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!

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

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.

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

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!

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

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?

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

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