Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Patiently Endure

The Hem of Your Garment
At the hem of Your garment, when I kneel down and pray;
You show me Your mercy, as I live day by day.
I’ll cling to Your heal so I don’t jump ahead;
And wait for Your promises, just as You said.
Life is a journey, as I have concluded.
Yet, Your “Perfect Will” at times I’ve eluded.
At the hem of Your garment, if I stumble and fall;
You’ll be there to hold me throughout it all.
Keep one step ahead as You push through the gravel.
And keep clear the road You are having me travel.
Please speak to my heart; let Your Spirit fill my soul.
Then I’ll know Thou art with me, wherever I go.
Your grace lasts a lifetime; Your love I receive;
And by Your great mercy, You’ll help me believe.
Please show me Your path as I go on my way.
Then, guide me and teach me to “Trust and Obey”!!!
At the hem of Your garment when I kneel down to pray;
As Your love filters in and You show me “Your” way,
I’ll cling to Your heal so I don’t jump ahead;
And wait for Your promises, just as You said.
                                                                 Cynthia E. Bagaglia-Wood ©February 2000

Based on the time I wrote this poem, I was going thru a difficult time in my life; trying to hold on to promises God had given me.  But to be quite honest, I can’t remember exactly which promise I was expecting at the time. The good news is I had Jesus to cling too.  And I knew if only I would hold on to Him, He would give me the strength to endure until His promise came to pass. 

Throughout the bible we hear of so many that waited & received promises from the Lord.  Yet the one that sticks heavy in my mind is the one we read in Genesis about Abram (Abraham)& Sarai (Sarah); two people unable to have children of their own and way beyond childbearing years; yet God promised Abraham offspring; as many as the number of stars. And although it seemed impossible, Abraham held tightly to God’s promise.  Oh it’s true; he & Sarah grew impatient and jumped ahead of God; tried to make His promise come to pass quicker, in their own way which only created a mess that would last for many years afterward. But that didn’t change God’s promise.  It did however; throw obstacles in Abraham & Sarah’s path.  Hurdles they just couldn’t jump over easily or quickly enough to move on with their own life. Remember the story?  Sarah convinced her husband to have sexual relationship with her maidservant, Hagar.  What on earth was Sarah thinking? Although the thought of this blows me away, I can’t help but wonder how desperate she must have felt to want a child she could call her own.  None the less, there are always consequences when we jump ahead of God; and as a result that would prove to be very detrimental to everyone involved; including Hagar and Ishmael; Abraham’s son with Hagar. Abraham & Sarah’s decision to jump ahead of God cost them greatly.  Yet, even this bad decision did not change their promise from God.  The Lord was faithful and still counted Abraham as a righteous man. 

About 13 years later, God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him.  Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” Genesis 17:15-16 (NKJV)

And in God’s timing, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. 

Have you been anticipating a promise from God; one from long ago?  Did doubt & fear creep into your heart; tantalizing you to turn & run in the opposite direction?  Or maybe you grew tired waiting on God to move and you’ve taken the promise into your own hands; trying to make it come to pass in your own way and a lot sooner. Whatever the case may be, don’t lose heart.  Admit to the Lord that you jumped ahead of Him and seek forgiveness with a true repentant heart.  God hasn’t forgotten what He promised you.  Be open to accept His promise in His way & His timing.  Only then will it be made complete and come to pass.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”And so, after he had patiently endured, he (Abraham) obtained the promise.”  Hebrews 6:13-15 (NKJV)

Wait patiently on God; patiently endure!

And no, it’s not always that simple folks; but it is possible. 

Remember; with God ALL things are possible!  Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)

Be blessed my family & friends & walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all,

(Picture from a blog posted by Susan Cushman)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are You A Salty Christian?

Back when I was a new Christian, I found it extremely difficult to be around some Christians that had a relationship with the Lord a lot longer than me.  It seemed that no matter what I did, what I said or how I acted, it was unacceptable to them.  I was always coming up short in their eyes and found myself continually trying to please them; just hoping they would accept me and believe that I was a Christian too; just like they were.  But nothing seemed to work.  Now granted; I still had areas of my life that needed to change; and as the Lord revealed those areas, I tried diligently to obey. I honestly thought I was making drastic changes from how I used to be; yet, not fast enough for others.  One thing I did do was spend less time with those that discouraged me and spent more time with the Lord.  Yet in my young Christian mind, I was naive enough to think that once I made more changes, certainly others would see and accept me; right?  Wrong!  I still came up short.  
I love the way Romans 12:9-17 (NKJV)  describes how a Christian should behave; with love, kindness and affection towards others; diligent in the things of the Lord; steadfast in prayer; generous towards those in need; and of course loving folks that aren’t so nice.  Admittedly, I failed miserably in this last area.  I grew bitter and angry and didn’t even want to be around them anymore. To be honest, I just didn’t feel loved by those Christians and I even started to question if I wanted to be one myself. 
I remember thinking, “If this is what Christianity is all about, then it’s not for me.” 
How sad & pathetic.  I was ready to throw in the towel; all because others didn’t see me the way the Lord saw in me.  I’m so thankful the Lord knew what I was thinking. Psalm 39:1-2 (NKJV) “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.”
In all of His wisdom, the Lord placed two Godly women in my path; seasoned Christians that understood God’s principles and they treated me with genuine love.  These women gave me spiritual guidance as the Holy Spirit led them and God continued to do some amazing work within me.  One would think that would have been sufficient; but none the less, I was still troubled about what others thought.  Just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get their approval.  That is; until one day I’ll never forget.  I was spending time with the Lord; bringing Him all my concerns, including the approval issue I was struggling with.  
And in a very clear, distinct, loving voice, I heard His Holy Spirit say, “Stop trying to please man; please Me!” 
Immediately I felt that heavy burden lift right off my shoulders.  I finally got it; finally understood.  It was ok that I still had rough edges and God was still changing me as He deemed necessary; and it didn’t matter what other’s thought of His process or what they thought of me. 
Maybe you’re a new Christian and have experienced the same type of rejection from other believers.  Let me encourage you to stay focused and trust that the Lord will lead & direct every step.  If you need to get rid of sin in your life, the Holy Spirit will convict your heart; just be sure to obey quickly.  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
Or quite possibly you’ve been a Christian for a long time and the Holy Spirit has convicted you on how you’ve treated new believers. Let me encourage you to repent and if at all possible, quickly make things right with the one you may have offended.  Tomorrow could be too late.  Remember, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”  Matthew 5:13 (ESV) 
Remember –
·         We all have areas in our lives that need to change
·         Be a salty Christian
·         We need only to please God; not man

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Sheep Hear My Voice

Monday evenings our church has prayer night and as usual, I was in a rush to get home from work, change my clothes and head out for my special time with the Lord.  After washing my hands, I realized my engagement ring & wedding band were both extremely loose and almost decided to take them off for the evening, but ended up wearing them anyway.   It was the night before I left on vacation; had a million things on my mind; upset with one of our daughters and even a bit miffed at my husband over another issue we were discussing.  But none the less, I knew without doubt that I needed to get before the Lord, have one on one time with Him; and allow His voice to calm my spirit man. 

As I drove into town, I came to a stop light, glanced at my hand and noticed my wedding band was missing.  I quickly called home and asked them to search the house & outside area leading to where my car was parked.  Once I arrived to church, as I sought the Lord, I asked him to help me find my ring.  Calmness came over me as I continued to pray.  My heart was distraught over loosing the ring, but I refused to go buy another one; believing the Lord would help me find the one I lost.  For the next 2 weeks I continued to search everywhere; yet still no ring. 
This past Saturday morning the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Clean your purse” and immediately the thought went thru my mind that I would find my ring.  Yet, my only response back to Him was, “Clean my purse, really?  Yea, ok.”  To be honest, I blew it off because I knew there was no way my ring could be in my purse since I leave my purse home on Monday evenings.  Eventually, I got side tracked and forgot about it all together.  Later in the evening, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit to clean my purse and again my ring went thru my mind.  My purse was a disaster and I was feeling lazy, so I just tilted my purse, literally shook it up a bit and attempted to run my hand thru the bottom in hopes to find my ring; yet still nothing but junk, mixed in with my wallet & check book.  After staring at it a bit longer, I finally decided to clean it.   When my purse was just about empty, I looked inside to see what else needed to be tossed out and believe it or not, there lying in the bottom of my purse was my wedding band. I could feel my eyes widen, my jaw drop and I was absolutely speechless.   Emotions ran wild as I sought forgiveness for ignoring His voice and yet so grateful He blessed me despite of my disobedience & procrastination.
The Holy Spirit kept leading me to my ring all day and I ignored Him.  How foolish!  If only I had obeyed immediately when He spoke, I would have found my ring earlier in the morning.  Sad part is, I know His voice; I knew it was Him prompting me; and still I chose to disobey because I doubted His leading.
Knowing the Lord’s voice is dependent on my relationship with Him.  A relationship with others always involves 2 or more people.  So the truth is that I can’t expect a relationship with the Lord unless I allow Him to converse back to me as well.  King David gives us a good example to follow in Psalm 62:5 (NKJV) My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.”  In other words, King David didn't have a one sided conversation. He could have dominated the conversation, but instead, he respected the Lord enough to allow Him to answer.
So there you have it! The choice is ours; as is the decision to obey His voice.  What about prayers; those that seem to go unanswered?  Just a thought; maybe His answer was ignored.  Or maybe you don't know the Lord’s voice because you don’t have a personal relationship with Him or it could be you just need a fresh start with Him.  Let me encourage you that it’s as easy as saying & believing this simple prayer.
 “Father, forgive me where I have sinned against You.  I believe that Jesus is Your One and Only Son; that He was born of a virgin; rejected by man; bruised for my iniquities; was crucified, died & was buried; but on the 3rd day rose again in hope that I would have eternal life in Your kingdom.  Father, I desire a relationship with you. Remove spiritual blinders from my eyes and spiritual deafness from my ears; so that I would be able to respond quickly to the leading & direction of Your Holy Spirit.  Use me in ways that would glorify You; in Jesus name. Amen.” 
If you prayed this little prayer, you’re on your way to an amazing relationship with a Sovereign God who will lead & direct your ever step.  And remember, as He speaks to your heart; be quick to respond because your flesh will convince you differently if you don’t.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.John 10:27 (ESV)
It’s that simple folks!
And now I close with this my dear family & friends -
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him,” Ephesians 1:16-17 (ESV)
The voice of the Holy Spirit; He never ceases to amaze me!!!!
Be blessed my family & friends!  Walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

No Big Deal; No One Will Ever Know!

4:00 A.M. starts my day as I drag myself out of bed, trying to physic myself up for the work load that awaits me in the office. Well this morning seemed like every other morning; maybe a little more hectic than what I prefer; but I persevered.  Had morning devotions with my husband; watched the weather report & by 5:45 A.M. pushed myself out the door.  I work 30 miles away from home, so there is plenty of time to chat with the Lord; and chat I do.  Whatever is on my mind & heart, He hears about it; regardless if it’s good, bad or indifferent.  This morning as I talked to Him, I stared up at His beautiful skies; was soon captivated by its beauty; enthralled by His Majesty and just began to cry before His presence.
When I got to work, I noticed that my mascara had smeared a bit and so of course I stepped into the bathroom to cover up the smudges.  After a little more makeup, I looked in the mirror and thought, no big deal; no one will ever know I was crying this morning.”  Soon after, I noticed that one of my undergarments was actually turned inside out.  And without missing a beat, this time I actually blurted out loud, “No big deal; no one will ever know”.
Immediately the Holy Spirit showed me that as Christians, this is exactly how we respond to situations in our lives.  We don’t want others to know we have issues simply because we don’t want them to think badly or pass judgment on us or our situation. And so we all seem to have the ability to paste on a smile and wear a mask that yells out “ full of joy resides here”, while all along there may be a volcano ready to erupt on the inside of us. Yet, we go on day by day; acting like we’re ok; everyone else has the issues, but not me.  Poppy-cock!  At one time or another, everyone has their day and deals with issues in their lives.

Whether the situations are hidden or exposed to the world doesn’t matter to God.  Truth is; NOTHING is ever really hidden with Him. He knows all and sees all. We are reminded in Hebrews 4 that God’s Word is alive.  It’s sharper than any sword and it’s able to penetrate our very being; soul, spirit, joints & marrow. And it doesn’t stop there.  It judges our thoughts & hearts too. There is absolutely nothing that can be hidden from God; everything is revealed to Him; and one day, we will all be held accountable for our choices.  On the Day of Judgment, when we stand before Him, all areas of our lives will be completely exposed.  There won’t be a mask we can put on; no fake smile; absolutely nothing will be able to cover up things we thought were hidden. 

Maybe you have situations in your life and feel there is no one you can talk too; no one that would understand.  Let me encourage you that we serve a Master who has broad enough shoulders to handle anything you throw His way.  If you’re not comfortable getting real with others, just maybe it’s time you get real with God.

It’s simple.  Just “be yourself” and chat with the Lord like you would anyone else.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  The Lord desires a relationship with you! The real you!  And understand, He knows you better than you know yourself and He already has the answer you need.  Just ask Him and He’ll show you…if you really want the answer. Just a warning, it’s not always the answer we want; but His answer is always the right one.  Trust Him!

And remember Hebrews 4:12-16 (NIV) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

It’s that simple folks!
Be blessed my family & friends and walk in the Lord’s total favor!!!!
Love you all,