Tag Archive | purpose

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!

 

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

 

 

Why? What has He done wrong?

In my quiet time the past few days, I have chosen to read chapters in the Bible that lead up to Resurrection Sunday. These are the final chapters that take us through revealing the plot to kill Jesus and then to The Resurrection.  This morning, I have been reading Matthew 27 which tells the story of when Jesus was handed over to Pilate.

As I was reading the part where the shouting crowd chose to release Barabbas over Jesus, Pilate’s 2 questions to them in verse 23 resonated from the page.   Pilate asked the crowd “Why?”  And then, He asked “What has He done wrong?”   These questions seemed to incite the crowd more and they shouted “Crucify Him!”, yet they never answered Pilate’s questions.

In Luke 23:34 after Jesus was on the Cross between the 2 criminals,  Jesus said “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”   When Jesus said to forgive them, He answered Pilate’s questions.  In my spiritual mind,  Jesus answered the questions in reverse order.

Pilate:  What has He done wrong?

Jesus:  I have done nothing wrong.

Pilate:  Why?

Jesus:  They have done wrong!  I am doing this for them.

Jesus’ dying on the Cross is the answer to what the people did wrong back then and to what we do wrong now.  On the day He was crucified, it was not about the wrongs that just occurred on that day.  Jesus’ death on the Cross was about our sins: the wrongs of our bad choices, the wrongs of our unclean thoughts, the wrongs of our sinful activities, the wrongs of our bad behavior and the wrongs of our bad attitudes.  Our sinful nature is the answer to the question Why?

Pilate’s questions were for that particular moment in time.  However, the reason the crowd did not respond with an answer was because Jesus had to get to the Cross for the answer to be revealed.   His answer was for all of eternity.   John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  (HCSB)

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Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You for Your Beloved Son, Jesus!  Thank You for the love You have shown us over and over again.  Jesus, we thank You for the precious blood You shed for each one of us.  I pray that as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, that lives will be changed and souls will be saved as we give remembrance unto You.  I pray there will be a true understanding for many to the question as to Why You died on the Cross.  I pray more people will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Please forgive us of our sins!  It is in  His mighty and precious name, I say Amen!

It’s All God’s Time

Ecclesiastes 3.jpg

Ecclesiastes 3:1 starts  with “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.”   In just one verse, we move from a season into a time and then, for a purpose.  My season of harvest may be your season of planting.  My time of weeping may be your time to laugh.  No matter what time “zone” either of us may be experiencing,  it’s all God’s time.

God is the Creator of us all.  He speaks things into existence and He knows the beginning and the end.  As believers, we know that God is in control of all things and at all times; we know He has a master plan.  We know that what He has purposed will prevail.  We know that all He has purposed for you, for me, and for this world will come to pass.

God knew there would be times when some of us would agree with each other and there would be times when we would not  see eye to eye.  However, for those of us who believe, we must be in agreement that as things happen, whether we like them or not, that God is always in control.  He is aware of every activity under the sun and everything in its own season will be done according to God’s time.

As seasons change and as time moves on, God is always with us.  He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.  Will you trust God in your present season?  Will you give Him praise not only during the good times but also during the bad times? Will you glorify His name even when you may not understand what is going on?

Psalm 118:24 says this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Whether this is your season to reap or to sow, or whether it’s your time to speak or to be silent, it’s all God’s time.  Trust Him in this season to do what He has already purposed in your life.  Embrace your current season in a way that will show Him honor.

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Dear Lord, thank You for all you have done in my life. Thank You for allowing me to see different seasons and to grow and prosper in each one of them.  Lord, thank You for all the times You have kept me, even when I would not consider spending time with You.  Thank You for the times You turned my midnight into day.  Lord, I need You all the time. I know that You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and that all time belongs to You! In the mighty and wonderful name of Jesus, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Did The Time Go?

Just a few months ago I was eagerly anticipating my youngest daughter’s graduation from high school.  When that day and that moment arrived,  my heart was filled with mixed emotions.  I was a proud mother to see her stand before her graduating class and deliver the commencement address; but I also knew it was time to let her go.  I kept asking God where did the time go?  It seems like You just gave her to me and now. . .

And now, here  we are already in September and she has completed 2 weeks in college.  Where did the time go? I now have two in college and one beginning  his Senior year in high school.   I have watched my three children grow from babies into young adults and I can’t help but to marvel as to how the time has flown by.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was taking them to  daycare and kindergarten.  I must admit the thought of my children not being home every night has been tough at times.  Over the years I have gotten comfortable in knowing they were safe and secure in their rooms and close by if I needed to look in on them.  Now,  I’m watching my son go out in the evenings to hang out with his friends knowing that within less than a year he will also be on his way to college.  There is so much going on in the world these days, that it’s only natural you want to protect your loved ones at all times, especially your children.  You want to keep them close by as if nothing could happen to them at home, school,  church or in places we call familiar.

The Sunday afternoon I had to leave Cecily at a college 4 hours from home, I had my emotions in check (or at least I thought I did!) I was so busy running around trying to make sure she had everything she needed before we left, that I did not have much time to think about getting emotional.  Just two years before I had taken her sister to school and figured I know how this works now; I can handle it! I’m a big girl! I’ve got this all under control!

Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened. As soon as it came time to give our hugs goodbye, I realized this was it. This was the moment of letting go!   Where did the 18 years go?  When I saw Cecily hugging her brother and sister goodbye, the tears just started to flow.  I could not stop them!  As I hugged her and the tears continued to flow, I said another prayer over my child and her new journey in life.  I gave thanks to the Lord for blessing me with her.  I  told Him that I was trusting Him even more to keep watch over her.

 You see, I needed this reassurance for me more so than I needed it for Cecily. For the past 18 years I’ve known this day would come. I’ve known that my assignment was to raise Cecily as best I could and to encourage her to have her own relationship with God.  He tells us in Isaiah 55 (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

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Cecily Elise Matthews, although I am marveling at how fast the time has flown by, I know you are in God’s hands and you will continue to flourish.  He has a greater purpose and plan for you and it will be fulfilled.  Because of this, I am ok with the letting go and allowing you to grow and prosper according to His divine will. You are a blessing to me and I am blessed because you call me mommy!

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The link below is a post I had the opportunity to write when my oldest daughter graduated from high school 2 years ago. The words “Take Courage” still resonate within me today.  Thanks, to my sister Change Agents, Renee and Roslyn! Love you both!

http://doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com/2011/06/take-courage.html