Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who do you remember?

A moment for a brief quiz -
  1. Name the last 3 winners of the Heisman trophy
  2. Name the last 3 winners of supporting actress
  3. Name the last 3 winners of the gold medal in the 200 meter race at the Olympics

Stumped yet? Okay, try this one...

  1. Name 3 teachers who had an influence on your life - either positive or negative
  2. Name 3 adults who had an influence on your life - either positive or negative
  3. Name 3 peers who had an influence on your life - either positive or negative

Which list was easier to complete?

In a world that has gone crazy with celebrities and sports heros, isn't it refreshing to realize that the people who matter most to you, who have the most influence on your life, are the ones close enough to touch? They are the ones you can have a cup of coffee with, who aren't too busy to take your phone call, the ones you don't have to fight paparazzi to see.

This Christmas, let us think about how we can show love and appreciation to those in our life who matter most to us. Gifts are great. But another quick question, can you remember 3 gifts you received last year and who they were from? I have nothing against gifts - the Bible has many occassions where gifts were shared (Wise men to the newborn babe, gifts of food shared at the celebration of Purim, etc.). But, before we spend money we don't have on gifts that others will soon forget, let us consider the things that matter most to us. The gift of laughter. The gift of kindness. The gift of encouragement. The gift of cleaning up after Christmas dinner (truly never forgotten!). Games and memories shared with ones we love. The gift of peace - setting aside family disagreements in a spirit of harmony.

Most important of all - The gift of blessing. Speaking, verbally (where one can hear), a blessing to someone. Let them know how glad you are that they are in your life. Speak a blessing to them that they will fulfill their God-given destiny. Declare favor into their future. The blessing will help their gifts and talents come out to the full.

There is incredible power in our words. This year, may our words bless those around us. Remember to think before we speak. May this year be one of memories far beyond the physical gifts that are given. May the blessings carry us on to eternity. And, this year, may you be one who is remembered for the love and blessings you bestowed on those around you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why does God keep making people?

Warning - you will not find the answer to the title question in this post.

Today, in my quiet time, I was reading Matthew 11-13. Verses of chapter 11, 25-27, read as follows: "At that time Jesus said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him'". (emphasis mine)

Then, in chapter 13, we have the parable of the tares and the wheat. Verses 24-30 read: "Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.''"

The parable of the tares of the field is explained by Jesus in verses 37-43: "And He said, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; for as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.'"

So, my question is, why does God keep making people when He knows most of them are going to hell? In the parable of the tares, we can see that evil is allowed to co-exist with believers. God has been teaching me that this occurs to strengthen the believers. You may know the story of the chick in the egg. A child saw a chick trying to peck its way out of an egg. The chick was struggling, and in an attempt to help, the child broke open the egg and the chick broke free. Unfortunately, the chick soon died because it was too weak. God had ordained the struggle of breaking through the egg as a time of developing strength that the chick would need to survive.
So it is with believers. We need the struggle of co-existing with non-believers in order to build our spiritual muscles.

In Matthew 11:27, quoted above, it states "and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him". Does this mean that not everyone will have the same opportunity? Will not everyone have the chance to learn about God?

Fortunately, we can find the answer to these questions in these verses - 2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (emphasis mine). Ezekiel 18:32 - "'For I have no pleasure in anyone who dies', declares the Lord God. 'Therefore, repent and live.'" Titus 2:11 tells us "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men" (emphasis mine).

God is not willing that any should be doomed to an eternal hell. Christ came to this earth, the embodiment of God, the revelation of God, the sacrifice for all sin - past present and future. After departing this earth, Christ sent His Spirit - the Holy Spirit - to indwell His chosen followers. As His chosen ones, we have each been given a mission to share the gospel to all who come across our path, and make disciples - teaching them in the ways of God (Matt 28:19-20).

Why does God keep making people? I don't know. I'm glad He made me, my family, my friends. I'm grateful that He still has faith in humanity, that He chooses to allow us to exist for this time - to be part of this piece of His Story. Pray with me that we would be aware of those around us who need to know His Story. Let us share the Good News of Christ and the salvation He imparts. And then let us teach each other and grow up in maturity in God's kingdom. Let us grow strong among the tares of life. For His Name's sake and for His Glory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No More!

This past weekend, our Pastor taught of one of the spiritual tools in our tool chest. The lesson was from Mark 4:37-40. Pastor Mark taught that not every negative circumstance is from the enemy, and how we can know the difference.

Attack signs are loss of vision, dark clouds, an overall blanket of doom, thunder/rumblings - rattling lies, waves/high seas - you are going down.

The power tool is the storm cry. Realize that Jesus is in the boat - He has never left - He is there! Call on Him.

Rebuke the storm - Stand and declare the authority of Christ. Submit to God, resist the devil. Say to these lies & feelings - Cease! Be specific.

Replace with desired result - "Quiet down!" "Peace be still!" Rebuke & replace with faith prayers.

Those of you who know me know that my family and I have undergone an extended season of testing. Through it all, I've been submitting to God - searching my heart for sin to confess - praying to learn the lesson I needed to learn.

Yesterday, it happened again. That overwhelming sense of doom. All is hopeless. It's never going to get better.

Hunter was in another accident. His car is totalled. For those of you who are keeping score, that's 4 totalled cars between him and me since June 2007. Praise God, he is okay. The thoughts that overwhelmed me were about how much his insurance (already very high due to his previous accident) would be going up. How this additional burden would weigh on him as he's preparing for college. The cost of replacing his car. The deductible to be met. How this was just adding to the previous burdens we were facing - financial difficulty, job stresses. Wave upon wave of grief and despair were crashing over me. Tears were pouring like waterfalls from my eyes as I was driving to work. My face redder than Rudolph's nose. And then....

I remembered Pastor Mark's teaching from Sunday. I boldly gathered up all my courage and faith and shouted "No More! Satan, you and your demons are bound in Jesus' name from my family. You will have no more influence over us. You will keep your hands off of my son Hunter, off of my husband Rick, and off of me. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, remove yourselves now from our lives and begone. In Jesus name, in the name of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again, who saved our souls for eternity. In Jesus' name."

Then the praises began - praises for Jehovah Jireh - our Provider, praises for El Shaddai - Almighty God, praises for Jehovah Rophe - the Lord who Heals, praises for Jehovah Shammah - the Lord is there. I praised God for the healing that would take place in my body, for the provision for our family, for the protection He would provide for us. Now it was waves of peace and mercy cascading over my soul. Tears of joy streaming down my face.

That was yesterday morning. Last night Rick found a position he may be interested in applying for. A friend of mine has a car for a decent price that he'd be willing to take payments on from Hunter. My appointment with my naturopath revealed that my body is handling things well, and we're moving to a new phase of treatment - a marked improvement from the last visit. Blessings from the Lord are overflowing.

I encourage you. If you find yourself overwhelmed as mentioned above, and it's not from everyday stress or your own sin, look to God. Bind the demonic influences from your life in the name of Jesus. Replace the void with praise. And watch God work in your life. Yield to Him. He will take you places you never thought you could go.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sleep Escapes Me

In the wee hours of the morning, sometimes sleep escapes me. Like tonight, I was really tired earlier, only to go to bed and then not be able to sleep.

God is working in our lives and it's truly amazing. We are one of the families that is undergoing a financial upheavel. Dramatically reduced pay, attempting a work-out plan with our lender, uncertainty of our future - all these would be very legitimate causes for lack of sleep. But, that's not it. Despite all the great reasons to worry, God has given me peace. He has assured me that He will provide for us. So, why can't I leave it with Him? Why must I continue to pick up the burden?

It's the "I can't see how He's going to do it" that's keeping me up at night. At various points of my life, through bad car accidents, major illnesses and other life-changing events, God has held me in His arms, healing and restoring me. Many times I would give Him ideas on how He could accomplish things in my life, solve problems, "fix it". I am sure I gave Him many a chuckle. Every time in the past, He has done it His way, and not mine. Shocking! A mere mortal such as myself having less knowledge, insight and capabilities than the All Powerful Creator of the Universe who is accomplishing His Plan with or without me!

So, is this part of the overall plan - to have us suffer like those around us? Will this be used now and in the future to minister to others? That would be great. For now, I think I need to focus on learning how to cast my burdens upon Him. In addition, a lesson that needs to be learned is how to share my burdens with others so they can help me carry it. Galations 6:2 tells us to "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." (NASB) This particular situation has been very private and painful. Like many around me, I feel it is too embarrassing to share. But, if I as a believer am having trouble with this scenario, how much more so my non-believing fellow Americans? How can they even begin to go through this without the hope and assurance of Christ?

Well, this problem will not be solved in this post. But, this life with Christ is an adventure. It isn't over till He says it's over. Until then, I will continue on to the best of my abilities. And when that isn't enough, He'll take care of the rest.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Each heard in his own language

Acts 2:3-4 "And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterence...And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language." (NAS)

Regardless of where you are on the whole "tongue" issue, you must admit this is a powerful demonstration of the awesomeness of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine, being part of the crowd of this diverse multi-cultural group, and hearing the gospel proclaimed in your language, while your neighbor is hearing it in theirs. No special headphones, no electronic translators, everyone hearing God's message as if He were proclaiming it specifically for them.

This weekend we heard a message at our church about how God truly cares for the whole world. We've heard a lot of teaching about having a relationship with God, and how we are so very precious to Him. This is all true. Let us not, however, lose sight of the mission. Matthew 28: 16-20 tells us (The Message) Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Lord, we ask You, we beseech You, give us opportunities to train everyone we meet, far and near, in this way of life. You are with us as we do this - day after day after day. Give us a sense of Your presence, and the courage to speak Your Truth to a lost and dying world. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Know where you stand

This weekend Iran began testing it's nuclear missiles - aimed towards Israel. In Zechariah 2:8, we read "For thus says the Lord of Hosts, "After glory, He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you (Jerusalem), touches the apple of My Eye." Throughout scripture, we read that Israel is God's chosen people, and whoever chooses to harm them will be judged harshly.

Throughout scripture, we see that these type of events signal the end of days (Mathew 23). We are told that the day and time are unknown for the end of days (Mathew 23:36). Even if you don't sense the end of time, your personal days on this earth are unknown to you, but known to God (Job 14:5).

So, my question is this - do you know where you stand? If your life were to end today, do you know for sure where you would spend eternity? Let not your head hit your pillow in slumber until you have sure knowledge of the answer to this question.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heeding His instruction

God's plan is perfect. It will come to fruition. For some unknown, bizarre reason, He chooses many times to work through His people. Not really so bizarre, though. God created us to have a relationship with Him. One of the ways He chooses to relate is to use us in His plan.

Think about being a parent. As your child grows, you choose to partner with them, instructing them in life's lessons. It is the joy of your parentage to have them take the instruction you have poured into their life and use it in theirs. As they act wisely and correctly, you can see that the time and relationship you have poured into them are resulting in something beautiful.

So it is with God. He is our heavenly Father. He desires to have that relationship with us, that mentoring. His plan was to create a people with whom He could dwell, instruct, inhabit. It was never His plan to be some Almighty Drill Sergeant just looking for a moment of failure so He could punish us.

Now then, what is my responsibility? Can I live my life anyway I choose and expect God to bless it? Of course not. Any good parent will discipline bad behaviour in an effort to right the path of their wayward child. Truthfully, though, the power of decision to obey is with the child. God can no more force me to submit to His instruction than a parent can force a child to listen or obey them. And that, my friend, is the most painful part.

As mentioned in my previous post, God has fantastic plans for our lives. He has a plan that will come to fruition, regardless of whether we choose to participate or not. But, He also has wonderful, marvelous plans in which He'd like us to participate. Here is where it gets interesting. We can choose to hinder the plans God has for our lives.

You probably sensed that was coming. In Jeremiah 44:16, the prophet Jeremiah has been instructed by the Lord to issue a warning to the people. After hearing the message, the scripture reads..."As for the message that you (Jeremiah) have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you!" In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve both make the choice to listen to satan's wiles rather than God's perfect instruction. Throughout history, God's perfect plan has been detoured because His chosen people have chosen not to be His instruments. Hear me now, His plan will be accomplished. It just might be accomplished through someone other than me.

Ouch! In Esther 4:13-14, Mordecai instructs Queen Esther when she doubts her ability to be an instrument of God's plan..."Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (NASB)

In Jeremiah 31:36, it is written, "Suppose my orders for creation disappear from my sight," announces the Lord. "Only then will the people of Israel stop being a nation in my sight." (NIRV)

What now? Throughout scripture, we see evidence of God's perfect plan. The decision is mine. Will I choose to partner with Him, adhering to His instruction? Or will I put my big fat toe down and say, "Not me, no way!" Trust me, life is so much more beautiful when you choose to dance with the King. Allow Him to take the lead. He will take you on adventures you never dreamed possible. Will it be easy? Probably not. But, oh my friend, it WILL be worth it!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


My husband and I are attending services on Saturday evenings due to his work schedule. For me, this leaves Sunday mornings free for extended quiet times with the Lord. Today, the Lord spoke to me about something I've been struggling with for years - the regret for life not turning out the way I envisioned.

The TV preacher was quoting the verse, "If you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4). I suddenly became very frustrated and angry. I paused live TV, and said to the Lord, "Enough! This season of regret, this will end today!"

For the last several years of my Christian journey, I have been delighting in Him, or at least so I thought. Through challenge after challenge, I put on my brave face and said, "The Lord's will be done. He trusts me to go through this adversity. I will do it with gladness." Why, then, was I not getting the desires of my heart?

What were my desires? I had wanted to stay home with my son when he was growing up. Due to decisions made, and situations over which we did not have control, we were unable to sacrifice the income needed to make that happen. Now he's 18 and a senior in high school. Has he been harmed by this? Absolutely not! In fact, the independence he gained at a young age (5th grade) when he first came home alone after schoool, the social skills he developed in daycare, the support of church family and friends, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Saviour at the tender age of 5, all have formed him into the godly young man he is today.

So, why was I still upset about this? Why did this regret keep surfacing? Could it be that my struggle was not with God, but with his adversary? Could it be that thoughts of failure and inadequacy were not from my Holy Father? Would satan continue to torture me to keep me from enjoying God's abundant life? Well, he can try, but today I am standing firm and saying, "Enough!" Do I serve a God who is not able to accomplish His purpose regardless of decisions and detours that I make? Did He not part the Red Sea? Did He not sacrifice His Son and raise Him from the dead in payment of all my sins past present and future? Who am I - a small microcosim in God's grand plan - to think that my choices could deter His plan for me and my family?

As these truths sunk in, waves of gratitude rushed over me. It truly was Enough. There will be no more regret. My God, who created me in my mother's womb, will continue to walk beside me, lead and guide me, and He will give me the desires of my heart.

Hearing Him

Tonight as I was helping my husband enter some information for his business into our computer, I became saddened and frustrated over my inability to hear him. Friday a week ago, I suffered a sudden hearing loss. While sounds are not terribly distorted as has happened once before, everything is quieter, muffled. The most difficult person for me to hear at this time is the man I love and treasure.

Is this the way it is with God? The ringing in the ears of the earth's cares drown out the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. Focus is placed on the ringing, the frustration, the noise. Time is not taken to listen. How can it, when the noise is so deafening? Yet, truly, the noise must be filtered; the gems uncovered. Focus of the eyes and mind must be placed on our true Love so we can hear what He is trying to tell us.

For me, the benefit of times of trial and frustration is that it brings me even closer to Him. The ringing of the ears becomes tides of ocean waves in His presence. Yes, Lord, I hear you. Your servant is listening.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Delight in His Commands

Ps. 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Ps. 111:2 Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Knowing God involves learning about Him. Spend time in His Word. Learn His commands. As one puts forth this effort, the Lord gives them understanding, discernment, wisdom. Those who want to please God will study His commands. As they follow them, they will delight in them.

It is often said that the Bible is a textbook for life. Everything you need to know is there. Following God's commands provides the structure for us to be molded into kind, compassionate, strong, righteous people along the lines of fruit of the Spirit.

This has proved to be true in my life. Over the years, as I've submitted to His teaching, I can see where rough areas of my personality and heart have been chipped away, allowing more of Him to shine through. For those of you who know me, you know that I still have a LONG way to go. Thankfully, He's not finished with me yet!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Today, I've joined the world of the bloggers. Soon, I will have this all figured out - but not today!