Tuesday, December 23, 2008

See You Next Year!

I just wanted to wish you the best during this season and want to remind everyone that in the midst of the gift giving, visiting and traveling...please remember that the celebration is that God's word was fulfilled and a son was born and they called Him Jesus. This is the LIVE manifestation of the progression to the cross that Christ walked to redeem our lost souls with the shedding of His blood...HE had to be born in order to die. So we celebrate His birth because... God so loved the world that HE gave His only begotten Son, that whoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)

Please share Christ with others during this holiday time and tell your kids the truth that there is no Santa Claus. God has provided your monies for you to bless your children and to give the credit to a man in a red suit ain't cute or godly:) Just thought I would throw that in there. Give God the credit and the glory for ALL HE has done for you!!!!

I am on vacation and will be back to writing in the beginning of the new year, please stop by then to visit....Thank you and many blessing!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Once Was Lost

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found twas blind but now I see.

Have you ever set out on a trip or looked up directions on mapquest and got lost? Maybe a friend gave you really bad directions? Maybe you are just someone who thinks you know everything and how to get everywhere without direction and find yourself lost often....I know, I know, you eventually find your way:) Have you ever been in a car with someone who wouldn't admit they were lost? But everyone else in the car knew it because they were dizzy from going in circles? LOL.

What does life feel like when you are lost? A bit helpless? A bit embarrassed? Maybe scary if you are lost in a bad neighborhood? Fear of running out of gas before you are safely at your destination? Unsure of whether it is safe to roll down your window to ask for directions (depending on where you are lost). Has it ever been dark and you couldn't see the street signs clearly?

Have you ever asked for directions and not used them and got lost? I know I am asking a lot of questions but hang in there with me, I am going somewhere...and I have the directions...LOL.

Matthew 7:14 says, But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.(NLT)

The challenge today is not for those who are lost but to those who have been found. We who are believer's who made it through the narrow gate are not very tolerant of those who still find themselves lost. When you were lost did you really know or have a sense or feel that you were lost at all? NO. Then why is it that when we cross paths with others who have no clue they are even lost we get upset with, we fuss at them, we says negative things about them (behind their back), like they just don't have a clue, why are they so bent on doing wrong, why can't they just see how bad that decision is, don't they know they are drinking themselves into the ground, why are they so hard headed, and didn't they learn from my life? Whew! That's a lot:)

To answer all those questions really quickly...NO, they don't have a clue and cannot see clearly. They have been blinded by Satan who seeks to kill, steal and destroy and once so were we blinded. That is the part we forget...that once we were the same way and people were talking to us till they were blue in the face, invited us to church and we turned that down over and over again.

I am pretty good at following directions to get to my destination but what happens with me is, I like to look at pretty houses, so I could turn down a street and just keep going and going until I have turned so many times I have no clue how to get out from where I am and don't let it be dark.....LOL. This is similar to those who have tried to find their way to happiness, peace and joy by trying all manner of religion, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. They remain lost and go deeper into the darkness the harder they look. Have you ever had someone try to lead you somewhere by the hand when you have blindfolds on and they don't? They can see clearly and walk confidently to lead you but you pull and resist a bit thinking they just might lead you into a tree or off a curb, right? I know that is how I felt, so it is no wonder why they resist when we try to show them the way while they are stuck in darkness. Only God can remove the blindfold from their minds eyes so they can see that HE is the way, the truth and the life. So we must pray for our friends, family, co-workers and bosses. This does not mean that if God gives you an opportunity to witness that you say, no I will just pray...noooooo, you speak up and share, even if all you know to do is share your testimony and then you let God do the rest...and don't get mad!

When someone is that lost, it is God who has to come and take the blinders off their eyes so that they can see clearly. It is God who has to draw them to Him. Think about where you were when HE found you, maybe in a club, in a jail cell, deep in depression, lonely, broke, homeless, etc. So you ask well what can I do if it is all up to God? You know I like when you ask me questions:)

Why not be a light along the way, hold a hand, lend a shoulder, share your testimony and sometimes God gives you the privilege of pointing the way once HE has opened their eyes and you get to experience a miracle in the life of a friend, co-worker, boss or family member.

You don't want to fuss at the lost...talk to them.
You don't want to judge the lost...pray for their eyes to be opened.
You don't want to throw your hands up in the air in frustration...wrap your arms around them and display God's love for them.

We always think that the lost have to be at the end of their rope or hit rock bottom, lose a leg, almost lose their life (and some do) to come to Christ, BUT what if God decided to love them to Him instead...through you? Would HE be able to count on His love in your life to win a soul for Him???

If it weren't for God's grace we would still be lost! Praise God for being found!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WHERE IS THE LOVE...During The Holidays??

I believe God allows us to experience and go through things sometimes to open our eyes, to move us from where we are and sometimes to share it with others. In what I share below, I believe all three are true for me (I am included and have found myself lacking as well).

WOW! It is another holiday season, the perfect time for all of us to neglect and show how much we do not care about each other. The perfect time of year to really show the people in our lives that our love for them is not genuine at all but really very superficial. It is a time to come together with family, leaving all others behind to fend for themselves while thinking nothing of the single mother, the widow, the poor or less fortunate that are in your circle of friends or acquaintances, not to mention those outside of it. If those in our circles are not being cared for then you know we are not considering those in the world that need a love touch from God through us. This doesn't quite sound like a holiday card I would want to receive, what about you? Thanks Guys for not remembering me during the holidays, thanks for not calling and for thinking about you and only you. Have a blessed day, Happy Thanksgiving! NOT! Oh, silly me, I forgot, we are too busy cooking and making plans for an exciting holiday for ourselves.

I was sitting at the dining room table thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's when a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. What are me and the girls going to do for Thanksgiving? My parents are in Florida every year at Thanksgiving so they are excluded from this scenario:) My grandparents are away this year too. Suddenly I felt unloved and lonely because we had no one to spend the holiday with. I heard many people making plans, but they didn't include us, as a matter of fact only 2 friends asked what I was going to do for Thanksgiving and when I said I have no plans they rushed on to share there plans and then said good-bye.

My heart was greatly saddened. I felt a couple of things. One was how we rush around and make our plans and don't invite God into them. I now, have a small glimpse of what that might feel like to Him. Two, that we as believer's have lost what is most important in our lives according to God--LOVE.

Personally, I have many people who call me friend and sistergirl but year after year, holiday after holiday no one thinks about checking to see if we have some place to be for the holidays and open their home to us or invite us to tag along with them. I even have family within a 6-10 mile radius and they do not check on us and ask us whether we have plans or invite us to share a meal with them. Shame on all of us when we can't think past our own agenda to see God's agenda. I ask you...WHERE IS THE LOVE?

Do we even ask God who HE wants us to spend some holiday time with...of course not, we spend it with who we want to spend it with, I know you are probably saying, come on Michelle...It's not that deep. I beg to differ. Everything about God and His love is deep, maybe we are just too shallow to tread in the deep waters of God's kind of love. Yes, the pun was intended:)

No wonder people have trouble believing in our God, the One True God whose claim to fame is a love that would put His own son on the cross to die for our sins, yet His people won't stretch a bit to invite someone into their well organized plans for the holiday. No wonder Christ is laughed at, no wonder people don't believe. We are doing a less than acceptable job as a people of being a lamp unto the world of God's love.

What are you doing this holiday season that shows the love of Christ to a dying world of lost souls. Are you leaving them to fend for themselves? Lonely and depressed because no one thinks highly enough of them to show them some love. What greater gift of love can be given than a man lay down his life for a friend? Christ was the ultimate example. The sad part of this story is that we as believer's lack the love of Christ in our lives. His love is not selfish or self seeking, His love has spoken from the cross, a sinless man dying in our place, His love has embraced us and called us His own even when we were a terrible mess...and the truth is we are still a mess but HE does not leave us alone and does not have us fend for ourselves.

Who do you call friend? Have you extended yourself to include them in your holiday plans? I have only been asked two times this Thanksgiving what my holiday plans are. Hmm, could it be that people are to absorbed with their own lives that they don't think about another? Who do we serve? Was not His life, is not His life from the cross to the grave from the grave to the sky all an true manifestation of His love for us? So I ask you...WHERE IS THE LOVE?

BTW (by the way)- there are no excuses that God will accept for us as believer's not making room for others. We who have been forgiven much....should be overflowing with love. I just don't get it...the great commandment is Love one another...where is God in you if you are too busy to show love to others?

CONFESSION - Since I wasn't included in anyones plans (no hard feelings:)) I am having a friend over for Thanksgiving dinner. She was not able to travel home to visit her family for the holiday. NO APPLAUSE! I blew it big time. She is coming over because she invited herself. This is not a bad thing. I should have been the one to invite her. This was a wake up call for me. I heard God loud and clear!!

Let's all get a jump start on Christmas, check out our inner circle of friends and let's not stop there, let's take a look at our acquaintances, etc. If you are not making dinner, not a problem, most families don't mind a stray person, just think about that boyfriend or girlfriend you invited everywhere, who are not even with now, they let him/her come over on the holiday. You know I am right!

Let's give the love of Christ this Christmas 2008!You know what...If we don't first love God this way, to invite Him into every area of our lives it will be nearly impossible for us to involuntarily (knee jerk reaction) love others as HE does.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Who Are You...REALLY?

Mark 8:38 "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

This question came to mind for me when I was drinking my coffee and having my quiet time this morning. When someone asks you, "So who is Michelle," (fill in your name in place of mine). Do you say, "I am the founder, owner, lawyer of such and such place? I am a mother of "X" number of children? I am a single parent or married, blah, blah, blah. Or do I say, "I am a born again believer, a Christian, a Sunday School teacher, Pastor or Deacon of my church...and then follow up with your worldly position? Or do you tell everyone who you are according to what they are looking to hear or what impresses you most about yourself? I am guilty of this same thing. We tend to give people what they want and what we know they are looking for instead of leading with who we really are. We act as if our lives having been transformed is a useless piece of information. If our relationship with Christ is priority then we should lead with what is most important to us, right?

If we, in real life were the children of a king or the children of the President, hmmm, might we lead with that. That is rather impressive, I would say and most would probably agree. We who have been washed by the blood that Christ shed on the cross for the redemption of our sins....are truly children of THE KING! Why then do we tell everyone everything else about ourselves and exclude or delay that HUGE fact? Does it embarrass us? Do we not want to be questioned or looked at as differently? Do we think it is not important? You tell me. My answer is that I simply didn't even think about it like that until this morning. Praise God for His faithfulness to reveal areas of idolatry (putting myself before Him). You might not have thought about it either because most people introduce themselves the same way. Usually we are looking for the answer ourselves of what position they hold, whether they are married and have children, etc. But wouldn't it be a great way to open the door for conversation about the Lord and possibly lead to a possible conversion? If nothing more they will know you have boundaries (hopefully) and that you are a "safe person (hopefully) and that you are open to talk to them about private matters of the heart (hopefully).

I kept saying hopefully because not everyone carries themselves like a child of the King. If you are going to lead with this, let your "walk it out" be evident, let's not give God or Christianity a bad reputation.

If you have a ministry, You must have a bio. When the bio is constructed it is usually listing all your accomplishments first and all the schools you studies at, all the awards you received, etc. THEN, last but not least....it mentions that you are a woman or man of God, a loving father of a number of children and an loving husband or wife to your spouse. WOW! It kind of sounds like we are ALL THAT all by yourself with no focus or praise to God. We close our introduction of ourselves with last but not least...."I am a Christian." From today on, let's start with what matter most to God, that is who we are in Him.

I have to go change my bio after I finish this blog:) Could it possibly be that because we have our priorities out of order, our life follows in it's footsteps and is also somewhat out of order? I wonder what would happen if we lead with our relationship to the Almighty King of heaven and earth, who rules and REIGNS over everything and everyone. Oh, and don't get His sovereignty twisted, if you are not a child of the king, HE still rules and REIGNS over your life as well. You just don't acknowledge that fact nor do you acknowledge Him.

Can you just imagine how much your witnessing/evangelizing efforts would multiply? After all we are here and have been given the Great Commission to win souls for Christ and make disciples. If you don't witness at all this would be a great way to start.

I encourage those of you who have a ministry to start out with Christ and end with Christ by saying that all that you have accomplished or been awarded is because your Heavenly Father has said well done and that it is ONLY because of Him that you have done and accomplished all you have.

I encourage you to put God first in EVERYTHING, including your bio or your introduction of yourself to anyone. The only way this would be impossible for you to do is if you really are not a child of the King or that you are not proud to be a Kings kid. There is one other reason you might struggle with this and that would be that you are prideful and looking for kudos for yourself. God knows who is sitting on the throne in your life.

Could you really have become who you are without Him, His love, His guidance, His discipline, His favor, His grace or His mercy? NO.



Sunday, November 2, 2008

Keep Running!

I was already in the process of writing my blog "Keep Running,” when a friend handed me a dvd to listen to of a young preacher, age seventeen named Reggie Shaw. The topic of his message was “Running The Race.” I decided to incorporate some of his points, which are in quotations in my blog along with my own points:)

Hebrews 12:1-3, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I ask you as my running partners for Christ, do you ever get tired? Be honest. Do you serve till you feel like you have no serve left in you? Does it seem like every time you pick up the phone it is another counseling session? Are you constantly trying to help people who don't seem to want to help themselves? Does it seem sometimes that it would just be easier to look out for you and leave everyone else to fend for themselves? I believe that most people who have been running the Christian race have felt this way at one time or another. But don't stop running.

Let me encourage you today that it is not all up to you. Reggie convinced me when he said, "That we are not called to run a 100 yard dash race for the Lord because the Bible says, the race is not given to the swift. We are not called to run a long distance race because many have been born and not lived long but have made a tremendous impact on the world for Christ. We have not even been called to run a marathon race because a marathon race is only about our self, how well we do, how long we can run, about me crossing the finish line, etc." He says, "I believe God has called us to run a RELAY RACE. Here is the proof...someone was running before you and me and they ran hard for the Lord, whether it was our mom/dad, grandparents, etc., and they passed the baton down to us. Someone else served and died to self before us. So we must run to endure and be able to pass the baton on down to our children."

If you aren't in the race or decided you were worn out, I encourage you to get up. The Bible also says that God is capable to have us mount up with wings as eagles, to run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.

You know what our problem is? We are too busy trying to be the star of the track team instead of a team player. Everyone is trying to perform so they can get a leadership role in the church, in the ministry, on the choir, on the Deacon Board, etc. Too many chiefs and not enough disciples of Christ--who was a servant and content to serve. Even if you can be a chief, sometimes God puts you in the relay in His choice of order. Some people are starters, some take the second leg or third leg and some bring it on home. Can you serve God without getting a pat on the back or a leadership role? Hmmm.

In Hebrews chapter 12, God gave us a race to run. Reggie also said, "You may be wondering, if Jesus set us free when HE died on the cross and redeemed us over 2,000 years ago and we are already saved, why we still have to run?" As always, I am so glad you asked. He gives this example. "Let's think about baseball for a moment. Did you ever wonder why a player who hits a home run that is knocked clear out the ballpark has to still run the bases? Personally I would be thinking that if I can hit a home run, then I should be able to go sit down. So I asked my granddad and he said, "They have to run all the bases to complete the play."

Did you hear that?

"What Jesus did was knock the ball out of the park on sin when HE died on the cross but Jesus said you got to go around first, second, third base and slide into home someday to complete the play." WOW!

No matter how bad things are in your life you have to keep on running. Praise God for the people in the faith hall of fame who can encourage us when we get tired, and weary, when we get a cramp that has us stop for a moment, like a wayward child, a health issue, a death in the family... get up and keep on running. Job was attacked in every way and kept on running. Paul was imprisoned and kept on running. Daniel was in a lion’s den and kept on running. Meshach, Shadrach & Abednigo were in the fiery furnace and they came out running. Joseph was falsely accused, put in prison and he came out running. Others have run the race and won; we are not the only one who has struggled.

Let's look at how this passage tells us to run a race. First, we must look at our crowd of witnesses in verse 1. The "therefore" takes us back to Hebrews chapter 11, which is the hall of faith. Those that I mentioned above are there along with Abraham, Rahab, Moses, Isaac, Jacob and many others. We need to look at their stories and be encouraged to keep running. Next, we need to remove all weights that so easily entangle us. Think about people who run professionally in the Olympics. They wear tight clothes when they run, not to show off their bodies but so they so they can run and not get entangled by the wind--the wind holds back a runner. What is holding you back from running your race for Jesus? Do you have too much stuff on you and in your life?

Reggie says, "Some things can be weights that are not sin. It is not a sin to have a boyfriend but is your boyfriend a weight? It is not a sin to have a cell phone but if you talk more on your cell phone than you talk to God, it can become a weight. If you spend more money on your shoes than you put in an offering plate, it could become a weight."

What are the weights holding you from running? Attitude, gossiping, pornography? Maybe a lack of patience or perseverance is your weight? We cannot represent God with a whole bunch of stuff on us.

Last point; remember who already won the victory. We may get cramps, we may sweat, and get tired but I encourage you to look to God who is the author and finisher of our faith. Don't look at your circumstances. I like how Reggie said it, he said, "Take your eyes off your reality and put your eyes on Jesus!"

I encourage you to choose friends that are committed to the race. Wrong friends may have values and participate in activities that hold you back in the race. Much of our own weight may be from the crowd of people we hang with. If you have an addiction to alcohol, pornography or gambling, admit it and get help with it, don't let pride come before your destruction. We must give up whatever endangers our relationship with God so we can run with endurance through the power of the Holy Spirit.

My question to you today is whatever your circumstance, no matter how tired you are in this race.... Will you keep on running to complete the play?

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit: http:www.hereignsministries.org/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Check in soon!

Hello Friends,

I will be back to writing in a couple of days, I have been facing some real challenges in my life right now. Don't be alarmed HE still Reigns! God is showing me more and more about Himself. I will have some exciting stuff to share when I get back on my blogging so check back in a couple of days, I already see the light at the end of the tunnel (no scipture reference for that quote:))

Be Blessed!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Halloween OR Not To Halloween?

Halloween Is More Than Candy And Costumes!

Dear Friends,

God has placed it upon my heart to share with you some things regarding Halloween. I have discovered in the past few years that many Christian are unaware of the origin and history of Halloween and therefore celebrate this pagan holiday. We are to be watchful about everything so that the enemy can't slip stuff past us. What does God's Word have to say on the subject?

First, let me say that you will not find anywhere in the Bible where a command (an explicit, authorized, non-negotiable instruction in accordance with the Word of God) is given that reads thou shall not participate in Halloween, but there are many principles (implied, general truth that is to be used as a basis for reasoning and conduct) in the Word of God that would strongly point to a believer not participating in Halloween activities. Some scriptures you can look up to see how God feels about the underlying activities that are apart of Halloween are: Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Exodus 22:18, Acts 19:11-16, Ephesians 6:10-18, Ephesians 5:1-14.

I was encouraged at our church service last night that we should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion, meaning that we are painfully aware that those who do not have a relationship with Christ face a great terror, which is God's wrath, on Judgement Day if they have not accepted Him.

In my article below you will see what I have done regarding Halloween for my family. At the same time, celebrating Halloween is a matter of conscience before God, so you need to make your own, informed, decision. I pray that after you have checked out the history, read my article below, and prayed about it yourself that you will be fully persuaded not to participate in Halloween activities knowing that each person individually will stand and give an account to God of ourselves.

HE Reigns!

QUESTION? As a Christian, how do you feel about Halloween? Have you ever thought about how God might feel about it? Do you care? We get so caught up in the hype--candy in every store is tempting each one of us to dive in. Halloween stores are stocked up with costumes and trick-or-treat bags for carrying all the candy. Lots of people have their homes decorated. Haunted houses are sending out invitations and posting signs everywhere, and those ever-famous hay rides are being packed with hay for the ride of your life on a night celebrating pagan worship. OUCH! Did anyone just fall off the wagon:)? What I am really asking is has it never crossed your mind that ghosts, goblins, witches, and skeletons are characters from the "dark" side? So have you just gone along with Halloween because it is a holiday on the calendar and everyone seems to celebrate it? I know, I know, you don't let your children dress up in "bad" costumes; instead they are angels and princesses and camels, etc. BUT my question is, when God looks down on earth on Halloween night will HE wonder why His children are participating, in any way?

As believer's we cannot afford to have an "If you can't beat them, join them" attitude.

Ephesians 4:17-24 says, With the Lord's authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn't what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.

I encourage you to search out information about Halloween, its history and origin, although the history and origin hasn't changed--I was shocked to see how many articles from "believer-based" sites had changed their minds about Halloween and that permission was actually being given for Christians to participate in all the activities of Halloween and live it up! I was outdone by the compromise and justification, and in some cases denial, as I read page after page telling believers to just go ahead and do as the world does. I am not talking about the believers and churches that offer a Harvest time or an alternative to the traditional Halloween festivities. I am addressing those that would rather find a way to make a way and make room for Halloween in their Christian lives. To be honest, the excuses I have heard personally were that most parents really don't want the challenge or seeming aggravation it will cause to tell their children--NO. Not even for the redeemed blood of Christ. WOW!

Calling all Saints!--Let's wake up and smell the coffee! Does the Bible change? I don't care about the philosophy of all the human people that change their minds like we change our underwear, on a day-to-day basis. I am talking about God's Word being the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. How will they hear without a witness and what kind of witness can we be if we are doing what they do, dressing how they dress and marching to the same beat as those caught up in the world? Where is the salt? Where is the Light? We are citizens of Heaven not of earth!

Now I am not suggesting that the whole Christian community shut down on October 31st. What I am suggesting is that you pray about what God would have you do, that HE might get the glory. If your whole office is dressing up or you were voted best costume last year, maybe you would choose not to dress up this year and when they ask you why, use it as an opportunity to mention Christ. Or maybe you hosted the last Halloween party for children or adults and everyone wants to come again, so you tell them you will not be the host this year and again use this as opportunity to witness. Maybe you led the parade of costumed children through the halls of their school for their Halloween parade and this year you decline and when they ask why, you use it as an opportunity to mention God.

I personally go many steps further. My children do not color Halloween pictures, dress up like a witch or an angel or a cowboy or a princess, they do not sing Halloween songs in music class and do not read Halloween stories. Of course, they do not walk in the parade, even dressed in regular clothing. You might think this is a bit extreme, BUT I have shared with my children the history and origin of Halloween and they have been able to handle themselves well when other children ask them why they are not participating.

What is interesting to me is that I think it is harder for parents to say 'no' than for children to accept 'no.' You can use Halloween night to plan a family outing that they look forward to. One year during school time I found out what time the parade and festivities were going to be and I made dental and doctor appointments for my children so they could be excused from school. Parents, we cannot be lazy when it comes to teaching our children and living by principles and not preferences!

For anyone who has made it this far down into the article--bless you! Maybe God has made your heart tender to Him and maybe you just never thought about this at all or never researched it for yourself so you could make biblical decisions. You can ask God for forgiveness and you still have time to make new decisions before October 31st. I know it can be hard to make these life-changing decisions. Sometimes you just have to stop and ask yourself--Me or God? This will also tell you who is in control of your life and who you seek to please--OUCH! Ask yourself this question too--Is it worth the cost to find out when you stand before God on Judgment Day that you were wrong about your full or partial participation in Halloween, that you sold out and compromised? Is it too much to sacrifice for the One you say you love?

This challenge is not coming from someone that never participated in Halloween. My mom used to sew Halloween costumes for me when I was about 2 years old, and boy were they the cutest things. I was the hit of the neighborhood. I was a pumpkin with a green stem hat, you couldn't find a better outfit in the stores. I have also been on my share of hayrides and been to many haunted houses in my teenage life. (My parents had stopped Halloween for us when we were younger).

But, I have grown up and have my own children now. God has entrusted them to me and it is my responsibility to make God-honoring decisions for them. I have talked to them about Halloween and they have been making a stand in school ever since. One of my daughters was supposed to color witches and ghosts and she told her teacher, very politely, "I cannot do that." The teacher said ok. My other daughter was in music class and they were singing Halloween songs and she did not open her mouth to sing. I did not see this as defiance anymore than Daniel and his friends not bowing to the king's statue. She did not get into trouble. Of course I talked to their teachers first and then had the girls--STAND! They both asked what would happen if the teachers insisted that they participate. I told them that if the teachers decided to sit them down or take away recess or send them to the principal's office, they were to say--'I understand,' and then go. I told them they would not be in trouble with me. If you could see the look on their faces when they came home--excited about some stands they made for the Lord. Ya'll, although my girls are 7 and 9 years old, I am raising them to be like Daniel, Meshack, Shadarack and Abednigo.

Can God count on you as well? Is there room for Halloween in pursuing holiness...in your "walk it out"?

When it is all said and done, your decision is between you and God. I just ask you to do your reasonable service and pray about your family's involvement in Halloween and see what God speaks to your heart. Not all things are listed in the Bible as DO & DON'T DO, but God never changes and neither does His character.

Michelle says, "Hmm"Honestly, I just don't see why there has to be an alternative--period. Why do we always have to match the world 1 for 1? Don't get me wrong I am not saying anything is wrong at all with the events themselves that we plan. All I am saying is that we still try to allow children to have the same experiences that the world has... we just make it more clean. How does this teach our children to stand up and stand out for God??? Don't bow down.

Having soft Halloween events prior to Halloween or after does not deter parents from taking their children out on Halloween as well. I guess it reminds me of a Christian movie I saw called, "Time Changers." In this movie the main point from the very beginning was--we offer an alternative but with no message of Christ, what good is that? People must know that there is an authority in our world that we follow.

What might be more productive and this is JUST A SUGGESTION--That we as congregations should hook up with surrounding churches and hold a prayer meeting (kind of) since we are to witness everyday anyway, pulling together to pray against any pagan stuff or forces of darkness-it might be "community" effective. Wouldn't God's church stand out that way and give Him glory? If churches didn't want to come together they could have prayer meeting at their own church and or a mini service to give members an opt out from the pressures of the trick or treat craze. NO candy allowed. (There are times when we all know the best we can do for some people is pray, especially if we know they are going to do what they want to do anyway.) I am just interested in how we as believers can make the biggest difference--and there are many ways, not just my one little suggestion. We have services for all our other major holidays but not Halloween, isn't that odd??


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Monday, October 6, 2008

Is Your Walk Worthy?

Where do you find your encouragement and your examples for walking out a life worthy of being called a Christian? Don't tell me...the Bible, right? Good, that is always the best place to go. You know what I think is interesting--that back when Christ walked the earth...see HE had a walk it out too. HE encouraged others not to "just" be called Christians, but to go and make disciples, Matthew 28:19. I love how Francis Chan put it, "Some people believe that we can be Christians without being disciples. I wonder then why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that HE commanded. You'll notice that HE didn't add, 'But hey, if that's to much to ask, tell them to just become Christians--you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.' " MY, MY, MY, makes you think doesn't it?

What is a disciple? We will look at this definition based on what Jesus Himself says a disciple is. John 8:31: "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you ABIDE in My word, you are My disciples indeed.' " So a disciple abides (to comply; to obey; to conform; to stay; to tolerate). This is an online dictionary definition. Basically, we are to imitate Christ and be a learner of Him. There is more involved in this as we search Scripture. We are also called to BEAR FRUIT, John 15:8: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." Hmm, what is fruit? I am going to assume that you know that it's not apples and oranges:) Fruit is the evidence of knowing someone or walking with them. I like to say, "That it is an undeniable evidence that you are connected.

Let's move on to the next criteria for being a disciple. If we LOVE ONE ANOTHER we are His disciples, John 13:35: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Do you show love to your family? Do those who attend your church receive love from you? Do the teachers and principal at your children's schools or a school you may be attending know you to be a loving person?

The last thing I want to mention is FEEDING HIS SHEEP, John 21:15-16. What does this mean? How do we feed Jesus' sheep? How about caring for other believers. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do and don't have that we neglect the needs of others. Wouldn't it be great if more believer's would take God's Word seriously and stop trying to change it so that it fits and justifies our selfish, 'me centered' lives? There are no excuses for not giving to help others if the God you serve is really sovereign and good. Would HE ask you to do something that was not of benefit to you? In Acts 20:35 it says that it is better to give than receive. Think for a minute about the times you did give: Didn't you feel great joy? Weren't you happy to help someone? Didn't God bless you?

I want to share something with you. I haven't always understood the principles behind giving, so this blog is not to condemn but to inform and encourage. God has a sense of humor, HE really started working with my giving (not my tithe, because I have always done that), but giving to support other ministries, those less fortunate and those suffering for the sake of Christ in other countries....right when monies got tight in my own life. You know I had a moment but as I searched God's Word and looked at His principles and commands and the benefits...'cause you know we don't want to do nothing without benefits, what a shame:( I became more convicted that even in my financial state where ends were not meeting...they didn't know each other and couldn't even see each other...that I needed to give and watch what God said would happen unfold right before my eyes. I figured, ends don't meet now anyway, what do I have to lose!

I gave, even though rent was around the corner; I gave even though my car payment was on the horizon; I gave even though we needed groceries...and guess what happened? God showed up and showed out. Monies for rent came in from unexpected places; people who listen to God responded to His call on my behalf. WOW! I spent more time on this characteristic of a disciple because I think it is one of the hardest for most people to do...give and trust God.

So my question to you today is...Are others able to look at your life and see that you are a disciple of Christ? Do you have the characteristics of a disciple? Are others able to come to you and get biblical advice? Do others want to follow you because you are committed to making disciples for Christ? Can others look in the Bible at the disciples and say, "You know that is like Mrs. So and So or Mr. So and So?"

Does Christ have a disciple in you today? Do you abide or hide? Do you show fruit or has your fruit wilted? Do you love others or only love yourself and those that are lovable? Are you willing to feed Jesus' sheep, care for the poor and the less fortunate? Will you even care for those that are believers that are your brothers and sisters in the Lord or do you leave that up to someone else?

This is a lot to think about but it is really time for us to take a long hard look at ourselves. We need to compare our actions, commitments, convictions, attitudes, etc. to the Word and stop comparing ourselves to others who make us feel good because they do more ungodly stuff than we do. The truth that will set you free is available when you look at yourself in the mirror of the Word.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Leave It All Behind?

If God asked you to sell everything you had, right now, no time to think, just respond, what is your initial response. Are questions running through your mind, like, Why? When?, Is that really necessary?, How will I take care of myself or my family?, Pay the bills?, Where would I sleep?, Eat, etc? We might feel a bit queasy, huh? Up to this point it was somewhat easy to follow God or maybe we had nothing so nothing equals nothing so we could more easily see responding favorably to God's request. Maybe you were raised in a family that modeled a level of surrender to Christ so you by nature of the family you were raised in learned to submit and sacrifice to a degree. BUT what happens when God asks you for all you got? I have just recently been in a situation like that where I was feeling pretty good about my spiritual accomplishments and some sacrifices I have made as a result of getting closer to God.

On a day back in August, I will never forget the day because I had a moment like the young man in Luke 18:18-24 when Jesus spoke to a rich young man. The rich man wanted to know what he could do to inherit eternal life. This young man had it made financially. When I read it, it almost made me think that eternal life was going to just be another trophy this man wanted to claim to put on his mantle. Jesus knew what was in this man's heart so HE started off with some things the man had done successfully. I can picture this guy holding a clipboard in his mind saying, "check" after everything Jesus told him he must do to inherit eternal life.

I think we do that sometimes...I go to church faithfully, I attend Bible study in the middle of the week even though I am worn out, I serve in a ministry at the church that I know wouldn't make it without me, the neighbors' kids come to my door every other day asking if they can eat over, so that's helping the less fortunate, right? And the list goes on and on. We may even do all of this with a wonderful attitude and we feel pretty good about ourselves. Unfortunately, like the young rich man this is not going to cut it. Jesus said to the young man, "There is still one thing you haven't done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN come follow me."

OUCH! That had to hurt. Sounds like Jesus is asking him to put something off to add something different on. Can you just feel how that cut so deep and how this guy instantly became sad. He didn't have to think about what Jesus said, he knew he was rich, he knew how to add and subtract and this was a big subtraction Jesus wanted him to make. I am not so sure that it would have mattered how much the man had.

As I look around my apartment, at my furniture, clothes and shoes, it could be a challenge to sell it all and walk away with what is on my back. Can any of you say it would not cause a pause in the conversation? I can hear us now, well, Lord, did I hear you right? I can't make my ends meet and you want me to give to the poor or help another believer out...what about me! Let me pray about this some more 'cause I would hate to be hasty in this decision, and so on. I can identify with the man's feelings.

God may not ask us to sell everything to follow Him but I do believe that if we are to follow Him our mindset should be more like Paul's when he says in Philippians 3:8, Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.(NLT) Praise God HE hasn't asked everyone to literally sell everything but my question to you today is...Can you let it all go? We try to take all of our "stuff" from our worldly success on the job, our bios in ministry, our accomplishments and who we know with us everywhere we go, to prove to others that we are somebody.

What is interesting is that just like us, this man was standing in the face of God and didn't even realize it. How do you ask God, who owns all, controls all, knows all, etc. what will I do and how will I get by. If HE asks us to give something up, HE's got us.

Anyway, my conversation with God led me down a path where I was willing to let go of all things. As I looked around my apartment I knew that I could let it go. I even talked to my girls about it and asked them if they could let go of what we have to follow Christ somewhere and we didn't know where. I gave specific details of what that would look like and they said yes...I tell you to love Christ like a child!

As time went on and I had prayed more, God said to me, ok now that you are willing to leave all the other "stuff" behind, there is one thing that you still have not done...YIKES! I was terrified at what was going to be said next. I, like the young man, knew what it took for me to die to self in these area and be willing to have to move in with someone, not have space for all the clothing and shoes and no privacy....WHEW! God said to me, I want you, all of you. I almost passed out, 'cause just as quickly as that young man became sad, I went there with Him. What more could God have wanted?? Things like… you still control "you", you have done great at not controlling others, I am proud of your growth but will you give me you? This meant all my personal preferences don't come into play anymore when HE asks me to do something.

Please tell me ya'll can feel me right now:) I have to be honest with you and tell you that I wasn't feeling this the slightest bit. Because for me this meant that HE could allow harm to come to my children, HE could allow a family member to die, HE could do all the things that God can do, to grow any of us. I acted like, if I don't say yes to God it was going to control what HE could and couldn't allow into my life. Silly me! I think I pouted for a while. Finally, I surrendered, I cried, I felt my wretchedness in the presence of a Holy God! Who am I! I let it go, I realized I wasn't capable of holding onto something myself anyway. Had I just committed idolatry...Yes. Had I just made myself equal to God...Yes. I was a mess.

I, like Paul, beg you today by the mercies of God (because of all His blessings) that you present yourselves as a living sacrifice (alive and doing His will daily, carrying your cross) holy (set apart for Him) and acceptable (living in right standing with Him) unto Him (for Him only), which is your reasonable (not considered extreme or excessive) service.

WOW! HE is not asking too much! You know how the enemy tricks us into believing it is so hard to do what God asks?? Now I am not going to blame it all on the enemy, actually, we play our part first. We don't keep good records of all God has done for us, our families, etc. Some of us were told we would never have a baby and here she/he came, some of us were told we would amount to nothing and here we are bigger and better than ever, some of us almost died or should have died and we are still alive and kickin'. You know what God has brought you through, saved you from, and kept in spite of. Because we don't keep clean, clear, updated records of who God has been is our lives we allow the enemy to minimize God's value in our hearts.

Take some time to think back over your life and see how God has shown His love to you and it will be much easier to surrender, ALL. Where else is there to go? Who else is greater to follow? Ask God what is standing between you and Him.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All Things

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Roman 8:28
For we know that ALL things work together for them that love Him, a familiar verse, right? Then why does this not seem to be true for everyone? I have heard it said that no matter what we set out to do, a lot of times it just doesn’t seem to work toward anything good for us? I ask you this question…do we REALLY LOVE HIM? We can’t expect the verse to apply to us just because it sounds good and it is encouraging. We have to look at the verse as a whole. Do we really Love God? I am reading a book by Francis Chan that asked that question and then he proceeded to question if maybe we just LOVE what HE does and we just might not even love Him at all.
This promise is only for those who love God and are called by Him; those whom the Holy Spirit convinces to receive Christ…have you been convinced? This verse is for those whose minds have been transformed, those who have a new perspective, a new way of thinking. If your treasure is in worldly things, this is not for you. If your security is in earth and not heaven, this is not for you. This is for those whose faith in God does not waver in pain and persecution…why? Because we know God is with us.
The second part of the verse says that this is to them that are called according to His purpose. It is important for the activation of this verse in our lives that we know that we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ--that we are children of the Most High, that we have acknowledged that we are sinners in need of a Savior and that we have repented of our sins and believe that Christ died on the cross to save us from the pit of hell. If we know this to be true in our lives, then we can have the confidence that even if we don’t see the good or can’t understand how something negative may be working for our good…It is good because God said it is.
God loves us, not because of what we have or who we have become…HE just loves us. Can we truly say the same thing, that we love Him just because HE is God? This means that if HE never did anything for us, would we still love Him or does what HE does for us have us believe we love Him? Francis Chan said, “That we tend to act like a kid with God who can say to their parents, I don’t love you and don’t want to be with you but will you give me my allowance.” Deep isn’t it?
The Bible says our hearts are deceitfully wicked. I know it hurts to look at the wickedness of our hearts and be willing to be honest about where we are regarding loving God, BUT we need to see how we treat God sometimes so we can have a reality check and get a grip! Do you spend time with Him? How often do you think about Him throughout the day? Is HE a priority or do you fit Him into your day where you can? Are you living according to His Word? Do you get excited about Him? Do you stand in AWE of Him? How much time do you spend praising and worshipping Him?
We are not capable of loving God on our own, by our own power; it is His grace that allows us to love Him. Does anyone besides me need more grace to love God the way HE longs to be loved? Let’s ask God to give us a desire for more love for Him, knowing that this stretching in love for God will have us live radically for Him because there will be nothing we won’t do for Him.

For more information on HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit: www.hereignsministries.org

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who Holds The Hammer?

Have you ever been crucified? Maybe not on a wooden cross plunged into the ground at Golgotha on a hill in Jerusalem, but maybe you have been beaten, abused, slandered, stripped of your dignity, raped, etc. I believe to one degree or another all of us have suffered at the hand of someone else. Can you think back to how you felt when these troubles came? Some of us don’t have to think too far back or maybe someone is in a situation right now that seems unbearable and hopeless. Who do you blame, what is your focus, who are your eyes on?

Well our example should be Christ. HE was blameless within Himself and yet we as a people beat Him, spit on Him, slandered His name, raped Him of His title and glory, disrespected Him and, dignity…we torn that down as much as we could as we walked beside Him up the hill to the cross where HE would lay down His life for us, and we were throwing out curses along the way. Why did HE do it, why didn’t HE stop? Why didn’t HE change His mind?

I suggest to you that Jesus knew God’s plan for HE was there when the plan was made. HE had already seen the beginning from the end, HE already knew how filthy our sin was and this is why HE came to save us. When we have bad things happen to us, know that God has a plan, that HE knows what outcome HE is looking for and that no one can do anything that HE doesn’t allow. There is a songwriter named Wes King who wrote a song called, “HE Chose the Nails.” Here are a few of the lyrics from the chorus,

The hand that held the hammer was the hand of God
The hand that took the nail was His only Son
The doors of heaven opened as HE opened up His hands
And it rained down mercy and it rained down mercy

Now you tell me how we are to handle our crosses? What if, when trouble comes, we remember who holds the hammer in our circumstances instead of looking at the human being as the one holding the hammer. In this way we will be able to forgive as Christ did because HE didn’t pay so much attention to us that it had Him change His mind. HE knew the redemption plan was already made and that God also has a plan for our lives. The cross, the hammer and the nails were needed to fulfill God’s plan. The painful situations that we find ourselves in are also part of the Master’s plan and as long as our perspective is heavenly minded and not earthly minded we can see that it is all working according to God’s will. HE never lost control when His Son was on the cross, and HE never second-guessed His plan to save us from the depths of hell.

You know what the great part of the story is, HE rained down mercy! Whatever we go through, although it may seem like death at times…mercy said no to death and yes to victory in Christ!

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Salt, Please!

How many of you like the taste of salt? I think it would be safe to say that most everyone enjoys the flavor of salt. I know there are some people with high blood pressure who may no longer get to safely enjoy the flavor of salt and have to use salt substitutes or no salt at all. For those who can’t have salt right now, I just have to ask you to remember back when you could enjoy salt on your food.
I was at Old Country Buffet with a friend of mine this morning and I had a plate full of potatoes with green and red pepper and onions mixed together. It had some taste but it wasn’t “popping’” with flavor, so I added salt. My friend said, “Oh my, look at all the salt you put on those potatoes.” I nicely looked at him and said, “Without salt these potatoes have no real distinct flavor, if there were no salt I wouldn’t eat them.” This made me think about what the scripture says in Matthew 5:13, Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. In other words…if we are to be the flavor or savor, the seasoning in this world but we rather be a salt substitute (someone who acts like a Christian, or a person who is just by nature a somewhat nice person) then we have lost our flavor. It is no wonder Christians are not impacting the world, it is no wonder churches have lost their impact in their communities, it’s no wonder our families are falling apart like those in the world, it’s no wonder why Christian divorce rate is equal to the worlds divorce rate.
I want to shake things up at bit today…yes, pun intended. I ask you--where is the salt? Are you the salt or the substitute? Will you stand up and be counted in the kingdom or are you afraid that you just might give someone high blood pressure in the name of Jesus for mentioning your association to Him. Let’s repent for our lack of godly flavor, for our complacency, for our compromise, for denying Christ through keeping our mouths shut when for the sake of Christ we should open them and boldly proclaim the Word of God. Let’s no longer stand idly by and watch people we pass and come in contact with walk out of our presence without introducing them to the One we call our Savior--to God.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008


Have you ever had something come into your life and shake the very fibers of your being? Just like a hurricane comes in with strong winds and blows over trees and knocks down houses and you feel overwhelmed, or floods rush in and you find yourself sinking into despair or maybe lightening has struck in your heart and paralyzed you with fear. I have had all of these things happen to me at some point in my life and actually at regular intervals. If you have only had to experience this once or twice, take a moment to Praise the Lord that HE has not made this an integral part of your training in your purpose. Because God had allowed these things to be a major part of my life, I have had to learn how to maneuver, adjust and get a grip! (One of my favorite sayings.)

I could tell you many stories about how at one point in my life, age 13, I wanted to be dead just because of how horrible my childhood was to me. I could tell you how devastated I was to find out that I was supposed to be aborted and then how I lived but turned around and had abortions. I could tell you of my failed marriage or how my father was not there for me emotionally when I needed him most, or maybe how I have now been single for 13 years after divorce, waiting on the Lord to bring the man in my life that HE knows is suited for me, or maybe how I have struggled with family members misunderstanding me from a very young age. The list goes on and on. Mind you these are the small things, so if you agree that they might bring some pain, some overwhelming feelings and some fear, I don’t know that you could handle the BIG stuff that I have suffered.

Let’s get some great advice from someone who had his world rocked and stood strong as a rock. Daniel. After Judah was captured, Daniel and others were taken to a foreign land. In this land Daniel was surrounded by idolaters--those who worshipped gods other than his God. In a foreign land, in circumstance that we do not understand, in crisis, in the midst of drama or life changes--we have to make sure we hold tight to our God. This was Daniel’s foundation. Although he was stripped from his country and his people he held on tight to the Lord. Daniel could have given in or given up but he remained courageous in the midst of it all because he knew God as sovereign!

Could it just be that Daniel had the mindset that if God is sovereign, then what happens in his life is bigger than just him? Similar to the Joseph story where Joseph’s dreams, although they were about him becoming great and people bowing down to him, had a greater meaning in that he was being positioned to save his family after the hard times of being throw into a pit, sold into slavery and then accused of rape and put in prison. Daniel was a forerunner for others as well. God was working out His plan for nations and individuals. God used Daniel to touch and change many people’s lives in Babylon (sin city, idolaters’ den, material haven, etc).

Maybe you have found yourself in a strange or foreign land, maybe you have had some hard knocks or a lifestyle of hard knocks. I encourage you today to take heart and know that God’s plans are bigger than us. Know that every hardship is not meant to sink your ship, that every rough road is not meant to curb you, nor is every bum deal meant to deal you out. God is sovereign and brings into our lives exactly what will prepare us for our purpose: some good, some not so good and some downright horrible. But if we know that God allowed it, we can rest assured that it will work toward our purpose and if it works toward our purpose then it is a driving factor that will fuel passion to accomplish what God has put in us.

This is how I make it through the storms in my life: I count it all joy….James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” You can think as James does also, not that you get excited or happy about the hardship but that you know the hardship has purpose to get you right where God wants you-- in the center of His perfect will….you can find joy in that!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Lies The Enemy Tells Us About God #2

Have you ever thought..."God should fix my problems?" Sure you and I have both thought that at one time or another or for some of us--this is a daily belief. I think most of us know deep down that we should not expect God to fix all our problems but we tend to act like we believe HE should.

Let's think about our prayer lives, when we pray we give God a Father-do-list, instead of balancing our prayers with praise, thanksgiving, confession of our sins and repentance. Who do we believe God is? A magician, a genie, someone who is here to make all our dreams and wishes come true? We were told in the Bible] not to expect that all our days would be "difficult free," yet we get mad at God when we encounter troubles along our way.

The point we are missing is that God is more concerned about us becoming more Christ-like in our attitudes and actions which will ultimately bring Him glory. We constantly revert back to thinking that life is about us and not about God and His plan for us. Romans 8:28 says, all things work together for the good of them that love Him." If we love Him and have been called according to His purpose and plan (we recognized that we are sinners, have confessed our sins, have repented of our sins, acknowledge Jesus' death on the cross as a redeeming work for our lost souls and believe on Him) then we have the assurance that everything that comes and goes from our lives is working for our good. AMEN!

Take heart, God is involved in our problems, especially if we are willing to invite Him in, Psalms 46:1 says, God is a present help in your time of trouble. This help may not always rescue us but may give us the grace to make it through. After all, Jesus learned obedience through suffering, Hebrews 5:8. We know that God uses difficulties in our lives to grow us up in Him. James 1:2-4 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So there you have it, God says HE is working in our life...the question is--do we believe God?

When we face tough times...we may have contributed to the tough times or maybe we had nothing directly to do with some of the problems we face, but either way our focus should be that out of our difficulty, we desire to become more Christ-like. This means that in our suffering our prayers should not be all about what we want God to do for us, but rather what does God want to accomplish in and through us. If trials come our way such as: death of a loved one, a spouse is unfaithful, a child chooses the world after all that was put into her/him to show them God's love, etc. We need to be confident in who God is and trust that HE is involved in our trials while we look for victory on the horizon. We can't be a part of the winning team with a defeated attitude. Christ always wins whether it is the direct victory in the situation or in growing us up--and many times it's both...HE wins which means we win. See why the enemy wants to trick us into thinking that God is not involved and not working in our situations?

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Who Let The Skin Out!

Today I am taking all parents to the mat!!! On the topic of...Purity. What does it look like according to Christ's guidelines. We need to know this before we take our kids school shopping. Some of you might have to return a thing or two or maybe the whole wardrobe after you hear how serious an issue this is. Parents, stop being push overs! Stop letting your 14-18-whatever age your kids are still living under your roof, eating your food, driving your car and using your utilities dictate to you what they will and will not wear, entering and leaving your home. Whether they have a little job or not does not give them the power of determination to be sovereign in their lives. This is a great place to put my...GET A GRIP! Romans 13:14 says, "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." This generation lives by very loose dress codes. You know I am telling the truth, how many times have you seen, in just the past week at least one if not more teenage girls wearing something that you knew was an eye catcher for young men? It may have been how tight the jeans were, how short the shorts were, how tight the shirt was, noticing that the young girl forgot to put her bra on...LOL...Not. She did it intentionally. I urge you to make a choice for God in all that you do, including the purchasing of school clothes. This is not a time to bow down to the god of materialism, the god of peer pressure, nor the god of the pleading children. We as believers are called to be consistent in our walk with God. If we do not model this for our kids then how and where will they learn to be pure? Now moms and grandmoms, this may step on your toes too but if you can't take a simple pin to the mat then who is your power source? We need to not just follow God when it is convenient or easy but all times in everything. This is the only way we can truly be considered salt and light and have the strength to penetrate this dark and depraved world. Unfortunately, for many of us, it has become easier for the enemy to convince us to adopt a mind set that fits in with the characteristics of the world. In the words of Elijah the prophet, found in 1Kings 18:1-40, when speaking to the Israelites, he says, "How much longer will you waiver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, then follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" You shouldn't be too surprised to know that the crowd was silent. What is your answer to this question? Are you waivering in your stand for Christ regarding your kids dress code, maybe your own dress code...I think I heard a pin drop!Our profession of Christ should be not just with our mouth but it should be evident in our whole presentation. We must help our children make a stand and not allow then to throw out their purity in exchange for their popularity. We forget that our clothing affects how others look at us and it speaks volumes to who they think we are. I remember my teenage son telling me that it doesn't matter if he wears clothes that imply he might hang with the wrong crowd...his "TEENAGE" theory was that people shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but it is usually the cover that fortells the story of the book. So you know what I told him, right? GET A GRIP!Let's not forget the point of our lives...is it not to lead others to Christ? Tell me how we will accomplish this looking and dressing just like the world, where is the obvious difference? I am sure you heard the passage of scripture and if you haven't I am sure your kids can quote it for you...."man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart," so why stress over the wardrobe you ask? I read something in a book recently that answers that question quite well....and here is the answer....always remember that "our clothing reflects our character, just as if you were in a play and you had to pick a costume to reflect the character you were portraying." Holiness should be our goal at all times! I believe that we can get so caught up in our clothing and image that people can no longer see Christ. I am not saying that our kids have to get the latest nerd clothing, I am just say that we need to make sure that theirs as well as our "walk it out" is in line with what you want to portray. Bottoms hanging out, cleavage showing , waists being exposed jeans so tight it creates muffin tops, will not draw people to Christ but may distract them from seeing God in you.My question to you is....If someone's opinion of Christ was strictly based on how you or your children dressed or behaved would there be enough evidence to prove that you are Christian whose lifestyle reflects your desire to glorify God?

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit: www.hereignsministries.org

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lies That The Enemy Tells Us About God #1

Psalms 73:35 says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." Is this really how you feel...be honest with yourself, because God already knows how you feel about Him, every decision we make reflects our thoughts and beliefs about God.

The first lie that the enemy tells us about God is that "HE is not enough." Think about it, how many times in the back of your mind has the enemy tried to convince you or successfully convinced you or successfully convince you that God for one reason or another is not enough? This may be regarding your finances, your occupation, your wait for a mate, your anxiety to have a baby, etc. So instead we rehearse things in our minds like: if I would have been born into a family that doesn't have pregnancy issues, if only I were pretty, if only I was a superstar football player, if only I had more money, if only my parents had never divorced, or if only I was able to be a mother. All these thing we use to try and replace God, we believe that if we have what we feel is important, it would fill the empty space in us we long to fill. The trick of the enemy is that he knows only God that will fill this space.

Many times we have tried to replace God for a substitute, but as soon as we got what we thought would do it, we found that having a whole bunch of money...satisfied only for a moment, having a baby...satisfied only for a moment, being popular and having many friends...satisfied onlt for a moment... but NOTHING except a personal relationship with God will fill the eternal void that God placed in us just for Him, a place HE wants to fill, and absolutely nothing else will do.

Believe it or not, the number one thing that rivals God for "being enough" is our friends. When something happens in our lives or we have a problem or need advice, we are quick to text message, IM or call a friend before we even think about calling on God. Even if we think about it, we tend to know God is there but we will call our friends first then talk to God later.

Many times, we as singles are fooled by the enemy to believe that we need a husband or wife to complete us and that doesn't work either, only God will fit. Now, God does allow us to have children. spouses, friends, etc., but we must just keep them in their proper place and not try to fit them in God's spot. There is no way they can fill the shoes of the Almighty God of the universe, creator, redeemer and Holy Spirit.

God is enough! HE will meet our needs and wants to be our closest friend. Philippians 4:19 says, "My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." HE is the one to heal our broken hearts, lead us, protect us and provide for us. HE will be there for us when others let us down. If you don't know God this way or have never really let Him into that space that belongs to Him...I encourage you to get to know Him, just like any other friends you have made, you need to spend time with Him, get to know who HE is and be able to trust His character.

If you never have all the money you think you needed, never have a baby, all your friends leave you...God is enough! Try Him.

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit www.hereignsministries.org

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We All Got "Stuff"

I have a question for you...How many people have to put up with your "stuff". Let's take a few moments to put our egos and pride aside because all of us have "stuff". Let me define "stuff" for ya...this is Michelle's definition for this blog, so don't go looking it up on dictionary.com. It is what is known as an issue(s), an area of inconvenience, weaknesses, slow mental moments. I am going to go old school on you here for a minute..."get my drift?" We get so mad at other people because of their "stuff" and we clearly feel the effects of it on our lives but what about how our "stuff" has impacted others lives? If we would really apply scripture to our lives as Christ intended us to do--we would have a lot less forgiveness issues. Consider these verses, Luke 6:41-43 (NASB) "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

We have to admit that there are decisions that we have made in our lives that have affected other people, family, friends, colleagues, siblings, children, etc. To say that you have never made such a decision would be like telling me you are perfect. The last time I check there is no one perfect, no not one! EXPECT for God. It could have been as simple as your choice in a mate-- two families are brought together and we all have heard the in-law stories. Having babies outside of wedlock affects the family and mostly the child who may be left with parents that don't stay together. Making the decision to have an abortion leaves a lasting affect on a mother's heart and mind, not to mention the life of a child that has been stopped dead in it's tracks. I would know because I have made many of these same choices, prior to coming to know the Lord as my Savior. Maybe you didn't do anythin of those things but even if you simply left a job before securing another, this affects the financial welfare of the family. If your children have decided to follow a life of crime or sell drugs, this affects the family, their health, their free life, etc., etc., etc.

I know it is much easier to see the faults in other people but we've all made some humdinger of decisions here and there too--to tell the truth, some of us have made a lifestyle of making these decisions to the point where our circle of people just don't know what to do with us. Let's take my son for instance. Got to love him! He is 18 years old and his only desire in life is to be "grown," while most of us grown folk wish someone was taking care of us, oh what we wouldn't do to be young again without a care in the world. What a trick of the devil to convince our young people to try and grow up so fast, that they skip chunks of time that they really need to develop and transition properly into adulthood. It's almost like a DVD, you know how you can push skip and miss large segments of a movie to get to the part you like or to the end. Unfortunately, while they are trying to skip ahead the enemy is seeking to destroy them and bring them to their end.

Like all of us, my son has made enough bad decisions in just the past year to affect his health, his freedom, his education, his future as a whole. As I have gotten older I have seen with 20/20 vision looking back how decisions that I have made have affected soooo many people. The apple don't fall far from the tree. This has caused me to be much more understanding and patient with my son during his time of discovery.

It is time we get over ourselves and stop leading people to believe our "stuff" don't stink and remember from where we came and who had to put up with us, pray for us, rescue us, protect us-- and don't let me leave out who had to pay a ransom for us! Jesus came down here to die on the cross for our "stuff" so we need to be more tolerant of each other as we all try to figure out this thing called life. Some people have a harder time at it cause they don't know the one who gives life..God! Let's stop complaining and pointing the finger at others and share Christ with them.

Can you think of anyone that you need to be more patient with as God works out areas of their life? Who can you think of that has really been affected by your "stuff?" Realizing that someone was there for you while your "stuff" was stinkin'....are you ready to inturn be there for someone?

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit www.hereignsministries.org

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Accurate is Your Hearing?

God recently brought something to my attention. I am really quick to take action, sometimes that's great because I get a lot accomplished and am usually not pressed to wire. On the other hand I can be so willing to move so fast that I only get part of the information. This happens in my walk with the Lord also. I am sure HE is thrilled when I just move and respond quickly to what HE has instructed me to do or change but on the other hand I get so excited when I hear something that I usually hear a word, like move and I start looking for new locations to live, hmmm, Maryland might be nice, maybe Ohio, so the search starts for me to see where I can move my family, cost for living space, church, schools, etc.

Now that might sound really logical and all if you truly did hear God say move. My question to you is, what if HE meant move forward on a business plan, move forward in ministry, move forward on the purchase of a new car, etc. but not....up and move your family to another state. This would make a BIG difference in what action to take if you don't know what HE wants moved.

Now the funniest part is...when you slow down enough and enough doors to "move" have been closed right in your face, it becomes more clear that you need to go back to the drawing board, but first back to the Lord to see if you missed something. Wouldn't it have saved time if we just sat in His presence long enough in the first place...LOL. I guess we just really get excited when it sounds like something we want anyway, 'cause moving was right at the top of my list of things I wanted to do.

So what can we learn from this??? First, inquire of the Lord, "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you according to His riches in glory." Second, WAIT! Spend some time waiting hear all God has to say in response to your questions and life concerns. Third, ASK questions...this is not disrespectful. Just as much as you want to know what God has to say to you, HE wants you to hear clearly what HE is trying to communicate to you.

On the other hand, there are many people who just won't move at all: they got their marching papers, instructions are clear, they have sat at the feet of the Lord for days, months, even years but are terrified to move out on what God has told them to do...well, that's for another time:)

Has it been a challenge to hear God clearly in your life? Have you figured out what blocks you from hearing God clearly in your past situations, was it your own desires winning out, to many conflicting opinions from friends, etc.?

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter, visit my wbsite at http://www.hereignsministries.org/

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What Is Your Fruit?

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming or just sitting and complaining about what you don’t have? That could be…that I have not a spouse, have not children, have not a Mercedes or Lexus or five-bedroom house…I think you get the point. Even though Philippians 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining and arguing.”Why is it that we always want what we don’t or can’t have? This goes back to the garden where we listen in on a conversation between Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3:2-6. Prior to this conversation God very clearly told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden or they would die. How much clearer could HE make it? Somewhere in there, just like Eve, we start thinkin’ (like we know more than God) hmmm, something sure does look appealing about that tree (man/woman, job, party)….of course it looks appealing, everything has more appeal when we are told not to touch it, marry it, buy it, look at it, or taste and try it. Let me ask you a question….How many of you have children? And as sure as I am talking to you right now, when you tell them not to do something, you might as well just brace yourself ‘cause they are bound to find a way to do it--98 percent of the time. And so the saga continues--the serpent is still talkin’….and we’re still listening. Let’s take a second to consider why we listen to the serpent. Ah, our sin nature from our parents in the garden. Maybe it is because we like what he is saying….it agrees with our fleshly desire or maybe we just flat out don’t really believe God. We are drawn to what Satan is saying, especially when he is saying something we like. No, no, no….I got it--we are depending on God’s love and forgiveness to overlook our flirtation with sin instead of looking at the whole character of God! Check out Ephesians 5:3-6, but let me draw your attention to verse 6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Sounds clear and consistent to me. Throughout Scripture God stresses the importance of obeying Him and fleeing our sinful desires. What has listening to the serpent gotten you in the past? Haven’t you lost enough? I am sure that just like Adam and Eve it’s gotten you kicked out or separated, you’ve lost many things--maybe everything, had to work harder, and brought more misery in your life than you would have expected…. if you’re going to be honest. So don’t you think it’s time to wise up? When Satan tries to remind you of your “have nots” or to tell you something that’s in opposition to what God says, you tell him, I have all that I need according to my Father’s will. “I ‘want nothing’ to do with that.” What have you had your eye on? What has Satan been tempting you with? Has God said, yes, no, or wait? If God said yes.…it will come without you having to push or rush it….do you hear me ladies.…wait for that man, don’t push, don’t rush it. Men, likewise, don’t pick a woman if you can see everything she is offering because everyone else can too, make sure she has godly character. If God said no….leave it alone and don’t believe the lies Satan is telling you as he tries to sweet talk you into disobeying God. Other lies are….your biological clock is ticking, or if you don’t take the first job offer that comes you may not get another offer and the job market is tight. If God said wait, then wait! How much clearer does HE need to make it? HE already says it in every language known to man, including sign language. If you are sure you didn’t get a yes, and positive you didn’t get a no, trust me….You’ll know the wait is over if and when HE brings it whatever “it” may be.

Is there a forbidden fruit you have been struggling to let go of? Are you ready today to trust wholeheartedly that God knows what is best for you and that HE doesn't withhold what is good for you? Do you really believe God is God?

For more information about HE Reigns Ministries or to sign up for the newsletter go to: www.hereignsministries.org