God had NOT walked away from me; and in this my darkest hour, He reached out and quite literally plucked me out of my sin and lack of awareness!!  Almost immediately, He began restoring!  Although things seemed to go from bad to worse, by laying down my attachment to Walking UnAware, I found great comfort in the Grace and Mercy of an Omnipotent Father!  I found love and forgiveness in the arms of my Beloved, whom I had also walked away from; and I found great Peace in the Only One who could and already had intervened on my behalf!
     5 years later, we continue to experience God's healing and restoration!  There are still days when the enemy tries to take what He intended for evil and remind me of it; however, there are many more days that I am reminded that God has purposed this for His glory!!  I am humbled by His goodness and marvel in His grace, and I am continually uplifted by His Word!!
     Friends, I commit to continue sharing our story as led by the Spirit, but suffice it to say, This day I encourage you to consider your own walk.  I challenge you to become informed as you Unmask the Predators in your world, and I invite you to Take 25!!  I pray that our journey through this very dark place, may shed light for you and that you Never find your child's name listed with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children!!  May you choose to Walk Aware today and always as we stand equipped in the battle to protect our children; and may you also know the Grace and Peace of our Loving Heavenly Father!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

While I'm Waiting...

John Waller
     Are you in a Season of Waiting?  Waiting for a new job, healing, restoration, the arrival of a new child?  That's just where we find ourselves - waiting!!  We understand that the process of Sowing and Reaping includes a season of waiting, however, this seems to be the most challenging part.  I have heard it said that God gives us a Vision for the Result, and sometimes shows us where to begin, however leaves out the middle; because if we knew what the waiting would look like, we may Never Begin!  THIS I can relate to!  Years ago, God gave us a Vision that was SO big, it could Only be from Him!  In spite of the enormity of Purpose, we began preparing.  We wanted to be like the boy coming to a community prayer meeting in the middle of a drought.  The local Pastors asked their congregations to bring emblems of their faith, and gather in the town square to pray for rain.  On the day of the prayer meeting, the entire town assembled in great anticipation - willing to lay aside their differences of theology, and join their faith in asking God for Rain.  As the Officiating Pastor quieted the crowd, He invited them to raise their emblems of faith as they begin to pray; and looking out over the crowd, He could see numerous Family Bibles, Rosaries, Photos, etc.  However, towards the back of the crowd stood a young boy who also noticed the other emblems, and timidly raised his - a large red umbrella!  The Pastor smiled as He began to offer gratitude for the faith of this young man, who knew that God's Faithfulness would produce rain!!  It is that kind of faith we purpose to walk in!  Today, I am encouraged in the peace of waiting, and reminded of God's Faithfulness!!  2 Thessalonians 3:13 reminds us to "Not grow weary in doing good!"  So, although I have had days of feeling weary, "I will move ahead Bold and Confident, taking every step in Obedience, while I'm waiting!"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...

A Proverbs 31 Woman
     Today, I am praying for and thinking of Mother!!  I am remembering the lessons of love my Mother and Grandmother's have exemplified for me, and I am standing in Gratitude for the Many Mothers that Rise Up and are Blessed!!  I am considering who I am as Mother, and allowing the Holy Spirit to refine me in this area!  I am thanking God for His Grace and Mercy that pave the way for me!!  I commit to continue Living a Life of Legacy - on Purpose - Intentional - Full of Joy, Peace, Hope and Love!!  May our burdens be lifted today as we cherish this Beautiful Creation - MOTHER!!
"You Were Loved"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...

     Today, it is my honor to Pray for Others as I PARK (Practice Acts of Random Kindness)!!  I LOVE to pray!!  It is one of my favorite things - getting to spend time with My Daddy; especially when we get to visit about you!  I invite you to review my PARK Project post and add any requests you may have as we look to the One who Loves Completely, Provides for Abundantly and Cherishes Constantly!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...

"My Own Little World" - Matthew West
     In Luke 10: 25-37 we read about "The Good Samaritan".  Now, this is a story about a man that was beaten and robbed while traveling, and left for dead.  As it happened, this was a major route between cities, and so there were surely other travelers that would assist this man.  True to expectation, along came a Priest, who when seeing this beaten man chose to pass him on the other side of the road.  Likewise, a Levite when he arrived on the scene, looked and then kept walking.  But the story goes on to say that a certain Samaritan , as he journeyed, came to where this man was and had compassion.  
     What would you have done?  What do we do?  How many times do we see the needs of others in our lives, and like the Priest and Levite, we choose to look the other way and continue on about our business?  As you consider these difficult questions, I DO NOT want you to feel condemnation or pride.  I DO hope that today, we can consider the difference we are making in "Our Own Little World" and Purpose to Be Aware, Have Compassion, Be a Solution, Make a Difference!!  
     In Luke, Jesus was speaking to a group, and sharing this story about The Good Samaritan in response to the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life".  Upon completion, He asks the group in verses 36-37, "So which of these three do you think was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves?"  "And he said, He who showed mercy on him!"  "Then Jesus said to them, Go and Do Likewise!" 
     This week, I will turn 40, and as I've been reflecting on my life, I felt led to start an "Initiative" inviting all of my friends and family to celebrate with me by Practicing one Act of Random Kindness each day for 40 days.  PARK Project was birthed with a vision to Inspire ALL who choose to participate to Be a Blessing by Being Others Minded as a way of life, rather than an event!
     I encourage you, and invite you to join me on this 40 day journey of Mercy and Grace beginning this Tuesday, 05/01/12!  Let us answer the call to Go and Do Likewise with boldness, passion and PURPOSE; and may you Be Blessed Abundantly as you do!!  :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials!"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Sentiment...

"Life is NOT about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain!!"
 - Vivian Green

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On Grace and Greatness...

     When you think of Grace and Greatness, what images come to mind?  Do you hear Classical Music playing in the background or "Eye of the Tiger"?  Do you imagine a person or people that embody these qualities?  Do you notice your thoughts being limited by your experience and/or level of understanding?  Do thoughts of these words bring feelings of peace and hope?  As we prepare for Easter Celebrations this week, these words are in the forefront of my heart and mind!!  

     Recently, my amazing Husband and I were invited to consider the relevance and application of Grace and Greatness through the context of becoming Ambassadors for Family Matters,  a "non-profit ministry whose goal is to see families transformed by God's Grace into instruments of restoration and reformation by equipping families for every age and stage of life".  As a result, we have experienced the power of both!  We have been encouraged and challenged as we consider our family dynamic; and have found great hope in applying the principles of Grace as we equip our Children to walk in Greatness!!     
     I am excited to Announce that we are now in position to facilitate events where we get to share this message of hope with families searching for wisdom on Raising Kids for True Greatness and Grace Based Parenting!  We look forward to scheduling events that are FULL of wisdom, as we pursue our family relationships on purpose, based on principle and passion!  Join us as we step into this new season of service by prayerfully considering how we might support you, your church, small group or community organization in   being better equipped for success!  Likewise, I challenge you to take time this week to consider the impact Grace has in your life and whether or not your are walking in the fullness of Greatness God has called you to.  May you be blessed as you open your heart and home to the Hope-filled message of Grace; the power of redemption; and the joy of Abundant Life!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Blessed Life...

"Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put in your lap.  For with the same measure that you use it, it will be measured back to you."
 - Luke 6:38 (NKJV)
     As I continue seeking God's Perfect Will for my life (NOT just His Permissible Will); this book was suggested to me on several occasions.  Thank God for a Spirit-Led Husband and good friends who know my heart, and love me enough to point me in a Divine Direction!  So, it was after prayerful petition that I dove into this Wisdom Packed study; and how Greatly Blessed I am for it!!  There is MUCH to be said about Obtaining and Maintaining a Blessed Life, and I am just beginning to get a grasp on the power!  Along with seeking God's Perfect Will, I have been led to consider my Heart Condition.
     Now, if you follow my posts, you'll see that I have taken a Stand for my Health this year; but this kind of Heart Examine has gone beyond my physical body and into the Supernatural Realm.  I have begun to notice the impact my attitude has on every choice I make, and more importantly on my results.  Another Scripture that has been on my heart lately is found in Colossians 3:23 - "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and Not to men".  Notice, it does not say "and SOME of what you do" or to do it "sort of"; it says WHATEVER you do, do it HEARTILY - which means sincerely, without restraint.  What wise counsel!!  I began imagining what my life would be like if I did EVERYTHING  Heartily as to the Lord, and I felt joy and peace in new and exciting ways.  I even began to consider that if I approached my Fitness and Nutrition "as to the Lord" the burden of my flesh may be replaced by worship.  
     This week, I have purposed to do everything as an Act of Worship as to the Lord; and have been blessed with new energy, peace, and joy!  I have been filled with a new vitality, even in the little things - like not drinking soda or consuming large amounts of sugar.  I've also found this same vitality as I sow into my family's "Love Tanks", and I've experienced the abundance that is promised in Luke 6!!!  I am clear that I have more work to do in this area, but I am certainly grateful for a new opportunity to Give and Live On Purpose!!  Please join me in continuing to Dive Deeper into The Blessed Life!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Big But...

"So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!"

     Along with having been the "Queen of Denial", I have grown a Big But!  Now, of course I am referring to the endless number of excuses I can generate, and/or the ease of validating bad habits and wrong thinking.  This Big But has become quite the obstacle, and distraction - to say the least!  When did I become so quick to  develop "But" responses, I don't even remember; but I do remember being quite good at it even as a Young Woman being asked to complete my Chores.  Here's the funny thing about my Big is not a statement of Honor!  In Revelation, when Jesus was speaking about The Lukewarm Church, He was clearly Not Pleased by their indifference!!  My Big But places me in this category of Lukewarm Indifference.  When I throw out a Big But, I am neither choosing in or out, I am simply delaying the inevitable or looking for another option.  YUCK!!  
     As I've taken a Stand and made a New Commitment to my health, I have been reminded of just how many bad habits I have adopted to prevent me from Obtaining and Maintaining Health and Wellness!  Likewise, as I've sought wisdom about why I would settle for Lukewarm Indifference over Excellence, the Holy Spirit quickly brings to mind the Scripture in Colossians 3:23, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men!"  What a sweet reminder!  Additionally, I was shown the Lies of the Enemy that I have allowed to creep in and take hold that say; "I'm not good enough", "I don't deserve to be healthy", "It's not really worth it", "I'll never achieve the goals I set", "I'm destined to have High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Cancer" - just to name a few.  It is at this point that I now have a choice to make.  I can either continue to walk in sin by giving the Adversary such Power in my life, OR I can rise up in the Authority God has given me as His daughter and take captive my thoughts and responses!!  Now, I realize that just by choosing to align with God's desires for my body and my life, does Not mean the Adversary will stop trying to plant such nonsense; it Does, however, mean that I no longer have to settle for less than God's Very Best! 
     Recently, Lysa Terkeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries wrote a blog about this very topic entitled, "But God Verses".  In her post, she encourages us to follow every "But I" statement with a "But God" statement of truth to decrease the size of our Big But.  She provides a list of Scriptures that include "But God..." to add to our arsenal of tools.  I am grateful for her time and research, and commit to implement this practice immediately!  By acknowledging my "Big But", I find forgiveness and grace as I align with what God says about me rather than what the World would say or what the Adversary would like me to believe!  Likewise, I now have the opportunity to Choose as to the Lord in ALL areas of my life.  I am no longer bound by my Big But, I am, instead free to make wise choices about my health - again honoring the Powerful connection between my Body, Soul and Spirit!  As we begin this Lenten Season, I am inspired to lay down bad eating habits and replace them with The Word of God!  I invite you to join me in this quest towards a more Healthy Lifestyle, leaving our Big Buts Behind (pun intend...LOL)!  May God Richly Bless us as we surrender to Him and ALL that He has for us!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mrs. Jeff Baker...

"Love NEVER Fails!"

     22 years ago today, I began a Love Journey that has been the best of times and the worst of times; and through it all, I have learned that "Love NEVER Fails!"  It was a wet, winter Wednesday morning in Utah when I became Mrs. Jeff Baker, and I will never forget the warmth that overtook me as I dedicated my heart to my Handsome Prince Charming!  I was able to be married in His Mother's wedding gown, at the same location where my Parent's and Grandparents were married - SUCH a joy!!  We were married at 8:10 am and left directly after the ceremony for our Honeymoon Suite; then enjoyed our Reception three days later - Best Plan Ever!!
02/14/1990 - SLC, UT
     I have now been Mrs. Jeff Baker for more than half my life, and I can honestly say that I am honored to carry the name of Such a Valor Man of God!!  It hasn't always been easy, but it has certainly been worth it!  As I pause to reflect the many years I have been a wife, I am humbled by the Many lessons I have learned - generally the hard way.  I have learned the heartache of distractions, the value of Forgiveness, the mercy of Grace, the joy of Restoration, and the peace of Renewal!!  I have not always cherished this title, nor have I always brought honor and respect through my choices.  I have, however, grown in confidence as a Daughter of God which has enabled me to Honor the Wife that I am!  
     Along the way, I have discovered several resources that have SO blessed me as a wife.  Two of my favorites are:  "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian, and  "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.  We have gained wisdom and understanding about what God says for Husbands and Wives, and through the love and support of our Pastors, Drs. Tom and Maureen Anderson, we have developed a Kingdom Marriage!!
     Today, I want to encourage you that no matter where you are at in your relationship, God desires you to know His Love!  He is faithful to fulfill that which we commit our hearts to, and He is able to breathe life into our marriages!!  I can now relate to the Shulamite Girl in Song of Solomon as she declares, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth - for your love is better than wine!"  What a blessing it is to love and be loved with Such passion!  I LOVE that He's Still the One!!

     This Valentine's Day, I invite you to join us as we begin the "Love Language Challenge"!!  We have learned the value of working our commitment, and investing in our marriage; and so it is with great anticipation that we step into a 5 Week Journey of sowing Love into one another!  May your marriage be Richly Blessed, and may you know the Joy of Being Deeply Loved!  I am Grateful to Celebrate God's Very Best for me, and continue to thank Him for the opportunity of being Mrs. Jeff Baker!!
Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Baker
Celebrating 22 Years Together!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wellness Update - Week 1

"For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds, says the Lord."
- Jeremiah 30:17
     Have you ever experienced a time where nothing seemed to go as planned or expected?  This has been one of "THOSE" weeks for me!  The moment I declared commitment, opposition arose.  Now, this in and of itself did not surprise me - having some understanding about how the Adversary works; but the change of direction that has occurred did.  This kind of sudden change in the past would have sent me into an emotional eating frenzy!  I am happy to report that with the love and support of my Sweetheart and Godly friends; I have been able to continue implementing better habits to support my overall wellness!  My Sugar Addiction, however,  continues to rise up loud and clear; so, I continue to pray through moments of craving.
     In Galatians 5:22-23, we learn that the gifts of the Spirit include Self-Control.  Now, as a Spirit-filled daughter of thee King, I want to bear good fruit!  Likewise, I know that God Is in ALL areas, amen?  So. how can I honor Him in some areas of my life and not ALL areas?  This humbling thought brings me to my knees!!  I begin to seek forgiveness for trusting God as my provider, but not allowing Him to restore my health!  How can I stand for God as my physician, and not include my addiction to sugar?  The joy of reflecting is that I can make new choices based on truth, rather than denial!  So it is, that in spite of Big changes this week, I choose to place my trust in God to heal my wounds and restore my health!!  I will continue to drink more water and less soda.  I will continue to exercise at least 3 days per week, and I will eat smaller meals every 3 hours.  These wise choices will require great Self-Control as I better support my body, and I thank God that He is faithful!    

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time to Address my BSS!

But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall Run and NOT be Weary,
They shall Walk and NOT Faint!
 - Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

     Do you ever get tired of your BSS?  I am!!  This awareness of my Body, Soul and Spirit is NOT new!!  In fact, this has been a consistent topic of consideration for most of my life.  I admit that in my early years, or "back in the day" when I was young in the Lord as well as my body; I did not think much on this Powerful Connection.  My body was in shape, I thought I practiced good self-control, and I thought I had good understanding in the ways of God...THOUGHT being the key!   22 years ago, however, I began a journey of realization, reality, and revelation!!  It all began when I gave my heart to my Beloved, who happens to be a Master Fitness Coach/Nutrition Expert.  This is a man who fully understands how to consistently operate with a High Level of Commitment, Courage, and Choice!!  His level of understanding about the Body, Soul, Spirit Connection challenged my complacency; and offered an opportunity for me to get real!!  It really wasn't until after our second daughter was born, however, that things became personal!!
     Shortly after her triumphant arrival, I began noticing a change in my body.  No longer could I consume large quantities of French Fries without gaining weight.  Likewise, once I had added pounds, it became Much more difficult to loose them!  That was nearly 20 years ago, and things went from bad to worse in regards to my Body.  To add perspective, I weighed 89 lbs when I was 5 months pregnant with our first daughter, and today I weigh in at 160 + or -.  
     Needless to say, I have grown weary in my Body!!  As I continue to wonder who is the Large Woman in any photo of me, I have become the "Queen of Denial"!!  I have in-turn focused much of the past several years on my Spirit - strengthening and building my relationship with God, as well as addressing my Soul - emotions, mind and will.  I began spending time in God's word and studying under Wise Counsel about what God has to say in these two areas of my life; and as a result, have gained wisdom and understanding!  I have corrected some wrong thinking about my "heart condition" and have been able to align with God's word on Authority - Controlling my Emotions rather than Them controlling me!!  I have invested time in putting God's word in me, so that the overflow of my heart would bear good fruit.  All of this has served me and is Good, however without clearly heading the connection between Body, Soul and Spirit; I am clear that I cannot walk in the Fullness of God's Best for me and my life!  Darn-it!!  I had so hoped that as I strengthened my Soul and Spirit, my Body would somehow automatically follow - that I would wake one day without an addiction to sugar, that I would be filled with super-natural vitality, that pounds would easily fall off...this thinking proves my status as "Queen of Denial"!!  
     This May, I will be 40 years old; and lately, God has been profoundly dealing with me about my Body!  I began to see in reality rather than delusion.  I began to notice the fatigue, weird cycles, tighter fitting clothes.  As I open my heart to "Hear" what God says about our bodies, I am immediately drawn to 1 Corinthians 6:19 - "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are Not your own?"   So, either I believe that God IS or I don't; and given that I do...I feel empowered to step into a new season where I allow the Holy Spirit who is in me to move through me and heal my body!!  I declare today that I AM the one to break the generational curse of Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Cancer in my family!  I choose to honor God by reforming my body as His temple!  I recognize the Urgent Need to make new choices so that I may be an example of Isaiah 40:31.
     This year, my husband and I have stepped into Destiny; and as Youth Ministers, I feel an added opportunity to practice what we preach!!  I have been convicted in calling our Youth to Rise Up, Dive In, and BE a Doer of the Word not only a Hearer!  THIS is my moment to join them in taking on a new level of commitment!  There can be NO more Excuses!!  I invite you to join me on this journey to better balance in my BSS, and ask that you hold me accountable!!  I know God loves me, because He gave me an added measure of support in my Beloved, and I am in gratitude for new seasons!!  I am excited to walk in the Peace of Surrender, and look forward to the challenge of Laying down my will so His can be done!!  To God be the Glory!!