January 18, 2018

He Is For Me

…the substance of things hoped for that you cannot see…

Our lessons of faith begin in our childhood. It is very simple to believe anything our parents say or exemplify because we are so gullible as children. Unfortunately, our childlike faith becomes scarred; sometimes accidentally and others purposefully. Consequently, those early lessons of faith mold our belief system.

We learn rather or not we can trust or depend upon others based on the examples set before us. If our mother or father did not set good examples of those characteristics, then our belief is not only to not trust anyone, but to do it ourselves as well. Secondly, because we are human, it is only natural to trust and believe in tangible things. Similarly, although I am unable to see God, I choose to trust that He is the creator of the universe based on the nature of evidence around me. Who else could create such natural beauty?

So, if we believe that God is the creator of all things, why is it so hard for us to trust Him in all things? Is it simply because He is not tangible? Possibly for some. The bigger issue is that it is not our instinct to trust Him no matter what because that trust has been damaged from the beginning. The damage can be from a multitude of things. For instance,  if my biological father wasn’t there, why would God? If so-and-so did this to me, why would God care? If I did all these sinful things, why would God give me grace and mercy? And so on.

What I’ve learned is that the only way for me to trust is to change my beliefs. Yes, I believe in God. But in order for me to trust Him in every way of life, I have to believe that every attribute of Him is true. His Word says that He loves me, will provide for me, will give me wisdom, will comfort me, will bring healing, will redeem me, will give me peace, will befriend me, will forgive me, will be a father to me, will strengthen me, and so much more. The bottom line is that HE IS FOR ME!

…I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5

That is what I must constantly engrave upon my heart; no matter what circumstances come my way and no matter how often they come. He never promised our lives would be easy, but He did promise that if we call upon Him, He will answer. He will give wisdom and direction in His Word if we seek Him.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

More importantly, my desire is to remain in Him by changing my beliefs of Him.

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on. Your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Deuteronomy 11:18

On My Knees

There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin. Then there are days when I feel all my desires are being squashed and delayed once more.

Has that ever happened to you? A desire wells up in you so strong that even though you don’t know how, you know you are supposed to strive to attain it. God’s word says:

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

So if there is a desire, that is good, within you, doesn’t it have to be from God? He has given us both spiritual gifts and talents to use for His glory. No matter what our gifts are, we must use them to please God. Through that, God allows us to experience easier in what He’s blessed us with. Once we know what it is our heart desires, the question is how to use them and where? Do we take every opportunity that comes before us? Do we make our own way? Do we sit on our hands and wait for an opportunity to be handed out to us? I believe the answer is definitely not to make something happen. I know we shouldn’t wait for someone else to make our dreams come true. So the last question remains unanswered; which opportunity do we take hold of? Will a better choice come along? Or will there even be another choice? I guess if God has placed something in your heart, He would not just offer one chance. But to be sure and know this is the one is what can sometimes be unclear. You know your desire has been planted in you by God; but other opinions and circumstances can cloud your vision. So why would He allow it to be there and not use it?

That brings me to the answer – to get on my knees; once more, continuously…waiting for His guidance and direction. It would be easy to leave it behind, but then I would be forever haunted by the fact that I laid aside a part of myself. Yes, to do other things that are necessary, but to leave behind an expressive part of me. But I wait – hoping the Lord will give me a louder than ever audible answer to move ahead. It may be this time or perhaps the next. Sometimes He is silent and I must wonder, is that because He is waiting for me to learn something, to make a decision based on the desires He has placed in me, or waiting for me to be more consistent in seeking Him and knowing for sure how to hear His voice.

So I wait on my knees. Please God, speak to me.

To Be Near

Years ago, as a 9 year old little girl, I took a trip to California. We were visiting my extended family. At this point in my life, there was a huge void, that I believed would no longer be filled. My parents had not only divorced, but we had moved clear across the United States, and everything in my life had changed.

So, there I was. Sitting on a plane headed to visit family, but most importantly to me – seeing my father. Can you imagine the excitement within me? A day or so later, I was riding in the car with my father. All I could help but feel was the happiness of knowing he wanted to see me. He took me and my younger brother to the beach. As we sat on the beach, he asked if we wanted to go play. My brother was five years younger than I, so he was thrilled to run free. As I looked out onto the fun-filled waves and sand all around me, I knew, however, I wanted nothing more than to sit with my dad and never leave his side. I wanted to enjoy the comfort of knowing he was near, and it made me feel he wanted to be there with me; that he cared. I felt safer than ever, just for that short time, after having been what I felt like was being torn from him, abandoned, and unloved. There was no way I was going to leave his side.

Although the years have passed, the feeling of wanting to be near my father has not changed. I have learned over the years that God is my Heavenly Father, and He takes the place of my earthly father as well. He is the only one who has ever filled my needs and desires completely. He has proven himself to me as a comforter, a healer, a redeemer, and my Father who truly cares for me.

It has taken awhile for me to grasp firmly to that belief after having learned a false belief of an uncaring God because of the message I received and was exhibited. At this point in my life, I relate my deep desire back then to be near my father, to actually wanting to be near my Heavenly Father – sitting side by side with Him; abiding in Him and letting Him fill me.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 73:28

I Press On

Last year ended with a surgery that my husband had to attend six weeks of therapy afterwards. Looking forward to him recovering well and proceeding on, I decided to start my year with a new goal. I’m not one for resolutions, but needless to say, my outlook for the year was to be a year of education.

My husband bought me a new computer; my previous one was on the brink. So I excitedly went through the entire help tutorial. I was on a roll. Not only did I refresh my memory of current knowledge, I learned some new pluses as well of things that were neat, but I would probably never use on a regular basis anyway.

Unfortunately, the trials weren’t over. Again we found ourselves in the hospital. We made it through, but I soon began to see that my year of education was not the textbook learning I was planning. Our family not only experienced another surgery, but a few financial quirks along the way. God decided that my year of learning was going to be of Him and His truths. So, the realization of my pressing on began.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Philippians 3:12

I needed patience, to be understanding, and to not waiver in my faith. I needed to believe that despite our hardships, God will provide, protect, and carry us through. If I lost my focus, I would panic and worry – become confused and unsure; speaking from experience. It is hard for us to live our lives knowing that His promises will be kept and He is in complete control if our focus is not on Him. Losing my focus complicates my trust in Him. Whatever I believed would soon be lived out in my life – good or bad. So I press on…

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

Philippians 3:13

The only thing that keeps me grounded, focused, and at peace is to seek Him. Seek Him in prayer, remember and believe His Word to be true. If I continue to feel sorry for myself and make excuses because of everything that’s happened, I’ll never be able to move on. I would constantly say, “but I can’t…and this happened…and now…and there’s no hope.” If I don’t see any hope, I will live my life as if there is no hope. You will then find yourself stuck in the same mindless circle of life. We must the wisdom of God’s Word and take responsibility for how we are to live as women of God…pressing on.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Supposed 2 Delighted 2

Hey! Hi! Hello! Yes, it’s me again. I know. It’s been a while. You don’t know the half of it. God has been working a new thing in me. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was. Oh, I forgot. That is the way God works isn’t it? Then when He knows I’m ready to hear and receive what He has to say, is when He reveals His truth. I know He’s not done with me. For I am constantly being molded as His word says. This is one more “little” thing He’s shown to me.

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have a mountain of things to do, to amend, to mediate, to fix, to care for, to figure out, to clean, to cook, to like or not like, or most of all to decide. Argh! If I decide, then I have to do. And if I do, I have to decide how, when, which, or what! Sigh…Sorry. I’m venting. But then again, I’m so tired. I’m so tired of being tired both physically and emotionally. My list of “duties” that I am supposed 2 do is way, too, long! I know. I know. I’m not the only one. It’s not just about me. Hmm. Maybe that’s where I’ve gone wrong.

My list of things to do may be things that must be done; that are part of my daily life routine, but they are also part of our obedience to God. What?! How can my work, cleaning or running errands be part of my obedience? I mean, does God really care? Well, let’s look at it this way. If I’m pouting and complaining about how “I” have to do this, or how NO ONE else does, or even that I need a break, then what kind of attitude am I displaying? If my attitude is, well let’s just say, unpleasant, then it will eventually show to those around me. I might become snappy or critical. And if my attitude and actions are bad, then I am no longer doing things in a Godly way. We become self-centered.

My desire to be obedient should be out of delight. If I am “supposed 2” do these duties, then I’ll tire quickly and become frustrated. But if my purpose or desire in life is to please my God and King, I’ll find peace and joy no matter what I’m “supposed 2” do, and I’ll then be delighted 2.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

My love for pleasing God will run so deeply that my view in life will change. I will look at life with a different perspective and not become so bogged down.  I am now eager to do what I GET to do. All of sudden, you are overflowing with energy, and you are more lively to complete what is set out before you. My attitude is now heartfelt. In Him is where I’ll find peace. In Him is where I’ll find joy. In Him is where I’ll find rest for my soul. And in Him is where I’ll always find myself delighted 2!

My Desire

She Speaks Conference

I want to share with you my desire to be used by God. Over 10 years ago, after God brought me out of a very difficult time of my life, I attended a very small knit women’s retreat (about 30 attended). I came to a point in my life when I opened myself up to be used by God however He chose. At that time, I wanted to be totally His and totally healed. He spoke to me audibly that weekend and said, “Share your testimony.” I was so surprised to hear from Him that way that I immediately began to ask, me? now? when? to who?

On the last day of the retreat I found myself on edge looking for the opportunity. Well, it didn’t happen then. Over these last several years I have found myself feeling a constant tug towards Him – a strong desire to know Him in a more intimate way and to be used by Him in a different way. I have experienced continuous messages (in different instances) revealing how much I desire to minister to other women. The most recent experience being two years ago, and the latest – the fall of 2010, when Lysa TerKeurst came to First Baptist Church of Atlanta. As I was almost the last to approach her, I had no idea why I was going to meet her or even what I was going to say. However, some of what I just shared is what came out.

So, here I am sharing with you about a conference entitled, She Speaks Conference, that is geared toward women who feel led to be speakers, writers, and/or in leadership ministries. It provides workshops and evaluations by well known authors and speakers. The conference will be held in North Carolina this summer. My post is not only to share, but it is also for the purpose of entering a scholarship contest for this year’s conference. If anyone would like to know more about it, you may click on the link above, or if you would like to learn more about the contest click here: She Speaks Contest Post . The winners will be announced this Monday, March 14th. Which also happens to be my birthday! Wouldn’t that be a great gift. Anyway, thanks for your time, and we’ll talk soon.

Praise Him at All Times

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forever.

From the rising of the sun to its setting.
The name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God?
Who is enthroned on high?

Psalm 113:1-5

So far this year has been a time of trusting in Him no matter what. His repeated command has been – trust me. You said you trust me. You also said you wanted to learn to trust and depend on me in all circumstances. Oh, yeah, Lord. I did say that didn’t I?

While trusting Him, I must not try and control areas of my life, but wait on Him. I must not worry, but give Him my petitions. Most of all I must praise Him at all times, knowing the power of His name.

Something Big

Last year, in January, I really felt like God was going to do something big in my life. I didn’t know what, but I knew it was going to be something new, something different, something I would be so excited about and would make a change in my life. My imagination began to run away from me. What if it was moving? Or what if it was starting a business, or maybe some big new opportunity that would bring excitement to my life. Really, anything from the norm would be great.

By December 2010, to my knowledge, nothing had happened. I shared my thoughts with my husband and told him, “Well, there’s less than 30 days left.” Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I really felt like something big was going to happen.

After putting more thought into it, I realized that the something big that I thought might happen, is not necessarily the something big that God had planned.  Sometimes what we expect is not what God is brewing. Whether it has to do with money, relationships, or circumstances. But…

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

So, as I look back over the year, God has brought me to point of saying “yes” to Him no matter what. Yes, Lord, I will do what You have called me to. Yes, Lord, I will seek you at all times. And the biggest yes of all – Yes, Lord, I will share what You have done in my life with others. However, I may stumble, or forget because I’m so caught up in my life, or act impulsively out of my flesh. It may even seem at times that everything is against me. But I press on, believing in what He says is true. Trusting in His plan, His way, and His timing.  I  compose myself and focus on His truth. I then choose to respond the way He desires. No matter what the cost. Yes, Lord, I will continue on my path to be the Godly woman that You have called me to be.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

Family Ties

The day after Thanksgiving I received a call that my grandmother of eighty-five years had passed. I know this sounds terrible, but after 16 years, I flew back to California to attend her funeral as well as have a mini reunion with my family.  As many of you know, when attending a funeral of someone as significant as a parent or grandparent, everyone is reminded of how important family ties are.

Distance and the cost to travel that far is the main reason for not having visited. As time went on, it just didn’t seem that important. I was busy with my family and they were out there tending theirs. Once I saw my family, it was all hugs and emotion and the overwhelming feeling of how could I have not at least kept some form of ties for so long.

My grandmothers passing helped me to see at that moment she was the connection for all of us. She had ten kids, and I had all these cousins, aunts and uncles to love on and be loved by. I realized I needed all that family love all along. I guess when a parent is missing due to divorce or death, it’s pretty obvious that your missing out. When it comes to distant family, I figured maybe it didn’t really matter as much because they are not a part of your immediate upbringing. That was certainly not the case.

All of that bonding made me think of our bond with our Heavenly Father-how once made can never be broken. Once we have confessed with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, we are joint heirs with Christ-adopted and sealed by Him.

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Romans 8:16-17

No matter how far we get from Him, due to sin or lack of time spent with Him, we are reminded of how much we need Him and how He is always still there waiting. We might get busy with the duties of life or fall into a sinful habit, but the bond is still there waiting to be experienced again. Because I didn’t stay in touch with my family, doesn’t change the fact that we are still family. Once I re-connected with them it was as if no time had passed, yet there was so much to catch up on.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

The need to know my connections was great; to know where parts of my roots were established. Therefore, because we distance ourselves in communication with Christ doesn’t mean we no longer belong to Him. Our greatest needs can only be met by Him. There is nothing more fulfilling than to be filled with His love, grace and mercy. There have been so many times where I have asked God to fill my emptiness and comfort me, and He has come through. There is no other way to describe how I felt in those times except full and complete.
You see without that relationship or that bond with Christ – allowing Him to fill me, there is no comfort, no knowing the root of your foundation, or peace and comfort with Christ. Only He alone can confirm us with an everlasting love.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Colossians 2:6-7

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him

1 Corinthians 6:17

Draw Near

There were times when God spoke to His chosen ones in the Bible. He spoke to Moses face to face, He appeared to Daniel in his dreams, and David sang songs of praise to Him.  There are also times when I desire God to speak to me – to show Himself to me in some way. I want to be drawn near to Him.

Sometimes our circumstances aren’t going the way we would like or the way they should. Rather it be finances, health or managing your household. In those times, I cry out to God; like we always do when we need Him. We want Him to step in and save the day, make everything better. Sometimes He does. But when He doesn’t come through when we want Him to, we must remember He is omnipotent and has kept the promises He’s made before. Not only the people He spoke to in Biblical times as mentioned above, but the times He spoke and showed Himself to you and me in our personal lives.

Remembering those times gives you a peace no one else understands but you. It gives you joy knowing that He is near and carrying you through. It draws you nearer to Him and in turn you trust Him more. These are a few times He’s spoken to me:

  • He gave me protection growing up as a child in a broken home.
  • Kept me in arms reach all during my life, so that when I finally realized how much I needed Him, He was already there.
  • He placed me in a Godly marriage with three kids – no matter what we would have to deal with.
  • He has continuously spoken to my heart.

Why would He stop speaking now? He may not speak when I want Him to. He may not even speak the same way, but God will show up. His word says He will.

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

In the end of our circumstances we will have gained so much. We will have been drawn near to Him and will learn that no matter what –  He is enough.

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. I will lay my request before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3