Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Circumstances Are Nothing to God

Recently I’ve had to make some major decisions that could ultimately affect my life and my family.  I didn’t know which way to turn.  All I knew is that I needed a breakthrough.  I prayed & prayed and found no resolve.  Seemed like only trials & temptations kept springing up before me; confusing me even further.  It wasn’t until our church was called to fast & pray this past January that I started to see the breakthroughs I needed.  Oh, all the results I had hoped for didn’t come to pass; and certainly not the way I had anticipated.  However, I could see God’s hand working in ways that I didn’t expect. 
The first thing He did was to start working on ME; on my thinking, my actions; my heart.  He had to bring me to a place where all that mattered was Him and what He had in store for me personally; not my circumstances.  Truth is; until I was ready to face my own issues, there would be no resolve for other issues looming over my life.  During that time of praying & fasting I faced many trials and of course temptations that would challenge my faith; forcing me to ask myself if I really trusted God the way I claimed I did.   
Since that fast in January, I have felt led to fast & pray again in March.  Except the results this time was a bit different now that He had me back on the right track and was able to minister to me regarding my circumstances.  I was actually open to His direction.  The next thing I learned is that circumstances are nothing to God; yet I am everything to Him.
In Matthew 17, we hear about a man that needed a breakthrough; a healing for his son.  His son had epilepsy; and yet Jesus’ disciples were not successful in helping his son.  Not even Jesus’ disciples could help him!  These were men that were the closest to Jesus.  They were his running buddies to put it into more modern terms.   But fortunately for the man, the story doesn’t end there. When the man saw Jesus, he knelt down beside Him; begged for mercy and asked Jesus to heal his son.  Without hesitation; Jesus took authority over the situation, commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man’s son and within an hour, he was healed.
Matthew 17:19-21 (NKJV) Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
Do you need a breakthrough; maybe a physical healing; a new job; family or marital restoration or possibly deliverance from temptations & sin?  Do you have a desire to serve God and allow Him to be Lord over your life; yet it seems regardless of all your efforts to serve Him, there are always trials or temptations that emerge in the face of adversity; trials that tempt you to take a different path than what God has laid before you?  Possibly a stumbling block you continually kick away; only to find it resurfacing time and time again.  It’s as if it taunts & tempts you to jump on board for a joy ride adventure!  Maybe you’ve even prayed and sought God; asking that He remove it forever; and still it lingers and rears its ugly head at your weakest moment;  leaving you to feel absolutely hopeless in an already bad situation.
Well, you’re not alone!  Everyone has experienced it at one time or another; and if other believers say they never struggle in this area, they aren’t being honest…with themselves.  Circumstances, trials & temptations come in various forms; and they come to everyone! 
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to have worked, what more do you have to lose but to do what God’s word tells us to do for a breakthrough? 
·         Fast & pray
·         Be open to God’s direction
·         Be ready for change; in you & in your circumstances
It’s that simple folks!
Be blessed my family & friends!
Walk in the Lord’s total favor!!!!
Love you all,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Someone Is Always Watching!

What do other's see when they look at you?  Do they see you as the Christian you claim to be or do they see you as someone who merely likes the title? 
I’m reminded of a story that my brother, Ron, shared with me a while back ago.  (Not sure who actually wrote it; but it’s definitely worth sharing again!)

A Christian
Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.' Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet.' When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, 'Here, you gave me too much change.' The driver, with a smile, replied, 'Aren't you the new preacher in town?' Yes' he replied.
'Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I'll see you at church on Sunday.'
When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, 'Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.'
Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.
This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians, and will put us to the test! Always be on guard -- and remember –
You carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself 'Christian.'
Watch your thoughts; they become words
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this gentle reminder as much as I have.
And remember, Someone Is Always Watching! 
It's that simple folks!
Be blessed my face book family & friends!
Walk in the Lord's total favor!!!!
Love you all,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Do You Reap A Harvest?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Oh, if only our garden could grow as easily as saying a nursery rhyme.  But we all know that’s not reality, is it?  Or course not; it takes a lot of hard work to plant a successful garden. Now I must admit there was a time when I planted my garden that the ground wasn’t plowed sufficiently before I planted the seeds and I didn’t take the time to pull all the weeds that were in the way either.  I just sort of mulched it all together and pretended the weeds didn’t exist.  After all, it was way too much work and I found every angle to cut corners just so I could get my garden planted.  I counted on the rain to water my garden and simply forgot to check the moisture on the soil when it was scorching hot outside.  Yet, I couldn’t wait for the “fruit of my labor” to start paying off.  What a big, big, mistake!  It wasn’t long before the weeds took over and choked most of my beautiful tomato plants; and what wasn’t choked out by weeds was all dried up from lack of water.  Needless to say, my garden barely produced any fruit that year and at the end of harvest time I reaped what I sowed; very little; because I chose to be lazy and take the easy way out. 

Sounds a lot like the parable Jesus shares in Mark 4:3-8 (NKJV)    “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.  And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.  Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty and some a hundred.”

And so it leaves the question in my mind, "What happens with the seed (the Word of God) when I hear it preached?  Do I allow it to go in one ear and out the other; allowing the birds of the air (Satan) to come and steal it away before it even has a chance to take root in my spirit?  Or does the Word appear to get into my spirit only until an issue or crisis comes up; causing me to forget the scriptures when I need them the most?  Has my life been so consumed with worldly things to the point that when scriptures try to take root, they quickly get choked out by the weeds & thorns I have inside of me because of existing sin?"  It’s so easy to take God’s Word and twist it around to fit our own situations.  I know; I’m guilty of doing it myself.  But just because I chose to manipulate the scriptures in order to validate the choices I make, it doesn’t change what God’s Word is saying to me.  His Word remains the same; regardless of how I choose to apply it to my life.  

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Take a moment now; search your heart and ask yourself, “How am I applying God’s Word in my life?  Are the seeds that have been planted in my spirit man being watered so that they can grow, or have they been choked out by the choices I’ve made along the way?  Then simply start pulling the weeds and get rid of them completely.  Start watering the seeds by reading & hearing God's Word. Trust the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you along the way and be open to His direction.  There may be thistles that need to be uprooted; something that appears to be ok; but has jagged edges that could ultimately destroy your crops.  And remember what Galations 6:9 (NIV) tells us; "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Be patient and trust the Lord!

Don’t let the birds of the air (Satan), steal your harvest!

It’s that simple folks! 
Be blessed my family & friends!  Walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Miry Clay

Dear Lord,

You see beneath the miry clay; the soot;  the grime; the dirt.
And still You show compassion; for those of us who hurt.
Your mercy and Your grace abound where none other can compare.
You see beneath the miry clay and shine compassion there.

Your judgment differs from mere man, You see so deep within;
What causes us to turn from You; and welter in our sin.
You hear the cry come from the heart, "Oh God, please spare my soul.
And give me strength when I am weak; Oh Lord, don't let me go."

I need Your gentle hand again; walk daily by my side.
Then I will know I'm on Your path and not the road that's wide.
I cannot do this by myself; You know I've tried before.
I want to fly with eagle wings and let my spirit soar.

Then on that day when You call my name, and my work on earth is done -
I'll hear Your voice call out to me; welcome home; My faithful one.

Cynthia E. Bagaglia-Wood / The Master’s Link ©August 30, 2011

Isaiah 40:28-31(NIV)  "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Matthew 7:13-14  (NIV) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it." 
Remember – God’s grace & mercy are new every day!
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV) Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Be blessed my family & friends!  Walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all,

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NIV)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jesus said,“DO NOT BE AFRAID”

A while back ago, during praise & worship at church one evening, I found myself telling the Lord that I was scared to face tomorrow because my flesh seems to be in constant war against my spirit man; my flesh; desiring things of this world; my spirit man desiring only the good & acceptable Perfect Will of God. I just kept saying over & over, “I’m scared! I’m scared! I’m scared”; knowing that only the Lord could hear me.  Shortly after, our music Pastor interrupted praise & worship to remind us all of a story about a synagogue ruler named Jarius who had a daughter that was dying. Jarius asked Jesus to come & heal his daughter. On their way back to Jarius’ home, they were met along the way and were told that his daughter had already died. Jesus said to him, “DO NOT BE AFRAID”.    Mark 5:35-36 (NIV)
I capitalized those words because that is exactly how it smacked me ever so gently in my spirit man; ”DO NOT BE AFRAID”.  Peace flooded my soul; knowing that although I may not be perfect in my walk and I trip up quite often, the Lord was already preparing the way ahead of me. He is truly amazing and I am blessed to serve the only 1 true living God!!!!!
What about you?  Are you yelling on the inside where no one else can hear you, ““I’m scared! I’m scared! I’m scared!”  Has fear gripped your heart and possibly crippled you spiritually?  Be encouraged; the Lord hears you!  We serve a risen Savior, Jesus!  It was He who conquered Hell and the grave!  Remember?  There is NOTHING too difficult for Him; not even what you may be facing today.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Be blessed my family & friends!  Walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NKJV

Monday, April 2, 2012

Does Your Faith Teeter Totter Up and Down?

Remember growing up; playing on a teeter totter with your siblings or friends?  We would spend a long time going up & down; taking turns being the one at the top and eventually being at the bottom. Every now & then, if a kid was ornery enough & capable, they would sit at the bottom of the teeter totter holding the other person up in the air; at least until the one at the bottom decided to jump off quickly, causing the person at the top to come crashing down.  (At least that’s the way we used to play. Not a good thing!  LOL) 
What about our faith?  Does it tend to bounce up & down depending on the severity of our problem?  In all the years of being a Christ follower, it’s been my experience that we all struggle with the lack of faith in God at one time or another. But why do we; especially when many of us desire to trust Him?  What is hindering our faith from growing and taking God at His word?  I know for myself, there are times that my human mind just can’t grab a hold of how big God really is and sometimes my situation seems impossible to fix.  But then, I’m reminded of what God’s word says in Luke 1:37(NLT) “For nothing is impossible with God.” The question is, “Do I believe it?  I find that when I stay diligent in reading God’s Word and enter into a daily fellowship with Him, my faith is stronger.  However, at times when fear grips my heart and I’m struggling to trust Him, it tends to be at a time when I’ve lost my focus on His direction and have not been in daily fellowship with Him.  Depression & discouragement set in and I seem to lose all hope.  Then it’s an uphill battle trying to see where I went wrong. Truth is; those are the times I’ve been spiritually lazy and desperately in need of getting my daily devotional time back on track with the Lord; right where it belongs! I find it’s the only way to stay connected with Him! If I want to get back on track, I need to heed to God’s Word where it says in Romans 10:17 (NKJV), “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Staying in God’s Word, being fed spiritually in church and communicating directly with the Lord all work together in helping my faith to grow strong. 
Unfortunately, there are some that choose to be spiritually lazy; simply because it seems like the easier path to take.  If our lives are consumed with the cares of this world; be it relationships, work, TV, gaming, you name it; just about anything that would consume our time, it hinders our time with the Lord and we become spiritually lazy.  The end result is the need for constant encouragement from others 24/7 and ultimately the need to depend on them to pray on our behalf.  Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with partnering with other believers & coming into agreement for our situations to be resolved.  As a matter of fact, God’s Word tells us to join others in agreement in Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT) “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.  For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”  However, when we expect others to carry the load while we choose to sit back and do nothing; no praying, no fasting; no desire to know God personally, it is a problem.  We end up putting our faith in the faith of other believers instead of exercising our faith in trusting God; the ONLY ONE that knows & understands exactly what we need; the ONLY ONE that has the answer to our problems.   Let’s face it folks, being committed to a daily prayer time and striving to follow God’s direction takes commitment on our part; it doesn’t just happen because we want it too. It happens only when we choose be committed to growing our faith on a daily basis.
The Holy Spirit revealed an interesting perspective to me regarding this clip art. Look at the faces on Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger & Rabbit.  They appear paralyzed and full of fear, while Heffalump sits at the bottom holding them up with every ounce of strength possible.  The same is true about the believer with a lot of faith.  Seldom do we know the load they are carrying; their own burdens & other believer’s burdens too.    They are actually the one at the bottom of the teeter totter, using every ounce of strength & faith within themselves to hold us up when we choose to be spiritually lazy. When fear grips your heart, remember what God says in Psalm 56:3-4 (NKJV), “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” 

Simply put; trust God to meet your needs; not people.  Don’t put your faith in others that can grow weary and possibly jump off the “teeter totter” because you’ve gotten too heavy to carry; or you might come crashing down.  Instead, put your faith in the only One that has the ability to hold you up; the only One that knows your need and knows what is best for you; Jesus.  
It’s that simple folks!
Be blessed my family & friends!  Walk in the Lord’s total favor!
Love you all!