Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lives Speak

Pondering the comments seen of Facebook from atheists and ones who have encountered them recently, I am troubled by the position of the atheist. While I understand that God must open (unveil their eyes) to see the truth, It makes me think about whether my light shines bright enough. Am I making the difference I can all the time? I’m a teacher; there are times that I raise my voice, rarely, to get their attention or stop something serious that is happening, but I am always considering if my tone may have breached our relationship or dimmed my light. Do I represent hope, as a vessel of Christ? I have high expectations for myself. True.

Sure there are times that one has to raise their voice. Even Jesus threw over the money tables in the church, though he was making a point that His house was supposed to be a house of prayer. Yes, I see the balance; but nevertheless, I always desire for my life to speak. My life can speak many things. It talks without me talking too sometimes. It’s an open book for many to be read. I don’t always like what they see or hear, but when I take ownership of what needs to grow and change, I will become more of a light. If my light shines brighter, atheists and those who do not know Christ, those who have backslidden, etc. may be drawn towards Christ.

If we want to make a difference and change the world, by enlightening people with the reality that God exists, they have to see Him in us so strongly. This will ignite hope and begin to make them consider your life. Those thoughts, the living proof of Christ living, working, and breathing through you and me is the recipe this world needs! There will be less crime and violence if the church can get their lights out from under their bushels. It starts with you and me. If we can join together in this great endeavor, we can make a difference. No one is perfect, but if you get up every day remember this important truth from the word, you can be more focused on letting His light shine through you by letting your life speak words of life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Psalm of Hope

Oh God, I have known You in Your courts of praise.

You join me and sing songs of deliverance over me.

You lift me up over the natural realm, and I find respite in a spiritual bliss.

You are the anchor that holds and consoles me.

Oh God, You are great and holy!

The Earth is Yours and all its inhabitants.

You love its entire span, from nature, to creature, to man.

You do miracles and make men wonder about Your greatness.

Oh God, I have known you in the pit of hell.

You redeemed me and saved me.

Your gift is help each day and the promise of eternal life.

You are the anchor that holds and consoles me.

Oh God, I do understand, but my heart is troubled.

Love ones suffer in pain; there is no sign of rest or relief.

The trials at hand are shocking, nevertheless, acceptance is setting in.

Come quickly to our rescue and bring your eternal promise with You or heal.

You are the anchor that holds and consoles us.

Oh God, You are great and holy!

The Earth is Yours and all its inhabitants.

You love its entire span, from nature, to creature, to man.

You do miracles and make men wonder about Your greatness.

Please don't delay.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Faith Reality Vs Darkside Reality

Dear Friends,

I am at my mom’s hospital bedside writing this entry and feel inspired to communicate to you that there is hope in every valley and dark pit despite what the world falsely promises or what medicine does not promise. No matter what you think you might be seeing remember that Psalm 24 tells that He is with us in “the valley of the shadow of death”. This word “death” can manifest itself in many ways. When it does, you must recognize it and deal with it ASAP. What is your darkness or death that you are facing? It's not to big for God EVER!

If you have been following my Psalm a Day Summer Youth and Young Adult Bible challenge blog, than you know that my mom is suffering with pancreatic cancer and it is now in the liver and blood stream. Yet, God is with her and with me. How do I know? I just do! There is light in my reality of cancer darkness. I have not shut my eyes or dreams to what God can do. Even if death is ushered in, God is still with us. Death does not stop us from being one with God, finding 100% joy and peace, and or eternity! That’s right; He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. You may remember the old poem: “Foot Prints in the Sand”, written by Mary Stevenson (1936). I love that poem because it describes the faithfulness and love of God towards us.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,

other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed

that during the low periods of my life,

when I was suffering from

anguish, sorrow or defeat,

I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,

that if I followed you,

you would walk with me always.

But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life

there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.

Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,

“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,

is when I carried you.”

Perhaps you are losing your home, lost your job, have been diagnosed with a disease, or lost a friend or family member recently; no matter the circumstance, we have to remember that when we think we are in darkness, all we have to do is look for the light. He is there with us. Jesus is the light of the world; thus, if we are in the light, we are with Him. If you see two sets of footprints in the sand as you walk the beach of life, thank God that He is with you. If you only see one, thank God that He is carrying you.

We walk by faith and not by sight! Don’t listen to the garbage that the world swings at you, whether subtlety via a friend over a cup of coffee or a message from a TV show. Amidst naysayers, pessimists, worrywarts, and cynics, one can easily be drawn to their darkside. The old and unwise saying, “can’t beat em; join em” does not measure up with my faith or the word of God. When a person decides to become part of a person’s gloomy outlook; if they stick around, they are about to become a loyal team member. This action is dangerous. Remember to surround yourself with people who encourage you in the things of God. Don’t buy what the devil is selling. Here is the truth about your life and how God is always there. Please by this product and stay away from the darkside!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taking Time to Remember

While preparing to read my Bible with a cup-of-java, I was inspired by the message written on my coffee cup once again; however, today I felt compelled to tell my readers about it!  Meanwhile, tropical storm Debby was and still is throwing her flabby arms around wreaking havoc here in North Port, Fl; this weather reminds me of some of the dreary and depressing days I often experienced when living in MI. I couldn’t wait for the limited days of sunny summer. I was grateful when they came and sad when they went. Now living in FL, my home windows are tinted to help save money on the electric bill, making it even darker than it really is both outside and inside, especially on days like today. Was I going to embrace the message on the mug or the gloominess surrounding me?

Today’s message delivered by the coffee cup is not a scripture, though I often do drink out of mugs with scripture on them. Today's blog is medicinal in nature for relationships! The words inscribed on my mug say, “Sloppy Joe’s Key West” on it. This mug is from a family trip we took about four years ago. We traveled with dear friends as well. Whenever I drink from this cup, I am reminded of the times we had together and the love we share. I have always made it a point to purchase a coffee mug on every vacation we go on so I can remember the precious moments.

I cannot help but mention the similarity between today’s thought and communion. The scripture often read before we take part of it states, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:9 NKJV). Jesus set the example for us. He wanted us to remember Him often. He never wanted us to forget what He did for us. When we get distracted and our eyes off the Lord, we can allow poison to seep into our hearts, and before we know, we forgot what we were supposed to remember. This might be the ultimate reason for the condition of being backslidden.

Sometimes we forget how blessed and loved we are by God and people. Life throws us some nasty weather, which can bog us down, and we can forget the good times. We forget God’s blessings too. Francesca Battistelli sings the song, “This is the Stuff”. The message of this song is that sometimes life throws us so much stuff that we forget we are blessed. We need to remind ourselves that we are blessed. It’s all about our focus and perception.

I recently heard someone say “you never took me anywhere to her husband”. Since I know these two well, I was shocked by her statement. It was untrue. Years of reminding herself of all of the negative things that had happened to her while being married created such a deep root of bitterness that she could not see the forest through the trees. We need to be remembered of these precious moments to help keep a healthier perspective, as well as to help keep our relationships alive. Pictures function in the same way.

So, I like to vary which mug I drink from. Sometimes I drink from a scripture cup and others times it’s a cup from a spicy get-a-way weekend. I go to the table of the Lord often as well. Either way, taking remembrance helps me to remember how loved I am. If it works for me, it will work for you too! Don’t’ forget the good and happy times; they are life to you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

God I Look To You [Bethel Church] Jenn Johnson

When you don't know what to do, you can always look to God to give us wisdom. Our God reigns no matter what! I remember this in both the the toughest and the greatest times.  I always look to Him! Be inspired to put your trust in God as you listen to this song. May it remind you of who He is and what the Word says about Him. Jesus we look to you! You are in control!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Put Away the Finger

Dear Readers,
I have been pondering today’s culture and the challenges that Christians face as they attempt to reach a dying world for Jesus. I have been studying the “woman at the well” (John 4) and the culture that existed then and today. Why is today’s culture so resistant to Christ? As we begin to enter the Christmas season, I am reminded that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

The Bible tells us that God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). It’s our job to reach them. It’s our calling and purpose. No one is excused from this assignment.

Church attendance in American is statistically declining. We are losing the churched, and we are not reaching enough unchurched and backslidden people for Christ in the proportions we had hoped for. People are not getting saved in churches in the numbers we had hoped for either. Jesus tells the disciples in John 4 to look with their eyes that the fields are ready to harvest. What do today’s disciples see with their eyes? And what has this off-kiltered focus done to the church’s reputation? Or, have we missed the boat and forgotten that we have to go outside the house of God to reach people? Could it be a mixture of both?

This is purely my observation, but some of the church has tainted or stained the church’s reputation using judgmental behavior and conversation expecting the “unchurched” to be a people who do not swear, wear inappropriate clothing, or smoke and or drink. This sneering eye in churches has also caused many to run from churches. We expect them to be cleaned up before they encounter Christ. You may argue with me about this, but follow this line of reasoning.

When we see someone swearing at their kids in the store, we roll ours and judge them. We snicker and sneer. We have no right to judge them. They do not share our revelation of having a pure stream. What we do when we behave this way is make them run farther from Christ. Don’t tell me they don’t know that we are a Christian. They can spot us a mile away. These are the people who point their fingers. These are the ones I used to run from before I came to know the Lord. People who think this is normal will NOT stop, sneer, and snicker; they walk by as if things are normal. Folks, this is a normal day-to-day occurrence. It is normal for them! They have not had the revelation that we have had. Does this make them garbage and give us the idea that they deserve our snicker, or do we think they do no better and continue to be real and hope for an opening to talk to them?

What people really want are people who are willing to love them and accept them for who they are right where they are. Christ says to come as you are. Some Christians need to be open to listen to people and not correct them for their language. If you are going to begin to minister someone who has a potty mouth, then don’t bring your kids with you. Don’t get me wrong, if you are in the store and there is a fair amount of common swearing going on between a family, you can refrain from sneering and move your family out of the isle. I would use this moment as a teachable moment and explain later in the car what you encountered. Explain that they do not know any better and pray for them. Tell them Jesus loves them and they should too. While we know how we should behave, we cannot judge them, just love them.

If you are without your children, pray that you can be brave enough to smile and say hello, how are you? Open the door in love. You never know how many people have just lost their job, have been diagnosed with cancer, are in an abusive relationship, and or are suffering from depression. If you can look beyond the language and stop judging, you may be able to reach another soul for Christ. Remember where you came from. No wonder Jesus tells us to remove the pointing of our fingers from our midst.

The “well” in John 4 represents almost any other place outside of the church and its parking lot.
It’s the field of harvest, which is ripe and ready for harvesting. The church and the unchurched meet on common ground at the well and discuss natural things. If the heart is open and the veil is removed, they are able to reach them for Christ. The problem is that many people will not engage in fellowship at the well because of what they have experienced from other Christians. If we want to make a difference we need to less judging and more loving.
Food for thought!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Flyswatter Focused Frenzy: A Simple Lesson in Spiritual Warfare Revealed

Yesterday I was assisting a group of ladies in throwing a baby shower. There were several flies taking off and landing on our beautiful buffet spread. They were landing on the covered saran wrapped dishes. It was almost time for the event to start, but there was no flyswatter in sight. So, I grabbed an extra thick black graded plastic spatula for the available serving utensils and went to town. Swat! Swat! Swat! I killed each fly on the first attempt. My friends marveled at my adroitness, but I knew on the inside that had this been at home, it would have been swat, miss, swat, miss, etc. I usually get the flies sooner or later, but at home, I have to hunt them down, chasing them from window to window. What was different about this fly swatting showdown, and why did I call myself the “flyswatter diva” that day? If you’re like me and most ladies, you feel like you have to analyze almost everything.

That’s exactly what happened. The ladies began to marvel at my skill in killing the flies. I told them it was luck. They compared me to them and their abilities to kill flies at their homes. One lady said she should call me to exterminate their flies at home. We chuckled. I bet they had no idea that I was thinking to myself I was a fly slayer at church but certainly not at home. So, I let this secret out.

We began to examine the spatula’s design. Was it the thicker gridded design that made the difference? I even said why haven’t they tested this design to the traditional flyswatter plaid, short-weaved, tight design? Yes, this was all in pure fun, but was the lesson for me and for you? What was different about me?

When I think back, I was determined to kill those fly on the first swing. This is what made the difference. We were ten minutes away from starting. It was a showdown, and I won. I had no doubt I could kill those flies- one after another- I put those nasty flies in their place. Focused, I waited for them to land and swatted with explicit strokes. You see, I did not want to get any fly guts on the food or table. The ladies were coming in and I knew that if they saw me killing flies on open food etc, they would be disgusted and not eat. I had a mission and little time to complete it!

I see a simple lesson here as it relates to spiritual warfare in the kingdom of God. God has given us tools and weapons to fight the enemy. Sometimes we play with these tools or use them improperly. God wants us to swat the enemy with full authority in Christ the first time around. No swatting amiss. Instead, determined, focused, and executed swats that are delivered with urgency and authority. Do you believe that Christ lives in you? Do you believe that He has given you authority in His name to fight the wicked darts that come from the devil? If you do, get swatting and winning. Be a devil slayer and swat with fierce intensity. Fight the good fight!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cobwebs and Dust Bunnies Alert

Yesterday I got up at 4AM. I couldn’t sleep. I laid there for a long time resisting the urge to get up and clean. I prayed and tried to fall back a sleep. To no avail, I gave in and got up! I hit the deck up and running: dishes, laundry, dusting, etc.

Today I got up and noticed cobwebs and dust bunnies about the house. How is this possible? I questioned. I wondered how they got there so fast, or had they been there all the time. Were the dust bunnies magically moving around as I cleaned or responding to the thrush of wind as I walked by? Either way, one truth still remained. They were there, though I had not seen them before, and I had overlooked them.

The Lord began to speak to me about this situation. He reminded me of the importance of surrendering our hearts fully to God, which means every part. We need His bright illuminating flashlight shining in every chamber of our heart. When we don’t take the time to do our regular heart maintenance, which is prayer; before you know it, there are cobwebs and dust bunnies everywhere.

I hear my skeptical readers saying but there will always be cobwebs and dust bunnies. I actually agree with you. One, God only gives us more than we can handle, and two, healing is like pealing an onion. He reveals things in our heart one thing at a time, so we can handle them.

In short, we always have to be on the lookout for cobwebs and dust bunnies in the natural and the spiritual. When they are found, they need to be handled both carefully and quickly.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We Had a Frightening Porch Fire at One AM

I was awakened with the following horrifying words this morning at one AM: “Mom, there is a fire on the back porch! GET UP!” My first instinct was to run and see what he was talking about. I saw the fire that was blazing in the garbage can and its connected flames engulfing my serving area outside. Without thinking, I sprinted to get water. My husband began yelling at my son to get a bucket and a broom. First, we put the fire out. Then we moved the items that were being poisoned by soot and water runoff, like our designer bamboo rug and outdoor furniture. The danger ended like that, but we have a lot of clean up to do out there today. After this burst of adrenaline, I could hardly sleep. My mind was going a mile a minute. All I could think about was the fire. The Lord spoke to me about precarious spiritual fires as I reflected on this scary incident.

Fire Unaware:
Not everyone is aware that there is a dangerous fire burning. They have become so desensitized to what is perilous because they have relaxed their beliefs and fallen away from the word. They are living their own gospel or mixture. Neither is okay with God. This fire becomes a conflagration, which is a great fire. It burns everything it comes into contact with. These fires are the most dangerous and destructive.

Thank God we were blessed to have been awakened this morning. We were able to take the tools we had in our house to fight the fire, and we won. When you are in a spiritual “fire unaware” situation, you are the easiest target for the enemy. It’s that sample. How do you become “fire aware”? You keep yourself in the word, you pray, you read your Bible, and you do not surround yourself by those who are desensitized and walking in the same risky lifestyle. You will have to ask God to help you make changes and give you renewed spiritual eyes to remove the people and things (idols) in your life that are unsafe.
Maybe you are looking at the aftermath of this fire; you didn’t see it when it was happening, but now you see what it has done. This is a good place to be and perfect ground for got to implant or replant some foundational principles you are lacking. It’s a great time to rededicate your life and allow God to sharpen your spiritual eyes. Aren’t you tired of waking up and asking yourself the question: God, how did I get her? We often blame God for things that we take into our hands. Some have turned their backs on the things of God. How can one blame God?

Fire Aware:
You may have felt like you have been slapped in the face with the most recent trial that has caused you fear, dread, and or even doubt. It may have caused you to run and let the fire blaze. Remember that we are to not think of these trials as odd (1st Thessalonians 3: 2-4). In fact, we are given a recipe in the word for fighting these types of fires. This is not the right way to fight a fire unless it’s temptation. You fight these spiritual fires by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6). You can withstand “the fiery darts from the enemy’”! 2nd Peter 1:9 tells is that God will rescue us from trials. In order to be rescued, we need to be aware. If not, then the unaware wild fires will burn and overtake us. Isaiah 43:1-3 tells us also that these types of fires will not burn us and that He will walk with them through us. This is the biggest difference between the two types of fires that the Lord showed me. I’d rather be aware with the proper tools in my hands to fight the fire. I’d rather have Jesus right there with me telling and showing me what to do when I am at my wits end.

If you are in a fire situation, don’t panic. He is with you! You will not be burned or overtaken. Don’t walk by your feelings. Walk according to the promises in His word! If you did discovered there is a blaze going on or it has just burnt a pathway around you or through you, turn to God now. He can help you put the pieces back together.

Isaiah 43:1-3 (NJJV)
The Redeemer of Israel
1 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“ Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Eleventh Hour

Dear Friends,

I woke up with the words "in the eleventh hour" in my spirit. I began to ponder these words and ask God what He was speaking to me. It's Saturday, which is my scheduled writing day. It seemed normal to wake up with a "word" in my spirit.

My message to you is that in the eleventh hour, God is able to meet your need. He is always right on time, never late, and never too early. You might be thinking right about now that it is near midnight. Where are you God? But the Word tells us that He will never leave us forsake us. God is not calling you to understand the trial, but to trust Him. Are you banging your head against the wall ineffectively? Remember that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways. His sense of time is not our sense of time. We don't run on the same continuum. Don't even try to figure it out. Trust Him! So, even though it may be your eleventh hour and you are pretty dog tired, God is ready to move. There is no reason to fret though there may be circumstances that normally may move you to worry.

I know that God will work it out. He says He will never leave us forsake us. We can trust in the eleventh and even in the twelve hour. God is in control and on His throne. So keep praising Him and remember, he is going to work it out! Why not pray right now. God I trust you in the eleventh hour. I know it's going to be ok. I am going to praise you anyway. Thank you for loving me. Even though it might feel like you are not there, Lord I know you are with me.

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