Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Grinch That Stole Christmas


"And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
Well, here it is, the end of another Christmas! We are now looking at a whole new year and all that is headed our way in 2011. I lie here on the couch, having pulled a muscle yesterday, I have my computer on my lap, with the ice packs on my back. I begin to look at my blog then  I see a function at the top of my blog page that says, "next blog". Okay, so I decide that I want to explore the other blogs and wee what other people are saying. The first one, I found a blog by a teacher that had her adoption plans fall through and she was crying all the way through Christmas. Okay, on to the next blog and this one explains how lonely this Christmas was since the death of her parent and she was trying to find a way through her loss during the Holidays. Now I am seeing the Grinch in all those blogs and I think that I better get on to my emails. Now in my emails,  I read about people that are coping with lost jobs and incomes and then a woman dealing with her husband telling her that he wants a divorce. Hey guys, this is CHRISTMAS! You know, jingle bells, Winter Wonderland and the perfect Holidays with lights, presents, food and family. Well, the reality is, that life goes on and life is not perfect! What can really be the Grinch that steals Christmas, are those expectations that life has to be "perfect" during the Holidays! No, life goes on and so does unemployment, divorce, addictions, disappointment etc. What Christmas does for us is to give us hope because Christ is the gift! Jesus is the hope we can hold onto in the midst of "life". Expectations that things have to be wonderful, perfect and happy during the Holidays, sets us up for failure and disappointment. I heard a preacher say the other day, that we are to ask ourselves the question, "would this hurt less, if it was not Christmas?" That was a great reminder, that when we get disappointed or even rejected, does it hurt more because it is the Holiday? I too had a disappointment during the Holiday, when a family member did not show up for the Christmas Eve Service. I wanted to cry but I remember what I heard and I used a "measuring stick question"...."would I be as upset if it were not Christmas?". My answer was no. This meant that I had a greater expectation during the Holidays and that life does not depend or rely on circumstances that were around me. True joy is having the love of Christ in my heart and it does not go up and down, according to my circumstances. I heard once, "let not the circumstances of your life, define the circumstances of your heart". That is the difference between joy and happiness! I can have joy in my heart all the time because of my relationship with God. Happiness is temporary because it comes from external circumstances. Now I know how important the scripture is, "the joy of the Lord is my strength"! Let us really understand that we do have hope in this life and it came into this world in the form of a little baby, and his name is Jesus! He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Jesus brings hope into the world.
Question: Are you going through some tough times during the Holidays? You can find perfect peace and joy through Jesus today!

Monday, December 20, 2010

With God, Nothing is Impossible - There are Only Possibilities


"Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
 “But who will do this?” asked Ahab.The prophet replied, “This is what the LORD says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’”“And who will start the battle?” he asked. The prophet answered, “You will.” (1 Kings 20:13-14)


 Ever been in a situation where it seemed impossible? It is those times when your back seems to be pushed into a corner and there is no way out! It is that old saying, you are “between a rock and a hard place”. There is nothing that is impossible for God! For God, there are only possibilities. Look at today’s verse:

"Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord”

God wants to do the impossible for us to show us with our own eyes, that nothing is impossible for Him. Even if our own eyes show us that there is no way for us to overcome the most difficult of circumstances, God is working through it for us and He will bring victory. The problem we often have is that we try to do it ourselves and not allow God to work His miracles. What is impossible for us is nothing for God and we can stand on Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things we cannot see!" I trust that God can move mountains and even if my own eyes cannot see or perceive it, I will trust that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE with God!

Question: Are you facing an impossible situation today? Are you willing to trust in God and wait for His provisions?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

God's Will Through Me

"When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God." Exodus 31:18
God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai for a very long time, sharing with Moses His Will. How amazing, that Moses was in the presence of God and Moses personally heard God speak and tell Him everything that needed to be accomplished on this planet! This passage shows us how God’s Will was to be implemented, through man. God even wrote down the Covenant Law with His own finger on stone tablets. God wanted the Covenant Law recorded for everyone to see and to remember that the laws came directly from him. To me, this is the same today, for God has given us the living Word, the bible. God’s Word can speak to us daily, about all situations and is it is a means for us to hear Him and know His Will for our lives and the lives of others. It is God's voice in written form. Just as God used Moses to teach others and share about God Will, we too are to be used by God, to fulfill His purpose on this planet. We can accomplish His Will on earth, through the sharing of the Good News with others, loving others and serving others. We can further accomplish God’s Will through our words, actions and deeds. 
May I be that willing vessel that He can use to accomplish His Will here on earth.
Question: Are you willing to accomplish God's Will through you?
 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding the Manna in Our Lives

Manna and Quail
"The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:1-3

When the going gets rough and we are going through the tough times – pressing forward to where God wants us to be, we will be tested on our faith. Will we continue to push forward or will be be like the Israelites and want to go back to Egypt where the going is good? As I read this, I sensed that when we are led into the desert, it may be common to grumble, complain and wish to be back in the good ol days! The Lord wants us to dig deeper in our faith and trust that He WILL provide for us all we need. We see this as God provided quail and manna to His people in the middle of the desert. God does the same for us in our desert, for He will not abandon nor forsake us, for He will take care of us, especially when we are in the desert. We are to go out into the desert willingly, so that we can find and gather the manna He has for us. What lessons can we learn? What is it that He wants us to learn in the middle of the desert? He will have us go out to find the manna in our lives, we just need to look. Let us not wish to go back to Egypt and out of the times of testing, the times of sifting, but to look at what does God want us to find (the manna) in this experience. Are you willing to find manna in your desert experience? Gather those experiences, those lessons that God wants us to keep! Even in the darkest times, God Provides. (Jehoval Jireh)

Questions: Are you in the desert? Can you begin to look around and see what God wants you to learn in this experience as the manna in your life?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Basket Riding

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew? "The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known." (Exodus 2:11-14)
 We are not to take our destiny into our own hands, but wait for God to launch us off to our destiny at His perfect timing and His perfect location. We are to ride in the basket of faith down the river of the living water! I see the same reoccurring theme here as with Abraham and with Joseph! God had given them a vision of their destiny and they were impatient and took it into their own hands and did an “Ishmael”. When God gives us a vision, it is very important to not only store it in our hearts but to wait for God’s perfect timing, to have Him launch us out. We are not to take the vision, even though it is God inspired,  and to take things in our own hands, then try to make it happen in the physical world. God needs to be the director and orchestrator of our lives. I see this for me and the Prayer & Healing Ministry that I am involved with. I  know the plan and vision that God gave to me about where we are headed, but it is not up to me to “create it” and seek out opportunities to make it happen. If I did, then I am doing it in my own strength and effort and it would be doomed to failure! This is what happened to Moses. Like I had mentioned earlier in my Lego block illustration, I can prepare myself by doing my part but then God will come in and do His part and launch me off in HIS PERFECT TIME. He will bring those opportunities to me and all I have to do is be ready. We cannot take things in our own hands, but just be prepared and be ready to accept those opportunities that He brings our way. It is NOT about us making it happen by going out and finding the opportunities on our own. We are to be like little baby Moses in our reed baskets, being launched down the stream in protection and comfort by God – to a destiny that was created by God to fulfill His purpose. We just need to rest and await our destiny at the right place and right time. I am grateful to see the vision of me being in the comfortable basket and being launched on the living waters to the destiny that God has intended for me! What a wonderful ride  it is!


Question: Are you basket riding? Are you willing to go down the river and trust that God has it all in control?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Man Forgets - God Sees

The Eye of the Eagle
"The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him." Genesis 40:23
We may be forgotten by man, but never by God! The words from Genesis 40, really stuck out in my mind, “he forgot him”. Isn’t that so common, that we can be forgotten or overlooked by man but we are never overlooked by God. How often have we done a task that took lots of time and effort, with the end result that nobody noticed?! That has happened to me and I am sure to you too. When you feel unappreciated or neglected and that can lead to a number one “pity party”. We can so easily want the approval of man, to get the acknowledgement of others, but what is important here is that God sees us! We should always play to the audience of one – for Him. Have we done the best in His eyes? We know that God “sees” because of His name, that was spoken in Genesis and that is El Roi (the God that Sees). I remember once that I had a lady that worked really hard on a seminar on the topic of health and fitness. We worked on getting the publicity out and she was ready for her presentation. We got there to the site and there was only one woman that was to take her class! She was devastated and wanted to leave. I pulled her aside and told her, “what about the one?”. I taught her about being flexible to what God wanted her to do and when we debriefed later, she said that the one area that she had the most difficulty in, was teaching in small intimate groups – for she was way better at standing behind a podium speaking. Now, didn’t God just orchestrate this? We pushed all the chairs in a circle and she had to facilitate instead of teach. That was the lesson she learned and she was forced to face her fears! She did well, and it taught us both a valuable lesson. We may think that we are forgotten, but God does not and often has a way better plan! God sees us when nobody else does. This is like the amazing eye of the eagle, which can focus on a specific area at an incredible distance. The eagle can narrow his vision down to seeing a fish in a stream while flying in the heights. That is our God, He Sees and knows everything we do.
Question: Are you feeling unappreciated or neglected? There is one that sees everything you do and that is the Lord that Sees, El Roi.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Enjoy Your Own Backyard

During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."But she said to her, "Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son's mandrakes too?" "Very well," Rachel said, "he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes." Genesis 30:14-15

What started all this birth competition between Leah and Rachel, was envy. It was about looking at what another person had and wanting it. It is the grass being greener on the other side and doing everything you can to try to achieve it. It even came down to the using of herbs, the mandrake. I did an extensive search on this mysterious plant. The root resembles a person because the bottom root is separated into two and looks like human legs. It has fragrant purple flowers and leaves, that were used to line beds for the sweet fragrance it gives off and it was a way of enticing one to enter the bed and procreate. It was later used as a symbol of fertility. This root was mentioned as having an aphrodisiac tendency and made one sleepy. It is used in witchcraft. To sum it up, it is a form of witchcraft because it uses a plant as a means to a human purpose – trying to make something happen in the spiritual to become a reality in the physical. It is a good lesson to see how one can want something in life so bad that they become fixated on it and they try everything they can do make it happen. I think of women that want to get married and they try everything they can to meet “the one”. They look for love in all the wrong places, and they focus on “not having”. It is looking at the glass "half empty" rather than the glass being “half full”. Their eyes have strayed so far away from God that their focus on God has changed to a focus on themselves. I have learned that God has everyone exactly where He wants them to be and that we may not understand why, but He has a greater plan. Embrace your singleness and see the joy in it and not the negative side. Embrace where you are at – bloom where you are planted. God knows our hearts and desires, so we pray and ask, trusting that He will provide but it has to be in His time and not ours. Don’t live life always looking at the other side of the fence but enjoy your own yard. It truly is a wonderful place to be, for God has placed you there, so enjoy it. Enjoy His gift! 

Question: Are you looking at the grass on the other side of the fence and thinking it is a better place for you? Can you begin to refocus your vision as to where God has you now, and celebrate it?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When God Calls, GO!

But her brother and her mother replied, "Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you  may go."But he said to them, "Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master."Then they said, "Let's call the girl and ask her about it."  So they called Rebekah and asked her, "Will you go with this man?" "I will go," she said.( Genesis 24: 55-58)
We see the same "calling" in Genesis 12 when Abram got the call from God to leave his home, everything he knew as familiar and to go to a place unknown, because God called him. Abram heard the call and he followed God's call, not knowing where God was taking him. Here is another example of “I will go” and it is spoken from Rebekah when her parents wanted her to stay a little longer but she knew that if she was called, to a life unknown, to a husband she did not know, that she needed to go now and leave everything behind. Do we also have the same obedience? To leave our comfort zones?  To leave everything behind when we sense God calling us to an unfamiliar place? We may get called to do something small, and it may be scary and uncomfortable. An example of this is a time when I was eating at a restaurant and I sensed God was telling me to watch a young man at another table. I watched him with an elderly lady and the glow and light of Jesus was so bright. I was amazed to see this light and joy, fill the space around him. I knew there was something "different" about him and that there was such light, peace and joy that was coming from him. Then, he bowed his head and prayed with the older woman. "That's it, he's a Christian and that is the light of Jesus shining through him!" I then sensed the Lord telling me to tell him that Jesus' light is shining very brightly through him and that God has a purpose and plan on his life that this light is to go into this dark world and touch the lives that are living in darkness. “Are you kidding, Lord?” I felt so small and uncomfortable and decided to pass it off. “Nah, He can’t be asking me to do this!” Then I got it a second and then a third prompting. "Okay, I will do it" I thought and then I went to their table and felt so foolish and uncomfortable .  I introduced myself then I delivered the message. They smiled and I found out he was a Christian at a familiar church in the neighborhood and the lady was his mom. I shook their hands and then left to get back into my car. I sat and prayed – thanking God for using me and having me get outside my comfort zone to deliver what He wanted me to do! He may call us to do something small, but it will certainly be uncomfortable and may be challenging. The question is, will you go? Will you do it – even if it is uncomfortable. I am grateful that I heard the call and did what he told me to do. I still don’t know why I was told to do this but God sure knew!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taint the Saints


"They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:3-4
 Here it is, the famous Tower of Babel that was built from the pride of man! The intent behind the building was to glorify the people and to have it visible for all to see! They wanted to make a name for themselves through their glorious man-made achievement! Today, this tower is a representation of those things in our lives that could build up our pride and eventually lead to our downfall. God loves the humble and not the prideful. He wants us to worship Him, and that was how we were created and it was to honor God in all we do and to build altars to him and not ourselves. Think about the word "pride" and realize, that was the cause of the fall of Satan from Heaven! In Proverbs 16:18 it states that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall". We all need to be cautious of how pride can slowly begin to take root in our lives and that can start us to build our own tower of pride. Many have fallen to sin, even pastors, when they get puffed up and prideful in the areas of wealth, prestige and power. These elements can taint the saints. We all need to be watchful, for those areas in which the enemy can entice us to open that door of pride in our lives and give the enemy a foothold. These sins will begin to start us building the foundation of our Tower of Babel and we build it brick by brick, until we have created this tower of pride in our lives. We need to guard ourselves and to keep our focus on the Lord and not ourselves. We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – not things of the world and that includes our own accomplishments.  We need to decrease for God to increase. When we begin to get puffed up and prideful at what we have accomplished, we need to get down on our knees and realize that where we are today is only because of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God be increased and magnified in your life so you can decrease. Help us to remain small, hidden and powerless so God can be magnified and seen.
Question: What tower have you built in your life that glorifies yourself and not God?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Big Task-Big God

Artist: Edward Hicks

That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—and their wives. With them in the boat were pairs of every kind of animal—domestic and wild, large and small—along with birds of every kind.Two by two they came into the boat, representing every living thing that breathes. A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them. Genesis 7:13-16
As I read about the task that God had given Noah to do, I was amazed at the obedience and faith that Noah needed, in order to complete God’s task. Noah heard what God wanted him to do, and he did what he could do with his  own human efforts, but that was not going to be enough to get God's task done. There were things that Noah could not possibly do in this task and this is where his faith came in. God walked Noah through this process every step of the way. God gave him the plans on the dimentions of the ark and how to build it and Noah complied. God called for the animals to come to the ark and Noah led them in. It came time to close the door of the ark and God closed the door! This tells me one really good lesson today and this is when you have a really huge task ahead of you, God will do His part if you do yours. Noah relied on God and God did His part and Noah did his! It is a partnership that is built on faith and obedience. When there is a big task facing you, remember that you cannot accomplish it without God. It reinforces the phrase, Big Task-Big God! Nothing is impossible for the God! Question: Are you facing a difficult task that seems impossible? Will you trust God that if you do   your part, that He will do His?  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking in Faith


"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13-15)  
After reading Hebrews 11 this morning, I sat down and began to meditate more on the word “faith” and what it truly means to me. I wanted to share these thoughts with you today. I memorized Hebrews 11:1 and I often share that verse to encourage others through those difficult and tough times in life. To me, that verse is about having “faith” that God is working behind the scenes in our behalf, even though we cannot see those works with our human eyes. We then have "faith", knowing that it is the Lord’s battle and He is fighting for us. Now, lets take it one step further in this thought process. It is at one spiritual level, to have “faith” to believe in our hearts and mind, that God is fighting for us and that gives us peace in the midst of our challenges. But I think that God wants us to take it up a spiritual level to have us “walk in faith”. To "walk in faith" is to take action in our lives and to walk in the confidence as though what we hope for has already come about. Faith without action is only wishful thinking. An example of walking in faith was Abraham that when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. That, I believe, is faith! It is about not looking back but straining our vision forward to what God has in store for us and then being obedient in our actions. What is our vision based on? Is it of things of this world or are we looking forward to Heavenly rewards and what God has prepared for us? Let us all begin to refocus today on our Heavenly rewards and begin to take action today as men and women of faith. I am blown away with the new awareness that God showed me today in His Word. It is for me to have a focus on the future and on the promises that God has shown me – even though I cannot see them being fulfilled now, and to walk in that faith daily.

Question: Are you walking in faith? What do you need to release in order to get a more faith filled focus?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nothing is Impossible


“Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

”That is impossible!” is a phrase that needs to be removed from our vocabulary. It is a perception that has been created from our human eyes and from our own thinking. We may see a situation and process it as “impossible” and it is only from our own experiences that we see no options. We may go through our past experiences and see that Plan A, Plan B and Plan C have worked for us in the past but none of these human solutions are going to work for this problem. When we get to this point of trying to figure it out on our own, we need to STOP and realize that the solutions are endless for God. God not only has a Plan D but His solutions are endless! We are trying to come up with the answers with our limited human capabilities. We need to realize that NOTHING is impossible with God. We need to have a greater awareness of this verse also. Notice that it does not say, “nothing is impossible FOR God” but it says, “nothing is impossible WITH God”. You see, it is a partnership and that partnership has to do with God and us. Our part is to go to God in prayer to seek His wisdom, His answers and to give the impossible situation to Him, to deal with. When we do that in partnership with Him, He will transform the impossible to possible! All things are possible WITH God Let us be humbled this morning at the realization that what we thought as impossible, IS possible WITH God but, we also have to be part of this equation.... ME + GOD = Possibilities. Any other equation is not effective nor will it provide results.
Question: Are you facing a situation that seems impossible? Can you begin to trust in God more?

(This is a repeat blog from February 2010,  but I felt it needed to be posted today, for I sense that someone out there is facing what they see as a brick wall and they think there is no way out - the Lord is telling you right now, that there is a way out, and that is to do life with Him!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shift Your Focus Outward



"There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong." (Hebrews 5:11-14)


Ever feel spiritually dull? Ever wonder what is your calling? Do you ever find yourself going to more conferences, reading more books, filling yourself more and more? There comes a time in everyone’s life, that your spiritual journey needs to shift from the focus of your needs, your desires, your wants and it needs to turn to an outward direction, with the purpose of sharing what God has done for you. It is like the baby that transitions from drinking from the bottle to eating solid food. Now is the time when we need to begin to look outward, as the salt and light in this world, to tell everyone about Jesus. Everyone has a story and every story is meant to be shared with others. I have encountered so many women that are wanting to be fed and yet they have a story of encouragement that needs to be shared. God has created this unique story in your life and it is not to be kept on a bookshelf gathering dust, but it is to be shared. It is time for you to stop drinking milk from the bottle and begin to share your story about your walk with Jesus so others can be encouraged and learn from you. Everyone has an important testimony within, that is bursting to come forth. I believe that you were put through those those tough challenges in your life so that you were to grow in your spiritual maturity with the purpose of sharing it with others. How will you begin that today? Will you be willing to share what Jesus has done in your life so others can be inspired? I believe that it is a call to wake up and to take that next spiritual step in your life. Everyone has a call upon their lives and it is through your obedience that you will take that next step and to share it. You will be blessed in the process when you see how your story will encourage others.We cannot drink from a bottle forever and there is a turning point in our spiritual lives in which we will be launched into the process of eating solid food and teaching others through our own personal experiences!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Transformed


"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus ." (1 Timothy 12-14)
Paul writes to Timothy and shares his heart with him about his past and where God has taken him on his spiritual journey. He takes a moment in time to reflect back in to where he came from and where he is now. He then sees how far the Lord has brought him through Jesus Christ. He sees that it was not by his own works or deeds that he gained this favor but it was through the mercy and grace that was poured upon him. We too have the same mercy in our lives and can see where we came from and where we are now. Stop a moment and reflect where you were five years ago. Take a good look at your life and where were you in your spiritual journey. Now, fast forward and look to where you are today. If you have been born again, you will be like Paul and see how far you have come and what great mercy has been poured upon your life. Take for example the water lily. Where do you think this beautiful blossom comes from? Water lily roots are firmly rooted in the mud and debris in the still and stagnant waters. Look at where the water lily comes from and the magnificent flower that is produced from the muck and mire. Our lives are like that too, for we can come from a pretty sinful place and because of the transformation in our lives through Jesus Christ, we too can have beauty come from our lives. Like in Isaiah 61, we will be transformed to "beauty from ashes".

How grateful I am in having been called and answered that call. I have been transformed through the mercy of Jesus Christ. May others know of the redemptive quality that can be received when one received Jesus as their savior.
Question: Where were you in your life five years ago? Has Jesus transformed your life?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Peace Within

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16

As I reflect on this picture this morning, I get a great sense of peace. Look at the stream running in the front of the cottage. There are trees and so much tranquility there. You don’t see the freeway filled with cars, cell phones and work stations here. The location is isolated and away from distractions. We can relate this to our own lives by removing yourself from your everyday stresses and entering into a place where there is peace. I believe that we can have what Paul writes about in this verse, an inner peace at all times. We can be in the middle of a chaotic event and still have peace. Is that hard to imagine? Just think of this – when you received salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you. That means that peace is always in you and with you. Outside yourself, there is the chaotic world and all the stimulus that can rob you of that peace but the catch here, is ONLY IF YOU LET IT! Yes, you can still stay near the clear still waters if we dig deep and go to that place of peace when life begins to try to steal it from you. What does the enemy come to do? Steal, Kill and Destroy and the first item on his agenda is your peace! So when you get challenged by the world, begin to dig deep inside to those peaceful and calm waters to refresh and restore your soul.  We truly can be at peace at all times and in all ways! Let us always dig deep within ourselves during stressful times and not allow our peace to be stolen by the enemy. We will not allow him to rob me of the peace that is within!

Question: Are you allowing the enemy to steal your peace?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Joy, Pray and Thank Daily

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Now isn’t this a very simple model to follow to live out God’s will in our lives? To have joy, to pray and to give thanks all day long. What does it mean to always be joyful? I like to define joy as a feeling of peace that is within that is not dependent on the circumstances of our lives. Unlike being happy, which seems to be generated around events and it is a temporary emotonal state. Joy can be within us at all times! To pray continually is to always have a prayer under your breath as you go through the day. When my internet cable went out this morning I was praying continuously or when I am looking for that lost item in the house. I ask Him to help me in all I do, all day long. Also, I give him praise all day long. Like when I go to the gym and I finish a set, I whisper, “thank you Lord”. For He is my strength and I remember a year ago when I was bedridden with a herniated disc in my back, I would not be exercising today, if it were not for God healing me! Everything I do, I can see through the eyes of gratitude and give the Lord thanks. But my thanks does not only come when things go my way. I can thank the Lord in crisis and when things look the darkest. Why? Because I know I have a God that is going to get me through it. I have a God that gives me hope and promises that I can find in His Word. I have a God that has shown me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I have God in my heart, and for this, I am truly thankful! Joy, Pray, Thank is my motto today – to live life as a faithful Christian. What a great scripture, simple and clear for all to understand and apply.
Question: Are you experiencing joy today? Do you pray and thank God through out your day?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rooted in Jesus

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

I focus on these tree roots this morning and see the visual right in front of my face, on how my life needs to be “rooted” in Jesus. He is to be at my very source of nourishment, at my roots. Roots are the part of the tree that holds the tree firm in the ground but also it also feeds the entire tree. The Lord is to be my foundation and everything I do is to be fed by Him. Reading God’s Word daily and reflecting on His Will for my life, is what I know is part of God being my nourishment the sustenance which makes me thrive. My life is to be built on Him and as in the Psalms, he is my rock and my foundation for which I stand. If my roots are firmly planted in the ground then I am receiving the living water from the Lord. It does not matter when the rains come, the storms come, the fires or devastation come to shake my tree. My roots are solid in the ground and that is where my source comes from – it comes from the Lord. I really love this analogy of the tree and the roots. On the other hand, we can have "bitter roots" of anger, resentment, rejection, fear and other strongholds that the enemy has placed in our lives through traumatic and painful events. We can choose to have our roots planted in the Lord and then we will receive health and peace or we can choose to have our roots planted in bitterness and resentment. Where do you want your roots? It makes a difference when you think about what fruit will be produced from those roots. Really makes you think, doesn’t it? Let us all praise Him for being that solid rock in which we stand!
Question: Are your roots firmly planted in Jesus? What kind of fruit are you producing in your life?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beware of Those Fiery Arrows

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.Ephesians 6:10-13
We have all been through those tough times in life and often sense we are under attack. We sense those fiery arrows coming at us and we know in those times, we are being called to a battle – a spiritual battle. It is not a war against things of this world like people or circumstances, but it is a battle against the unseen in the spiritual realm. Sure, life happens and we cannot always say that when rough times comes it is all from the devil, for that is giving him way too much credit and focus. But when a battle comes, we need to realize that we have stepped into a battle in the mind. Let us begin to realize that when we accept the fiery arrow of hurt/pain/offense, we are now spiritually “wounded”. I have experienced this wounding and I know what it feels like when I have accepted a hurt and then I feel like that fiery arrow has pierced my heart and I am now down on the ground, wounded in Spirit. We are to be aware and on guard so that we do not accept that arrow of offense. Once we let down our shield of faith, the arrow can penetrate and and now we are wounded warriors. We are always to wear our full armor as described in Ephesians 6 and to not ever walk out of our houses without that spiritual protection. We would not walk outside being naked and neither should we do the same spiritually. Be on guard always and have your armor ready for those times when the enemy wants you to receive those fiery arrows in the battlefield of your mind. Stand firm mighty warriors and be aware when we begin to get annoyed, angry, upset, offended that that is the warning signal or battle cry to begin to fight the war in you mind by not taking the offense and taking those lies and thoughts captive. Stand firm this verse says and you will have victory against those attacks from the enemy. I realize the importance to put on my spiritual armor daily and to watch for those danger signals of emotions and offense. When I sense those gates are tying to be opened in my mind, I stand firm with all the full armor that God has given me. May I walk in victory, all the days of my life! I am called to be a warrior and part of being a warrior is to always be ready for battle!
Question: What battle are you engaged in? Have you put on your spiritual armor today? Are you ready to stand firm against those fiery arrows?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let the Light Shine

"Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:7-10)
We have the light of the Lord within us and no matter where we go, we bring this light with us! I remember having a conversation with a lady and it was about the light of the Lord that is within us, that shines out and others seem to perceive it. My friend said that when she called a customer service, she got a brash and rude person on the other end. No matter what she said, she was receiving opposition. Even when she hung up, she sensed that nothing she could do or say would change this person’s heart. She had tried but nothing was successful. I had to chuckle on this one because of this very verse. I explained that it it was NOT about her but the lady was reacting to the light of Jesus that was within her. Here was someone that was sensing the light of Jesus on the other end of the phone and she could not tolerate it. That happens, when the light begins to permeate the darkness – it brings to light those things that are kept hidden and in the dark. We take this light with us, everywhere we go. So the next time you run into a rude person, know that it is probably not about you, but they are reacting to the light of Jesus within you! I always want to remember that this light goes with me everywhere I go. Darkness cannot stand light and there may be an adverse reaction to the presence of Jesus within me. Light always will shine in the darkness and it will illuminate and bring to the light, those things that are hidden. May I take joy in the knowledge that the light of Jesus is within me.
Question: When was the last time when you felt opposition to you? Did you ever think that it was not about you but they were reacting to the light within you?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Bait of Offense

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:26-27; 31-32)

Have you ever read God's Word and it was so convicting that it was like you got hit on the side of the head with a 2 x 4 piece of wood? Today's journal is that journey for me. I am keely aware that anger can give a foothold to the enemy in our lives. God's Word tells us that we are to forgive one another as soon as we realize we have taken the bait of offense. John Bevere wrote a book, "The Bait of Satan" and I learned so much from him and how we can get offended but the offense is not from others but it stays in our hearts. I believe that these verses are ones that we are to tuck away in our tool box for those times when we get upset with our spouse, family and/or friends. I like to think of this as the formula for when we get offended or hurt by others. We are given the bait by satan in the form of an offense through words and/or actions by others. Once we feel offended there is always an emotion that comes into our heats: anger, resentment, bitterness etc. It is at this point when we allow ourselves to be offended that we accept that offense and now we have given the enemy a foothold into our minds and lives. Now all we can do is focus on the offense and begin to replay the tape in our minds and the emotion (anger, bitterness, resentment) becomes stronger and we then become more justified in our position of being right and the enemy is increasing his grip in our minds. When we are at this point, it is called an “oppression”. That is the foothold that we allow the enemy into our lives. That is why this verse says to forgive one another and don’t wait, for the longer you keep it in your heart as an offense, then the foothold goes deeper. That is why the verse about not letting the sun go down while you are angry is important – for it is about the amount of time you dwell on the offense. Does that literally mean that as soon as it becomes night we need to forgive? I think there is a greater implication of this. Yes, you should not go to bed angry because it is more time that the enemy to gain that foothold. To me, what this means is that you are not to delay or let ANY amount of time go by when you are offended and have taken the bait. When you sense an oppression, it is to be dealt with as soon as you can and not let it to sit and reproduce more justifications in your mind. The longer the oppression is on you, the more that the lies of the enemy are allowed to sink in (like roots that begin to grow). The longer it stays then the more attached those oppressions become and the more you are now deceived by the enemy with the lies. We are to stand on guard of the gates of our minds, to make sure that we are knowing God’s Word which is truth and that the truth in His Word sets us free. This Ephesians 4 is the freedom chapter about the danger of taking offense and what to do. Paul wrote the manual on how to deal with oppressions and for this, I am grateful. After reading these verses today, I not only have absorbed what the Spirit has been leading me, but now am able to TAKE ACTION when I find myself being offended or hurt by others. I need to know that as soon as I am offended that I own up to my feelings and the justifications. I am to get into His Word, see truth and to ask for forgiveness. Unless I ask for forgiveness in repentance, then I am still holding on and the oppression will not leave. I pray that this is part of my life always and that I can share this, teach this and equip others on what to do when the bait of offense is taken in our lives.
Question: When were you last offended or hurt by others? Have you forgiven them? Are you holding on to the offense to give the enemy a foothold in your life in the form of an oppression? Forgive now and be released!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Praise in the Storm

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:4-5
We can “praise Him in the storm” as the musical group, Casting Crowns sings. I heard that song on K-Love radio one day and they mentioned that the song was being dedicated to a young boy that had just lost his battle to cancer that morning and that was his favorite song! Oh my heart broke at that moment, for in the middle of that battle for life, this boy knew that God never left his side and every tear that was shed was saved. This young boy was in the middle of the “perfect storm” in his life and yet he would keep his eyes focused on God, and he kept praising God for who God is, no matter how rough the storm was. I thought about the courage this boy had, that even in the midst of pain and suffering he was worshiping and giving his praises to God. What courage, what strength, what focus! I understood about praising in the storm, for when I had my herniated disc and I was living on my couch for about two months, all I had was God and He sustained me. Without God I had no hope. My praises did not depend on the circumstances in my life, but it depended on where my heart was at. My circumstances did not determine my heart and I too could praise Him in the midst of my storm. When in the storm and being battered around, I would cling to Him because He gave me hope and He gave me faith to get me through all things. Although God may not take away the circumstances when I would like them to be removed, I was able to hold onto His promises in His Word that He would never leave me nor forsake me. He is with me always and all I have to do is raise my eyes to him and see that he is there and has always been there for me – storm or no storm, he is standing at my side!
Question: Are you in the middle of a storm in your life? Can you start to praise God, even in the middle of a storm, regardless of the circumstances that surround you?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's in a Name?


I Am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I Am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”“I told you that
I Am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go. 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” John 18:5-8

For some reason, this really stood out to me this morning. It was one of those chilly mornings where I sat with my hot coffee and a lap blanket over my legs and began to read God’s Word. There it was, staring at me in bold letters, “I Am”. At first, I wondered why the letter “A” was capitalized and then it drew my attention to the many times when Jesus said who he was. Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks, that Jesus was stating that He was from the Father and that he was “I Am”. Whoa, that was one of those light bulb over my head moments. So I thought about Exodus when Moses went up to Mount Sinai and encountered the burning bush. When Moses asked, who are you, he heard, “I Am” (Exodus 3:4)
God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
Well, there is the verse about the name that God gave himself, “I AM”. Now here it is, when Jesus is taken before the various judges, he states the same that he is “I Am he”. What caught my eye was the first time Jesus told the soldiers that he was “I Am he”, they “all drew back and fell on the ground”. That was powerful for me because just the words, “I Am” so astonished the soldiers that they fell! That is the power of the name and when it came from Jesus’ mouth, they were knocked off their feet.
Ah, I thought this morning, what power was in the name of Jesus. I think of the verse:


"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

What power is in His name that EVERY knee should bow and where? Heaven, on earth AND under the earth. That means that the name of Jesus is a powerful tool to fight in spiritual warfare! On the earth and under the earth which is Satan’s dominion and just the name of Jesus, makes the demons tremble! The name "Jesus" can make demons leave, can heal the sick and can do many miracles. I am overwhelmed this morning and realize that Jesus was making the statement that He was of God and God was in him. Too bad, many heard the truth but did not believe. Not only do we use the name of Jesus in spiritual warfare, but we are to use the precious name of Jesus with honor, respect and with the greatest of praise. His name is above all names! May the name of Jesus be given all the honor, glory and praise that it deserves!
Question: Have you ever thought about the power of a name? Has this changed your perception of the name of Jesus?

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Turtle Decision

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” Ephesians 6:14

After I did a Google search this morning for an image for Ephesians 6:14, I got an astonishing result. It was a photo of turtles on a log! When that photo came up, I said, “Huh?”. Then I meditated on what the scripture said about standing firm and I thought, "yes, the turtles are standing firm on the log”....then I realized that the “breastplate of righteousness” was the turtle shell! "Oh, I get it now!" As the light dawned in my brain, I realized that the breastplate of righteousness that we wear is like a turtle shell and it is in the spot where we need it most. It covers all our critical and necessary internal organs of survival, like the heart, kidneys, spleen, lungs and liver. The "righteousness" that we wear is the ethical conduct in which we live out our lives. It is when we are faced with a moral decision and we know God’s Word (truth) and we use that to base our decisions. " What is the right thing to do?", verses "What do I think I want to do?". Sometimes those are tough decisions. Knowing God’s truth helps us to “stand firm” and to do the right thing in difficult circumstances.
Think about this ethical example.. a politician that has an expense account for his business meals that the funds come from the Democratic party. He chooses to take his wife out to dinner, his parents out to dinner and thinking it is okay since the funds were set aside for "meals". This money was set aside for business meals and he uses it for his personal use. He compromised his integrity and it was not right. Bottom line here is that, we will all be faced with decisions in life and it is up to us to stand firm and to know God’s truth to be able to make those decisions wisely as God would want us to do. After today, I will remember the turtle picture – standing firm with the breastplate of righteousness...to do the right thing when facing difficult decisions. I want to always make “turtle decisions” in life.
Question: Are you faced with an ethical decision today? Would you like to make a turtle decision based on God's truth?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weather the Storm with God

" And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” (Numbers 14:8-9)

In scripture, the Israelites fled from Egypt to the desert with the promise of a better life. They left the bondage of the Egyptians to the freedom that God was giving them. They began their journey in hope and faith that God was bringing them into a better life. Then as soon as they started facing hardships, their faith began to fade. They started to entertain thoughts of going back to Egypt where life was easier – and their hearts were hardened and they became rebellious. When things began to get rough they didn’t stand on God’s promises and hold onto the faith that the Lord was in control. They let the giants in the land fill their hearts with fear and that created rebellion against God. The Lord promises us that when we are obedient to Him, He will take care of us, He will protect us, He will take us to a place of milk and honey. Does it mean that we will no longer have any challenges in our lives? No, but it means that when those tough times do come, we are to stand in faith on the promises He gives us in His Word and know that God is with us and that he will never leave nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Today, as I face challenges that I cannot control, I surrender it all to God, and know that He will sustain me and cover me with His blessings – for there is always an end to the rough times and I am just to weather the storm with God.
Question: Are you in the midst of a storm in your life? Are you willing to stand on God's promises for a good future by holding onto your faith?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Peace Within

In everything he (David) did he had great success,because the LORD was with him. 1 Samuel 18:14

The Lord was with David in everything that he did. What a difference it was between two men, Saul and David. The Lord had found favor in both of them but then something changed. It began to change when one emotion came up and it was “jealousy”. Go back a few verses and it explains that as David came back from battle and he and Saul were coming into the city, the people were shouting and singing about the victory from the battle. The people sang that Saul killed thousands but David killed tens of thousands. At that point, Saul became “jealous” and the favor of the Lord left him. He entertained the thoughts and the Spirit of Jealousy entered him. After the Spirit of Jealousy entered Saul, then the Spirit of Fear entered him also. But what did David do? He kept doing what God told him to do, he kept serving the King and being obedient to him and did not react to these unfair and unjust reactions to him. Look at the picture of the kitten above and see the calm and peace in the face. I believe that David had the Lord in his heart and that in the midst of Saul throwing at spear at him in a jealous rage, that David was steadfast and felt peace and calmness in the midst of the storm. We too can be like David, and to not react to circumstances and just have the peace within, knowing that God is with us and He is the one that sustains us.The sunshine that is on the kitten is like the favor, love and grace that God shines on us daily! I want to be like the kitten in the picture, that I can do what God wants me to do in this life and have the "kitten-like peace" come upon me that sustains me in all situations.
Question: Do you need peace in your life today? Are you willing to be more like David and allow the peace of God to invade your life?