Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mending the Broken Heart

The pain of offence is oh so deep when it is a friend who has caused the betrayal.  Whether it was through stabbing words or heartbreaking actions, the pain can be debilitating.  What can make matters worse is when the hurt originates from the church family members on whom we rely and trust. 
I have personally experienced such hurt many times and each time has been more and more painful.  It seems the more I trusted the person, the deeper the betrayal was felt.  It was to the point that I became angry with the institution of church altogether.  I did not blame God, nor was I angry at Him.  I was, however, angry at the people who hurt me as well as the leadership surrounding that person for allowing it to happen.  I had made up my mind that I didn’t want to step foot into another leadership position again, unless it was on my terms. 
After the church, where this offence occurred, dissolved and disbanded, I and my family began attending the church I spend the majority of my youth.  I didn’t want to join or become members.  I simply wanted to sit and be ministered to.  This was something God had showed us through prayer.  After a serious injury, it is good, and necessary, to take time to heal and allow God to do a work in you.  The series of injuries, broken promises, and betrayals left us defensive and apprehensive of getting involved in another church.  We were leery of leadership of any kind, questioning their motives.
As the pain set in and the doubt of “church” began to be confirmed in other churches we visited, we started to deepen our search for God’s will.  We knew God had called us to ministry, but how does one work in ministry without being able to trust anyone around them?  I remember asking God, “God, I know you want us to be connected but nothing fits.  I’m scared to step into another church with unhealthy leadership.  I know you did not call us to start yet another church in this ‘city of churches’ because that is how this city became overran with churches containing sickly leadership.  God show us your will for our lives.” 
Without clear direction, we decided not to move an inch.  We stood.  Pray and stand.  Stand and pray.  In October, I felt God calling me to a fast.  I knew something had to break in the spirit and I wanted to hear from God.  So, through a fast, I began to petition God.  It was difficult and satan began to attack my body and my mind.  I was emotional and struggled to take every thought captive.  However, this week was the breakthrough. 

December 1st.  5 o’clock in the morning, I was restless and could not sleep.  My mind felt like there were 20 TVs all playing at once on different channels.  I woke up in a sweat and came downstairs to pray.  This is the day of the 7:14, Flash Mob Prayer Event around the world.  The day that 53 cities around the world were coming together to pray in unity.  As I sat in a quiet house, all three of my children and my husband fast asleep, I began to pray.  As I transitioned to prayer in the spirit, I felt my spirit breaking.
This is what God showed me.
*Matthew 5:43-48  (See below for the full scripture)
God’s revelation was this:
“When you are angry at someone, you think you are hurting them by withholding intercession (prayer) for them.  In reality, you are hurting yourself.
In your Pity Party, the only thing you have accomplished is celebrating your pain, your victimization, and your unforgiveness.  This is a party that satan will crash and expand into a block party if you allow him to.  It is dismal and miserable and only causes distraction and division within the body of Christ.  What I have called you to is to pray for and over your enemies.  I have called you to cover them!” 
Then God showed me this:  “Would you not rescue a child from an oncoming bus?  What if it was your child?  Would you not call out for someone to save them if you could not reach them in time to rescue them from destruction?  Why are you not calling out for My child to be saved from destruction?  Why are you withholding them from mercy and grace before My throne?”

As God broke my heart for these people, the bitterness and hurt melted off and God began to show me how I should pray for them by showing me what He wanted to do.  I called out their names, pleading God to spare them and show them grace, drawing them to repentance by His Spirit! 

Then He revealed this:
“As you begin to intercede, you begin to celebrate your freedom from the chains of unforgiveness.  You are free to live without pain and without bondage to the people who hurt you and left you for wounded.  You are free to move in the Spirit, blessing others as God blesses you!  Above all, you are free to seek His Kingdom and Righteousness instead of His vengeance!” 
As I wept, repenting for all the times I sought His vengeance instead of His Kingdom, I opened my heart to allow God to fill the empty wounds with His spirit… And He did!  I was refreshed and renewed to get back to work in His will!
Today I challenge each person who reads this to allow God to heal you by breaking your heart for the people who have wounded it!  I promise, when you do you will find a release like no other and a joy that no one can take away as well as a peace that passes anyone’s understanding!
I pray that you are blessed during this Holiday Season and that we never forget the reason we live, move, and have our being!
God bless the readers, hearers, and Doers of His word!

Matt. 5:43-48 (TMSG)
43“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ 44I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. 46If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. 47If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

When God's Children Cry Out

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Luke 18:7-8 (The Message) “So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? 8 I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”

Economics, politics, health care, poverty, famine, war, violence, and anything else that touches the lives of so many.  We are facing this and much more!  On a personal level, there is pain, hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness, sorrow, agony, despair, and the list goes on and on. 

At this time of year, no one wants to hear about the deep dark blemishes in society.  No one likes to talk about the impoverished unless they are sending their monetary gift to a child they have never seen before.  (I am not speaking against these programs.  They have helped thousands of children and have been a source of the Gospel to many who may not have heard.)  What about the ones two doors down that struggle from day to day trying to make something happen but doesn’t know how?  What about the person you see every Sunday at church, who may be hurting and in pain, waiting for someone to simply show that they care?  What about the mother struggling to handle her children because she didn’t have the best example of who a mother should be… are you lovingly assisting her or judging how poor her parenting skills are with the shake of the head and “the glance” as we walk away. 

Perhaps you are not the spectator.  Maybe you are the person screaming on the inside for someone to notice… someone to simply acknowledge that they are more than who they think they are.  Either way… It’s time to cry out.

Here it is… quite simply.  I know it sometimes takes a lot for us to step off of our pedestal of pride to allow someone, including God, to help us.  But, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  Hurt, wounded, aching, we cry out.  Desperate, we turn to God.  Why does it take us so long?  Why didn’t we do this so long ago? 
The first part of 2nd Chronicles says “My people who are called by My name”.  A hard pill to swallow but the question that no one can deny is simply this… Are you His?  Have you become a Child of God?  Or are you simply a reunion crasher.
My grandfather told me a story so long ago about when he and his brother crashed a family reunion at a local park in order to get lunch.  They walked up to the buffet line, after everyone had gone through and most were not paying attention, and made themselves plates.  Someone looked at him and said “You must be so n’ so’s boy”.  My grandfather looked at him and said “Yup!” 
This is so true today.  The person you sit next to on Sunday may very well be a reunion crasher.  Do we turn them away?  Certainly not!  Take them to the father for adoption.  Bring them into the family legitimately. 
Once the first qualification is complete then we must move on to the second.  Humility.  If we, as God’s children, cannot move beyond humility, face to the floor and admit that I cannot save myself…I can’t even sustain myself & I need Him more than anything… then there is nothing God can do for us.  Why, because He will not force Himself into a place where He is not welcome.  Look at the things we have done so far?  Are they the best?  Are they the absolute optimal for you?  That is what God wants for His children… the BEST.  And yet we keep telling Him that we don’t need Him to intervene! 
Pray and seek God’s face go hand in hand.  If you are communing and conversing with God, you will begin to seek His face because as you pray, God will reveal things to you and your spirit will begin to awaken!  The hunger begins to return, and the fire that you never thought could be rekindled, will be lit!  You no longer want to sin, rebel by doing things our way & living in the absence of God!
What happens next is God’s response to our obedience!  “…then I will hear from heaven”  God says that He will hear us.  I remember my mother telling me about this, and sometimes I do it to.  When children are nagging and begging and whining and we are in the middle of fixing dinner, or shopping, or even reading a magazine or book, and we tune out all external stimuli.  We don’t hear a thing.  Especially someone else’s kids!  God is the same way.  He will not respond to someone else’s kids, and definitely does not respond to pride, arrogance and selfishness!  BUT, when we have God’s ear… Even the Israelites knew to call daddy when the big kids started to pick on them and He rose up a warrior to save them.  Consider Judges 3:9, Judges 10:10, and Psalms 107:6.  Each time, the Lord’s chosen people would get back on track and in line with God.  But then, before long, they would begin to get too big for their britches and start doing things their own way.  They would forget how God had to save them the last time from their messes.  So, sitting in slavery, poverty, and utter ruin, they would cry out to God.  “GOD, SAVE US!”  They would have to consecrate and get back in line and then God would deliver them once again!
Not only does God hear us, He forgives our sin because we have turned from our former ways.  Remember the mentality, “My way or the highway.”  This is what we must turn from.  God’s ways are higher and better than ours.  He can see the flaws and the mistakes in our plans and says “there’s a better way.”  He promises to forgive us for our pride and arrogance.  This takes true humility but it can be done.  And, OH the joy and peace and rest that comes from the very last part.  When God heals our land, and we are at peace and one with Him, we begin to walk in the fullness of all that He has for us.  No good thing is withheld as His will becomes ours.  Just as children, we want to please Him and He wants to please us as our heavenly father!

I challenge you to begin to take time to seek God’s face and humble yourself before Him.  That is what December 1st is all about.  7:14pm, all over the world, for one hour, there will be thousands upon thousands of people coming together… IN UNITY to pray for God to heal our land.  Not just our city, or state, or country, but the whole world!  To seek God’s face and a might move and outpour of the Holy Spirit as in Joel 2!  If you need prayer, there will be plenty of people there to stand with you, in love, and pray for you!
Don’t let pride and fear stand in the way of being in the best and most important relationship of your life!!!

7:14 on Facebook or on Twitter @7_fourteen          7:14 - Fort Wayne - Facebook event!  Click to find out more!
7:14 Fort Wayne will be held at Freimann Square, December 1st @  7:14pm – 8:14pm.  Please come and join in with many other brothers and sisters in Christ as we seek His face!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Over 40 cities in over 13 countries and growing!

Have you ever wanted to be part of something bigger than yourself?
NOW is your chance! 

7:14 is an international event hosted by 24/7 Prayer!  

Fort Wayne, Indiana will be held @ Freiman Square, December 1st.  7:14pm - 8:14pm.  Prayer for our city, our state, our country, and OUR WORLD for one hour to seek God's face and cry out to HIM!

For more information or to find or host a 7:14 in your city, visit 7:14 on Facebook or on Twitter @7_fourteen.  You can also visit the website for 24/7 Prayer (click on the links above!)  We are excited to see the presence of God fall in Fort Wayne!!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do It Yourself Salvation?

Romans 3:21-24 (The Message)
“But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. 22 The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. 23 Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, 24 God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”

Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, Do It Best… all have one thing in common.  They are the suppliers of materials and instructions to “do it yourself”.  Whatever the job, whatever the fix, they claim to have an answer and support staff to get it done.  Whether it’s planting a couple flowers to building your own house, they seem to have all the answers! 
It seems like we are always looking for someone who has the answers.  Someone we can go to, who can tell us what to do, where to do it, and when.  We place this source on speed dial, or try to keep them close by so they are handy in a tight spot. 
What happens when you become the person people go to for answers?  Do you start to feel the pressure to give the right answers?  Do you start to hide when you see the answer-seekers walking towards you?  Who do you go to, to find your answers?

Everyone went to Malia for answers.  Even her husband relied on her knowledge and experience to make decisions for them and their family.  When there were problems, her friends would ask her advice.  When there was a situation, she would cultivate a plan of action.
That put a lot of stress on Malia.  She felt like she always had to have an answer ready to give and it must be the right answer.  Malia started to get into the habit of solving other people’s problems.  She began to take it upon herself to find answers or at least a basic map to get them out of trouble.  What did this do to Malia?  It began with her mind racing, and increased stress.  She was trying to squeeze more and more into her schedule in order to accommodate everyone else allthewhile spreading herself thinner and thinner between family, friends, career, church, and her alone time.  Her eating habits were thrown off, because she was eating on the run, so her health began to be jeopardized along with her blood pressure and weight.  Then her nights were less and less restful as she spent more time thinking about the tugs from every direction, pulling at her for answers.  Before long, Malia was in distress.  Sleep did not give her the rest she craved.  The hobbies, and fun things she once enjoyed, held no peace for her.  She felt stuck, spinning her wheels and didn’t know how to fix anything much less identify a problem. 

Do you know Malia’s life all too well?  Do you struggle to find time for yourself, much less time to pray and study God’s word?
Here is the answer you have been longing for.
You priorities have been flipped upside down.  Instead of cutting back on everything else to make room for you and God, you have cut out your time for you to be alone and rejuvenate at the feet of Jesus, allowing Him to give you the answers.  Malia tried to take all of her world’s problems upon her shoulders instead of heading the instruction to “cast all your care upon Him because he cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7)
Do we have all the answers?  No.  But, we have access to the one who does.  No matter how busy life gets, or how many hands are pulling at us, do not neglect to rest and be refreshed at the feet of Jesus.  Seek His face, and rest in His presence!  That is more important than any appointment!
I challenge you, through the hustle and bustle of the season, not to cut out the most important piece of your day!  He loves you so much and longs to be with you and talk to you about His love for you!  Remember that you can’t ‘do it yourself’ but you can do “all things through Christ who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
Be blessed and have a happy and safe holiday!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Do or Do Not. There Is No Try." ~ Yoda, Star Wars

1 Peter 1:13-16
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””

I was reminded, today, of a truth that I had taken for granted.  God didn’t ever tell us to try to be holy or walk in righteousness.  Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say, “Okay, guys.  I know I am perfect and you’re just human so I don’t expect much from you.  In fact, count it pure joy when you hit but just figure you’re going to fail so you don’t get your hopes up too high.”  It’s kind of sounds funny, if you can imagine Jesus telling the disciples to just “try your best”. 

In 1 Peter, we see the first thing, that was instructed, was to “gird up the loins of your mind”.  I love how a pastor friend of mine explained it.  He said, “Peter was telling us to protect the tender or vulnerable parts of your mind.  The parts [of our thoughts] that is sensitive to injury, causing us to stumble or become immobile.”  What comes to mind is 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, which says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”  Peter was talking about bring every thought into alignment and making sure that they are protected so that when the enemy does attack our minds, and he will, they are well protected!

I have struggled through the past 6 months with mental/spiritual warfare.  Through my son’s surgery, dealing with his disabilities, trying to evenly spread my time between God, myself, husband, house, children, church, finances, and LIFE, satan has attempted to penetrate all of my defenses.  The battle was long and hard.  The attacks were relentless.  One thing I know for sure is God is faithful.  The storm is not over.  Satan doesn’t quit attacking just because we’ve had enough.  However, Jesus didn’t have peace after he calmed the storm.  He had peace in spite of it! 

Being sober and knowing that God is in control is not always as easy as saying, “I will be sober and trust in God.”  Sober is not just the absence of drugs and alcohol.  A sober mind is the absence of any mind-altering substances, including delusions, deceptions, and lies!  These can be self inflicted through ignoring reality or by choosing to believe what others are giving us without consulting God and His word for truth. (Philippians 4:8 “Whatsoever things are true… think on these things”)  You mind must be in alignment with God’s word and His truth!  When your mind is focused on truth, it is so much easier to trust God, because you are not being deceived that He is unable to handle your problems!  Knowing that He is in control and the truth of His good, acceptable and perfect will, will keep you in a place of humility and security.  He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  This means that even though we may not see behind the scenes or even know where our provision or answers are coming from, He will bring them all together for our benefit, if we keep our minds set on Him. 

I thought of my children as I read the last part.  My children have no doubts that at 5:30ish, I am going to call them to the table and feed them.  It never crossed their minds that there could come a day that they come to the table for supper and have nothing in front of them.  Why?  The truth of it is, they never will!  God promised that we would never have to worry about what to eat or what to wear. 

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were concerned about the clothes my children did have.  They were all summer clothes and getting way too small.  Not long after we prayed over it, and gave it to Jesus (1 Peter 5:7), did a co-worker, and fellow child of God, hand us a card with enough money in it to buy two new outfits for each child and food for two days.  He heard God’s call and answered it.  We didn’t expect it, and didn’t know where it was going to come from but was trusting God to work in our behalf!

As children of God, we are called to be Holy.  Not to try to be holy but to be holy.  Does this mean perfection?  No!  However, we are called to be part of the family.  Another way to look at this is as a family unit.  When I married my husband, I took his name and we became a family.  Our children were born into our family.  As they grow up, we are constantly reminding them that they are representatives of God and our family.  My husband, Joe, will look at my son sternly, but full of love, and say “You are my son and I expect you to act like it.”  Does this mean that he won’t make mistakes?  No.  When he makes mistakes, we lovingly discipline him because we cannot allow him to continue behaving badly and acting out of family character.  Just as we discipline our son and bring him back into right-standing, so does God discipline us and bring us back into righteousness! 

My favorite movie quote... :)
This week I challenge you to look at the God the Father.  See what He expects from His children.  He loves us so much and will never call us to do something destructive.  We can trust Him to do what is best!  He wants you to be a part of the family!  If you are not part of the family, it is simple.  Throw out everything you think you know about God, and ask Him to show you who He is through a relationship with Him.

He loves you more than you know!
Be blessed!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hide And Seek

Hide in a corner by ~YaraKlaproos on deviantART

Today is simple.  I am hiding. 

By definition, hiding is:
1)      Place or state of concealment – A place where somebody is hiding or can hide.
2)      Keep something secret – to prevent something from becoming known
3)      Move out of sight – to conceal yourself, or something or somebody else, from view.
(Encarta Dictionary)
Why does one hide? 
Fear and anxiety are the first things that come to mind as motive for hiding.  Fear can trigger the fight or flight reflex.  Also, pain and injury can cause us to want to curl up and hide from danger and further injury.  However, this is not always the case, and certainly not my motivation for staying hidden. 
Some hide to escape, for solitude and seclusion.  When life becomes overwhelming and circumstances are persistently and continuously pressing, it is good to get away.  That is why we have vacation benefits and holidays.  As nice as a vacation would be right now, that is not my motivation for hiding.
Why am I hiding?
I am hiding in order to be found.  It is simple to see when someone wants to be found and when they don’t.  The person hiding will hide in a obvious and easy to find location in order to be found.  For example, my husband hid a note for me to find.  The kids can’t reach it but it is a place I look to often.  The cupboard.  Another great example is the children’s game, hide and seek.  The object is to avoid being found, yet no one wants to be forgotten.
Today, and until I am satisfactorily found, I am hiding in a place where only He can find me.  I know I am not forgotten because He has promised that He himself will search for me.  (Ezekiel 34:11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.””)
When times are unsure, and circumstances are unrelenting; When the feeling of helplessness arises and the injuries of betrayals are fresh and painful, it is time to hide.  Let Him find you.  Allow His grace to cover you and His mercy to minister to your injuries.
Today there are no challenges.  Simply hiding.
Be blessed.

PS. 17:8b “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings

PS. 27:5 “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

PS. 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.   Selah”

PS. 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”
*All scripture taken from New King James Version.*

Friday, October 14, 2011

Choosing to Trust

Ps. 31:14-15 (NKJV) 14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

Trusting God sounds so simple to most people.  If you ask anyone who calls themselves a “Christian”, they will probably agree that they trust God.  However, truly trusting God only comes through testing that trust.  It's a difficult choice to trust God. Sometimes we want to change our minds, especially when things don't look the way we want them to. 
My family and I were facing some difficult financial decisions this month.  We have been faced with extra financial obligations lately so we had to make decisions on how to prioritize our finances, making sure everything that had to be done, was completed.  For example, rent had to be paid, had to have gas in the car, and then we go down the line on other necessities.  This month we cut a lot of our entertainment funding, which wasn’t much to begin with, as well as cutting out all restaurant activity (NO eating out.  Not even at lunch.)  This may seem trivial, but it causes us to take extra time to plan our meals and bag our lunches.  It also makes us reconsider our entertainment choices like movies, games and other fun things.  Does this mean we don’t trust God?  No.  Not at all.  This means we are going to be responsible with the resources he has entrusted us with.  See, we are trusting God to continue to provide for all of our needs.  (Philippians 4:19, NKJV “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”) 
A while ago, I found myself becoming angry about our circumstances.  See, things weren’t happening the way I wanted them to.  I thought that by now we would have moved, I would be in a full-time job and ministry position and that the vision for my family would be a bit more tangible, and real, than it is.  When those things didn’t happen when I planned, I had a difficult choice to make.  Will I trust God or won’t I.  I started to try and take things into my own hands.  I was going to “fix” it and make things happen.  However, anyone who has experienced this can and will tell you the same thing as me.  The right thing in the wrong time is always the wrong thing.  It’s all about God’s timing.  So, by the grace of God, we didn’t get in too far off track but enough to set us back.  We repented for not seeking God’s direction in the matter and becoming impatient and now we are facing the consequences (knowing that, even through consequences, He will never leave us).  We are choosing to trust God through the tight squeeze to getting back on track (detours always cost you time and fuel).  Even though it is frustrating sometimes, we choose to praise Him for His love and mercy which kept us from losing it all!
The lessons we learned are :
1)      We want God to swoop in and save the day. God wants to build character and a relationship with is. Choosing to trust Him causes us to surrender control and allow God to do what He does... Show Himself Strong & Win Big!
2)      I'm confident in who God is! In MY DEFICIENCIES, He makes up the difference with GRACIOUS SUFFICIENCIES!!! When I am weak, He's strong! (2 Cor. 12:10, NKJV “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
3)      If he never does another thing for me, He's already done enough. If He never blesses me again, He's already blessed me so much. For what He's done, I will praise Him and for WHO HE IS, I worship Him. Because He loved me first, I will love Him forever!!!
4)      God’s plan is higher, greater, smarter, and altogether better than ours!
5)      Stop trying make God’s plan look like the one in your head!  The one in your head will get you NO WHERE.  (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
6)      Disappointment comes when you are looking for God to move the way you think He should.  Then the enemy will try to tell you that God failed you.  NO, God did not fail you.  His plans are higher! (Isaiah 55:9, NKJV “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”)
I challenge you, this weekend and next week.  Look at the toughest areas of your life.  Do you trust God with them or are you trying to find your own way?  Is your way working?
I remember hearing a Chinese proverb that says “The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results each time.”
Remember, seek His face first.  Then all the rest will fall in line!
Be blessed!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Fight to Stay Free

Exodus 14:13-1413 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Zechariah 4:6b “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”
My last post was a personal milestone, releasing the past and burying it forever.  Not to be forgotten, but also not to be focused on or kept alive!
As I sat tonight, caring for three sick children, God brought a truth to mind.  The chaos of the night began trying to get all three kids to bed.  Nathan, my 4 year old, was sitting with Joe (daddy) while finishing a breathing treatment.  I was upstairs with Maya, his twin, getting her in bed.  She was complaining of a scratchy throat so after a drink and some medicine for allergies, I prayed with her and tucked her in.  Then I prayed with Donavon, our 9 year old.  About an hour later, Maya wakes up crying softly with a barking cough.  She could barely breathe.
Two hours later, including a call to the doctor, two breathing treatments, some ibuprophen and robitussin, she is resting and I am quietly praying.  While praying I think about what the children of Israel went through to get out of Egypt.  They first had to be motivated to move (ultra condensed version), then they had to be released.  Once they made the choice to get up and go, the enemy tried to get them back into the place of complacency and immobility. 
I asked God, briefly, “Why the tough road?  Why not just deliver them immediately?  You could have done it.  You could have wiped out the Egyptians in seconds!”  The reply; “Ah, but then they would not have appreciated what I had done for them!  And some of them still did not understand the value of the deliverance I provided.”  “Okay, God.” I said.  “I just left this pain, heart ache and misery.  Why can’t I just be free of it?  Why can’t I go straight into the next level or the promise land?” 
This is what God showed me tonight. 
Once I chose to move as God instructed and then actually do what I determined to do, the enemy will come out and try to get you back.  At that point, you have to continue to obey God.  If you don’t, you must start all over in order to be set free.  But, if you remain obedient, even through the test, God then responds!  In response to your obedience, he says “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.” (Exodus 14:13)  In essence, what has happened is, through your willingness to do what He has told you to do, you have shown God that you trust Him.  He, in turn, honors the agreement or covenant that He made with his children.  Leviticus talks about God’s promise to the Israelites if they obey all of His commands and laws.
I am standing on God’s promises that, not only will He bless me, provide for me, and protect me; He will also continue the blessing and covenant to my children!
Things are rough at times.  Kids are sick (not just the flu, but in the hospital, having surgery and fighting for their lives), finances are strained, and it is easy to feel alone when problems keep rising.  But don’t give up & don’t give in!  God will always keep His promise!  Make the tough choice and stick to it because in the end is peace, protection, and the relationship of a life time!
Be blessed!
Leviticus 26:3-13
3   ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,
4    then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5    Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6    I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.
7    You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.
8    Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
9    ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.
10    You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.
11    I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.
12    I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
13    I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Eulogy: Farewell to History

"Dearly beloved:
We are taking a moment to pause and reflect on the moments we shared with History. The good times when we laughed and played will be cherished forever. The bad times when we didn't think we would survive will be remembered for the growth and the lessons learned as well as the triumph of remaining victorious!

Today we have come to bid farewell to History for it is with great joy that when one season begins, another must end. History is not bound to repeat itself for it will be remembered by a great many who were involved in the events that took place and those who spectated those events. However, we must stand firm in continuing on with life, just as History would have wanted. History would not have wanted us to linger of what has already happened. To the contrary... History would look at us fondly and say "Live the life that has been given you to it's fullest potential!"

So, with that in mind, we have come to bury History. Even though it is dead and buried from this day forth, we who have endured will not forget as we continue to follow the path that is laid before us. We choose to continue pursuing not only our dreams but our Great Commission, "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13b-14 NKJV)

Let us pray.
Great Father God, who rules all in heaven and on earth,
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him." (Dan. 2:21-22 NKJV)
We thank you for your changing the seasons. We thank you for allowing us to be a part of your plan and we know that you have everything under control. Even though we let go of History today, we know we can trust you to take us into a greater Future in you! We love you and we stand on your promises! In the name of Jesus we pray... AMEN

Be blessed!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Free-writing / Free-reading

So, here I sit, once again, in front of a blank page.  No limits to my thoughts, dreams, ambitions, or potential.  There’s simply a blank page.  What more could a writer ask for, because… that’s what I am… a writer.  I have no expectations of what is supposed to be written and have not been given any specific assignments on what to write.  I am simply free writing.  Free-writing is an exercise used by many writers to keep creativity fresh.  It also allows us to utilize our gifts and skills without the restraints of obligations, expectations, or delegations of others.

My desire is not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, so to speak.  I do not want to rearrange someone else’s ideas and present them as a unique view of my own.  Above all, I definitely do not want to discuss the same, tired, old subjects that are in the stuck circles of blog after blog and article after article.  No, my ambition is to discover something entirely new and unique.  I want to paint a mental canvas with brilliant colors and beautiful transitions that cause the partakers to stop and sigh in a breathtaking moment of wonderment.

As I sit here, writing the thoughts that come to mind, it dawns on me what God is speaking to me through this exercise.  Shake off the old mentality, the old subjects, the passé topics, and the ‘beaten horse’ themes that have been utilized to the point that absolutely no one wants to read about again.  Relationships are important, but there are plenty of authors who have written about dating, marriage, communication, sex, men from Mercury and women from Pluto or whatever.  There are countless authors who have written about leadership, improving your life today, and achieving your ‘best days now!’  I am no longer writing what everyone else is writing about.
From this day forward, I commit to throwing out the old and allowing God to reveal truth and newness.  No more preconceived ideas and definitely no more truth handed to me by another human. 
My challenge this week is for all my readers to do the same.  Do not simply take what someone else has handed you as gospel truth.  Test it. 
John 4:1 (The Message) says,
“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
This is where your faith walk comes in.  Prayer is the key to testing anything.  If you are not directly connected to the truth, it becomes easy to mistake counterfeit.  When I worked for National City Bank in 2000/2001, they taught us simple ways to test currency and be sure that it was legitimate.  There are several ways like checking for the ‘tells’ (the strip in the middle of the paper, specific markings and watermarks, as well as the touch and thickness of the paper).  I had to be familiar with what the ‘real thing’ was so that when the fakes came up, I could tell the difference.  We had to keep doing this frequently because it is easy to forget the feel, and look, of a real bill if we didn’t see them all the time.  (I don’t normally carry 100 dollar bills on me.)  People of God, we must stay familiar with God our father and His personality, traits, feel, smell, and words so that when the enemy presents counterfeit, we are able to detect it with all assurance. 
I encourage you to read all of 1st John 4 (it’s not very long), and to guard your hearts against anyone handing you ‘truth’.  Seek God because He has your best interests at heart, to give you a future and a hope! (Jer. 29:11)
God loves you!  Be blessed!