Archive | July 2012

The Three R’s

1) RELEASE     2)REFLECT     3)REAP

From the web.

(Image taken from the web)

It is inevitable that offense will find us. The action whether word or deed is designed to strike us to the core. Depending on the offense, we are faced with the choice of how to deal with the state we’re in.  Our choice is to either forgive and move on or to feed the offense. The latter will most certainly leave us stagnant in a life that is meant for constant positive movement.

God knows I have struggled with extending forgiveness. It’s hard. I can’t seem to let go because I am waiting for something that will never show up; some expression that will acknowledge how I feel aka, an apology. Though not intended, the need for an apology makes the issue about the other person when really it’s not. It’s about why we tend to want something in exchange for our forgiveness. Why we can’t give it  just because is a problem considering some things that happen result in a debt that can/will not be repaid in any substantive way. In essence, we will be waiting for something that never comes leaving us with no alternative but to write off the debt and move on, which is not always OK with us.

Exhale. (Silent prayer) God give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me!

I thank God that he always hears and is always communicating whether we are listening or not.  For some time, I have been passively listening to God’s communications with me on this issue. I’ve not been ready to let go so I’ve heard only bits and pieces of the wisdom God has been trying to pass along to me.

Like everything else associated with spiritual growth, forgiveness takes time. We have to start with a decision. It is when we decide that God is able to bring wisdom to our level allowing us the understanding that helps us to overcome our obstacles. Unforgiveness is indeed a boulder-size obstacle!

I have decided that I have to RELEASE offenses to wherever these things go in the universe; I have to let go.  A better use for hurt feelings and disappointment is to REFLECT over the matters that created the need to forgive. I have to examine what is to be gleaned from the experience. The focus on the lessons will provide insight that can only make me better, stronger and certainly much smarter at maneuvering within relationships and situations.

To REAP God’s blessings to the full requires a choice to forgive that only I can make.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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Faith Is Not an Option. It’s Mandatory.

Almost daily, I am speaking with people who, like myself, are struggling with their faith. It seems the storms of life are threatening more damage than we can believe against.

Our faith walk is like the physical walk we have to perform daily over and above getting from point to point. The exercise, whether spiritual or physical, is to strengthen us and to improve our overall health. Both walks exist to better our quality of life.

This past Sunday morning, I struggled to get out of bed. Flipping from one side of the bed to the other, I fought to come up with good excuses to not attend church. I was told by someone a long time ago that when that happens, I should make up my mind to go since it is an effort to keep me from hearing something I need to hear. This Sunday this was exactly the case!

Pastor was speaking on–you guessed it–FAITH. He made such interesting points about how we are to move forward even when things may be coming up against us with more power than we think we possess. He detailed nine things to do when our faith is weak:

1.     The first thing we have to do is recognize Satan as the source of our opposition. Knowing where our opposition comes from reveals to us what weapon we should use to fight.

2.     Be sure the promises of God covers what we are believing for. A search for the promise is important. If it’s in the word, it is for us!

3.     Make sure there is no sin in our life. (Pastor noted, this should probably be in the number 1 spot!) Sin blocks our ability to communicate with God and will hinder the manifestation of the promises in our lives.

4.     Don’t doubt in our heart. To doubt is to waver in our faith; to be unstable.

5.     Ask in faith not wavering. God is waiting for us to come to him for all that we need and desire.

6.     Do Not allow thoughts that are contrary to our faith. Whenever our faith is working, obstacles come up against us to shake and to speak loudly that what we are believing God for will not happen.

7.     Call it done. Once we pray about a thing, we are to call it done; we are to be assured that our request (s) have been heard and that we have received a “yes”!

8.     Give Glory to God. Thank him.

9.     Act as if we have it now.

Faith is a practice. It is something we have to work at developing. Every answered prayer is a point for us to look back on in order to remember all the times God came through and to be confident that he always will. Without faith it is impossible to please God. So, if we desire to please God, faith is not an area in which we can fail. It is not an option. It is mandatory.

Did You Know That God is Never Wrong?

Artist, Kerram Jones

 (Image by artist, Kerram Jones)

I’m a believer in support networks. Amazingly, every job I’ve ever had came with a network of praying, believing, God-focused people. These folks were never hard to find. Whether at lunch or just in the hallways, declarations of faith were constantly exchanged. There would be days when office doors were closed. On the inside, prayers for strength, wisdom, and protection were being spoken over ourselves and others. The workplace can be a very scary place without these pockets of time for prayer and edification. Sometimes even an email or text would be enough to change the whole color of the day which brings me to today’s post.

This was sent to me by my friend at work. Timely because I needed to hear and be reminded of the fact that everything happens for a reason. My part is to know it, accept it and believe that whatever is going on is going on for my good according to Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

The message was this very powerful story:

A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances would always say “my king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect. He makes no mistakes!”

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty from losing a finger.

Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman asked
“Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger.”

The slave replied:
“My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows why these things happened. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!”

Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, the King left for another hunt, this time alone. He was captured by savages who engaged in human sacrifices.

On the altar and ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages discovered that their victim did not have one of his fingers. According to them, only a whole person with all his/her parts intact could be offered to the gods. The King without a finger was deemed an abominable sacrifice for their gods. So they released the King.

Upon his return to the palace, the King authorized the release of his slave. He received the slave affectionately.

He asked his slave, “my dear, God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?”

The slave answered, “my King, if I had gone with you on this hunt, I would have been sacrificed instead because I have no missing finger. Remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong. He made you keep me in jail so I would not be with you on the hunt.”

Often we complain about life, and negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

Every morning, offer your day to God, don’t be in a rush.

Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, and ease your feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong!

You know why this message is for you? I do not know, but God knows, because He never makes mistakes…….

The path of God and his word is perfect, without impurities. He is the way of all those who trust in Him, as He says in 2 Samuel  22: 31.

What you do with this message is up to you. May God put in your heart the desire to send it to someone. God knows why He choose you to receive this message. Please bless someone with it.

God is never wrong!

I chose to share this message here. I am thankful and as always in awe of God’s great wisdom and protection. I am so glad he is never wrong whether I can see his plans or not.

The Great Do-Over

Born Again

I love this image called Born Again. Looking at it brings to mind the struggle to put away a lifetime of wrong thinking. It is beautiful to see the new creature we become when we are in Christ. All things are passed away and we can behold that all things have become new.

Position yourself.

A few years ago I had the most incredible experience with God. This is not to say he and I haven’t been in contact since–it’s just to say that this particular experience was “a few years ago”!  Seriously. Can I please just tell my story?

I was just beginning in my commitment to follow God and truly embraced the promises. I read them, spoke them and meditated day in and day out over them. I believed that God would give me the desires of my heart. (snap of fingers…just like that!)

I had so much going on in my life at that time and patience was not my strongest suit. I had many needs and no peace. I was under the impression that my decision would bring immediate change and peace.  A day came when I allowed myself to become angry that things seemed to be going worse for me since my big decision to trust God. I didn’t know that things become worse when we make the choice as a challenge to our decision and our faith.

At the time, all I knew was God himself was to blame for the hopelessness I was feeling about my life!

My habit had been to put my son to bed and afterward when the house was quiet spend time with God in prayer or just simply reading his word. On this night things would go differently. God owed me an explanation!

I sat in my favorite chair and began to try to manipulate God speaking to him words of thanksgiving and praise. That was just it: I was speaking words. He and I knew this was about to get ugly because I would not be able to keep this up. There was no sense faking my “holiness” which would have to be put aside. I had a lot to get off my chest. This night would be the night.

The conversation did, in fact, take a turn and tears began to flow. I stood in the middle of my floor yelling and stammering through my fit of carnality (as Jesse Duplantis would put it…). I blamed God for all that was going wrong in my life. I even accused him of being unfair to me in that he was requiring so much of me and I was seeing no return on my “being good” investment.

I fell to my knees. Like a strong-willed child I continued my rant going back further in my blame game and digging deeper for the things I most wanted him to know about how I thought he’d failed me.

While I had grown tired, I was not fully spent. My crying had worn me out.  My words faded to a whisper but were said just the same. It was there in the middle of my floor in a prostrate* position that I slept.

The morning came. Such is the cycle. My weeping had endured for that night but it would be much later that my joy would come in the morning.

It was much later that I came to understand what had really happened that night. It was never about what I was saying. It had always been about how I was saying it. God had shifted my posture and through that action showed me something about who he is and who I am.

Remember, in the beginning I stood before God as though I was his equal with no fear, reverence or humility. As the night went on, I thought I had shifted to my knees of fatigue but know now that it was God’s hand that had gently pushed me into that position before him. He was still listening but he was also disciplining me. The prostrate position in which I awoke bore the greatest meaning. God had placed me in a submitted position, bowed and cast down. Humble.  

I came to learn from that night that God listened to me. He heard everything I’d said from the words I’d spoken with my mouth to the truth that came from my heart. He had even heard the words of my tears. He was not angry with me. I had acknowledged through my actions that he was God and without him, nothing would be okay. He just wanted me to know that no matter how I was feeling, I had to know my place. I had to be in a right position to come before him. I learned I could not stand as I was not his equal nor could I kneel if it was going to be in rebellion. My position was to lie before him submitted to him and his way. I was not to accuse. I was to ask.

Whatever was going on with me at the time passed. I don’t recall any of the specifics. Apparently, things turned out alright.

What I remember with vivid surety is the lesson I learned that I am mindful of each time I’ve come before my God. That night was the night I learned something about how to pray when times get tough. (Num. 20:6; 2 Chron. 20:18; Matt. 26:39)

prostrate*

adj[ˈprɒstreɪt]

1. lying with the face downwards, as in submission
2. exhausted physically or emotionally
3. helpless or defenseless
4. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) (of a plant) growing closely along the ground
vb [prɒˈstreɪt] (tr)

1. to bow or cast (oneself) down, as in submission
2. to lay or throw down flat, as on the ground
3. to make helpless or defenseless
4. to make exhausted