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Reality Break

18 Jun

End of year exams…graduation…buying teachers gifts…picnics….the list went on and on.  The end of the school year “to do” list.  Your feet hit the floor running first thing in the morning and you drop into bed exhausted at the end of the day.  There is so much to do and not enough time to do it.  Can you relate?

With four out of five of my children still in school, this was my reality and I NEEDED A BREAK!  A break from reality.  So the minute the school bell rang, I packed up my children, their “stuff” and we headed for our condo in Big Bear.  We are in the midst of a 6 day sabbatical and it is awesome.  We have laughed, played, relaxed, taken naps, gone on walks but with ABSOLUTELY no schedule.  We have refused to think about “what we are going to do next” and have lived in the moment.  The result?  Well, I’ve learned a few things that I would like to share with you:

1.  It doesn’t matter where you are.  STOP!  Take a moment and listen to your Creator speak to you.  God is always speaking and you can hear Him. You just need to learn to recognize His voice. He speaks in many different ways, including nature and natural events. When you look at the stars or a sunset or experience a storm, if you look, you can see the fingerprints of God.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

Take a moment now.  Look around you and ask God to speak to you right where you are!

2.  It’s NOT where you are going.  It’s NOT how fast you get there.  It’s not what you are going to do once you get there.  The MOST IMPORTANT THING is who you go with!  In life you are going to travel down many paths.  You will begin and start many journey’s.  You will need to make several u-turns and take several detours.  Along the pathways of life, whats important is who is willing to travel with you.  Look around you.  Take inventory.  Who is willing to travel with you.  Who has committed to not bail even when they feel car sick?!?  That is your blessing!

TOMORROW, we will look at who your travelling companions are and how they are blessings to you!  Until then…

It’s Still Gonna Happen!

28 Apr

Ok, I’ll admit, I did not ALWAYS pay attention in my World History class when in high school.  I know, that’s hard to believe.  Well last week I was listening to our pastor speak on the country of Israel.  Now for those of you who paid attention in class, this will be a refresher but for those, like me, that might have been sleeping and/or passing notes, I learned that for approximately 40 years after the death of Christ, the Roman soldiers came into the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it. The Jews had to leave their homeland and they were scattered throughout the world. They had to live in other countries and in some of those countries they were persecuted and treated very badly.  As a result, the country of Israel did not exist until 1948!

As I sat there and took that in, I thought of the faith that our forefathers had to have in order to believe this proclamation was indeed true. Why? Because for many, many years Israel ceased to exist.  Imagine that.  Let’s take 1920 as an example.  Imagine yourself reading your bible in 1920.  You are reading how God proclaimed Israel to be His promise land and that it is very important to Christian history. As you read all of the exciting historical events and as you meditate on the prophetic Scriptures, you would have pondered this facts:

There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3Isaiah 43:6Ezekiel 34:11-1336:2437:1-14).

The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of “peace” with Israel (Isaiah 28:18Daniel 9:27).

The Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27Matthew 24:152 Thessalonians 2:3-4;Revelation 11:1).

The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:2712:111Zechariah 11:16Matthew 24:1521Revelation 12:13). Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).

Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8Ezekiel 11:17Romans 11:26).

Remember, you are sitting there – in 1920, reading all of these things, all the while KNOWING that Israel was not a country anymore. For over a millennial, the land resulted in Jewish dispersal.  For an additional 50 years, it served Zionist endeavors in the sphere of agriculture, economic development and educational activity.  So, how can you believe these words?  When the words before you spoke of an event to occur in an area of land that was no more!?!?!?  How can you trust that the Word of God was not incorrect?

Can you imagine how much faith it took to believe?  To remain faithful?  To trust?

As I pondered these things, I had to ask myself:

What is in my future, that no longer exists today, that I DO need to trust in?

What do I need to remain faithful in believing?

What future event do I need to trust God for?

You see it was no harder in 1920 to trust in God then it is today.  We too might not see the “country” that no longer exists but our Father has made a promise to us.  We have seen that God kept His promise concerning the nation Israel. God promised that this nation would never be destroyed! Even though nation after nation tried to destroy it, they all failed!!

What has God promised you if you are a believer in Christ?  Will you ever perish (John 3:16)?

Will you ever be destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9)?

Will you ever be cast out (John 6:37)?

Will you ever be lost (John 6:39)?

Will Christ ever leave you (Hebrews 13:5)?

Will you ever be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39)?

Will God keep all of these promises? ____ Why (Titus 1:2)? _______________________________________________

Why not bow your, head and thank God for his wonderful salvation and for the way He keeps you safe from destruction! God keeps the believer SAFE FOREVER!

It’s gonna happen – Just Trust Him!

A Message Into The Darkness

27 Mar

“Hey, it’s me.  If you are out there, come home.  Please!  God, what did you think?  That we would just let you walk out of our lives?  I am so furious at you right now!  Then I think about how scared you must be.  Hiding in some dark place all alone.  But you are not alone!  Okay?  You are not alone!  We are in that dark place with you!  We are waving flashlights and calling your name.  So if you can see us, come home.  But if you can’t, then…you stay alive!  Because we are coming!

As I watched Criminal Minds last week the words of Penelope as she called out to Prentiss, resonated with me.  I can think back to the times in my life when I too removed myself from love and protection – to a place where I felt in control – where I felt, if I went, no one could be hurt.  Listening to these words I wondered at a time when similar words were spoken into my darkness.

Now, I am no longer in that place of darkness.  Yet I wonder who should I be speaking those words to?  Who around me is hiding in the darkness, feeling all alone?  Who needs to see me waving a flashlight and calling out their name?

Can you think of someone?

If so, are you ready, willing and able to go into their darkness and bring them safely back home?

1 Peter 4:9-10 encourages us to, “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”  Notice the verbiage there is to share with one in “need”. That one hiding in the darkness is in need.  We all have been gifted with different spiritual gifts – to be used differently but we ALL have been given the gift of love.  Let’s use that love, channel that love and reach into the darkness. We are unaware of who we may be helping when we reach out.

Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Please hear my next statement for what it is.  When I was in that place of darkness as a 17 year old young lady, a Christian family reached out to me and gave me a home to live in.  They didn’t “preach” at me.  They didn’t put me down for the past choices I made.  They gave me a place to stay.  Food to eat.  And hope.  Hope that I could be better.  My past did not have to dictate my future.

They didn’t know that 13 years later I would be a pastors wife.  They didn’t know that I would become a children and youth pastor. They didn’t know that my love for people would become a platform where I help people know and understand Christ more fully.

I’m certainly not an angel but that family entertained me into the presence of God.  He saved me from the darkness.  Now it’s my turn to shine my light and call out to others…

Want to join me??

Are you drenched?

22 Mar

As I was walking through a field reflecting on all of these truths that were being revealed to me, I heard the sound of running water.  Being ever so curious, I began my search.  As I walked further away from the camp the sound became louder.  At last, I reached the source of the sound.  The cutest little creek ran along the boundary of the camp.  As I stood there in this serene setting, I became entranced with the movement of the water.  It was moving much faster than the fountain this morning.  It had direction and nothing ordinary stopped it from its course.  If a rock (or obstacle) was in front of it, instead of that being a road block or something to stop it, the water just went around it – it cut its own path.  I was so amazed at this thought process, I had to sit down and process this further.

Once seated, I felt as if I became one with my surroundings.  The water really was mesmerizing.  All of a sudden two frogs began croaking.  One would sing, and then the other would repeat.  Over and over, they sang out a beautiful duet with the voice that their Creator gave them.  They were doing what they were created to do.

Yep, you guessed it.  At that moment another truth unveiled before my eyes.  Another turn in this journey.  A continuation, if you will, on the road of truth that we have been travelling together.

At the fountain, we uncovered that we have The Source of living water in us.  We have the freedom to choose to allow the living water to flow freely through us or we can become hardened and cold due to our surroundings.   Regardless of our choice, because of God’s unfailing nature, He will continue to move in us.

 

Now at the creek, we watched as the water had a purpose and that it was true to that purpose – it did not allow an obstacle or thing to divert it from its path (or purpose).  The water covered those in its path and refreshed those around it.  Even when something different or something that didn’t belong (me) came along, it did not stop being true to what the Creator intended.  Whereas the frogs had stopped singing upon my arrival, the water continued on its journey.  Only when I settled into the environment and the water became the primary sound again, that settled environment, caused those around it to praise yet again.

As I am soaking all of this in, I remember the waterfall that my family had walked to earlier this year.  I remember how the water there fell with such force, that all around it was drenched.  You see, water always seeks the lowest places.  That is why rivers flow to the oceans, creeks flow to rivers and water travel downstream.  Water can’t help going to the lowest place and once there, it covers and refreshes all in its path.  It does not seek those things in a “higher” place.  It goes where others cannot and will not.  It is not prejudice in its refreshment.

Then I had to ask myself, “Do these same truths flesh out in me?  Will I again allow my environment or surrounding to harden me and/or make me cold?  Will I be like the creek and go around an obstacle placed in my path or will I allow that to become a deterrent from God’s purpose in my life? Lastly, will I too seek a lowest place and then refresh all of those around me?”

You see, we all can choose one or we can become all three:

We can be a trickle……We can be moving forward…..Or We can drench all in our path with the

What kind of water will you be?

Tomorrow, I will introduce you to the baby pine cone!

 

Red Light…Green Light…

11 Mar

Have you ever thought the prayers you have prayed have gone unanswered?  Some people do.  Several years ago Garth Brook wrote a song titled “Unanswered Prayer”.  The chorus reads, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care..”

I would like to challenge that thought process today. When you are driving your car and come to an intersection, what determines how you proceed?  A stoplight!  The stoplight determines if it is safe to go – GREEN.  If you need to proceed with caution – YELLOW. Lastly, the stoplight tells you when you may not go any further – RED!

My friend, God answers your prayer in the same way.  When you pray – you are receiving an answer.  God has either given you a red light, a yellow light or a green light.  Many times when we receive a red or yellow light we assume He is not answering us.  We wanted the green light and when we didn’t see it – we assume that prayer went unanswered.  Our prayer didn’t go unanswered, we were just color blind!  Let look at some stoplight answers in Scripture:

Elijah was afraid & ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it & prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life…” (1 Kings 19:3-12)  Elijah stated that he had enough!  He wanted God to take his life.  His prayer was to die.  It was not in God’s timing for this prayer to be answered the way Elijah wanted.  Therefore, God answered this prayer with a RED stoplight.

In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head… I am a woman who is deeply troubled… I was pouring out my soul to the LORD… I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”…. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.” (1 Sam 3:11)  This was a yellow light prayer!  Hannah prayed – she did not get a green light the first time she prayed, nor the 2nd or 3rd.  In the Course of time, as she continued to pray, her yellow light turned green!

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. ( Luke 17:11-19)  These men asked God to heal them.  His response?  A green light!  The timing and the heart of Christ was moved to grant the result they asked for.

Did you notice what the 10th man did?  He returned praising God loudly, he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.  Friends, regardless of what color light we receive, we too should follow the example of the one healed:

1.  Praise God loudly

2.  Throw yourself – your needs, prayers, and request at his feet

3.  Thank Him – for He WILL answer your prayer the moment you pray it!

 

 

 

 

What Are You Listening To?

26 Feb

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” These words found in Romans 10:17 have become my latest challenge.  As I look at these words I evaluate how much time I actually spend “listening” to God’s Word.  Now PLEASE do not get me wrong, I am not saying that I am no longer going to read God’s Word, nor that it is unimportant – because it is.  But I am wondering why I don’t spend time literally listening to God’s Word, IN ADDITION to studying God’s Word.  Therefore I have committed to listening to God’s Word.  Earlier this week I downloaded the Bible.is app on my iPhone and each night this week I have listened to the Word of God all night long.

Several things have happened:

  1. My sleep is much deeper.  I have not once this week woke up in the middle of the night, as I usually do.
  2. I cannot remember any dreams.  Most days I can wake up and give you a brief rundown of something I either dreamt about and/or thought about during the night.
  3. I am happier each day.  I find that the little things don’t frustrate me – I am laughing more.
  4. I actually think more about Scripture and truth than I usually do.
  5. I have prayed more this week

Now I can’t say for sure that all of the above is a direct result of literally listening to God’s Word but it does give me cause to wonder.  I am going to continue this upcoming week as well.  I am also committing to listening to that app while I am walking each day this week.  Can’t guarantee anything earth shattering, but I look forward to fleshing out growing my faith – by listening to God’s Word – and hearing from Christ, who is the Word of God.

Really excited about this and if you want to join me on this journey; put on your walking shoes, grab your ipod and share your experiences with me!

Remember