30 April 2011

stop barking at me!

I saw the most adorable sight the other day when I was driving out to my son's campus...

As I pulled to a stop at a red light and looked to my left, there was this precious little dog in the passenger seat. The window was down and he was looking in the side view mirror. He was absolutely outdone! Every time he popped his head up to look in the mirror, there was another little dog staring right back at him. He would bark and snarl and growl. And, of course, the little dog in the mirror would respond in kind. It was hilarious!

Unfortunately, he was not having as much fun as I was having looking at him. If only he could understand ... if would simply smile at the doggy in the mirror, the doggy in the mirror would smile at him.

And often that is how it is with us humans...

We wonder why the reaction we receive from the world is cold or grumpy or suspicious. Yet we must understand that often times [although, not always] we receive from people exactly what we give off. It has been very rare that I have smiled at someone and they have not smiled back. It does happen but it is rare. So the next time you are catching a bunch of negativity from those you encounter, do a quick self-check to make sure they are not simply reflecting something that you are sending - consciously or unconsciously.

'...with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you'
Luke 6:38

27 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Now’

Now … 
This moment ...
It is the only thing that we know for certain that is ours.

Yesterday we found out that my cousin passed away – just forty two years old. No one expected it. It just happened suddenly. And it made me think about what his last conversation might have been. I also wondered if some of the people who are now mourning left something unsaid that they wish they had said. Listening to comments from different family members, one was praying about his eternal destination while another commented about desiring God’s blessings for the young man and his family. Praying for the family? Yes, I can see that. However, he has passed on into eternity – too late to wonder about salvation or petition for blessings for him.

Why mention this as part of our JOURNEY 201¦1 series?
In this journey, now is the only moment we definitely have. Now is the moment we can impact – not yesterday, and tomorrow is unknown.

Missing someone? Call them ... now.
If you have wronged someone ... apologize … now.
If someone has wronged you … forgive … now.
Do you love someone, really love someone? Tell them … now.
Has someone blessed your life? Thank them … now.
Want to bless someone’s life? Pray for them … now.
Longing for time with loved ones? Make it a priority ... now.
Concerned about someone’s salvation? Share Jesus with them … now.

Do you want to be closer to God?
Seek Him … now. Trust Him … now. Draw near … now.

Do you need a change in your life?
Are you uncertain about your eternal destination?
Accept Jesus and His free gift of salvation … now.

‘Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart …’ Hebrews 3:7-8

Whatever God is telling you to do, in your relationship with Him or with others – do it now. Ecclesiastes chapter three tells us, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven’ Yet often times we pray to God to change our season and we wait patiently for it to progress, not realizing that there are some seasons that we have the power to change. The season of weeping can be transformed into a time of laughter if we will but reach out past our own pain to embrace joy or reach into someone’s abyss of sorrow to share love and give hope.

Whether you are living, loving, sharing, growing - 
Giving, forgiving, caring or serving …

Whatever you do … do it NOW!

20 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘You Are It’

When I was a kid, we would play hide and seek in the neighborhood. And for me, it was always much more fun to do the hiding than it was to do the seeking – probably because I only had to hide myself when ‘hiding’ but had to look for everyone when I was ‘the seeker’. After I had my turn looking for everyone, there was a great satisfaction in telling someone else that it was their turn to search, in proclaiming, 'You are it!'

Last week, I wrote about us seeking the LORD – how He promises to be found by us if we will seek Him with our whole heart. Yet there is as great – and even greater – joy in knowing that God Almighty is the Ultimate Seeker.
  • ‘Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 2:9
  • ‘Now the Angel of the LORD found her [Hagar] by a spring of water in the wilderness … And He said ... where have you come from, and where are you going?” Genesis 16:7-8
  • ‘Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” I Samuel 3:10
  • ‘Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?”’ I Samuel 16:10-11
  • ‘And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”’ I Kings 19:9
  • ‘For thus says the LORD God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.’ Ezekiel 34:11
  • ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us ...’  John 1:1,14
  • And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Revelation 22:12
Yes, He can be found seeking us out from Genesis to Revelation. In the garden of Eden He sought out Adam, even after there was a sin-introducing violation of God’s instruction. From Egyptian handmaids, to His chosen prophets, to selecting a king - He can be found searching out His people and coming to them. In Ezekiel He acknowledges that He will seek after His own. And in the New Testament, we find Jesus coming to dwell among us with a promise that He is coming again.

He seeks ... from beginning to end and everywhere in between.

He asks us where we are, not because He does not know, but so that we can acknowledge where we are and know that He takes an intensely personal interests in each of us. He sought us out and so desperately wanted to be near us that He sent Jesus to dwell among us. And He is not willing that any should perish – desiring that all would accept the free gift of salvation made available to us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

His love for us is insatiable! One would think that He would have stopped at the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Yet, He keeps on pursuing and drawing us near and embracing us.

It is great to seek Him in this journey. But, what a joy it is to know that He continues to seek after each and every one of us. I am so glad that He sought me out and that He still seeks me out on a consistent basis. Jesus, You Are Truly It … The Ultimate Seeker.

Thank You for loving us so much!

18 April 2011

glorious day ...

So thankful for Jesus ...

For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish
but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

16 April 2011

God Most High

My hope is in the LORD ...

As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
“For who is God, except the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?
God is my strength and power, 
And He makes my way perfect.'
II Samuel 22:31-33 

15 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 XTRA ‘Obviously ...’

‘But he himself [Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life …” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank…’ I Kings 19:4-8

You would not think that God would need to send an angel to remind you to eat. It seems that would be obvious. Yet, when we are focused on the journey, there are several journey necessities that can go overlooked – obvious actions we somehow miss as we get busy with life. I’ve been there. In fact I was there just this week. I allowed myself to get so busy encouraging and serving others that I neglected myself – resulting in a feeling of overwhelmed anxiousness and frustration. And so here are some ‘obviously, obvious’ journey pointers – for you and me:

EAT – by all means, do not get so preoccupied that you forget to take in a meal. This is dangerous physically but can be lethal spiritually. Take time to read and study your Bible and also take time to glean wisdom from some good Christian teachers and then apply to your life what you've learned. If you are unable to make it to a conference, there are plenty of ministries that have their services online. This can be a good supplement to your local ministry and I have listed several quality ministries listed on this blog page for your reference.

SLEEP – more important than a posh hotel or suite is the need to have a spiritual place to lodge. Understand that there is no other place better than the presence of the LORD. ‘The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.’ What does it mean to run into the name of the LORD? It is when you no longer lean or stand upon Him – but you envelop yourself in His presence and the power of His name - like we did with El Elyon last week. Do not neglect or be afraid of resting. It is not a sign of weakness or laziness (unless you do it all the time). It is wisdom!

When my children were babies, there would be times that they would fight taking a nap. They were EXHAUSTED! Yet they would cry and fuss and squirm – all to avoid sleeping. And I would try to help them understand that they would be so much happier if they would just TAKE A NAP. And that is EXACTLY how it is with us at times. As angels look on from up above they question God, ‘My LORD, what is wrong with her? Why is she sad and fussing and crying and cranky?’ And Daddy simply says, ‘She is over-tired … she needs a nap … once she gets some rest, she will be fine.’ Anybody out there 'over' being tired all the time?

Understand that resistance is futile:
  • In Psalm 127:2 He tells us, ‘It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.’
  • In Exodus 31:15 we are reminded, ‘Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD.’
  • In Proverbs 3:24 He tells us, 'When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.'
He knows how we are built! After all, He made us and He knows that He wired us with a need for periodic times of rest and relaxation.

FUEL UP – with gas prices the way they are, many people are avoiding the pumps unless absolutely necessary. However, it is essential that you not allow yourself to run on fumes. Keep your tank at least half full, refueling on His Word and these other helpful resources:
  • Music – fill up with songs that glorify Him and get your focus off of circumstances and onto the Lord. Buy some CD's, load up the iPod, listen to a Christian radio station. Fill your house, your car and your mouth  with the sounds of worship
  • Relationships – interact with other people during the journey. Constant isolation is a tool the enemy will use. Know that there is an energizing factor that comes from being able to give and receive encouragement. It is just plain fun being around godly people - and laughter can do the heart good like a medicine.
You hear a song and it reminds you of a verse you read that morning - and you know that God is speaking to you. You connect with a friend, they share something that God has been revealing to them and it resonates with what He has been speaking to you - and you feel the gentle press of the Holy Spirit. They serve as a sort of turbo-boost to what you have been feeding upon. 

PARK & GET DIRECTION – there will be times when you have to park. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is a good way to take a rest and/or get your bearings so that you can continue on the journey. Just be careful about where and how long you park.
  • Lot parked near Sodom, and later found himself parked in Sodom – a decision which ultimately turned out to be very costly to him personally.
  • On my son’s campus, they have a two-hour parking limit and if you stay there too long, you can be ticketed or even towed.
It is important to understand that if you park longer than you should and in an area where you should not park, it could become very costly. So keep that in mind!

And while you are parked, check the map and your GPS. Now, I know maps are somewhat antiquated in this age of technology. However, as pertains to spiritual matters, you will need to check the map [Bible] AND your GPS [Guaranteed Providential Support/God Positioning System]. If you get lost, they will get you back on track. If you consult them often enough, you won’t get lost in the first place.

KEEP MOVING – just remember that there is no quitting until you reach the destination … which is heaven. That means that you cannot check out of this journey until He checks you out. After you have eaten and slept, when you have fueled up and asked for directions, when you have taken a short break … Keep it Moving!

'I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself... I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.’ Philippians 3:10-16 MSG

When you get hungry ... Eat!
When you are exhausted ... Sleep!
If you are feeling sluggish ... Fuel-up!
If you are lost and need a short break ... Park & Get Direction!
And if ever you feel like giving up and quitting ... Keep Moving!

Obviously ... obvious

13 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Seeking’

So last week was an exercise on just one of God’s many names – El Elyon, which means God Most High. I sure hope you were able to be reminded of some of the great things about His character, and that you perhaps discovered something new.

I know it was a time consuming process. However, the LORD tells us, ‘… you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD…’ Jeremiah 28:13-14

When we seek Him diligently, He promises that He will be found by us. And that is what JOURNEY 201¦1 is all about – knowing Him.

There is no greater joy and something happens when we take the time to seek Him, to find out what He says about Himself. We become awestruck by the wonder of His majesty. He becomes GRAND and everything else shrinks back down to their rightful place, instead of the larger-than-God mountains that we make them out to be.

When I did the exercise that I shared last week, there were a couple of verses that truly stood out in my mind...
‘Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.” Gen. 14:18-20

‘But You , O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.’ Ps. 86:15

‘As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.’ Ps. 18:30

God Most High possessor of heaven and earth, worthy of praise, giver of victory; compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, merciful, truth; perfect, proven, shield

And these are just three, of over one hundred, verses about God Most High. Two verses simply described 'God Most High' as 'Most High God'.

How powerful is that!

He is exalted and, if we will only take the time to seek, we can know Him! And there is tremendous peace and confidence in knowing that we serve a Mighty God – able to handle anything that comes our way.

After I finished the exercise and meditated on what God showed me about Himself, in His Word – I had to repent for making the issues of life so big and for making Him so small. As I repented, He spoke and reminded me that all of those attributes that I discovered about Him … were in me ... because of the presence of His Holy Spirit. It was too much for me to handle! I went out under the power of His Holy Spirit and, over an hour later, arose ‘brighter’. I do not know any other way to describe it. It was as though a curtain had been pulled back.

In JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Believe It’, I wrote these words:
‘Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’ It is a powerful quote and one that has stayed with me from the first time that I heard it. To me, it speaks to a need to operate within the boundaries of reality.’ I went on to state, 'Since God has shown you who He is, believe Him!'

When God shows you who He is, who He is in you & who you are … believe Him! Yet we cannot know who we are until we know who He is ... and this only through 'Seeking' 

May we be found forever seeking

May God Most High bless you abundantly!

12 April 2011

a prayer ... for rain

It has been three years and six months since my greatest leap of faith …

‘…“LORD God … let it be known this day that You are God … and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people [all people] may know that You are the LORD God…’   I King18:36-37

These were the words of Elijah, in the midst of the drought, as he called upon You to rain down fire from heaven. In the middle of a wilderness experience, he confronted darkness and called for the establishment of Your kingdom order.

Later, Elijah prayed again, for natural rain to fall upon on the land. He prayed, not only a prayer that would benefit him, but one that would benefit all. Every need was supplied for Elijah and the widow that he went to visit at the beginning of the drought. Yet, this rain that he called for would bring healing to an entire region afflicted by drought and would demonstrate Your awesome power! You, O LORD, have allowed me to walk out Elijah's story.

Like the widow, I have had to trust daily - to exercise my faith daily - and believe that the word that I received from You would sustain me. And You have sustained me and my children, for 3.5 years, without regular income, during one of the worst economic times our nation has experienced in some time.

Like Elijah, the brook dried up ... yet You have made provision [supernaturally] for my needs. Also like Elijah, I have drawn upon the fire of Your Holy Spirit. I have submitted to Your refining process as You develop Christ-like character in me.

I have stood against the forces of darkness which would seek to discourage and imprison Your people. You have given me an instructed tongue that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary (Is. 50:4). And I have spoken the words which You have given me - words of life and hope. Thank You for allowing me to partner with You, through Bible study groups, through evangelism, through individual mentoring, through my book and through this blog. 

I know, ‘…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. [That] Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.’ James 5:16-18

Therefore I pray, like Elijah prayed … Let It Rain!

Thank You LORD, for Your presence, for Your faithfulness, for Your protection, for leading us through this wilderness and for supplying all our needs. Thank You Jesus, for dying for me and for praying for my faith, that it would not fail. Thank You Father for every answered prayer ... for the 'yes', the 'not yet' and the 'no'. Thank You Holy Spirit, for interceding when I did not know what to pray. 

‘…there is the sound of abundance of rain.”’ I Kings 18:41

Thank You for rain LORD –
For opening the windows of heaven and pouring out blessings that cannot be contained. Know that I will not attempt to contain Your blessings. Please grant me wisdom ... to be a proper steward and distributor of Your resources and the treasures You continue to reveal to me in Your Word.

All these things I pray... in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, my LORD and Savior. Amen

08 April 2011

He answers 'un-prayed prayers' ...

People often will talk about unanswered prayers –

However, there is no such thing. All prayers get answered – just not always the way we expect or desire. The LORD says in Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ 

In fact … it is noted in Isaiah 65:24, ‘It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.’

No, I will not grumble over ‘unanswered prayers’. Instead I choose to honor and worship and praise my God for ... He ‘answers un-prayed prayers.’

Yesterday, I came to the realization that my neighbor’s tree (no less than 75ft tall) had snapped. I’m not sure when it happened – most likely during some extremely windy weather that we had recently. I cannot know for certain.

What I do know is that the broken tree was on a path straight for the back of my house – toward my bedroom. Yet God allowed it fall in the exact spot where the two huge trees in my yard … caught it. All I could do is thank God that it did not come through the house. Yes, He protects even when we are not praying for protection. He loves us that much.

I am so grateful!

Why don't you take a moment and bless the LORD with me ... He truly answers un-prayed prayers!

06 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Knowing Him’

Hope you all had a wonderful week with God!
These past couple of weeks have been some awesome! They have been exciting and challenging all at the same time.

You see, my friend and I have been doing this study on the names of God and it has been powerful! The challenge comes in the fact that every time seeds of revelation are planted in your heart – the enemy comes immediately to try to uproot it, to distract and deter, to discourage and destroy. (Jn. 10:10 & Mt. 13:18-23)

Yet we have this confidence ...

We are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices (II Cor. 2:11)
Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (I Jn. 4:4)
No weapon formed against us shall prosper (Is. 54:17)
We are more than conquerors through Christ (Rom. 8:37)

This week’s journey message – a simple assignment, certain to enhance your faith. It is simple but time consuming, and an exercise which is designed only for those who truly want to know Him.

So here it goes …

El Elyon – 410 in the Strong’s Concordance Hebrew
  1. Research every occurrence (over 120 times) of ‘410’ in the Old Testament - [if you do not have a concordance, you can access one at www.eliyah.com]
  2. Write down each verse where it occurs
  3. Write down ‘God Most High’
  4. Go to the verse and write what it says about God Most High
  5. Meditate  on what you discover
That’s it!

It is a lot of writing
And you have to write ‘God Most High’ each time and then write the descriptor. Please note that it is so important that you write it out instead of type it up. There is something about investing your time that makes you focus/meditate on what you are doing and causes it to stick with you longer.

Your sheet might look similar to this…

I would love to hear back from you after you do this exercise.

Praying God Will Bless You Abundantly!

05 April 2011

it's raining ...

Feeling energized it’s raining in Virginia Beach and I don’t mind one little bit; just the natural preceding the spiritual. LET IT RAIN!

02 April 2011

positioned ...

Intense plans of God require intense faith.
The situations were not for your destruction,
but for your construction.
They have broken down walls that contained your faith –
to give it room to grow.
Still standing after facing many ‘impossible’ situations –
you know without a doubt that
He is the God of ‘all things possible’.
Now you are positioned & equipped
to participate in the wondrous works
that He is performing.

01 April 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 XTRA ‘Who’s Driving?’

If you are anything like me, there are times in the journey where you feel that it is just not moving along at the pace you would like. Often times, however, the problem is closer than we realize. We only need to ask ourselves …
Who’s Driving?!?

Seem ridiculous that someone would outfit a vehicle with two steering wheels. I mean, you can only go in one direction at a time. Yet, that is exactly what many of us do. We accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, we get filled with His Holy Spirit, we desire to be employed by Him and we pray for God to direct our steps.

Yet we still desire to hold onto the steering wheel.

Sure we pray to God. But, if there was a translator script hovering over us it would read something like this:

We pray: ‘LORD I really need for You to help me get a job’
We mean: ‘LORD, I really need for You to help me get a job … and this is EXACTLY how You need to do it. It needs to be this position, with this company, this specific salary and opportunities to advance. AND – if it is not done just like this, I will feel like You haven’t answered my prayer.'

We pray: ‘I’m single and I just want Your perfect will.’

We mean: ‘You need to give me a spouse, and not just any spouse … it has to be this specific person; it needs to happen before I turn thirty; they need to have this list of characteristics, with a great paying job and an ability to pray.’

We pray: ‘I need Your direction, please tell me what to do.’
We mean: ‘I really need You to get on board with my plan and bless it so that I can get to where I want … QUICKLY.

I could go on and on …

Yet the crux of the matter is this -
We fail to recognize that He is God and we are not
He is Mighty – we are not
He All Powerful - we are not


He is All Knowing – we are not

'As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all those that trust in Him.'
Psalms 18:30

And yet, a shield only works if you stand behind it.

We cannot grab the steering wheel and then blame Him that the journey is not going as planned. Nor can we nag Him when we become frustrated with the fact that we don’t seem to be progressing fast enough. It is like not having a clue where we are going, plugging in the GPS and then ignoring every instruction that is given because we think we know a better, easier, quicker route. RIDICULOUS! Yet He will grant us our desire if we truly want to steer our own course.

The choice is entirely ours…
Just something to think about as we continue this journey.