Monday, November 30, 2009

Baby K – 6 months baby portraits « SBJamesPhotography – Weddings and Portraits

Has it been six months already?! I've fallen behind on my photography blog, but you can find a quick update and sneak peek of Baby K's six month portrait session at the link below. Show him some love.

Baby Kole – 6 months baby portraits « SBJamesPhotography – Weddings and Portraits

Another major revelation

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I am God's workmanship (his work in progress; in His hands; He's the One molding and shaping and changing me by the power of His Spirit; I'm not in charge if I'm submitted to Him; I need only trust Him and obey His word and leading; He is the Potter, I am the clay) created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He ordained beforehand.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:9

"Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?" Galatians 3:3 Amplified Bible

I have been so recently frustrated by my own failures and sin. So often I've allowed my emotions to get the best of me and decide my course of action. Whether out of good intention or bad, I've followed my feelings instead of waiting on the Lord's direction or seeking His counsel at all. I had gotten so frustrated and discouraged that when reaching for my bible this morning, the devil was right there whispering in my ear, "you don't feel like doing this right now. Its so hard to follow the Lord. (So much work; it's tiring giving yourself to obey His word, and to do the right thing when those around you that you love and care about are not interested in God's ways and only hurt you and themselves in the process; it takes so much effort and you don't have the energy)." Praise the Lord He caused me to recognize the devil's subtle deception (just like in the garden of Eden) and the Holy Spirit brought back to my remembrance, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9).

I DO have the energy devil, I have the Lord's energy, His "dunamis" power living inside of me. "and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." Ephesians 1:19 The original Greek word used for "power" in this verse was, "dunamewv." It comes from the word "du/namai" and is where we get the English word "dynamite." Can you imagine, mighty dynamite power at work in us...???

"Hi-yah" with the sword of the spirit!!!

The overwhelming excitement and gratitude that's come with this deeper revelation of what Jesus has done for me leaves me with a desire to DO something. I run around like a giddy child, looking and praying for someone to come my way so that I can TELL them about Jesus; about WHY we need Him and how gracious and merciful God is. I felt like, this new humility, knowing that I am scum and Jesus saved me from my state of disgust, was a key to unlocking the secret of God's power, something the church is lacking in America. However, I was arrogant in my assumption.

Its amazing how subtly and quickly our good intentions can switch to pride and arrogance, self-righteousness and judgment; all the more proof that I DESPERATELY need Jesus. I may have made it sound like a bad thing, but I truly believe this desire is a holy desire; I just jumped ahead of the Lord. Much like Peter, given the revelation of Jesus being the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied about in the scriptures, I jumped ahead of Him. I was, out of a sincere, exciting and overwhelming desire to announce Jesus to the whole world, asking God to keep me humble so He could show up with His mighty power to back up what I knew to be true. But, I wasn't seeking His agenda. I was seeking my own.

Pretty soon I was asking God to provide an opportunity for "me" to minister to people......*scratch*.....did you catch that? Asking for an opportunity for ME to minister...

It truly is my desire for the Lord to show up in power and turn the hearts of people to Himself, and even if they have been born again, to renew their devotion to Him with a deeper understanding in the knowledge of who He is and His mighty power in and for us who are in Christ. (Ephesians 1:17-20) But somehow, very subtly, my focus had gotten off of His agenda and onto my own....EVEN out of good intentions.

Let that be a lesson on how our "good intentions" are never enough to "get us into heaven." My "righteousness is as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) to God. His ways are perfect. (2 Samuel 22:31, Matthew 5:48) His plans are perfect. (Deuteronomy 32:4) And my ways are not His ways. (Isaiah 55:7-9) Apart from Him I have and can do no good. (John 15:5) He is my life. Without His life I am spiritually dead and doomed for death, destruction and an eternity in hell. Not because of an unmerciful God, but because of my own sin and disobedience to Him and His word. God's mercy was shown when He sent his Son Jesus to earth (the real reason for Christmas), gave Him as a payment for my sin and disobedience, and raised Him back to life for my victory over all things, and He now sits in the place of highest authority and power, both in heaven and on the earth. (Ephesians 1:20-22) How can I attempt to go off on my own agenda? It will lead to nowhere.

What does all this have to do with "not having to figure everything out?" I was running off of my own understanding of things, my own agenda, trying to figure out who, what, where, why and how I was going to live for the Lord and do His will. I had it all so very wrong. I couldn't figure it all out if I wanted to. I only see a glimpse of the whole picture God sees. And apart from His equipping and power, I can't even do anything about that "glimpse." I need to cling to the Lord, submitting myself to Him and trusting Him to give me what I need and to rely on Him for the "who, what, when, where, why and how's" to get His timing.

Thank You Lord. You are my Life and my Light. I am dead and nothing without You. Thank You for Your mercy. Keep me humble Lord and keep me quiet. Keep me awake and aware of Your leading. I love You Lord.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, November 27, 2009

Subtle and Crafty Devil

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"NOW THE serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?" Genesis 3:1

I couldn't understand why, but lately my husband and I had been butting heads. Every day I was finding fault after fault. I couldn't stand it! Why was I being so judgmental? What happened to the sense of puny-ness I'd experienced just a few weeks ago? Where is the humility in knowing that I am nothing apart from Christ, and therefore, no better than anyone else? I didn't understand it until the Lord reminded me of where it all started...the Christmas shopping.

When my husband started his annual spending spree for this season, and I found out just how much he was acutally spending, I started going down the old "self" road. I completely took matters out of God's hands and into my own. As I watched him start to work overtime, spend excessive amounts of money on Christmas gifts and stress over giving our children everything they ever wanted this year, I became frustrated and angry. He was coming home later, leaving me exhausted with the kids. He was neglecting other necessary things that had to be paid. He was being short with me and secretive about his spending (hmm...I wonder why). Granted, these things may rightly cause anger and frustration, and even now, I still wish the Lord would remind him of the real reason for Christmas; but the battle has been to not get so caught up in uncontrollable emotions, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness; and to not try to constantly show him where he's wrong.

My prayer these past few months has continually been for the Lord to keep me humble, make me the wife and mother and woman of God He wants me to be, and sanctify, cleanse and purify me to be used for His glory and power. Not for MY glory and not for MY purposes, but for His; so that those who need to see Jesus will be able to. So, naturally, my first reaction to my mixed emotions and frustration is discouragement and confusion. After stealing away to get with the Lord, knowing that He was the only One who could cleanse me of my sin and make sense of everything, I decided to do a search of all the scriptures that mentioned the word "woman." I needed some truth about myself. (I didn't want to read the word and immediately bash my husband for not treating me as a woman either, and that was a challenge.) It didn't take long for the Lord to show me where I went wrong.

The third scripture reference that mentioned the word "woman" was Genesis 3:1. It starts out describing what kind of character the devil has, "NOW THE serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made..." The Modern King James Version describes him as "cunning." It got me wondering why the devil went to Eve instead of Adam.

In the creation story found in the book of Genesis, God created Adam first. God has every other living thing creature pass by for Adam to pick a companion for himself. When there was nothing suitable for him, God made a woman from Adam's own body. He didn't create woman separately the way He created Adam; He took a part of Adam, the man, and created Eve. She belonged to Adam because she was a part of him. That speaks volumes of God's order for marriages and also, Adam's authority over Eve. God made Eve not only for Himself, but she was specifically made for Adam.

"Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man." Genesis 2:23

Now, I also find it worth noting that God didn't verbally command both Adam AND Eve to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He verbally spoke that command to Adam. In fact, Eve hadn't even been created yet. (Genesis 2:15-22) Just a thought...I wonder if Adam, as Eve's husband, would have had to give Eve those instructions (another sign of authority). Eve would have had to trust and obey Adam, thereby trusting and obeying the Lord, that He did indeed speak that commandment to Adam.

Here comes the subtly cunning devil. He doesn't go to Adam and ask, "did God REALLY say you couldn't eat this fruit?" (Paraphrase of Genesis 3:1). God spoke that commandment directly to Adam. Adam would have KNOWN what God said to him. Instead, the devil went to Eve and craftily got her to mistrust God and her husband. I wonder what kind of attitude she went to Adam with when she offered him the fruit. Was she blissfully ignorant; led astray be her lack of understanding of the damage that was done and the enticement of her senses? Was she thinking she was doing a "good thing" by offering this forbidden fruit to her husband, because of its pleasant taste and sudden gain of knowledge (sort of like the way I was doing a "good thing" by telling my husband how wrong he was)? Was she trying to prove Adam wrong? Knowing the harm she had done, was she now deliberately trying to bring him down with her? Whatever the case was, the devil conned his way in to their relationship, caused them to both disobey God, and changed the course of their lives.

What does this have to do with me? Somewhere...the devil conned his way in, fed me his deception about my relationship with my husband, and tried to convince me that God couldn't handle it. Concerning God's word and the truth about my situation, he tried the old, "did God REALLY say..." trick and I fell for it. I realized I had been picking fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, acting as God by trying to show my husband where I was right and where he was so obviously wrong (even if it was just by a negative look or bad attitude). I had never meant for it to be that way. It wasn't my intention. For a while, I saw it as righteous indignation instead of what it really was, judgment and fault-finding. I wasn't praying aout it anymore. Instead, I was thinking of all the ways he was hurting me and our kids by what he was doing. It eventually turned into a long list of faults and judgments. Nothing else.

Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy. Because of it I don't have to sit in condemnation because of the things I've done wrong. I shouldn't make other people do it either. Jesus freely forgave me of my countless sins and failures, and as a Christian and servant of God, He wants me to do the same. Jesus told a parable about this very statement. Praise God that I can rejoice in the fact the my hardships and failures bring me back to the cross and keep me always knowing how desperately I need Him.

"Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New Living Translation

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart
." Matthew 18:21-35

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some thoughts on "the prince of the power of the air"

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"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" Ephesians 2:2 King James Version

"In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]." Ephesians 2:2 Amplified Bible

The spirit of the world is at work in those who haven't come to Jesus. Is it an actual spirit? I would think so. The spirit of satan, who was disobedient to God and who spawned the first deceptive lie to cause disobedience by God's people, is still at work. But those who have been born again, are not under the power of the spirit of the world!! We might still be influenced by the devil's deception and forget that we have been born again, and no longer under its power, and therefore give up the fight between the Holy Spirit's leading and the flesh, but the fact remains, we are no longer under the power of the devil, or the power of the law (trying to do everything right to please God) {Galatians 2:16}. The Holy Spirit is the one who's power we are under, but given free will, we still have to choose to lay hold of the power that is available to us. But should we choose to accept THAT power and fight against the powers of darkness, we will always win because Christ has defeated the world, the devil and the grave and now sits beside the Father, in the place of authority over EVERY ruler, power or authority...both natural and spiritual. Praise God.

{"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church," Ephesians 1:19-22 King James Version}

{"I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. " Ephesians 2:2 Contemporary English Version}

Saturday, November 21, 2009

At Your feet...

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*Scroll down to read the lyrics to this song*

I'm in wonder and grief at the thought of the price of sin. God's word doesn't change. God doesn't change. His laws are perfect and never change. The only thing that's changed is how we go about receiving his forgiveness. Before it was by the blood of a natural lamb, now its by the blood of Jesus.*

I got a crash course in my family legacy this week. It was totally unexpected and seemingly spontaneous, until I had time to process everything. Now it seems it was meant for a specific purpose, although what that is, I don't know yet. I was chatting online with a family member when our conversation turned to family relations. I never knew much about my dad's side of the family except that he was raised by his grandmother. When I was younger, I recall trying to ask about it, but the issue was obviously skirted around because my questions never got answered. In two nights, my unanswered questions uncovered years of heartache, pain, and sin. It was heart breaking and explained so much. The many years of bitterness, resentment and hurt that I had carried because of my relationship with my dad seemed to finally make some sense.

Its been almost two months since my deliverance session. I mark this date so much because it is such a major turning point in my walk with the Lord (for the record, it is the Spirit of God that has set me free, not necessarily a ministry).* There has been so much clarity and so much realization of the spiritual realm that we, as Christians, live in. And so much awareness of the battle between the temptations and enticing of our natural desires and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit realm is real. Whether or not we choose to believe, the fact remains, there are spiritual laws just like there are natural laws and legal laws. Just as there are consequences to breaking natural and legal laws, there are consequences to breaking the spiritual laws of God. When we break them, we sin. There are consequences to our sin and consequences to the sins of our fathers that can affect us, even to the third and fourth generations. The consequences of my ancestors sin has been felt by each family to follow. Dysfunction leads to more dysfunction. Hurt leads to more hurt. The decision to not follow God's ways breed family examples that don't glorify God or acknowledge a need for Him. More spiritual laws are broken; more consequence follows. Praise God He has called me out of the pit, set my feet on solid ground and brought the darkness into His Light.

I am so convinced of my need for Jesus and how high the stakes are! If we would only realize that there is no Life apart from Him! And if we DO realize that, if only we could stay humble before God, willing to die to our own desires so that we can live for His!! Deception creeps in so subtly and before we know it, we're proud, bitter, angry, unforgiving, impatient, depressed, etc. Just when I think I've gotten new Light to walk in and can let up on the fight between the spirit and the flesh, I lose my way. What can be more convincing of my need for Jesus, to stay close to His feet and to always be alert. It is in no way a game. It is in no way just an opinion that can be passed by without serious repercussions. God is holy. His ways and standards are perfect and we are in no way perfect. And only the blood of His Son, Jesus, can cover our sin and failures and make us able to stand before Him in heaven.

...Father God, have mercy. We need Your mercy. Lord, I am nothing without You, I don't know why I try to be something without You. I have no words of Life to offer anyone. I have no Light to offer anyone. But You spoke and created Light and separated it from the darkness. You spoke and created Life! Your words of truth bring freedom. Sin has cut us off from Your presence, but you knew about it and had planned for our redemption before the foundation of the world was set. Before You even spoke the world into existence You had this plan of redemption through the blood of Jesus set up! My life is in You Lord. Nothing good comes from me. Nothing good is in me, and if there IS any good found in me, it is actually Your Spirit that lives in me, I only get to carry the fruit of it for Your glory. Open our eyes Lord. Amen.

*If you would like to know how we can be forgiven by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, please email me.
*Please try to put debate about demons and Christians aside. All glory goes to God for the freedom I am now walking in.

*At Your Feet - Casting Crowns (lyrics)*
Here at Your feet, I lay my past down
My wanderings, all my mistakes down
And I am free

Here at Your feet, I lay this day down
Not in my strength, but in Yours I’ve found
All I need, You’re all I need

Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
There is nowhere else for me
There is nowhere else for me

Here at Your feet, I lay my future down
All of my dreams, I give to You now
And I find peace, I find peace
Here at Your feet, I lay my life down
For You my King, You’re all I want now
And my soul sings…

‘Cause I am free (here at Your feet)
All I need (is at Your feet)
I find peace
We’re at Your feet
We’re at Your feet

And I am free (here at Your feet)
All I need (is at Your feet)
I find peace
We’re at Your feet
We’re at Your feet
We’re at Your feet
We’re at Your feet

Here at Your feet
I lay my life down

Thursday, November 19, 2009


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Ever wondered exactly what being justified by faith meant? There's great teaching available by Pastor Melissa Scott, wife of the late Dr. Gene Scott. You can get it here:

I know some of you are cautious about clicking links. I would have just posted the video here if I could have, but I couldn't. Its worth checking out, as she goes into the original Greek and Hebrew of the bible as well as some other languages.

Please comment if you have something to share. :D

Set Me Free-Casting Crowns

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Ok, so I first saw this same human video done at my church. While browsing through a friends blog I saw this and its message is so amazing that I had to put it here. Please watch it.

"Washed in the Blood of the Lamb"

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I've spent the last two months praying and debating in my mind about this blog. Two months doesn't seem like a long time, but its been the longest two months of yearning to share something I've ever experienced. Can I just be honest with you? I went back and forth, trying to shrug this desire off, blaming it on selfish ambition, or a natural desire to be heard from anyone with no real fruit coming out of it. That right there was my biggest problem. Doing this for seemingly no reason, with no fruit coming out of it...what a total waste of valuable time that would be. This yearning never let up and it seems like everywhere I turn I'm hearing the same thing, TELL SOMEBODY. So, I'm gonna step out on faith; faith that I am supposed to be doing this and if I'm not, faith the God will turn it around into a personal journal or something, or maybe nothing at all. Either way, I said all this for the sake of a starting point.

I've reached a spiritual turning point in my life. I'm not even going to question why this didn't happen sooner because I sort of know the answer to that in my heart. Be it for the sake of more human experience, natural maturity, or plain stubbornness on my part, God knew the right moment. I used to promote the latest spiritual ministry I had been involved in that God used to bring me some breakthrough in my life, but I am careful to not lift up the ministry more than the God of Power behind the ministry. With that being said, this turning point came, little by little, during the week after a deliverance ministry session.

This is one of my personal journals from that week. Next time I blog, I will go into more detail:

"Washed in the blood of the Lamb"

Coming home from a friend's house,* I felt so light and so overwhelmed by the Spirit. When I had just passed the airport, God dropped something from my head to my heart. "I put you in the POSITION to walk under GRACE, I don't expect you to get everything right." He didn't EXPECT me to live a perfect "Christian" life! At that moment I understood that's why "there is NO condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus," (Romans 8:1) because they are in that position to walk under grace and NOT under "law."


What a revelation... And now I'm sitting here watching Pastor Melissa Scott preach on that VERY thing, from the book of Galatians. Isn't God so wonderful? So concerned with me that He would drive this point home so obviously?!

After my ministry session, I struggled, being attacked in my mind and arguing with my husband for the entire week. But I knew something had changed spiritually. It is snow balling. Its like a thin plastic bag filled with water and someone pokes a tiny hole in it. Eventually that hole starts to stretch, letting more and more water flow until it finally rips open, gushing water everywhere. Today was such a taste of freedom for me. And for the first time, I understood what it was like to have peace in the midst of a storm.

I was confronted with obeying the scriptures about being a wife, specifically 1 Peter 3:1-7, winning my husband without a word. This is such a battle for me but God's grace is sufficient. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Surprisingly enough, we had the perfect afternoon, Rick and I. We cooked dinner, ate, played a game with our kids and exercised! The Lord is awesome when you serve Him. No, the Lord is ALWAYS awesome. You just reap the benefits and blessings and see the fruit of it when you serve Him.

The yoke and burden of trying to live for God is so heavy because God did not give the law because He thought we could live up to it. He gave the law to prove to us that we COULDN'T live up to it. So that we would turn to Jesus, God's grace, mercy, forgiveness and salvation on the cross. Doing good things or acts of service or trying to be a Christian in the hopes of "getting to heaven" or "being a good enough Christian" completely does away with what Jesus did on the cross. If we live by the "law" instead of faith, we nullify the grace of God.

I believe now that the reason this foundational truth didn't get to my spirit, was because of the demonic junk and strongholds that were in its place. Now that the junk is gone, it has good soil to take root in.

Things to remember:

Salvation-Jesus alone, nothing added to that, good works in itself can't save you. (John 14:6, John 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9)

Grace and peace-through Jesus' death and resurrection.
  1. Grace-no striving to achieve, and
  2. Peace-no separation from God, no fear, no condemnation.

In Christ- if we're NOT in Christ and instead are in sin, willfully sinning, there is no peace and God's grace isn't applied cause its not received or asked for. If there's a stronghold, it can't be seen.

The ones that are so low, societies rejects, the ones in distress and despair, are the ones that KNOW they need the Lord. That's why we should be thankful for our trials. We're in that state of humility, our proper place, before God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Currently Under Construction

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Much like myself ["And IN HIM you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Ephesians 2:22], this blog is currently under construction. :) Thanks for stopping by and check back soon!