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We Must Only Believe!

In these times of trouble, turmoil, violence, injustice, confusion, corruptness, catastrophic weather, political division, racial tensions, murders, homelessness, financial struggles, division within the church, this pandemic, and Covid-19 along with all other manner of sickness and disease, we must remember Jesus! We must remember Who He Is and we must remember what He can do.

Psalm 140:7 says He is our Sovereign Lord, our strong Deliverer! Psalm 61:3 reminds us He is our Refuge and our Strong Tower. In the book of Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 6, we were told He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We must remember that He is still all of this and more to us today!

Those who tried not to believe were witnesses to what He could do and even in their plot to crucify Him, He still lives today! In Acts 2:22-24(GNT) it says “Listen to these words, fellow Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you. In accordance with his own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him. But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner.” Death did not win!

Just as Jesus performed miracles, signs and wonders back then, He can still do the same today. We may not always see what He is doing, we just have to believe. Remember the story of Jairus and his daughter? Jairus had asked Jesus to come to his home because his daughter was ill. Before they could get to Jairus’ house, messengers reported to him that his daughter was already dead and they told Jairus he should not bother Jesus anymore. Mark 5:6 says “Jesus paid no attention to what they said, but told him, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” Jesus made it to Jairus’ home and told everyone that the little girl was not dead, but that she was asleep. Even then, they made fun of what He said because they did not believe and he had them removed from the home. Jesus then entered the little girl’s room with 3 of his disciples, Jairus and his wife. When Jesus touched the little girl’s hand, he told her to get up. The scripture goes on to tell us that she got up and began to move around. We must remember that Jesus wants us to “only believe.”

Today, I hear the words Miracles, Signs and Wonders resonating in my spirit. Although we may see and hear of so much negativity and disastrous events going on in the world, I believe He is performing Miracles, Signs and Wonders. We don’t have to see what He is doing, we just have to believe. We must remember that in spite of all that is not good, He is our DELIVERER! He is our PROTECTOR! He is our PROVIDER! He is our SAVIOR! The things of this world should not imprison us; for we know who He is and what He can do! He is the One that brings forth MIRACLES, SIGNS, and WONDERS! We must only believe…

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To our Father in heaven, we thank You for being so good and merciful to us. We thank You for your loving kindness and Your tender mercies each morning. Father, we declare that we know who You are and we believe in what You are able to do. We believe You heal the sick, give sight to the blind and cause the lame to walk! We believe that You can speak to that which appears to be dead and that new life will spring forth. We believe that when we feel we can’t move forward, You order our steps and great things start to happen. We believe that You are performing MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS right now in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, homes, prisons and on street corners. Father, we believe Your miracle working power stretches from nation to nation and kingdom to kingdom. Father, we believe we are not bound by what we actually see; and whether we are in the room or not, we believe You are performing MIRACLES, SIGNS and WONDERS! Father, we pay the naysayers no mind and we say in the mighty name of Jesus that we believe!

2021, Here We Come!

We are in the final week of 2020, and most are hoping and praying that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 has been. We really don’t know what 2021 will bring, but as we approach this new year, I have my eyes fixed on Jesus. How about you? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus? I don’t want to be sidetracked by what may happen or what people may do in 2021. I want to hold onto the goal that I am being beckoned to move forward to Jesus. The only way for me to do that is to keep my eyes fixed on Him.

Over the years, to help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, I have learned to use scriptures to guide me in my prayers. I have hung on to His words to help me lean into what He wants me to do concerning my relationship with Him. Here are just a few scriptures that have helped me navigate through 2020 and will help me press into 2021:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have made it. But, I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14 MSG)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT)

“I look up to the mountains; does my help come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God who made heaven and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t sleep. Not on your life Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.” (Psalm121:1-3 MSG)

” When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)

There are so many more scriptures I could list, and I am hopeful you already have your own guiding scriptures. I just believe in order to step into this new year, and to face all that awaits whether good or not so good, we must press into God’s Word. In His Word, we find how much He loves us and how compassionate He is towards us.

I pray you have a blessed and safe new year. 2021, Here we come!

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Dear Father, we thank you for being our Good Shepherd. We honor and praise You for being kind and merciful to us. We thank You for this last week of December, and we thank You for giving us strength to run to the end of 2020.

LORD, there have been some challenging days and some moments where our hearts have been heavy, but we have held onto knowing that You have never left us or forsaken us. We thank You, Father, for being our Protector, our Provider and our Peace. We thank You for giving us hope when all around seemed hopeless. LORD, we thank You for the joy You gave us even as we were weeping.

Dear LORD, we pray for safe passage into this new year. Please bless and keep us through all that we may face in the days to come. Please continue to protect us, to provide for us and to guide us. Precious Father, we pray for Your divine healing grace and mercy to cure all manner of sickness and disease. We pray You will provide safe shelter for those who are homeless. Father, bless the unemployed with jobs and thank You for all the financial blessings we will recieve.

LORD, we pray as this year ends and a new one begins that the spiritually lost will be found and the spiritually blind will see. We thank You for bringing prodigal sons and daughters home. Lord, we declare breakthrough and deliverance for those struggling because of evil plots and plans that have taken them out of Your will.

LORD, we pray that as we look to the hills, we see You as our forever Help in this world. Please forgive us for our wrongs and disobedience. Help us to do better and to live more righteously. Father, we thank You in advance for all You will do to keep us safe and watch over us. Because of You, Lord and because we know You go before us, we boldly declare to 2021, Here we come! In the matchless and mighty name of Jesus, we say amen and amen again!

Are You Ready?

We have made it to the last month of 2020! I don’t know about you, but now that we are in December I feel this year has zipped by! Yes, I said zipped! In spite of all that has been going on around us, I feel like 2020 started just a short while ago and here we are approaching the last few weeks of the year! You’re probably thanking God for 2020 coming to an end, but are you ready for 2021? Are you really ready?

I have been hearing people say “I will be so glad when 2020 is over.” Or I’ve heard, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal!” Do you really think things will go back to a resemblance of 2019 as if 2020 did not happen? During my 2020 experience, I have felt that God was shaking things up so that we would not return to the normalcy of pre-2020, but that what He planned for us would manifest in the earth.

Now don’t get me wrong, 2020 was not what I had anticipated it to be. One minute we were ushering in a new year with new resolutions, new hopes, and then all of a sudden, something happened that we did not expect to see or experience! And the interesting thing about approaching the year 2020 was that many were speaking of it being a year of 20/20 vision and insight! I’d venture to say that most of us did not see any of what we expected to see in 2020! I look at 2020 not just as another year in my life, but I will remember it as an unusual and amazing experience. The year 2020 has not been like any other year I have seen in my lifetime. I have had my share of ups and downs this year; I’ve had moments of joy and moments of despair, but God has continually blessed me and sustained me throughout 2020.

Isaiah 55:8-11 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not My ways. This is the LORD’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper in what I send it to do.” No matter what we were planning and thinking right before the strike of midnight on January 1, 2020, God’s thoughts were already different than ours. His plans, in the midst of all that we have experienced in 2020, was that His word would accomplish what He intended to accomplish.

I ask again, are you ready? Are you ready for what 2021 may bring? I hear the LORD say don’t just finish the year strong, finish ready! Be prepared! He asks what have you learned about Him in 2020 that will prepare you for 2021? Have you grown in your relationship with Him over these past 12 months? Have you spent more time complaining or have you spent more time being grateful? Have you worried more or have you put more of your trust in Him? Have you spent more time watching news reports or have you spent more time reading the Bible and feasting on God’s word? Have you prayed and fasted more? It’s not too late to consider making some changes before midnight strikes and we usher in the year 2021.

I don’t know how much different 2021 will be from 2020, but I do know God has a purpose and a plan for us. What God has set in motion will not return to Him empty or void. In 2020 we have gone through the pains of feeling the thorns from the rose bush before we see the rose blooming. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to see the roses bloom!

The remainder of Isaiah 55 in verses 12-13 reads as follows: You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up; it will make a name for the LORD as an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed.

Before this year ends I would encourage you to give some thought as to what you have learned from 2020. More importantly, what have you learned from God? I would also encourage you to write your thoughts and memories in a journal. I think our 2020 experience will make some amazing stories to tell in later years.

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Dear Father in Heaven, how amazing and wonderful You are! Thank You for blessing us to live through the experience of 2020. Prepare us to be ready for what You have in store for us in 2021. Saturate us with strength, power, wisdom, knowledge and love that comes from You. LORD, let the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You. Forgive us of our sins. LORD, we thank You for being the giver of life and the sustainer of life. Prepare us to be ready for what You will accomplish in the days ahead and bless us to see how Your plans will prosper in this land. In the precious and mighty name of Jesus, amen!

Inevitable Change

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Yes, that is a lizard in the picture!  I was outside checking on my plants the other morning, when I spotted this lizard being very still on the exterior wall of my home.   I really don’t do well with seeing lizards or any other little creatures around me, but this one had me reaching for my phone so that I could take a picture.  If you look closely, you will see what appears to be a white substance on the lizard.   My first thought was what did it get into, and then I realized that it might be shedding it’s old skin.

I tend to pay attention to the nature around me and I am always curious as to why God allows me to see or hear certain things. So after seeing this lizard,  I did a bit of research on lizards shedding their skins. I found out that shedding is an indication of growth and renewal.  I also found out that some lizards will eat the skin they shed for nourishment.  The shedding of the skin is an inevitable change the lizard will experience.

Does an inevitable change occur when we join with Christ? I surely hope so! Inevitable means that something is certain to happen.  Change means becoming or experiencing something different.  As we join with Christ we have to put away the former things and walk in our newness with Him.  Of course, this doesn’t mean everything will be easy from here on out, but it does mean we can find hope and peace in our newness with Him.  It means we can put all of our trust in Him instead of being so quick to worry and try to figure things out on our own.   It means we strive to be better and to make better choices.

II Corinthians 5:17(GNT) says “Anyone who has joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”   When we join with Christ, are we similar to this lizard shedding it’s skin? I would imagine that in a way we are.  Hopefully, we are getting rid of what is old to embrace the new.  Hopefully, we are able to allow what we’ve been through to help us grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.  Just as the lizard may eat it’s shed skin for nourishment, we can take our past experiences to learn life’s lessons and move forward.

Another thought I had about this lizard shedding it’s skin is that you can’t put new wine into old wineskin.  Jesus says in Luke 5:37 NIV: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”  This parable came about when there was a discussion of John’s disciples time of fasting being compared to Jesus and His disciples not fasting.  Traditionally, fasting was a time of mourning over sins or an urgency for prayer.  Jesus was telling them it was a time of celebration; time to embrace a new covenant.  How often do we try to hold onto old traditions that no longer serve a purpose to help us move forward?  

When I was a little girl, one of my chores was to iron pillow cases after the laundry was done.  I have often wondered what was the purpose in ironing pillow cases when we were just going to wrinkle them as soon as we laid our heads on them.  I do understand it was to make everything nice and neat, but really, what was the point?  Fast forward to today, I’m thankful for wrinkle free pillow cases and those decorative pillow covers.  But just imagine, if I told you I was still ironing pillow cases! You’d probably think does she know how much better it is to embrace the wrinkle free and not waste time ironing! She’s ironing something that does not need to be ironed. There are times we just have to let go of the old traditions and embrace what is new.  (I don’t know if that analogy worked for you, but it made me smile!)  

Jesus offers us something new everyday.  The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning.  What He offers us is so much better than what we have.  I would like to think the lizard felt so much better after the shedding process was complete.  Getting rid of the old and shaking off that extra burden from the old skin it was carrying around was probably a relief.  I’m sure it looked different from the appearance I captured in my photo.  I believe we look different when we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.   We don’t wear worry  on our faces as much.  We don’t look like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, because we know  we can cast our burdens on Him.

As you draw closer to Christ, I encourage you to embrace the inevitable changes that should occur in your life.  You have to get yourself to a place where you don’t do certain things you used to do.  You have to resist fleshly desires and seek God for strength and direction.  You have to increase your faith in Him, and make wise decisions concerning you and others.  You have to pray more and study the Bible more.  You have to shed the old and embrace the new.

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Father, we come before You and give thanks to You for being a gracious and merciful God.  We thank You for being wonderful and loving towards us.  Lord, we thank You for all things new.  We know You are the one Who makes a new way out of what was the old way, and we look to You for all we need.  Dear Father, we seek Your guidance for the inevitable changes in our lives because of our relationship with You.   We ask You to  cleanse us with hyssop; give us joy and gladness in bones that were once crushed.  Lord, we know as we embrace change and seek You to forgive us that You hide Your face from our sins and blot out our iniquities. Lord, as we join with You and change for the better, create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us.  In the precious name of Jesus, amen!

Are You Missing Out On What Mary Discovered?

Have you noticed that whenever you are researching or shopping online that a pop up appears out of nowhere?  Either customer service is being offered via a chat with a representative or an advertisement for something completely unrelated to your actual search pops up on the screen. Distractions!  These pop ups momentarily take my focus away from what I was trying to research.  I then have to intentionally take the time to dismiss this distraction or get even more distracted because I take up the offer to chat with the representative.

What about your phone? How often does it distract you?  I can be in the middle of responding to one text and get another text from someone else.  Quite often, I will switch to the new incoming text and start engaging in a conversation forgetting about the response I was sending to someone else.

What about setting aside time to spend with God?  How often are you distracted from your quiet time with God, because of all you have going on each day? There’s your family obligations, your work, ministry work, scheduled appointments, emergencies, friends who need you, social media distractions, and anything else that tends to pop up and capture part of your day.   Also, don’t forget within the 24 hours you are given, that you need time to get dressed, eat a meal or two and get a few hours of rest.  Where does the time go?

If you are able to get up and give God the first part of the day He blesses you with, that is great!  If you are able to give Him some time at night before going to bed, that is great, too.  But are you able to give Him time without being distracted?  Are you able to sit still and feel His presence? My answer to the last two questions is “sometimes!”  Thankfully, I am doing better than I have in the past.  I am grateful God is patient with me as I learn to deal with my distractions so I can enjoy being still in His presence even more.

Luke 12:40-41 tells the story of when Jesus visits Mary and Martha.  The verses from the New Living Translation says  “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me”.  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.  There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We often get distracted by comparing what we do to what others are doing.  Martha actually told Jesus it was unfair she was working and Mary was sitting around doing nothing!  We have been conditioned to think it is better to be busy and moving around rather than to just take a moment to sit down and rest.  Imagine Martha’s surprise when Jesus told her that Mary was doing the right thing!  I wonder if she tried to continue the conversation with Him to try and prove her point.  More importantly, I wonder if she went back to the work she was doing and still missed out on what Mary had discovered.

What do you think Mary discovered?  I believe as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she discovered her Lord and Savior.  I believe she discovered the truest form of love.   I believe she released all hurt and shame and discovered forgiveness.   I believe she felt a peace from all her worries and day to day pressures.  The Bible tells us we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. I can only imagine that is what Mary did that day.   I believe Mary discovered Jesus was the answer to everything she needed.

Jesus was right there in the same house with Mary and Martha.  Mary chose to sit with Him and Martha chose to stay busy.  How often do you do what Martha chose to do?  Jesus is telling you He is right there with you and He wants to spend time with you, but you stay busy.  Are you too busy to take a few moments and be still in His presence? Are you missing out on the joy and peace that comes with sitting at His feet? Are you missing out on what Mary discovered?

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being so gracious and merciful to me.  Thank You for being loving and patient with me each day.  Lord, help me to be more like Mary and not become so distracted like Martha, that I miss an opportunity to sit with You.  Oftentimes, I get so anxious about my family, my job, my finances, my health, and other things that I just don’t take the time I should to spend with You.  Lord, help me to become more like Mary.

Father,  I pray that I don’t allow what others are doing to distract me from spending precious time with You.  Lord, I desire to make time, more often than I do, to sit with You.  Help me to tune out what is going on around me, so that I can become more in tune with You.  Lord, in Psalm 23:3 (Message) it says “You are true to your word, you let me catch my breath, and you send me in the right direction.”   I pray I will be more intentional in taking the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and  catch my breath, so that I can also discover what Mary discovered.  In Jesus’ wonderful name, amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Have You Learned?

As I was coming out of a deep sleep this morning, I heard this question “What have you learned?”   I had to completely wake up to really start processing what I heard, but the question was clear.  Well, I’ve had my morning coffee and I’m still processing how to answer the question I heard.  I’ve tried to capture part of my answer in this blog post.

In the past few months we have learned and/or heard so much about COVID-19, a pandemic, social distancing, and racial injustices, just to name a few.  In a time when we should become more unified, it appears we are becoming more divided.   As I start to put together my answer, I do know this, God is God and He knows how to get our attention. There have been past events that have impacted different parts of the world before, but these recent events of 2020 have captured the attention of the whole world and impacted all of us.

However, in all that has taken place, I don’t think God was necessarily telling me to look at the whole world, as much as He was telling me to look within. Then, He wakes me up this morning and I hear the Holy Spirit asking ” what have you learned?” The teacher is silent and the question is before me waiting on a response.  I read II Chronicles 7:14 -15 in the NIV Bible which says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

This was one of the first scriptures I was drawn to read once everything started to spiral in late February and early March of this year.   If  I’ve learned anything, it is that as one of God’s people that I must look within first.   I must look within my own heart to remain humble. I must talk to God daily and I must seek Him in all parts of my life.  I thought I was doing this before, but it seems different now.  Perhaps this is why I heard the question. The scripture in II Chronicles then goes on to say turn from wicked ways, which means I have to get rid of what is unclean and unrighteous in me.  I have to seek God’s forgiveness.  It doesn’t say I should try to fix others in their uncleanliness first.  It says that as one of His people, I have to turn from my own wicked ways.  Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms and I often pray verses 23 and 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is anything offensive in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I’ve learned to ask God more to keep me humble, to hear my prayers and to forgive me of my sins.   I believe we are in a season where we have to make our relationship with God even more personal than it was before; we have to seek His face.   II Chronicles 7:14 to some, can be a suggestion; to some, words of warning, and to some, words of instructions.  I’ve learned to use them as daily instructions for me because I want God to hear me from where He is in heaven.  I want Him to forgive me and I want Him to heal every part of me and to heal this land we all live in.  This land He created just as He created each one of us.

I will definitely continue to pray for others and ask God to help them just as He helps me. However, there has been such a shift in what is going on in the world today that I have to take time to really focus on who I am in Christ and what He wants me to do.    He wants me to humble myself, AND pray AND seek His face AND turn from my wicked ways.  He wants me to call myself one of His people so that when I speak, He will hear me.

So I ask you the question I heard this morning, “What have you learned?”

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Dear Lord, we need You more than ever before.  Somewhere along the way we’ve made a mess of things, we’ve missed the mark and we’ve fallen short of what is Your perfect will and perfect way.   We ask now that You will help us to stay in a posture of being humble.  We pray for You to hear our prayers as we seek to draw closer to You.  We pray You forgive us of our sins and You cleanse us from within.  We pray Your ears are attentive to our prayers; we pray You hear us, and we pray You heal our land.  Thank You, Lord, that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Please have mercy on us and show us the way.  We pray this as people who are called by Your name, and we ask this in the mighty name of Jesus!

 

While You Wait On God

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When you don’t know what to expect in your personal circumstances or what to expect in what is going on in the world today, expect God.  The definition of expect means to regard something as likely to happen.  Today, I encourage you to  expect God to show up and to work everything out on your behalf.   Expect God to make a way out of no way.  Expect God to be your Healer, your Provider and your Protector. While you wait on the Lord, you should wait with an expectancy.  Expectancy means the state of thinking  or hoping that something pleasant will happen.  While you wait on God, expect Him to be your Strength, your Hope and your Peace.

Psalm 130:5-6 says ” I wait on the Lord, my whole being waits and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for morning, more than watchman wait for the morning.” NIV

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Dear Father, thank You for being everything we need.  While we wait for You to do great and mighty things, we wait with a joyful expectancy.  We know that as we wait on You, Lord, You will move in a mighty way.  Dear Lord, even in the midst of chaos,  we still wait with an expectancy knowing You already have the victory.  While we wait, Lord,  we wait with our whole beings and we stand firm on the promises of  Your word.  Lord, we thank You that we can walk by faith and not by sight, confidently expecting Your promises to be fulfilled in our lives. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name, amen and amen again!

 

Have You Remembered The Lord?

There is no doubt this posture of social/physical distancing and quarantine is impacting most of us in the world today.  Do you believe God is doing something in the land to get our attention? As I asked God to give me something to encourage myself and others, He turned my attention to the book of Jonah. You remember the story of Jonah and the whale, don’t you?

The Bible tells us that Jonah had been given an assignment from God to go to Nineveh to preach to people who were in desperate need of a life changing revival.   In the 1st chapter of Jonah, we learn the people in Nineveh were evil and that Jonah did not want to go preach to them.  Jonah made the decision not to go to Nineveh, and he boarded a ship to Tarshish in an attempt to flee God’s presence and to get far away from the people of Nineveh.

Jonah was on a ship with men who worshipped other gods. When a storm arose over the waters, they started praying to their gods. When the storm continued, they went to Jonah who was asleep.  They insisted Jonah call out to his god in hopes they would not perish.  They even cast lots to figure out who on board the ship may be the reason for the raging storm.

After casting lots that pointed to Jonah, the men knew Jonah was the one who had brought trouble upon the ship with the storm raging over the waters.  At this point, Jonah had to tell them he was a Hebrew and he worshipped the God of the heavens, the God who made the seas and the dry land.  The men realized Jonah was running from God’s presence and this brought great fear on them. When they questioned what needed to be done as the storm grew worse, Jonah told them to throw him overboard.  He knew he was to blame and this was the answer to calm the storm.  At first the men tried to throw cargo overboard and head back to shore. However, the storm continued and they threw Jonah overboard, as he had told them.  This was great for the men because the storm was calmed, but not so great for Jonah! Jonah knew he had to physically distance himself from the men and the ship in order for the men to survive.  Because their lives were spared, these same men who did not know the god Jonah worshipped, began to fear the Lord and make vows of sacrifice to Him.

The last verse in Chapter 1 of the book of Jonah tells us that a great fish swallowed Jonah and he was in the belly of this great fish for 3 days and 3 nights.  Jonah was running from God and from a god-given assignment, when he got quarantined in a belly of a fish for 3 days!  This was a quarantine orchestrated by God. God had Jonah’s attention and Jonah had to decide what he was going to do.

Chapter 2 of the book of Jonah tells us how Jonah started to pray while he was in the belly of this great fish.  He says he was distressed, and that he cried out to the Lord.  He was in the realm of the dead and waters swirled all around him.  Jonah said when he saw his life ebbing away that he remembered the Lord and his prayer rose to the Lord’s holy temple. Jonah knew God heard his prayers and God answered him.  Then Jonah began to praise God.  He said “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.  But, I with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good. I will say salvation comes from the Lord” (v.7-9).  Upon hearing Jonah’s prayers and praise, the Lord commanded the fish and it spit Jonah back onto dry land.

It would appear from Jonah’s story that he found himself in a situation where prayer was his best and only way to get God to answer him.  I truly believe this is where we are today.  We are in quarantined environments where the best thing we can do is remember God; remember who He is in our lives and pray so that He hears us in His holy temple.

During these past few weeks, have you remembered God?  Have you spent more time with Him? Have you opened up your Bible more and meditated on His Word? Have you remembered how He has provided and protected you over the years?  Have you remembered that He has never left you or forsaken you? Have you remembered He can speak to the wind and calm the storm? Have you remembered Who He is? Have you remembered He is Lord?

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Dear Lord, thank You for turning our attention back to You and reminding us of the love You have for us. Thank You for hearing our cries of distress and for answering our prayers.  Forgive us for clinging to worthless idols. Thank You, Lord, for giving us another chance to remember You.  Lord, we honor You with praise you so richly deserve.  In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

Jonah 2:7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”

Thankful 2B Thankful

 

Be Thankful!     The other morning as I was saying my prayers, I said “Lord, I know I tend to be thankful for the same things over and over again. I thank You for waking me up. I thank You for my life and allowing me to see another day.  I thank You for keeping my children, siblings and friends safe. I thank You for the followers on Broken-2b-Restored. I thank You for a roof over my head and food on my table.” I said, “Lord, I know I sound like a broken record and that I am always thankful for the same things.” But then I said, “Lord, I am just thankful to be thankful!”

Thankful to be thankful! This made me realize that I have not always told Him Thank You. As a young person in college, I would just get up and take everything for granted.   As I became a full time employee, wife, and mother, I would wake up and maybe say a brief Thank You, but then I would just go on about my day.  Reflecting on this and how He has kept me over the years, made me realize even more how thankful I am.

Like most, I have been through my share of  ups and downs.  I have had some major disappointments and personal challenges that weighed heavy on my heart, my body, and my mind. I have wondered how the bills were going to get paid: how was I going to free myself from a verbally abusive and controlling spouse, or how I was going to be a good mother to my children.  And today, when I look back on where I was and where I am now, I am so very thankful.  I am thankful to be thankful, because of how God has kept me.  He has protected me from the seen and unseen dangers.   He has kept me and my children safe; He has clothed and fed us; and He has always provided us with a roof over our heads.

As I grew closer to God and I learned to ask Jesus to intercede on my behalf, my perspective on being thankful changed. I stopped taking it for granted that I just woke up each morning.  I know that God’s mercies towards me are new every morning, even when I tend to thank Him for the same people and things over and over again. I know I can repeat these words of thankfulness and also add onto it as each day passes, because He waits to hear from me. I know He has always provided for me and that He will continue to do so.  Yes, I have continued to experience the ups and downs that come with living this life here on Earth, but I’m thankful for every day, every blessing, and every lesson learned.   I am thankful to be thankful.

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Dear God, thank You for keeping me and my family covered under Your mighty protection.  Thank You for continuously blessing us and showing us how much You love us.  Thank You for my life, health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see how good You have been to me, and for teaching me the lessons to be learned from heartbreaks and disappointments.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy towards me. Thank You for Jesus and Thank You for The Holy Spirit. Lord, I am just thankful 2b thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of fristfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but  in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

 

 

What Will You Say To Your Mountain?

 

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Matthew 17:18-21(NIV) tells us ” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why, couldn’t we drive it out? He replied “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed of faith against a mountain?  Can you visualize that picture?  Do you know how small a mustard seed is and how big mountains can be? And when you look at what Jesus said, that is exactly what he meant.   Yes, a mustard seed is very small.  Yes, mountains are huge.  However, if you trust and believe just a little bit, you will be surprised as to how things can move mightily in your circumstances!

When challenges and frustrations start to overwhelm you, speak to them just as Jesus said to speak to the mountain.  When you feel you are under attack, rebuke the schemes of the enemy just like Jesus did over the little boy.  So often, we see how God blesses and/or delivers others and we don’t understand why our prayers did not manifest into the blessings and actions we spoke.  Could it be we have focused too much on our mountain and not enough on our faith? Today, I encourage you to focus on your faith, no matter how small or weak your faith may be, speak to your mountain and believe it can be moved. Sometimes the mountain is not as close to you as you think it is, and when you keep trusting God the mountain starts to get smaller and eventually disappears from your circumstances.  All you have to do is have a mustard seed of faith and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can believe in your faith in God enough to move the mountain? What will you say to your mountain?

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Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with just a mustard seed of faith.  And, with this tiny seed of faith, I believe that my situation is already better.  I believe that mountain of frustration is moved; I believe the financial obstacle is no longer in my way; I believe that all manner of sickness and disease in my body is gone. I believe the enemy is under my feet and no longer in my way. I believe you are taking my mustard seed of faith and showing me that nothing is impossible, and that I can speak to the mountain in my life and it shall move. Right now I am telling the mountain with my mustard seed of faith  to move!  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen and Thank You!