RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2011

Are you in?

I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5

Last night as I was at church listening to the message there was one thing that was spoken that really got my attention.  My pastor said that ANY thing you are IN, deserves you to be ALL IN.  Your ALL IN makes any thing possible.  I don’t know that I have ever been ALL IN in anything.   I immediately began to think about a particular relationship where I was hindering it because I was not ALL IN.  I have known this person for several years and I wanted to date this person.  After three years of flirting, he finally came over and said ‘let’s do this thing’!  From that day on, he had committed himself to me and giving the relationship a shot.  Soon after dating the differences between us started to become apparent when going through some tough times financially.  When going through difficult times in life that is when relationships are tested.  He was very difficult to be around because he was so unhappy and fearful of the future and he took it out on me.  I got to a point when I started to dislike this person.  On the other hand, he is a wonderful person who I loved very much.  One of the things that I was most attracted to him about was that he was like a rock.  He was very stable and did not make hasty decisions.  I had not had someone in my life who was very solid.  I found that to be a very amazing quality that is hard to find.  However, when times continued to get tougher and he became more and more unhappy and hard to be around, I wanted out.  We ended up eventually splitting up.  Being apart humbled him and he asked for another chance and I had seen a change in him as he began to prioritize what was most important to him, however, I would never unpack the bags in my mind.  I no longer trusted him, it was a matter of time that when things got tough again that he would become bitter and angry again.  Because I was not fully ALL IN, it kept our relationship from going past a certain point – I was keeping it from having a chance of making it.  It all was reduced down to fear and pride.  I can think of how fear has kept me from have the fullest of certain relationships.  Perhaps like me, you have been hurt in the past and it keeps you from being ALL IN.  Has somone significant in your life walked out on you?  Another ALL INs can be our own pride.  You work for a particular company and your boss is demanding and disrespectful or perhaps you are not paid what you think you deserve, so we don’t give 100% of ourselves to our work.  I know many are afaid to give their ALL within their church, perhaps they have been hurt before or offended by a pastor.  Maybe its a blended family, and you feel left out, or you feel that you are not going to love ALL because they are not your children.  Is a lack of trust or being angry with God because you felt He could have intervened?  Are you upset with God for something that ‘man’ did?   What is it that keeps you from being ALL IN?  Remember that we cannot avoid certain circumstances beyond our control, but you being ALL IN gives it the possibility to win.  Why?  Because with a ALL IN vs half in attitude, you will say, do and be the best in given situations and circumstances that make the difference.  Thankfully we have a savior who is ALL IN, His mercy endures forever and He does not deal with us as we deserve.  He is the one constant in our life that we can depend on.  He stays closer than a brother (Psalms) and no matter what, He is ALL IN with you!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The God Without

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US.   It’s a holiday begun by the early settlers to express their gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest, and it’s patterned after the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

Each fall in ancient Israel Jews from all over the country would gather in Jerusalem for a week long celebration.  This was to commemorate the time God had spent with them in the wilderness and to give thanks for another good harvest.  All year they saved up their tithes, the first born of their flocks and herds, the first sheaves of grain, the first grapes, figs, olives and other fruit and vegetables and brought it all to Jerusalem where they cooked and ate it all in a national celebration of praise.

After surviving a very difficult year in the new world, the Pilgrims of New England instituted a similar, though much smaller, thanksgiving feast again with the intent of praising God.  It took a couple of centuries but this event finally became an official national holiday in the US.

Growing up, our family always remembered that it was the Lord Who had provided for us so generously and so Thanksgiving was almost a religious observance in our house.  Prayers were offered and each family member gave thanks for all the nice things the Lord had done for us.  It was a time we reflected on what we had and not about what we were without…..but here is an interesting perspective of a God without that is worth thanksgiving.

The word “without” applies to lots of things where the Lord is concerned, and as I continued to pray several of them came to mind.  If you’re looking for things to give thanks for (even if you live in a country where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated) try some of these “withouts”. I’ll bet the Lord will bring more to your mind.

Love Without Limits … For God so loved the world that He gave His only Beloved Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Forgiveness Without Question … Ask and you will receive.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matt 7:7)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Performance Without Exception … All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  And this is the will of Him Who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up on the last day. (John 6:37, 39)

Promise Without Equivocation … I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come.  I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please … what I have said, that will I bring about and what I have planned, that will I do.” (Isaiah 46:10-11)

Blessings Without Number … You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country (wherever you are).  The fruit of your womb will be blessed (your children), and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks (your work).  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed (you’ll have plenty of food).  You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (when you come home at night and when you leave in the morning). (Deut 28:3-6)

Mercy Without Measure …. It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Faithfulness Without Failing … Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deut. 7:9)

Redemption Without Retraction … In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:5-8)

Salvation Without Merit … But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

Grace Without Guilt … Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

So in a time when mankind has all but forgotten that the Lord is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of all our victories, who arranges every opportunity and fashions every blessing, these “withouts” might serve as good reminders to give thanks where thanks is due.

And now may “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Happy Thanksgiving.

//

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Divine Appointments

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself.  Romans 14:7

I recently lost my job and I have been unemployed one week when I received a call from a friend of a friend and asked if I would be interested in working with him full time.  I said yes of course, since I am no longer employed!  Wow, God is good, however, it is in the mortgage industry and I had gotten out of that industry in 2009 and vowed never to return!!  I took the job knowing that it was not a sales position but that what I would be doing was temporary.  I was really concerned because the person I would be working for is very demanding and loses their temper a lot and also because I struggle in roles that are not sales oriented.  I just did not know how long I would last with him.  I started on a Monday and by Wednesday he was calling a friend of mine threatening to fire me.  Well that was not a total shock to me.  Even though I knew that was possible it still hurt and I felt rejected and I cried out to God and asked him how did I get here??!!   The Lord kept giving Numbers 11 ‘Is my power limited’?  and I would answer ‘no’.  Needless to say, I am still working there, its been the Lord who has kept me there, not man, because He is in control of everything.  One day the guy that I am working for called me into his office and made a very generous proposal and completely changed my job description and my salary – I was ecstatic, because now I would working more in sales which is better utilizing my skillsets.  I have been in an office by myself and one day they moved their IT manager in to share this office with me.  Normally our conversations were superficial, but one day she was sharing with me that she thought that she was going to die.  I asked her why and she said because she sees the time 11:11 every morning and every afternoon.  Long story short that conversation led into a great conversation about the Lord.  Everyday when I would come in she would ask me questions about God, church and religion.  She really enjoyed our conversations and so did I.  This past week she came to me and she said, ‘I think God had me move in this room on purpose to be with you’.  I said, ‘really’?  She said, yes, do you think I am crazy’?  I said, no, I am being sarcastic and nothing happens by accident.  Market place ministry is one of the most important positions for us as Christians to be in, because we encounter people everyday, whether at work, in a restaurant, store, school, etc.  That is your pulpit, that is why it is so important to be light bearers daily, because you never know who you will meet.  I shared with her a quote from my pastor:  the thing is not about the thing, but its about everything.  In other words, my job is not necessarily about labor or earning money, but doing Kingdom business.  I told her that I kept asking God how I got here, back in mortgage and with someone who is very demanding……but I soon realized my purpose was to meet her and to be the loving arms, patient ear and wisdom of Christ.  In this instance I know the seeds that I have planted, but there are many times that we will never know the seeds that we plant that make a difference.  I knew when I started with this company that our office space would be temporary and be moving at the end of the month, but the short few weeks that I was here, God had one of His children positioned to have her life interrupted and I will be sad when I don’t get to see her every day.  Can I ask what may be going on in your life that you don’t understand?  I challenge you to ask God what its purpose is in your life to help someone else.  I also challenge you to pray daily for divine appointments, for God’s wisdom and words to be in your mouth and watch who He brings in your life.  Remember, the things in life are about a higher purpose or transcendent cause for the Kingdom.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The gift in you

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we will be able to comfort those
who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are
comforted by God.
2 Cor 1

I used to play the victim role.   It seemed to just make sense to justify my behavior by what happened to me in the past.  In my mind it was an excuse for my behavior and I wanted you to feel sorry for me.  It was not a good excuse to stay stuck where I was.  Like me, I hear a lot of people make the same excuses or justifications.  You know I certainly don’t want to minimize what has taken place in anyone’s life so please hear my heart.  I know exactly what its like to be young, innocent and being on the receiving end of cruel and unfair situations where I was in no way able to defend myself and helpless because there was no one around to help me. I have come to understand what Solomon was writing about in Ecclesiastes  3:1…..There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.   I understand that there was a time for my mourning, and there was a time for me to weep, but there also is an appointed time for me to laugh and dance. (Eccl. 3).  I believe that there is a mourning period when we go through difficult things and I believe it is our responsibility to do whatever it takes to have healing in our life and to move on.  I believe that when we stay stuck in our grief, wounds, hurts, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness that there is no more capacity in our heart for the good things that God wants us to see, have and experience.  We must make room for the things of God which is peace, joy and love, forgiveness and mercy.  I felt that God was leading me to a recovery
program called Celebrate Recovery that is Christian based.  I fought going, but every week I was glad that I went and I made a decision to give 100% and face the pain and fear.  I had such a wonderful experience and have a peace that I have never had, however, recovery is life long process, I have to continually use the tools that I was given and some days I fall short, but I
strive to turn from temptations of past behaviors and make decisions that will make a positive difference that was not possible before recovery.  I am not happy about anything that I have gone through and I would never want to experience them again, but with a paradigm shift of no longer playing the victim, allowing myself to take my experiences and help someone else who may be struggling with similar issues.

I no longer ask why I went through the things I did because God finally answered one day and said that it was my experiences that would give Him glory and it was that day that a desire for ministry was birthed.  One of the things that I enjoy is speaking in
prisons.  When I first learned about Celebrate Recovery, I found that it is in over 400 churches nationwide and in
40+ prisons.  Now it has become my passion to get into political arenas and petition why more prisons need to have
Celebrate Recovery.   It is shocking that the return rate is approximately 80% of inmates going back to prison after
being released .  I believe with a recovery program and God, that those numbers can be dramatically reduced.  This is just ONE desire that I have that has been birthed out of my life issues.  I have to ask you, what happened in your life that could be used to bring comfort and healing to someone?  There is someone right now being abused, lost a loved one, going through a divorce, unable to conquer an addiction, contemplating abortion, has been raped or is thinking of committing suicide.  You are special and
you have something that no one else has – to make a difference unlike anyone  else.   God loves you !

To learn more about Celebrate Recovery visit their website
at http://www.celebraterecovery.com
Also, find churches in your area that
offer Celebrate Recovery to begin your journey of healing.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Power of Praise

“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever'” (Ezra 3:11).

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4, NIV).

 

Praise and thanksgiving were central to the ancient Israelites’ worship. They understood that words of affirmation and praise usher us into the presence of God. We enter God’s gates with thanksgiving. We enter his courts with praise.

God loves to be in the presence of praise. When he finds someone willing to praise Him, He surrounds that person with His presence and love.

Because each of us has been created in the image of God, that same truth applies to us: We love to be praised and thanked.

Praise is the key that unlocks the heart of any person. Try it sometime with a child. Praise him or her and see what happens. In an atmosphere of praise and encouragement, a child prospers and opens up.

But give constant criticism to that child instead and the same boy or girl who blossomed in the presence of praise will become embittered and emotionally shuttered.

We love to receive praise, but often we forget to give it. If we are not careful, we can forget our blessings and focus instead on our problems. We get sidetracked into thinking only about the things we don’t have.

That is why the discipline of praise and thanksgiving is so important. Psalm 50:23 says, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

What a powerful scripture! When we bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God—even if we don’t feel like it—we are preparing the way for Him to do great things in our lives.

The same is true of marriage. It is very easy to forget our spouse’s best qualities and all the reasons we love him or her. When this happens, we turn our attention toward the negative parts of our spouse’s personality and our marriage.

That introduces a tone of complaint and discontentment into our homes. It leads to discord and trouble in a marriage.

We must discipline ourselves to be thankful. We must make it a priority to praise our husband or wife – even when we don’t feel like it. Even if the only thing they do right is tie their shoes, we need to remember that quality, focus on it, and let our them know we think they’re the best shoe tie-ers in the world.

That’s a silly example, but I want you to understand how important it is to praise your spouse. When you do so, you are paving the way for God to do great things in your marriage.

Don’t just be thankful, but show your gratitude. Speak it. Compliment your husband or wife, loved one or friend every chance you get.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized