“Move”

Anyone else out there need this today?

Sister, as you can see, I’ve not been able to effectively connect with you for what seems an eternity ~~ nonetheless, I am still alive and well (by the Grace of God).

When the Holy Spirit Whispers into your spirit, stop and listen ~~ attentively and with the intent to act upon what you hear. Avoid missing out on a Blessing.

He has been Whispering ‘loudly’ into mine lately, therefore, my activity has been multiplied; but I’m appreciating every moment and praising God for allowing me to experience and participate in His Purpose. Not always understanding (from the onset), but that’s walking in faith. Utilizing the ‘tools’ that He has given me from days gone by, I simply ‘do’ as I am called for that moment.

So take heart ♥️ my Sweet Sister and Girlfriend ~~ God Whispers in the quiet of your spirit. When He does, stop, pray and listen. Be sure your ‘spiritual shoes’ are laced so that when He swings that door open and lights the hallway, you can stand straight up with His Confidence and move.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

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“In My Place”

It’s Easter weekend ~~ and as I reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice, God Himself, for me ~~ in my place ~~ I cannot dismiss the thoughts that cause me to gasp and feel so humble.

Look at those spikes ~~ He took those for me ~~ laying fully obedient and submissive to the Will of the Father ~~ He did that all for me ~~ and for you. When we think of nails, we imagine carpenter or even picture hanging nails. Jesus took the weight of the sin of the world upon His Body and nailed it to the cross with nine (9) inch spikes. That takes my breath away. And all for love.

I recall the first time my heart realized the depth of this sacrifice ~~ shame, guilt, humility and thankfulness seemed to well up within me like a tidal wave. I wept for hours on my bed.

How could anyone be so generous with love ~~ especially knowing what I have done, where I have been, the thoughts I had, the words I spoke and the things I did ~~ how?

It was so far from me to comprehend, that it took a long time to accept that God would want me to draw close to Him. Unworthy ~~ I felt so much shame and embarrassment ~~ how could a holy God possibly want me, much less die for me?

But He did. And He does.

And He continues to desire all of mankind to draw close to Him ~~ through this unbelievable love ~~ His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes the enemy of my soul taunts me with those old accusations of guilt and shame ~~ digging up dirt that God said was dealt with over 2,000 years ago.

But God … (my favorite two words in all the human language) …

Says, “it is finished!”

In Filipino, we say, “Tapos na!” (done and DONE!)

That crown of thorns that He bore on His Head was so that we would ultimately cast our crowns of glory at His Feet in Paradise. I see that crown of anguish as a subtle reminder that we were on His Mind while He endured His torment on the cross.

Jesus’ arms outstretched speaks to me of His openness ~~ calling all of us to Himself ~~ one day we will feel the wonderous embrace of those strong and loving Arms.

His Feet were nailed to the cross as if it would prevent the spread of the Good News ~~ but it reminds me that it is now our responsibility to continue the walk and spread the Gospel. Ironically, He used those nail-scared feet to walk right out of the tomb.

In a handful of hours, Believers around the world will celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. Part of me contemplates the somber moment of knowing what He willingly did in my place. Part of me weeps deeply over the sheer fact that while I was yet a sinner, He wanted to sacrifice Himself for me.

As I ponder over this beyond-comprehension-agape-love, my heart and soul rejoice over the fact that Jesus believes that both you and I are worth dying for.

Girlfriend, it is my deepest prayer, that you have a Relationship with the One Who went in your place. He loves you beyond your wildest imagination!

Have you received His Love? If you haven’t, you can, right here, right now. No need for formality or processes or lessons ~~ simply bow your heart in sincere admission of need for forgiveness or your sins. Admit that Jesus, the Son Of God, is the only way for your salvation, that you receive His love and forgiveness and you are turning away from your former life without Him. And step into a life of newness and restoration.

If you have done this, “happy birthday,” you’ve been born again! Your spirit has been renewed and He dwells within you.

Your next responsibility is to care for your “new self” by getting into a Bible teaching local church so you can learn to grow. Learn to develop new friendships through fellowship with other Jesus Followers. Get connected with other Girlfriends with whom you can study the Word on a regular basis.

You. Are. Deeply. Loved.

Shout for joy on Resurrection Sunday. You now understand why Believers are so excited about an empty tomb.

Because they know The One Who paid the price ~~ in their place.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“What You Have”

“For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God] even what he does have will be taken away.  Matthew 25:29  Amplified

Girlfriend, let me just ask you: “Are you using what you have been given?”

Sometimes I think that we over analyze what God wills for us to do.  I believe that God makes His Will clearer to us than we think ~~ we  just don’t recognize it; even when it’s staring us back in the face.

Consider this: He loads up your hands with things, but also equips you with the ability to use them.  We serve a God Who does things intentionally.  Just as plainly as He created the universe and everything contained within it with the intent for us to enjoy it and praise Him for it all.  All things serve a purpose.

When God ordains you to do something, He provides whatever tools you need to get the job done and equips you with the ability to accomplish it well.  He would not expect you to “wing it.”

So let’s get back to my original question: “Are you using what you have been given?”

Take an inventory of your preferences and likes and skills set and strengths ~~ your passion is usually what fuels those strengths.  You even enhance and enlarge those strengths because your passion gets all your attention.  You will tend to do what you like to do over and over again ~~ and by sheer virtue of devoting so much time to your passion, you begin to craft it into your lifestyle.  Your passion becomes an extension of you and you are soon closely associated with it, to the point that others will easily see it in you and experience it coming from you.

However, if you have a passion for something that is not being nurtured or perfected and you try to squelch this passion, you could very well be in disobedience to what God has intended for you to accomplish this side of Paradise.

Do not think that talent and strengths and tendencies for something are simply dropped from thin air.  If you are in daily communion with The Lord, He is outright telling you that these natural tendencies and likes, sometimes characteristics that resonate from you when you engage in particular activity is precisely what He wants for you to recognize and allow Him to develop within you.

Time to worry is when you see these strengths and talents begin to fade ~~ if you’re not adding muscle to them, or actively working to perfect them ~~ you may be experiencing God’s way of taking them back from you.  Re-read our Scripture verse.

As for me, I have lived long enough to realize that I don’t want to waste any time ~~ time either to accomplish something or time that God has given me to praise and move in closer to Him.  God is constantly at work ~~ so what makes you think that you shouldn’t be as well?  As I read through the New Testament Scriptures, Jesus was always about His Father’ Business:  Speaking, healing, sharing, loving, caring, feeding, teaching, reaching ~~ Jesus was always on the move.  

Years ago, I used to think that being an ambassador for Christ was intended for only preachers and teachers from the pulpit.  I once considered that only the eloquent of speech, the theological degree-holders and the ones “in those inner pastoral circles” were the ones deemed to share the gospel with their talents.  But I have learned that all Christ-followers are ambassadors for the gospel.  Because the gospel lives in us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us sets it in motion with divine power, wherever we go, Jesus ultimately goes.  (That alone should cause us to guard our comings and goings.)

As an ambassador for Christ, we are empowered to use our talents to draw others towards Him.  And Girlfriend, let me set your mind at ease: no amount of theological training beyond what you already have wrapped up in your testimony could deliver the gospel any better than what you already have in you.  Just go and use it and watch God multiply it.

All too often do I hear of women sighing and laboring over “not recognizing” their passion or purpose.  Sweet Sister, you are living and breathing every moment of your life ~~ and unless you are hidden in a cave, you definitely have a passion for something.  Remember, that passion comes with purpose for use.  Guard it by offering it up as a living sacrifice to The One who blessed you with it and go forward.

Girlfriend,img_3896 if you are genuinely struggling with identifying your strengths and talents, ask a few trusted friends or family members to help you recognize them.  Sometimes our vision is clouded by a lens that is either out of focus, or our view is erroneously zoomed in on someone else.  You are uniquely you.  God did not use a “mold” when He designed you.

There are things that only you can do or say or share ~~ that would bring alongside of you the Ones coming up behind you ~~ to enable them to embrace their Savior that much more.  Through the difficult times in your life, those unbearable moments which you thought were never going to end, with the most challenging people God placed in your life, you have been prepared to meet these situations and people head on.  And you can ~~ with what you have been given.  Don’t think for one moment that anything you experience this side of Paradise goes to waste ~~ all things are purposed, because you have purpose.

It is my prayer for you ~~ that you’ll see and use what you have to the glory of God.

Now, get to work.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

 

“My Assignment”

small group bible study 2018

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you  may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:8-9  Amplified

After sitting down to have breakfast with Jesus (that’s my first morning task), I prayed that He would equip me with what I need to move forward with some “things” He has been revealing to me regarding work and career.  The Scripture verse you see above is the response I received.

How many times have you or I asked from the Lord “specifics” in regards to a need, concern, etc.?  Sometimes these petitions are laced with bits of worry, concern, anxiety ~~ but as Believers we may reclassify them as (legitimate) “burdens of the heart.”  Ouch!

Our Scripture verse clearly tells us exactly what to do: read and meditate on His Word day and night, and be diligent to follow its instructions so that we will have a straight and clear path, and our outcome will be successful and prosperous.  Our strength and courage is a direct byproduct of obedience, and there will be no room for being intimidated because the Lord our God is with us wherever we go, which is where He will send us.

I’ll admit that minor things “scare” or “intimidate” me ~~ things like age, lack of apparent skills, lack of particular experience.  But the more I converse with the Lord about these things, the more He convinces me that He has my back (front, sides, top and bottom). 

In recent days, the Holy Spirit has been “impressing” upon my heart and soul about certain thoughts that I’ve been praying about ~~ career and work related.  Time after time, He has been slowly revealing to me specific details about the direction He is leading me.  I prayed for clarity and He proved to me through His People (other Believers) and through His Word (The Bible); all His Responses to me came in a manner He knew I would receive and in a manner that I would understand that they came from Him.  Repeatedly the same answers as confirmation from more than one source.  That’s when I knew.  This. Is. From. God.

I cannot tell you, Girlfriend, the importance of drawing near to the Lord ~~ and allowing Him to draw near to you.  The study of His Word will always provide clarity.  Being in fellowship with other Believers will keep you accountable.  Poring over His Word in meditation will give you ammunition for fighting those spiritual battles that shoot darts of doubt as well as give you peace and comfort in those challenging moments of daily life.

Obedience will always keep you close to God ~~ how can you not see His Love for you when you are in constant communion with Him?  And that same communion will cause you to remain obedient.  

Prosperity and success ~~ God knows what you need, when you need it, and the amount you need for every moment of your life.  These things are not necessarily defined the way the world defines them, so take great care to allow The Lord to define them for you according to His Purpose and in His Timing.  Trust me on this one, Girlfriend, when you allow God to “redefine” your expectations and goals, the most amazing things will unfold.

If you are struggling with knowing how to navigate through the fog of uncertainty, pause in the middle of what you’re doing and take inventory of your relationship with The Lord, and your obedience to what He has called you to do first.  Make any and all adjustments to realign your lifestyle to be in accordance with God’s prerequisites and be ready to be Blessed.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

 

 

“Growing In Grace”

Me and Mama 012016

[Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age;  They will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment];  Psalm 92:14  Amplified

I must admit that I never thought of myself as ever growing ‘old.’ Older, maybe, but certainly not  ‘old.’  I’ve always believed that women simply grow older and that things like shoes get ‘old,’ that’s why we eventually discard or replace them.  Humans, especially women, are irreplaceable.  (I see your grin.)

Seeing those first strands of ‘grey’ hairs in the mirror ~~ that was startling.  I thought the light was merely casting a different appearance on my otherwise youthful mane.  Not!

Walking out to the garage to retrieve something ~~ that once I get there, I can’t remember what on earth I was planning to get.  Huh?!

And when did my favorite restaurant start dimming the lights?  I need to shine my cell phone on the menu to see what’s been added.  Yikes!

Applying  for jobs has suddenly become a strategic mission in which I must not reveal too many details on paper about my lengthy experience, and certainly omit the  years (because there’s too much that reflects back to the last millennium).

All of this began to set a ripple of concern in motion ~~ had I actually reached my point of ‘older-ism?’  Had this era sneaked up on me and I was too oblivious to its presence?  Will I now be on that side of the survey spectrum?

The conversations with God started to express my ongoing concern for ‘growing older.’  My concern was that I would no longer be included among the ranks of contemporary and knowledgeable about what’s current.  And then one day He Whispered …

“Moses’ greatest works came after he turned forty years old.”

I was riveted to my seat.  And I could feel a smile rising from the corners of my mouth.

Yes … Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Elizabeth … they were so much older than what I had considered to be acceptable and productive years on earth.  Productive in terms of being effectively used by God.

Let’s return to our Scripture verse … thrive, bear fruit and prosper.  Verbs that are describing someone on the side of youthfulness.  But these are God-breathed Words to describe His Beloved servants that have kept close to Him and kept His Word close to them.  They live according to these precepts and teach them to the generations coming up behind them.  And God says such individuals will thrive, bear fruit and prosper.

According to definition, thrive means to grow or develop well or vigorously.  But wait, isn’t that descriptive of younger persons?  I thought … ah!  And as usual, there are some things that shouldn’t be left to human thinking … God says we will grow or develop well even to the point of vigorously.  Those are pretty powerful words to be spoken of an old lady, wouldn’t you agree?  The truth spoken here says that we have the potential for continuous development and that it can occur with great intensity.  I love that!  Like a resurrected spirit and mind are ours to behold in our later years.

The definition of bearing fruit means being fertile or producing much fruit.  As the body ages, I know that it loses some of its strength and agility; joints and bones are challenged, either as a result of genetics or lifestyle or injury.  The memory starts to fade or just doesn’t retain information with the same vitality it once had.  But once again, God declares that those who are dwelling according to His Word will continue to bear much fruit.  If the tree is regularly watered (by the Spirit) and the (Son) sun continues to shine upon it, its roots will push down into the rich soil and cause the tree to bring forth much fruit.  Do you catch that, Girlfriend, not just fruit but much fruit.  In spite of the menial estimation we or the world holds over us, God says we are still of much good use in His Plan.

The dictionary defines prosperous as having the ability to be successful, increase, boom.  Maybe this I why I have such a difficult time with thinking about ‘retirement.’  God declares that His Own will enlarge in their older days.  Being successful at starting new things or doing the same things ~~ essentially what is God-breathed is ordained by Him and only knows to increase.  I like God’s math!

If I didn’t have a mentor to teach me these things I would be on the verge of panic right now.  But I have seen what that kind of God-breathed vitality looks like.

The only way to grow older gracefully is to grow older in the grace that saved you.

It is this age-old grace that The Lord has been Whispering to me ~~ it’s not to be feared but rather to be embraced.

If we have mentors to gently show us the way ~~ to lead us into the right mindset and share with us their timeless insight ~~ we would likely step confidently forward into the next chapter of our lives with greater faith instead of fear.

God says that we have the potential for being rich in trust, love and contentment.

want those things, don’t you, Girlfriend?  Trust doesn’t come easy as we get older ~~ the world teaches us to be skeptical and cynical about the wrong things, causing us to hinder the development of meaningful relationships.  Hindering or blocking relationships prohibits the potential for love and sharing the love of Christ through meaningful relationships.

Vitality and freshness?  Living well into what the world refers to as middle age often feels like the Renaissance Middle Ages ~~ slightly old and rustic and sometimes a bit outdated.  But our God says we will flourish and be vital and fresh.  Just the sound of all those words coming together gives this tired soul an uplift.  When I think of flourishing I envision a garden rich with fruits and vegetables, surrounded by lush greenery ~~ a bounty for eyes to behold!

Rich in love and trust and contentment ~~ now that sounds like a party in paradise.  A sweet gathering of my favorite people (family and friends) just enjoying one another’s presence.  For me, genuine relationships delivers contentment.  And love and trust are the heartbeat of those relationships.  

If having The Lord close produces all of these amazing things, then I want to remain as close to Him as possible ~~ for all eternity.  I’m starting to get a glimpse of Paradise, and I believe the ultimate best is yet to come.

But while I’m still here, I know that I am divinely purposed for His Plan ~~ and so are you, Girlfriend ~~ regardless of where we now stand on the age spectrum.  And if you don’t mind, “I will take more of that face cream, Jackie!”  Just because I’m closer to Heaven today than I was yesterday, doesn’t mean I have to look the part.

Are you willing to forge ahead with me ~~ arm-in-arm with your Sisters-in-Christ ~~ to grow old in grace and be blessed with great love and contentment?  Sounds good to me!

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“Life Guides”

Those who live right are good guides to those who follow, but wrongdoers will steer their friends down the wrong path.  Proverbs 12:26 The Voice

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Can we get in close for this one?  Pull your chair in tight with me, will you?

I have to just tell you that I am one who absolutely treasures my Girlfriends.  They have been there for me through the ugliest of my life’s situations.  I mean really ugly times ~~ you know, the kind where you wish you could erase from the minds of those who were eyewitness to them ~~ just not the memories I’d like to dwell upon, and yet … they are exactly the memories and moments that I would not trade for anything.

If not for the love of true Girlfriends, I would not have come as far as I have today.  Girlfriends who have your back (and front and sides) are a gift from God.

Just as sure as you have had your unforgettable moments, I, too, would have needed someone to scrape me up off the floor and doused me with some super glue to put the sad sorry pieces back together again.

Mama always told me that I wouldn’t need a gang of friends to keep me company ~~ just a few good true friends ~~ and growing up I must admit, I debated that advice many times over (shhh! mama doesn’t know that part).  We people-pleasers (erroneously) aim for the wrong kind of applause. But as an adult and a mama myself (and now a Lolie), I am here to declare mama’s advice was spot on.

When you’re down for the count, Girlfriend, God sends you His Love through those treasured friends.  It’s the God-sent Girlfriends that are true friends ~~ because their hearts have undergone the same transformation that yours has.  That is the difference.

I’m sure that as sure as the sun rises, you, too, have experienced being given advice that wasn’t meant for us to adhere ~~ and we bare the war wounds and scars to prove the battle.  Nonetheless, we got back in our game and have kept going.  And that’s not to scorn the ill-advisors, but we should take heed to the life lesson there.  Only the godly are well-equipped to protect and provide for one of God’s children ~~ because we share the same bloodline ~~ the bloodline of Christ Himself ~~ it only makes good sense that we listen to His Own ~~ our true sisters in Christ.

Small Groups ~~ Fellowship in those intimate circles ~~ that’s where we let our hair down, cry our makeup off, laugh until our cheeks ache, bare our souls for the rest to see ~~ it is in those God breathed transparent and vulnerable gatherings that God Himself shows up and shows off.  His Love is evident and knits us close ~~ get to know your Sisters on earth, because you’ll be spending eternity with her in Paradise.

She’ll cry with you and lovingly give you her shoulder to lean on ~~ she’ll send you that uplifting text when you didn’t expect it in the middle of that nerve-wrecking day ~~ she’ll stop by and bring you that meal when you just can’t seem to pull your resources together to provide for your family ~~ she’ll visit you in the hospital and tell you you’re beautiful even when you look and feel like a train wreck ~~ she’ll answer your call of distress in the middle of the night to comfort you with words of godly wisdom and reassure you that you are loved beyond your circumstances.

For those of us who know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such grace and compassion, we appeal to those of you who have yet to experience it.  And for whatever reason you have not had the privilege to feel such sisterhood, I bid you: please get into a small group at your local Bible-believing church and get to know someone.  There is nothing more comforting than to know another human being is willing to stand in the gap for you and pray for you.  I guarantee you ~~ your life will never be the same.

Keep in mind, Sweet Sister of mine, we don’t seek perfect relationships in imperfect human beings ~~ perfection only comes from the Perfect ~~ God Himself.  But imperfect human beings do understand the limitations of other imperfect human beings ~~ we love in spite of our imperfection.  We love, we grow, we learn and we move on.  Life’s Lessons will continue to occur because this side of Paradise, we are still in training ~~ the difference is that we have a Divine Purpose with which to use these Lessons.

Could it be to lead and guide the Ones coming up behind us?

Turn around, Sister, she’s there in your shadow ~~ waiting for a hug, an embrace, an invitation to be brought in, an opportunity to be mentored.

I extend to you, Girlfriend, this moment of reflection ~~ to ponder on the goodness that has been bestowed upon you in days gone by and to reach out from your comfort zone to be one who is willing to make that difference in the life of a fellow Sister in Christ.  You just might be that catalyst that sets a ripple in motion …

A ripple of continuous love.

A sweet opportunity to be a Life Guide.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary

“His”

10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and [all things that are] Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them.

John 17:10 AMP

Jesus calls you this day, Girlfriend, “Will you be mine?”

I bid you a sweet Valentine’s Day, Sister!

May your heart ❤️ be filled with His Love.

He felt that you were worth dying for.

LindaRJohnson

T2T Visionary