God is Faithful!

download  I have to say, I have the best friends and readers of this blog.  Yesterday I received some of the most precious emails, texts and phone calls.  I think it was the most response I’ve ever received from a devotional to date.  Some people told me their own hurtful stories, and others just said I love you.  The fact that so many people took time out of their day to encourage and support me means more than I could ever express.   I love y’all!  I know when I experience something there are people out there that have experienced it or are going through it at that moment.  The amazing thing is that I eventually came to a place that it was worth going through that experience.  Would you like to know why I say that?  When God spoke so sweetly to my heart and said “That’s who you’ve always been” it was worth it.  I wouldn’t change a thing that happened just to hear it.  He knew what it  would mean to me.  He’s God.  He has seen the good, the bad and all the ugly about me.  Yet He still said, “That’s who you’ve always been.”  Wow, what could be better than that?  You might not have a testimony of knowing God since you were a child.  God still looks at you through eyes of love and says, “That’s my child.”

I spent last night reading through every devotional I’ve written in the three years since Devotions4Him.com became an official blog.  It was quite the emotional experience.  I smiled, laughed and cried while I read.  I know I write this and my fingers are the instruments God uses.  Still there are things I’ve forgotten.  I read poems that I haven’t read since the day I wrote them.  I came away from reading these devotionals refreshed and completely at rest.  I’m overwhelmed by His grace and mercy on my life.  In every circumstance He’s always been there.  When things looked dark as the blackest night He was there; the Light of my Life.  When I needed a friend He was there.  Part of the refreshing I feel is looking back on His faithfulness in my life.  It’s amazing.  Each of us can say that.  He’s been there for you when no one else was.  We have such an amazing, wonderful and beautiful treasure in Jesus.  I know not everyone has a blog or even journals.  I encourage you though, look back on your life and reflect on His faithfulness.  Ask Him to help you remember.   He will!  He wants you to remember.  My heart and prayer for each of you is that you will know and experience Him in even greater ways than you can imagine.

There’s Just Something About That Name

b571443836089ebb67fb004f071ca231 (1)  I had an experience yesterday at church that I didn’t know I would need later in the day.   God knew though.  Melissa,  one of our praise and worship leaders sang the old hymn “There’s Just Something About That Name.” As she sang it, I was taken back to the very first time I heard it.  I was younger than third grade and in Vacation Bible School at a local Baptist Church.  I remember standing on the stage when the leaders began teaching it to us.  I was completely captivated by the beautiful piano music. Even at that young age my heart was gripped by the the words. I was already born again. However, during that song I fell in love with Jesus all over again. I didn’t understand anything about the anointing at the time. I just knew there was something very special about the song. I know I have a lot of favorite songs and this is one of many.  I heard it the first time over 30 something years ago and obviously it still holds an extremely special place in my heart. Melissa sang it in the most beautiful, anointed way I’ve ever heard. Yesterday morning, just like the first time I heard it, I fell in love with Jesus all over again. It was a precious moment that I’ll never forget.

We’ve all had someone question our motives and maybe even our relationship with God. It cuts to the bone when that happens. People made accusations against Jesus and definitely questioned His relationship with His Heavenly Father.  If they did it to Jesus, they will definitely do it to us.  Yesterday I allowed someone’s words to cause me to question my motives and even relationship with God. As I laid awake in bed last night, God showed me a picture of myself as a little girl. I was singing that song to Him the first time I heard it. He reminded me of today and how that song touched me so deeply. He spoke gently to my heart and said “that’s who you’ve always been.” I don’t claim to be perfect. God knows I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. With all of my heart I can say that Jesus was, always has been and always will be my First Love. I will never let anyone cause me to question that ever again.

As things change so rapidly in this world people, even others who profess to be Christians will question our motives and our relationship with God. They will challenge our love walk as we stand for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We can’t let that affect us or our relationship with God. We have to remain steadfast in His love and on His Word.  Through my experience I was reminded of a devotional I wrote August 20, 2012.  It’s called Don’t Throw Your Pearls to Pigs.  Statistically it’s one of my more popular devotionals.   When you have a chance, please read it.  Chances are your motives and love for Jesus have probably been questioned. You’ve also probably been misunderstood more times than you care to remember.  Yes, it hurts but like I said, they did it to Jesus too.  My pastor reminded us of something yesterday and I want to remind you today.  The fact that you’re alive and breathing for such a time as this shows that God knows we have what it takes to be victorious for the Kingdom of God.  He handpicked us to be alive for this time!  You’ve got WHO it takes, you’ve got the very Son of God living on the inside of you!  Have a blessed and wonderful day!

 

Just Hungry

justhungry    I wholeheartedly believe in divine encounters.  I had one this afternoon as I was at a stop light.  There was a young man standing on the corner holding a sign that said, “Just Hungry”.  My heart ached.  I almost never carry cash but today I had a little.  I know people say never to give out cash to people on the street but I don’t care.  I wanted to treat that man with dignity and respect.  I rolled down my window and he came over to my car.  He was fully coherent.  I didn’t detect any alcohol and at that moment he definitely wasn’t under the influence of any other drug.  He was tall, had long dark hair, and a beard.  He could have played a role as Jesus in a church Easter production.  As he said “God bless you” his open mouth revealed missing teeth.  I looked him in the eyes and said, “Do you know how much Jesus loves you?”  He smiled and said, “Yes ma’am.   With tears in my eyes I said “I’m so sorry you’re in this situation but I know Jesus loves you.”  I asked him his name and told him mine.  I said, “Bobby, I’m going to be praying for you.”  He thanked me several times and I said goodbye as the light changed to green.  I have no idea why that young man is in that situation.  A lot of people say they’re just taking advantage, or that they’re going to buy alcohol or drugs with the money.  It’s not for me to judge.  It’s for me to love and pray.  I am praying for his salvation and for God to send other people across his path to minister to him.  God has a destiny for Bobby.

My entire life I’ve dreamed of traveling to other countries.  I’ve longed to stand on the top of majestic mountains and take in the views as far as my eyes can see.  So far, that hasn’t happened and I’m okay with that.  Each time I see something on TV about another country or see a beautiful view I think about how much I would love to see it in person.  For years my immediate prayer is, “God I don’t care if I ever see that as long as I can see You face to face and know You more intimately with each day.”  If I had to pick one scripture as a theme for my life it would be Exodus 33:11, Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.  In fact, ministers that didn’t even know me have quoted that verse while prophesying to me.  Today as I drove away from Bobby I could sense in my heart the Lord saying, “You just saw My face in Bobby.”  We all know the verses in Matthew 25:37-40 (Message) “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to Me.  When I sensed what the Lord was saying to me, it meant everything to me.  God longs for us to know Him intimately.  Part of that is being His hands and feet on the earth.  It’s knowing His heart and not wanting to pass by those who are hurting.  I can’t think about Bobby without crying.  It’s God’s heart that longs for him to be saved, healed and whole.

We pass by people like Bobby all the time.  They aren’t holding the sign that says, “Just Hungry” but without Jesus they are desperately hungry.  They are lost and on their way to an eternal hell.  If you’re like me you desire to please God, and to know Him more and more.  Intimacy with God is found in fellowship with Him, worshiping Him, reading His Word and reaching out to His children.  I pray that each one of us will take every divine encounter that comes our way.  It’s been almost 9 years since God spoke the following to me.  As I was thinking about Bobby He brought it back to my remembrance.  I may or may not see Bobby again on this side of eternity but I believe he will fulfill his God given destiny.

Step Out and Reach Out
August 26, 2006

Acts 10:38 (NLT) And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

Don’t you know the same anointing that was upon Jesus is upon you? Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit AND power. I have anointed you, My precious child, with the Holy Spirit AND power, also. Purpose in your heart to do good everywhere you go. Step out with boldness as you have never done before. Be willing to do what I impress upon you to do and you will see tremendous results. You will see things with your eyes that you’ve imagined for years. Do you want to see people get out of wheelchairs? Do you want to see supernatural healings and deliverances? Do you want to see people made every way whole? Step out in faith and watch what My anointing is capable of doing. Lift up your eyes to the harvest; it’s all around you. People all around you are in great need of the Answer that lives within you. People need My love. Would you rather have the approval of man or My presence? Would you rather have a powerless Christianity, all comfortable and free of inconvenience? It’s your choice. You get to decide. Do you want My Spirit without measure? As you yield to the promptings of My Spirit, I will increase and you will decrease. I’m waiting for you, My child, to step out with the holy boldness of someone who trusts Me. Step out with the holy boldness of someone who knows the power, love, goodness, and mercy of their God. Step out with the holy boldness of someone who knows that I’m longing to use them. I’m longing to pour My love and power through you. You have to step out like never before. Do it regardless of the inconvenience, disapproving looks, and fear, and I will manifest Myself in and through you. Step out of the four walls of the church building and reach out to My lost children I’m so desperately longing for. I promise I will use you. I’m relying on you, My child. You cannot fail, for I am with you. There are times you will be rejected, but Jesus was rejected too. Step out and reach out because of your heart of love for Me and the lost and dying multitudes. Time is so very short, My child. The end is near. Eternity is closer than you realize. I want My children with Me. As you step out and reach out, I will step in and take over with My glory. The signs, wonders, and miracles that I’m going to pour out in the grocery stores, your workplaces, restaurants, and everywhere you go, will be because you’re stepping out and reaching out. Everywhere you go, begin claiming souls for My Kingdom. Look for special opportunities to do good. As you do good, I will open doors of ministry and then My glory will manifest. Don’t be afraid to lay your hands on people and pray. People are afraid to do this for two reasons: the fear of man or fear that I won’t show up. The answer for this is very simple: Get over your fear. Do it afraid if you have to. Get over your fear of man. Get over your fear that I won’t show up. I promised a mighty outpouring of My Spirit in the last days, so don’t be afraid. I’ve anointed you with the Holy Spirit and power. You can trust Me to do that which I’ve promised to do. Once again I say that, as you step out and reach out, I will step in and take over with My glory.

 

 

Be Sober and Vigilant

1peter5-8  One of my responsibilities at work is that I’m the Chair of the company 401k committee.  I’ll even admit that when I was asked to do it, I was very hesitant.  I didn’t want to do it.  It’s a 20 million dollar plan.   Our advisers did their best to terrify the entire committee with lessons on fiduciary responsibilities .  After one session of training all of us sat around the conference table in a state of shock.  We were so overwhelmed that we couldn’t speak or even move.  The first few weeks I lost sleep with the weight of it.  Seriously, people work their entire lives to save up for retirement.  The decisions of the committee affect what they’re working their careers to build.  The good news is that I’m not in it alone.  We have each other on the committee, financial advisers and the plan sponsor.  That doesn’t remove the responsibility but it does ease the burden.

I’ve been thinking about our responsibilities as believers being alive for such a time as this. Our decisions affect multitudes for eternity.  Let that sink in for just a minute.  Sometimes all I can say is, “God help me.”  This goes way beyond retirement savings or anything else that’s temporal.  Eternity hangs in the balance.  I wonder, do we have a grasp on that fact?  Do I?  Wouldn’t we live our lives differently if we did?  I don’t think we would struggle so much with giving our lives for the cause of Christ.   The wonderful news is that we’re not in it alone!  We have the Creator of the Universe on our side!  If you’ve named Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He’s within you!  We have the Comforter, the Helper to encourage us, He gives us wisdom, discernment and anything else we need.  We have each other to usher in the harvest that’s coming with the end of this age.  Our financial advisers did their best to help us understand the seriousness of our positions on the committee.  I pray that God helps me to understand and help others understand the seriousness of our positions in the Body of Christ today.

1 Peter 5:8 tells us  Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[a]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.  We don’t have to run in fear at what the enemy is doing on the earth today.  Our God is GREATER!  We can be at peace knowing that the God of Angel Armies is with us!  We do have to be sober and vigilant though.  In the Greek that word sober doesn’t just mean to be free from the influence of intoxicants. It means to be calm, collected in spirit, to be temperate, dispassionate, and circumspect.  Vigilant means to watch, give strict attention to, be cautious, active.  If I was in the jungle of Africa, I certainly wouldn’t walk around haphazardly and half asleep.   I would be SO vigilant, not just for myself but for all those around me.  I would most definitely be armed and on guard.  Even though satan is a defeated foe, we still have to be on guard.  Others don’t have that revelation.  We have to be on guard for them.  With a fierce hunger, the enemy is actively seeking those he can seize upon and devour.  Are we actively seeking people to love and restore to Jesus?  Do we have that fierce hunger to snatch people from the flames of hell?  The Message Bible says it like this,  Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.  We can’t fall asleep on the job!  We have to take this seriously.  Eternity hangs in the balance for so many.  If you’ve been asleep; WAKE UP!  I’ll admit to times of weariness, discouragement and allowing heartache to take precedence in my life.  We don’t have time for that.  I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, that each of us would live with an eternal perspective, that nothing else would ever take precedence over the cause of Christ in our lives.

In Christ Alone

imagesToday I received an update via Facebook from Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh.   For those who aren’t familiar with his story, please refer to the following link

http://beheardproject.com/saeed

Today Saeed’s father was able to visit Saeed in person. It was a very short visit, but Saeed was able to send a message. He wanted us to know that for 1000 days he has experienced utter darkness and has died, yet for 1001, he has been resurrected with Christ. That for 1001 days he has learned to forgive over and over and over again. That for 1001 days he has chosen Christ over what they have tried to force on him and he has stood on His faith in Jesus Christ despite the pressures, tortures and threats. He wants you all to know that through the Grace of God and your prayers he has been able to stand strong and see lives redeemed inside of the prison. He has felt your prayers in prison as no prison walls can hinder them.

Even now, hours after reading it I’m at a loss for words.  God help me to love, forgive and stand up for the cause of Christ even more.  Our life isn’t our own, we were bought with the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Pastor Saeed is someone who is willingly laying down his life.  He’s laying it down for his captors, and the other inmates who are mercilessly beating him.  Ultimately he’s laying his life down for His Savior.

I can’t help but wonder about the days ahead and what we as believers will face -right here in America.  There is so much going on in this world.  Each day it seems like the human race has reached a greater level of depravity.  I’m heartsick over the evil that has been unleashed through ISIS, human trafficking, the senseless attacks on our brothers and sisters home and abroad.

This morning I woke up with the song In Christ Alone on my heart.  That song goes back to the early 1990’s.  It was one of my favorite songs then and it still is today.  The following lyrics washed over me as I’ve listened today:  “In every victory, let it be said of me, my source of strength, my source of hope, is Christ alone”   In every circumstance,  my prayer is let it be said of me that my source of strength and hope is Christ alone.  We are rapidly approaching the time of Christ’s return.   Our hope cannot be in the government, another person, our pastors or even our family.  Our hope and source of strength can only be found in Jesus Christ.

In 1997 I was taking out the trash when God spoke a promise to me that I’ve never forgotten.   This was one of those times that I knew with all of my heart God was speaking to me.  I was reflecting on the scripture 2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  Can you imagine anything more wonderful than being an eyewitness of His majesty?  All these years later that verse still infuses me with hope and faith.  That night God said, “Not only will you be an eyewitness of My majesty but you’ll be a participant in the greatest outpouring of My Spirit that this world has ever known.”  Eighteen years later, that promise has only grown in my heart.  Regardless of what CNN, or FOX news reports, that’s my promise.  That’s our promise.

Isaiah 60: 1, 2 says,   Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, BUT the Lord shall arise upon you [O Jerusalem], and His glory shall be seen on you.  Our promise is that the Lord shall arise upon us and His glory shall be SEEN on us!  This is more TRUTH than the news has to offer.  Yes this world is experiencing horrible and heinous things.  Darkness is covering the earth and gross darkness the people BUT the Lord shall arise upon His people AND His glory shall be seen on us.

My friends, don’t be discouraged or disheartened.  We’re closer to Christ’s return than we’ve ever been.  Soon, very soon all of our hopes and dreams will be realized with one look in His eyes.  Until that day,  may we live in such a way that others are drawn to Christ.

People of the Cross

A phenomenal song called People of the Cross was just released.  It was written by Jennie Lee Riddle and Todd Smith.  Todd Smith is the lead singer of Selah.   Jennie Lee Riddle is an amazing songwriter.  She’s written praise & worship anthems such as Revelation Song, Love Came Down, and collaborated on hundreds of others.  It was written to honor the 21 men who were beheaded on the beach in Libya.  Please take the time to listen to this song and pray for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted.