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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jesus' Mercy Compels Us to "Go and Sin No More"!

John 8:3-11, "As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd,“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.The law of Moses says to stone her.What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
No one knows for sure what Jesus was writing in the dust of the ground when the Scribes and Pharisees threw the woman at His feet. Many speculations have been made and so I will add my two cents based on what I know about God and His word.
Jesus being 100% God, when He stooped down, MAYBE He was writing each name of the woman's accusers, beginning with the eldest...and then MAYBE he wrote her name? After all, the Son of God knows every person's name (read Psalm 139 and Isaiah 43:1). Knowing one's name is a sign of relationship. So maybe Jesus was wanting to convey, "I know YOU and desire a relationship with you. I did not come to condemn anyone, for all have sinned. I desire to show MERCY and GRACE to all who believe in Me." 
If He was spelling out each person's name, did they watch in disbelief and wonder what was going on? Did they whisper to one another, "How does He know my name?" Again, if this was the case, I can only image what was going through their minds.
Not recognizing His mercy, these men were bent on pointing their finger, judging and condemning this woman. After all, The Law of Moses permitted them to stone 'such a woman'...Their religious pride blocked them from seeing their own sin and it demanded an answer from Jesus.
Jesus stood up, looked them in the eyes and spoke, "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone."
One by one these religious men dropped their stones and the people in the crowd dropped their heads, because they were SINNERS too. Jesus was the only One in the crowd that had NEVER sinned.  So being without sin, He was the only One with the right to throw the first stone... As a matter of fact, He had the right to condemn all who were in the crowd that day. But instead Jesus, sinless Son of God, showed them all mercy. Mercy rippled through the crowd that day and the woman, broken and ashamed, immediately felt His mercy and recognized Jesus as Lord when He said to her, "Nor do I accuse you. Go and sin no more." I wonder how many others HEARD his words of mercy and were impacted for all eternity that day?

You see, people have not changed. We are quick to point the finger and judge someone else's visible sin, all the while acting as though we are innocent because our sins have not been exposed. We are quick to say in our condescending voice, "I can't believe they did that! I would never do such a thing!" or "She thinks she's holier-than-thou". People, no matter which direction you are pointing, it's still a judging finger!

Nor had God changed! Through His Holy eyes, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:16-17). 

Jesus' words of mercy echoes throughout all time and humble, repentant hearts will hear Him say, "Go and sin no more." This doesn't mean we will never sin again, it simply means that we desire to turn from our sin and live according to God's will, not our own. I know personally, when I sin, it breaks His heart and therefore, breaks mine. However, when we continue a sinful lifestyle, it magnifies US and diminishes Him! The watching world only sees, "God doesn't have the power to change lives." Mercy changed the adulteress woman that day! Mercy gave her a new identity when Jesus compelled her to turned from her sinful life and follow Him.  Mercy calls each of us to do the same! After all, we are all "adulterous" people in need of His mercy!

Mercy is not giving people what they deserve. Grace us giving us what we don't deserve.
"But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not  on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy" (Titus 3:4-5).
"For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8).

Father God, forgive me for pointing my finger and acting as if I do not sin. I know I am a sinner saved by Your grace. Forgive me of my hidden sins and the sins that are exposed. Help me to go and sin no more so that the world watching sees the power of Your saving grace! Empty me of self, filling me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can be used by You to draw others to Your Majesty!
Lord, help me to extend mercy and grace to others and love all people as You love a sinner like me. In Jesus' Name I pray!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Christmas Miracle!

Around this time 5 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with with stage IV lung cancer. The Doctors only gave her 6-8 months to live so I was determined to be with her as long as I could, no matter the cost. My husband and children stayed in Florida while I traveled to Missouri to be with my mom. I was truly blessed by my work which allowed me to transfer to a center close to my mom :)
As many of you know with Christmas, there is an added pressure to work more so that you are able to buy your loved ones gifts. Well, all our money went to me traveling and helping my mom with her prescriptions. On top of that I was only able to work about 20 hours a week because I took mom to her doctors appointments, radiation treatments, and to the hospital.  

With Christmas just a few weeks away, I was going to have to tell our kids that they wouldn't have any Christmas presents. I remember talking to my daughter on the phone and telling her that I was praying for a miracle and that we simply couldn't afford gifts this year. She said, "Mom I just want to see grandma and you for Christmas. I don't need any gifts."
I,of course, cried! I said, "Baby, God knows our heart's desire and He will provide according to His will. If He wants you all to be here, He will get you here!"

A few days later I received an email from my daughter's cheer-leading coach. She asked,"How can we pray for your family and what is one thing that each of your kids really want for Christmas? We want them to have something for Christmas so where can I send the presents? We know your family is going through a lot right now and we want to help lighten your burden."
I was humbled and began to weep. This woman barely knew us. We had only been in Florida and at Westminster Academy a few months. "Why would this family want to do this?" Many thoughts went through my mind. What can I ask her to pray about and what do my kids really want...I replied to her email with a few prayer requests and a couple items my kids had on their list. 
The only thing I wanted for Christmas was to have my family with me in Missouri. The reality of this happening seemed impossible! I prayed and others were praying for God to make a way...and I'm here to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS, He made a way! My husband was called to the office of the Head Master, and the school provided the money for us to purchase plane tickets for all four of our kids! That's right! GOD MADE A WAY! Not only that but within a week, a package came to my brother's home for my kids! 
Matthew 19:26, "But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

One tradition that our family looks forward to every year; we all gather around the tree and under our tree we have a manger scene. We then read Luke chapter two, praise God for sending Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, and then each of us take a piece of paper and write something we want to give to Jesus for His birthday.

Christmas 2008, in Richmond, Missouri, my kids and I sat in my brother's living room before everyone got up and did just that but without my husband, who was coaching an all-star game in South Carolina, and
without the manger. It was sad because he wasn't there but it was still a very special moment. My oldest son read the story of Jesus' birth, we thanked God for all that He had provided us, then we gave our "gift" to Jesus.  After lots of tears my kids opened their gifts from "Santa" and we were all full of joy, unspeakable JOY!

We can never repay the kindness and compassion that was shown to our family during one of the most difficult times of my life! I can never give a monetary amount of money to suffice the purchase of four plane tickets to get my kids to Missouri from south Florida that Christmas day. I will always be full of gratitude towards these "strangers" that took the time to pray for us and then became the vessel for God to answer our prayers and allow our kids the opportunity to spend Christmas with their grandma!

Christmas is about being a vessel to bless another...whether you know them or that vessel for God to answer someone's prayers. Then you will understand that it is more of a blessing to give than receive! Maybe you can be the answer that allows for a Christmas Miracle! 
Blessings to you and yours during this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

CHRISTmas for the CHRISTian!

The Lord was speaking to my heart about how we, as Christ followers, celebrate the birth of our Savior that Holy Night thousands of years ago. Why do I get sucked into what everyone else does or expects during a time that should be sacred to the Believer?
The awe of Jesus' birth has been replaced with awe of Santa Claus...the treasured gifts of the wise men have been replaced by mountains of gifts under our trees...the wonder and fear of the shepherds that Holy Night has been replaced by the wonder and fear of missing out on a one night sale...and The Spirit of CHRISTmas has been replaced with the Magic of the Holidays.

We live in a country that has commercialized Christmas; therefore, the TRUE meaning has been belittled and even cast out of our society. We say, "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" and celebrate with Santa, elves, decorated trees, lights, outdoor pop-ups, and presents galore. We're willing to go into debt, and not pay our bills just to buy more stuff and call it "celebrating" Christmas. Oh, and then, we add a little "baby Jesus in the manger" nativity set and even attend a Christmas service just to suffice our Christian religion.

But what if there were no Christmas trees, decorations, lights, Santa and his elves, no presents...What would the American Christmas look like? Would there be a "Christmas spirit" or would the holiday seem bleak? Unfortunately, I believe that if we did not celebrate the commercialized holiday, there would be a "dark cloud of Holiday despair" among Americans, yes, even Christians.

I have personally experienced this, "dark cloud of Holiday despair" when we couldn't afford the gifts our children put on that infamous list. As a parent of four, I often do whatever it takes to make Christmas special for my kids, and I get stuck in "commercial land" and believe they will only be happy with lots of gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.

I even went back in time to my own childhood, where a single mom on welfare raised her kids to the best of her ability and resources. I remember when we didn't have presents under the tree, and I thought Santa only visited the rich kids, or I must have been on Santa's naughty list A LOT! This commercialized holiday we call Christmas, has become a time of depression for many adults and sadness for children for various reasons.

Worst of all, when people from other countries see our Holiday celebrations throughout the month of December, they believe we are celebrating the coming of the New Year...How sad to think that we have become so materialistic that this once Christian nation is no longer shining forth the birth of God's One and Only Son, Jesus. Instead we scream "Bigger is Better", accumulate as much stuff as you can and if your home can't fit it all, go out and rent a storage unit...SAD!

How do you feel about our commercialized American Christmas? How do you and I make it truly about Christ and His Holy Birth? When it's all said and done, The Greatest Gift you and I can give to a hurting world is the True meaning of CHRISTmas lived out in our lives, after all we are CHRISTians!

I hope I am not the only one who feels this conviction??

"Oh Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining
 It is the night of our dear Savior's birth"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Athiest meets God...

There once was a middle-aged man who was a professed atheist. He often would say, "If there is a god then why hasn't it been proven by science? If I had the proof or a sign, then I'd believe he exists."
The atheist then took in a deep breath of fresh crisp air and exhaled. The first sign...
He looked around waiting, wondering what could a god show him that would cause him to believe?
God sent a strong wind that blew his toupee right off his head. Embarassed, he quickly grabbed his toupee, slapped it back on his head so that no one could see his balding head. Ignoring the sign..
Then God sent a Cardinal bird that ended his flight on the tree branch in front of him. Still the atheist was not 'seeing' the sign...
As time had lapsed God commanded the day to end as the earth rotated the precise degree so the sun could rest and the moon could light the night sky. The atheist went to bed, disappointed he didn't see any signs. He said to himself, "All this hype about a god no one can prove exist. I knew I was right, there is no god." 
The next day, not only did God command the sun to return to it's position and the moon to rest, but He gave the man the ability to rise up out of bed and start the day. The man looked in the mirror and saw God's creation staring at him and took all the credit for his handsome demeanor and brilliant mind. Another sign...
He went about his ordinary day eating, drinking, working, and tweeting. He came across a tweet that said, "Father #God, thank You for sending #Jesus to die on the cross for me! Now when You look at me, You see His blood instead of my D.N.A." He replied in disgust, "You are thankful for death? What's wrong with you?" Yet another sign ignored...
Another tweet, "God's creation reveals Him and He sees to it that every person will know about Him. The choice is yours." 
The atheist replied,"Have you ever met God? Then you can't prove he is real." 
Tweet reply, "I see Him in all creation. You have to see something to believe it's real? Have you ever seen oxygen?" He replied in disbelief, "You're deluded. There is no god!" 
Tweet reply, "God is real, Jesus died for you so you can have a relationship with Him. If you don't believe that is between you and God."
The atheist couldn't believe how foolish the Christian was. Ignoring another sign...
He got in his car and drove home from work. When he pulled into his driveway and turned off the car, he felt a pain in his chest. As he struggled to get out of his car, he dropped dead at the young age of 58...
His soul immediately left his body and was present before the Lord. His soul cried out, "Jesus forgive me for my unbelief."  Jesus answered the atheist, "You were given many signs yet you still chose to ignore Me. You not only believed lies but you helped spread those lies about Me and tried convincing My children that I am not real. My justice is true and My word is sure. It is appointed to man to die and now your sentence. You chose not to spend your earthly life with me and now your eternal life will be spent separate from Me in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:12-13). Depart from Me, I never knew you.(Matthew 25:41)". And the angels escorted him to his eternal destination...

I wrote this blog to say to the skeptic, stop looking for scientific proof and start seeing the signs that are before you. God is real. There is only One God and only One Way to Him and that is through faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He is constantly pursuing you, daily giving you "signs" that you dismiss as the ordinary. Every thing in nature, every new life that is birthed, every storm, every good and perfect gift is from God. The evil you see that causes you to doubt there is a good God is from Satan. He is as real as God. Satan is the one who causes the chaos and tempts people to do evil. He has an army trying to keep you away from God and the Truth that will set you free once you believe that Jesus is Savior. It's a free gift. It's yours for the taking. Are you willing to surrender your life to Him so that you will have eternal life in Heaven with Him? It's your decision. 

None of us know what tomorrow will bring so before it's too late for you, do you believe God is real and His love for you demanded a Perfect sacrifice. John 3:16 says, "For God loved the world so much, He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." 
Praying for someone to read this and believe. If that's you would you let me know and I will rejoice with the angels and pray for you to learn more about our Lord!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Hello, My Name Is..."

On September 9, 2013, I was walking through downtown Salt Lake City and the Lord spoke to my heart, "Angie, you don't have to go into distant lands to see people worshiping false gods. Just look around you".

I began praying for the Lord to lead me to a seeking soul. I looked into the eyes of many...many believing that God was a man that "climbed the god ladder" to become a god...many believing that they belonged to the true church of Christ because of a membership...many smiling faces but sad souls...I prayed, "Lord, show me who I am to talk to for your glory."

I walked and prayed for about an hour and as I was ready go back to my hotel, the Lord showed me this woman and her girls. I wanted to know her name, her story. I hesitated. I was nervous so I sat on a window sill and watched them from a distance. Praying for the right time to speak His words to her. "Lord, how do I approach her, what do I say? Give me Your words and Your wisdom." I got up and walked toward these beautiful souls, reached out my hand and said,"Hello, my name is Angie. What's your name?" Looking up she bashfully replied, "Shanni." Hi Shanni may I sit down with you?"

We often label people by their circumstances, especially those who find themselves homeless. God has made this truth known to me because I used to think or say, "Look at that homeless person." His Spirit has taught my heart,"Everyone has a name and a story! She is in fact a person and her circumstances do not define her. She is someone's daughter, friend, mother. Let me introduce you to Shanni and her story.

She is a mother of 4 (one in her womb) who is homeless on the streets of Salt Lake City. She uses public transportation to get herself and her children from place to place. Day by day she is desperate to put a roof over her babies heads. At one time they were staying in a shelter that housed men and woman but it became too dangerous. Wanting to protect her girls, she decided to leave the shelter saying the streets are safer. She sits on the street and begs for just enough money so that her and her girls; ages 2,4, 6, can to stay in a cheap motel and eat. Her oldest daughter attends a public school in a nearby town and loves it.

As I listened to Shanni's story, I prayed for God to give me His words for her hurting heart. He has taught me to truly listen to a person speaking and if I am listening His words will come at the right time. The Lord prompted me to tell her, "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) She looked at me and smiled with tears in her eyes, "Thank you." I was simply God's messenger to someone that needed to hear that God was still there. Even in the most dire circumstances, God is still with His children. Even when we don't feel Him, God is still with us. Even when we try to push Him away, God will not be moved!

I sat for about 30 minutes or so and just chatted with her and the girls. I contemplated how to take them to my hotel room so I could love on her precious girls! They were full of joy and very polite. Content with paper and crayons, they sat on a hard sidewalk waiting patiently listening to our conversation. The Lord reminded me of a book I had brought to read on the airplane. I reached in my purse, pulled it out and handed it to her. She said, "You're gonna make me cry." I snickered, "I tend to have that effect on people,"

Her oldest daughter said, "Are you going to pray for us?" I replied with gladness, "Yes I am! Do you want to pray now?" With a beautiful smile she enthusiastically said, "YES!" We all gathered in a circle, held hands and bowed our heads for prayer. The Spirit interceded when I wasn't sure what to pray. It was a moment I will not forget. After the prayer, I hugged Shanni and the girls goodbye...a sad moment for me...I imagine Christ felt the same way when He was about to ascend to heaven and leave His Disciples to the "wolves". Comfort came to my heart as God reminded me, "I will not leave them."

Lord, thank you for leading me to this beautiful family! I pray that You would provide their every need! I pray Proverbs 30:8-9 over Shanni and her girls;
 "First, help me never to tell a lie.
  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 
 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name."
You honor those who honor You and I pray she will continue telling her story so that she can get out of this poverty and have a place to call home! I thank You for providing her needs, our needs and the needs of others. For You are our Provider God! I pray that she will call on Your name and remember who she is in Christ Jesus. I pray all these things in Your Powerful Name, Jesus!

Hello, My name is child of the One True King!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Just Kill Me Now..."

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
Have you experienced the prompting of His Holy Spirit to minister to someone you didn't know? Your first thought, "Ya know Lord, I have a better idea, you can send someone else that is gifted to minister, I would rather pray silently for them."
Has God asked you leave a familiar place and live in a new location? Your initial reaction, "But Lord, our kids are settled here. You surely don't want us to uproot them now, do You?"
Or has God asked you to forgive someone that deeply wounded the core of who you are and your response was OR still is, "I AM NOT! I'd rather go to my grave than let that person off the hook. To hear me say I forgive them, No, they don't deserve it! Just kill me now..."

When God revealed the truth of Romans 12:1 to me years ago I prayed, "Lord, I want to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to You. I want my life to show devotion and worship to my Savior. With the help of Your Spirit living in me, I can do this!" I thought this 'living sacrifice' thing would be easy peasy. Wow, was I wrong! I found myself wanting to go back to the Old Testament times when the Children of God would sacrifice an unblemished lamb or offer a burnt offering and be done with it. That would be much easier than offering up MY life as a living sacrifice, especially when He asks me to do something I am not comfortable doing.

I just love how God uncovers the attitude of my heart! He led me to His truth in Psalm 51:16-17, David was broken over his sins and cried out, "You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to the Lord is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humble heart." King David had all the possessions in the world at his finger tips and the only thing he could offer God, was himself, humbled and broken.

In order for me to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God, I must be broken and humble of heart. Daily, I must admit my sins before the Lord. Daily I must cry out to my Father to remove any remnant of self and be filled with His Holy Spirit. Daily, I must put my desires aside and be reminded that He is the desire of my heart! And daily, I must be reminded that a living sacrifice has the choice to be prostrate before the One who is the Sacrifice or walk away from the alter...

Yep, at times it would appear to be much easier to walk off the alter than to offer my life as a living sacrifice. As His child, in the end, when I stand face-to-face before my Savior (Romans 14:12,"
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God) and explain to Him the times I chose to walk away...I will probably drop to my knees in remorse. To see the pain in His eyes, unbearable!  I believe He will then lift me to my feet and remind me that I am His because I chose to accept Him as my Savior while living on earth. He will then show me where my life was a living sacrifice, a sweet aroma or worship being offered up to heaven. Times I was aware of making the hard choice and even the times I had no clue.  The joy I will see on my Savior's face, is what my heart longs for!

Father God, I thank You for the truth of Your words. Help me to die to self daily, be filled with Your Holy Spirit, and truly let You have Your way in me no matter how much it hurts. May I be sensitive to Your prompting to minister to someone in need, to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, to forgive those who have hurt me, and to share the Good News to lost souls. Let me always remember the smile on Your sweet face far exceeds the smile on other people's faces. I want to be pleasing to You! Amen

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How Beautiful The Feet of Our Savior!

As I sit here pondering the cross, thinking about what Jesus had to go through for all of mankind, I am drawn to the foot of the cross. His feet. His dirty, bloody, nail pierced feet that carried away our sins. Jesus chose the cross, He went in obedience to the Father but also because He knew that without His sacrifice, NOT ONE would be in heaven today! As in the Old Testament, we would still be going to a temple to sacrifice unblemished animals to atone for our sins. Can you imagine with the population of the world today, how much blood that would be? Just imagine Metro St. Louis, with an estimated population of over 300,000, what that would be like. Now imagine Delhi, India, with an estimated population of 16.75 Million! Are you getting a visual of how many unblemished animals, priest, towels, and water to clean up all the blood sacrificed to have a right relationship with God?

This is why I am in awe of His precious feet that carried away our sins...Jesus could have came in an instant as a grown man, went straight to the cross to die and then rose from the dead three days later. Boom, done! No secret betrayals, humiliation of carrying the cross, beatings, suffering, just a simple death that freed us all from sin. But instead; He came from Heaven, was born in a manger, learned to walk like us, talk like us, and experienced all the pains of childhood like us. As He grew older, He learned from his mother and His earthly father taught him the family business. He read and learned from the scriptures of old. I am sure He experienced teasing from other youth, and also the joys of growing up with strong family bonds.

When it was time for Jesus to begin His ministry; His feet carried Him on the dusty roads of Nazareth, near the shores of Galilee, to Bethany by way of the Jordan river which is where He stepped in to the waters to be baptized. He was then lead into the Judean wilderness for forty days. He walked throughout the regions of Galilee, Judea and Samaria. He walked up mountains to be alone with His Father. He stood on the raging sea. He taught in temples, in homes and on sea shores. People flocked to wherever His feet landed; those who believed He was the Messiah and those who would reject Him.

His feet lead Him to the outcasts; the crippled, blind, deaf, prostitutes, lepers, and demon possessed. He performed miracles in front of their eyes. He was lead to broken sinners wanting to be freed from the chains that bound them. His feet lead Him to the dead and He raised them to life. Oh, how beautiful His precious feet that were stained with dirt, tears and blood...

He entered Jerusalem where people threw palm branches at His feet. He wept for He knew that most would not believe in Him. His feet were washed with tears,dried with hair and anointed with oil. He was then lead to the Garden of Gethsemane where He cried out to His Father for His will to be done. He was betrayed with a kiss and lead away in shackles, beaten and mocked. He carried our humility and shame, our guilt and burdens. He carried our sins as He walked the long, dusty road to the place of Golgotha. 

Imagine with me the pain He endured. The blazing sun beat down upon Him and sweat began to stream down His shredded flesh! I am sure he wept, for He experienced excruciating pain. But the spiritual pain He endured was far worse than the physical pain. He was broken because He took on the stench of sin, the punishment of being separated from His Father. The Holy Son of God, who NOT ONCE sinned. The Unblemished Sacrifice became blemished, distorted for US!

How beautiful the feet of our Savior! He didn't stop and cry out, "Father take me home now. I give up!" Instead, He willingly laid down His life and cried out, "Father, forgive them they don't understand what they are doing." (Luke 23:34). And then cried out with His last breathe, "It is finished!"(John 19:30). Three days after His burial, He triumphantly walked out of the tomb ALIVE, defeating death and the power of darkness! He didn't stop there. He walked and talked with people to prove He was alive and that the grave could not keep Him, for He is GOD! Thousands witnessed His steps after the crucifixion!

As His beautiful, nail pierced feet stood on the mountain near Galilee, He spoke His final words to all of His followers before He ascended to heaven, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age."(Matthew 28:18-20).

We, His disciples, should walk as He walked. Are you following the footsteps of our Savior? Have you taken up your cross? He did say, "And whoever doesn't take up your cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:38)

*Bible references found in HCSB throughout the four Gospels*

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Am I Narrow Minded, Old-Fashioned and a Hater?

Because I fear the Lord, love Jesus, and believe the Bible to be the TRUTH; I am called narrow minded. Because I don't accept what the culture says is "acceptable", or follow what is "politically correct"; I am called old fashion. And just because I don't agree with another person's choice; I am considered a hater...

The other day someone said to me, "The bible is an outdated book of fairy-tales. It was good in 1950's but doesn't fit our day. I mean, I believe in God but He doesn't expect us to follow that 'old book'."

After a few moments, he  made a racial comment saying, "I'm SICK of blacks complaining about justice and within a few seconds he said with excitement, "Finally gay and lesbian have equal rights to get married!" WOW! Who is narrow minded?

The one calling me narrow minded, old-fashioned, and a hater because I don't agree with their lifestyle, and I believe the Word of God IS relevant for today, is the one that needs a fresh look in God's holy mirror. It breaks my heart when hate/prejudice against a person or group of people is justified for any reason.

God proved He loves ALL sinners but HATES sin when Jesus died on the cross. I may disappoint some of you reading this but I must say that a person's skin color is NOT A SIN! Jesus died for THE HUMAN RACE! Me marrying a black man and having bi-racial children, IS NOT A SIN! I will side with my God and say, "I love ALL sinners!" I am a sinner just like the rest of the human race. I chose to sin or not to sin. By the power of His Holy Spirit living in me, I can overcome sinful choices when I allow Him full control of my life by daily dying to self.

Hate/prejudice for ANY reason is SIN! Hate cannot reside in my heart because His Holy Spirit dwells in me and He is full of love. Hate and love cannot coexist! If you call yourself a Christian and have ANY hate for a person regardless of your reasoning, I plead with you to ask God for His heart. He is the only One who can change you and that change is from the inside out. 

Yes, I admit I am a Jesus freak, I'm in love with God, and I will not change my beliefs because "times have changed"! I will continue striving to please my Lord and Savior because He is worthy! God is STILL on the throne, His word is STILL true because He is TRUTH and HE doesn't change with the times!" I pray that people will stop believing the "god of lies" and turn to the God of TRUTH!

His Word is clear...
Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear."
Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever".

Dear Lord, help us to not give into the ways of this world but to always stand firm in our belief in You and Your word. If there is any hate in our hearts for a person for any reason at all, please reveal it so that we can repent and love as You love! For You are the One we will stand before in the end. In Jesus' name I pray.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Love as Jesus Loved and Serve as Jesus Served

John 13:35 (HCSB) “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Early one morning as I was praying about a situation, God spoke to my heart and had me read the story in John 13, when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. I had studied this passage over the years and one truth that stuck out to me; Jesus washed ALL of their feet! Peter, Andrew, James, His beloved John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas the one to betray Him.

The truth that Jesus served His enemy, the one to betray Him, had such an impact in my personal life that I was compelled to share it with our Deaf ministry.

I asked for twelve volunteers and designated one to be Peter and another to be Judas. As their teacher, I put on an apron, grabbed a towel, pitcher of water and bowl and got on my knees and humbly washed their feet. I looked into each of their eyes with love and after I dried their feet I signed, “I love you”.

I explained that I imagine Jesus, who is full of love and compassion, looked into the eyes of each disciple showing them what LOVE looks like. I imagine when Jesus got to Judas, He tried looking into his eyes but Judas was full of selfish pride he could not look at Jesus. Jesus continued to serve Judas with the same love he shared with the others. After this Jesus said, in John 13:13,“Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.”

When the Lord first revealed this truth to me, I was extremely upset and said, “Lord, I CAN’T serve the one who has betrayed me. It’s not fair. I can’t! I won’t! The hurt is beyond anything anyone should have to experience!” Then He spoke gently to my heart and said, “Daughter, I know you can’t but if you learn from Me, I will show you how and in time you will be able to truly love and forgive this person.” I had thought I forgave but when the Lord showed me this story in John, I realized true forgiveness is seen through my actions. I surrendered all my pain, my “right” to hold a grudge and asked my ABBA to help me forgive as He forgives. That day I was set free from bitterness and love filled my heart for the one who betrayed me.

I believe the Lord wants us all to learn from this story. It’s easy to love and serve those who love us. It’s easy to forgive those who seek our forgiveness but what about the one who doesn’t. What about the one who has hurt you and won’t admit their wrong. We must ask the Lord to give us His heart to forgive, love and serve them too,and by this the world will know we are His disciples.

Lord, heal my pain, my scars that are so deep and help me to forgive as You forgive,love as You love, and serve as You serve. The world is watching. May they see You through me. In Jesus name!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I AM FREE!!!!!

John 8:31-32 "Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:36 "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free."

Galatians 5:13 "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."

I AM FREE! By the precious blood of Jesus, I am set FREE! I am no longer bound by sin, no longer bound to self! I am FREE to live for God because He set me FREE the day I gave my life to Him! How can I be so confident and KNOW I have been set FREE? The Bible tells me so! Jesus speaks about the freedom He gives. Read the passages of scripture once again. If you have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, you too are set FREE!

Unfortunately, many Christians do not understand what it means to have freedom in Christ. Some are still bound by sin because, sadly, they are believing Satan lies over Jesus' truth. One reason is because they rely on others to tell them what God's word says instead of spending time reading His word for themselves. This leads to spiritual weakness and the end result is using our freedom in Christ to satisfy the sinful nature.

What sin has you held captive? What is IT that has you bound up to the point of exhaustion and you are no longer trying to get out from under its yoke? Seriously?! I am not talking about a moment of sinning, because we all fall from time to time. I am talking about the sinful behavior that the world says is alright if you do it. There may even be sin that no one else knows about except you and your Savior. Yes, He knows the addiction that continues to control your life and so does Satan. Satan keeps screaming in your mind,"(Your name here), come on you know you want to. You're already thinking about it so you might as well do it. No one is watching. Come on just one more time and tomorrow you will try again. After all didn't Jesus die for all sins, He will understand."

The TRUTH is, Jesus DID die for ALL SINS but He didn't die for us to stay in our sins and use His precious blood as a reason to keep on sinning! He was tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and mocked by onlookers as He died on the cross. Praise be to God, after three days in the grave, HE AROSE! He defeated death to set the captives free! This freedom cost us nothing but cost Him everything! He proclaimed to the world that day, "You are worth my blood being shed!" In return for my freedom I will proclaim to the world, "I was once a slave to sin, headed to hell, and now I am FREE in Christ!" It may cost me friends, family, popularity among the masses but all I can say, "HE IS WORTHY! I AM FREE!!!!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Do I Live Face-to-Face with Jesus?

Isaiah 41:10(NLT)"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

Isaiah 41:13 "For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you,‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you." ***********************************************************************************
I just love how God speaks to my heart through His word. He led me to these verses when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor on May 20, 2012. I had brain surgery on May 24, to remove the benign tumor which was the size of an over-grown tangerine. It was a long 7 hour surgery and my surgeon removed it ALL! PTL!! Side note; 7 hours of surgery...the number 7 is the number of completion in the Bible :)

During my stay in the hospital, several of the staff would grab hold of my right hand with their right hand and look me in the eyes and talk tenderly to me. The first person to do this was my nurse,Faith, in the emergency room. After I received the news about the tumor, she grabbed my right hand with her right hand, looked me square in the eyes and said, "God told me to tell you, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Yes, I cried like a baby because my Lord spoke to me through my nurse! The next person was the young man who wheeled me up to my room. Once he got me settled in my bed, he grabbed my right hand with his right hand and said with all confidence, "God's got this!" Yep, you guessed it, I cried again!

I knew there was something significant about God's right hand so I began to look through the scriptures to find His truth. He lead me to Isaiah 41. Verses ten and thirteen stood out to me and as I read these precious words over and over again, God spoke clearly to my heart. Living face-to-face with Jesus is when His victorious right hand is holding on to my right hand and my eyes are fixed on His. Similar to Peter walking on the stormy sea. When his eyes were on Jesus, he was steady in his walk but as soon as he took his eyes off Him and started looking at the raging waves, he began to sink into the deep. (Matthew 14:22-31)

Life is like an ocean, calm and smooth and then out of no where a storm arises and the waves are crashing all around us. Some storms are predictable and others hit us when we least expect it. I would suspect those are the worst. But in our journey of life whether in a storm or all is well, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJ), "...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

May I encourage you to look to your Savior, He is there waiting for you to reach for His outstretched, nail scarred, victorious right hand with your right hand so that He can lead you through the storms and the joys of life. If you have never truly trusted Him as your Savior, what are you waiting for? Just call on His name, Jesus, believe in your heart that He died for YOUR sins, and God raised Him from the dead(Romans 10:9). If you do this He will reach for you and you, my friend, will have be saved. I am not promising that life will be easy after that but if you fix your gaze on Christ, He will walk with you and often times He will carry you.

Father God, help me to live face-to-face with Jesus, keeping my eyes fixed on Him during this journey of life. When I lose my focus, come to my rescue and as Your Holy Spirit quickens my heart, may I return my gaze to You. Father, You know the journey is hard and to some it seems there is no light at the end of their tunnel. I pray for those struggling right now that they will learn to live face-to-face with their Savior. No matter the journey we are on, we just need to hold on tight to your victorious right hand! In Jesus' name.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let Your Actions Speak Louder than Your Words

1 John 3:18 "Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."

We've all heard the saying; "You sure can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?" When I read the words of John in this passage, that statement immediately came to mind.

How often do I say I love my neighbor yet refuse to help them when in need, Christian or not? How often do I not show mercy and instead judge another's faults? How often do I withhold forgivness when someone sins against me? Or retaliate when someone hurts me? This one hit me square in the eye; How often do you pray for those who are lost as well as my brothers/sisters in Christ who are struggling?

Being a Follower of Christ means we follow His example. We are supposed to do as He did. Jesus prayed, forgave, showed mercy, helped, healed, was compassionate, and never condemned. He didn't just do this to those who followed Him closely. He did it with everyone He met! I am reminded that Jesus washed the disciples feet...ALL the disciples, including Judas, the one who betrayed Him(John 13).

He also did not retaliate when the religious rulers spat in His face or the Roman soldiers plucked out His beard, beat Him beyond recognition, then finally nailed Him to the cross to die a sinners death. Instead He cried out, Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing!" (Luke 23:34) He definitely "walked the walk" and showed love in action.

Lord, help me to have Christ's attitude. Help me to follow His ways and not the ways of this world or my own flesh. I know that by Your Holy Spirit living in me, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strengh. I love you Lord and want to show Your love to the world but I do NEED Your help! In Jesus' name I pray!