Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Christmas Gift

I am overcome...

Oh that the Lord would use our children to deliver us!  That serving our children and persevering in His Name is serving the Lord Himself.

May I cherish them as I do our Lord and like Mary see all that the Lord has for me, through them, even for today.  Come Lord Jesus.  That the Lord would esteem the lowly position of His servant...  may it be unto me as He has said.

1 Timothy 2:15
But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Matthew 10:40
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Matthew 18:5
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Mark 9:37
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Luke 9:48
Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Christmas Blessings!

That we may we be found in His love and humility,


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nothing Better To Do

John 15:12-14
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  

Motherhood really does require your life, all that you are and ever hope to be.

As I stood atop the hill in the shade of the breeze way and saw the glory of the sun shining on the grass in the blueness of fall in Florida, I felt my spirit lifted with the rush of air and whispered affirmation.

Yesterday I had struggled in the depths.  I had cried out to the Lord, my God, saying desperately over and over again, "I can not do this!"  And though I looked for solace in those I knew, it was to be found in the face and voice of a yet unknown friend, a sister in the Spirit and fellow daughter in the purpose of training our children in righteousness.  Hope she whispered, grace she gave, with hugs and smiles and empathy she strengthened me.  I watched as the breeze blew her stray hair and her long lanky boys ran and tussled with my smaller ones, gentle giants.  "Do not worry", she insisted, until I clung to His Words of hope and assurance, until she saw my spirit rise.  Promised to pray, we both did and walked away.  That was yesterday, the valley I had just come through, with the strength and compassionate guidance I had found, it could only be attributed to a God who had seen and heard my silent, desperate, and frenzied cries.

Yesterday, the lies of the enemy had come like relentless waves.  "You have so much more you are capable of, so much better than this, and you aren't even able to do what you are trying to do...".

But now, as I am found in the warmth of the Son, with the answered cries of yesterday still fresh, I reply in gladness and agreeing affirmation, "I have nothing better, than to love and be loved by my children in the season of my life."  There is nothing better for me to do.

Today, I stand upon this hill and watch, as my daughter all golden and free runs in the open air, in the joy of a firm foundation and a Mommy who still stands upon the Rock.

This is the work of the Spirit in me: to lay down my life for my children.

And the next time the enemy whispers worthlessness and futility, I will agree with my heavenly Father, and set the lies straight.  Yes, I have nothing better to do!

For the love of Christ, and the love of my children,

Carmen Sunshine

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is That Real, Momma?

Psalm 111:9-10
He provided redemption for His people;
He ordained His covenant forever—
holy and awesome is His name.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow His precepts have good understanding.
To Him belongs eternal praise.

It really is all black and white.

Our God, and His world, is of absolutes.  Always.  Never.  Beginning and End.

As we walked through the theme park, every ride, every aspect invoked questions of reality.

"Is that real, Momma?"

I heard it over and over again, until I was worried they weren't enjoying themselves.  So I started to divert the questions.

But then I realized, they are discerning.  The very thing I want them to hold on to, to learn, to develop.  Discernment.

Is that Real?  'Cause I need to know.  That question applies to all things in my life, just as it applied to my children walking through the wonderful make-believe world of Disney.  No, that's not really real.  Yes, that IS real.  You will fall out of the ride if you don't hold on.  No, those flying elephants, crocodiles, evil spirits, skeletons, (add noun here), aren't real.

As we laughed at my children's need to know, and how they see everything in black and white, I began to ask myself.  Where's our moral compass?  How do we know which way is true North?  Are we even paying attention and making sure of it?  How often are we distracted with whether or not we are enjoying ourselves  so that we are not evaluating the situation for all it really is??  There is a better response.  I need to know.  "Is that real?"

What really matters?  How do I respond?  How do I discern the meaningful and leave the rest?  Where's the line between reality and non?  There is no gray.  Stop trying to interpret and explain.  Is it real, or isn't it?  Because, if it's real, then maybe I need to be scared out of my mind, and if it's not, then I needn't worry at all or give it a second thought.  Tell me.  Secure my heart and my steps.

I need to know.  And so, instead of chuckling at my children for being so dogged with their hard and fast rule of 'is it real', I adopt it myself.

Look at the world around you, in the situations you find yourself in throughout your day to day, and ask, "Is that real?"  What really matters where I am right now?  Eliminate the distractions.  I can not think of a more applicable question nor a more needful answer.

And my kids got it right.  They teach me every time.  My Father is the one who knows.  He is the maker of this place, and He leads me through it.  So, I run to Him.

Psalm 119:124-126
Deal with Your servant according to Your love
and teach me Your decrees.

I am Your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand Your statutes.

It is time for you to act, O LORD;
Your law is being broken.

Lord, lead us aright, according to Your Word.  May we walk in wisdom and confidence.

Glad to be home,

Carmen Sunshine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Learning to Learn

Matthew 18:2-4
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

My daughter came out with her jacket and asked if she could try it on...  "Let me do it, Momma." she said, as I tried to zip up the zipper for her.

"Nah," I thought, "let's just get this done."

"Wait," said the Lord, "Listen.  She wants to learn."

For a child, every action, happenstance, every thing, is an opportunity to learn.

Let me do it.  Show me how.

When did I become such a grown up?  So busy with 'responsibilities'.  You know, the world says that it's when we think we know how to do everything already and we just have to get the thing done, that we are 'mature'.

But that's not what Jesus is saying here.  We, as children of the kingdom of heaven, get to learn how to learn again.  It's a whole new way of life.  And there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Try, try again.  Be ready to listen, watch and learn.  How am I to do this?  What is God's trying to teach me?  How do I apply His Word here in my life.  How does this zipper go again??  Now, let me try it.  Let me see myself as a little child, Lord.  Yours.  There is so much to learn from you.

I am so small God, and you are so big.  I know so little and yours is all wisdom.

Help me to be childlike; do not let my presumptuous heart deceive me.

Thank you for eyes to see myself clearly.

In Jesus,

Carmen Sunshine

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Keep the Home Fires Burning

Our God Himself is a Consuming Fire.

Heaps of burning coals come from a long tended, well fed fire.

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

2 Corinthians 4:7
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

We are His temple.  His fire dwells within us.

How do we keep the fire, the light of the worship of God, burning?  Fuel it with the pruned branches of our selves.  Be cleansed, giving yourself to His flame for His glory and your benefit.  If you find it is not from Him, toss it in.

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruitHe prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."

John 15:6
"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."

Fire is a defining source of light, warmth, protection and provision, of life.  Like a fire, we must tend our relationship with the Almighty God daily, diligently feeding the flames.  Take all of your failings, all of your fears, all of your concerns, misunderstandings, rebelliousness, desires, thoughts, and even dealings with others, to Him constantly.  He is faithful to cleanse you, to prune you and to keep His Spirit burning within you, to take your inability and make it glow with His ability because you have given it over to Him for His glory. Then you will have fed the fire with sacrifice and the offerings of your heart.  And from it, you will have a large and brightly burning bed of coals, one that will not easily go out.  One that can minister to others.  

"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written:  "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord.
     On the contrary:
     "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
      In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.""

When we have taken our selves to the Father, trusting Him with the outcome, He allows the relationship a fresh start.  We stoke the fire of relationship with what we have receive from Him, forgiveness.  This blesses us and those around us with the flames of the presence of His mercy and righteousness.  We give ourselves over to Him that we might diminish and He might increase.  It is amazing how much of 'me' is flesh.

If your offender is a fellow believer who carries this flame of the Lord, your offering of burning coals will be provision for cleansing and refinement, refreshment.  But if your offender does not share in the same Spirit, the burning coals may be offensive to them because they are fueled by repentance and humility.

The condition of spirit determines the coals.  Your offender will either gladly accept your offering and be blessed.  Or they will scorn it, unable to receive it.  If theirs is a fire that burns with the offerings of the Lord, if they are alive, their Spirit will be rekindled by your forgiveness.  But, if theirs is a strange fire, one that burns for self instead of self, and they are dead within, it may burn as burning coals on dead branches for it will be a living fire.  Beloved, these are the results you have left in the hands of the Lord for His glory and for the salvation of many.  It is for us to make sure we go through this process of trusting Jesus with all of who we are.

Be sure you are cleansed and obedient, witnessing to the Lord's mercy and thus, blessed and able to bless.

Lamentations 3:22
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail."

You must keep your home fires burning, taking your mistakes and trespasses to the Lord and being cleansed and forgiven.  Stoke the fire of God in your heart with all that you perceive of your flesh, and is not of Him.  It will burn mightily.  Then you will have fueled the fire of the Spirit and will have more of Him and less of you, resulting brightly burning coals to offer others.  

Tend and nurture your relationship with Jesus constantly, as a fire that needs tending so that you may burn brightly and be equipped for every good work.

In the Fire and Of the Flame,

Carmen Sunshine

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just If I'd?

When you stand alone before the Lord on that final day, will you know that you are Justified by the righteous satisfying sacrifice of Christ?

Or will you be trying to enter eternal glory with "Just if I'd..."??

Take care how you are standing before God and others.  Who are you standing on?  Jesus?  Or you?

This is a daily question.  How are you living Today?

1 Corinthians 3:10-20 (New International Version)
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.  Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."

Escape from the deception of the devil and face the throne of Grace head on today and be Justified.  Do not, under any circumstances, seek your own glory.  How do we do this?  

Revelation 3:14-22 (New International Version)
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Today is the day of salvation.  Escape the gilded cage of self, see the door is open.  His name is Jesus.

In Him,

Carmen Sunshine

Less Is More

Exodus 16:16-18
This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.' "  The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.

Romans 12:3 
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

James 1:9-10
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

1Timothy 6:17

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Luke 8:14 
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

2 Corinthians 12:9 
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Philippians 4:19 
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

You can not add to Christ's work, nor can you take away from it.  You can simply be a part of it.  
God gives the increase.  

In all your dealings, leave room for Jesus to satisfy your needs. He is able.

In love,
Carmen Sunshine

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who's Your Sweetie?

Proverbs 25:27 (New International Version)
It is not good to eat too much honey,
nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor.

Satan hands us a bag of whatever we think we want or need and says, "Here kid, make yourself sick."  As if he's doing us a favor.  We've all done this, and may still be doing this, over indulging in self.

If you pursue yourself, you will only make yourself sick.  Trust me.  As it is true with honey, it is true with me.  Only the Lord satisfies, only His glory ever increases.  Of Him, I can never have too much.  He knows my dearest desires even more than I know them.  Do not be deceived.  Pursue His righteousness alone.

Psalm 37:4 (New International Version)
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

You can not serve two masters.  Choose this day whom you will serve.

In the Love of Jesus,

Carmen Sunshine

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Me First?

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path."

The bright beacon of God's Word is for personal application. 

Luke 6:42
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

The application of truth only to others, and not to one's self, is hypocrisy.  If you do not apply what is true personally, can it be asserted over someone else?

My husband was directing me from a afar on how to train our 17 month old, being more diligent in his assessment and demands than I could possibly hope to actually be in the fray.  Finally my heart said, "You get down here and let's see if you can uphold your own standard!!"  And that's when the Lord, whispered, "I did.  Because you believe me, so you can."  Whoa, Lord...

The Word has come to us.  He achieved it, for me.  Self is where the application must start.

Romans 1:16
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

First for the believer, the one in relationship, then to the one who is not.  The Word is for me first.

Romans 9:8
"In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Why has He called us out, established this relationship with us?  Given us the revelation of His Son?

Isaiah 43:10
 "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe Me
and understand that I am He.
Before Me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after Me."

The only place we should be 'self-centered' as Christ followers is in the application of the Word.

John 8:31-32
"To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you (1) hold to my teaching,  you are really my disciples. Then (2) you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Free from what?  The tyranny of self.  Free to do what?  To be His witnesses, to serve the Living God in truth and love.  The Lord said to Pharoah, "Let My people go that they may serve me."  We follow the same Passover.  First we believe.  If we believe then we must apply.  Faith without works is dead.  From application then comes personal experience and growth.  We know the truth in our own lives.  Then comes daily reapplication, living in the truth.  Only then we are equipped and rightly positioned to minister and witness to others for God's glory and the salvation of many.  When you live out your faith, you become a living epistle to give an effective witness to salvation in Christ.  If it is so effective, so useful, so true, it must be for me first.  Every day.

Why am I given all this to 'see' and to 'know'?  Because I am in need of it, desperately.

I just have the privilege and responsibility of sharing it as I apply it.

Help me to apply it Lord,

Carmen Sunshine

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In Dependence

Isaiah 29:19
19 The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD,

      And the poor among men shall rejoice
      In the Holy One of Israel. 

Who has the joy of the Lord?
The poor, the humble.

They can't avoid their need.

If you feel your joy waning, or your courage failing, resume your dependence.  

Ask, am I poor?  
Am I meek?  
If the answer is no, get there.  

Recognize your poverty, your absolute dependence on God.  See yourself rightly before the throne of grace.

Because the Lord doesn't forget those who don't forget Him.

Isaiah 40:31 
"but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Nehemiah 8:10
 10 "... for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

In humility,

Carmen Sunshine

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Surrender

Trials of all manners coming my way,
From those I looked up to, whom I love.
Struggling for understanding,
Crying out to the Lord, today.

He hears my cry and knows my heart,
And answers in this way, every part:

Psalm 119

He knows my struggles, my mind, my fault,
and through them all,
His compassions never fail.

His love is ever lasting.
His faithfulness reaches to the heavens.

Help me to walk in your ways, O Lord.
To lay aside my self in every way
And instead cling to You with all of me.

May I be found full,
of You.

You are my gentle comforter,
My overcoming strength, my sure shield,
My everlasting reward.

Help me to stand for Your truth,
Help me to submit to Your truth.
Your Word is truth
and it sustains me.

Thank You, Lord that I can pray Your Word
Out loud, and with all sincerity,
And it heals my heart and leads me in The Way.

Psalm 119

I no longer look to man,
but to You.
Where I am wrong, Lord.
Correct me.
Where I am right, Lord.
Help me to walk in love and humility,
because only You are right and true.

Jesus is my salvation.
The lover of my soul,
And He is saving me.

Let all else fall away, Lord.
Because all else fails.

In Jesus' Love,

Carmen Sunshine

Friday, September 3, 2010

Breakfast 'Bites'

Mother's Note:
Set my children up for success.  They will not eat a challenging breakfast without encouragement, milk and honey. (Romans 5:8)

Child's Note:
Recognize that whatever you're given is slathered in milk and honey.  Momma don't make no junk, and neither does your Heavenly Father.  (Romans 8:28)

Mother's Note:
Never give your baby more raisin peanut oatmeal than you are willing to clean up. (John 3:16)

Child's Note:
When God gives you a warm, sweet, bountiful bowl of goodness, knowing He will probably have to clean it all up, don't throw it on the floor.  He is responsible and willing for all that He gives you, but you are responsible for what you do with it. (Heb 4:1)

Mother's Note:
When Baby is a mess and needs a thorough cleaning, I'm never thinking of throwing out Baby. (Romans 8:39)

Child's Note:
When you are covered in your mess, hold still.  If you pitch a fit and refuse to stand up, you will be unceremoniously set on your tush.  And it doesn't matter how hard you cry. (Proverbs 3:34)

Mother's Note:
When you give provision to your child, they may not appreciate it, but that doesn't stop you from making sure they have all they need. (Psalm 132:15)

Child's Note:
If you don't appreciate what you are given, you certainly can't expect more.  But that doesn't mean you can't ask.  You are loved either way, you just might have lost your breakfast. (1 Thes 5:18)

Mutual Note: (Mommy with Baby eating orange slices in her lap...)
There is no sweeter place to be than right here, right now, with YOU. (Psalm 118:24)

Thank You, Lord for letting me see Your heart towards me.  Help me to be Your very sincere child and apply all of this to my life.  Today. (Heb 3:13)

Now, to go be with my children.

In the Love and Constant Provision of Jesus,

Carmen Sunshine

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lord, Please.

Sometimes, it's the most honest prayer.

Even when it's all you can eek out.

He already knows what you need and why.

Just pray.  Your faith will follow.

Lord, please.

Matthew 6:7-8 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Sash of robe falls in toilet, first thing....

Lord, please.  (complaining)

Baby makes sandy cookie crumbs all over billowy futon before breakfast...

Lord, please. (help me)

Wasp flies into house, all around the house, when door opens to garage to fetch vacuum, baby crying, trailing crumbs, still no breakfast...

Lord, please. (I need you)

Children fight on couch, couch tears, markers mark, arguing, correction given in anger and unforgiveness...

Lord, please. (desperate; Change me, Lord)

Ah!  There's the sweet spot. 

That's what this is all about.  I am overcome.  I see my self as I am.

Honestly, when the wasp flew in, I prayed it out loud, over and over, and almost found it comical. 

When I typed "we are His hands and feet" and then corrected my son in anger, it was almost unforgivable.

And yet, here He is, with me.  Waiting for my sincerity.  Going deeper still, for my benefit and for His glory.

Just hold on and pray.  Your heart will follow.  He waits for you.

Lord, please.

He answers me.

Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Sing, Hallelu!  Hallelujah!

Does this mean my robe is clean, the baby is fed, the floor is not a wreck, or my children don't fight?


But it does mean that He is here with me, knows what I need, and promises to deliver me, in the midst.  All this happens for a purpose, for my refinement.  He knows me.  Better still, He loves me.

Could it be that the Lord is as persistent as my sixteen month old, (or my six year old, or my four year old, or my three year old, for that matter) looking to do what ever it takes to get me to see Him...?  He is zealous for my attention.  He delights in my affection.  He loves me.  He will do what ever it takes.  Isn't that what He did on Calvary? 

None of this is haphazard or without purpose.  So why the trials, Lord?


God disciplines his sons:

Proverbs 3:11-12

 11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
       and do not resent his rebuke,
 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
       as a father the son he delights in.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.


Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  


What am I called to do?  What is my Hebrews chapter 11 'act of faith' that produces in me the Hebrews 12:1 perseverance? How can I ever be like Moses??  Have I ever even imagined that could be me?  That Jesus wants it to be me in the 'hall of faith'?


He does.


In the midst of life, trials, hardships, moments, wherever we find our selves, it is just for us to ask, to seek, to knock.  To believe:


Lord, Please. 


Why?  What is the ultimate outcome?


So that we can be more than conquerors:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

So, today I pray.  I hold Him to His Word.  I claim it.  I choose to see it all from His hand, and I look to Him for deliverance.  Respond in truth, even in desperation.  It all sounds good, doesn't it?   

Do it.  Overcome. 

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

1 John 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

This is for usToday.

Read Hebrews 11

Then, feed that baby, vacuum your couch, wipe your floors, open your doors, and pray for the wasp to leave!

See yourself, in your life, like Abraham, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David, Mary, Stephen.  You are no different.  This is your act of faith.

To God be the glory, in my messy house and my heartfelt prayers:

Lord, please.

It is enough, and I already have His answer.


In His Love,
Carmen Sunshine

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Sum I've Been Given

What have you got? What have you not?
I've got some... or really, I've got a sum.
A sum that can not be measured, needful of the counting...

(#'s 306 - 315)
A warm orange pot
filled with noodles
warm healing broth
bread just baked
filled my tummy on the day it

How can I give enough thanks
for what I've been given?
Count my blessings
number them and they multiply.

Mar 4:25
For whoever has, to him more will be given;
but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him."

Can I even percieve all that has been bestowed upon me?
Friends, gifts, children, a home, a happy husband, the love of Christ, sisters, books, windows, hot running water, electricity, people who care about me, the ability to bless others, a man who loves me, and cares for our children, more food in the fridge than we can eat, more toys than we can play with, fresh air, clean water, warm sunshine, cleansing rain...

When I count them, or rather, give an account, I am less likely to be wanting or feel lacking. Gratitude for what I've got multiplies my perception. Let me embrace it all so that I am not found wanting.

Thank you, Lord, for friends who bless. Thank you Father for your caress. In their hands I see your love. God you give far above.

For His glory and in my heart,

Carmen Sunshine

Friday, February 19, 2010

Congratulations Mommy

Your pizza is only as delicious as the amount of flour dusting your children's toes...

Jacob, in a cloud of flour and pizza making, looked up at me with a very satisfied grin and said, "Thank you, Mommy, for letting me make my own pizza! Congratulations, Mommy."

I laughed out loud and agreed. Yes, indeed. Jacob was the third pizza-dough-roller-and-patter in the kitchen last night. For a woman who knew not much of encouragement nor enjoying discovery amid messiness as a child or young woman, to have the depth of flour that was in my kitchen, congratulations were indeed in order. Two inches of flour covered the counter. Flour was heavily accumulated on the cabinet knobs, the step-stool, the floor, even on the ledges of the cabinets faces themselves. To say it was dusty would have beeen an understatement.

But truly, if any congratulations are in order, they are the Lord's alone. Father, I'll savor Your revelation and sweep up the rest.

Mat 21:44
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Yesterday, all I could see was the powder of my life, the failure, the unusable, the debris, the mess. I gave it to the Lord, and He sifted through it all and handed me a whole, weighty piece. A worthwhile piece, a piece that was unrecognizable to me until I handed it all to Jesus and He revealed it. In the smile of my son, an area of my childhood was redeemed.

My life before Christ was about cleanliness, order, the appearance of wholeness and even since the renewal of my relationship with Christ, those are the goals that I have pursued. But amid the dust of my son's childish efforts, the Lord revealed to me that there is so much more. That's not what my life has to be about any more. I can have a new focus. What I seek, true completeness, only comes through restoration. None of us start out whole. Becoming who I want to be in Christ does not come without experience, discovery, childlike efforts, imperfection, delight and yes, a large amount of mess.

Lord, help me to no longer focus on the dust of my life but to embrace the mess, to experience the delight in learning from You and seeing what you will make of me, discovering the parts of me that You are preserving and restoring as whole. May I continually give you all of me. I yield myself to Your hands and I ask you reveal the shards of me amid the dust that will complete the whole. I am so glad that I am Yours. Sweep away what is not worth saving and reclaim the rest.

Thank you Lord for encouraging me and showing me even the littlest areas of growth in my life. I had reached the end of me, and You knew I was in sore need of You and Your affirmations. It seems impossible, but there is no more glorious place to be. You always give greater than I can imagine.

Truly Jacob's smile, complete satisfaction, and congratulations were a gift. I am humbled and blessed knowing that wouldn't have been a part of my life without surrendering to You, my Redeemer. Thank You, Lord.

Standing in the dust with a restored piece of my broken heart,
Carmen Sunshine

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finding the Kernel of Wheat

What man intends for evil, God intends for good. Oh how these scriptures display the battle I have had in my heart and mind these last few days. To be sure, a good threshing involves fault and shame, but when you know the Lord, it also brings refinement, correction and restoration. Thank You, Abba, that all things are from Your hand for our eternal benefit.

Luk 22:31
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
Luk 22:32
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Pro 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6
Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.

2Ch 20:15
He said, "Listen...! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's."

My count of blessings sharpens and continues as I endeavor to find the kernel of wheat...

261. For trials that bring my impurities to surface
262. For repentance, true forgiveness and grace
263. For struggles I can't see past, making me desperately seek the Lord
264. For seeing my own path more clearly
265. For the Lord's way, that He makes my path straight
266. For deliverance from my way, my understanding
267. For authority and choice
268. For freedom and pleasure
269. For the desire to know Jesus more personally
270. A lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
271. "It's a start"
272. For cold crisp blustery days
273. For babies in buntings and teddy bear hats
274. For woolen blankets crocheted and passed down, warming the next generation
275. For real, passionate, Christ-following, sister-friends
276. Understanding that the World can not understand, hence it will misjudge
277. Yellow rimmed front wheels
278. Golden flames on handed-down helmets
279. Rusty running pegs and chains
280. Little one's perseverance - his first bike ride
281. Nubby first tooth
282. Keeping the bathroom doors closed
283. Warm welcomes in the homes of family's family
284. Bright pink rose centered bows on locks of wind-blown golden girl
285. Brilliance in a boy, true understanding
286. My children's desire to worship the LORD!
287. More clothes, food, warmth, safety, protection and provision than I can count
288. A truly devoted and cheerful husband
289. Leather puppy dog shoes
290. Afternoon sunlight on oyster colored walls
291. Time to spend giving thanks, reflecting, counting
292. Purging
293. Sisters who know
294. The ability to make the choice to love in the strenth and grace of Christ Jesus
295. Time with my husband
296. New Bible Studies
297. Time weathered friendships, rooted and grounded in love
298. Tidiness
299. Smiling voice mails
300. Hope
301. Not my way, not your way, but God's alone - there is the safe and right road
302. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts
303. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes
304. That God can be trusted, He alone is faithful
305. Seeing myself more clearly in His word

For all this and more, for Today, Lord. Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Carmen Sunshine

P.S. I will endeavor to type out my story of how I came to know the Lord, my testimony. I started a new Bible study and day one is to recount my deliverance. So, I will be publishing my witness, the evidence of the Most High God in my life, soon.

Jer 30:2
"This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you..."