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!

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!