Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trusting In the Hidden Plan of God

 Note to the reader, this post is from my book "From The Shepherds Heart - A Devotional"
 which can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Shepherds-Heart-Dutchess-Horton/dp/1619044404

          One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) where God declares, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  It is a very encouraging verse.  It’s full of promise and just a touch of mystery.
          This verse says God knows the plan He has for us.  However, it does not say God is going to tell us His plan.  We are told the end result only.  The NIV says hope and a future.  The KJV says an expected end.  But neither version tells us how God will get us to that future or expected end.  God doesn’t share any of the details.
          So what is one to do?  We trust the hidden plan of God.  More specifically, we trust God.  I must admit that sometimes I hear a promise or proposed end of a thing and I try to work out a plan of my own to get there -- especially if God makes me wait and doesn’t make good His promise immediately.  We (I) have to trust God enough to believe Him when he tells me He has a plan and allow Him to work His plan without interference (suggestions) from me.  My trying to help Him is essentially my telling God He’s not capable of doing what He said He would do.
          The only way we are going to receive the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 (or any other promise of God) is by trusting the one with the plan.  God tells us in Isaiah 55:11 that His words will not return to Him void but will prosper in the thing He sent it -- it will accomplish what He says.  And we know that He does not lie or repent -- if He said it He will do it; if he promised He will make good. (See Numbers 23:19)  All that is required of us is to trust in the hidden plan of God.


Father God, we know that you have plans for our lives; plans to do us good and not harm; plans to give us hope and a determined end. (Jeremiah 29:11)  Help us, Father, to trust in your plan. Help us to trust in you with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.  Help us to acknowledge you in all our ways and trust to you direct our path. (See Proverb 3:5-6)  Even when it seems the words you have spoken are slow to prosper, remind us that it will surely come and will not tarry. (See Habakkuk 2:3)  Give us strength, Father God, and give us grace as we trust in your hidden plan.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Letter to Satan

I discovered this post while searching through some old files and felt it was the appropriate time to share. Anyone who is seeking to live for Christ will have some run ins with the accuser. Well sometimes, when he gets busy reminding us of our past, we have to remind him of his future!  Read this letter to satan and maybe write one of your own. Be blessed! --Dutchess

There are so many things I have to be thankful for. As I was sitting in my prayer closet with a list of physical needs, the enemy tried to remind me that when God called to me this morning at 5 a.m. I rolled over and went back to sleep. The enemy reminded me that I got a little short tempered with my husband yesterday and that my house STILL isn’t clean and “company ready”. He reminded me that I am always in some sin, be it in word, thought, or deed and that I had a lot of nerve to think I could go to a holy God and ask for anything.

But even as the enemy whispered in one ear, the Holy Spirit was whispering in the other reminding me that I am the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. He reminded that I am chosen, adopted, and beloved by the very God the enemy told me I had no right to approach. The Holy Spirit reminded me that my Father has commanded me through His word to cast all my cares upon Him; to be anxious for nothing but in all things through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make my request known to Him; to ask, seek, and knock. The Holy Spirit reminded me that all I have to do is to come before my God and remember that I am covered in the blood of Christ and that in Him I am worthy.

So as I look at my physical situations and needs, and there are many, I can rest in my Savior’s hand and in His promises – not because I’m worthy or I’ve done all He has asked me to do.  All that the enemy accused me of was true. I have fallen short and will continue to fall short. But I come to my Father not in my own righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ. I come to my Father, fully expecting Him to answer my prayers not because I’m so good but because He is good. I come to my Father and boldly ask what I will, again fully expecting to receive it, not because I’ve been faithful but because He is faithful.

My God has promised to supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. He’s promised that if I delight in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. He’s promised that as I walk upright before Him, no good thing will He withhold from me. My God has assured me that if I seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness, all other things will be added unto me. There are so many promises my God has made to me and because He is not a man that He should lie nor the son of man that He should repent, I believe Him.  Because His word will not return to Him void but will accomplish all that He sends it out to do, I trust Him.


So Satan, yes I am a sinner but I've been saved by grace. I sin and fall short of the glory of God. But praise be to God, it’s not all about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all. It’s about Christ and the sacrifice He made on an old rugged tree a couple thousand years ago. It’s about the one who defeated you, Satan. It’s all about Jesus and that is why I will continue to go into my secret prayer closet and tell my Father all that I need. Because of the finished work of Jesus, I will never stop praying and never stop believing. I will trust in the Lord and never doubt. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I Believe in Miracles, Because I Am One


For some time now it has been on my heart to share my testimony here but for reasons I dare not try to explain, I waited. Now I’m certain now it’s time. I don’t know who it’s for but I trust you will find these words at just the proper time and it will encourage your soul and strengthen your faith in The Father – no matter how your circumstances work out.

I am the mother of two beautiful teenage girls, 19 and 14. I am also the mother of 8 others, sex unknown, who were never held in my arms but went straight to the bosom of Christ. When I had my first miscarriage, I allowed the enemy to make me think the baby’s death was punishment from God because he’d been conceived in sin. (You will notice that I refer to all of my rainbow babies – babies of miscarriage or still birth – as boys.) That’s another story all together but I no longer believe that lie.  Children are a gift from God and conceived in or out of His perfect plan, He loves them and would not allow their demise just because of the way they were conceived. The other 7 I lost were conceived within marriage so that settles that matter.

For the most part, each pregnancy that ended in miscarriage was normal and uneventful. The one I’m about to share does not fall into that “most part” category. It’s funny that I can’t remember the year but I know it was a Super Bowl Sunday because I left my husband watching the game and drove myself to the emergency room. The discomfort I felt probably could have waited until the following day, but I figured after Super Bowl there would be a rush in the doctor’s office on Monday and didn’t want to take a chance – but I digress.

I went in complaining of bloating. Like I said, it was basic discomfort. When I was checked-in, the nurse had trouble getting my blood pressure so the doctor came in to try it. That should have been a red flag but I didn’t catch it. Finally, the doctor pulled me aside and told me I didn’t have a blood pressure. Still not getting what he was saying I told him I tend to be anemic. He finally said, very calmly I might add, “No, Mrs. Horton. You don’t have any blood pressure. You have the blood pressure of a dead man. This has nothing to do with anemia.” Still not catching the significance of what he was saying I simply replied, “Okay.” 

He sat me down and continued to calmly question me:
Doc: “Do you feel dizzy?”
Me: “No.”
Doc: “Do you feel unusually tired or weak?”
Me: “No.”
Doc: “Maybe I should speak with your husband. Is he in the waiting room?”
Me: “No.”
Doc: “Who drove you here? Can I speak to them?”
Me: “No, I drove myself.”
Doc: (Not so calmly this time.) “What!?!”
Me: “I drove. I only needed help passing gas so I drove myself while my husband is watching the game.”
Doc: “Please wait here. And remain sitting if you would.”

I’m still not getting what the big deal was. I had gas, the pressure had eased up and now I just wanted to get home before the big game ended and the drunks left the bars.  After several minutes the ER doctor returned and told me he’d spoken with my obstetrician (OB).  Though it was against his better judgement, he was sending me home but I was to return first thing in the morning to see my OB. He again made sure I felt fine and saw me to the door after I assured him I was feeling better.

I got up the next morning and went to my OB, still clueless as to why a bout of gas would cause such an uproar.  Instead of having my vitals checked by a nurse and sitting in the waiting room, I was immediately ushered into my doctor’s office. I’m thinking to myself, “Sweet, no waiting room or sterile exam room.” Still clueless.  My doctor tells me to have a seat and lets me know the ER doctor was quite concerned as was he. He asked how I felt and had anything different been going on along with several other seemingly unimportant questions.  I assured him I was fine. I’d felt bloated but that had eased up.

Finally, he explained, “Mrs. Horton, according to the readings you had in the emergency room last night, I’m looking at a dead woman.” “Huh, what?!” “I’m going to recheck but I’m certain I know what’s going on. What I don’t know is how long it’s been going on or how you’ve managed to survive.”  Now I’m finally getting a clue.  He rechecked my pulse and vitals, and apart from the no blood pressure thing, I was fine.  He then explained it was almost certain I’d lost the baby but he wouldn’t rule anything out because again, I’m a dead woman walking. I was taken for an ultrasound - nothing.

When I say nothing, I mean they could see nothing. My abdomen was a wall of darkness – all black and no light at all. My baby was dead, and unless they did something quickly, I would be too.  Somehow I managed to keep it together (or at least I think I did because I’m kind of losing it now.) But my doctor went on to explain that they would do a laparoscopy to see exactly what they were dealing with. If it confirmed what he thought to be internal bleeding, they would then go into an emergency Cesarean Section and repair what they could. Before he could go on with his explanation I remember blurting, “I don’t want a blood transfusion!” At the time, it was not being properly screened for HIV and I didn’t want to take a chance. I told him if God saw fit to keep me this long, He’d see me through surgery. Unless my heart began to stop, no transfusion and I made him promise.  He shook his head but agreed.

I then told him I needed to make two phone calls. I called my husband and briefly told him I was about to go into emergency surgery. No I didn’t feel he needed to be there but would he kindly bring me my Bible and my toothbrush. I was going to be staying awhile. I gave him a brief rundown of the situation but we’d been down this path before and handled it very differently. He’d not yet accepted Christ and though I knew he wanted this child, he shut down in order to cope. I didn’t push – I just prayed. (By the way, He is now a true man of God – HALLELUJAH!) My second phone call was to my girlfriend Debra, a mighty woman of God and a prayer warrior. She was at work but that didn’t matter. I told her, “Debra, they’re taking me into emergency surgery. I lost the baby. Please pray.” And pray she did, right there in the commander’s office she let the Spirit have His way as she went into intercession. When she hung up even my doctor was in tears.

When I awoke, my husband was there. Though he didn’t stay long, he wanted to be sure I was okay. I lied and told him yes because I wanted him to be okay. He sat with me a few minutes (which was a miracle in itself since he hated doctors and hospitals), gave me my Bible and my toothbrush, kissed me, told me he loved me and went home. The doctor came in later and told me someone up there really likes me. I’d had an ectopic or tubal pregnancy meaning the embryo, my baby, had attached himself in my fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. As he grew, the tube ruptured. Based on the age of my “son”, I’d been slowing bleeding internally for about two weeks.

So you see, I believe in miracles because I am one. This testimony is one of many that I have witnessed in my life. I won’t tell you about my mother who twenty years ago was given two months to live. I won’t tell you about pulling my little Toyota Corolla into the path of a fully loaded, speeding 18 wheeler truck only to have my angel push me back out of its path just as it should have hit me. I won’t even tell you about missing a bear that stood as tall as the hood of my minivan while on all fours when all reason said that not only should I have hit him at 57 mph but that I did hit him – yet not even a hair was on my vehicle. I won’t tell you about all of those miracles, but I could.

God is not dead and He still cares for His people. I don’t care what circumstances say. So I don’t care what kind of miracle you stand in need of, KNOW God loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). KNOW God will never leave nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He tells us Heaven and Earth will pass away but His Word will never fail (Matthew 24:35). He will not and cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). So I say to you, whatever you may be facing today, big or small, God cares (Psalm 139, 1 Peter 5:7). Look to Him and TRUST Him.  His truth always overrules our circumstances.

I would love to pray for you. Leave a comment here or send a message via Facebook - 
www.facebook.com/motivationsbydutchess. You can also send an email to
dutchesshorton@yahoo.com.  Be blessed, dear reader, and know that God loves you and I do too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Humble Prayer – A Poem

May my desire be for you and for you alone
May you and you only sit on my heart’s throne

May it be your will and not mine that is done
May I die to self daily and live for your Son

May all that I am be all that you are
May your light within me be a bright, shining star

You are my savior and I am your girl
May my life revolve around you – the center of my world

May I never disappoint you or bring to you shame
May my life, words, or thoughts never blemish your Name

Jesus my redeemer, my keeper, my friend.
Give me strength to go with you till you come back again.

This is my plea Lord sent humbly your way
May you hear me and answer me whenever I pray.

Written by Dutchess Horton

All rights reserved © Copyright 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

He Knows My Name


                Coming home after dropping my husband off at work I turned on the radio. K-Love was playing a beautiful song, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli. Listening to the words made me smile and then made my eyes tear. I got to thinking about the unfathomable, unexplainable, inescapable love of God and the fact that He knows MY name.
                Not once has He mispronounced it. Never has He called it by mistake or called me the wrong name and came back with “You know who I mean.” He knows my name. When I was in school it was not always a good thing that all the teachers knew my name. While I didn’t get in “trouble” I was a talker and pretty aggravating – so I’ve since been told. So if I did something, it was hard to get away with it because they all knew my name.
                But this thing Francesca was singing about, it was good. Because not only does God know my name, He knows ME. He knows my favorite foods and hobbies. He knows what makes me smile and what makes me cry. He knows my rising up and my lying down. Before a single word is on my tongue He knows it. He knows it ALL. He knows what I did last summer and last night and last year and just a moment ago. That’s not so bad. But He knows also what I did before I knew Him; what I did when I was just getting to know Him; and Lord help me, what I did when I was running away from Him. He knows me like no one else – all my dirty, nasty, sinful, shameful secrets are known to God. Yet He loves me!
                I cannot begin to understand it and am just learning to not only accept it but to embrace it. God knows me and loves me anyway – unconditionally and without reservation. As much as I want to share what that does to me and for me, I cannot. How can I share what cannot be expressed with words? How can I explain that which I can hardly comprehend? It can’t be done. But what I can do is assure you that He knows you too.
                Our Heavenly Father knows your name. He knows your address and even your secret shame. YET HE LOVES YOU. Please don’t read through this too quickly. Stop and think and savor the gift for it is a gift. You, yes YOU, are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. He’s got a plan for you; a plan for your good and not for harm; a plan to give you hope and a future. Please, just take a moment and meditate on God’s great love for you and then take a moment to tell Him thank you and maybe love on Him too.
                Be blessed!

Official Video “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli


Friday, April 22, 2016

Letting Go

Today as I continue my journey, my walk with God, I had to take another hard look at my life and get real with myself. I also had to take a real hard look at those in my life who share this journey.  Actually, let me back up a bit.

In trying to be more committed to the study of God’s Word, I’m doing a Beth Moore Bible study entitled, “Jesus The One And Only” with my dear friend Sue. In the portion of lesson we went over today, I was challenged to consider who pours into my cup. Who am I looking to for fulfillment in life? Am I trying to be satisfied by someone other than Christ? Now we all have people who play a part in making us whole and I’m not knocking that, BUT what role do they play? am I / are you giving them a position that can only be filled by Christ?

The consideration of that question is why I backed up after beginning in the sharing of this segment of my journey. I didn’t fully comprehend how much I allow others to influence what I did and said until I began this study again. I have always thought of myself as an independent person who didn’t care much what others thought of me and my choices and actions. This characteristic was really prominent in my life before Christ. After Christ I tried to tone it down a bit so that my “freedom to be me” didn’t turn anyone away from the Christ in me.  I backed up because even as my keys went over my keyboard, I was wondering how my words would be perceived and received by others.

Christ is setting me free from that concern. Not to the point where I don’t care what others say and how my words are received – just to the point where I don’t allow their opinions to hinder me in doing what I feel the Spirit of God is leading me to share.  When I called my blog “Sharing the Journey” I was being quite intentional. This faith walk is indeed a journey. And like any journey of real significance, it will include peaks and valleys, dips and curves, and rough places as well as smooth.  I have to stop picking and choosing what think needs to be shared based on what others think and let the Spirit of God lead me.

I write for His glory and not for the approval of people – no matter how much I love and esteem them. I write to share a “word in season to him that is weary.” (Isaiah 50:4) I write to encourage those who like me are going through the valleys as well as the peaks of a walk with Christ. Someone, somewhere out there can relate to my words and I believe they will be encouraged if by nothing other than the realization that they are not alone.  Someone else besides me is going through and can relate. And I believe as God brings me through, they will be encouraged in knowing that because He is no respecter of persons, He will also bring them through.

There is so much more I want to say but at the same time, I feel enough has been said. These words are shared with you but were written for me. God is preparing me for a great work. This beginning is very humble but it is a beginning. Right here, right now, I lay at my Master’s feet the innate and often unperceived need to please man. I am here to serve man but to please my God. Hang on tight fellow sojourners, things are about to get interesting.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY


It has been a long road to where I find myself today. It was dark and winding with many hills and valleys. It was muddy and unpaved and difficult to traverse. There wasn’t much to look at except dark shadows and reflections of myself in the numerous puddles. Light only showed through in small bursts. I was certain I was lost but had traveled too far to turn back. So instead I prayed and even that was difficult because my circumstances did not put one in a mind of prayer. And now I find myself in a wide open space, at a fork in the road. So I pause and reflect.

This journey has not been easy and I’m certain that the decisions I make at this new intersection will determine if I return to that dark place or continue in wide open places. Oh I pray I make the right choice. And if I should by chance make a wrong decision, God please turn me around before I go too far. But preferably, I’ll make the right choice the first time. I just have to pray and seek God’s face and trust Him to show me the way I’m to go.  After all, He said He’d direct my path1 and He is not a man that He should lie2, so I’ll sit a moment at this crossroad and wait to see which way He’ll have me to go.

I don’t usually do well with waiting. I don’t have any problem with sitting and resting (just ask my family) but when I know something has to be done, I want to do it. I feel a sense of urgency – usually. But not today.  Granted my sitting and waiting will in no way mean I’m doing nothing. I must commit myself to praying and to the Word of God. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path3 so it is imperative that I study it and learn it and live it. And prayer is the key to it all. Think about it; how can you know which way the Father will have you take if you don’t communicate with Him?

I confess I’ve not really been sharing this journey with you – my family, friends, and followers. I didn’t want to bring anyone else into the dark places I tread. Perhaps that was a disservice to both you and me. To you because learning of the path I was on may have possibly helped you to avoid it. To me because having you along may have brought me out sooner. Either way, we’re both here now, Sharing the Journey, and I welcome your company. Let’s continue by saying a word of prayer:

Most holy and all wise God; Father we come to you with outstretched hands giving to you all that we have – our hurts our pains our disappointments; even our dreams and our desires. We ask that you take all that we are and give us your Spirit in exchange. Not just a touch of your Spirit, Father, but a deep abiding in-filling of the Spirit of Christ. We don’t ask for less of us and more of you; no we come saying none of us and all of you. We ask that we may say in all truth and sincerity the words of the Apostle Paul as recorded in Galatians 2:20 NIV, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Fill us up, Lord until you very Spirit seeps from our pores. Fill us, Father and use us for your glory. We surrender to you and trust you to make our paths straight.  In Jesus’ Name – amen.


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