Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On the Battle Line

As the ground shudders, his footprints thunder with each step he takes.  His very presence causes immediate fear and intimidation, he is enormous.  No ordinary man can face this man eye to eye, it’s impossible.  Yet, the words he utters brings a paralyzing fear to prevent the children of Israel to attack.  On a daily basis this giant comes to bring fear to the lives of these people, even the king refuses to protect his people.  The army is hiding in fear, the king is absent, and this giant keeps coming and it’s been forty days! (I Samuel 17:16) 

If you want to overcome the giant-you will have to smell his breath.  In other words, only a face to face combat will work.  Faith only needs an opportunity to work, size isn’t a requirement to conquer giants.  There is an old saying “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”  Either we will join the crowd in fear or we will step out to see the impossible done.  Faith invites us to see the impossible; impossible is God's specialty.  Israel was willing to get ready for battle but they weren’t willing to fight. (I Samuel 17:21)  When the giant appeared, the army hid in fear instead of working together to defeat him. 
The enemy of your soul is going to taunt you with words of fear, may come to intimate you with his presence, and will refuse to leave until he is rebuke.  As David said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?  David recognized the voice of the enemy in the midst, he brought this to the attention of the people.  Also, he revealed the enemy’s purpose was to “defy” the armies of the living God.  In other words, David recognized the giant for who he was-the ugly enemy who was attacking the children of God! All of God’s promises are true and hold a reward for the children of God.  Whoever defeated the enemy of the Philistines would get great wealth, marriage of the king’s daughter, and be exempt from taxes! (I Samuel 17:25)

     What’s very interesting David’s three oldest brothers were trained in Saul’s army, they choose to serve.  Yet, the moment David talks with the military men, Eliab gets angry with him.  He attacks David fourfold:
1.       His purpose

2.       Being irresponsible or un-capable to be among the men

3.       Pride/wicked heart

4.       Observe the war or not willing to lead
Keep in mind, the body will not always follow the leader God selects.  Yet, the language usually to attack a leader comes through the spirit of Eliab.  Eliab dressed like a warrior, sat in the camp, and refused to move to assist the people he was to protect or work with.  (That is another sermon) 
Sadly the army followed the heart of Saul, they hid in fear.  Why wasn’t the king dressed in battle?  Saul tried to prepare David with his artillery but IT DIDN’T FIT!  We can’t expect to fight the giant with other people’s weapons, we can only defeat giants with confidence in God.  Goliath fought to bring fame unto himself.  David’s battles were only seen by God in the desert, he learned to rely on God.  Keep in mind, David wasn’t comfortable or familiar with Saul’s weapons.  Instead he used what he was familiar with!  David approached the battle line with a staff, five smooth stones, and sling to come to the battle line.  It’s the weapons of a shepherd! 

Sometimes we get so intimated with the giant, we forget our own weapons or how to use them.  David was familiar with his weapons and so are you!  God’s Word never fails!  Giants still fall in the name of God! (I Samuel 17:45-47)  David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet him!  It’s time to fight your giant!  God’s name is still powerful, enemies fall face down in His presence.  Worship, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the armor of God is all that available to all believers.  It's provided through God alone, His name guarantees it! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Swords and Shovels

During the night, he walks around the city to examine the evidence. (Nehemiah 2:12)  Although he doesn’t want anyone to know why he is present, the evidence couldn’t be dismissed.  It was truly apparent the enemy was real, his plan was to ruin, and the destruction was un-believable.  If he didn’t see with his own eyes, he couldn’t have understood the need.  Although the news broke his spirit, it touched his heart.  

We don’t have to look far to see the destruction of the enemy, we see the rubble.  It’s under our shoes, it’s in the stench of our nostrils, it's before our eyes, and so close to touch.  Yet, our eyes can’t believe what we see.  We pick up the rubble to try to image what it is or who it belongs too.  Destruction doesn’t just touch cities, it destroys lives.  Although the rubble proves life once existed, where are they?

Satan’s method hasn’t changed, he desires complete annihilation.  Annihilation of dreams, families, and God’s promises.  Keep in mind, Nehemiah was a patriotic Jew.   So, this was his homeland, his people, his history, and where he worshipped God.  No longer is there any security for the people, the walls have crumbled.  The gates are twisted metal, completely destroyed by fire.  Someone had a purpose, it’s evident.  What do we do when the enemy attacks our families, our cities, or our nation?  Either we can be silent or desire to change the situation.  We can only change the situation if we allow it to touch us, we allow it to break us.

“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven.” ~ Nehemiah 1:4

If we don’t allow the brokenness of our people break our spirit, cause us to pray, or mourn our godly history; we walk callused.  Can we truly leave our heritage, our people, and our nation in this situation?  Our children deserve a heritage of God’s truth, so they have an example to follow.  Yet, who’s willing to take the sword or shovel to rebuild?  If we long to rebuild this nation, we have to get our hands dirty spiritual and physically.  Faith isn’t just what we believe, its proof of our calloused hands.  Our hands bleed, have blisters, and covered in dirt because we understand the need.  Love lifts people out of the rubble, it helps rebuild what was lost.  It doesn’t leave the rubble for others to clean up, it’s willing to take a shovel or a sword or whatever is needed to rebuild a life.  Either our hearts are calloused or our hands, it shows who we are and what we really believe.  Faith demands actions toward the broken, it brings healing.

With the Word (the Sword) it’s the only way our hearts can be truly healed from the brokenness.  We are anointed to bring good news, bind up the brokenhearted, and release those bond in darkness.  Yet, we have to use our hands to rebuild the walls, so we can rebuild our life.  It will restore income, a place to live, and a place to worship with God's people.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”~ Isaiah 61:1

Understandable, it can be quite overwhelming when we examine the evidence-it beyond our abilities.  Fear focuses on my abilities; faith focuses on God’s.  Your faith will be challenged but it will NEVER BE defeated!  It’s only when we seek the Lord’s face with diligence, we get the answers.  Nehemiah prayed for three months before entering the king’s presence.  Although Nehemiah felt overwhelmed with the burden, God was working behind the scenes to fulfill His will-to rebuild.  It’s interesting how a cup-bearer who had no carpentry or architect knowledge was used to bring security, restoration to his people, and reclaim a heritage near extinction.  God’s plan for our lives, our cities, and our nation will only be discovered if we seek His face.  God’s the only One who has all wisdom, knowledge, and power to help us.  Honestly, let’s admit we lack the wisdom but we don’t lack the knowledge who to seek! 

In our natural eyes it may be overwhelming but we need to look at it through God’s eyes, it’s an opportunity to show the love of God.  May we remember who we are, call upon the name of God, and repent.  It’s only when our hearts restored, we are willing to restore the life of others.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Faith Conquers Cities

When I grew up in Maryland I truly loved the mountain-view surrounding my home, its beauty would always take my breath away.  Usually upon the front porch or staring out my bedroom window, I enjoyed watching the seasons change.  Change always brought about hope, expectation, and beauty to behold.  Yet, it's not so easily viewed beautiful in my life, honestly it's difficult.  We can't have transformation without a change, so why do I fight it so?

 As the mountain stands perfectly still; it’s quite intimidating.  It’s massively large, beyond my ability to move, and it’s preventing my view of the Promise.  Honestly, I don’t desire to sing again, “She will be coming around the mountain.”  It seems to have become my theme song.  Although God’s calling is clear on my life, the directions right now are foggy.  I can’t seem to find the road map to get to the mountain trail.  God’s silent.  So, in His silence, I admit I have felt abandoned in the process.  With no reception, no response, and I am in a state of panic!  I feel as if I am screaming, “Is anyone out there?”

Don't allow God's silence to prevent your heart from staying obedient.  Stay faithful to His Word, it will shine the direction for your steps.  Maybe the direction isn't what YOU WANTED but God's still working.  Yet, our expectations have been shattered, our desires have faded, and our hope is slipping away so we hide.  It’s easier to withdraw into the night, so our hearts can’t be revealed.  Fear is a prison; faith is the only key to fit the lock to open it.  God’s promises don’t come without a challenge of faith.  Oh, it’s God’s Word pure and true.  It’s tightly held in my fist to claim but our foot is still locked.  Doubt, insecurity, and fear have flooded our mind, it's hindering the voice of God from being heard.  God’s silence isn’t punishment; it’s a test of faith.  Our faith will be tried, no one is exempt from being tested.  Yet, it’s only when we are tested, we will be shine as gold. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. ~ Job 23:10

At the moment the mountains may stand tall, so tall you can’t see.  Yet, may I remind you who created the mountains, the ocean, and who created you!  God doesn’t give us a mountain to conquer in our own ability but His.  Keep in mind, the children of Israel wandered in a desert but they had to CONQUER a city before entering the Promised Land.  A desert will cause us thirst for God’s will but the city will be overthrown by faith in God.  Only when we walk in faith will God part the waters of the Jordan. 
We won’t see the miraculous of God’s hand until we take His hand by faith.  God’s will never abandon or misled His children to the place of unknown; He leads us to place of His own.  So, hopefully the first step will not be hard to take, God’s awaiting your move.  Besides God’s already melted the hearts of your enemy, they heard God’s coming!  So gird your weapons, blow the shofar, and start walking around the walls of Jericho!  Get ready to shout!  No wall or mountain can stand against the presence of the Lord!  Mountains melt like wax in the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 97:5)

"When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” ~ Joshua 2:11 

God’s already intimated your enemy, so don’t fret.  Your enemy has no courage to attack, God’s fame has been heard!  No one is able to stand against Him, nobody!  Yet, only the redeemed will be able to see the beautiful place He has prepared for them.  A promise of God is worth waiting for, standing for, and walking in!  Don’t allow your mountains to intimate you; introduce your mountain to God.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

End of the Desert

If I were to give a round trip ticket to any destination of your choice, where would you go?  Maybe Paris, France!  Or how about an Alaskan trip to see the Northern Lights?  Truth be told, I am not sure anyone would pick the destination of a desert.  If so, I would truly question their mental state.  Why would you want to go to the desert?  It’s incredibly hot!  No quick place to find shelter except in a cave or near a camp fire.  It’s a tiresome walk alone!  No matter where you look or walk it’s bleak, barren, and seems completely lifeless.  All of God's greatest warriors had to walk through the desert to inherit their promise.

Yet, if we truly desire to grow in Christ, we can’t escape the desert.

Sometimes, we wonder if the tests and trials of this life are producing anything.  Or what’s the purpose of all of this?  Is the promise really worth waiting for?  As we try to take another step in the tiresome heat, we grow faint from exhaustion.  Where is God?  Where is He leading me?  Doesn’t He see that my enemy is chasing me! 

Trials do have an end!  Although it may look bleak upon ever turn, God’s still directing your life.  The prophetic promise upon your life isn’t going to be destroyed because the enemy is pursing you.  If anything the tactics of the enemy are being used to prepare your life to take hold of it.  When God truly calls someone’s life; everyone is aware of the anointing upon you.  It can’t be hidden or disguised in your life if God is truly your hearts pursuit.   David’s family saw the oil poured upon his head, the call placed upon his life, and didn’t understand his purpose.  Although David’s fame was recorded for defeating Goliath, his fame wouldn't usher him to the inherit the throne.   
"Isn't this the David the they sang about in their dances: " 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" (I Samuel 29:5) 
If we are to have victory in our lives, we just rely on past victories.  We have to keep relying on the name of the Lord.  Goliath wasn't David's only enemy to defeat, he faced several others before his prophetic calling was fulfilled.  David's enemies wasn't just Goliath or the Philistines, this enemy was someone personal, a member of his family.  David had to try a different strategy to defeat Saul, he had to wait upon the Lord.  David never attacked Saul with vengeance or try to remove the kingdom, although it belong to him.  David was able to defeat Saul because he keep the Lord as His refuge, so his enemy was never able to corner him.  
Although Saul savagely pursued to take David's life; it tested the heart of David in the midst of the desert.  David had to learn how to inquire of the Lord, rest in promised Word, and keep walking when no one is praising your name.  
Besides chasing David in the heat of the desert, he brought 3,000 chosen men to hunt him for four years. (I Samuel 24:1-2)  Another four years David dwelt in Ziglag to avoid Saul's plot, he was working for the enemies-Philistines. (I Samuel 27:1)  No matter where David would run, someone would send word to Saul, so the pursuit would continue.  How do you not lose heart in the heat of the desert?  The desert doesn’t cover the earth; it has an END.  As the finish line blows through the breeze; it awaits to be crossed.  It will only break the moment your feet has crossed it.

Yet, even in the midst of the desert, God will not allow the enemy to have the upper hand.  He will protect your life in the cleft of the rock.  Jesus was FULL OF THE SPIRIT and LED BY THE SPIRIT into the desert after fasting for forty days. (Matthew 4:1)  If the Spirit is leading you into the desert; He will bring you out of it.  The testing of desert did end, the devil was defeated, and Jesus was strengthened after. (Matthew 4:11)

 Besides being David’s father-in-law, Saul, was king of Israel.  Saul had the complete power and authority to destroy David; this was his motive.  It would be nervous enough to have one man to chase you down.  How about 3,000 men chasing you in the desert?  How quickly could you find a refuge?  Or how fast could you out-run them?  Besides being outnumbered, they were trained to disintegrate a person, I would be scared out of my mind.   However, God gave David a perfect view of the situation in 1 Samuel 24:1-10) 

What do you do when your enemy has your back against the wall of the cave?  Wait until God brings your enemy into perfect view!  Saul was reliving himself in the opening of the cave.  Saul was vulnerable, without a weapon, a plan, and only a man.  He couldn’t destroy David who was hiding in the cave; He was secure in the rock. 

    Trials do have an ending point but we don’t know the length; only God does.  However it’s important to keep your spirit right in the desert.  The desert will not only test your character; it will test your heart to keep believing God and His Word.  Don’t allow the enemies whisper rob your prophetic destiny; the desert does END.  Only by Encountering God will you have the power to endure, rest in knowing it will Never destroy God’s purpose, and Deliverance is promised through God.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Truth Or Consequence

If we never take a stand; we will never leave a mark.  As I was re-reading a familiar passage of Scripture, I was astonished at the prophet’s boldness, confidence in God, and the demonstration of God’s power through Elijah.  I admit, sometimes I wonder if I have the confidence as Elijah to stand against the god of this world. 

Out of a desperate plea for their hearts, Elijah’s challenges the children of Israel about their devotion to God.  His desire was pure and even godly but it was extremely costly-he stood alone.  Besides standing alone, he was labeled “a troubler of Israel” (I Kings 18:18)  A great prophet of God who would never taste death was disgraced by God’s children.  Yet, Elijah wasn’t afraid to speak the truth towards those in authority, he rebuked them.  He confronted the hearts of the people to cause their hearts to make a decision.

 When we are silent; we allow evil to rule.  Jesus didn’t ask for us to remain silent, He asked us to be a witness to the world. (Mark 16:15)  Elijah saw the rebellion of his people, the power of those in authority, and the indecisiveness of the people.  Elijah didn’t wait for a new election or a poll to be taken; he demanded the people to choose who they would serve.  Although he was the only prophet standing for the Lord, he didn’t back down or stop preaching against wrong.  According to the Word, Elijah was physically outnumbered when compared to the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah who ate at Jezebel’s table. (I Kings 18:19) 

As I look around me, sin is rapid.  No matter where you walk, sin is present.  Whether it’s a slanderous comment behind the back of a co-worker, gossip in the church foyer, or a lustful eye at the mall.  Sin desires ownership of our hearts; its power leads to eternal destruction.  We must understand our choices have consequences, silence doesn’t excuses them.  Jesus said the “harvest is PLENTIFUL” but the labors are FEW. (Luke 10:9)  Yet, what I love the most is that the Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest.  The harvest is ready to work because Jesus paid the price for the field.  It’s where the pearl of great price is found! 

Sometimes we will stand alone in the world but we are never without back-up!  God’s only a call away!  He will always stand beside us when we stand for Him.  God doesn’t leave us to a pack of wolves, if anything he reveals who the wolves in sheep’s clothes are.  A true witness of God will never be silence in the crowd because the Spirit of God will manifest the truth.  God always confirms His Word and will perform the signs and wonders of those who believe His Word.  It’s not only a promise but a guarantee of God’s support-Jesus said it! 

Boldness only comes from the Holy Spirit!  So, we truly need to pray for not only the leading but the boldness to stand.  God will never disappoint us!  Elijah challenged the people’s to make a decision, a true hearted decision to turn from evil and surrender to God.  Isn’t this what repentance is?  What caught my attention in the passage of I Kings 18:30-35 was “Elijah rebuilt the altar.  Elijah called the people’s attention to follow him back to the altar of God!  It’s a humbling and terrifying thought, “Do we remember what the altar is for?”  Our altar is desperately broken and needing repair but who is willing to get the hammer?  Who is willing to lead the people back to the foundation of their faith?  An altar has to have a sacrifice for it to be genuine, so do we remember the Lamb who paid the price?  It’s not about who supports our belief in the crowd, it’s about who’s leading the indecisive people to a decision.  Who’s standing for truth?  Elijah used twelve stones to represent the tribes of Jacob who was changed even his name “Your name shall be Israel.” Our history can’t be destroyed because truth will always reign-Jesus! Elijah didn’t just lead the people to the altar but he called upon the name of the Lord.  The fire of God fell not only to prove who Elijah stood for but the TRUE GOD WAS REVEALED.  God will silence your enemies and remove evil from our midst but we have to be bold enough to take a stand.  It’s time to call upon the name of the Lord, walk in the truth, and in the power of Spirit.  The harvest is plentiful, so the question is are we following the call?


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Free From Accusation

As I stare at a blank sheet of paper it’s truly brought a moment of inspiration.  Usually as I stare at a blank sheet of paper it’s due to writers block, what to write?  Or what can I write to touch the hearts of those who really need to hear from the Lord?  As those thoughts enter my mind, I keep hearing part of this verse over and over again, “Free from accusation” it’s a powerful thought.  Yet, it should be more than a powerful thought; it should be the statement or declaration of the born-again believer. 

Free From Accusation

We all have experienced being false accused or gossiped in our lives.  It’s not a popular moment we want to share or discuss with others.  Especially if some of those accusations are true in our past, we know what we have done.  Did we “really” do that?  Or did that really happen?  How can we look at ourselves in the mirror?  Or how do reach for goals or believe for God’s best in our lives?  It’s all about the cross.  Although we understand this to be the center of our faith for eternity, do we understand the power of the cross?  If you don’t understand the power of the cross; you will never walk secure in life.  If you are walking still in guilt and shame after truly repenting of your sins; you are not walking in truth but condemnation.  Christ didn’t come into the world to condemn us but to redeem us from sin. (John 3:16-17)  Yet, the accuser of the brethren desires to destroy your life with half-truth or accusations.
     When Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden they lived without shame, according to scripture “they were naked and felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)  Keep in mind, we were created in the likeness of God, so what does this mean?  We were created without sin, holy, blameless, and for good.  Adam and Eve didn’t know what sin was or the definition; it wasn’t something they were familiar with.  Satan said to Eve, “You will BE LIKE God knowing good and evil.”  What is wrong with those statement two things: First, we were created in the likeness of God, so how more “like God” could we be in the garden?  Second, God isn’t evil, so how could He be evil?  God is love.  God is good.  God is holy.  It was a half-truth of Satan’s deception that led Eve to destruction to her soul and her life.  Sin brought destruction to Eve’s life; it was very costly.  Eve lost her home, her security, and relationships with her husband and God.  Sin has a price tag!  Yet, the cross paid the enormous price to make us free from accusation, shame, and guilt! 
     Before I started typing this blog, the page was blank with no words.  It was waiting to be filled with the words from my heart.  Blank, empty, and it was waiting to be filled with what I wrote on the page.  Waiting for words, so powerful I can touch the heart of who is reading it.  It’s not only an honor but a responsibility to those who read it.  Nevertheless, what’s so alarming is the “words” we believe about ourselves.  Words we have heard others speak, Satan’s accusations or our own self-talk in our lives?  So, how do you see yourself?  A deeper question to ask is how does God see you?  Oh, I am sure we have shuttered at times with this thought or believe God only sees our sin?  The power of cross will make us realize we are a sinner, no one is righteous.  It’s only through the power of the cross, we are restored-made righteous before God.  God doesn’t see your past; He sees potential of what He can do with your life. 
     As I was reading the account of Genesis again, I was truly touched about an important fact.  When was Eve named in scripture?  Was it before the fall or after?  Also who named her?  It’s quite interesting and very powerful to meditate on; she was named AFTER the fall.  Adam was able to name her Eve, the mother of all living, after the fall.  One moment Adam is blaming her to God, the next he is speaking truth or life about her.  Why?  He saw her through the eyes of grace, God’s design.  She was created for life, a life to bring glory to God.  After the fall account, scripture doesn’t ever mention this event again nor does God bring up Eve’s horrible sin again.  So if God never accused her again, why would He accuse you? God never will accuse, it’s not a language He speaks. 

But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-Colossians 1:22

     So, what words are you using to describe yourself?  Does it match what God says about you?  If not, it’s time to erase those damaging words with truth.  It’s time to kick the devil in the teeth, so he can’t speak anymore into your ear.  The cross made a public display of him, destroyed all of his power, so you can walk free from accusations-the blood of Christ sealed the deal.

"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." Colossians 2:13-15

Do you understand what Christ has done for YOU?  He made you alive with Him!  He forgave all your sins, canceled the debt completely!  He took it all away by nailing it to the cross!  He paid YOUR debt!  Also, He disarmed the rulers and authorities so nothing could prevent your growth or life!  Through the cross you are triumphant!  The cross proves your are victorious because the price was paid in full.

Friday, March 7, 2014


“To err is human; to forgive divine” it’s a famous quote I remember but can’t recall who said it.  Nevertheless it’s very profound truth, a truth of the Gospel.  Regardless of how long you have walked with Christ, temptation will come to us all.  Our precious Savior wasn’t even exempt from temptation but He was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 2:18)  It’s comforting to know Christ understands our struggles, our weakness, but what’s really reassuring He is my mediator.  He is the One who stands in the gap for me! 

 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 2:5)  

When no one else will stand in my defense, Christ will.  If Christ is the only One who will stand with me, no one can defeat me.  Our past can defeat our lives if we live there.  We all have a past, made mistakes, and desire for peace in our souls.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to walk with a heart of brokenness; we trip over every piece of it.  As we try to pick up those pieces, we realize it’s too much too carry.  We can’t lift our face, find no peace, our strength is gone, and hope is fading fast.  Sin weighs our spirits down; no peace will be found until it’s nailed to the cross.  A blessed person is one who’s transgression is forgiven it’s been covered. (Psalm 32:1)
     His heart is labeled, “a man after God’s own heart” but David even faced failure in his life.   A prophetic promise, powerful anointing, and kingship
didn’t prevent David’s choice to accept the lure of temptation.  He accepted the bait-hook, line, and sinker.  Besides destroying his name, He brought reproach to the name of God.  (2 Samuel 12:14)  It’s not easy to walk through the consequences of sin but grace still overcomes.  According to one of professors in college he said, “The three greatest temptations for those in ministry are sex, money, and power.”  It’s not only godly leadership who are tempted with this dangerous trio; anyone who is in leadership must protect their lives, their name, and others.  “A good name is better than riches” said the wise King Solomon.  (Proverbs 22:1) A name tarnished with sin can only be changed by grace. 
     Can a fallen leader or minister be restored? ABSOLUTELY!  It’s going to take repentance, accountability, and support from the body of Christ.  We are called to be ministers of reconciliation; it’s the heartbeat of God. (2 Cor. 5:18) From the account in 2 Samuel 12:1-26, we learn some vital lessons about sin, the consequences of sin, and restoration.  Secret sin will NEVER be a secret before God!  So, God can’t be fooled by anyone.  It’s better to come clean with God or He can send a messenger to your door!  Nathan, the prophet, comes into David’s presence to reveal the truth about his secret sins.  First, God rebukes David’s actions; He doesn’t support his wrong doings. (2 Samuel 12:9) Second, God reveals the consequences for his actions and the aftermath. (2 Samuel 12:11-13; 12:14)  Next, repentance had to be made, David confesses and his life is spared. (2 Samuel 12:13)  Lastly, the child conceived in sin was struck with illness.
     If we are truly repentant over our sins; we will take the consequences.  Sadly, so many people don’t understand that our actions have consequences.  It’s not easy to watch the aftermath of a sinful choice we made.  Whether it’s losing a job, an unexpected child, destroying friendships or the trust of your family it’s hard to grasp it.  It’s truly a wake-up call!  It’s not easy being the center of gossip or to hear people’s accusations towards you.  It’s a hard pill to shallow but grace lifts us up and mercy helps us stand.
As David pleas, fasts, and prays for the child through several nights, the child dies.  Through the whispers of his servants, David realizes the child is dead.  It’s truly a sad moment but David does something quite interesting.

Then David GOT UP from the ground.  After he had washed, put on lotions, and changed his clothes, he WENT INTO THE HOUSE OF GOD and WORSHIPPED.  Then he went into his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 2 Samuel 12:20

Realize our failures only show our humanity; a life of grace shows our humility.  We can’t stand without God’s grace!  So, get up from the ground!  It’s time to move on!  It’s time to enter the house of God and worship Him for His grace.  It’s time to remove the stains, remove the clothes of depression, and enter the house of God! 

Leaders are not exempt from temptation but they must guard their lives and reputation.  David placed himself into temptation, he wasn’t in war. (2 Samuel 11:1)  He wasn’t fulfilling his duties, he sent his men to do his work.  His guard was down; his spirit was restless, and walking on the roof of the palace.  As the beautiful woman was bathing, David didn’t run away from the temptation, he ran full-speed ahead towards it by inquiring about her-she is married.  He didn’t stop there, he ignores the red flag.  God will always offer an escape from temptation; we have to be willing to take it.  Also, we must be wise to know our weakness, be accountable, and don’t place ourselves up for failure.  David’s failure didn’t stop God’s promise for his life but it cost the love and respect of his family.  God’s story with your life isn’t done because you failed.  Forgiveness is more easily granted from people but rebuilding trust will take steps of integrity.  It’s time to turn the page; God’s grace is greater than all your sins.  It’s time to rise and eat!   

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Million Dollar Dolls

In Honor of my Father, Roger L. Savage

Death will come to us all; no one will escape it.  For the Christian, death isn’t a sad occasion-our faith will be made sight!  Yet, can you image the sight of Jesus? My heart yearns for the day to see my Beloved Savior!  As the old hymn sang, “What a day, glorious day that will be!” Although Heaven is my father’s final destination, I still grieve.  I grieve for the relationship we never had-the father/daughter relationship I desperately wanted.

 As I watched the snow fall upon the ground through the hospital window, I didn’t want to face reality-my father is dying.  Time was slipping away, opportunity was gone, and only memories or regrets would remain.  As I reflected upon the past, it seemed the bad out weighted the good.  Although the past was forgiven; the present wasn’t made whole-healing wasn’t finished.  Maybe the winter cold numbed my heart since my feet were frozen-I felt nothing inside.  As I turned to watch my father sleep, I just stared at him.  I wanted the moment to be captured within my heart and forever in my mind.  As he slept to escape the physical pain, I silently held mine.  No words could express what I really wanted to say, so I was silent.  Silence keep me company but words would have healed my soul.  As the clocked ticked away, so did the opportunity to ask my dad, “Are you proud of me?”  “Was I ever the apple of your eye?”  Those questions would go unanswered, I couldn’t ask him.  My father was too weak to fight the cancer anymore, he is fading away.  Fading from this life but not my heart. 

If I could hold time still, I would.  During the final visit with my dad, I decided to treasure each moment with him.   When he talked, I listened to his voice to remember how it sounded.  Holding his hands, I would caress to bring him some relieve, peace, and assurance I was there.  The precious moments, the sound of his voice, and holding his hand brought me some closure.  As each night ended with “Give me a kiss!”  I gently would kiss his head a little longer each night, I didn’t want it to end.  Although the snow was deep, the stress level was high, the journey home brought a powerful truth-how fleeting is life.  It made me reflect upon my father’s life, our relationship, and a new beginning.

My father lived his last name to the fullest; anyone who knew my father would testify to this. With all of the stories of the farm or teenage mischief, my father was the ornery one.  My belly hurt sometimes with those timeless stories with his siblings, he always could make me laugh.  It’s what I will cherish the most.  Besides the time he allowed me to put hair barrettes in his hair, that was hilarious!  Oh, if I could have some more good times but the past would show a different tale.  Alcohol stole most of my childhood, it was a difficult tale for sure.  Although my childhood drama led me to Christ, it was a lonesome walk.  It was a very difficult journey as I grew in Christ, my father wasn’t receptive or willing to listen to the Gospel.  It was especially hard to follow the call of God to become a minister without his blessing or support.  As my commitment remained stern to the call of Christ, my father later accepted it during my sophomore year.  With a letter, I was overjoyed to receive his approval.  As I continued to walk with Christ, my father started to realize how painful the past was.  We had a powerful conversation between us, seeking for forgiveness.  It was the start of healing, a process we need to begin.

Yet I wanted my father to understand God’s truth, to be born again, and be made whole.  Sadly, our relationship was never close, we walked different roads but I never stopped praying for his salvation.  However, I could see God working through his life and the Spirit of God drawing him.

Sometimes, we don’t realize the value of our prayers for un-saved loved ones-they are so vital.  As I reflected upon my father’s life, I was so grateful to have battled the trenches to see it complete.  I wouldn’t trade it for a moment-not one prayer!  One night while in college, the Lord awaken me to pray for someone who was suicidal.  The burden was so heavy, I couldn’t shake it.  No matter how long or strong I prayed, it wouldn’t lift.  So, I called my aunt to pray with me until it left, God never told me who it was for.  As I arrived home from Christmas break, my father shared his depression and wanting to commit suicide-it was the same night I was awaken to pray.  As I shared the Gospel again and the story of what happened in college, my father turned away again.

 We must understand the enemy wants our loved ones, he wants to destroy their lives.  Besides destroying their lives on earth, he wants their soul.  It’s a war we are called to fight, a fight to pray for our families or dearest friends.  If we don’t have a burden for our immediate family, how can we have a burden for the world?  If we want a harvest, we have to plant the seed.  We are not responsible for the growth or the response, we are responsible to plant. 

During those years of prayer for my father, I had a deep desire-I wanted to be personally lead him to Christ.  Oh, I admit I didn’t care who lead my father to Christ but it was a deep desire of mine.  Much to my surprise, God granted this desire-I will never forget it!  I will praise His name forever!  God loving so answers the deepest desires of our hearts.  When my father first got diagnosed with cancer, my mother and I led him to Christ.  It was a joyous moment!  The angels of glory couldn’t have shouted louder than me!  I was over the moon!

Now I was empty with no feeling inside as I watched my father sleep.  All of my expectations for our relationship was fading; fading faster than I could imagine.  As my father slept, my sister and I had to prepare the journey of father’s final days.  As the doctor shared the news, my heart was depleted.  Reality was hitting me in the face, I didn’t want to awaken to it.  Nothing more could be done to medically assist my father, so we had to honor him now.  Too sick to receive hospice care, my father had to be placed in a nursing home since my sister and I live out of state.  It was the most difficult decision of my life but it was for his best interest and care.  So, we had to clean his apartment, it was no small undertaking because my father is a pack-rat! 

During the move, I stumbled upon a piece of paper in my father’s nightstand.  I was so surprised at the words it was entitled, “My Million Dollar Dolls.”  As I read it, I was so touched of the tender words my father described my sister and I.  As I read the note, it brought so much healing to my soul.  Each word described our differences and similarities but a love from a father’s heart.  Although my father was too weak to speak it, he spoke what I needed to hear.  God does all things beautiful, perfect, and with loving care-I found the letter.  As I read each word, my heart began to realize how much my father thought of me and how much he loved me, “I was worth a million dollars to him!” 

 My heart still grieves over the relationship we didn’t have on earth but I have peace about it.  Heaven will give us plenty of time to catch up!  Although my father accepted Christ at the ending of his journey, I will rest that love keeps no record of wrongs; grace erases it.  Mercy approved a place for my father to be-the blood of Christ paid for it. 

As I silently watch you sleep,
May your soul Our Savior keep.
Your earthly journey is about to end.
The moment God calls you to ascend.

It’s a moment, we all must face.
Only in Christ can the sting escape.
Death has no victory; no power to hold thee captive.
No longer are you called a savage.

With the Spirit of Christ your spirit is sealed,
So your salvation will be revealed.
It’s a precious moment; a celebrated time.
Even when the church bells chime.

Oh Death where is your sting?
No power can you hold to ring!
Jesus, my Savior, stole thy power!
His love shouts even louder.

Love surrounds your soul,
It’s so hard to let you go.
My father I want you to know,
I love you so.

 Accept the Savior’s hand,
Walk with Him to the Promised Land.
One day we will reunite
When my faith shall be sight.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Renewed, Rekindle, Set Ablaze

Progress is all about the willingness to mature; it’s learning to change as the Spirit instructs.  If we long to mature in Christ, we must be willing to change.  It’s allowing the Spirit to speak into the secret places of our lives, the parts we don’t want to expose or allow.  We wonder what can be preventing our growth or why does God’s voice seems so silent or faint?  Even though walking backwards is a motion, it doesn’t mean it’s a proper way to walk.  If anything, it’s a sign we need to evaluate what happened or where are we going?

If our spirit isn’t at peace within; we need to allow the Spirit to search deep within.  I want to challenge your life with some questions my pastor recently asked the congregation, Do we mourn spiritually over the lost places in our lives?”  “Do we mourn how we have lost our hunger for God?” “Does the memories of our passion burn brighter now or in days of old?”  It’s not wrong to evaluate our hearts before God; it has to be searched completely.  So, what is your life is stagnant at the moment?  It’s time to come to flowing river of God!  It’s time to be RENEWED, REKINDLED, AND SET ABLAZE!  As this New Year began, I was determined to get renewed in my Spirit.  Yet, as I prayed for this the Spirit of God gave me those three words as a point of direction for this time.  Also, God gave me two precious promises found in His word to keep me secure in the days ahead. 

“As Christian’s our spirits can do either two things: allow the Spirit of God to flow as a mighty river or we just become a lake to consume the water.  Life may be dwelling within but it’s not transforming our surroundings.” Gretchen Bracero

A stagnant spirit can only be changed by being made new; we have to become new wineskins.  We can’t receive the refreshing from God in the same state; we have to be changed.  Only new wine will be filled in new wineskins or it will cause it to burst.  It will burst the wineskin and spoil the wine, so both can’t be preserved. (Matthew 9:16-17)  In other words, God wants to pour a blessing into our Spirit, one that will be preserved.  It’s out of desperation we thirst; the question is what are doing to quench it? 

Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: "This is what the LORD says: "'I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. ~ Jeremiah 2:2

REMEMBER who has your devotion; has your heart!  RETURN to the devotion of our salvation, so love will be found.  REUNITE your commitment to follow Christ wherever He leads.

 It’s only after our heart’s renewed, we can be revived!  When true revival is experienced, we are revived to follow WHOLE HEARTEDLY what God requires or asks.  When we are revived, love awakens our soul to pursue only the audience of one.  We don’t make excuses for our sinful behaviors or worry about the opinions of others when our hearts are rekindled.  We have tasted the love of our beloved!  We don’t chase or desire other lovers, we desire only our lover’s kiss.  We will seek intensely through the night until our lover is found, our soul can’t rest until we are reunited!  It’s only through seeking with all our heart and soul, we find Him! 

Deuteronomy 4:29 ~ But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Once our hearts are renewed, love is rekindled, our lives become ablaze!  As a match ignites a candle, so our lives will be in the world.  His word consumes our being we can’t stop proclaiming it, meditating on it, or singing hymns or spiritual songs!  It’s what our lives are all about-allowing God to consume us!  At this moment, this challenge may seem difficult but it’s not impossible.  It’s about being mournful of what was and choosing to return home!  Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."  God's not desiring to destroy you, He longs to comfort you with His love.  His love awaits you!  He longs to celebrate your return but you have to run!  It's not a place you have never been, it's home.  Out of discontent and rebellion the son left home, a journey of self-destruction.  Mournful of loss and hunger the son ran home, he remembered who loved him.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised. ~ Genesis 28:15

God hasn’t stopped desiring your fellowship, He is waiting for you!  Regardless of length of your last visit, it’s only one step home.  Even if you squandered your entire inheritance to be found in pig slob!  Or if your heart feels stagnant, it's not impossible to rekindle.  It's just coming back to loves first kiss.