My Confession

If conviction follows intention, then confession must follow both.

This is my confession.

Before I chicken out; I am taking the rest of the year off from speaking and writing my fourth book.

The past few years I have been furiously working, writing, researching, and speaking towards 20-somethings.

This girl needs a break.

I finished the work, the race, and I sped my little heart out.

My third book is done, minus edits.

My second book is launched.

Now it’s time to rest and wait on God to show me His glory.

Exodus 33:3, NIV84 says, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

I refuse to go anywhere without God. The blessings of the Lord are not enough. His presence alone is worth more to me than the calf. I have made my blessings into an idol and for that, I confess.

Everything I write and speak must be from personal conviction. My intentions are not good enough. I must leave room for faith.

Hebrews 11:1, NIV84 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

The guest pastor at North Coast Calvary last night said, “Religion is not just memorizing it and doing your best.” I want the thrill of sin to repel me. I refuse to go anywhere unless God goes with me.

This is not an emotional high.

This is about me instantly obeying the voice and command of God to remain intentional.

I wouldn’t have written Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, and especially not my third book without intense years of suffering in prayer for God to restore me so I could publish His deeds across the nations.

With that said, I find myself overcoming self–to once again be led by God. I’m excited to honor two words for the year, “Remain” and “Intentional.” My blogs will still continue, but other than that who knows. God?

To view this week’s video log, click here.

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I'm NOT Pregnant

I’m not pregnant.

Now that I have your attention, I want to tell you a story.

I am no Martin Luther King, but I had a dream that I was pregnant in a warehouse full of women about to give birth. We were all expectantly waiting on God’s promises.

The very next day at work (this was back in 2005), a lady came in for a job interview. She walked into the room where I was the office receptionist and asked me,

“Are you pregnant?”

At first I was shocked. Then horrified.

I said “No!” and she quickly apologized, but said she sensed something in the Spirit. Mind you, I wasn’t working at a Christian work place at that time–so that was a huge confirmation of my dream the night before.

Funny Story, about 9 months later the same lady told me God showed her the meaning of my dream. She said,

God is trying to birth a ministry through me, if I would just let him–and not to say that my future husband isn’t important.”

I have to say. I was pretty upset when she told me this.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY FUTURE HUSBAND ISN’T IMPORTANT?

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I prayed and asked God for a husband daily since I was 15. I felt bitter. Like God had personally offended me.

All I ever wanted was to get married, go into ministry, and serve alongside my husband.

When I published my first book, I realized that I couldn’t serve two masters. I finally got it.

I quit my job to pursue ministry full time and to continue writing. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to write “Faithbook of Jesus” and “Not Another Dating Book” as a married woman.

There were things in my soul I needed to wrestle with.

Anguish has a way of changing your heart.

God softened me and used my time as a single person to bless me with a writing ministry–of which I am most grateful for.

Even though I couldn’t see it at the time, God put a wall of protection around me, my heart, and desires.

Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield (Psalm 5:12, 33:20).

To the single woman who feels neglected by God, you are not alone.

To the (actual) pregnant woman who is waiting to give birth.

Do not abandon your dreams.

Do not give up your desires.

You may have forgotten, but God won’t!

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” 

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:14-16).

Watch the Video Log for “I’m Not Pregnant” below:

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God's Calling

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. C.S. Lewis

I just love that quote. It reminds me in a very powerful way that God’s call on our lives is real. It’s tangible. Something we can taste, touch, feel, and see. And it’s not something so far out of our grasp that we’ll fail.

Failure.

Every time I tried to manage my schedule the past couple weeks–I’ve failed. I just wasn’t doing a good enough job. When my panic attacks came back, I felt like a big fat one–failure that is.

I just wanted to cuddle up in my blankets and hide in my bed until things got better.

When they didn’t I roused myself out of bed really early to deal with it. I decided that it’s now or never. I finished writing my third book on forgiveness.

The hardest part for me has been revisiting all the painful stories of the past. When I write books, God doesn’t just give me fluffy words, He reminds me. I get to relive each story in present day. “Oh joy!” I say sarcastically.

Then I read about Joseph in Genesis 39:2 & 21

“The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home [palace] of his Egyptian master…But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.”

The truth is, “we must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God…” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together.

It’s funny how God had to interrupt me in my misery. Last week I said in Something Borrowed that I have no idea what to pray for–now that I’m married.

Then I read this in “Seize The Day with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” In it Charles Ringma writes:

“In the final analysis, the key issue is not whether we are married or unmarried, a missionary or a mechanic. The more important issue is that we have made some sense of God’s call in our lives. For that call to be realizable, we need to understand ourselves sufficiently so that we know our gifts, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. When God’s call harmonizes with our giftedness, we become candidates for lasting achievement. And true achievement does not arise from a negative reaction to life, but from embracing God’s perspective on what is good” (Charles Ringma).

Lord, please show me your favor. Everywhere I go, don’t let me be afraid of suffering. It’s not up to me to determine my life, but only You. Help me to stay flexible even when change scares me BIG TIME. Show me how to be blessed like Joseph whether I’m in the palace or in prison. Amen.

p.s. Father, I’m sorry for doubting God’s calling on my life. Please forgive me?

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Deal Breakers

What are your deal breakers in dating?

 

Do you just hate it when a guy blasts the music too loud when you’re in his car? Or when a girl can’t seem to tear herself away from texting on her cell phone long enough to say hello? Maybe you’d never date someone who smokes, doesn’t laugh at your jokes, or has a lot of baggage from a previous relationship. It’s no question: Everyone has deal breakers in a relationship–beliefs we’re not willing to compromise. But what does the Bible say our deal breakers should be? [Not Another Dating Book, Harvest House, (C) 2012, page 34]

That is just an excerpt from my second book, “Not Another Dating Book.” I decided NOT to finish the list because I want to hear from you!

I’m also giving you a chance to win two free copies of my book.

Here is a picture of me holding “Faithbook of Jesus” for the first time back in 2010, and “Not Another Dating Book” in 2012. In honor of my second book I am going to do a BIG BOOK GIVEAWAY.

I’m giving away 20 copies of books to ten different people. 

To win a copy for you and your friend, please tell me your top two deal breakers when it comes to relationships and dating. I will draw the winners at random on Friday, January 20th.

To officially win, you must comment on THIS BLOG post!

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Endorsements for Not Another Dating Book

In just 27 short days, my second book, “Not Another Dating Book” releases nationwide! Here are the endorsements for my book.

I hope you’ll show your support by ordering a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Harvest House for you or someone you know.

Thanks again for coming on this journey with me. I’m so excited!

“We live in a time when our college students don’t give two cents worth of time or attention to the local church. It is more important today than ever before in history to grab the attention of this age group. Its time for the church to wake up and realize the importance of capturing the hearts of our college age/young adults. I really believe that Renee Fisher shares that same vision and heart.” Blake Bergstrom, Nashville Campus Pastor, Cross Point Church, Nashville

What I loved about this book is that is avoids stereotypical dating advice that seems to only work for 2% of the population. This is a book for the average people with the true aspects of the ups, downs of relationships with insights while pursuing God with our lives.  –Dan Kimball,  author They Like Jesus But Not The Church

“If you are confused by what to think about dating, about singleness, about waiting…then Renee will provide you with straight-talking, grace-giving wisdom. Rather than point you just toward your future spouse–Renee points you to the only place of true life–a daily, growing relationship with God.” –Nicole Unice, ministry leader and author of The Divine Pursuit & She’s Got Issues

Not Another Dating Book is just that… not another ‘how to’ book on the mysterious and frustrating but always soul building work of dating. Written in the a devotional format like her first book, Faithbook of Jesus, NADB is written to the side of dating that is vitally important in preparing a person for marriage – one’s character and faith. Renee’s faith, passion, and struggle to be God’s woman now and not later shines through in this book. This book will encourage you, or a single 20 or 30 year old you know, in the dating process in which one’s faith in Christ is an asset and not a liability. Solid, honest, inspirational, and Biblical, this book is a welcomed addition to all those “other” dating books. – Jim Kane, Pastor, First Church of God; Kendallville, Indiana

In Not Another Dating Book, Renee Fisher takes devotionals to the next level!  The daily inspirations are chock-full of golden nuggets and written with transparency, honesty, and integrity.  If you want to grow in your human relationships, read this book.  –Rob Tucker, Pastor of youth and young adults, Living Word Community Church, York, PA.

As someone reaches out to women in their twenties, I truly appreciate Renee Fisher’s passion and candor in Not Another Dating Book. With in the devotions, the reader will not only relate to Renee’s thoughts, but they will also catch the fire of Renee’s passionate faith and rethink how they presently do relationships. In this day and age, it is tough to find raw and relevant books on godly relationships and Not Another Dating Book by Renee Johnson will not disappoint. I plan on recommending it to all the 20-something women I work with. –Sarah Martin, blogger at www.liveitoutblog.com & author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama

Sharing her victories and struggles via social media networks has made Renee a courageous and trusted voice for the twenty-somethings generation. A faithful servant and inspirational leader, Renee’s journey points to God at every stage and encourages her peers to do the same. She continues that journey by addressing the issue of dating as only she can: speaking directly to young adults where they are, in language they understand, dealing with the issues that matter to create a book that will encourage no matter what your relationship status.- Suzanne Physick, blogger

Not Another Dating Book is a refreshing look at dating from someone who is intently putting God first in her life . This is a blessing for singles who are serious about knowing Gods will for their dating life and the kind of book I wish was around when I was “Lookin for Love” in all the wrong places! –Kerri Pomarolli, Comedian Actress Author” Guys Like Girls Named Jennie?” and ” How to Ruin Your Dating Life”

“Like a best friend, Renee Fisher takes single Christian women by the hand and sits down beside them in Not Another Dating Book. Just as the title suggests, this devotional is so much more than a dating book. Renee challenges women to fall in love with God first and above all else so when a man comes along who is truly worthy of her heart, she’ll know it. With thought provoking questions and the truth of God’s word, Not Another Dating Book should be on the nightstand of single Christian women everywhere who long for the love of their life. Which I believe is just about every one of us.” – Crystal Renaud, Author, Dirty Girls Come Clean

“Wow! A book about relationships that I don’t want to laugh at or automatically throw out my window! This book won’t tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Rather it validates all the things we already feel and deal with in the world of dating, and encourages us along the way.” –Christy Polek is a twenty-something California girl currently trying to figure out love, life, and faith in the big city of Chicago. She shares the way she sees the world at ChristyPolek.com

Not Another Dating Book is a refreshing look at the complicated dating process. Packaged in an easy to read devotional format, it offers you one dating related thought to focus on each day. I love how Renee Fisher is constantly pointing everything back to God and how our relationship with Him is always uncomplicated. I wish I’d had this book when I was still single. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.” –Shannon Primicerio, author of ten books including The Divine Dance

“For those of us deep in the dating world, we know it’s important to be in God’s word on a daily basis. This book is a good tool to lead you in that process.  In the end you’ll be closer to the Lord and just might find the man or woman of your dreams.” –Megan Carson, Author, A Year of Blind Dates

“Renee Fisher truly is a devotional master. Her authentic and practical writing style disarms the preconceptions you came with and you quickly find yourself laughing, sometimes wincing, and somehow unexpectedly engaging God in the process.  It is a worthy read to help navigate that complicated arena of relationships. If you are tired platitudes and prescriptive “how to”s you will love this charming, engaging, and encouraging read that will help you navigate that complicated arena of relationships.” –Michael Forney, Associate Pastor Gateway Church, Poulsbo, WA

Renee Fisher has crafted a unique devotional that tackles core life issues rarely discussed from a biblical worldview. This is much-needed guidance for navigating the ever-confusing world of dating—and an excellent pass-along resource for churches truly wanting to come alongside teenage girls and women of all ages. –Lindy Lowry, editor of Outreach magazine

“You’ll find charm and honesty, stories that will make you laugh out loud and some that might make you cry. You’ll find an author who doesn’t pull punches about the complicated intersections between romance and faith. And you’ll find a message rooted in Scripture from beginning to end. If you want to know what the Bible says about relationships and what that means for you—dating or not—this book is a fantastic place to start.” –Lisa Velthouse, Speaker and author of Saving My First Kiss and Craving Grace

“Renee brings back memories, asks the questions we all have, and directs us to draw closer to God in this book. She reminds us of the desire to love and build relationships in a godly and holy manner and helps us to laugh at the awful dating moments we’ve all experienced.” –Chelsea Curley, blogger at http://kugirl84.wordpress.com

Renee Fisher’s Not Another Dating Book is an amalgam of proverbial wisdom and personal transparency. Diving in to this book is to dive it to an ocean where the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the earth’s floor. You will not have to guess where she stands. You will not misunderstanding God’s commands. If you are single, you need this book!  –Tim Ross, Speaker, Evangelist http://www.timross.org

“If you’re single and not interested in another dating book written for Christian virgins with no dating experience you need to read this book. It’s real, it’s relevant, it’s fresh and it speaks the truth to a deceived generation.” –Pete Wilson, Pastor, Author of Plan B

Not Another Dating Book has ample supply of solid advice for anyone trying to navigate the complicated (but wonderful) world of relationships. With an easy-to-read, topical structure, Fisher offers biblical wisdom and practical advice on dozens of topics like online dating, sexual temptation, purity, and the meaning of Christianese phrases like “unequally yoked.” A fun and helpful read! –Brett McCracken, Author of Hipster Christianity: When Church & Cool Collide

You can count on Renee Fisher’s devotionals to be straightforward, honest, and unvarnished. She’ll make you smile, ponder, and maybe even cringe a time or two as you reflect on what God’s Word has to say about your spiritual identity, relationships, and journey towards becoming like Christ. –Larry Osborne, Pastor, North Coast Church

Honest, on-target, and fun, Renee Fisher has given us the gift of a book that is about a whole lot more than dating. Guided by the wisdom of being immersed in the scriptures for years, she asks the tough questions and digs into the issues we deal with while single, dating, or married. –Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life

Renee Fisher has done what she does best – take the experiences of today’s generation, blend in a healthy dose of scripture, a cup of common sense, a measure of prayer, and a sprinkle of creativity to produce a devotional that is full of nutrition and substance. As a father of three teenagers, I’m glad she has written this book! –Chad Estes – pastor, blogger, and dad

“The idea that our relationship with God is independent from our relationships with others is false and dangerous.  God calls each of us to honor him in every facet of life, including how we embrace our identity in Christ and its’ impact on our relationships.  Not Another Dating Book is a helpful resource in your efforts to gain understanding and wisdom towards these matters.” – Jason Hayes, Author, Speaker, National Young Adult Ministry Specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources

Renee is right; this is not another dating book.With humor and transparency, Renee invites you to take the masks off, put the cliches aside and engage deeply and honestly about the highs and lows of the dating game.Take her up on the offer. This study will teach you how to pour out your heart’s dreams and heartaches  before God, and to allow Him by his Word to pour into you. –Jo Saxton,

“I have seen lots of dating books make it on the scene, the books with the “how-to’s” and and the formulas. This is not a “how-to” or a formula, this book is real life! It is filled with God’s perspective on our lives, our relationships and most importantly, our hearts! You’ll laugh, you’ll be encouraged and best of all you’ll be challenged. This is an opportunity to grow and see your life change!” –Michael Robison, Lead Pastor of Grace Church

I know Renee, and she cares about people! If you want to protect your heart from a whole lot of hurt, this book is a must read. Better yet, if you want God to do an amazing work in YOU, so ALL your relationships function at their ultimate best- you will love the advice Renee leads you to discover. If you want to laugh out loud and feel better about one of your dates that might have gone wrong, Renee’s humor will help you smile again.  The best part of Not Another Dating Book is you will become the kind of person people love to be around. –Pam Farrel, relationship expert, author of over 35 books including best selling, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Single Men Are Like Waffles, Single Women Are Like Spaghetti, and 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make.  

“Not Another Dating Book” is immediately arresting to every man and woman that reads it because at some level, we can all relate. I want a copy for each of my kids and if you don’t have kids yet, buy extra copies for when you do! This is not another dating book, it’s one of God’s tools to healthy relationships with boundaries. – Mike Esparza, Radio Talk Show Host, San Diego, CA

“I love how Renee takes us on a new journey over a well traveled topic. Her writing is real…She writes for her own generation. Her writing will cause you to reflect on your dating travels and God’s road map. At times, her writing is  raw. She shares from the heart what it means to be a Christian and to learn to date, to have a DTR with Christ at the center, and at times to break-up. I appreciate Renee because she describes the dating struggles that many of us experience while helping us to discover God’s truth and guidance for ourselves.”  –Pastor Chico Goff, Founding Pastor, Mission Hills Church, San Marcos, Ca

“It is really difficult to be single and Christian. ‘Not Another Dating Book’ is a gentle guide through many scenarios that even the boldest Christian would be nervous to discuss. The pages are filled with humor, love, and a chance to sort out some things in your heart.  I’m left feeling renewed and hopeful that through Christ’s timing, the awkwardness of dating will give way to a life-long partnership that brings glory to God.” –Morgan MacGavin, a 20-something who lives in Nashville and blogs at http://www.reflectinghearts.com

“Renee brings a honesty to the topic of relationships that I found both rare and endearing. She has a passion to put God first in her life spiritually and relationally in a way that makes sense. And she communicates all of it with humor and heart. This is a great resource for anyone navigating relationships in the real world.” – Jud Wilhite, author of Torn, Sr. pastor of Central Christian Church, Las Vegas

Wow! If you are dating right now or waiting on that person to show up in your life. You need to read this book. This is one of those books that I wish I would have had when I was looking for my wife. I believe the truth in this book can help people date the way God intended us to date. It’s more then a good read. It will help you make a lifestyle out of serving the opposite sex and preparing for your mate. –Ketric Newell, Youth Pastor, Crosspoint.tv, Author of Liar, Liar Mullet On Fire

“I loved this book. Renee brings a freshness and openness to the topic of dating without holding anything back. Her passion for God and life experiences are relatable and contagious. My suggestion? Chew on this book slowly and let God speak to you through every page.” – Mark Sorensen, Director of Contemporary Worship and College and Young Adult Ministries, First United Methodist Chuch, Shreveport, LA

Renee meets us where we’re at, offering encouragement and humor in the common struggles singles face, while continually challenging us to practically apply God’s truth in our lives and keep our focus on Jesus. –Franny Huck, Discipleship Pastor at The Salvation Army Kroc Church in San Diego, CA

Renee Fisher is passionate about twenty-somethings, their issues and their ability to sift through those issues with faith. Not Another Dating Book is a daily devotional that weaves through fears about singledom and the journey to feel good about yourself even when you’re not dating. She doesn’t avoid issues that often get glossed over in the Christian dating conversation, such as conservative pressure not to date and how to date if you’re not the virgin the Christian dating empire expects you to be. If you’re looking for a Bible-based daily devotional and workbook on this subject, this is uniquely for you. –Sarah Cunningham, author of Dear Church and Picking Dandelions

“Not Another Dating Book” raises the bar!  Renee Fisher writes freshly and honestly as she biblically caulks the cracks in the often complicated arena of relationships. Her transparent approach and careful exploration of relational struggles, consistently point her readers to God and His wisdom for direction and truth. As a father of three, single daughters, I highly recommend Renee’s acutely profound, God-centered work.  The author’s meticulous effort warrants a congratulatory nod.  This is a first-rate book on doing relationships that doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.  Put “This Is Not a Dating Book” on your must-read list! –Lonnie Smith, Senior Director of Church Partnerships, RightNow Ministries and Bluefish TV

On behalf of Singles everywhere, thank you Renee Fisher for listening to us, acknowledging our struggles, our desires, and our stories and matching them up with the wisdom God offers so tenderly and generously. This is most definitely a book that I will resource time and time again. –Julia Kate Swodeck, Writer at www.Titherofinnovation.com and Agitator for Reform

“A generation of young people has blurred the lines of healthy relationships, author Renee Fisher wants to help you sort out your confusion. Penned from her own personal journey, Fisher will challenge you with questions that clarify what it means to be in growing relationship with others and more importantly with God. ” –Benji Zimmerman, blogger & reviewer at http://Benji.Zimmer.mn

Renee has a way of making it fun to learn about godly wisdom when it comes to dating and relationships. The way she uses scripture to breathe life into dating relationships makes you want to love God wholeheartedly and really trust Him with your singleness. –Lindsey N. Isham, National Speaker and Author of the book, No Sex in the City – One Virgin’s Confessions of Love, Lust, Dating, and Waiting

We all search for the perfect relationship, but do we ask the right questions? Renee brilliantly gives the reader the opportunity to do just that and in the process reminds us to always put God first. –Mike Foster, People of the Second Chance, Author of Gracenomics

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12 Tips for 2012

12 Tips for 2012

1. First Things First. Seek God first and the rest will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).

2. Be A Follower. Disciple = follower. It’s not a spiritual term. You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God?

3. Don’t Be Ashamed. Of small or new beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). Of your weaknesses. “God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us” (Dietrich Bonehoeffer).

4. If you’re bored, God’s bored. My best friend Monique told me this a long time ago and it stuck. This year, use firm resolve and don’t break devotional time with God. Be creative versus repetitive. Worship versus legalism. Devotional versus obligation.

5. Ask. If you need help; ask. God will never judge you for asking (James 1:5).

6. Community Counts. We need people. I’s okay to ask others for help. People are not mind readers. If you don’t tell others, how will they know to ask (Hebrews 10:25)?

7. Try New Things. Use your senses. Go on a field trip. Discover the world, and get to know why God is good.

8. Find Your Promise. There are a million promises. Treat your Bible as a text book and underline all your favorite verses. Hold God to them, and watch how God remains faithful to His promises in your life.

9. Play. This world is too hard and too short not to play. Buy a Nerf gun, play with a puppy, and smell the roses!

10. Fall In Love. There’s nothing that compares with falling in love…with God!

11. Give Yourself Grace. Saying “no” is hard, but saying “no” now means you can say “yes” later. It’s okay to give yourself the same grace you give others. “Not only action, but also suffering is a way to freedom” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

12. God Is The Beginning And The End. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That means that January 1-December 31st is all under His control.

[Photo taken from Pinterest]

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I'll Wait For You

I grew up listening to the songs “Wait For Me” by Rebecca St. James. In my quest to find love I often reflected on her words.

Darling did you know that I
I dream about you
Waiting for the look in your eyes
When we meet for the first time
Darling did you know that I
I pray about you
Praying that you will hold on
And keep your loving eyes only for me

Darling did you know I dream about life together
Knowing it will be forever
I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine
And darling when I say
Till death do us part
I’ll mean it with all of my heart
Now and always faithful to you

Now I know you may have made mistakes
But there’s forgiveness and a second chance
So wait for me
Darling wait for me
Wait for me
wait for me

Chorus:
Cause, I am waiting for
Praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
Cause, I am waiting for
Praying for you darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me as I wait for you
Darling wait
Darling wait

Every time I got close to finding a guy I’d be disappointed because he wasn’t even close to being my dream. There was one guy about 8 years ago I thought was supposed to be the one. But he left me hurting and broken. I regretted everything I said and did.

And those letters I wrote him.

Back then I didn’t know yet that I was a writer, but I now understand why I felt so outraged that I wasted my words on someone who didn’t deserve it.

Skip to now.

I was invited to the P4CM (Passion 4 Christ Movement) by my friend Oraia Speaks. I went to LA and used my special pass to sit a few rows away from the front.

It’s super cool to look back.

That was my last month as a single person.

But I didn’t know it yet.

At the event, I heard Janette…ikz speak on “Waiting” for her future spouse. Can I tell you that I’ve gained more recognition from my two second cameo appearance in her You Tube video than any of my speaking videos or talks? I love this! She pretty much summed up everything in my single heart on waiting for my future husband.

Marc asked me out a few short weeks after the event.

And like Janette said…his name was not Luke Warm!

To all the single ladies (and gents). Listen and be encouraged in the waiting!

[Photo taken from Pinterest]

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The Spirit of Forgiveness Part V

Today’s blog post is the fifth and final post in a series on The Spirit of Forgiveness by Marc Fisher, my husband, for the week of Advent.

“There I will meet with you and, from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the Testimony, I will speak intimately with you of all which I will give you in commandment to the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22, AMP).

And what comfort.

One place I will be available to you in counsel, in whatever situation, here is where I will be and in no other place. I will meet with you in the place of conflict and opposition and not in any other place.

Here is where God’s sanctuary is to be found.

If we refuse to enter in to such a place then we void our ability to have counsel with God and that is why we see so much unresolved conflict without resolution.

So much brokenness in the church and our relationships, a repetition of the same issues over and over but always lacking any resolution.

To be delighted in the entirety of the mystery of this passage though requires a remarkable security in God.

So many of the tears in our relationships are nothing more than us speaking out of fear and insecurity.

Where is our confidence in our God?

Can’t you trust and wait on God?

It is fear and insecurity because we do not come to the realization that it is one piece of gold, making the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat.

We are made out of the same piece and He is the gold!

He Himself is inclusive of all contradiction for He has designed all opposition. [Colossians 3:11, Corinthians 12:13] That which seems in opposition to us is as far from God as we are. Don’t just let that statement pass over you without wrestling with it!

That which seems in opposition to us is as far from God as we are for we are out of the same gold.

That is the church my friends, a sinew of human relationships under one King for the sake of one Kingdom, that is the way it was designed to be.

Can you place your faith in a God who promised to bring about the completion of His bride?

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13:, NIV).

What is even so much more glorious in all this is that this was all in God’s design so that the Church could be to the world as a statement of the greatest of all acts of reconciliation, of divine forgiveness!

What is the answer for our relationships, for the church, is also the answer for the world!

Let us rejoice in that!

We must be as reconcilers or what else do we have to offer to a Rwanda? It was in His sovereign plan to reconcile both the Jew and Gentile. [Romans 1:16]

We have the solution.

It is in the reconciliation that has begun at the cross and will be completed in the end!

It is in the God, who gave His only Son to reconcile the world to Himself, in which reconciling not just black with white would be possible but even black with black.

I thought it was best to end with a true story to drive home this truth, a story of how two men arose from a surrounding opposition among their brothers and sisters in the Lord and as they were reconcilers at home became reconcilers among the lost.

“In 1722, persecuted brethren began to gather on an estate owned by Count Zinzendorf, a wealthy governor in Germany. They were part of the remnant of their day, fleeing persecution. They were Lutheran, Anabaptist, Moravians, and even converted Catholics. They all converged together at Herrenhut because the Count was willing to give them a place of refuge where they could live peacefully and serve the God of heaven. This little group quickly grew to several hundred people, but those first five years were very shaky. Several times it seemed the whole community would be totally destroyed as the strong opinions of this diverse group continually clashed with one another. In May 1727, after much prayer, fasting, admonition, and teaching from the Word of God, Zinzendorf persuaded them to lay down their theological guns, to look to Christ, the Head of the body, and to love one another just the way they were. From that point, the Holy Spirit began to brood over their meetings in a new way. Unified prayers began to rise up out of the hearts of this divided people. In August 1727, a visitation from God came, and they were never the same after that. The whole church was baptized in the fullness of Christ. Then in 1732, the first of many missionaries rose up, as two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, ‘No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s ship wrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God, I’m through with all that nonsense.’ Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic and there to live and die without hearing of Christ. The two young Moravians heard about it and sold themselves to the British planter. As the ship left its pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, never to return again, for this wasn’t a four year term, they sold themselves into a lifetime of slavery. The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the boat drifted out the young boys saw the widening gap, and one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these, ‘MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!'” — Taken from “The Radical Example of Moravian Missions” by Denny Kenaston

Further Questions to Study
1. Why would God have their wings touching?
2. Read Romans 8:28, if God authored all contradictions among us, what does that say about opposition we perceive among each other? Can you embrace that type of understanding and disposition?
3. Why would God have put this passage so early in Scripture?
4. Are you quick to see man as the threat? What does Scripture say is the threat?
5. Read Revelation 5:9. What can you say about God’s love of diversity? How does it currently impact your life? How should this impact your life?
6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-28. As the Church, God’s hands and feet, how does our lack of a spirit of forgiveness cause harm to the body? Can harm come to the body that does not also pain the head of the body?
7. God being infinite means much will remain mysterious to us, how do you deal with the extensive mystery of who God is and His ways?
8. When did you last pass judgment on someone and then later find out there was more to their story?
Bonus! I encourage you to read about the Moravians and how it relates to reconciliation and forgiveness. It will change your life and ministry forever.

Recommended sermon by Marc on Sermon Index from John Piper called “At The Price of God’s Own Blood.”

[Photo taken from Pinterest]

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The Power of Forgiveness

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back” (Matthew 18:15, NLT).

The power of forgiveness.

The Bible is pretty clear on forgiving others. With Matthew 18:15-18 as our guidebook, we are shown how to go directly to the person and show them if they have wronged you.

I love how proactive the Bible is on forgiveness.

Maybe it’s because the root of bitterness grows so easily.

I tell you–after Marc and I moved into our new house we quickly realized how challenging our front lawn would prove to be. Those devil grass roots (also known as Bermuda) are tough. They don’t die for just anyone or anything. They need to be sprayed with Round Up numerous times. And you have to wait TWO WEEKS between each spray.

Not to mention we have the pressure of the HOA breathing down our neck.

But isn’t that real life?

We have the pressures of this world and others treating us unfairly. We pray for mercy and grace and yet seem to come up empty. Meanwhile the soil of our hearts grows bitter as we choose unforgiveness.

This week, refuse to allow others to rob you of the joy found in Jesus. Allow the Spirit to help you find and give forgiveness.

Quickly.

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church…I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven” (Matthew 18:15-18, NLT).

But wait there’s more!

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:19-20, NLT).

[Read Two, my devotional post from last week on this very same verse].

I love how God confirms and then expands on the words He’s already planted in our hearts for it is strong enough to save our souls (James 1:21, NLT).

One of the strongest and most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned in Scripture came from that very Scripture in James.

I literally took God at his Word.

And when I did, He healed me.

I’ll never forget the day I couldn’t forgive myself for the lack of skin on my face and feet. I had tried everything. Been to doctors. Even stayed overnight in the hospital a few times. Took cortizone cream. No matter what I did my eczema still refused to cooperate. I couldn’t forgive myself or God for allowing me to suffer. Even though I knew I was doing good I still had to wait. My goodness didn’t, couldn’t, nor could ever guarantee God’s healing.

Like I said earlier, God is sovereign.

It is up to Him to heal.

Or not.

So I waited.

Then one day God told me to act. Quickly. He told me to get rid of all my cortisone creams. This was the only thing saving me and my skin (and my sanity). So I got it all out from underneath my bed (cue the lurking monster music) and put it in a black trash bag and gave it to my mom and told her to dump it in some dumpster and not tell me so there was no way for me to look back!

In an instant my body bag filled with death became the life that I needed.

From that moment on God healed my skin–and got all the credit (and the glory).

Friends, forgiveness is an active and alive process. We cannot lie down and allow the roots to grow underneath us.

Literally.

We have to pull them up and throw them away and move on.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).

Well, what are you waiting for?

Get rid of it already!

There’s power enough to save your soul.

[Photo taken from iStockphoto.com].

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Two or Three Witnesses



“For where two or three witnesses gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV).

In school, we’re taught from an early age that 1+1=2.

When you’re a baby, you learn to count by using your fingers and toes.

Body parts.

When you grow up you learn to count your toys. For instance, one for me, none for my baby brother! I loved being the first born, but that’s not the point!

Counting shouldn’t require thinking.

It’s a habit.

Something ingrained in us since childhood. Unfortunately, as “mature” adults we learn to count by comparing ourselves to others.

For instance, when I was single all I could think about was 1 + 0 = Fail. I hated the fact that all my close friends had boyfriends and husbands before I did.

It wasn’t until I was reading my Bible this weekend in Matthew that it hit me.

Two.

I didn’t need a specific person.

Just one more.

My heart instantly skipped a beat because God answered my prayers after all those years for a prayer partner. Then I felt renewed and strengthened by the power and intimacy of marriage because God gave me a +1.

BUT.

Thankfully, in God’s economy, there is no shame in numbers.

He didn’t say where a husband and a wife are: there I am in the midst. So, if you’re still single I challenge you: find a +1 and don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. And if you’re married, pray with your spouse and pray often!

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16, NIV).

Next time you are tempted to have pity on yourself–don’t. See, right there in the Bible we are without excuse!

We are to pray about everything! To bring our requests to God because He cares for us and does not withhold any good and perfect gift.

I don’t know about you, but I am so encouraged by this powerful reminder to pray with one another.

Find someone today and let’s get in agreement to pray together. Daily.

Let your praises rise.

Make your requests known.

Shake the gates of hell and worship the Lord for all He is and all He has done.

How can I pray for you?

[Photo taken seconds before Marc saw me in a wedding dress for the first time with my friends Monique, Jenn, and Rachel praying over me!]

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