30 November 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Trans-mission’

Well, here we are at the end of November. Can you believe it is the end of November already? This year seems to be on fast forward and, this past month has presented its share of ups and downs (actually starting at the tail-end of October):
  • October 26 I received a message from someone at my church that they felt like they were supposed to pay for my van to be repaired. Although it had been driving fine, it had failed inspection and I was told it needed $1200 worth of repairs.
  • October 27 Someone tried to break into my apartment which I had not lived in for even one month at that point. They had just broken my son’s bedroom window when my neighbor drove up and ran them off.
  • October 30 I got the money for the repairs and took my van to the shop later that week. Yet, something kept telling me not to take it back to the original shop. So, I took it to a different shop, where they informed me that it passed inspection. They found nothing wrong with any of the items the other shop had noted as needing to be repaired. The cost? $16 dollars!
  • November 6 Elated, I felt the only right thing would be to give the money back to the couple that had so generously blessed me. They told me to keep it – which was not a surprise since that Sunday morning, as I prayed, I ‘heard in my spirit, ‘they are going to tell you to keep it and this is where you need to give it.'
  • November 10 I gave the tithe and the offering as I felt led in my heart. $1120
  • November 11 I received news of a tremendous financial obligation that had to be addressed immediately. The cost? $1030 dollars!  
  • November 14 God provided the finances needed to cover our family emergency 
  • November 22 I decided to send a praise report to my pastor - just about the van situation.
  • November 23 My van experienced a major malfunction (unrelated to any of the initial damages that caused it to fail inspection). It felt like the transmission failed!       
Transmission – in mechanical terms it is an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and mechanism by which power is transmitted from the engine to the axle.   However, if we pull that word apart, we find: 'trans-' meaning to change or transfer and 'mission' signifying a task, a commissioned ministry or pre-established objective

Understand this...

For every mission of blessing that God sends your way, for every mission of kingdom work that you set about pursuing, there is a counter or ‘trans’ mission launched by the enemy – aimed at altering or thwarting God’s intended will.

The enemy’s desire is to wear you down and make you feel like the journey is not worth the effort. But he is a liar and a cheat – has been since the beginning of time. John 8:44 tells us ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.’

Now, there will be times when, like my vehicle, you feel like you got ‘slammed’ out of nowhere. There will be times when you feel like you are pushing the accelerator and nothing is happening. However, God’s Word is true and remains: 'No weapon formed against you shall prosper' Is. 54:17. Although it may seem like it is prospering , even the attacks of our adversary are used by the LORD, for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

Keep on trusting, keep on standing and, by all means, keep on praising!

‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…’ Revelation 12:11

26 November 2011

Loving Others ...

Today I observed the following quote:   
‘Never allow someone to become a priority in your life who only sees you as an option in theirs' The quote is a variation on a quote attributed to Mark Twain which states, 'Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.'    

They appear to be words of wisdom and I do understand the sentiment behind it - not allowing people to selfishly use and/or abuse you while you give your all to them. However, while that may work in the kingdom of man, it is not in alignment with the order of things in the kingdom of God.     
Romans 5:8 tells us, ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’    

I am so thankful that the LORD made me a priority even while He was still an option for me. And He calls us to be like Him in our love toward and prioritization of others in our lives. Therefore…

‘… in the true spirit of humility, let each esteem others better than himself.’ Philippians 2:3

23 November 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Thankful…’

One day before Thanksgiving – and what a fitting week for our journey post to focus on being thankful. You see, there are so many things that we can find to complain about on any given day. Yet we often overlook the opportunities to simply express thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. 

Is my life perfect? Of course not, but it is perfectly watched over by the LORD God Almighty. He cares for me (I Pet. 5:7) and He is ever present, always working all things together for the good (Rom. 8:28). As I reflect on this year, I am thankful for many things:
  • His presence, never leaving or forsaking (Deut. 31:6)   
  • Health for me and my children (Ps. 91:10)    
  • His provision of shelter – that although I was without a home to call my own for five months, I was never without a roof over my head (Is. 4:6)   
  • His supply of every need (Phil. 4:19)    
  • Friends and family (Pr. 27:17)   
Years ago, I had a discussion with a peer of mine. We were talking about the challenges of life when I shared with her a simple but profound truth.

It is impossible to complain and give thanks at the same time. You cannot, simultaneously, make negative confessions and shout praises. The same way that light and dark cannot occupy the same space, worry and the peace of God cannot share the same quarters. Fortunately, we can choose what will reign in our hearts and our lives. It begins in our heart and spills out over our lips. ‘From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Lk. 6:45)

So, let us all give thanks – not just because it is the Thanksgiving Holiday Season but because we have so much to be thankful for every day.

God Bless!

21 November 2011

Believing is Seeing ...

Hope your week is off to a blessed beginning! Somehow, after several years of unemployment, I do not dread Monday mornings and the start of a fresh work week. But, that is not my focus in writing today...

This past weekend, I was flipping through the channels before starting my Saturday errands and there was a Christmas movie on - even though we have not even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. And, while I am not fond of movies about Santa Claus (which this one was), there was one line in the movie that was 'spot on':    

"Seeing is not believing .... believing is seeing"    

Such spiritual truth in that one statement! You see, while we can come to a place of belief (believe based upon what we see), there are times when what we observe with our eyes creates a perception which results in an incorrect belief system. Further, there are many things that we may never experience, if we are not able to truly walk by faith - believing what God's Word says, simply because He said it and because of who He is.

Remember what the Word says, 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' Hebrews 11:1 

The Amplified Version of that same verse reads this way: 'Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.'

That is powerful!

Believing is seeing ...

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life…” John 3:36    

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40    

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45   

Believing is seeing ....

If we can but believe the promises of God, found in the Word of God, we can see from His perspective and experience the manifestation of those things in our lives.

And how do we believe?
How do we build up faith to believe God for the invisible?
We practice Romans 10:17, 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.' Read the Word, Write the Word, Meditate on the Word, Speak the Word and Sing the Word! 

Have a Blessed Evening ...

16 November 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘He Cares’

I have a little bit of a ‘different’ post this week – after missing last week’s post altogether. Amazingly, I am learning not to beat myself up when I can’t seem to do it all.
Anyway, I felt a strong urge to share an excerpt from an email that I sent to my friend just a couple of hours ago. Someone had instructed her to read Psalm 2 and she wanted me to share my thoughts on it. Interestingly, she pointed out that she kept on hearing Psalm 22 even as they told her to read Psalm 2. Here is part of that email…
'The verses that stood out to me most were verses 7-9 and the tail end of verse twelve. I think overall, it touches on some of the things that Pastor Archie has been talking about in the end days. However, more importantly for those of us who are God’s children, He gives us a comforting reminder – that we are His – and not just for end times, at all times.
He tells us to 'ask' and reminds us of our inheritance in Him. However, if I am honest, I have been struggling with this concept lately. I know He is El Elyon (God Most High) and El Shaddai (The All Sufficient One). I know there is no problem that is too big for Him. My problem is not in His ability but in truly believing that He desires to do what I ask for me. And yet His Word remains and is true. And we have to make a decision to believe it.
When people feel abandoned, by a spouse or a father or a family (or all), they need to know, that they know, that they know God is with them – as a Savior, as a Friend, as a Father. It is much easier said than done because situations will keep screaming at you all day to get you to believe the opposite is true.
I think you kept hearing Psalm 22 because you may truly be experiencing some of those emotions that the psalmist expresses. Even so, God desires for you to know (and me too) that He has not forsaken us, He is not too far to help, He does hear, He does care, He has taken note of every tear and knows what they represent (even when we don’t). We are not the worms that we often believe ourselves to be – we are His children. Though people will scoff because of our commitment to keep trusting and serving Him, there is no other path to take. Though we experience physical manifestations of pain as a result of the challenges that come against us, HE IS WITH US! And we make a conscious and willful decision to praise Him … whatever comes.'
[Psalm 22 paints a vivid picture of the suffering which our Savior endured and reminds us that He is familiar with the pains that we feel … because He experienced it, AND MORE.
Psalm 2 reminds us that Jesus reigns supreme, of His triumph over all.]
7I will declare the decree:
     The LORD has said to Me,
     ‘You are My Son,
     Today I have begotten You.  
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
     The nations for Your inheritance,
     And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
     You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
12 ...Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.'
Psalm 2:7-9, 12

02 November 2011

JOURNEY 201¦1 ‘Forgetting the old …’

So, it is really late on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I am still finding the balance of family responsibilities, work and blogging. However, I had to write about something interesting that happened this week – interesting to me anyway.  I was in my kitchen when my plate, which I have used for years, split in two.

This is not the actual picture of it but it is very close to the type of break that occurred. It was without warning or explanation. And in that moment, this was the thought that came:
‘Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:18-19AMP
'The things that have served you well in the past are in the past. They have been broken, severed and separated. Now is time for newness … '