Friday, June 22, 2012

Cast All Your Cares on Him

Ever have one of those mornings where you were overwhelmed before your feet ever hit the floor as you crawled out of bed. Well, today has been one of those mornings.  With every ounce of zeal I had within me, I literally pushed myself out of bed; only to fall forward into my mattress and cry out, “Oh God, give me strength to get thru this day!” Then I literally did “one” push up off my bed as I attempted to stand on my feet again.  After getting ready for work, as usual, we started doing our morning devotions, which consists of reading a daily devotional, a few different chapters in the bible and then going to the Lord in prayer as a couple. 
I’ll tell you, the Holy Spirit sure doesn’t waste any time when He has something to say to you.  Well, as my husband read the daily devotional, the words permeated my heart.  The devotional was a gentle rebuke from the Lord; a little disciple if you will; a loving correction about my attitude these last few days.  Truth is, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed all week and totally unappreciated.  I know…Wha, wha, wha!  That’s basically what the Holy Spirit said to me this morning, as He called me to accountability of being in self pity.  He showed me that I was feeling so sorry for myself and I was running on the edge of basically “shaking my fist” in anger against Him.  My heart was grieved as I realized how I allowed myself to slip into such a place of discouragement.  And as is the Lord’s nature, He continued to remind me as we read thru His word on what I need to do instead of crying the blues in self pity. 

In 1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV, it says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.   Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
These few scriptures are packed with God’s clear direction. You see, He didn’t leave me just hanging there after He corrected me; He gently guided me to what He wanted me to do.

5 things; that’s it!

·         Humble myself under His hand  (remember my place is under His authority)

·         Cast all my anxiety on Him (all cares; all worries; not only a portion)

·         Be alert & sober minded (be clear headed)

·         Resist the devil (oppose or fight his lies of discouragement)

·         Stand firm in my faith (don’t waiver; plant my feet in my faith then I’ll be able to stand)

But that’s not all He said, because He also promised that He has a part that He will do too.

·         He will lift me up in due time (He will raise or elevate me)

·          He cares  for me (He thinks about me; I’m on His mind; I’m not just a speck in this world)

·         He will restore me (He will renew or mend me)

·         He will make me strong (He’ll give me the strength to go on)

·         He will make me firm (He will make me immovable against the ploy of the enemy)

·         He will make me steadfast (He will make me persistent, determined, dedicated to pursuing His righteousness)

There’s one more thing the Lord showed me thru these few scriptures.  He reminded me that I’m not the only one that experiences these types of trials.  He said that if you are one of His, then, you also go thru the same types of trials.  But rest assured, He didn’t lead me to this scripture so that I would hoard it for myself; that’s why I’m sharing it with you; reminding you that today, you too can find comfort in 1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV , just like I did.
Take heart!  We serve a God that has not forgotten us!

He is the God of all grace!
Be blessed my family & friends and walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Dad was your typical Italian father; dedicated family man; extremely hard worker and very, very protective of his wife & 6 children. He was strict; but never abusive verbally or physically. For that I count myself blessed. (My heart breaks for those who have had a less fortunate experience.)

When one of us kids would do something wrong or just off the wall, I can remember one of Dad’s favorite sayings, “Do you have brains God gave a goose?” This phrase still makes me laugh and I even used it with my girls a few times while they grew up. Trust me; we knew when Dad was angry; and I’m not suggesting he was perfect; as none of us are. But he was an amazing example of what a father should be. What sticks in my memory the most about his discipline is that he handled situations in a very loving way. There were times he had to discipline us with a belt; but he always did it with love. One of his ways of disciplining were the times he would just talk to us about what we did wrong; give us fatherly advice (very sternly) and ultimately give us another chance; because everyone makes mistakes. His only hope was that we learned from the mistake and not repeat it.

I spent a lot of time with Dad; especially when I was young; watching while he fixed the family cars; going to the store; sitting around just chatting; you name it! I loved being with my Dad and I loved our father-daughter relationship. My Dad was my hero! One thing was for sure; whenever I was with him, I felt loved & protected. Even when he wasn’t physically near, he was only a phone call away. I never had to worry about anyone hurting me because I knew without doubt, if within my Dad’s human ability, he would never let it happen. I can say with certainty that Dad would have given up his own life to protect me or anyone else in our family. Dad was a giver and he especially loved giving to his children. If he made a promise, he stood by it and made it happen. I trusted my Dad. He never gave me reason not to trust him. I knew he loved me; I knew he would meet all the necessary needs in my life and more.  I knew I was protected. He blessed me even when I didn’t deserve it. He loved me simply because I was his daughter and I didn’t have to earn his love. I was proud when other’s said I resembled my Dad; and some even thought I walked like him. To me, Dad was an amazing father!

When I think about my relationship with my heavenly Father, I am astonished at the pattern I see between my Dad and Him. Once I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was barely out of the pit filled with miry muck. Yet, He accepted me just as I came to Him; covered in filth; reeking with a horrendous stench and to be honest; I was drenched in sin. And even though He didn’t approve of the sin in my life, He loved me despite it all. He reminded me that He loved me enough to give up His life for me so that my sins could be forgiven. My sins were forgiven the moment I accepted Him into my heart. He promised that He would never leave me or disown me. Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV However, like my Dad, the Lord also said He would discipline me when it was necessary because He wanted me to share in His holiness. God only corrects those He loves. Hebrews 12:4-13 NIV

Throughout my walk with Him, there has never been a time where He failed me nor has His word proven void. Even though He hasn’t always given me what I want; He has been quick to supply my need. And just like my Dad, He knows what is best for me and He loves me enough to tell me no when I ask for something that may not be good for me. I don’t always understand His decisions or direction; but I know without doubt, He will not steer me down the wrong road. Even when I’ve experienced adversity, discouragement or testing contrary to His word, He is quick to speak to me, thru His Holy Spirit, to turn me away from the enticements of this world and get my eyes fixed back on Him. And at times when I’ve messed up and did things my own way; His love covered a multitude of my disobedience to His direction. His grace & mercy have overshadowed me more numerous times I can recall and more than I ever deserved. As I strive to serve the Lord, my hope is that when others look at me, I resemble my Heavenly Father more & more each day, with each step I take in my walk with Him!

You see, the truth is; He considers me His daughter and He loves me more than anyone else could; including my Dad. Wow! When I consider how much my Dad loved me; it helps me to accept my Heavenly Father’s love like none other.

Maybe you never had a close relationship with your earthly Dad. And all though I could never understand the depth of your pain, let me encourage you to draw near to your heavenly Father. He loves you & desires a close relationship with you. If you’re Dad has already passed away or just not a part of your life for one reason or another, maybe today is difficult for you! The Lord wants you to remember that He is a Father to the fatherless!

“Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before Him — His name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” Psalm 68-4-5 NIV

Thank you, Heavenly Father! You are indeed the most AMAZING FATHER!

Happy Father’s Day!

I love you!

Your Daughter

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

“What God Has Cleansed You Must Not Call Common.”

 I've often wondered how or why it is that most ( I think all ) religions only practice parts of what the bible states. And I know the same scriptures are always used as examples... usually from Leviticus.. like about not... eating pork or stoning to death adulterers etc... Why is it ok to not follow through with the orders in these scriptures but not others. I've always wondered about this but have never been able to get an answer from anyone.  Any thoughts?”
The above comments & questions were recently posted on my Face book page by a family member and below is my response as I understand it. 
First of all, please understand no church is perfect and people (many times, not the church as a whole) make decisions which scriptures they want to follow and which ones they don’t.  Doesn’t mean God didn’t speak against their decision throughout the bible; just that they “choose” not to obey.  And many times people tend to blame the church or pastor for not preaching God’s Word correctly.  In my opinion, unless a person can prove a pastor is actually preaching heresy, the pastor can’t be blamed that he encouraged the people in the congregation to make wrong choices; especially after the pastor preaches the Word of God uncompromised.   A pastor should always be able to prove what He says thru scripture; otherwise it is merely their opinion.   If in doubt…compare what is said with the scriptures.  But also respect your pastor enough to discuss your concerns with him; don’t just assume. (Hope this makes sense.)
I believe since the birth, death & resurrection of Jesus, we are no longer bound to the Old Testament laws unless it tells us we are in the New Testament.  Read the book of Acts 10:1-48 NIV.   Read the whole chapter to get a better understanding of what actually happened in regards to being clean versus unclean.  Don’t skip the part about Cornelius; it’s very important for you to get understanding on the whole picture.
Regarding not eating pork – 
Some folks still practice this; however, because of the new covenant we have with the Lord, I believe Acts 10:13-16 NIV gives us permission to eat pork if we want too.  Acts talks about when Peter had been praying; got hungry and wanted to eat.   Something like a sheet came down on all 4 corners of the earth and had all types of animals inside of it; wild beasts & 4 legged ones too.  (I believe that would include pigs.)   
A voice came to Peter (thru a vision) saying “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”  Peter’s response was “Not so, Lord!  For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And the voice responded by saying, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
I believe the sheet like object that came down on all corners of the earth was God’s way of saying His message was for everyone everywhere; not just the spot Peter was in. (I personally don’t believe eating pork is considered a sin any longer.)  But God wasn’t just talking about food.  He was talking about people too.  Back then, it was against the law for Jews and Gentiles to associate with each other.  However, because of the vision Peter experienced, He was convinced God had shown him not to call anyone impure or unclean.  (So it goes way beyond food.)   It’s also important to note that the Lord wasn’t talking about our outside appearance; rather the inside of us; our spiritual cleanliness. 
About stoning the adulterer to death –

Again, back in the Old Testament, Leviticus 20:10 NKJV, the people back then were under the old law.  And from what I understand, the Lord spoke to Moses and commanded adulterers & adulteress be stoned. He also commanded people to be stoned because of other sin as well.  However, once again, Jesus, our Redeemer, full of mercy & grace was sent to earth to set the sinner free. Doesn’t change the fact that adultery is STILL a sin; but with Jesus, stoning to death was no longer necessary.  He shed His own blood so that ours wouldn’t need to be.  When Jesus looked at her, helpless and doomed for death, He answered the scribes and Pharisees in a way that made them examine themselves before condemning someone else; in this case, the adulteress.  The scribes & Pharisees were trying to trip Jesus up to find fault with Him so that they can accuse Him of blasphemy.  Instead, they walked away with the guilt on themselves and Jesus forgave the adulteress and told her to go and “sin” no more.  

And just a reminder about Romans 5:8-11(NKJV)  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Important to remember; all it takes is a true repentant heart to be forgiven. Doesn’t mean we are perfect; just willing to make changes as the Lord reveals them to us. We will never be perfect until we are with up in heaven with Jesus. But He loves us no matter what!
Be blessed my family & friends!
Walk in the Lord's total favor!
Love you all!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jehovah Jireh - My Provider!

The Mighty One, God the Lord, Has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. Psalm 50: 1 NKJV 

I tend to be a sky watcher and this morning, on my way into work, I was admiring the hand of God; the way He causes the sun to rise; forming colors no artist could ever capture!  Then I gazed around at the trees and all that He formed just speaking it into existence.  But to be honest, just before I looked up to the Lord, I was thinking about how my weekend was far from restful.  I’ve been preparing for a baby shower gift for one daughter; while working on a wedding dress for another; and of course, the unexpected happened. Our water heater sprung a very bad leak. Needless to say, we’ve been without hot water for the last 2 days.  But I have to tell you, as I started to move my focus to the Lord and off of my circumstance; the Holy Spirit quickly brought an old song to mind that reminded me that He is in control.   Maybe you’ll remember this song from long ago and I pray it encourages you today as well.

Jehovah Jireh, My provider, His grace is sufficient for me, for me, for me! Jehovah Jireh, My provider, His grace is sufficient for me!My God shall supply all my needs; according to His riches in glory.  He will give His angels charge over me. Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me!  Jehovah Jireh cares for me!!!! (Don Moen)

When I arrived to work, I quickly looked up more scriptures to get me thru the day.   The Lord brought me to Philippians 4:19 KJV where it says,But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This scripture doesn’t say that man supplies my need; but God does!  He is my companion; my friend; my vindicator; my healer; my promoter; my encourager.  He is my provider!   And all I had to do to get His peace was look up to Him and get my eyes off my circumstance. 

So my friend, don't put your trust in man.  Take youre eyes off your circumstance and look up to God.  Put your trust in the only One that can meet your need; whatever it may be.  That One is none other than Jesus!

And remember what He says in Psalm 50:15 NKJV
 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” 

Jesus is my “everything” and I would not want to live one day without Him!
I hope He’s your “everything” too!

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

Love you all!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Do You or Don’t You Want This Divorce?

Thirty years ago, a couple made a vow before the Lord and all who attended their wedding ceremony.  As most young couples, hopes were high that life would be an adventure full of dreams and endless possibilities.  Yet early on in the marriage, this couple experienced many bumps & obstacles along their path; some that would prove to be very detrimental to the success of their marriage.  As time took its toll, the obstacles became bigger; while the hopes & dreams started to diminish before their very eyes. What actually happened between the two of them really doesn’t matter.  What matters is how they responded to the situation.  It wasn’t long before the word “divorce” entered the wife’s arguments; soon to be a common word in her vocabulary; and eventually became a numbing sensation towards its actual meaning; the legal dissolution of a marriage. In an attempt to save the marriage, the wife sought out Godly counsel, while the husband refused.  

Needless to say, eventually this couple found themselves sitting before a judge; bewildered at their next step.  After listening to the wife’s testimony, the judge looked at both of them and said, “Folks, I’m confused.  Do you or don’t you want this divorce?”  The couple just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders; neither one willing to stop the final process because each one was too stubborn.  Each was hoping the other would take the lead and stop it.  Unfortunately, neither one did.   After their last shrug, the judge slammed down his gavel and granted their divorce.  On the way out of the courthouse, the couple looked at each other and said, “What have we done?”  And with that, they both went on their way quite distraught. Throughout the following year, this couple had remained amicable; especially because they had children together.  Although the bumps & obstacles didn’t go away, what took place within the next year, not many anticipated; not even the couple themselves. Their children prayed faithfully & other believers prayed as well that the Lord would restore this family.  And without fail, the Holy Spirit worked behind the scenes.  Little by little, the Holy Spirit drew this couple back to a place of remembrance of what used to be early on in their marriage; the things that mattered the most and what laid ahead for them as they went thru life.  And within that same year, the couple had decided to reconcile and remarry. 

Sound like a fairytale?  Well, I can assure you it’s not.

My husband & I were that couple over 15 years ago.  And trust me; this is NOT a bragging moment.  It’s actually quite humiliating to say the least.  And I’m not going to try & persuade you that all has been hunky dory after we remarried; because the truth is, it hasn’t been. Just like everyone else, we still face bumps & obstacles life throws our way and no doubt, we will until the very end.  However, one thing is different this time; my response to the situations that come up. It’s different because I made a promise to the Lord before we remarried that the word “divorce” would never enter into our marriage ever again; and I’ve done my best to hold tight to that promise. Even though at times it seemed like it would be the easiest solution, I knew without doubt it wasn’t the right one.  For me, the right solution this time was & is to continually draw closer to the Lord; trusting that He is in control.   I understand that reconciliation isn’t right for everyone and in many cases, no longer a possibility.   Nor would I ever encourage anyone to reconcile with a spouse that may be abusive in any way. Fortunately for us, that wasn’t our problem.  So this blog may not be for you. 

However, I know there is someone out there that needs to hear this testimony.  To be honest, I resisted the Holy Spirit in writing it for quite some time now because I wasn’t ready to expose myself or my husband in such a manner as this.   But the Holy Spirit was adamant that I needed to share this story with you; whoever you are!  The Holy Spirit wants you to know that’s it’s not too late for your marriage to succeed; not too late for healing to take place; not too late to be restored and made new.  He wants to heal your marriage and restore your family; if you’ll just let Him.

Remember; divorce was never in God’s plan.  His plan was that a man & woman become as one and remain that way until the very end.  As a matter of fact, God hates divorce so much that in Malachi 2:10-16 (NIV) He warns men against infidelity and breaking the covenant of marriage.  I may be wrong, but, my thought is that He addressed this with the men because men are the spiritual head of the home.  God made man and woman as one, to be in unity with His Holy Spirit, to ensure their children would be Godly offspring and follow after God’s own heart.  

In the book of Matthew 19:4-6 (NKJV) even the Pharisees tested Jesus by questioning him about divorce. Jesus reminded them that man & woman are united into one flesh and no one should separate them. And of course they came back with the argument that Moses gave them permission to divorce.  But Jesus was already prepared to answer them when he said, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”  Matthew 19-7-9 (NKJV)

I’m not sure who I’m speaking to with this blog; but if you are a husband or a wife contemplating divorce or possibly in the middle of one, I’d like to encourage you to stop and seek the Lord before taking another step. Take time to draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you. Maybe you’ve opened the door to divorce simply by speaking it and eventually growing numb to the reality of one; just like I did.   The Holy Spirit showed me that just speaking the word “divorce” cracked open the door and gave Satan a foothold into our marriage.  You have the power with the Holy Spirit to slam that door shut again.  Especially if you haven’t heard the judge’s gavel come slamming down on his desk, then, it’s not too late!  Simply repent and ask the Lord to help you; and He will.

Maybe you’re already divorced, yet, amicable with your ex-spouse and neither of you are remarried. Well, it’s not too late for you either. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw you back to a place of remembrance of what used to be early on in your marriage; the things that mattered the most and what lays ahead for you as you go thru life.  God is a God of reconciliation; a God of second chances.  And nothing is too difficult for Him; absolutely nothing!

Remember the old saying, “It takes two to tango?”  Well, it takes three to make your marriage work; the Lord, you & your spouse.  You can’t fix your marriage without each other and it can never be completely healed without the Lord in the midst of it.   He wants you to know that He loves you.  You are special to Him and He has a plan that can restore your marriage; if you’ll just let Him.

Wish I can say “It’s that easy folks”, but reality once again, it’s not always easy.  And I am not claiming to have all the answers; because I simply don’t have them.  The only thing I know and can be assured of is this simple truth; with the Lord, there is restored hope!

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

Love you all!