31 August 2010

To Trust You ...

At Your Word, O LORD,
I have stayed in situations when I wanted to leave, and I have left when I was perfectly content to stay; I have spoken when every fiber of my being wanted to quietly disassociate myself from a matter. I have remained silent when everything in me wanted to scream in my own defense.

I have moved away from relationships that I wanted to keep – I have embraced new friendships that I would not have considered without Your prompting. I have stood still, when all I could think about was running away. And I have continued to walk when I wanted to crawl up in a corner and quit.

In all this – I have learned to trust You – in new and different ways

Every day, I am reassured that You truly do work all things together for the good for them that love You, those who are the called, according to Your purpose – Romans 8:28

So my prayer today is simple –
Reward the faithfulness of your chosen servants today, LORD. Cause Your Presence, Your favor, Your provision, Your direction, Your Holy Spirit to flood my life and the lives of every sister and brother in Christ who has made a decision … TO TRUST YOU!

In The Matchless Name of Jesus I Pray … Amen!

28 August 2010

carried away captive...

'Again the word of the LORD came to me , saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive … whom I have sent out of this place for their own good …’ Jer. 24:4-5

As I read these words this week during my studies, I was reminded that not everything which has taken one captive is from the enemy. There are times when we as Christians give the devil a little too much credit.

Now, an adversary may be used to execute a particular outcome. However, God is always in control. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. The Word states that God will acknowledge those who are carried away captive. Yet He clearly expresses that it is He who sent them out and that it was for their good.

In Jeremiah 29:11 (NCV), the Father expresses His heart for us in saying, "... I know what I am planning for you," says the LORD. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future."

This is why I must focus on doing all things without grumbling and complaining – lest I, while murmuring about an enemy and what I perceive to be a bad situation, inadvertently find myself striving against the will of God.

I must take the time to seek God, to see things from His perspective, to increase in my understanding of not only His plans but His process as well.

The LORD allows situations and circumstances to occur which seem to completely contradict His expressed will for our lives. Yet, if we will but trust Him – in time – we shall see the glorious manifestation of His perfect will and timing, just as He purposed it in heaven.

How wonderful is that?

It gives me peace and confidence…
 Peace, in knowing that He truly is working in every situation that concerns me
 Confidence, in knowing that He’s working a favorable outcome, no matter how unfavorable the process may be

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom. 8:28 (HCSB)

24 August 2010

who do you say?

So I was studying my Bible yesterday and was reading about Jacob’s wrestling experience with God. Not sure how I even ended up there since that is not what I started out studying but, I guess God leads you where He wants you to go.

Genesis 32:24-32ESV
‘And Jacob was left alone. And a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day … Then He said, “Let Me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me." And He said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Then He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven [wrestled] with God and with men, and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked Him, "Please tell me Your name." But He said, "Why is it that you ask My name?" And there He blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered [spared]."'

Ever been in a situation like Jacob’s?

I have!

In fact, I am in the middle of one now. I’ve been applying for jobs for years now [yes, I said years!] and to no avail - tough for any family, but try being a single-mom while enduring this type of wilderness experience. It has felt like the longest night ever and I feel like Jacob – tired from wrestling with situations and circumstances, tired of wrestling with man, at times even wrestling with the One who has immeasurable strength - yet determined not to give up.

Now Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” But I am here to tell you that I have reached the point where I am determined to never let go - even if the blessing does not manifest in the way [or timeframe] that I think it should – as long as He gives me grace to hold on.

So the Angel of God tells Jacob that dawn is breaking
The night is ending and so, too, the wrestling match must end.
That alone ought to encourage someone … it did me!

Then the Angel of God wrenches Jacob’s hip, forever altering his walk. He also changes his name and does indeed bless him.

Here’s the part that got my attention:
Jacob asked Him, ‘Please tell me Your name’ but He would not. He only responded, ‘Why is it that you ask My name?’

I found it a little peculiar that He would not respond. I mean, You spend all night in close proximity with someone, You get their sweat and tears all over You, and You have touched them in intimate places. Yet You will not give Your name when asked.

Why would God do this?

I believe there are two reasons:
1. It should have been evident who He was
2. There is no teaching so great as the revelation of discovering the answer one’s self

Please do not misunderstand my point. There is a value in getting information from others, especially those more learned than oneself. However, there is an even greater value, I believe, in getting that understanding from God revealing it personally – through His Word, His actions and our experience with Him.

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16, ‘Who do men say that I am?’ but then He followed that inquiry with a more important question, ‘Who do YOU say that I am?

It is a fair and straight forward question based upon their walks beside Him, their knowledge of Him and intimate experiences with Him. They had to truly consider what each of them, individually, knew to be true. Yet only one response is recorded from Peter, “Thou art the Christ!”

Understand that we, like Jacob and Peter, will at times be required to come up with our own name for God. Yet before He asks, He knows that He has already revealed enough of Himself for us to know the answer.

Based upon your dark, wrestling and pain-ridden night [if you are experiencing one], who has God become to you? What has the experience taught you about life, about your specific location, about yourself and about your God?

Jacob had to come to the end of himself and admit, I’m a trickster. But I believe the reason he held on so tight was that he was saying, ‘I’m tired of being this way … experiencing the same things over and over. Not to mention, I am like the walking dead anyway if You do not do something new and fresh in my life.’ God responded with a new name and a blessing. And, in that moment, he saw God face-to-face, forever defining that experience and what He would call God for that season of his life. It forever changed his walk and became a foundational block for future situations and circumstances.

Notice that he did not name the experience, ‘The Pain of God’ or even ‘The Blessing of God’.

No! He named it ‘The Face of God’.

Understand that once you get a fresh revelation of who He is, you forget the pain and even the blessing you were looking for because He has given you something of even greater value.

He has given you a glimpse of Himself…

For me, the prevailing name for God during this season of my life has been ‘Faithful’.

Who do you say that He is?

21 August 2010

careful little ears ...

II Corinthians 5:7 says, 'we walk by faith and not sight'

Yet ...

Romans 10:17 (AMP) says, 'faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).'

Are you overwhelmed by what you see?
Do you continually find yourself confronted with the challenge of walking by faith?

It might be a good time to ask, 'What have I been hearing'.

What has your ear, has your faith.

There's a line from an old song which cautions us to be mindful of what we hear, what we continually expose ourselves to ... and truer words were never spoke.

What you hear repeatedly will eventually influence what you think - which will impact what you believe, which will impact what you speak and what you do and who you become.

Be careful little ears what you hear...

19 August 2010

I am ...

‘When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."’ Luke 3:21-22

‘Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit ... And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."’ Luke 4:14, 18-19, 21

Jesus, at His baptism was told by the Father, who He was.
Later on, He read from the Word of God which, again, told Him who He was.

But what happened in between these situations?

He was confronted and tempted by the enemy in the wilderness. (see Luke 4:1-13)

And, while in the wilderness...
Jesus, without coming right out and saying 'I am the Promised One' - emphatically let satan know, I am not your puppet!

You see, God will acknowledge and affirm who you are before a difficult time of testing enters your life. And, He will take the time to remind you who you are after you have endured the wearying blows of a wilderness trial. But ...

In the middle of the storm, it is your job to look that devil square in his face and let him know who you are!

Do not succumb to identity theft in the midst of the storm. Neither should you fear ... for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Stand up and boldly declare, ‘I am ...’
• His Beloved (Rom. 9:25)
• The Apple of His Eye (Zech. 2:8)
• Daughter/Son of the Most High (Ps. 82:6)
• More Than a Conqueror (Romans 8:37)

Let your enemy know, in no uncertain terms...

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me - and dwells in me - anointing me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.

Then go out and do it!

10 August 2010

be encouraged ...

The first thing I want to say is that I am sorry that you are sad. I think about all of us who are serving the LORD and many are facing significant challenges in one way or another. Further, there is always the natural instinct to desire that ‘sweet spot’ where all things just seem to work – yet it seems to be eluding many of us. With that said, please accept the following in love …

As I read my Esther workbook (by Beth Moore) this week, it was talking about when individuals get caught up in ‘people-snares’, when they allow someone to become such an object of their attention that they are unable to enjoy even the good things that are happening in their lives. They become preoccupied and eventually become mastered by their thoughts and the circumstance.

Yet, as I read the workbook and the author asked us to think about someone like that in our own lives, I couldn’t think of a person (presently). I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past – but I could not think of any recent ‘people’ examples.

I could, however, think of plenty of situations that I have allowed to consume my thoughts. The concerns begin every morning – after lingering as the last thoughts at night many an evening.

But, I know I have to make a choice. I have to choose to focus on God and the truth of His Word instead of looking at my circumstances. I have to make a conscious decision to walk by faith and not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)

It is not easy. But we were never promised nor assured that it would be an easy life.

For all intents and purposes, it is much easier to do what is wrong than to try to live right. What’s more, it can even be enjoyable – for a while. But the servant of God has to make a choice. Moses made that choice, refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.’ (Hebrews 11:25 AMP)

Now, the true believer does not have a desire to return to the sinful life – but they do still have questions why those who walk in that lifestyle appear to be blessed and even rewarded for their behaviors. But that is not for us to determine. God is just and merciful. And often we are looking at the wrong result anyway.

I know in my own life, that I have been guilty, on a few occasions, of expressing my frustration with the lack of fruit in my life – yet I am bearing the fruit that matters: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, longsuffering, righteousness.

The wages of sin is spiritual death – even if it fattens your wallet and gets you the admiration of many for a season. The reward of righteousness is life – even if it causes you to struggle and face hardships that you could never have imagined. It, too, is for a season.


Yet, even if it is this way until we leave this people-planet … we do not do it for rewards. HE is our exceedingly great reward! We live this life we live because we have the Holy Spirit in us which draws us to do what is pleasing to the Father – whether we ever yield a tangible result or not.

There was a lesson in my Esther workbook that I must continually focus upon. You see, Esther faced a situation where she was tasked with doing the right thing and she came to the conclusion, ‘If I perish, then I perish.’ (Esther 4:16)

As believers, we all have take a lesson from Esther and fill in the blanks. If ________________, then ___________________.

• If I never get a job, then I will still serve Him. He still promotes and sets down. (Psalm 75:7)
• If I lose my home, then I still have Him, can still serve Him and still know that He is working all things together for my good … according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
• If the publisher never calls back and the book never gets published, then I still was obedient and did what God asked me to do. And we know obedience to God is always better. (Romans 6:16)
• If they tell me that my youngest son’s back is not healed and needs a brace (or worse, surgery), then God is still the Healer. (Exodus 15:26)
• If my oldest son does not get a room on campus, then God is still Jehovah-Jireh, the Provider, my God who supplies all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)

My experiences do not in any way diminish or nullify the truth of who He is.

When frustrations mount, we have to speak His Word, the words of life – otherwise we will go crazy!

I know this doesn’t provide an immediate remedy to any of the problems that we all are facing. It doesn’t change your issues and make everything perfect. It doesn’t miraculously end my friend’s struggle with her third bout of cancer. It doesn’t keep loved ones from passing away and doesn’t bring back ones that have already left us.

But, it does anchor us in our faith and to the LORD our God.

If you look through Scripture, we are commanded:
Be of good cheer! (Matthew 14:27)
Do not fear … (Genesis 15:1)
Be strong and courageous … (Joshua 1)
Do not grow weary in well doing … (Galatians 6:9)

They are not suggestions or even encouragements – they are commands, they are imperatives.
COMMAND - a : of, relating to, or constituting the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another
IMPERATIVE - 1 : to direct authoritatively : ORDER 2 : to exercise a dominating influence over : have command of

They are commands because our Commander knew there would be moments when we, in the midst of the war, would not know what to do. Therefore, He commanded us through His Word … He charges us.

Yet we still have to make a decision that we will get in line and obey the command – like a good soldier.

There are many young U.S. soldiers that signed-up for the Army while times were calm. The benefits appealed to them and even though they knew hard work would be required they felt the benefits outweighed the drawbacks – that is until wars broke out.

Once directly confronted with the thoughts that this commitment might cost them dearly, they had to reevaluate and really think about whether it was worth it.
• If I never make it home to use my education grants – is it worth it?
• If I only benefit from the free medical because my legs have been blown off – can I handle it?
• If I never use my VA-Loan because I die on the battlefield – can I face that possibility?

Many decide ‘No’ and if they make it to the end of their contract – they get out.
However, there are countless others, who having been physically burned by war and emotionally burned by the toll that separation and situations take on their families – still decide to reenlist.

They have determined that there is nothing they would rather do than to serve – no matter what it costs.

Now, as Christian soldiers, we must remember that we enlisted … we were not drafted. Further, we enlisted with the understanding that it was an eternal contract. And that contract was signed in blood – Jesus’ blood!


If you are forced to live among people who willfully disregard the principles of God – be glad that you are there to set an example so someone may realize that he/she does not have to be given over to a debase mind and unrighteous behaviors.

If your workplace is full of frustrations and disappointments – praise the LORD that you have a job and be thankful that God entrusted that place to your care – that, perhaps a few may come to the saving knowledge of Christ because of your presence there.

Bless the LORD and forget not all His benefits. (Psalm 103:2)

Fix your mind and your speech on the positive and not the negative. There is a reason why God told us to speak to one another in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs. (Eph. 5:19-20)

Finally, my sisters and brothers …

'whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].’ (Philippians 4:8 AMP)

'I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.’ (Philippians 4:8 MSG)


06 August 2010

The Hidden Workers

Just had to share this devotional from Streams in the Desert:

Hidden Workers
"John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true" (John 10:41).

You may be very discontented with yourself. You are no genius, have no brilliant gifts, and are inconspicuous for any special faculty. Mediocrity is the law of your existence. Your days are remarkable for nothing but sameness and insipidity. Yet you may live a great life. John did no miracle, but Jesus said that among those born of women there had not appeared a greater than he.

John's main business was to bear witness to the Light, and this may be yours and mine. John was content to be only a voice, if men would think of Christ.

Be willing to be only a voice, heard but not seen; a mirror whose surface is lost to view, because it reflects the dazzling glory of the sun; a breeze that springs up just before daylight, and says, "The dawn! the dawn!" and then dies away.

Do the commonest and smallest things as beneath His eye. If you must live with uncongenial people, set to their conquest by love. If you have made a great mistake in your life, do not let it becloud all of it; but, locking the secret in your breast, compel it to yield strength and sweetness.

We are doing more good than we know, sowing seeds, starting streamlets, giving men true thoughts of Christ, to which they will refer one day as the first things that started them thinking of Him; and, of my part, I shall be satisfied if no great mausoleum is raised over my grave, but that simple souls shall gather there when I am gone, and say,

"He was a good man; he wrought no miracles, but he spake words about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself." --George Matheson