Friday, December 28, 2012

The Truth Will Set You Free


To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free"  John 8:31-32

There is only one way to the truth.  Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  A disciple of Jesus is one who will hold to his teachings through faith in him to the very end.  It is not a one time experience or prayer that keeps you until the end.  Jesus made it clear that if you hold to my teachings.  This is important to understand.  As we remain in God's word, standing in what Jesus Christ has done for us, we will remain confident in our salvation.  

The only way that we will walk in the freedom that God intended in by walking in truth.  The word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path and Jesus is the word.  We are told this in John 1:1 and 1:14.  When the light of the word becomes reality to us, we begin to see God's truth and the bonds of oppression leave us.  However if we begin to seek other ways to solve our problems rather than the truth, then we could become oppressed again.  Paul tells us not to be deceived by fine sounding arguments or led captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human traditions (Colossians 2:4, 8).   Romans 1:28 talks about those who exchanged" the truth of God for a lie."  If we are not careful, we too can be deceived.  

Jesus is the word of truth, the gospel (Colossians 1:5) and "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).  Jesus is the central point of all prophecy in the bible.  He is God's plan of salvation and redemption.  He is the fulfillment of God's workmanship and his glory.  He is the one of whom God has entrusted his inheritance with.  Our focus needs to remain on what Jesus has done for us and to keep our faith in him.  When we abide in him and his word, we will be his disciples and the truth will come forth and set us free.  

So today may the Lord give you eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying.  May those crooked areas become straight again.  May faith arise and bring the hope of glory which is in Christ Jesus. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Great Commission


"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."  Matthew 28:19-20
The gospel of Jesus Christ is one that brings life.  The good news is that Jesus came to give us a new life and life abundantly.  He came to give us a new inheritance where we become children of God.  We now are born of God.  We too are to share the good news of the gospel with others. 
We are not to make converts of those who only hear the word, but those who are doers of the word.  God is looking for disciples.  Jesus says: ""If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  God's word reveals to us truth.  It is the sword that divides the soul from the spirit.  It distinguishes where we are holding to his teachings.  God wants us to go and disciple others.  This is not only done by sharing the word, but by being a doer of the word. 
God wanted us to share the great commission of not only the good news, but to baptize them.  This baptizing is where God empowers us with the dunamis power, the point of where we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the seal that we are God's.  We cannot preach the gospel without the power.  In Acts 1 before Jesus ascended, He told them to pray for power from on high.  This power gives those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior power to turn to God, overcome sin and to preach the word of God.  The Holy Spirit is God with us and He is the one who gives us the power.  We are now God's and his life lives in us.
God tells us he transforms us from glory to glory.  We become his vessels of glory showing others the light of the world that came and died for them.  We bring good news of glad tidings.  We share that God sent his son to die for us because he loved us so much, that he bore our sins and he rose again.  We have this eternal hope of going from life here on earth into eternal life where we will be with God forever.  We will one day be rid of all this pain and sorrow from this earth.  We will one day be able to stand before a righteous God because of his goodness that led us to repentance.  We today can receive as our Lord and Savior and receive the forgiveness of our sins.  We can have the stain of guilt removed because of his kindness and great love towards us.  We become washed in his blood and become righteous because of what he did.  The old things have passed away.  Our hearts can be renewed in knowing that we are right with God and our conscience cleansed.  What a wonderful plan of salvation.  How perfect it is.  Thank you God!

There are so many that don't know of God's goodness.  The only way they can come to know God is by sharing his great plan of salvation.  May God empower you through the Holy Spirit to preach the good news with others and to have wisdom.  May you abide under the shadow of the Almighty!


Put on the Full Armor of God


"Finally, be stong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying  for all the saints."  Ephesians 6:10-18

There is in every Christian's life a time when bad things can happen.  Throughout the world some Christians are being persecuted, while others are being thrown into jail.  Bibles are being confiscated and destroyed.  Some Christians have experienced a loss of a loved one.  Tragedy has struck.  Some are sick, while others are having financial problems.  Some are having strife in their marriages, some are going through divorce.  However, Paul who experienced many trials and suffered much persecution knew the truth.  He knew that he had to hide God's word in his heart and not to be moved by what he saw.  He was beaten, thrown in jail and abandoned for the sake of the gospel, but he did not give up hope.  He had heard and seen many Christians not only persecuted but killed for the sake of the gospel.  He held on to the eternal promises and kept his eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith.  He encouraged others while he was in jail and brought hope to a dying world by sharing God's love.  He kept pressing in and believing.   He was always hopeful even when he was hurting, abandoned, struck down and accused falsely.  He knew that he had to "put on the armor of God."  His hope had to remain in Christ.   

He was basically saying in Ephesians (my interpretation):  Keep your eyes on Jesus when evil comes your way.  Stand your ground and stand in what he has done.  His armor is sufficient. Abide in his truth, his righteousness, preach the gospel of peace, have faith in him, his salvation and his word.  Through prayer you will remain in communion with him.  As you make your requests known, remain alert, keep praying and pray for others so that they too will remain in Christ.

Paul kept his eyes on Jesus, the eternal hope of glory. Amid the trials and the many issues that arose, he knew that God is faithful.  He understood how having a personal relationship with God would keep you.  He knew that God was with him through all of these trials and that he would ultimately be victorious.  He knew God was near to him when he was brokenhearted waiting with healing in His wings.  He shared so that you may know in your hear that God was there for you too.  You may not physically know it, but he is waiting to comfort you in the midst of this trial.  Cry out to Jesus!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christ is Our Redeemer


"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth."
Job 19:25

Christ is our redeemer. As I continue to grow daily in the Lord and seek Him, I find more truth. Yes, we know that Christ is our redeemer, but how often do we receive this truth and apply it to our lives. Over the last two years as the Lord began to do more inner healing to my heart, I was astounded at how much I love the Lord and can be so easily taken off track by the lack of inner revelation at the knowledge of the truth.

I was in healing and deliverance ministry for the last 5 to 6 years. From 2004 to 2007 we were blessed quite substantially. Praise be to God. However, God had a bigger plan for my life. I was listening to many and how they were going through their trials and tribulations. As the economy began to change and as I began to see so many other people struggle, I too began to not believe the truth. I started to notice my poverty mindset. This mindset was from my childhood. Growing up my family was always struggling financially. I had a job at the age of 12 in the dental profession. My dad was always in need of money and constantly asked me for money to help pay the rent or to buy food. We were always just getting by. It was tough.

When I grew up, I put myself through college and did quite well. When I quit my job in 2004, I was making 6 figures. My husband was making much more money than that. Things seem to be good. However, your past always seems to like to revisit you. I hate when that happens. I began to feel the fears and failures of what I had experienced as a child. I had been serving the Lord and the more I served, the tougher it seemed to get. It began to become very discouraging. I was thinking what the heck is going on. Why is this happening? I had quit work several years ago and my husband wasn't working full time for three and half years. Your word says that you would supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory. I wasn't seeing that level of provision. I was faithful in tithing. I had tried to do everything right with no breakthrough.

God had a bigger plan. He was not going to leave me in the condition of which I started. He is rising me above my trust in man or self. I am a very resourceful person and have many skills, but God wants us to trust him and surrender. He wants to show himself as the God of the impossible, the God of glory and the God of provision. He was showing me that he wants obedience, but I was trusting in the wrong thing. My husband and I had made investments in properties and well.....lost our shirts. We lost quite a bit, but as he has been speaking to me, he was showing me how much I do not fully understand his redemption. My husband and I didn't quite see eye to eye in our property investments and took the losses, but the Lord told me that my problem was that I did not believe he could redeem the situation because of our own issues such as lack of unity in the purchases. He said the devil came in and lied. The Lord came to redeem us from our sins and what we have done wrong. He can redeem any situation. Jesus paid the price to recover ownership of us. He is also the responsible for our needs. He can redeem us despite our failures. 

As this revelation came, I got so mad at the devil and a new hope arose in me. I know that the Lord is telling me that He is redeeming our situation. Not only is he doing this for us financially, but also mentally, physically and emotionally. He is going to restore the years that the locust have eaten. I will have plenty to eat, until I am full and I will praise the name of the Lord my God who has worked wonders for me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

But They Loved the Darkness


"This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light for fear that his deads will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it my be seen plainly that what he had done had been done through God."  John 3:19-21

When the election outcome was announced, the aboved verses resonated in my heart.  God is setting the stage.  The stage has one that has been in moving in the direction for his Son's return.  It was no surprise at the election outcome.  Although I was hopeful for a different outcome, I knew in my heart that God's plan will stand. 
When I went to bed that night, I opened my bible and I was reading in Ezekiel 22.  God talks about the whitewash prophets with false visions and lying divinations.  The people were one of practicing extortion and committing robbery.  They were oppressing those who were needy and poor.  They did not believe in justice.  God was looking among them to find a man to stand in the gap and pray for this land, but he found none.  So God's judgment was about to happen.  He now has to pour out his wrath.  As I read this passage, I thought about the United States. We have become prideful and full of self.  We are not really interested in justice or helping the poor, but we have become of a nation that seeks our own ways. 
In the morning my daily bible reading was in Matthew 24 where Jesus began talking about the signs of the end of the age.  He tells us be careful not to let anyone deceive you.  We are living in an age where people are spiritually blind.  Obadiah 1:3 says the pride of your heart has deceived you.  We are hearing of wars and rumor of wars.  We are seeing nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Famines and earthquakes are becoming more prevalent.  Jesus then tells us that these things will come before the son of Man returns.  He talks about how many will be living.  Many will not be expecting Jesus to return.  People will be living life how they want rather than doing what the master asked them to do. 
Jesus is returning.  We are to live each day as if our master was returning for us.  Some may disagree.  When we expect our Lord to return, then we are living each day being a blessing to others.  We would be treating others with love and respect.  We would be seeking to do good rather than abide in selfishness. We would try to be more like Jesus. 
I truly believe we are living in the end of times.  Take a look at where the center stage is.  It is all pointing to Israel.  Israel one day will stand alone.  Not really alone because God said he is with them.  We are seeing the stage now being set in the middle east for the final fulfillment in the prophecies.  We are living in a time where we will see the Son of Man return in the clouds.  It is truly exciting!






Friday, November 16, 2012

Take Refuge in the Lord


"It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in man."  Psalms 118:8

Sometimes the first thing we do when we are having troubles are to turn to man for answers, but it is better to take refuge in the Lord.  God is almighty, all powerful, all knowing, full of wisdom and knowledge.  He has power to heal, deliver and to give life to dead situations.  He can restore, rebuild and be our very present help in our time of need.  He is to be our everything.  He is good and always looking to keep us out of harm's way.  To show this to be true, let me share this with you:

I went to see a friend of mine who lived about an hour away from me.  We went out to breakfast and then we went to her jeweler to find out how much it would cost to reset a Tanzanite stone into white gold.  I didn't really like the current setting and thought what the heck. So we went to see her.  As we were there just looking at settings and discussing different things, the jeweler began to share with us that she was going to see a psychic.  I was thinking to myself, oh Lord, she doesn't know the power of God or she wouldn't be seeking a psychic.  As the story unfolded, we found out that her nephew who was 16 years old died of a heart attack.  It was a sudden loss and such a tragedy.  She was in pain from this.

It didn't take to long to find out that she was a Christian.   I began even more concerned for her because she was seeking a dark source and not the true source. She was like the one sheep who just wandered off.  She was going to the wrong source for answers and healing.  God was in the midst waiting for her to turn to him to bring healing.  I know that she didn't understand the why she lost her nephew suddenly and I had no answer for her.  However, I knew God wanted to intervene and change the route she was about to take.  I knew this was a divine appointment.  He was about to use my friend and I to bring this sheep back to the sheepfold.

Immediately, I began to converse with God on how he was planning on handling this.  I was sure that he had a plan.  I just didn't know what to do at that moment.  After she shared her testimony, I shared the love of God with her and talked about how Jesus was there for her.  I had the opportunity to share with her how God wants to comfort her and heal her.  That his heart's desire is to bring her close to him and make her whole.  I didn't fully understand her loss, but compassion arose in my heart.  As she continued to share in her grief, loss and pain, we found out that the enemy was using guilt to put her in that bondage.  He was telling her that she didn't spend enough time with her nephew.  It was horrible.  I shared with her that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that God already knew the circumstances.  Then my friend began to share with her how she went to psychic.  The psychic began to tell her how they could help her out of her situation.  They wanted money to fix her problem.  So she gave them money.  Then they would call her up and ask for more money to fix her problems.  They were using scare tactics and fear to control her life.  She didn't want to share this with her friend in front of me because she knew of my strong convictions.  She also shared with her jeweler friend what God did for her.  She shared that the Lord gave me a word of knowledge and the anointing to break the power of this darkness that came in through this psychic.  She came over one day unbeknownst to me that she had been seeing a psychic.  Out of his goodness he was leading my friend back to repentance.  He knew she wanted freedom from this darkness and bondage that the enemy over her life.  After the Lord broke the power, she was set free and began to use the word of God to break off the stronghold that had come in.  This was powerful.  God wanted to clearly show this jeweler that this was not the way to go.  He also gave my friend's the boldness to share this testimony to keep her jeweler friend from going through the same situation and bondage she encountered.

We prayed with her jeweler friend for the Lord to bring healing to her grief, pain, the trauma and shock as well as the guilt.  God is in the business of setting the captives free, bringing sight to the blind and healing all oppression.  He is also near to the broken-hearted.  He is familiar with our sufferings.  He knows what we are going through.  He too experienced what we experienced to a greater degree because he died for us on the cross.  He experience pain, trauma, suffering, sin and separation from God.  It is beyond comprehension.

We don't need to seek man for answers, God has them all.  Even if the midst of such a tragic loss God's unanswered prayers one day will be revealed.  So in the midst of such a tragic loss our hope is one day we will see the truth.  In the midst of a trial may the Lord be the comforter of your soul.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-11 we read "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or cast spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."  When you trust in the Lord rather than man, you will find that you will abide under the shadow of the almighty God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gifts and Calling


Many today are unsure of what their gifts and calling are in the body of Christ.  When a believer does not know what purpose God has called him/her to do it can be very frustrating.     Without the knowledge and understanding of God's purpose we will feel helpless, hopeless and lacking purpose in this life.  


God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." In Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do."  So we can clearly see God desires to utilize us in His Kingdom for His glory.  
So if God has a plan and purpose for each one of us the question then arises, what is my gift and calling?  How do I identify this?   Not everyone has the same gift or calling and the gift may be in varying degrees.  God identifies the gifts and calling in His word, so it is important to seek God's perfect will for your life.  
Outlined below are scriptures of God's gifts and callings:





"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,  do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."  
Romans 12:6-8

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."  Ephesians 4:11-12

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."  
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13

These scriptures clearly outline specific purposes that God has to edify and build up His body for His glory and his gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).  Let's outline these gifts:  

We see that there is the seven gifts of grace, which are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving generously, leading and showing mercy.  Then we have the fivefold ministry of God which build up the body of Christ, which are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  Then we have the nine gifts of the Spirit that are distributed by the Spirit of God.  These include a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues.  Last the greatest gift is the gift of love.  

Without experiencing and knowing the love of God and walking in love, our gifts are futile.    So the greatest one is to love God, then others.  It is God's goodness that leads others to repentance and love is the greatest motivator of all.  

Some of the gifts and calling are seen in the natural.  The greatest way to determine if you are in the perfect will of God is when you can function in the body by His grace.  When you do not have the grace to function in any of these gifts that it is a good determination that you may be out of the will of God.  So seeking Him is important in functioning in your gifting. May the Lord reveal your gift and callings to you as you move forward in your walk with Christ.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trauma and Shock


There are many things that happen in life that cause trauma and stress in our lives.  When those incidents happen what we don't realize is that it could cause you to be put into bondage to the enemy.  Paul tells us not to be ignorant of the strategies of Satan.

I know personally when I experienced trauma, shock or was struck by excessive worry that added stress to my life that a heaviness.  I felt weighted down and oppressed.  

Trauma or shock can be emotional, physical or mental.  Some examples are financial stress, unexpected losses of loved ones. loss of loved ones or dramatic change in circumstances as well as hurts and pains caused by loved ones or people around us.  It is a strategy the enemy uses to keep us from focusing on God and trusting in Him.

We are told by Jesus that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, but to be of good cheer He has overcome the world.  However, there are times when we are caught off guard, blindsided by the enemy.  This hit has caused us to question our circumstances.  It is unexpected and can shake our faith.  It can test whether or not we believe what God has promised.  When we begin to respond to these negative feelings and situations, we open ourselves to the strategies of the enemy to lie, steal and kill from us.  We are told to be vigilant and watchful.  When we fail, God is there to pick us back up.  

God can heal us from all those past pains,, the trauma, shock and disappointment.  He can heal us from the rejection and hurt.  He is the only one who can heal the heart.  When the heart is wounded then we function like a sick person.  We cannot glorify God or see His goodness.  We can only see how poor we are and how poor are our circumstances.  God never intended for us to be a victim, but to be victorious.  However, we cannot be victorious if we live in self pity, self protection, self justification, self righteousness and in a victim mentality of woe is me.   When you are wounded you will live focused on self.  

God can heal today.  He can restore the brokenness and bring life to your mortal body.  He came to set the captives free, give sight to the blind and remove all oppression.  Today is the day of salvation and you can receive the fullness of what God has for you.  God sent Jesus so that you may have life and life abundantly.  Sure we will still have problems, trials and tribulations, but we have a God who is bigger than the mountain.  God has given us the faith to believe in His son Jesus and He has given us the power to have faith to believe and overcome.

If you need healing today, pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Praise be to you, our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing from above.  I come before you as I lay my hand on my heart and I pray that you will remove all the trauma, shock, pain, hurt and rejection that came into my life.  I ask for you to comfort me with the Holy Spirit and bring healing and wholeness so that I may worship you in spirit and in truth.  I ask that you allow for me to release all the negative memories and to focus on what is good, perfect lovely, pure or noble, whatever is praiseworthy.  Erase all those negative effects on my mind, will, emotions and physical body.  Erase all the pain that came into the my cells in my body and remove all stress and anxiety.  Help me to cast all my cares onto you.  I ask this Lord so that I may fulfill your purposes.  I ask this in Jesus name.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Faith of Greater Worth than Gold



"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  Those have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
1 Peter 1:6-7

This passage of scripture was written by Peter as a reminder to the Christians to focus on God and his eternal plans.  They were undergoing opposition, oppression and persecution for their beliefs.  They were experiencing trials, grief and suffering.  Their focus had moved from Christ to their current circumstances. It was in the midst of these fiery trials that these believers were struggling with their faith.

Many today are undergoing trials.  They seem hard and difficult.  It seems as if they are beyond measure, never ceasing.  It is as if we are praying and persisting in prayer and the answers are pending.  Luke 18:1-8 we are reminded of a widow who was seeking justice against her adversary.  She was before the judge and he ignored her, but she kept bugging him until she wore him out.  Finally the unjust judge granted her the request for justice.  God reminds us that "and will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  Jesus answers by saying, "I tell you, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"  The question he poses is that during time when you are looking for justice in your circumstances, seeking relief from the problem will your faith remain strong?  Will you remain in faith in the midst of the trial, the pain, the suffering, the bad things happening around you and to you?  Do you trust in God to believe that he will bring justice on your behalf and deliver you?

When fiery trials come, they come to show us where we have bullet holes in your armor. They show us our weaknesses and areas where we do not trust in God.  It is an area where we need to surrender all to God.  
God is the author and finisher of our faith.  He is working out our salvation during these trials.  He is building us up in the most holy faith.  It is one that will never fade or perish.  It is one that is refined and purposeful.  It is worth more than gold.  This faith is one that produces perseverance character and hope.  It is one that does not disappoint us.  It is one that proves that God is love (Romans 5:3-5 my paraphrase).  Jesus is revealed through these trials and through it all it will bring us to a point of knowing our faith is genuine and that we can truly praise God and give all glory and honor to him.  

So though now you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials today, may the Lord rise forth that faith that is of greater worth than gold today in your heart.  May you not grow weary in doing good, but in due season reap a harvest unto the glory of God.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Love Never Fails


"Love never fails.....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:8a, 13:13

I love people and I love being around them.  Today as I was out, I had the opportunity to talk to several people.  I was happy to see all of them.  Some said hi.  Others we engaged in small talk.  Others the conversation grew as we shared life situations.  One person lost a loved one in their family.  Another person shared that they lost a young woman last week tragically.  Another shared how they are still actively working on reconciliation with the battles that were before them.  Another seeking to find herself after being in an unhealthy relationship.  Another weary from the heavy load of life.  All were in need of a renewed strength and hope.  

As I was listening to each story and hearing how each one desired a breakthrough or a different outcome.  How some things could not be changed because the outcome was final.  Their faith was being tried.  Unanswered prayers, disappointments, fears and delays.  The faith seemed to be running on e for empty.  I listened intently and began to quietly pray.  I too know what they have experienced.  I too am familiar with what they were going through.  As I stood next to them listening, I knew that the Lord brought me through my fiery trials to be able to relate and to show a greater compassion.  But more than that, there was this overwhelming love for each and every one of them that the Lord would restore, redeem, comfort, heal and bless them and that their faith would remain firm.   The desire was for them to rise up above their situations and be able to overcome, be comforted and to see God's goodness beyond what they had experienced.  I knew instinctively that God was doing a new work.  It was a work to bring that greater faith, a greater hope and a greater love.   

We are told that love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres."  God was doing a new work in their life. He was showing them who he is and that he can be trusted, that he brings hope and allows us to persevere through the circumstances. His perfect love is casting out all fear. "Love Never Fails."            

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thanksgiving


"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  
1 Thessalonians 5:18


How you ever been in a situation where you are having a hard time being thankful?  Some people naturally see things as good.  The glass is always half full.  The sun is shining.  But to others, some of us have experienced such a hardship, endure abused and encountered rejection.  They look out the window and see only the bad things.   In our society today it promotes negativity.  It injects into our society.  We are told we are not skinny enough, you need to look younger, we need more stuff and wouldn't you like to be like your neighbor.  Our identity is coming from something other than God intended.  It is coming from the window of the world.  

Our world view is founded on belief systems and experiences.  God is in the business of changing our perspective.  He is into directing you to the window with a view of good things.  God is good and he is the giver of good gifts.  The devil is the one who tries to lie, steal and kill.  The goal of the enemy of our souls is to get you to believe that God is against you causing you these problems.  He is trying to get you to think you are not good enough and you have to do better. He is also trying to get you to believe that God is doing this to you. 

God on the other hand is the giver of good gifts.  He came to destroy the works of the devil.  He came to show you his goodness.  However, we cannot experience his goodness if we cannot really be thankful.  Thankfulness brings us into the presence of God (Psalm 100:4-5).  When you give thanks and praise God in the midst of your circumstances, the devil can't take it.  It brings glory to God, rises up faith in your heart and brings God's presence into your situation.  

God defeated Jericho through praise.  The Israelites marched around the city 7 times, blew the trumpets and gave a shout to the Lord and the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6).  When we enter into thanksgiving, we enter into the gates of the most Holy Place, his presence.  It is a place that soothes your soul and restores us.  He tells us what the enemy meant for evil he will turn around for good, because God works everything for good to those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

We are to count our trials as joy.  What a tough way of looking at the situation especially when it seems dim.  God tells us without faith it is impossible to please God.  When we begin to thank God and remember how he sent his one and only son to die for us to give us eternal life.  We begin to see the power of God operate.  It is like a sweet fragrance arising into his throne room.  It is one saying, oh God you were right.  Your plan is the perfect plan and it is the best gift you could give me.  You sent your son to die for me that I may have eternal life and an inheritance in your kingdom.  It is all because of you and what you did.  

When we arrive at this destination, we know that God is God.  He is all knowing, with us, perfect, loving and good.  He is more than enough.  So today, may thanksgiving of God and his goodness arise as you remember what he has done for you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blessed to be a Blessing


"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written:  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.  Now he who supplies see to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."      2 Corinthians 9:8-11

Do you know if you are blessed to be a blessing?  Are you in lack and want?  Are you finding it difficult to make ends meet?  Paul was addressing the Corinthians and their generosity.  The Corinthians were doing what God desired.  They were giving an offering to Paul for the poor in Jerusalem.  The people in Jerusalem were suffering greatly in this trial. 

Paul knew that it was God's desire for believers to remember the poor and the widows in the body of Christ.  God knows that when you give to the poor and widows that this will result in thanksgiving to God.  

God has given us everything.  We are just stewards over our family, belongings and finances.  God desires for us to put God first and not serve money.  God tells us that we cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24).  Paul goes on to say that those who sow sparingly reap sparingly and those that sow generously reap generously.  He also goes on to say "that each man should give not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver."  (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

When you give with a cheerful heart you will find that God's will make all grace abound to you so that you will have all that you need.  He will make you rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.  God is not stingy.  God has made us his ambassadors in this world to represent him. We are his vessels of glory that he uses to show his goodness, kindness and generosity.  He wants us to give so that others may know about him and his goodness.  He also wants to show us that we can trust in him and his provision.  Giving is a clear indication if whether or not we trust God in what he is doing.  It is hard to give when money is tight or you don't have enough to pay your bills.  It is even harder when you begin to give and find out that you are still short in some instances.  However, as we move in the direction of being generous, then something begins to happen.  Our hearts are changed and our priorities change.  Do I suggest you ignore your bills and be irresponsible?  No, I do not.  I do believe God will provide a way out if you are faithful to give.  

The only way you can test God in any area of your life is through tithing.  In Malachi chapter 3:10 we read:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much a blessing that you will not have enough room for it."

By giving God the first fruits of your income (10% of the gross before taxes), God promises that he will open the floodgates of heaven and poor out a blessing you cannot handle.  He will also prevent pests from devouring your crops.  What an awesome promise.  

Maybe you are saying, been there, done that and it didn't work.  All I can say is this, I know is faithful to take care of my needs.  Although it may not be the way I desire my situation to be, I am not without what I have need of.  He has provided more than I could imagine in my life.  He has taught me my strengths and weaknesses with money.  He has shown me my attitude about where my heart is.  If anything, I know that God will do as he promises.  He will pour out a blessing where I will not have enough room for it.  It is not only coming in the way of provision financially, but it is also physically, mentally and emotionally.  This work is greater than anyone could ever imagine.  Although the road has been tough for a few years, I know that I will see the fruit of from sowing into God's kingdom.

May God give you spiritual insight into this truth and may generosity arise in your hearts to give unto the glory of the Father, in the mighty name of Jesus!
Rain is Coming!  Are you ready?



Joel 2:23-27
Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,[a]
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.
The threshing floors shall be full of wheat,
And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,[b]
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
“And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth:
Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said,
Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.


Depressed?


As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.  "What are you arguing about?" he asked.  A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground.  He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.  Mark 9:15-18

This father loved his child and saw his child suffer so much.  The child was not able to speak and was tormented day and night.  The father was desperate and depressed.  He did not know what to do.  It was tiring to witness this.  It happened many times during the day.  It consumed the father's time.  Finally, he mustered up the courage to go to Jesus' disciples to see if what others were saying were true.  Can my son be made whole?  Can he live a normal life?  He had spent years enduring this and was without hope.  

Jesus when seeing the boy asked the father, "How long has he been like this?"  The father sadly responded since childhood.  He went on to tell him that "it has oftened thrown him into the fire or water to kill him."  He pleaded with Jesus "can you do anything, take pity on us and help us." 

When you are without hope it brings in a darkness.  It brings in despair, depression, hopelessness, disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment.  Could you possibly imagine being under this oppression?  The father had endured many years of this suffering seeing his son in torment.  Will his son ever have a normal life?  Will he ever have a normal life again?  He was so distraught that he exclaimed to Jesus "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."

Are you now enduring years of a circumstance or situation that you have had no reprieve?  You have prayed and prayed and it seems as if the heavens are but brass.  It is like you hit a ceiling so hard that nothing can penetrate it.  You too like this father have hit an all time low and depression has sent in.  It is like your closest friend right now.  It is hard to be optimistic.  Ever day you try to put on your happy face, but inside you are full of despair, hopelessness, disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment.  The good news is that Jesus is there for you.  He came to set the captives free, give sight to the blind and to remove all oppression (Luke 4:18).  He came to destroy the works of the devil (Acts 10:38).  He knows this is a tough season for you and he has been right next to you.  Although the season seems dark, there is a new dawn of light in the distance.  He is bringing healing in his wings.  It will bring hope and restoration to your soul.  Faith is rising in your heart.   

Then Jesus then rebuked the spirit and the boy became whole again.  The father now had hope.  His life and life of his child was restored.  The darkness began to lift along with the depression, despair, hopelessness, disappointment, disillusionment and discouragement.  May the God of all glory show you his goodness and mercy and deliver you from your circumstances.  May Jesus show you his might and power and destroy the works of the devil so that you may be made whole.





Thursday, October 18, 2012

Looks Can Be Deceiving


"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

The Prophet Samuel was sent to find the new king for Israel.  He was sent to the house of Jesse who had eight sons.  When Samuel arrived, his father presented him with only seven of his sons.  He saw Eliab and thought surely this is the Lord's anointed, but the Lord spoke to him and said "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees:  man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."  

Clearly, Eliab was tall in stature, good looking and strong.  He seemed to be the perfect choice outwardly.  He was probably the first born as well.  However, God did not choose him.  As a matter of fact, Jesse presented all of his sons, but his youngest.  He surely thought that it had to be one of the seven.  Even his father did not think it could be his youngest son.  However, God chose the most unlikely.  He chose the youngest son who was tending the sheep.  He had a ruddy appearance and had handsome features.  But compared to his brothers he was not as tall in stature.  He was being prepared for what God had for him.  He was busy doing what God had planned.  He was going to rule over Israel and need to know how to tend to sheep and watch over the flock that God was about to give him.  He was being prepared for battle to defeat those who would try and kill the flock he was watching over.  He was in training by learning to kill a bear and a lion that tried to kill the sheep.  He was out seeking the God of Israel learning to trust in him to give him wisdom, strength and power.

Do you ever think the same way too?  You look at someone and think, hey this one is the one who is going to be a great leader.  Like Samuel and Jesse, we see their stature, good looks and how they carry themselves.  They are charismatic.  They seem to have it all.  They are the perfect person outwardly.   But think about people who outwardly seemed perfect for the calling, but we find out later that they were liars and cheats.  They were doing evil and living ungodly lives.  They were disobedient and prideful.  It was brought to the light.  We were deceived by their outward appearance.    

We are told in 1 Corinthians 11:31 "if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged."  We are also told in Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with what measure you use, it will be measured to you."  However, God still expects us not to walk around blindly and not judge anything.  He tells us we are to judge the others by their fruit (Matthew 7:16).  It is important to observe how they are living not what they look like.  People can be charismatic and draw you away from the truth.  People can be generous but with wrong intent of heart to lead you away.  People can be kind to get their way with you.  We need to be careful and know if whether or not the person is bearing fruit that is good or bad (Matthew 7:15-20).  God tells us to ask the ability to discern.  He also tells us in Luke 6:45 that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  

Wisdom and a discerning spirit are required to observe the fruit of others.  We need not to be quick to judge them based upon their outward appearance, but be willing to judge them on their fruit.  Also we need to judge ourselves rightly to see where our heart is.  We need to listen to what they are speaking and divide the truth with the word of God.  

May the Lord gives us all the ability to discern and not be deceived by the looks of others.

     

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Living God


"But what about you?" he asked, "Who do you say I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God."  Matthew 16:15-16

Have you encountered the living God?  Have you encountered that moment when you realized that Jesus is the Christ and the son of the living God?  That Jesus is alive? The God of Abraham, the God of Jacob and the God of Isaac, the living God.  He is alive today sitting on the throne of Grace with Jesus, his son at his right side.  

Saul who became Paul had such an encounter.  He was a religious leader.  He was a Pharisee and had studied much of the law.  He thought he knew God and what God wanted.  He just watched Stephen, a servant of God and a Christian being stoned to death.   He took great pride and joy in his religious beliefs and that he was gaining ground in defeating those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.  He even thought he was doing God a service by killing these Christians. As he was heading to Damascus, he had a God encountered.  God spoke to him in the midst of a bright light in the desert and asked him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"  Saul being perplexed asked, "who are you Lord?"  Jesus then reveals to him, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."  He encountered the living God.  He met the God of all glory, full of power and might.  

Have you meant this God?  As for me, I meant him 12 years ago.  I knew of Jesus.  I knew that he was one who died to bring salvation.  I knew that it was wrong to speak against him.  However up until that point, I did not encounter this personal God. Out of his great mercy towards me and my lack of desire to find him, he meant me in the valley.  It was the valley where I had two little kids and a stressful job, a marriage on the rocks and no strength left.  My kids were not sleeping through the night.  I was exhausted and tired.  I had a full time job in sales that was extremely stressful and demanding.  I had clients that I had to meet with all over Southern California.  I could not handle the pressure and demand  any more of the job, family and marriage.  It was beyond what I could bear.  God meant me on my road to Damascus and  he revealed himself to me.  I knew it was a God encountered.  He told me "Anna, do not leave."  I knew in my heart that I was not to run or flee, but to stay. It was not going to be an easy road, but I knew that God was with me.  

God also spoke to both my husband and I that we would also have another child.  His name would be Matthew Timothy.  Although we had two beautiful children a perfect match with one girl and one boy, God had another plan that he wanted to entrust us with.  He wanted us to have another child, a boy.  Within a month, I was pregnant and had my son on my birthday which was March 13th.  I hesitated in naming him Matthew, because my sister lost her husband whose name was Matthew to cancer when he was 33 years old.  At the time, I did not know that Matthew meant a gift from God and Timothy meant fear of God.  However, it his name was significant.  He knew that this would be a reminder of God and his promises.

I would love to tell you things became easier, but the road was one of transformation.  God was doing a deeper work in my life.  It was one to bring healing to my broken heart, restoration of the hurt pain disappointment and distrust.  He was taking my broken vessel and making me new.  He was renewing me into his image and glory.  He was fashioning my days to give me a hope and a future.  Although the road has been bumpy, I know that God will not let me be snatched out of his hands.  Although I have failed in many ways, I know he will redeem me and restore those areas.  He through it all is showing me his love, kindness, goodness, mercy, grace and the ability to humble myself before the mighty hand of God.  

My hope is that you will encounter the living God.  The one whose goodness brings you to repentance.  The one who extends his grace and mercy and the one who heals those areas of brokenness.  May you experience His great love and power.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hope in the Midst


"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."  Colossians 1:27

Hope is what we all are in need of.  We need hope in our times of struggle.  Hope in the midst of adversity.  Hope now.  We need a hope that will last.  One that is not here today and gone tomorrow.  Jesus told us that we will have trials and tribulations in this world. He knew we would need hope beyond our current circumstances.  He knew that we would need one that would last eternally.  

Many today are experiencing dyer circumstances. Some have health issues that are devastating.  Others had just experienced a loss of a loved one.  Some are in need of food.  While others are having financial difficulties.  Some have been betrayed by those close to them.  Then there are those struggling with addictions like alcohol, drugs or sexual immorality such as pornography.  It seems as if there is no peace and no hope for the circumstances.  It is a heavy weight that seems to hard to bear.  It can lead to despair, loss of hope and even thoughts of death.  It brings sorrow and pain.  But there is a hope.  It is one that is beyond what this world offers.  It is one that will bring life back.  It is a source of restoration and rejuvenation.  It is like finding that well of water that springs forth life in a dry and thirsty land.  This hope is Christ Jesus.

Jesus is the hope of glory.  He is the one who came to bring life and life abundantly.  He died so that you may life and a hope that not only is for the here and now but one that brings forth eternal life  God made the glorious riches known which were a mystery.  He sent his one and only son to die for us that we may have hope again.  He can forgive you of your sins and bring hope back into your life.

When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are now born of God and all old things have passed away and all things have become new.  You are a new person in Christ Jesus and adopted into the family of God.  He has plans for you to prosper you and not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future.  He has put eternity into your hearts to give you hope beyond what you have here and now.  He has given you part of him, the Holy Spirit which is our Emmanuel - God with us.  He promise is that  he near to us when we are brokenhearted and there to comfort us in our time of need.  He is there to set us free and bring healing and deliverance.  

Today may you experience Him, Christ Jesus, who is our hope in the midst!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trust in the Lord


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord sounds easy to do.  However, sometimes when we try to walk out in faith trusting in God, we see our weaknesses.  We see that when we pray and if the prayer is answered quickly, we begin to doubt.  In Matthew 7:8 assures us that "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."  

Sometimes, we have to get beyond what we can see and believe in our heart that God is able to do it.  We can claim God's promises all that we want, but this truth has to move from head knowledge to heart knowledge.  It has to move from being a promise into an assurance for us.  So revelation has to come into our hearts to bring trust.  

Psalm 118:8 tells us that" it is better to trust in God than to put confidence in man."  Sometimes we look to man to be a solver of our problems.  When we do this, we tend to get off track from the truth.  Our greatest weakness in trust has come in when others have failed us.   This has usually caused us to relate God to man.  Those people who have failed us and broke our trust have caused us to feel like we have to always fix our problems with nobody's help.  This only leads us away from trusting God.  We look for ways to fix our problems rather than seek the one who can help us solve our problems.  I am not saying to not do anything, but when we seek God first in the situation, he will direct our paths.  He will give us the sure path to resolve the problem.  

How do you know if you don't trust God.  I have found when I find myself in a position of worry, I have found my lack of trusting in God.  I could even look back on my life and see where man has failed me in those areas.  The weakness begins to show up when those problems arise.  It is an area where God wants to come in and to bring healing and restoration of trust.  He wants to show you that he is bigger than your problem and able to show you how you can trust in him.  God wants you to trust him and to become your everything.  It is bringing us from self reliance to dependency on God.  

So today as you are going about life may God bring you into that place of trusting in him fully.