Thanks for visiting my blog! I pray that you get something out of my being transparent and that God will continue to use me even to speak to one!! Feel free to click follow or follow by email! Be blessed... and transparent!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The REAL Reason for this season!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (Luke 2:1 ESV)

Yesterday while scrolling my Facebook page, I saw a lot of posts dripping with anger, resentment and sarcasm delivered by depression. I remember feeling sad for those who don't care to celebrate such a time as the birth of Christ. Granted, no His birth was not in the dead of winter, nor was it how most movies depict it. And I get why some choose not to celebrate because it is also a time of Winter Solstice celebration formally named Jól which is a pagan celebration in which a Yule (tide) feast is given to honor a certain god. I can see that this time of year is racked by greedy retailers who while trying to make the most money by having the best "deals" have simultaneously attempted to take Christ out of the equation or by consumers and retailers alike have begun the process of rushing a time of thanksgiving in November to get to the buying and gift getting instead of giving. I will most likely get a lot of flack about this post, then again I have been surprised before. Here is my outtake and why as Christ followers we cannot ignore this season for a certain Reason.

In school, I remember having certain friends who hated the fact that their birthdays were in the summer because they did not have good "turnouts" for their parties. My daughter has a few friends who are like that. But now the new trend, a smart one I say, is to hold a party after school is back in session. Even my youngest daughters birthday falls at an awkward time now that she is in high school. Friends who are in spring sports don't have that much time attend parties as soccer, baseball/ softball and track are in full session. So we improvise and move the time of any celebration to before her birthday. I will even be celebrating my birthday beforehand as I prepare to go in a mission trip to Jamaica this next year (prayerfully). I say all that to point out it's not the date that's as important, it's the event. My children's birth dates will always be important to me but as they get older, we celebrate when time and funds permit. My two oldest are 2 years and a month apart and so for big celebrations, like this next one, we will celebrate in the middle of both for both. The date of Christ's being born is so significant to us as it was in biblical times because his birth came at a time of greedy rulers, despair, taxes that should have been illegal and a great outcry to God for the coming Savior that was foretold. But we seem to always have those things with us. Depression, poverty, sickness, greed, and a great outcry happen everyday. I believe there is a reason we do not know the exact day that Christ was born. Yes I know scholars have done extensive research with dates, seasons and even looking at the region and when the events normally happened. But if God wanted us to focus on an actual date, it would be in the Bible as many dates are. Don't you think Jesus' birth was that significant to Him that if He wanted us to know it, He would have told us? While many Christians are biting down on this "not celebrating the birth of Jesus" fad, I believe the enemy of our souls is able to step in and bring confusion to the table with him. We as children of the Most High argue with each other, non believers and those who aren't sure what they believe yet about whether to celebrate a day, whatever the actual date may be, when God was brought low in the form of man to exonerate man of sin by his ultimate sacrifice on a tree, which we also argue whether to celebrate His death and subsequent being raised from the dead (Easter). Am I saying promote the fantasy of Santa and the Easter Bunny in lieu of Christ's birth and sacrifice for us? No, not at all. When my children were a little younger, Easter baskets ad egg hunts were done on another day, usually the Saturday before, and even though I had not even had a personal relationship with Christ, His birth and sacrifice days were set aside for myself and my kids. As they got older, we moved gift exchange to New Years Day and well, there are no more Easter baskets.

Here's what I am ultimately saying, because I can be long winded. Luke is where the Disciple who took the time to explain some background about what was going on around Christ's birth. He tells of Caesar Agustus' newly required registry which would lead Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. In a deeper look into those times, we find out that Herod, a fanatical Jewish wannabe, heard of the Messiah's coming and ordered the death of many male children. We find out about the famine, the wailing, etc. All of that is just as important as the actual birth to know God's perfect planning and timing for our lives. How can we then react as Pharisees would have with the Law and focus on a date instead of the importance? In two different places we are told in God's Word that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23). The second time it is said has to do with giving God glory. So lets ask ourselves, if we celebrate this holiday, is there no way God can get the glory? Is there no way we can use this time to draw those to Christ, to be a light to this dark world? This, along with any disaster or tragedy, appears to be the only time most will be "kind" and support each other, even attend church. Shouldn't we take advantage of this opportunity as we are told in Colossians 3:23? My children and I have made changes to the way we celebrate CHRISTmas and I can see God positioning us to give, worship, to bless others, to give ourselves away, not because of the negative foundation of this holiday but because even what the world means for evil, God will use for good.... that is if we let Him use us. So with that, I say Merry CHRISTmas and pray you say the same!

ABBA, thank You for giving the ultimate Gift of Your only Son for us. Forgive us for making this about a date and falling into the pharisaical trap of the enemy while others are rapidly removing from Him this celebration. Help us not to be so careful of dotting "i's" and crossing "t's" that we forget that, Jesus YOU are the Reason for this season no matter how it came about. Wake us up and set us right, Lord. And if for some reason it is not Your will for us to use this time to celebrate you and give to others unprecedentedly and with great avidity while teaching our children of the greatest Gift ever, then forgive me for my ignorance and You teach me! In Jesus name. Amen!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Transparent Arrival

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:32, 33 ESV)

Well, its December 22, 2012 and the works is still here, along with everyone else that opened their eyes today. There is a song that I used to love when I was younger! I never knew the meaning of the band Queen making this song and I didn't know all the lyrics but I loved the song, Another One Bites the Dust! That's how I feel about this latest prediction of the world ending in December 21, 2012!

Since 1970, a very significant year for me, there have been 41 predictions concerning the end of the world. Obviously, all attempts have failed, however I bring this up because in plain sight and in black and white it is said that "no man" knows (KJV) the day or the hour. The word for "hour" in the Greek text is hora (pronounced hōrä) and can mean a time or season. My question if it is written in black and white, why are so many who claim to be of faith and "know God" still trying hard to produce a date? Seriously, do we really want to know and will that bring about change or just laziness and selfishness until the time is near? Perhaps we don't know because if we did, this is precisely what would happen. Which brings me to verse 32. While Jesus answered the Disciples question of when the signs he talked about would be done, his answer of no man knows, he also gave them a command that is prevalent yet forgotten today. He told them to be on guard and keep awake because no one knows the time.

I can remember CHRISTmas season as a child before my parents divorce. I can remember always thinking how silly my parents were to try and hide my presents from me. I would search every year from the age if about 7 to 12, the CHRISTmas after they separated, and would always find my presents! I would incorporate my brother in this feat as well, after knowing he wouldn't go run his mouth telling on me of course! One important factor is to know that we are military brats. So we moved quite a bit. A few of these times, my junior detective work would be in a new house, but I always solved the mystery! When done, I would carefully lift off the tape, glad tape is much stronger these days, and open the presents, just a bit, to see what I was getting.... okay and to tease my brother about knowing what he was getting in those years before his preschool detective work. I was always excited to know what my presents were and that upped my anticipation for CHRISTmas morning when I could tear into those carefully wrapped bags and boxes only to leave the living room in a huge wrapping paper debacle. But on that day, even though I woke up excited, would stare at the presents like a hungry lion does while laying in wait for that exact moment it's prey is oblivious to its presence, and mind you, I was up by 4:30-5am! Even though that anticipation boiled over like an old school percolator filled with coffee, when my parents, in what seemed to be DECADES later, came to the living room as a signal to start tearing into the flesh, I mean wrapping paper, I was never as excited as I was when I first knew what I was getting. I said all that to say, that's how us knowing when the end would be.

In such a sin soaked world, where the Burger King motto has become our new National Anthem, would we really use the time we knew the end date to wisely? Many terminally sick people spend their time with family and friends, doing things THEY never got to do and buying things THEY never had as if they could take it with them. When in fact, vs 15 says do not go back for anything. There are even those who have been diagnosed and go on a revenge spree hoping that they will have the time to "get right with God" before they die. Rarely has anyone been told, "you have this many days, months or years," and they sacrificed even more, spent more time in their Word, growing and hearing from God, dedicating even their last breath to live out His will for them, sharing His Gospel. Don't get me wrong, it is done. But those are people we don't hear about. They seem to die quiet deaths and only the hearts they touch cry out for them. The ones we do hear about are those who had no idea when they were going to die and spent their lives as His Light, radically changed for Him! This too is good. My point is, if we all knew when our "expiration date" was, would we continue the way we are? Why do we need a date to tell us we should surrender our lives to Jesus when we can do it now and live out our days filled with love, joy and peace as the adopted sons and daughters of the one true King and reap all the blessings He has for us?

The rumors of wars may or may not have begun, depends on who you ask. The Rapture may or may not be, and may or may not have happened already. Nations may be rising against each other, but they have been doing that for centuries. The world may be in labor pains to make way for Jesus or we could still be in the beginning, who knows! Birth is a complicated thing. But what I do know is He WILL be coming in a cloud, the same way He left in his ascension, and He will be coming to collect His elect. We have but one life, and how we live it, Who or what we serve will testify as to where we will be. He IS coming back and we do NOT know when that will be. Once you grasp hold of that, how will that alter how you live?

Heavenly Father, You reign on high! Yet You are so personable to be right here with us in the midst of all we go through. Help us to focus on You and not when You will come. Forgive us for being selfish people who sit and wait like at a bus stop, never interacting or speaking to anyone because we are only focused in our destination. Help us to be secure that You are coming back for us, like You promised, so that we can go about our lives in such a way that we bring people to that "bus stop" with us to ride to our destination Home with You. And for those who do not know You, who are wounded and as a result have chosen not to know You, help them to see the loving, faithful, just Father You are and because of You their lives would be forever changed! Start a WildFire in us and help us to be bold in proclaiming Your Gospel in all nations (Mark 13:10). Help us to endure these birthing pains and to be on guard and awake. Thank You that the days are growing shorter so that the time will grow nearer! Call us to repentance, Lord, and others to salvation! In Jesus name. Amen!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Transparent Tragedy

 “….In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
December 14 is a day that will be burned forever in our hearts and will be a question mark in our minds until such a time that we can God face to face. I am sure the day started for most like any other, but I am just as certain there was one or two led to pray for that day. As the world watched helplessly to find out just what had happened, how many were injured or dead and why someone would do such a thing in a seemingly innocent place, I am certain there were prayer warriors and intercessors all over crying out for the families, staff, responders and even the nation. Even as I read and became angered by the thoughts and words of careless people on social media sites and news reports online, the two messages that came across clear was for us as believers, not to be discouraged but to encourage others and that in this world, it is very certain that we will see and feel pain, have trials and death but we need to take heart because He has already overcome this wicked world! I saw one cry from many and that was how could God let this happen? Dear hearts, God did not “let” this happen, we did. We have become so complacent in our pews and drama free lives that we walked away from our First Love and allowed Him to be “taken out of the schools” because we didn’t want to ruffle feathers. As few of us as there seem to be, our voice, our cries are loud when in unison with the angels and the voice of God Himself crying out for His children to wake up! When will we take a stand? We will not change the outcome of the sentence for this wicked world. We will not stop violence or vile things that are being done, but we can surely bring more to salvation and help them turn from their wicked ways if we would only hear God’s cry for us to turn from ours.
Two years ago, December 4th, my world was rocked again when on the news I heard of the disappearance of a beautiful young lady who was a former youth at my old church. I loved this young lady, her mom and her younger brother like my own family. I had been out of touch with her mom for quite some time as I went through a valley or two of my own but she was one of the first to encourage my writing. I tried furiously to find her information so that I could be there for her but God led me to just pray. She was never found and I am back in contact with her mom but still wonder where she is, if she is okay, is she held against her will, was she one of the youth that were taken for a teen human trafficking ring where kids were abducted and forced into prostitution. I even find myself looking for her when driving or in a store from time to time. (Tyler Thomas is her name and she is 22 now) But as scary an ordeal that is and unfathomable for a parent to not know where their child is, Jesus has already overcome.
It’s a hard concept to accept at times, I will be the first to admit, but at the same time it is so comforting to know that we win no matter how much hurt, pain, trials, brokenness, sickness and death we witness or go through, we win. It’s a very sobering thought when you are in the midst of trials. I am recently coming to that realization and settling my thoughts on this and every time I have a valley to walk through, I remember that Jesus has already been there and for me, won.
Meditate on this promise today. Learn the meaning of the words in Greek and what Jesus meant by them. Continue to pray for all families, the community and those first responders who had to pull out the little bodies from that school on Friday. Pray that this will awaken them to a God, who hurts when we hurt, catches every tear when we cry and longs for us to be in relationship with Him so that when this world is gone, we can be with Him with “no more crying” forever.
Dear Lord, thank You for being a sovereign God, a God in control and firmly planted on Your Throne. Would You breathe down on those who are affected by this past week’s tragedies a breath of comfort and peace? Would You ignite in Your people a hunger not for the world’s justice but Yours? Lord would You use this to call those to salvation and repentance so that we can go out into this harvest which is ready and bring them to You? Cover us, Lord and be our Comforter when the time comes. Put urgency in our hearts and a desire that comes from You as well as boldness and courage! In Jesus name. Amen! 

Transparent Unity

 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:1-2

 There is a saying, based off of Scripture, that says “A house divided will fall, a house united will stand,” or something like that. I really love the concept because we sometimes have no idea how true that is. I dare anyone to prove that a person on their own can do more and be more efficient than a group of people working together. Ah, but there is the kicker. The group or family has to be working together, towards the same goals. One thing I have found true in my home is if there is division, if there is not a unified front, we fail and cannot move forward.
I was in church at our 4:30 prayer service on morning when God made this plainly and painfully clear to me. Upon reading this particular verse, I was flooded with the knowledge that we as Christ followers are looking to generally at this verse. It is NOT about us being on one accord in our thinking or “man’s will” which was prayed against that very morning but also that the “in one place” this verse is speaking of is NOT a building. It’s a state of mind, a state of being. The Greek word for one place is autos, meaning himself, herself, themselves; the same. When I looked this up further, the word “one” came up and the Greek word for it is hos and the meaning is “to the same” which literally means “for the same purpose.” I was instantly flooded with sadness because God was saying the reason we have not been able to move effectively in the fields and bring the hurt, broken, sick, lost, and wandering to Him is because we are not on “one accord in one place.” We have adapted the will of man which helps us to bring in the most people instead of bringing in those who are hungry for something new. With those masses we bring in hoping they will get a glimpse of who God is to us and adapt that desire, we then begin to water down His message to fit them and not offend them. We have become complacent in our walk and He is not pleased. We have become…. as the world is. They have become our light instead of us being the Light of the world. We have taken the lie that we are small or one person and cannot make a difference to heart and made it our own.
This message does not come lightly. I cried out for a good hour and a half, even for those who were inside the building crying out for our city. They could not see that, as the very song I am listening to right now says, “The change I want to see, must first begin in me. I surrender,” (Song of Intercession, William McDowell). We need to remember that WE are that City on a hill and they are watching us. Would we, not knowing how to parent at first, take our cues and instruction from our newborn? We may adapt to a schedule that suits them for a while but the next thing we do is to put THEM on a schedule that is conducive to us. We don’t parent the rest of our lives by how they react do we? The world is watching us, to see not only what we do in situations but also to see what they are able to get away with; what we will not stand on His holy ground for. What will your response be?
Sovereign Lord, Abba, we are crying out to You today! We are in desperate need of Your guidance, clarity and wisdom. We want to hear from You, Lord so that we know which way to go. Forgive us for our following man’s will and help us to get back to You and Your desires. Unify us, Lord any way necessary. In Jesus name. Amen!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Transparent Feet

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7

This past Sunday marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one in this adventure we call life. I have been at Bridge Church for a little over 3 years in all. I had an invitation before to come and help out with the youth earlier that year, 2009 but did not act on that invitation. It wasn't until a thuggish looking black man who was always smiling talked to me during a SLT fair at my Bible college, Grace University. We seemed to hit it off and I immediately looked at him as a younger brother and we began this sibling relationship as I began to volunteer at this Bridge Church. I watched him grow, make mistakes, learn from some and make some of them again. I watched him grow in the Lord and even make some changes he thought might make him even better. We have a the best of laughs and even clashed so much I thought the old Fefe was gonna break free and beat him down, except the fact he is bigger than me. But through all of that, through the many prayers, outcries, rants, disagreements, blessings and even anointing that God had me and a friend do over him, he is a man of God who desires to see every single young person say “I once was lost and now I’m found.” He loves God with his whole heart and loves people with the same fervor. He has had his bullying moments and speaking the Good News about Christ and he has had his moments of rejection but he keeps going.

What he didn't know was that last summer, that I and the same friend who anointed my brother in Christ with me, prayed for him and I spoke the words during prayer with her, “Myron is leaving.” Don’t know how I knew, didn't know what it was gonna look like, but I knew his time to step up was coming. Myron Pierce is now being led to plant a church in Colorado Springs, CO called Passion City and I await the fire that will come out of him being obedient with this seed in his and his wife’s life.

While listening to him yesterday, what God spoke to me is this verse in Isaiah isn't just for those who are pastors, mega church leaders or Bible scholars. It’s for us, those of us who are in Christ, seeking God’s face even while in the face of trials. This is what Myron desires. Not to be the biggest, baddest preacher here on Earth (although he acts like it sometimes =]), his desire is to be a fire starter. To run with the torch God has given him while in this race and start fires, ignite torches, use that fire to show the passion God has given each of us already. He is crazy, he has ADHD, and he struggles with inadequacies, but he is a black man with a mission and will not hesitate to jump out of a car to tell someone about Jesus! THAT is what we should be doing! THAT is what makes our feet beautiful on the rough, steep, rock filled mountains called life. Our words, our torches, our fire, our walks are never going to look the same. But what should be mimicked is the path of Christ. Our feet are all different sizes and so that will change how we walk. Some will have smaller steps, some are pigeon toed, and some will have crutches and wheel chairs. It doesn't matter how we walk the path of Christ as long as we stay on His and not try to change it to fit ourselves or someone else OR try to make our own. My message I am charged to give you today, as well as Myron is, stay the path. Stay on the path made for you by God, not by man or self. He can see the end because He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, after all. Be steadfast and unmovable. Don’t even flinch when something comes your way. You may not feel ready for it, but God is and He has well prepared you for this journey and EVERY trial that comes with it. STAY…. THE…. PATH!!!

Father God, thank you for the people like Myron who are contagious, who stumble yet get up, who fail yet keep going, who almost give up but then give it to You. They show me how much You really love me and how to really love them. As we deliver Your Good News to those in need, help us to walk a path that will lead them to You long after we are gone. Help us to remember that You, our God, reign! And Lord, bless Myron, Kristin and their two children in this new journey. I don’t ask that they will not be in need, but I ask that they will remember even in need, even in excess that they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength.  In Jesus name. Amen!

Would you who read this, put the Pierce’s on your prayer list and lift them up as they will be leaving in January? God bless you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Transparent Floodwater

When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
You will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

This week we are on our knees interceding for the East Coast again for the second hurricane, Sandy. There are those fasting and praying for people they don’t even know because of the lost state the nation is in and how we have begun to think foolishly. People are staying in their homes when they should be evacuating, they are not taking proper precautions when they should be prepared. But when the storm is over, they are throwing up their fists at God because of the destruction and/ or seeking answers to the question, “If God really loves us, why does He keep punishing us?” or “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” and finally coming to the conclusion because of lost loved ones or materials, “There must not be a god. He wouldn’t allow any of this to happen. He would save us if he existed.” So I want to take a moment or two to be transparent about things going on now and how that last statement is NEVER true.
About a week and a half ago, there was about 7-9 murders in our city of Omaha. All were somehow gang-related or innocent people in the way of mindless shooters. Two of those affected me personally because I knew one, he was a classmate of my youngest child and I visited him in DCYC, and the other though I had never met him personally, I know the mother of one of his children and one of his daughters very well. I felt hurt and anger on the same day because I had heard about both on the same day. I can remember driving to my daughter’s football game where she is a cheerleader with many different thoughts, about as many as the tears that flowed for these lost souls who will never be seen again on earth. Asking God why, feeling bad for being thankful that my children are alive, getting angry with those who killed them, being angry that God allowed it even. And then peace came over me. Psalm 91:7 came to mind and how these senseless violent acts will happen. This verse in Isaiah says it perfectly. Did you notice it or did you just scroll over the one word that makes this verse so powerful like I did so many times? Read it again, I’ll wait…. See it this time? There are 3 sentences in this one verse. All three sentences have different things that are described as happening, assuredly, guaranteed. How do I know? Because all three sentences begin with the word “when”, not “if”. See the difference? This is assured to happen just like when you breathe in you are assured to have oxygen enter your body. Guaranteed just like if you slap a wild tiger in the face when they are asleep, they are guaranteed to wake up and tear into you if you are silly enough to stand there and wait.
With these and plenty other local deaths, along with the death of Michael Jackson a few years ago, Whitney Houston earlier this year and other well known famous people I grew up with, I am becoming well aware that death is real. Not that I wasn’t before. I had to face it when I was a teenager and my grandmother, my favorite person, died of ovarian cancer. My heart shattered more than I, my parents, or anyone else knew. It was my first close experience with death because at that very moment when I saw her in her casket, I knew she wasn’t ever coming back. I couldn’t even go to the burial, well get out of the limo. It did more to me than I actually knew. I know now looking at pictures of that day I don’t even remember being in.
            That’s life. Growth, hurts, sickness, disease, brokenness, sadness, death are all part of this cycle we call life. What separates some of us from the rest is a four letter word. H-O-P-E. Those who are IN Christ, not that post on Facebook about Him or go to church to sit through a teaching about his life or casually say we love God, we have hope. We know that this world will at some point end and with it our hurts, trials and heartaches. But even we forget from time to time. It’s like a big wave coming at you on a beach and you stand tall to feel the force of it, but when it comes, it still knocks you down and you may still inhale a little water from it. We all have trials, tests, and things we don’t want to go through but to be able to go through stuff knowing God has promised to never leave or forsake us makes it so much easier! It’s like doing a Beth Moore Bible study with Beth Moore. No one can teach her courses like she can. No one can get you through the rough patches like God can or nothing for that matter! The question is will you go through your hardships of life that WILL happen with or without the Author or Finisher of your life? I mean, would you travel without a map or GPS? Would you take a class online without ever speaking to the instructor? Would you fix or build something you never had before without the manual? If you have done any of the above before, how did it turn out for you? John 16:33 assures us that “in this life we will have tribulation.” But the second part is a promise that we need to cling to. “But take heart (have courage); I have overcome the world (I already won the war!). How many wars have you heard a president say that for? And wouldn’t you go through it more confidently if they were able to make that promise? God had a Son named Jesus that He sent here to earth to do just that. Through His death on the Cross, despite the sins already committed, we are committing right now and what has yet to be committed, He died a horrible death to save us. His blood was shed so that we can live life to the fullest, through Him, even with the many disappointments, heartaches, trials and tribulations He PROMISED we would have. Take full advantage of it dear ones, don’t let His death be in vain as many dying nowadays have been, are and will be.
Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for sending Your only Son to die the death we deserve for us! There are so many who ask the question, “what kind of father would let his son die for those he doesn’t know?” Thank You for being that kind of Father that loves us enough and thinks of us enough to give such a sacrifice we could never even repay. Today I say again that I will live my life indebted to You Jesus for Your sacrifice on the Cross. You could have come down but You stayed. When I think of the many sins I have committed, am committing still and will commit I know without You I am not worthy and would not make it through these times. I pray that after reading this, others will come to that same conclusion and surrender what they thought they could control, their lives, over to you. Be with those who have lost, who feel no hope and Lord, those who have turned away. Be also a Refuge for those in the midst of this storm, any storm whether physical or spiritual. In Jesus name. Amen!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Transparent Voice

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Isaiah 42:1-10 (ESV)
Have you ever been so excited to go somewhere new that you got cold feet? Like, you started inventing new things to worry about and even starting praying for God to close the door to that opportunity? I know you can’t see but I am raising my hand right now! That happened to me twice this summer! The first time was when I went to enroll and take my entrance test for college. Now mind you, I am no “fresh out the egg” chicken and I have been to college before… several different times. Each time it was for something different and I just KNEW this was what I wanted to do ranging from psychology to youth ministry to early childhood development. But each time, I was missing something, God’s order.
          This last time, I asked God what it was He wanted me to do instead of praying for what I wanted to do. He answered just as quickly as if to say to me, “Well I’m glad you asked Felicia!” The answer was to get my teaching certificate. Something I had been hearing for years and took no time in running from that statement. This time, I not only stayed but made it a point to quickly enroll. The result? I am for the first time on the honor roll!
          The next time this summer was for a leadership summit in Chicago with my church. Now let me am really… transparent. I really only wanted to go because I had never been to Chicago! When the invitation was given me, I did not hesitate to say yes, no praying and getting back to them, no seeking God, nothing but yes! Then the time got closer… and closer… and closer. I started to have new inventions of things to worry about. What if someone broke into my house while my adult kids were home? What if my oldest daughter, who is working, missed the bus and my mom was at work and could not take her? What if my son, who was on summer break, just sat in the house all day on his computer or watching TV? What if my youngest, who is a sophomore in high school, needed me or needed to get to practices during the day? Did I really think they couldn’t get along without me? So I started to panic and ask God to close the very door I had recently asked Him to give me revelation as to whether I was to go. I no longer wanted to go somewhere that was 8 hours away from my kids who I raised to the best of my ability and handed over to God was I surrendered my life.
          A crazy thing happened a couple of days after praying with a friend and leader of the church who I shared this with. God opened another entrance to this very same door! My youngest two were able to go with me. I asked my oldest because I set it in my heart that if she couldn’t go or wasn’t invited, I wasn’t going either! But she declined and that left me standing at the door with no more excuses but to walk in. I will now be referring to her as the Infidel!!
          That week was awesome! First because I didn’t have to pay a red cent on this trip unless I wanted something to take back, and second because I had never been in Chicago (I don’t count the inside airport) and I was in awe with the nostalgic scent in the air, and lastly but most definitely not least the conference. The confirmation, the encouragement, the wisdom, and the ideas I received from that place! I was speechless! I think I took so many notes that I could write an informational booklet from them alone! Shout out time: Thank you Bridge Church, Willow Creek Church (Bill Hybel) and city of Chicago for such a great end of summer vacation this year and thank You Lord for being consistent and persistent in me going and learning from You!
          Okay, now for the parable lesson. There was one speaker that was very short in stature, I’m guessing no more than 5’0 tall and her voice was like that of a frail mouse. But she captured that room plus the other nations that watched by satellite with the power God had given her in her voice. It reminded me of the small still voice that we are to listen for when the chaos of this world seems to be distracting and luring us away with its loudness. We couldn’t help but listen. And then she read the very verse God has given me as my ministry… Isaiah 42:1-9. I was blown away! I wanted to get up and run away screaming but the Holy Spirit speaking through her dared me to stay and listen.
What she simply said was no matter how small the world and even the church sometimes thinks you are, you matter to God and His purpose. You are counted in as a warrior for His Kingdom and there is no more time to sit on the sidelines because someone else has told you that you don’t matter or you don’t have a speaking voice, or you aren’t the right model for a leader or have simply not noticed what you do because you are not in the limelight. Pranitha’s ministry is in the darkness rescuing modern day slaves who have given up on anyone ever saving them. Yet she goes where she can get shot at, kidnapped, arrested for being on private property and I would even guess that as I write this 3 weeks later that she is in the thick of going after men, women and children who are enslaved putting herself in the forefront of danger for the sake of the Kingdom. I had to ask myself, what have you done? I have to ask you, the reader, what have you done?
          Has someone lied and told you or tried to make you believe you and what your vision is didn’t matter and wouldn’t make it? People have told me for years I matter but only to the degree in which they wanted to use me. For 3 years I have been surrendered to Christ but living as a free slave of the world because I counted what leaders told me as true about me. That I needed a specific speaking style, that I needed some more training, that God wasn’t ready to release me yet and that what I had to offer wasn’t what they needed in their church. Pranitha opened, not unlocked, that door of bondage and I am walking out!
This week and into next I will be meditating on Psalm 139:23-24 and asking God do something difficult, asking Him to search my heart. He is already opening doors; I have just been too afraid and riddled with guilt and lies to walk in. I refuse to have the “rocks cry out on my behalf.” How about you?
Father God, I ask forgiveness for the bondage Your Son’s blood freed me from yet I went back to the comfort ability of it. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me to the life everlasting. Help me to step up and keep walking to step out! In Jesus name. Amen!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Transparent Bag Lady

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden (burdened), and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28 (ESV)

My mom is frequently called the “Bag Lady” at her jobs. Whenever I pick her up it takes a good couple of minutes for her to get situated and in the car because she has so many bags. I often wonder, and I think have even asked a few times what she needs all the bags for. I don’t remember the answer she has given but I gather that the reason could be so she doesn’t forget anything, she brings everything. And yet she still forgets the simple things like her lunch or tags or even keys for work once. But what I noticed the other day is that she reaches out to my kids to help her or if I am in the house for me to grab a bag or two. I do so, sometimes begrudgingly, but only because I can see ways she can condense her need for these bags.
Isn’t that just the opposite of Jesus? He says to us, “Come to me, ALL who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” All we have to do is come! I love that He is not just calling some of us, or the church folk who are always decked out, or the leaders of the church, or even the crazy radical people who get out of their comfort zone quickly to meet someone at the door of God. No, He is calling for everyone. I quickly say that I believe it’s because those of us who know Him intimately can be ministered too and those who don’t know Him can get to know Him while He cares for them. Those who don’t know anything of Him can be introduced and leave with a new friend that sticks closer than any brother! I love that He cares for us just that much… but doesn’t stop there! He also gives us much needed rest when we enter His presence. How many friends or family can you say from the very minute you walked into their presence you felt lighter and much needed rest until you left? Only God can do that for us!
I started talking about my mom and her many bags she carries for a reason. When I have my kids with me to pick her up, they automatically go to her door or into her office to help her with her bags. She sometimes calls for them to help but they are usually already on the way in. There are even sometimes I go in and grab bags I know she is going to take with her, and this takes her by surprise because I don’t say anything, just grab them. What’s my point? God will do the same. We don’t have to ask Him to come and grab bags from us all the time. There are times that He will relieve us even before we cry out for help. And in the times that it’s necessary that we ask Him, it’s usually to help cultivate our communication skills with Him. He also doesn’t want us to just assume, “Oh God’s got it!” in times when we should be crying out. How great is our God!
My questions are what are the bags you need to release and which do you tend to hold on to? Are you going into His presence or just standing at the door waiting for some doorman to come grab the bags for you? And do you recognize when He does take some baggage from you whether you ask or not? Let’s spend a week in His presence, not His doorway, so that we can experience this bag free living He has in store for us! Come to Him!!
Lord, thank You for being an on time God who gives rest to the weary. Just as we say or form our lips to say I can’t take it, You step in and give us much needed rest from our burdens. Lord, I ask that for each person who reads this, You would give them that much needed rest. Whether it is from stress, unemployment, worry, doubt, bills, unproductive relationships, broken hearts, sickness, or whatever their burdens are, that You would give them rest. Allow them to taste and see that You are good. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Transparent Provision

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:13-14

There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25

Three years ago, God gave me a promise that He would give me a vehicle. He, of course, didn’t say how or what kind, just that at the end of three years He would supply. It’s one of the craziest things I have held onto and I view this as my Abraham experience. I have had, since that time, a car that was bought for me by my mom, the use of her car and even funds to rent a vehicle for about a year. (Yes, I know the money scholars are doing the math on that one, the money spent to rent could have been saved up to buy. S/N It’s funny how people who already have are quick to give advice to those who don’t have yet not help to attain that which they need. If I already HAD a car, then yes renting one would be silly, but as I had none and the bus was not an option due to my hours, renting was my best bet. And God provided faithfully during that time! Okay, S/N out and off of my pedestal.) I’m not sure of the exact month, but I know that 3 years is nearly up and I am wondering, was that God? Did I hear Him right? Should I just go and buy a car? Do I not have the faith I need to receive my blessing? And that led me to pray to Him this morning and ask, “God did I hear You right? How do I place my faith in action when I pray constantly and thank You in advance for my vehicle?” The answer He gave was to tell people. Tell my story so in its unfinished version so that He can turn it into a testimony when it is time!

I have personally witnessed God’s goodness in my life more times than I can count! His healing, financial, physical and spiritual faithfulness still blows my mind every time He moves on my behalf! When I found the verses to write this post, He had just blown my mind again! I was down to $6 and some change in my account with bills due and one morning after praying, I looked in my account and where there should have been a payment from Unemployment for just over $200, there sat in my account a payment of a little over $1000!!!! Let me type that out!! A LITTLE OVER A THOUSAND!! My patience and endurance while struggling with just child support (yes I am being so transparent) was rewarded and they back paid me!!!! Wow GOD!!! I had enough to bless others and pay bills!!! He is now showing me that He is my provision, He is the Signer of my “paycheck.” And as hard as it has been, I know that to be true. He has provided for my daughter’s tuition at Omaha Christian Academy and I believe He will continue by paying her tuition for this year in full!!

Psalm 27 says that we WILL SEE the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. That means now!!! Yes it will be according to our measure of faith, where He has us, but if we stop complaining and look, I believe we will indeed see this goodness! I love that promise! How many times do you go through something, He brings you through and the next issue or trial you have, you find yourself in the doubt pool crying and telling God about your problems again? I am learning that the saying, “Stop telling God about your problems and tell your problems about your God,” is so true! God knows what we go through! His Word says He has ordained our days so how would He not? Jesus warns us, kind of like a ride operator warns us about the ride we are about to experience, that we WILL have hardships and trials in this life but to “take heart”, that means to have confidence, do not be afraid, be strong; He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) Do you believe that? To waver in whether you believe that or not is to waver in your faith in Christ at all. I mean think about it, He was sent here for us to overcome so that we could overcome. How could we believe that He came and not the reason? That’s like believing that there is a cure for cancer but when you are diagnosed, you don’t take it. Now that’s crazy!! HE IS THE CURE!! Won’t you take your Medicine today?

Let’s pray. Oh God, that we would so believe in what You promise us. That we would walk in victory during the storm and not just after it. That the storms of this life would not drench us to the point that our affect is changed and we wallow in disbelief until the storm is actually over. NO! That we would sit in the confidence You have for us (Job 1:8) and when the storms, attacks and persecution comes we would stand firmly on the Rock by which Your Church is built. Lord speak to each of us today and replenish the confidence that has been taken or given. Thank You that You are Jehovah Jireh; You are my Provider and my Provision. I trust You Lord. In Jesus name. Amen!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just a Transparent Thought

Here recently there has been a big stir, a funk if you will, surrounding our president’s latest decision regarding same sex marriage. This post, which has nothing to do with the content, is just my transparent thoughts on paper…. Well blog. I may have a few standing with me and few more that will attack me. I am now okay with that.
The very first time I heard the word “homosexual” was with the actor, Rock Hudson, dying from AIDs, this new disease to which a frenzy was created. I can remember parents running to schools and snatching their kids out because of children who contracted this scary disease by way of blood transfusion. It seemed that even the smallest baby had done something to catch this “gay disease.”  People became instant doctors and judges when it came to who had and why they had AIDs. It was a sad time for this country.
What I also saw was an enormous amount picketing, screaming, judgmental, holier than thou Bible beaters that hid behind the name Christians. Funny that I always said to myself, “Self, remind me to never be one of them.” I had tolerance for those who were sick; those who America had assumed had started this epidemic, the homosexual community. I wasn’t that old (nice try) but I knew I did not want to be part of a people who only had hatred dripping from their lips. It was “homo this” and “gay that.” Let’s not mention the multitude of abortion clinics blown up or at least the women who were pushed into having abortions because they would rather be in the clinic than with the poison spewing folks outside the doors calling them baby killers and announcing that they and the clinic workers inside were ALL going to Hell. I began to think that maybe people with money and high positions in the church could change not only your departure time from this earth but also your destination, thank God they can’t!
I said all that to say, here is my standing ground on this subject. I DO believe that most are born “that way”, but not the “way” they are thinking. I believe there is a spirit that is assigned to some of us to make us completely miserable with life and relationships until we come to the conclusion that we are a certain way, accept it and then live what I call the death style. It’s not enough to accept that you are attracted to the same sex as you, it’s not enough speak it out loud; this spirit is not doing its job unless we are walking this out. I call this a death style for one reason, God is against it. If my Father is against the lifestyle, then so am I.

Please notice that I did not say I am against the people who live this style of life, and neither is He. He loves them regardless. He is not pleased, He does not like what they have chosen, and because of that He has given them over to their sin, much like a parent does a wayward child, BUT GOD does NOT hate the person!! There is a saying that goes, Hate the SIN, love the SINNER. So many in the Church, including my pre-saved and newly saved self, have gotten the two mixed up and even put their own spin on things. They have begun to hate other SINNERS while loving their own SIN.
This is what I feel the Church needs to begin to cry out for forgiveness. We have turned a generation of people against us, not because of the things we do like Jesus, which He has said would get us persecuted, but because we have poured more hate on these lost souls more than the world has. And now the world has begun to embrace them in an effort to keep them bound! What are we doing about it? Sitting on the sidelines drawing in the sand, when we have no idea what it was Jesus was even drawing, and it’s in the wrong context! We need begin loving each other first, because if we can’t love each other, how will we love anyone else? Once we get that, we need to be reaching out into the very places we have frowned upon and judged to snatch our brother and sisters out of there. And for those that decide to stay or run back, we need to show them love as well.
Listen, I have friends and family members who are homosexual. There is NO way I will turn my back on them! I support them to the fullest! What I do NOT support is their way of life, for no other reason than when they die, that’s it! I will never see them again! I can’t stand to think of that. I do not support what God does not support, but the people living that way or doing that thing, I will continue to love based on the fact that while I was yet a sinner, in the deep thick blackness of my sin, Christ died for me. Not because he was told to, not because he knew he had to, not because it was the only way to save me, but because he loved me!
Know this; my love will not stop flowing with those living this style of life on my page and in my life. I will not turn my back on them and there is NO way I will abandon them! That does NOT make me tolerant or accepting, it makes me obedient to His command for us all. To love my neighbors. Will you do the same?

Now here is a couple of housekeeping items, as they are often called. I do not accept profanity from anyone. If you disagree with this post, message me. Know that I operate with discernment and Proverbs 26:4-5 guides when it comes to answering or not. Also know if you are living this lifestyle and choose to copy and paste this blog to spew out poison against me, I, like my Lord and Savior, will NOT be moved! And I STILL love you! This is not to force or scare you into a relationship with Christ, it’s not to condemn you or to point fingers. It is merely to say I love you as Christ loves you and I am so sorry for what the imposter pew dwellers and surface Christians have done and said! Jesus is NOT like that! He loves you just as you are; He also loves you enough to want more for you!!  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Transparent Requirement

Transparent Requirement!

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:6-8 (ESV)
I am a very hard headed person. I don’t like a lot of requirements and rules placed on me. The world would call me a “free spirit” if I let them! I can remember a time when I was in 6th or 7th grade right after Christmas break (that’s what it was called before Mr. Political Correctness and Ms. Offense had a baby called Tolerance, but that’s for another time) and my mom said I could not take my new fangled toys to school. Well this was a time when I was trying to fit in and even though I had friends, I wanted to be in the “in” crowd. And what was in was my new Rubik’s Cube. Hold on, did I just give my age away? Anyhow, I was determined to sneak that thing to school at all costs! So on the morning of leaving for school, I secured a place for it in my blue crochet purse and put stuff on top, even though the purse was very thin. I just knew I was in the clear! Then it happened…. My mom had the nerve to ask me what was in my purse! Remember that I said at all cost, okay? So in my however old I was voice I boldly grabbed my purse tighter and said, “Nothing Mommy.” Yeah, I lied. What happened next is somewhat unclear except for the whooping I incurred by the hands of my father! I can say that I went to school without my awesome Rubik’s Cube, not that I needed to really say that for all the 80’s kids, right? But the rule was so simple yet so complex at the same time. Don’t take ANYTHING to school. Period. But for a child hungry for status at school, that is so hard…. We forgot that didn’t we parents?
God is the same. His commands are so simple. Do not cheat, obey your parents, Do not put other things in the place of God, love your neighbor, etc. Yet we fail at them all the time. Why is that? Why can we figure out what an atom is, write a constitution and laws, CEO corporations but simple commands from the One that gave us the ability to do these complex things, we can’t follow? I will tell you why. It’s because we are human. That’s not an excuse or permission; it’s just how we are. But that also is not a go ahead to stay that way.  We are created in His image and that alone calls us to greater. My brother in Christ, JCrum, has a song that goes “We are called for greater, we are called for more.” We need to remember that when we fall at following His commands for our life. Where are you falling with His directions?
Lord, thank you for Your awesome provision and direction You have for my life. You know so much more about me than I do and You can see so much more than I can. Teach me to trust Your ways, Lord and follow Your instructions from day to day! In Jesus name. Amen!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Transparent Vision

And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Gen 15:5

When I was about 10 or so, I had to go to the eye doctor because I was squinting and not doing so hot in school. It was then that the doctor revealed to my mom and dad what I had kept a secret for a couple of years.... I couldn't see very far. The result? I had to get glasses. I hated that but I have a confession to make. I loved getting the glasses because the lady that would slip the glasses on me did so gently that it made my head tickle.... and I loved the smell of anything clinical! What I didn't know was that my world as I knew it was about to change. The years after, I went through fierce bullying, teasing, losing glasses because I wouldn't wear them in school, punishments, whoopings and lost interest from boys. If someone would have told me beforehand that all that was gonna happen, I might have skipped that appointment! What I didn't understand was that my eyes were better. I could see the board and whatever else was not right in front of me, but because of what I heard I could only see the bad.

At my church, we meet for prayer starting at 4:30 in the morning and go until 7, sometimes 8am! I have been going per my commitment everyday this month, whether it's for 2 hours or 30 minutes. What I am realizing is that I can still feel His presence! Well yesterday morning, something was said that I had a hard time grasping much less swallowing. There was a number, a cap, put on how many to reach and for us to record each one to keep count. The vision I instantly saw was a picture of David sending a scribe to count how many fighting men he had because he was bored. Now while I still don't agree with the number box God was put into, I feel what was being said. In God's Word, we are the ones who go out into the fields because God says the "harvest is ready." Not when we feel like it, not when we get ready or think there is a big need like say, shootings and other violence. No, we are to get out into the fields when it's quiet, when there is no action, when God says to. why? Because He is setting up His righteous army, us, and when we are in place HE will move! He tells us this! His Word says it right in black and white! And why does He share this with worms like us? Because "without vision, the people perish." If we don't know what a leader, boss, pastor.... president is doing, we tend to lose interest and die away. God made this picture crystal clear to me! He is positioning us for something much greater and He is using our circumstances to move us into position! Case in point, Kuczo (Emperor's New Groove) is freaking out about crossing a shabby bridge. He finally gets halfway there and is met by an opponent. He is so busy fighting not to fall and fussing at Patcha (sp) that he doesn't realize he is across the bridge already! His fear and anger were used to move him over to the other side!! (Scoff) How crazy is that?! James does tell us that faith brings about endurance! 

Let's reflect this week on the past circumstances that have led to greater faith which has led to us doing the RADICAL things God would have do if we weren't limited in the first place by shallow faith! Let's pray! God, thank you thank you thank you for loving me past what I can see! And for seeing what I can't and trusting me with Your vision! I just pray you would remind me when I am suffering that it's training for the better things to come! In Jesus name. Amen!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Transparent View!

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 
Psalm 16:11

Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich. Proverbs 21:17

This has been for me a season of being in need. How did Paul put it in Philippians 4? I am definitely in want. But that is according to my flesh. My flesh says I don't have enough, and I have been listening. My flesh says I need more, and I have been agreeing. 

Have you ever had a day when you got like, teenage dramatic needy? Where you just "had to have something?" It could be a bill paid, some money for food or gas, etc, all you knew was you just had to have it! I have been on that path most of my life now. Even as a surrendered child of God, a lot of my focus was on His hands instead of His face. This wasn't even in my radar to look up, even though I had heard that saying many times before!

There is a story that was told many times over when I was a little girl. The story of the greedy dog and the lake is correct for us so much more today! The story goes, there was a dog that was walking in a small town and he found a bone in his journey home. The dog carried the bone hurriedly to his owner’s house so that he could bury it in the back yard. While on his way home, he had to cross a small pool of water. He slowly crossed so as not to drop his bone in this very small pool of water and while going across, he glanced down only to see there was another dog under the water with what seemed to be an even bigger bone than what he had in his mouth! The dog finally crossed the pool of water and after shaking off the water, he started to head home. Taking only a few steps, he began to think of the other dog and his bone and decided that he wanted that bone too. He turned back and faced the dog in the water, to which he growled and growled, prowled back and forth and finally after seeing that his attempts were not scaring away the other dog, he barked. 

Now those who know that story know that is truly how it ends. For a child, this is a most peculiar way of ending a story because it brings about questions for them. What happened when he barked? Did the other dog drop his bone and run away? Did the dog get the other bone too? I can still here those types of questions being asked. But the truth of the matter is that I didn't understand that story for years! It took quite a while for me to understand that the other dog in the water was the dog's very own reflection in the water! How powerful is that in my adult financial life! If only I would look at what I have (my bone) instead of what I don't, I would be so much better off!

A revelation I had this week and I want to challenge you to meditate on is this, a child who is in need of something first looks at the parents hands to see if they have what it is they need. It is only when they pick the child up or stoop down that the child has a chance to look them in the face to see a loving and understanding face. Let's finish this week and start next week by looking towards the Father's face, shall we? Matthew 6:33 (my life verse) tells us to seek HIM first and all His righteousness, and everything else will be provided. When we seek His Kingdom, we are seeking Him, His will for us and it's only then can we see where His eyes are telling us to go for what He has for us. We are so busy looking at His hands (how He can provide for us or how we NEED Him to provide) that we are forgetting what comes first! Let's put it back into perspective together! Let's pray!

Father, forgive my constant prayers of what do You have for me. I should be asking what I can do for You as well as thanking You for what I already have. I should be focused on Who You are because that is when I can trust what You will do for me! To be honest Lord, that's hard to do! Help me to do that this week. Help me to seek Your Kingdom and all its righteousness and leave the rest, my needs, up to You to take care of! In Jesus name, Amen!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Transparent Slap

"For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
(Esther 4:14 ESV)

Esther chapter four has always, it seems, been quoted when someone is going through a hard time and needs to be reminded that they can do something when they think they cannot. "....And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 ESV) This is the THIRD sentence in this fourteenth verse. The first two somehow seem to get lost in translation, so to speak. " For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish....” (Esther 4:14 ESV) Did you catch it? Did it seem less like a motivational speech to you yet? Here, let's travel back. Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai after her parents deaths. He was a Jewish leader and well known in the providence they lived in. Anytime there was a need, anytime there was injustice or a time to cry out, the community tore their clothes and put ashes on themselves. It was traditional, which means everyone who lived even as an alien within their community and even the surrounding towns would know that this is what was done when despair took place. Fast forward to verse 4 where Esther was told about her uncle's condition, the state he was in, and pay attention to what she does. "She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them."  She then sent her eunuch to find out what was wrong. Is it becoming more clear yet? She had been in this community of bourgeois for so long that she had forgotten what it was like to be in need, to be in pain, to cry out. The very things, I am sure, she had done prior to being snatched from her comfort zone and even for possibly days or weeks after being handed the opportunity to be the next queen! She forgot!! She got embarrassed for him because he even went as far as the king's gate wailing in his ol dirty sackcloth with ashes covering him like he had just been mud wrestling without the water! How embarrassing for her, the poor thing!

It was in that instant that she did exactly what a court in line for a high position might do. She tried to cover over the issue with gifts. And when he didn't accept what she gave him, only then did she try to get to the root of the crying. She sent her eunuch to see what was wrong with him. When Mordecai sent the answer to what was wrong along with instructions, she sent back this even more indignant answer, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.” (Esther 4:11 ESV) Do you believe that! The man that raised her, the man that had to be there for her through all of her childish antics, teen rebellion, he trained her, he loved her, he clothed and fed her and she tells him she can't because some silly rule not to disturb the king until he calls for you?! The nerve! Or was it the doubt? I just noticed the similarities between her and Vashti right before Vashti was ejected.

Vashti was beautiful and her king wanted to show her off, not good for feminists, to his nobles and other guests. Esther was beautiful and godly and Mordecai wanted her to use the position God put her in to speak to the king. Ever worked somewhere and had a friend come in asking for your discount? Yeah. But Esther had become afraid of the worldly traditions she was taught while the care of Hathach. So much so that she was willing to forget what she knew about God and save herself. What comes next is a slap back into reality that rings in my head differently now.

Mordecai has gotten the message back, the answer he was waiting for back from Esther, except it isn't the answer he was waiting to hear. She tells him she just can't because of an edict that has been in place since before she came, and added that everyone knew this! Mordecai's reply to her was harsh but so graceful that you can't help but to receive it and soak it in, just like God's discipline to those He loves.

"Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14 ESV) His words wreak havoc on her soul and send conviction soaring like a hand sent from Texas to slap sense into someone. Pebble level? He says how dare you think you are above reproach and will saved from this sentence! You can keep quiet if you want to, you can think about it and argue with God if you want to but while you do that He will save us in another way, but you and yours will die. How do you know this isn't the reason He sent you there?" Wow! Now that was just me paraphrasing and picturing his conversation with us now, but it is what was meant. And her response tells me that. she changes her tune and sends word for them to fast and pray for her and if she dies then she dies. But even that drips of the remnants of doubt.

What's my point you ask? Let me simplify. God has given me the Spirit of discernment something fierce! Ever since I could remember, I have been able to "see" what people wanted to be hidden from everyone. Their hurts, their pain, their anger and hatred, the abuse they have endured or inflicted on others. I never really understood it but back then I was used by the liar to expose and make fun of those which I could "see." I wasn't in Christ, I didn't even know who He was other than He was on a cross. Now that I am counted as a friend, He shows me these things for a more powerful purpose! So that I can go into their hurting world and bring them the only Light they need. Sounds good right? The only issue is, I wasn't doing that. I would "see" people's true hurts and just say a comfortable prayer as I walked along, or drove by. That was NOT His purpose for me! I am supposed to reach my hand out, go into their dark corners and speak His love! In the movie based on Esther, One Night With The King, the ending has always been my all time fave because all you see Esther doing is walking into "dark territory" and then collapse. It's as if the fight with doubt had weighed heavy on her and the realization that she had just done the unthinkable overpowered her. Now of course that's not the real story but isn't that how we can feel after battling with our doubt and arguing with God?

My point of all this long winded storyline? I am now seeing that God has so much more for us to do. Yes He wants us going into the world preaching the Gospel. But why do some of us stop there? Why do others stop at saying, "Yes, I will pray for you?" and not just pray WITH them? We are called for such a time as this! Not to talk, not to wish, not to have meetings, but to act. Let's "awake o' sleeper" and walk into the Harvest, not just talk about it! Don't let the message get more harsh than that from God.

Let's pray. Father, I ask forgiveness for not being more direct, more bold, more like the perfect example in Your Son, Jesus. Help me to walk more and talk  less God. send to me the people that You have ordained for me to help and minister to. Thank You that I don't have to ask for strength or wisdom in this aspect Lord, it is already given! Thank You for the passion You place in us Lord, help us to keep that passionate fire for You, Jesus, going strong! In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Transparent P.U.S.H.

"pray without ceasing," 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Just Do It. Such a simple statement that we all see and picture a bubble like check mark when we see it. But what are we supposed to "Just Do?" When I looked it up on Google, I came up with a couple of different statements. One basically says Nike wanted a good way to say, "Don't talk about it, be about it." The other was that the executives were trying to come up with a catchy slogan and this one was on a post it. I wonder who wrote it and if they got a percentage of the profits from it. Probably not! It reminds me of the time I was in a meeting and my idea was heard and shot down, only to come back up by someone else the next meeting and it was accepted. Talk about needing some time to pray! 

Have you ever been in need of something and it seemed like you were praying for quite some time with no relief in sight? I have. I have been praying for awhile now for a vehicle. Not just any vehicle, but for a specific vehicle. A vehicle from God. You see a few years ago, I surrendered my life to Christ and in doing so, among the promise of eternal life (which in and of itself is alone awesome) God told me He would give me a car. Not lead me to one to buy or provide money for me to rent one or even other's cars to use, all of which He has done while I wait to procure mine from Him..... in other words, pray. I have had a couple of vehicles since that promise, long term rental and a car bought for me. Both are gone, the rental turned in after having an accident and spent much money (not all my money) and the other died (engine problems). I should have taken the Nike stance point and just did it.... pray that is. 

Prayer, I don't think is never meant to be a blah blah blah, Amen type of thing. Although there are certain prayers I have learned and am still learning is that when God promises something to us, He doesn't put a date on it. He just says, "pray without ceasing," and as we are obedient, He will answer. That doesn't mean don't move at all! No, that means to continue with what He has already having you do (Matthew 6:33) and while we are doing that very thing He commanded, pray in the midst of it. I can see that I need a car. God can see that I need a car, yet while I am in need of my own, I am blessed with using my mother's vehicle. It gets frustrating because of the work that is needed to be done and the pit less gas tank her truck seems to have, but nevertheless I am thankful.... and I continue to pray. I pray for her vehicle, that it would continue to hold up, I pray that mine would come soon, I pray for the resources to fix up her car and pour endless amounts of gas in the guzzler called a gas tank, and I pray for mine to hurry up and get here! Then I begin to see that sharing a car with my mother allows me to pray for her as well. I pray when she is in the car, when I can see her mood is not the best or the enemy has been on her back. Mostly I pray when she is sleeping in the car, because that is often, that God would intervene. I'm even sometimes venting about things, including her sometimes in the car. She thinks I'm just not social but it's just I'm being more social with God... especially when she is complaining. But nevertheless, besides my own sanctuary room, the truck is where I most convene with God!

To cease is to put an end to, to stop, to discontinue. Prayer without ceasing is to continue to pray, regardless of how you feel, regardless of how things looks, regardless of what the doctor says, regardless of the utilities being off, the refrigerator being empty, the bills coming in or the spouse or child going out. CONTINUE praying, pray WITHOUT ceasing! When you most feel the pressure, pray. When you feel like things are going your way, pray. It doesn't matter if, like Paul, you are without or have plenty, pray without ceasing! You never know what God will reveal in the pit or on the pedestal!

Father, thank You for being the ear we can cry to! Thank You for being the Provider and Portion we need. Lord while we are in the need, You comfort until You supply. David says in Psalm 65:13 that in the valley we will have plenty and I thank You that it is so true. We know that You hear us because Your Word says You do and we know that those who believe and request in Jesus name receive, so thank You in advance! Give us courage to pray without ceasing while we wait for You to answer those requests. In Jesus name, Amen