Monday, May 30, 2011

Cornered But Not Defeated

Satan will always try to paint us into a corner.  As the walls close in, he will speak words of fear, doubt, and make us believe our situations are uncertain.  Although we may be in the corner, we still have options of whose report we will believe.  It’s the test of unshakeable faith that will always defeat the enemy’s tactics.  Rest assured, our faith will be tested by the fire but it’s always refined by it.  Life will bring enormous circumstances to make us afraid; it’s only faith in God that will overcome it.  Our faith in God has to be unshakeable; we will not surrender to defeat.  It doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid in the midst of the situation; we rest in who God is.  Life is full of impossible situations until God arrives on the scene.  Nothing is impossible with God, absolutely nothing. 
God is searching for something deep within your heart, he is looking for faith.  On the whole earth, the Father of God is searching for faith.  Luke 18:8b, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth.”  As Rahab tied the scarlet chord on her house, it waved for all to see.  She trusted in the God of the Israelites, so she was spared destruction.  May my faith wave in the air for God to see, I believe in you.  Regardless of the calamity around me, I will rest in God.   Abraham, the father of faith, was credited righteous for his faith.  Only through the power of God would Abraham have a son, the one promised to him.  At his elderly age, it doesn’t look promising of a child to be born.  Abraham was married to a beautiful woman but she was elderly and barren. 
Hebrews 11:11, "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judge him faithful who had promised."
     Regardless of who you study in scripture, God spoke promises to many of the great patriarchs.  It wasn’t always easy to trust to see those promises fulfilled, they were tested.  "I am not a failure for going through the test; I am a success for coming out of the fire unharmed."  STAND YOUR GROUND, and AFTER YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING, TO STAND.
     So, what’s the test you are facing?  Weakness, waiting for the promise, sickness, difficult job situations, or finances, it’s no match for God.  Hebrews 11:33, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administrated justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who become powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
Don’t think it strange what you are encountering right now, God has you.  All of trials show the power to the world what is sustaining you-Jesus.  My life hasn’t been except from trials, I am facing some might ones at this moment.  Although my enemy has me cornered with worries about some impossible situations, God isn’t surprised or afraid.  My Heavenly Father knows my complete life story, He was already prepared.  The opponent has been defeated numerous times; the cross destroyed all of his works.  Nothing can stand in my way, my faith in God overcomes it all-the salvation of my soul.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Anointed Manna: Lonesome Avenue

Anointed Manna: Lonesome Avenue: " Regardless of how far I fall, I can’t hide from God’s love. It still lures me in; I can’t escape its drawing. Sometimes, I wonder..."

Lonesome Avenue

     Regardless of how far I fall, I can’t hide from God’s love.   It still lures me in; I can’t escape its drawing.  Sometimes, I wonder if God is done with me, I have fallen in the pit again.  The pit of sin is so dark, deep, and alone.   It seems the longer I sit, the longer I have to hear my enemy whisper lies of condemnation.  “Why don’t you give up?”  “God will not listen to you anyone, you are a failure.”  Lies don’t hold any power unless we believe them, although their deception can hold us.  Well, it can’t keep us if we accept the truth of God’s Word.  All of Satan’s lies unravel the moment we believe, accept, and walk in the truth.  God doesn’t give up on us, He does believe in us. 
        A friend of mine said, "Faith is man believing in God, Grace is God believing in man."   As I got ready for work this morning, I felt the nudging of the Spirit calling me to come.  I desired to be with Him but I felt so unworthy to approach Him.  Have you ever been there?   Guilt has the ability to point us one way down Lonesome Avenue.  On Lonesome Avenue, there are no lights or direction to guide expect into darkness.  It brings us to isolation from finding hope, shelter, and peace.  As each lie cords around our heart, fear enters our lives to cause us to be paralyzed.  We can’t move or think until God speaks.  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105  Love holds no boundaries, it lights the way to bring healing.  As the morning rose, so did my heart because God spoke to me.  All throughout the morning, God prompted me to read Psalm 34.  As I read it, the promises of God were profound, uplifting, and perfect. 
     Psalm 34:4-5 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  As I continued to read, I couldn’t help but cry out for gratitude of God’s faithfulness.  The Lord is aware of our struggles, our troubles, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  What’s so beautiful about God’s Word, it cuts right to the heart.  If we are really willing to allow the Spirit to open us, we will be restored.  Why do we hold unto the pain? I don’t understand why I hold onto my mistakes, it’s easier to hold God’s hand.  We will guide us to the path of righteousness for His namesake.  (Psalm 23:3)  As we walk we God, we learn who He is.  As the psalmist said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8
     If we are willing to listen to the Spirit speak, we will get off Lonesome Ave and enter our Shalom.  Shalom means peace in the Hebrew Language. Our Shalom (Jesus) is our only refuge.  He is the only One who can redeem us, shelter us, and remove all of the condemnation.  Condemnation can’t enter a heart at peace with God, they are blessed.  Blessed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1-2)

     Sin will always separate us from the peace and fellowship with God, but never from the love of God.  Well, I admit today I am done traveling down this lonesome road.  As I went to prayer, I felt at home.  No matter what, I can’t run from the place I belong.  I belong with God.  So, are you feeling guilty or alone?  You don’t have to listen to the lies anymore, come to Jesus.  He is only calling you, so you can come home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wilting Away

       Circumstances can easily derail our hearts away from the promises of God.  I admit, the last few years of my life, I have been wondering if I really missed God’s call on my life.  With all of the hardships financially, health issues, and job changes my soul was perplexed until my heart was opened to the truth.  God’s mind doesn’t change its man’s heart that needs rearranging.  Although, I admit I have been in the desert, it had a greater purpose- a deep hunger.  Psalm 42:1 says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.”  My soul thirsts for the presence of God, a place where only His glory dwells.  Something is stirring me deeper, is there more to this?  The thirst isn’t quenched and it keeps growing deeper, my pursuit to know God.  The thirst is driving me to seek His face, dwell on the promises, and settle for nothing but the promise.  Will the promises He spoke be fulfilled?  Yes, I can say with confidence, God will keep His word to me.  According to the Bible, “God keeps His promise; He isn’t like man who lies.” (Numbers 23:19)  God doesn’t lie, it isn’t within His character.  He leads us in the path of righteousness for His namesake. (Psalm 23:3) 
     The promises are words of life to receive to bring God’s power, peace, and provision.  We are weak in our lives because we don’t stand firm in the promise.  We don’t delight in the Word of God, so we start to wilt spiritually.  We need to “delight” in the Word of God; it will bring the satisfaction we are thirsting for.  As we delight in the Word, it will cause a hunger both day and night.  We will seek the daily manna while it's present otherwise, it will wilt away.  It will bring fruit to our lives but it’s only through the Word we find the substance.  Sadly, so many people read their horoscopes, seek guidance from palm readers, or read news to find assurance of a future.  We will never be secure in the wisdom of man, it’s only through the fear of the Lord do we obtain wisdom.  We can’t follow the way of mockers, fools, and counsel of the wicked.  All of their wisdom leads to death, only God’s Word is life.  The Lord will carefully watch over the way of the righteous but the wicked will not stand.  Judgment will wait their lives for their own decision.
     Wilting starts with neglecting our spiritual time with the Lord but if we don’t pay attention, it could be our destruction.  The presence of God is so precious, it restores the soul.  Through the reading of the Word, we wash away the filth of this world to find the truth.  As the Spirit reveals the truth to us, we accept the Word that’s within us, to save our souls.  The Spirit of the Lord will always lead us to the truth, convict our lives, and comfort us in this life.  Guilt will prevent us from entering God’s presence especially if we know we have messed up.  Guilt comes with a price, a heavy load.  It never lets up, if anything it will continue to grow until we lay it down.  The Spirit is calling us to enter in the rest with urgency and yearning.  He will pursue us with love but if we ignore it, we could missed it.  Wilting away starts with neglect of your spirit but it can be stopped if it's cared for.  We have to allow the Spirit to prune us, allow the Word to wash us, and Jesus to bring life.  It isn't too late to accept God's care, He is a life giver.    

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meet Your Maker

     Maybe it could be the circumstance I am facing this week, I am very sober in heart.  Although we are born, one day we will die.  Eventually this time will come but no one knows the hour of its arrival.  Well, I guess we don’t really know the hour we arrive or our departure on this earth.   Death isn’t a topic we enjoy talking about or facing those final days, it can be very scary.  The beautiful truth we can be prepared for it's arrival.  
On Mother's Day, I was still very tired from work, so I was contemplating if I should visit a friend.  After church, I decided to visit him without realizing it would be my final visit.  Normally, I stayed two hours or watched some innings of baseball with him.  We talked about the normal stuff but we just watched the game very quitely.  We just enjoyed each other's presence or fellowship.  Without saying a word, we just enjoyed the moment of friendship.  Sadly only a few hours later, I received a call my friend was dead.  Although our friendship was short on earth, I still wonder if he knew Christ.  He was always open to prayer, conversation with God, and knew I cared for him.  Daily I would care for his needs because he was an elderly man who was unable to assist himself.  It never was a chore to me; it was a joy to make him smile.  As the days passed, I didn’t realize how attached I became to him.  Although we were different in age, life experiences, and circumstance of life we could share a smile, laugh, or a ballgame on television.  It’s seemed it was the littlest things that brought the most precious moments to me.
Life can bring beautiful opportunities to express love, it’s sad never to take advantage of it.  Love is the only language that can break the cords of disunity.  Love can bond two hearts to encourage, uplift someone, and transform life to blossom.  It was the ability to capture the soul to move for its true purpose-to know God.  There is no greater purpose or calling in this world but to intimately know God. Since the day of my salvation, it has been my quest to share the love of God.  No one wanted me but God.  Only through His love have I been awaken to life. 
      How do I love others?  It seems we make evangelism so difficult but it’s really simple, love them.  We have to invest our time, energy, and money into people.  Here are some ideas: have coffee with a co-worker who is really troubled at work, watch a ball game with an elderly man, and invite a new family from church to dinner.  It’s the only invest that’s eternal.  A man once said, “I came into this world naked, I will leave the same.”  “However, the only thing I can take to Heaven is people, so I am going to take as many as I can.”  What’s our mission in this life?  It should be to meet Our Maker-the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  Yes, I have heard this saying with in a joking situation but it's serious. Are you ready to meet your Maker?  Life is short.  Without knowing God can truly impact your life but it will impact your eternity.
     Jesus was called “a friend to the sinner” who ate with them, prayed with them, and walked among them.  He didn’t ignore them, He reached out to them.  My prayer is the church will have a title of “being friends to the sinners” who needs to impact their communities.  So many children are being abused, broken parents with drugs, and hungry.  The elderly are ignored in nursing homes without family visits or friends call.  A drug addict lives alone in a hotel wondering where I go for help.  So many people need to experience the beauty of belonging.  God desires for them to meet their Maker, the only one who can mend the brokenness. 
      Someone is empty inside, God sees your brokenness.  Life can be restored, just like new.  Through the blood of Christ, we can meet Our Maker.  It doesn’t matter how dark you’re past, what sins you have committed, or what addictions Jesus paid the way for your freedom.  Life has purpose, you can belong, and you’re loved.  God created you to be loved, it is a powerful experience.  If you need Jesus, just call out to Him.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy prayer but the deepest desire of your heart.  Surrender to Him, He will met with you.  Give the Lord all of the brokenness, the pain, and the sins.  He will take all of your ashes away in exchange for a life of beauty.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Woman of Noble Faith

     On Labor Day of 1997, I received a new calling in my life to be a mother.  My beautiful daughter came into this world after only eight hours of easy labor.  It’s funny; I guess I never realize how the labor would continue to be a good mother.  It was been an extreme challenge for me, especially with no early reflections to draw from.  Since my parents divorced very early in my life, my father raised me until I was twelve.  Although the circumstances were very horrible, the Devil tried everything to destroy our lives.  Nevertheless, anything the Devil tries to use to destroy us, God can always turn it around for good.  (Genesis 50:20) 
     What makes a good mother?  This question, I have asked myself numerous times, I have discovered some vital lessons from my mother but I am still learning.  If it wasn’t for my mother’s  stern faith in God, dedicated prayer life, and passion for the Word of God, I would never have served the Lord.  At the age of twelve I was miraculous reunited with my mother who was totally different from my early childhood memories.  She was as beautiful as I remembered but she was breathtaking now.  She had a joy about her, I never saw in anyone else.  Regardless of life’s circumstances, she was always solid in her faith.  Although this is her spiritual gift, it’s also her life.  She worked outside the home; daily took care of the chores, but stayed faithful in her devotional time with God.  At the same time every night, she would close herself in her room and pray.  Sometimes I heard her as I walked down the hall to my room, she has a hunger for God’s presence.  During my adolescence, I had the same passion but it seemed my volume always got louder the longer I prayed.  She never discouraged me, except to lower my tone so the rest of the house could sleep. 
     As I grew in the Lord, I discovered my passion for living: preaching the Word, writing poetry, and drawing.  Although it was a new journey for me, she always acted I was the next Kathryn Kuhlman or Billy Graham.   She never discouraged me or allowed me to doubt God.  If I brought her artwork, poetry, or a new sermon she always acted so amazed.  As I was cleaning out my office, I stumbled upon some earlier writings.  As I read them, I laughed at those cherished comments, “This is great.”  I was wondering, what she was thinking? Even during all the difficulties, mistakes, and shame I brought her, she never stopped believing in me.  She never gave up on me, although she could have.  She faithfully prayed for me, I am a living testimony that God heard her.   Sometimes, I am so amazed how God prompts her heart at the moments, I really need it.  A woman, who fears the Lord, should be praised.  So, I will praise the Lord for the most breathtaking woman of God I know.
     What makes a great mother?  Well, I have learned a godly one who is passionate for God.  A baby arrives completely naked, venerable, and full of responsibility.  Daily it seems, as mothers we have to teach our children something new or repeat the same lessons over and over.  Nevertheless, we all hope our children are prepared to leave the house when that day arrives.  Within our children’s lives they will see our mistakes, our triumphs, and our daily choices.  We can’t hide anything from our children; they do see and hear everything we do.  Sadly, some parents believe they can pull the wool over their eyes but children absorb everything.
     If you are a mother who has made numerous mistakes, it isn’t too late to start a new chapter in your life.  Through all the difficulties of my mother’s life, she conquered her past through the blood of Christ.  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:30-31)  So, I dedicate this article to someone who means the world to me, my mother.  My heart’s desire is to continue the legacy of women in our family to be a godly mother who loves God with passion.  Thank you for training me in the ways of the Lord, I will never depart from it.

Each night she prays quietly in her chamber,
Pouring her heart before the King.
Her heart determined to protect her children from danger.
She cries aloud making her praises ring.
A quiet sanctuary from the outside,
But within it’s a warzone, a horrific fight.
The Lord Jesus kneels right beside,
As the enemy tries to destroy her life with his fixed sight.
She is determined to face the fires of Hell,
For the welfare of her offspring.
She doesn’t care how many bells he rings.
Each night, she will defeat his tactics while on her knees.
In the midst of the night, she pours her soul.
Sternly believing God with all her heart,
Desiring her children to believe in the eternal hope.
Trusting that they will never depart,
From the truth-Jesus is the only way.
Wealth can’t bestow her greatest desire,
It’s her faith that won’t bend or sway.
Only Heaven knows how many battles of fire,
Against a loving mother she’s faced.
It’s heart of a mother’s desire,
That will finish the race.

All three miracles from God, I am blessed to be their mother.