Friday, March 16, 2018

WHEN FAITH AROSE TO ACTION

     
 When we accepted Jesus Christ into our lives; we accepted the invitation to walk by faith.  According to the Word, "The righteous shall walk by faith." It's a very exciting journey; it's a personal journey to walk with Jesus.  Yet, our walk with Jesus will not be the same as everyone else's.  Our journey and our departure on this earth will not be the same as anyone else's; it's our very own personal walk with Jesus.  We will all face hardships, trials, and tests but faith will not be true; unless it's tried.  


Hebrews 11:33-35 says, "who through faith CONQUERED kingdoms, ADMINISTRATED justice, and GAINED what was promised; who shut the mouth of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who because POWERFUL in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection."   

Regardless of where we walk; it's only conquered through faith.    

Romans 1:17 says, "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." 
If we truly want God to reveal His righteousness; it's found in His Word.  Faith isn't just the belief of taking God at His Word.  It's a living action-we move in response to it.  Sadly, so many people want to "claim" or "stand" on the Word but don't responded to it.  Your deeds and the words you speak will reveal what you believe.  James 2:18 says, not complemented by action, is dead.  So, can our faith be evident to the lives of others?  Absolutely!  " But someone will say, "I have faith and I have deeds."  "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:18-19
"So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead." James 2:17.   
 Sadly, so many people don't encounter breakthrough or deliverance because they are un-willing to do what God's Word says.  Or truly believe what He said; fear has blocked there ability to see clearly.  We have allowed the wind to speak louder; than the voice of Jesus.  Faith will cause us to throw the stone towards the giant's head.  Jesus didn't ask Peter to dip his toe in the water.  He said, "Come." (Matthew 14:29)  
Peter didn't listen to how crazy it sounded?  Yes, it was a different experience!  Who ever walked on water?  Peter didn't have time to ask for counsel or from the expertise of others.  It was a personal invitation from Jesus!  Only Jesus and Peter were able to experience walking on water.  Yet, didn't all of the disciples hear the voice of Jesus?  We can choose to remain in our tradition, our fear, or we can walk towards the face of Jesus.  
 What is blocking your ability to see?  Fear is truly a power tool of the enemy to torment the mind; it's blocking faith to emerge.  In Matthew 14:22-31, only one person had a transforming life experience with Jesus ; while eleven watched it.  Jesus was preparing the disciples for a revelation of the Son of God; He was doing something different than expected-He walked on water.  Yet, all of the disciples were afraid or believed it was a ghost.  Sadly, they couldn't see through their fear who He was.  It was only when Jesus spoke; Peter's faith arose.  Jesus placed the disciples in the circumstance but only one got a true revelation!  Keep in mind, Jesus prayed before coming to the disciples.  So, it's a comforting thought, he was praying for them before this test.  Oh, I am so grateful Jesus is praying for me!  Yet, Jesus wants to speak directly to us about our fear.  He doesn't want us to remain in this state, He will speak words of comfort, "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water."  Jesus said, "Come."
It's the same invitation to us: will we come?  I don't want to remain in the boat with the others shaking in fear; I want to see Jesus, himself.  When we are walking through the un-familiar of life it feels so dark-but Jesus is still coming to our aid in the storm.  Jesus didn't leave the disciples to face the storm alone.  Jesus came to reveal Himself as the Son of God with truth, power, and assurance.  During this storm it's tempting to allow the wind to cause us alarm.  Yet, it was the voice of Jesus that arose the faith in Peter.  When Peter faced Jesus; he could walk towards Him.  But WHEN HE SAW the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sin, cried out, "Lord save me!"
  So, are you staring at the wind or the face of Jesus?  Both can move us but only one can save us!  Quit allowing fear to rob your life of new adventures, walking in what God has said , and tormenting your mind.  Quit trying to convince yourself of the impossible task in front of you.  Quite yourself in His love.  Allow Jesus to speak into your heart, so your faith will arise to action.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

DON'T STOP DIGGING

It's been truly a season of weariness for my soul; it seems as if the promises of God are out of reach. My heart is tired, aching from the weariness of waiting, and surrounded with hopelessness.  Does God operate only in slow speed?  At the moment, it honestly feels this way.  As I have held unto the promised of God for so long; my grasp has been slowly letting go.  As the words of the enemy keep whispering, "God will never fulfill your calling!"  Deep within my soul I knew the truth, it's a lie completely from Hell.  However, it feels as if the mountain isn't standing around me; it's on top of me.  It's buried me deep!  All of the questions, fears, and the weariness of waiting has caused me to withdraw completely.  It's honestly broken my heart, the core of my being.  God spoke the world into existence with His word-nothing else.  Oh, how powerful are the Words of God!  So, what's the truth of the lesson?

During worship this morning, I felt the Lord stirring my heart to a story found in Genesis 26:12-25 about Issac.  Issac is working in the fields of his enemies and the Lord blessed him greatly; it was a hundredfold.  It was enough to get the notice of his enemies!  As Issac's wealth grew, so did the envy of his enemies.  Both were growing with strength and power, so the enemy tried to attack him.  All of the wells of Abraham were dried up due to the Philistines filling it with earth.  What a slap in the face!  A promise of God was given to Abraham; a promise to be carried through his family line.  Yet, it's buried deep within the earth.  Water once existed there, it's a place of remembrance!  It's named accordingly to the purpose and powerful promise of God.  Yet, the wells died with Abraham, it's only a distant memory until Issac takes the shovel.  

Faith must act with the Word of God, so it can come forth to completion. 

What has God spoken into your life?  It's a powerful Word of truth, power, and nothing can defeat it!  Yet, maybe it feels as if it's buried deep in the well; it's covered shut.  It's buried with all of the discouragement, despair, questions, and defeat.  Not only has the power of the well stopped; the opportunity to open the well is removed.  The enemy commanded Issac to move away because YOU HAVE BECOME TOO POWERFUL FOR US!  Wait a minute!!!!  Did you catch what the enemy said?  You have become too powerful for us.  What did Issac do wrong?  Absolutely nothing!  He was completely faithful, working diligently, and blessed for serving the Lord.  Sometimes we don't understand why the battle comes into our lives.  It wasn't anything Issac did wrong; it was the un-godly motives of his enemy!  Yet, maybe the battle was for Issac to recognize the power of God inside him. 


Although Issac didn't realize it, God was working in his life.  Issac moves to the valley of Gerar and settles there.  Although his motives are pure and true to the calling of God, it didn't stop the plan of the enemy.  We must understand God's calling is a precious gift; it doesn't come without warfare.  It doesn't come without our faith being tested, our character transformed, and a personal work of God within us.  

Issac is reopening the wells that have been dug in the time of his father.  What a beautiful opportunity to be allowed to honor his father!  All of the wells stopped after Abraham's death but Issac is bring them back to life!  All of the wells keep the original names spoken by Abraham; it was Issac's desire.  As the servants faithfully dig in the valley, something emerges from the broken ground-fresh water.  Issac heard about the promise of God but it had to be a personal encounter.  Issac couldn't carry the promise of God in his heart until he dug for it.  He had to personally see it, feel it, and believe it for himself.  It was a work God wanted to do within the heart of Isaac.  Out of brokenness heart God will bring about "fresh water" to our lives.  We are not only to hold unto the promises of yesterday; we are to dig for the present ones.  We are to be steadfast, persistent, and open to the direction of God's leading.

When we are truly called and blessed by God, it will be evident in the physical.  The fresh water was proof of God's blessing and the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen.  A quarrel of a jealous heart causes discord to prevent the work of God to continue.  It's interesting to me how the herdsmen who reside in Gerar didn't do any of the work.  Yet as the water comes forth, they make their claim.  So, Issac named the well, "Esek" and it means "contention."  If that's not a mouthful!  So, Issac moves on to dig another well but they claim it too.  So, he names it "Sitnah" which means "hatred."  Finally, Issac digs another well and names it "Reheboth." It means "spacious place."  When God makes a promise upon your life NO ONE can take the claim; it will be too spacious for anyone to hold.

As Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."  It seems always people want to take credit for the work of others instead of taking a shovel to help.  Although the territory of the valley of Gerar was of Philistine origin; it didn't stop the blessings upon Issac's life.  May this give your heart peace especially if you feel as if you are in the enemies camp.  No matter where your feet may travel, God will always be with His children.  Issac didn't stop digging because the enemy pursued him; he keep digging until the enemy shut up.  NO ONE QUARRELED over the well!  Eventually, the enemy will get tired of pursing us, he can't conquer us.  The mission or call upon our lives may be attacked but it can't be stopped.  God will lift up our hearts as we eagerly pursue to dig the wells!  How can I be sure?  God appeared to Issac and He blessed him!  


"That night the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham." Genesis 26:24


The enemy wanted to cause Issac to stop digging the wells, he wanted to destroy or frustrate the work of his hands.  Yet, although the enemy pursued with a savage desire; it was quenched.  As the presence of God came to Issac at Beersheba; it was the solid well of oath.  It was the completed well of promise because Beersheba means "the well of an oath; the seventh well." (all of the definitions for the wells came from www.biblestudytools.com)  

Issac was powerful to conquer the battle of the enemy because God was with him.  Not only was it a proven in the physical world but the enemy saw it.  When truly God does a work in our life; even the enemy will stand to watch. God will never quench the promise in our lives but He wants us to dig it out!  He wants us to purse it with an eager heart, anticipation of the promise, and fight until it's done!  Don't put the shovel down!  Pick it up and dig again!  God will give you fresh water, He will never allow you to die from thirst.  Don't you get it!  Issac had the last laugh!  He conquered the plan of the enemy because he didn't stop digging.  


Sunday, January 1, 2017

WALK IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE

Do you remember your first new car?  Of course, we all do!  My first car was a navy blue Dodge Neon; it was my college graduation gift from my husband.  It was a precious gift to me, so I took very good care of it.  It had a “moon roof” in it; I would love to open it with my two oldest children in the car.  It was their favorite feature in the car; they loved to feel the wind on their faces.  When the “moon roof” was opened, my children would beg for their favorite music tape to play from Veggie Tales, so we could cruise around town.  Of, course we had our sunglasses on!   Now mind you my two oldest were fourteen months apart and less than the age of three when we had this car, so to keep the car clean was a challenge to say the least.  Also, I purchase two matching car seats with navy blue from Eddie Bauer for them, it just had to match.  When I think about those moments with Leah and Alex, it was truly precious times.  Nevertheless, it was very short lived in our navy blue Dodge Neon; it was very hard to get three babies in the car. Yes, you read this correctly, three children in car seats!  When Caleb, our new baby, was coming home from the hospital, it was a very snug fit.  It was hilarious to watch my husband try to get the whole family home from the hospital.  Obviously, it was time to “change” vehicles but I had a hard time with it, I wasn’t ready for the mini-van.  Although it’s what our family needed, it wasn’t the “vision” of style I had in mind.  It was time to change. 

 As this New Year has come, it’s easy to make New Year Resolutions or goals for what we desire to achieve for this coming year.  Nevertheless, as we face the disappointments or realize we didn’t meet all of last year’s goals, we can feel unsure of “change.”  If we desire to change our life, we have to change our ways.  Change begins with a decision to move in a different direction. Old ways will not open new doors! Yet, a heart fully committed to God, resting in His Word, and a steadfast trust will see God open doors no one else could open.

Change doesn’t always feel comfortable, it’s not the “normal” way we do things.  Sadly, so many churches don’t want to change with the move of the Spirit, so they can lose sight of His leading.  It’s very dangerous to desire “our ways” and not to follow the Word or the Spirit.  Change should be a normal way of live for a Spirit-filled believer.  We are to walk as Jesus walked! 
Acts 10:38 says, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.”   

God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power for the purpose to bring healing and goodness to others!  Well, it’s the same promise for those who follow Christ.  When you study to find out what the word Christ means it is “anointed one.”  So, as followers of Christ we are able to rest in the promise found in Acts 10:38
  • We are anointed by the Spirit with power 
  • We are able to bring goodness and healing to those oppressed by the devil
  •  God is with us!

So, many times we are hesitant to help or approach someone in need but we shouldn’t be afraid to help.  Change is a powerful testimony of what God did!  Also, what God is willing to do for anyone comes!

As I started to reflect upon change or new, I couldn’t help but remember this verse found in Romans 6:4, “We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too many walk in newness of life
 
So, how are you walking?  What’s going on in life that’s tripping you up?  Or did you forget the power of God within you?  Sometimes we can get so heavy laden with cares; we forget how precious we are to the Father.  Maybe life has been difficult or you made some wrong decisions along the way.  What I have learned grace offers a different way!  Change isn’t difficult as long as you have the support you need-God is with you!  God changes us for His glory so we can reflect the Son!
What changes are you wrestling with?  What would you love to change about yourself?  We can change our hair, our appearance, some bad habits but we can’t change our heart.  Only God can make this change!  So, if you truly want a new life!  Come to Jesus! 

Ezekiel 36:25-27, Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give  you a heart of flesh.."I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.


Our lives will never change unless we are willing to walk in a new direction!  So, whatever you want to change about your life: believe it can happen!  God still does miracles and changes lives; it’s what the cross is all about.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

CRYING OVER SPILT FAJITAS

When Ryan proposed marriage, I was completely shocked, so much I couldn’t answer him.  I started to cry and I couldn’t speak.  Finally he said, “Tina, what is your answer?”  It will always be a moment in our relationship I will never forget.  Although Ryan made the complete day special, it was a remarkable step towards adulthood, it was “time” to grow-up.   As we started talking about our future I was very nervous about cooking, cleaning, and learning to be a good wife.  When I shared my concern with Ryan he wasn’t worried about it.  He said, “Tina, you are a smart woman.”  “You know how to read, so I am sure you will figure it out.”  We laughed about my concern but true enough, I learned how to cook.  Now, it’s a laughing joke between us, it was a silly concern.  Now I am not saying I never burnt a dish or under-cooked something, it was a learning curve.  Yet, I will never forget Ryan's special request for fajitas.  I was so excited to make his special dish, I wanted it to be a surprise dinner for two.  Before he arrived home from work I cleaned the house, made the meal, and got myself ready so he would totally surprised.  The aroma of the fajitas filled the entire house; I couldn’t wait for the door to be opened.  As Ryan entered the house he said, “Wow, something smells good!”  “Did you do this for me?”  "Let me wash for dinner!"  "I can't wait to eat it."  As Ryan went up to wash for dinner, I opened the oven to pull out the fajitas it smelled so good, I couldn’t wait to eat them.  As I sat the dish down on top of the oven pads, the dish completely shattered all over the table.  As I stood in the kitchen with the enormous mess, Ryan entered the kitchen.   When our eyes met, I just started to cry, I was so disappointed. 

Sometimes life will leave you standing in utter shock and disappointment; no words can express how you feel.  Crying is a good way of expressing it but it’s not going to get the job done, there is still fajitas and broken glass to clean up. 

Right now, I believe America is a pivotal point of change; we are broken to the core.  Our eyes are upon each other sins, so we are attacking each other.  Instead of realizing our decisions or the lack of responsibility led us to this point, we will never change until we are truthful.  We are ALL responsible for the state of this nation if we claim to be an American.  If we truly claim to be an American, we will uphold the Constitution, pray for our government, be a voice when needed, and be a good citizen.  If we want America to change, it begins with me.  It can’t start anywhere else until I can be truthful with God and myself.  It’s the foundation of where change begins, it’s a decision only I can make.  Decisions are not always easy to make but I have a moral obligation to those who rely upon me for future generations.  Do we really realize our decisions and behaviors now can affect future generations?  If so, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO CHANGE IT? It’s very heartbreaking to watch the foundation of this nation crumble.  When you truly study our nation’s foundation, it was founded upon prayer and the Bible.  Sadly, our nation has turned away from it, we are watching the results.  Are we ashamed of the state of affairs of this nation?  Does it break our spirit about what’s taken place in recent years?  What about the current events?  Does it move you to action for good or for bad?  Or does it just cause you to shake your head with no movement to change it.  

It’s time for America to wear sackcloth, it’s time to bow our heads and reflect upon where we are.  Should we mourn our yesterdays?  Maybe but that’s not what I am talking about, we should be mourning the state of this nation, it’s broken.  When you study the Scriptures, sackcloth was worn for times of mourning over loss whether personally or nationally.  It’s time to be mournful, broken, and truthful before God.   It’s where the birth of revival begins, a repentant heart. 

II Kings 19:1-2 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.
  
As a Christian, preacher, and an American I have a moral obligation to God, my calling, and my nation.  It’s not a responsibility I can ignore, it’s my duty.  It’s a personal conviction of my life, I owe to the future of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Even if I am only one voice, I will be voice of truth, conviction, and support for this nation.  Maybe the foundation has crumbled but it doesn’t mean it can’t be restored.  Maybe the rubble around us may seem overwhelming but I choose to work towards a solution for a better America.  Can this nation be restored?  Absolutely!  Yet, it will never be restored until we quit blaming each other and realize we are ALL to blame for this mess.  Who’s going to rebuild it?  Either we can pick-up the broken pieces to throw at each other or we can use it to rebuild our future.  What will you do with the stone in your hand?  YOU have a choice in this situation to either be a problem or a solution.  If you truly love this nation as profess: DO YOUR PART by being honesty, walk with integrity, and love each other to rebuild this land.  Truth is we have to be broken and humbled before God, He is the only One who can heal it.   We can’t rebuild anything until we are united to work together for OUR PEOPLE.  Keep in mind the children of Israel were warned several times before the Babylonian Captivity took place.  Instead of having a repentant heart towards the warning; they ignore the voice of God.  As a result the nation was attacked, people in captivity, and their nation was destroyed with only rubble and fire left.  Only a remnant of people worked with Nehemiah to rebuild it, a few  willing people who completed the task.  It’s going to be a major work spiritually and physically to rebuild America, it’s no small undertaking.  We can’t expect America to be rebuilt with only voices screaming; it’s rebuilt with dedicated hands to work and pray.  May we remember what we lost, so we can be focused to restore what’s vital to rebuild.  Maybe we don’t know where to begin; I choose to start with a solid foundation, the Word of God.  I choose to be moved to prayer, fasting, and broken over what’s happening to my nation.  If Nehemiah could transform his nation in 52 days, I choose to believe God will do it again.  It’s going to take faith, dedication, prayer, and hard work but I am willing to pick-up a shovel or open my hand to help someone in need.  What about you?
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Sunday, November 6, 2016

SEEKING SOLACE IN THE CAVE


Often we set goals for ourselves or have high expectations for our job, ministry, or our family.  There isn’t anything wrong with setting goals; it’s good to have direction or focus to keep us in the right direction.  Nevertheless, sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan, it has some unexpected turns or adventures.  As we stand in the midst of what we feel is “chaos” in our lives or utter failure, God is using it to bring about His will.  I admit, as I have been re-evaluating my life over the last few years, I felt as an utter failure in the eyes of God.  As a result, I didn’t want to pray or read the Word of God.  Although the only approval I desired was God’s, I felt as if I was un-worthy to step into His presence.  It wasn’t the desire of God, He pursued me with loving-kindness.   Sometimes, I am truly amazed at God’s patience and His loving-kindnesses, it never runs out.  Can I just be really honest?  I was simply mad at God.  So, as a result, I refused to come to Him, so I ran.  Yet, where can I really run from God’s presence? 

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7)

Oh, I am sure I am not the only person to seek solace in a cave, we all have done it.  We refuse to engage with others or we isolate ourselves to think things out.  No matter how hard we try “thinking it out” causes our hearts to be more frustrated or fall into despair.  As the voice of discouragement speaks into our heart, we begin to accept the circumstances.  We don’t see a solution or a way out of the problem, so it takes to a path of despair to lead us right into the cave.  Alone.  Empty.  Secluded.  Surrounded by utter darkness; no evidence of life around.  We don’t want anyone to see the depths of our wounds or the lies we are wrapped into believing.  Yet, this is where we find a great man of God, at a cave. (I Kings 19:9-11)  What led Elijah to the cave?  It wasn’t just the threat of his life from Jezebel; it was the final straw of a broken heart.  Elijah just had a major victory with the prophets of Baal, he even silenced their voice.  A stronghold on the children of Israel was destroyed through his ministry.  Yet, he was disappointed at the results of Israel’s heart; he wanted revival for his nation.  No repentance, no change.  Now the Queen has placed a summons for his head, so he runs. 

Elijah allowed the discouragement to blind his eyes, so the voice of fear had power to move him.


Discouragement comes from our own broken expectations; it’s not what “we expected” as the result.  It’s not that Elijah doubted God’s Word or His power; he was used mightily to show the truth. What was the truth?  “The Lord-he is God!” (I Kings 18:39)  We are the instrument to be used; God is the one to produce the results.  Elijah wanted a national revival!  He wanted to see the entire nation turn back to God.  Elijah forgot his past victories; so he had nothing to build his faith at the heat of the moment.  When we have major victories in prayer or in spiritual warfare, we can’t let our guard down.  Elijah defeated the PROPHETS but he allowed                                                                            the SINGLE VOICE of the enemy to defeat him.  
   
In our circumstances we have power to defeat them or allowing our circumstances to overcome us-it’s simply a battle of words.  What do you REALLY BELIEVE?  If we are standing in the cave; we are standing defeated.  God didn’t call Elijah to the cave, he went there himself.  (1 Kings 19:10)  God said, “What are you doing here Elijah?”  So, I will ask you the same question, “what are you doing here?”  Why are you standing in this cold, dark, isolated place?  What do you really believe about yourself? God? And the Word?  God doesn’t call His children to darkness; HE CALLS THEM OUT OF IT! What I love about the Lord is His passion for us; He will come to our aid.  He doesn’t allow His children to walk in misery; He comes to restore our soul.  Elijah was physically, mentally, and spiritually worn out to fight another battle.  Elijah didn’t have the strength to face the circumstances alone, so God ministered to Him.  When was the last time God truly ministered to you?

Oh, we may believe there is solace in the cave!  Yet, the only way out of the cave is to hear the voice of the Lord!  The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in the fire.  And after the fire came a GENTLE WHISPER.  When ELIJAH HEARD IT, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Right now your circumstances may be speaking loudly but it’s not the voice of God speaking-it’s a gentle whisper.  God wants to speak into your life but you have to allow Him the opportunity.  Your circumstances will speak into your life but only the voice of God has the final say.  Don't allow discouragement to blind your steps, so the enemy has power to move you.  God will call you to Himself; that's where you belong.  You don't belong in darkness; you are a child of light.

  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

WHAT ARE YOU CRYING FOR?


Have you ever had a Bible story stick in your head?  No matter what, it seems the Spirit of God just keeps pressing it into your heart.  Obviously the Spirit is wanting to speak into your life about something, so it’s important to pay attention.  The Word says, “He who has an ear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying.” (Mark 4:9)  I admit regardless if it’s writing on my blog or preaching the Word, the message is for the appointed time in my life.  Although my heart yearns to minister to those who read or listen, I can’t escape the power of the Word of God.  No matter how hard we may run, God’s Word can’t escape our heart, it’s planted by the Spirit.  Even if we have wandered from God, the Spirit and God’s love will always draw us near to the Word.

Recently I have been battling with the direction of my life, God’s calling upon my life, and maybe battling the midlife crisis.  As I started to reflect upon God’s calling, I felt as if I missed it.  Sadly, I started battling with serious questions, reflecting on every Scripture or prophesy, and giving the enemy opportunity to speak into my mind.  Never in life, I felt so lost and alone.  I felt as if I disappointed the Lord or I missed the call altogether, I felt hopeless.  On one hand the greatest joy of my life is ministering to others, writing, and preaching.  It’s my time to worship the Lord, it’s my gift back to Him.  Nevertheless, I felt how could I offer any spiritual guidance or be a leader if I felt so lost.  So, I withdrew.  Maybe it’s not the best solution but my heart is tired, broken, and I couldn't cry anymore about it.  Maybe you can relate to how I feel.  Yet, I can’t help but ask what is making you cry?  What is keeping the midnight oil burning in prayer?  Oh, I can testify I have cried myself to sleep several nights about God’s calling on my life. 

 Completely stuck with no guidance, no direction, or unwilling to destroy the covenant of God with my husband, I stand before a brick wall.  It’s just standing there, it’s powerful and unmoving.  Yet, how is a brick wall formed?  It is  formed with man’s hands laying a brick down, covering it with concrete, and laying another brick until it creates a wall.  In other words, it’s created by what we lay hold of.  What’s in our hands?  What’s in our hearts?  If we are truly children of the King, God’s Word is the most powerful weapon to demolish strongholds.  We are standing at a brick wall; it doesn’t move but it blocks the view.  Maybe why we stand in front of the brick wall is to see who is stronger!

 Well, the Bible story I am thinking of is Hannah, a woman who was crying out for a child.  She naturally can’t conceive a child; although it’s her heart’s only desire.  In her time and culture, a woman was disgraced if she didn’t have a male child.  It was her protection, security, and an honor to continue a family name.  Yet, Hannah wasn’t physical capable of conceiving a child, it was beyond her ability.  Scripture reveals the reason, the Lord closed her womb (I Samuel 1:5).  It wasn’t the lack of love or intimacy in her marriage, her husband adored her.  Elkanah offered a “double portion” for Hannah for their offering, he wanted God to bless her. 

 As I have been meditating on this Bible story I realized how desperate, broken, and determined Hannah was.  Sometimes God has to break our spirits to cause us to grow desperate for Him, so desperate for Him to intervene.  If we want the vision of God or the desire of our heart, we have to follow the heart of Hannah.  First, the vision of God is conceived in our brokenness.  He can’t plant the Word unless our hearts are open to Him.  Our desperation should drive us to our knees until God moves; Hannah didn’t stop coming to the temple to pray.  When she came to the house of the Lord, she wouldn’t eat but wept bitterly.  The Bible says “yearly” they came to worship the Lord and offer their sacrifices. 

"Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, and knock and the door will be open unto you" Matthew 7:7

Faithfulness shows our devotion to God even when we don’t understand our circumstances.  It doesn’t mean we are not broken or don’t cry, it’s turning to God completely.  Second, Hannah remained faithful to God without a child, however; the enemy taunted her.  When we decide to be faithful to God even when our heart’s broken, the enemy will whisper in our ear.  “You are too old for God’s promise to come to pass.”  “You will never receive your promise; I know what your past holds.”  “God has forgotten all about you, why don’t you walk away?”  Sadly, the enemy can use people close to us who can speak damage into your heart.  Recently I had someone who I looked up to speak into my life, he was being used only to echo what the enemy was already saying to me.  It hurt so deeply especially when I have waited for mentorship to be denied due to difficulty, my age, and being attractive.    

Third, Hannah didn’t stop praying to God, she wasn’t moving until He did.  Our prayers are not always instantly answered, sometimes God makes us wait.  During the waiting period the enemy will taught us with questions, fears, and tempt us to quit pursing God.  Don’t get weary!  God always answers our prayers; He isn’t deaf to our cry.  So, what are you crying for?  What is your heart’s desire?  God ALREADY knows it! 

God will grant the desires of our heart if we seek Him!  Hannah’s name means “favor” or “grace” according to the Hebrew Language.  Although at times we don’t feel “favored” in the eyes of God but we are.  Grace always leads us to the presence of God, it opens the door for God to reveal His Word to us.  God hasn’t forgotten His promise towards you but He is watching to see if you will remain faithful to Him.  Hannah didn’t commit adultery or stop serving God, she remained faithful to what was right in the eyes of God.  She remained faithful to her husband who loved her, it’s an interesting fact Scripture points out about their marriage. 

     God doesn’t want you to remain in a broken state, He will answer your prayer.  Hannah’s countenance changed the moment Eli said, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (I Samuel 1:17)  We have a faithful high priest who intercedes on our behalf!  May this lift your heart I pray, “GOD WILL GRANT YOUR PETITION!”  Keep worshipping Him!  Although the Lord closed Hannah’s womb, He is also the One who opened it.  Right now the brick wall is standing before your eyes, it’s not moving.  Either you can walk away or you can knock it down with a heart of worship.  It’s time to cry it out before the Lord, give it all to Him.  Once the crying is done, worship Him.  It’s what brings down the walls, a shout of worship to Lord!  God will bring forth His Word, it will make all of the sceptics speechless.  It will be such a powerful word; it will never fail because God fulfilled it.  Samuel was the most feared prophet before the children of Israel, he walked with God.  Samuel was so anointed; his word never fell to the ground.  Oh, let those brick walls crumble!  God’s not done with you!  He is just waiting to see if you will push through in faith!   



    

Friday, July 17, 2015

WRESTLING TO RECEIVE


If you want to move the heart of person, speak the Word of God.  Nothing will transform, heal, or bring truth to change the situation expect the power of God’s Word.  It’s truly what changed my life!  God’s Word is the richest treasure I possess, it’s filled my heart with life.  Yet, I also hold another book dear to my heart, it’s my purple journal.  Why is this journal so important to me?  It holds every prophetic promise ever spoken over my life and Scriptures during my prayer time with God.  Its truth for my life or precious reminders when I am wrestling with believing them.  During my difficult moments of doubt, trials, or when the enemy tempts me to quit I will read those precious words to encourage myself in the Lord.  We must understand our life is a journey but the promises of God will keep us on the right path.

As I have been waiting for God’s promise to come, God has been preparing me to receive it.  It’s a Scriptural principle displayed in the life of anyone who you study in Scripture.  Inside her womb Rebekah was very uncomfortable and she inquired of the Lord about it.  When she inquired of the Lord, He spoke a prophetic word about the twins inside her womb. (Genesis 25:23)  Instead of trusting God to bring the prophetic promise into Jacob’s life, Rebekah deceived her husband and taught her son to do the same.  As a result of their unwillingness to trust God, it destroyed their family.  Esau lost not only his birthright but his blessing through Jacob’s deception.  As a result Esau wanted to kill Jacob for his deception, so he had to flee.  Fleeing from your sins will lead you to a place of isolation from family, friends, and into the desert.  Yet, what’s so remarkable God is greater than the desert we enter.  God spoke to Jacob in a dream about his life.  (Genesis 28:10-15)  God will give us dreams and visions to follow, so we run after Him. 
 
Nevertheless, God’s transforming us through the process so the dream turns into a reality. 

Before our weekly Bible study my husband and I were sharing with our pastor about a house we wanted to buy.  We couldn’t wait to place our offer on it but it wouldn’t be until the following day.  As our Bible class got started, I was trying to find a passage of Scripture on my phone to share, I forgot my Bible.  So, I went into the sanctuary to get a Bible, so I could read it.  As I was walking back into the class, I found a dollar bill inside.  My facial expression looked confusing to my husband but he didn't inquire.  So, I walked over to my pastor, I slid the dollar near his hand.  I wasn’t focused on the dollar bill but the Word.  When pastor looked at it he said, “Tina, this if for you!”  Read what’s on the dollar bill.  It read, “You have been blessed.”  At that moment my heart was rejoicing!  God’s promise was upon me!  Nevertheless, it hasn’t been an easy journey to get to the blessing but it’s been worth it.

Jacob had to learn how to handle the blessings before he could inherit the promise.  It was a journey started with an encounter with God at Bethel, training under his father-in-law, and eventually lead to his promised destination.  Jacob’s promised destination was his homeland.  God’s always on the road to bring reconciliation to our life’s but we have to confront "our Esau." Oh, we don’t want to confront Esau!  It’s a reminder of who we deceived, hurt, and painful memories of the past.  Keep in mind several years have passed, Esau and Jacob have married and have children.  Yet, Rebekah never called back for Jacob, it was God who led him back. 

It’s not always easy to close the door of our past but we must if we want to enter the future.  Jacob’s fear brought him to his knees; Esau was coming with an army of men.  So, Jacob prepares for the worst, he divides his flocks, herds, camels, and his family.  If we truly want the blessings of God, we must understand an important fact-they come with a price.  Are you willing to pay the price for the blessing?  What if God asks you to make amends with your family?  Or work for your father-in-law’s business?  If we want the blessings of God, we have to walk where God instructs us.  Or are we really willing to to wrestle in prayer for a night?  Jacob wanted God’s protection, promise, and provision for his family but he had to be changed to receive it.  Read Jacob’s prayer in Genesis 32:9-12. 

Humility causes us to realize we don't have the power to change the circumstances, we have to seek the Lord.  If our circumstances cause us to fall upon our knees; we are in position for victory.  
Jacob went to a place called Jabbok (which means wrestle) to be alone in the dark.  So, what's causing darkness to enter your life?  Do you feel alone in this dark hour?  When the night is cold, dark, and tiresome it's time to wrestle with God!  Each day is filled with new opportunity, to grow deeper in our relationship with God, and to receive God's blessing but we have to be in position.
  

All of Jacob's thoughts were worrisome, coming to face his mistakes, and the responsibility of protecting of his family weighted heavy upon him.  He sent his family and possessions ahead of him, he wanted to be alone.  He was trying to make plans without consulting God's will or remembering what God promised.  Being alone with God is so vital; he learn how to wrestle in prayer until he touched God.  So, many questions, so many doubts, and burdens would be lifted if we learned to seek God until peace is found.  It seems we no longer what to pray through; we just what a "bless you."   If we truly want to be blessed or favored of God, we must be changed.  Our heart must be so hungry for God we will wrestle until daybreak.  Light comes only when we receive the light! 

Yet, it's at daybreak, we realize God was always present!  He was with us during our darkest night!  He didn't leave our side, He was so close.  Although our desperation caused us to fall upon our knees; we arise walking in blessing for touching Him.  Jacob's identity was change; he had a new name-Israel which means "triumphant with God."  Dreams are God's handiwork to drive us to hunger for His will but the greatest change is our heart.  It's only when we allow God to change our lives, our enemies can't touch us.  No matter if the past is brought up, it doesn't define who I am.  Nevertheless, the true change of my life will be evident when we met, our enemies will see our blessings.  How do we know Jacob was really changed?  Jacob’s hands wanted to give a blessing to his brother, he returned what he stole.