Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Is the Way; Walk In It

Ever wonder if the road you’re on will get you where you want to go? So many times I’ve been guilty of taking the wrong turn, maybe ignoring the warning signs that said there would be a detour up ahead or simply didn’t plan my route before I headed out. I’ve even counted on my GPS to be accurate. But let’s be honest, even computerized mechanisms aren’t always dependable. And as you could probably imagine, it wouldn’t take me long to realize I was way off course. A bit frustrated and confused, I’d be forced to finally admit I was lost and I’d have to pull over to a convenient store or gas station to ask for directions. There are also times when I’d be on the right road, struggling to miss the pot holes in my path and inevitably I would hit one here or there; causing the rims of my tires to bend out of shape. Well let me tell you it’s not an easy or cheap fix when that happens.

I find it true in my spiritual walk as well. I could be chucking along a road, happy go lucky, just knowing I’m on the path the Lord has led me too. But sad enough, eventually it becomes evident that I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way and I find myself uncertain of my next step. And just like the bent up rims, if I’ve wondered off track too far and all alone, it can be a somewhat painful & costly experience as I get back on track, simply because I made choices along the way that were not in God’s perfect will for my life. And to be honest, sometimes, the detours just don’t make sense. It’s at those times that I have to trust that the Lord was protecting me from something up ahead. When this happens, I find it best to just stop and seek the Lord before going any further. I know without doubt that if I seek Him first and trust Him, He will give me clear direction on how to proceed.

What about you? Ever take a wrong road and find yourself just as frustrated? Let me encourage you today! If you’ve found that you’re on a road that is taking you away from God’s perfect will, just stop and don’t take another step. Ask God to show you what you need to do. Sometimes the direction the Lord wants us to go doesn’t make sense; maybe doesn’t appear to be a road that will take us where we thought we were going. Remember, that His ways are not our ways, but His way will always be the best way. That's why we need to seek Him first in all areas of our life.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33 NLT

This Is the Way; Walk In It

The road I’m on is blurry; can't see what's up ahead.
I try to hear Your still small voice and follow what You said.
It seems there are curves and road blocks, no matter where I turn.
Oh God, please give me wisdom and help me to discern.

I'm empty Lord, before You, as I bow before Your throne.
Please help me seek Your perfect will and not travel on my own.
Sometimes the road is scary; lack of faith has jarred my soul.
I need Your Holy Spirit, Lord, to restore and make me whole.

I know that You’ll be with me, walking closely by my side.
I trust I'm on the road You choose; not walking by mere pride.
Help me reach the lost & hurting; share Your mercy & Your grace.
Use me as an open vessel as I continue on this race.

Please always stand before me; help me follow what You say.
Lead me by Your Holy Spirit; then help me trust You and obey.
Pour out Your many blessings; Your favor like a stream.
Give Your servant brand new visions to fulfill my every dream.

©Cynthia E. Bagaglia-Wood - March 24, 2013

So be encouraged today. In the words from King Solomon, “Trust in the Lordwith all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.’ Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

Be blessed my family& friends. I pray you walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!

"This Is the Way; Walk In It."  Isaiah 30:21 NIV


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do You or Don’t You Want This Divorce?

Thirty-one 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 16 years ago.  And trust me; this is NOT nor will it ever be 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!  I pray you walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

God’s Appointed Time

Have you been tested in your character lately; dodging all the fiery darts the enemy throws your way? Does it seem like your hopes and dreams have been kicked to the curb and it’s left you speechless?

It's been my experience that when The Lord tests my character, it usually means change is on its way and the Holy Spirit is preparing me for what's up ahead. Doesn't mean it's going to be a bad change; but maybe one that will test my character in hopes of weeding out the parts of my will that interfere with God's perfect will for my life. So many times I tend to look at the road up ahead; speculating on my hopes & dreams coming to pass; only to find God has a different direction all together. And if I’m not spiritually prepared, the change will shake the very core of my character deep within me; leaving me feeling abandoned by God & confused as I try to figure out where I went wrong.

In the bible, we hear about great men of God that had their character tested time & time again; yet remained faithful to the Lord regardless of their present circumstance.  Joseph was one of those men. In Psalms 105:19 NLT, we are told, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character."

Think about it!  Here is a man that clearly loved The Lord, yet what he experienced until his appointed time, most of us could never fathom, let alone endure.

From the time Joseph was young, God placed dreams in his heart: dreams that would bring him down a road that would try his character relentlessly.   Out of jealously, his own brothers threw him into a pit; left him to die but eventually decided to spare his life and sell him as slave to the Ishmaelites (Midianite traders). The Midianites eventually sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Genesis 37:36 NLT

But as time went on, the Lord revealed Joseph’s character to Potiphar and he was placed in charge of Potiphar’s household and all that he owned.  But again, Joseph’s character would be tested as Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape that would cause him to be condemned and thrown into prison.  Yet, even then, God shined His favor on Joseph and the prison warden put him in charge of all the other prisoners.  Eventually, Potiphar had his chief cup-bearer and chief baker thrown into prison too.  While these two men were in there, they both had dreams that Joseph interpreted; dreams that soon came to pass.  The chief cup-bearer regained his freedom and position as chief cup-bearer to Potiphar and the chief baker was impaled on a pole and left as food for the birds; just as their dreams had warned them.

And still Joseph remained in prison for two more years before he would be asked to interpret a dream for Potiphar.  Once again, the Lord shined His favor on Joseph and Potiphar made him governor over all of Egypt. 

No doubt these trials Joseph faced weren’t fun and most likely the roads he ended up on were not the ones he anticipated when the Lord gave him those dreams at such a young age.  Yet he remained faithful to the Lord, regardless of his circumstance. During this time, Joseph’s character and faith in the Lord were both being tested and strengthened. It wasn’t until God’s appointed time that He allowed Joseph’s dreams to be fulfilled.

Maybe you’ve found yourself on the road to disappointment and discouragement lately. Be encouraged! God has not forgotten you. 

In His appointed time, the dreams He has given you will come to pass.

Be blessed my family & friends. I pray you walk in the Lord’s total favor!
Love you all,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Not Even a Stench of Smoke

Back in December, my husband came home and sadly shared with me that in mid-February, the factory where he worked would be closing its doors.  This was the third factory he worked at since 2005 that ended up closing up shop and my heart just broke for him.  All I could think of was, Oh God!  Not again!  Although I am normally an optimistic person, it took everything within me to stay hopeful; especially around my husband, who, by nature, is typically pessimistic.  And to be honest....there were many days I reminded the Lord of our faithfulness to Him regarding tithe & offerings and His promise to meet our needs.  Regardless of what February had in store, one thing we both knew and agreed on was the fact that we needed to remain faithful to the Lord.
And as luck would have it, February 2nd he received a call and was told he was done working as of that day.  They were kind enough to offer him a severance package.  Although small, we were grateful that they had offered him anything at all.  

Thankfully, a few job suggestions from various friends & coworkers came our way.  As his resume was being sent out, we prayed & asked God to open the door that needed to open and close anything that needed to be closed. 
Then one day as I was talking with a friend at church, I mentioned that he lost his job and without thinking twice, I blurted out that he would never smell the stench of unemployment this time around.  And when I realized what I had said, I was a bit stunned to be honest.  But then I realized the Lord was showing me that He already had a plan.  We just needed to trust Him.  I soon found myself declaring it to my husband & family members. 

When we read the story in Daniel 3 NLT about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how they refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar, it blows me away when I picture how the Lord rescued them out of the fiery furnace.  We are told that King Nebuchadnezzar was so angry that he commanded the soldiers to bound & thrown all three of them into a furnace seven times hotter than usual.   It was so hot that the flames killed the soldiers as they threw them in.   And yet the bible tells us that the fire did not harm Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s bodies; their hair was not singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.  That’s right folks….Not even a stench of smoke was on them!  Whew!  Talk about a walk of faith!
Let me encourage you when I tell you that the severance package my husband received ended up being more than enough to sustain us until God opened another door.   My husband was out of work for three weeks and just started another job in another factory this past Monday. Filing for unemployment never came to pass.
And in the words of King Nebuchadnezzar, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.  Daniel 3:28 NLT
What do you need to trust God for today? 
Do you need a job?  Remain faithful no matter what your circumstance may look like.  Trust the God of our salvation. 
Is it a physical need?  Keep your eyes fixed on our Great Physician; the one that made you in His image.

Maybe it’s a fresh start with God.  Simply as ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins and invite Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life.   He’s knocking at the door of your heart.  Open it and let Him in.

The god of this world (Satan) would rather see you dwell on discouragement & despondency instead of dependence on the Lord & expectation in what He has in store for you. 

“For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.  He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:11 NLT

Be encouraged!  He has not forgotten you!

Be blessed my family & friends.   I pray you walk in the Lord’s total favor!

Love you all!

"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." Isaiah 40:28-31(NIV)