Are You Ready?

1a

“But, that’s not the way we have done it.”  Too often, we hear this when changes start taking place.  It might be in the way the service is conducted or perhaps in the music played.  Maybe the changes come when new leadership takes over or perhaps it is the Lord moving on the hearts of people.  How the changes come about isn’t really important, but the reason behind them is.  Prayerfully, the changes are occurring as a result of the Lord ministering to open hearts.  But in all honesty, not all hearts will be open.  Change is also one of the most frightening and/or irritating feelings we encounter during our walk with the Lord.   An event that took place several years ago reveals a perfect picture of this.

Isabel, a name I will never forget.  Oh, she wasn’t a person but a hurricane that blew through North Carolina.  We were fortunate in my coastal area to only receive only minor damage but the Outer Banks received a horrific blow in certain areas.  We were scheduled to vacation there just a couple weeks later, but were amazed to learn that our vacation was still a go according to the realtor.  The worse damage was to the south of us.

We watched all the news coverage and one picture in particular caught my attention.   The only highway had been destroyed and the water now flowed in a new pattern into the inlet.  The docks for the ferry were damaged on the southern tip, as well as the main highway.  People on the south end were totally stranded, with their only access anywhere was by boat.  It was heartbreaking to see lives impacted by the event.

I remember the images repeatedly playing on the newscast.  But, at the same time, I saw a spiritual truth in the images.  It was the photos of the washout highway and the new flow patterns into the sound area.  The Lord began ministering to me through the images.  “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43:19.  I really began meditating on what He meant.

Often the Lord begins to move in our lives and it seems as if a hurricane is blowing through?  We understand how things have worked in the past and now suddenly, the old ways are not working.  We feel as if the ceiling has become brass and we are floundering, not knowing where to go from here.  However, God is God, and infinitely wiser than any of us.  When He brings changes to our life, we stand looking at the ‘new inlet’ and wander how it can be repaired.  Can we fix it?

The real question, do the old pathways need to be restored?  Do we need to dam up the ‘new inlets’ or do we allow the new flow to show us something new and different?  Our natural tendency is the dam up the inlet, repairing the old pathways.  Why, because it is what we are familiar with.  It has always worked before and we feel safe and secure with the old ways.

But, truthfully the Lord moves on our hearts and He longs to do something new in our spirit.  It is not because the old ways are bad but the Lord to reveals a new avenue into His walk.  The walk is to draw us closer to Him.  It is to show us more of His glory and power.  He wants to move in our hearts as never before.

Is the Lord moving in your life today?  Are the old ways washed out to sea?  Then rejoice in the new inlets, because as we allow Him to move in our life, we will see new life flowing in.   Listen closely for the flow.  Stand still and watch the Lord to do what seems impossible in your life.  Something new is coming!

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Coming for His Bride

1

I long to save her
Yes, I long to save her
My heart yearns to hold her
She’s My bride and companion
The one I have chosen
I am coming to claim her.

The day is much closer
Than anyone knows now
Yes, I long see her
To love and claim

Draw nearer children
Prepare your heart
Be faithful and true
For I drawer nearer

Allow My Spirit
To pour over your heart
Cleansing your spirit
And making you whiter

My blood it was poured out
And given so freely
To purchase your heart now
So draw closer to Me know.

I coming to claim you
My bride and beloved one
Prepare now your heart now
Yes I am coming very soon now.

It’s All Good!

1

“Rejection is God’s protection,” pearls of wisdom spoken by a dear friend.  At first, the words seemed so far from the truth and the reality I had endured in my life.  But as I meditated on them in the last week, I can see that indeed these were words of truth and wisdom.  Like so many others, my friend has gone through a series of rejections and power plays in her life and yet she had learn to recognize that even through the pain of rejection had hurt for a season, truthfully each rejection had been God’s protection in future events.

Looking back on my life, too often I have seen rejection as a painful scar, but knew the Lord had brought me through the fiery ordeal.  Like Joseph, I had often proclaimed that what the enemy had meant for harm the Lord had turned it around and used it for His glory. I have shared with others suffering the same type of trial that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It is a wonderful experience to know that the bad events in our life can be used for good in someone else’s.

But this one phrase brought a new light to the painful times of rejections.  I have thought about my own history.  Unknown to me until I was 14, my birth parents abandoned me with my grandparents while I was still an infant.  Imagine the trauma of a teenager whose whole root system was destroyed in one minute.  I was no longer who I thought I was.  But looking back I can see the rejection as God’s protection.  My half-sisters endured years of severe abuse.  I truly believe that my life would have been destroyed if I endured the abuse they suffered.  Rejection of me, in this situation, was God’s protection for me.

Rejected later by my grandfather and placed in a foster home again brought pain.  But it was through my time at the foster home, I met my future husband.  Once more, rejection in one area brought protection and a blessing in another.  I have friends even now who are enduring the pain of rejection by a spouse or a child.  Yet as they walk through this, it has caused them to draw closer to the Lord.  In one case, the rejection brought to an end to a volatile marriage to an alcoholic.  She is now in a safe environment looking forward to what the Lord has in store for her life.

Rejections come in all forms and from all directions.  However, we decide how the rejection impacts our life.   We can allow it to destroy us or draw us closer to the Lord.   We can whine over our lot in life or we can stand up in the strength of the Lord and press forward.  There is no question that the enemy of our soul wants to destroy us and will use rejections to maximize his efforts.  But, as we look past the rejection and look toward the Lord, we can push past the hurt.

Rejections will still hurt.  Tears will still fall.  But each one of us has the chance to overcome the pain with the Lord’s help.  He will touch our spirits and help us overcome even as we continue our walk in the Lord.   Look past the rejection. Look to the future.  Look for the blessings instead of the pain.  Indeed allow the Lord to show you that rejection is God’s protection.

Coming Home

1

Have you ever woke up in the morning and realize that your life is a shambles, not just one area, but also every single part. All your relationships seem to be failing. Your finances are in disarray. Friends have turned their backs on you. Anything and everything seems gone.
The prodigal son felt the same way. One morning reality hit him straight in the face. He had lost it all. No one care! Not a single friend was concerned for his current state of affairs. He was in the pigpen, with the stinking nasty swine. Mud up was to his shins and smears of filth on the rest of his body and clothing. This job was his simply because no one else cared.


Maybe he sat there daydreaming about the good times. He had all the friends in the world until — until his money played out. Then suddenly, no one knew him or wanted to know him. So he stood, feeding the pigs, thinking about home.


Home, a place he could not wait to get away from with all the rules and regulations. If he had stayed, he would always be the younger brother, never in charge, second fiddle in everything. When he left, he was determine to be his own man. That did not go as he planned with all the snares laid out before him.


Yet, as he stood before the pen, home was all that filled his mind. The overwhelming desire to be home was greater than his shame. Even if it meant simply being one of the workmen – it no longer matter. He just wanted to go home. Picking up his weary feet, he turned and took a step. One foot before the other, each one brought him that much closer to his goal.


Finally, he stood on his father’s land and saw an amazing sight. Father was running toward him. “Father, I am sorry! I have sinned against everything you have taught me. Please let me come back, I will serve you as a hired hand all the days of my life. Just don’t turn me away.”


As the old man drew closer, he could see the filth and weariness covering his son. He heard the words of confession. His son stood before him broken and defeated. His heart filled with love for this wayward son. He listened to the words of confession and saw a heart that was changed. The past no longer mattered. His son was home. Let the celebration begin.


As beautiful as this picture is, imagine the joy of our heavenly Father when we turn and repent of our failures and shortcomings. Even if we have strayed for years, He lovingly embraces us with His presence. Overwhelming love fills His heart for the prodigals who have strayed and are ready to return. He longs to embrace us with His Presence and His perfect love.


No matter what is happening in your life, the Lord stands waiting for you. His heart longs to see you turn and yield your life to Him. As you return He loudly proclaims, “My child, my child was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found. Let the rejoicing begin.”

Rejection’s Cure

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“I hate you, Momma! I wish I had never been born.”

“I wish you had never been born too. I never wanted you!”

Words spoken in anger, yet deep ugly wounds inflicted on the heart and soul of both individuals. Words seeking forgiveness cannot erase the scarring or doubt inflicted by those spoken in the passion of an argument. However in all honesty, this child’s wounds will leave emotional and spiritual scars for a lifetime. Questions and doubts will always remain deep within, were they ever really wanted?

Illegitimacy and untimely conceptions are issues other individuals deal with throughout their lifetime. They were unwanted and undesired by one or maybe even both birthparents. Infants abandoned at birth, or older children discarded as troublesome, just a worthless item to be pushed out of the way to make room for selfish desires. Other children have never known their birthfather, who rapidly made his escape once discovering the pregnancy.

Rejection is one of the ugliest words on the face of this earth. Yet is happens everyday in the lives of multitudes throughout society. However, the deadliest form of rejection happens at birth and for some even sooner, at the instant of conception. I truly believe that deep within their spirit, an infant growing in the mother’s womb can sense the lack of love. They carry within their spirit the feeling of ‘never fitting in’.

Every person on the face of earth desires love and acceptance. We all need it, crave it, and long for it. On Dr. Phil episode, a young man confronted the mother who abandoned him at age ten at a park. He just wanted to know why. Why was he left to fend for himself, especially since she took his sister? Deeply scarred emotionally by this major event in his life now years later, he longed for an answer. However, no clear reason came from the encounter. Dr. Phil told him just to let it be in the past.

Unfortunately, in today’s society there seems to be an epidemic of rejection. It creates in individuals a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. They live in the knowledge that if their own parent did not want them, who would? Fortunately, there is an answer. It is in His word, a promise and acknowledgement that no matter how we were conceived He longed for us.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Isaiah 43:1

Those few words in this verse should fill a void left in many hearts. The One who created this whole universe created you. It goes further to say ‘He formed you,’ like the master potter forms a beautiful vessel of great worth. He has made a way of redemption, through the blood of His own son Jesus.

The next phrase brings indescribable joy to many hearts and prayerful to anyone reading this. ‘I have called you by name’. Think about that for a moment. He shouted your name down through time. This awesome God beckoned Tom, Sally, Sue, John, David, and Al. He cried out for Jessica, Linda, Evelyn, Sarah and the list just continues. Each one who has already accepted the gift of salvation heard the Lord calling their name. What a wonderful gift of knowledge that you were called by the name by the One who never rejects His child.

The last three words should cause a weary heart to jump in excitement. These are some of the sweetest words on the face of this earth. What unquenchable joy to hear our heavenly Father say, “You are Mine!”

Regardless of any previous rejection that happened in the past, He claims you as His own. He called you by name. You are not an accident. Even before time began, He planned for you. What a comfort to grasp hold of, to know that no matter what the conditions were of any individual birth the Lord God Almighty called you by name and you are His.

But, But …. I Don’t Know How

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“I just can’t do it!  I don’t know how!  I don’t have what it takes!  I am too afraid!”  How often have you spoken those words when you feel the tug to do something new?  If you are like most people, and you are truthful with yourself the answer is a resounding “YES!”  We re-act in the natural especially in areas we have ever ventured before.

This is true throughout scriptures also.  But this one thing I know, the Lord will never ask you to do something that He will not provide the words or strength to do.  He has always given His people to ability to step out in faith, we simply have to be willing to lift up our foot on that first step and push it out in front.  That is all.

Abram lifted his foot to travel where he had never been before.  Moses lifted his foot, taking that first step toward Egypt to become the leader of a slave nation.  Joshua lifted his foot to take that first step into the Promise Land as the new leader of Israel.  Rehab took a step of faith as she hid the spies from her countrymen.  Ruth stood beside Naomi as they began the journey back to Naomi’s homeland.

And it’s not just about traveling to a new location.  Miriam stepped out as a leader in a dance troupe to rejoice in the Lord’s saving power.  Jeremiah became a prophet proclaiming the Word of the Lord.  Daniel took charge of preparing a land for the future.  Peter took that step to lift his voice to become a minister for the Lord.  It was their calling and they rose to the occasion.

The list continues throughout the Word.  We can find big steps and little steps.  Men and women were constantly asked to step out of their comfort zones and step into their calling in the Lord.  YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT!!!!  There is a call on your life – you are not called to just sit warming a pew on Sunday morning.  You are called to a particular walk for His glory.  NO one else can fulfill your calling.  Not your brother, not your friend, nor your neighbor.  It is your calling and yours to fulfill.

The Lord will push us out of our comfort zone, but He will be right there with us.  An illustration from long ago showed an eagle pushing her young out of the nest.  It wasn’t out of hate, but out of love.  She knew it was time for this little one to learn to stretch out his wings and fly.  So push she does – into thin air.  No easy steps, or training wheels just PUSH!  As this young one falls through the atmosphere, he rapidly learns to flap his wings.  He feels abandon but mom is right there with him.

One thing I have learned over the years.  The Lord will always place a stirring in your heart for something new.  You feel a dis-satisfaction with where you are now and longing for something more, something deeper.  Then when the new comes it is a terrifying thought.  But if the Lord brings it to you, He will make a way for you to complete this new thing.

Are you hiding in the corner of the nest today?  You know it’s time to step out in faith and fly but you aren’t sure how to do it.  That’s okay!  He will review the next step – and He will push you out.  Flap your wings, stretch them way out and sail on the wind.  He will be right there with you and guide you safely out into your new calling.  Trust HIM!

The Reason!

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You were created – formed – redeemed – called and loved – even from before conception.  But why did the Lord call you?  One simple word sums it up.   RELATIONSHIP!  He longs for a personal one-on-one relationship with you.  It is dependent and intertwined with no other person on the face of this earth.  You stand before the Lord alone – not with your mother, nor with your father, or a spouse.  It’s not based on your church or any of the meetings you attend.  This relationship is all about you and Him.

This special bond is not about what you accomplish in His name.  It’s not about ministering to others, or teaching or preaching.  It’s not about working in a soup kitchen or visiting the shut-ins.  Don’t get me wrong – each time we minister in the Lord’s name is important and touches the heart of someone, but ultimately that is not why you are here.

II Cor. 6:16b-18 As God has said ‘I will dwell with them and walk with them.  I will be their God and they will be My people.  Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Take a moment and really meditate on these few words.  Something critical takes place.  The Lord promises to be with us and to walk with us.  He assures us that He will be our God and that we will be His people.  Yea, people are plural and that goes against everything I just wrote about, but keep going.  Then He gives us instructions.  We are to come out from among them and be separated.  We are to be different, act different, and live differently than the unsaved.   If we look and act like them, why would they want to become a Christian.

The very last sentence is critical. “I will be a Father to you and you will be My sons and daughters.”  Take a moment more and think about that.  You are not just one in a lump of many.  You are Mine – My sons and daughters.  Even in a crowd, He is able to spot you out of all the other people and knows your name.  He knows your past, your present and your future.

You are a son or daughter to this Almighty Father we belong to.  You are unique and special.  You are His and He is yours.  Nothing and no one can change that.  You might be running from the Lord at this moment but He is chasing you and calling you by your name to return to Him.  Perhaps you are in a hard situation and struggling to know where you fit in this vast world.  That’s okay too, but ultimately you will find yourself hidden safely in His arms of love.   Where you go, He goes.  You are a child of the living God.  God has said it and we need to pay attention to all He is saying.

This relationship will become stronger as you draw closer to Him.  It might be through a message or sermon.  Maybe the Lord will use music to touch those hidden areas causing you to surrender and draw closer.  Sometimes it is the smallest things that make the biggest impact and changes in your heart.  But as you focus on Him instead of all the issues going on in your life and the world, you will discover a relationship that you never knew could exist.  Relationship is a two way street and comes from spending time together.

He will direct your path through your problems.   Too often, we cry out to escape and the Lord wants to minister to our hearts and spirits as we go through the trials.  Going through the battle teaches us to rely on Him, and it reveals our deep need for the Lord in every area.  As we spend vital time with Him, we can see our hearts as He sees them.   He uses this to correct us in our mistakes and the areas we are missing the mark.  When life smacks us upside the head with hardships, we have the assurance that even if everyone else turns their back on us that He will be right beside us, and at times He carries us through our hardships.

This is the measure of our relationship with the Lord.  It reveals how much access we allow Him in our life.  He will then use the very things the enemy wants to destroy us for His glory.  And as we drawer closer to the Lord we can all be used by the Lord more and more; from the youngest to the oldest.  It may be a little one trying to sing and dance, or lifting their hands to bless the Lord.  Or to the oldest, who is always ready with a word of testimony which revealing their relationship with the Lord.  Or maybe it is the prayer warrior willing to spend time interceding for others.  Each one unique, but has the ability to touch the hearts of others.

Why is it so important that we recognize our purpose on this world?  The most important reason of all is revealed in the first part of Isa 43:4 (Amp Bible) “Because you are precious in My sight and honored and because I love you!” That one sentence says it all.  YOU are precious! And He loves YOU!  It’s all about relationship!

Camping Anyone?

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Gossip and gospel, so different and yet both words involve sharing news with others. How can three little letters make so much difference in a situation? Yet, they do. In fact, in some situations the difference in sharing the news can change a person’s perspective and outcome in their life. One can bring them to the Lord and the other push Him totally out of reach. One tears a person down and the other brings about restoration.

Truthfully, one brings eternal life and the other simply brings heartaches to people. Gossip is like a wild beast every growing and changing. It becomes more dangerous each time it is shared. This happened to our family years ago. One family member was having a surgery to remove a small tumor on a gland in his head. People began sharing that he was at Duke having surgery. By the time, we returned home following his procedure – the “story” had grown in to wild tale that there was a cancerous brain tumor and he only had weeks to live. He is still alive over twenty years later.

G going
O out of your way to
S share
S someone’s
I intimate
P problems

G God’s
O only
S Son
P Preparing us for
E eternal
L life and love

We decide each day, the camp we are standing. Is it Camp “Spread it everywhere” or Camp “Good News”? Are you going to speak life or death of another person? If you take the issue to the Lord, you can rest assured, it will go no further. Your prayer can make a difference.

Fear Had the Upper Hand

1Fear! It can be a healthy emotion or at times a terrifying cage that locks someone into total inactivity. It can come from an event endured at point in our life, such as the death of a loved one, or friend. Perhaps it’s the fear of the future, the unknown. Maybe an event in our childhood results in a lifetime of panic at the very thought of a reoccurrence, like a house fire, or lightening striking close by. Then there are the fears instilled in us by a parent. Thunderstorms, snakes, spiders that strikes terror in the heart of our guardians many times becomes the same fear we operate on in our own life as adults.

Not all fear is unhealthy. A nature walk can become deadly if we act foolishly with the wildlife we encounter. Bears and poisonous snakes become deadly enemies if they are not given ample space. They will react in self-defense to the unknown danger in their life. Just as we wisely give plenty of room to growling snarling dogs in our own self-defense.

In today’s society, many wrap fear around their shoulders. They live, eat, breathe and sleep fear. They seem to be, as the saying goes, ‘afraid of their own shadow’. This picture came vividly alive with my youngest granddaughter several years ago. Two-year-old Abbie played in the yard, while her mom sat on the steps reading. Her sisters were riding bikes and playing. Suddenly, Abbie began screaming and crying, running for mom as she constantly looked behind her. She believed something was chasing her. Since no one and nothing was close, my daughter could not imagine what the problem was.

As the picture continued to unfold, she noticed that this terrified little girl was looking directly behind her. Abbie jumped straight into her mom’s waiting arms still trying to escape the unseen enemy. Finally, reality hit! Abbie was being chased by her shadow. It moved when she did; right, left, across the yard and up the ramp. No matter where this little girl traveled, no matter what action she performed this unseen danger mockingly shadowed her. At this point, only the safety of her mother’s arms could satisfy her. It took a few minutes to convince her that she was okay.

This little event was terrifying to a two year old, and we couldn’t help but pity this frightened little girl. Now, years later our heart still aches for her plight; but the picture is humorous to us as adults. I wonder how often we operate in this same manner before the eyes of our heavenly Father. How many events in our life set our heart racing, yet in the eyes of the Lord, they are mere shadows? Often we project problems into the future, imagining the very worst scenario. We forget that our Father is in total control. He knows it all from the very beginning of time until the very end of eternity.

Our experience is often similar to Abbie’s on that fateful day. An unseen terror is hot on our heels and yet we hectically run, unsure which direct to turn. We overlook the safety of our Father’s arms. He longs to wrap His divine love around us comforting and reassuring us, just as Abbie found in her mother’s arms that day. No event that takes place in our life is a surprise to Him. He is faithful and true, constantly watching with great care over His children.

May we learn to walk in the truth of His Word. Psalms 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Today, we can find the comfort we need at the feet of our Savior.
Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.

What’s The Outcome

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Decisions, choices, and selections, we make them every day.  Some small, others big and yet all have consequences.  Do we follow the golden rule or do we reveal our own faults and shortcomings by our choices?  Maybe we lash out in anger or worse in our pain.  Do we only later see the outcome of our decisions, only to find that they hit the mark inflicting pain on another?  Unfortunately, this takes place every day in all walks of life.  Gangs retaliate against other gangs for showing disrespect or turf wars.  Neighbors argue with each other over such trivial matters.  Family members dispute over various situations and often cut ties with one another for a season and sometimes even years.

It happens in the home, workplace and in the street.  It also occurs in the stores and unfortunately in our churches.  It becomes a tit-for-tat, you kill my dog, and I’ll kill your cat mentality.  And the result is always the same.  We only create more pain and conflict, often in the life of the very ones we love.  The Word is so truthful – the tongue has the power of life and death.

Since the beginning of time it has happened.  Cain and Abel, and Saul and David are two examples.  Cain and Saul saw others receiving a blessing and allowed a spirit of murder to rise up in their heart.  Saul of Tarsus saw men and women willing to die for this man Jesus and it infuriated him to the point of seeking to destroy every one of them.  Someone somewhere got offended and the walls came up and the gloves came off.  We see it daily in life and constantly on the news.  Neighbors, friends, families and even countries are at odds with each other.

Frankly, there are no easy solutions but at the same time there is the easiest solution of all.  Forgive and let it go.  No one can change what happened yesterday.  No one can remove the words spoken or written.  But through the power of the Lord, we can lay it aside.  We can seek His face and His will for our life and let yesterday be just that yesterday.  Will that magically erase what has taken place?  NO!  But if it is truly given to Him, we can start fresh today.

We are commanded to love one another but nowhere in Scripture does it say that it will be easy.  We see through human eyes and with fleshly hearts.  Yet the Lord desires that we learn to see through His eyes and Spirit of love.  He sees the past, the present and the future.  We only walk in the present and often fall flat on our face doing that.

It is time to lay aside the past, enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow.  Nothing can change yesterday and if we allow it, it will ruin our today.  Lay it down at His feet.  Refuse to pick it back up.  Let it go and take that final step away from it all.  It will benefit no one to keep hanging on to that past.  Let it be just that – the past.